Saturday, September 1, 2012

Green Bean Update #3

This is the last green bean update. In only 10 days (start the countdown) we'll get the chance to take a little peek at our growing babe. Hopefully he or she will cooperate and we'll know...I don't know why it matters so much, it just does.

19 weeks + 1 day:

It's bigger in real life. Not sure why. Not much to report other than I'm still totally excited and so amazed that I am co-creating and carrying life! It still blows my mind to know that there is this little growing person inside of me with predetermined genetic code (gender too!). I was praying this morning, thanking the Father for allowing me to be guardian to these little lives. Practicing gratitude for every day that I get to have Bean because He could choose to take them from me. They are ultimately His, and so I want to be ever thankful for the days I get. Of course, this attitude is easier to maintain with the babe in the belly than with the two out of belly. But, growing a new life keeps my perspective on the ones I've already delivered. So, I try a little bit more patience, a little bit more grace with Mads and G, because I still feel about them the way I feel about this new life. 

I had a long conversation with my midwife. Tim was supposed to be at a class the Monday I had my appointment, but as I was taking my blood pressure, I hear his voice outside the door. Can I just totally brag on my loving husband that he left his class early to surprise me and be at our appointment? He ALWAYS makes the effort to be there with me, and as I think back on all our pre-natal visits, I can remember only a few appointments (mostly with my midwife at home) where he wasn't able to make it. 

Anyways, it was good because I had a bullet list of talking points for my CNM and thankfully, I was her last patient of the day. After reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, I wanted to get a feel for basic hospital protocol upon arrival. Things like a blood draw, heparin lock or IV placement, electronic fetal monitoring and urine analysis are all standard. I asked if there was a time limit on labor and delivery. I asked to meet the other midwives who might deliver me. I wondered if she felt pressure to adhere to the medical model and to what extent she felt she supported the midwifery model. 

I think the most important concept I have taken away from my readings and from my own experience is the idea that fear, or the perception of fear, has a incredible impact on delivery. Gaskin's calls this the law of the sphincter. She has found medical books, anecdotes and literature from the 1800s that attest to this phenomenon. Attendants were advised to not startle the patient, nor walk in on them suddenly for fear that the sudden shock of being caught in a position of vulnerability would reverse the labor of the woman. The best way to akin it is like a gazelle who is birthing in the wild: if she is suddenly attacked, God has mercifully allowed the animal to retract the spawn back into the uterus in order to escape with a live baby. But this is not just biological animalistic behavior. These doctors of which I spoke earlier recorded several instances when the laboring mother was deep into delivery and because of the disturbance of the male doctor and a sudden presence that made her uncomfortable, labor ceased and one doctor recorded that it did not start again for 2 weeks. And I'm not talking Braxton-Hicks here, the records show that the delivery was immanent. As I talk to friends--one who was told not to deliver because her doctor was not there and then watched as 4 nurses stepped back and stood watching, and to another who delivered in the back of an ambulance-- they attest that although labor was bearing down (literally) on them, they did not feel safe enough to "release" their baby until they were assured that someone was there to catch him or assist them.

Sometimes it's hard to imagine that fear could cause such a reversal, especially for woman who have felt the overwhelming urge to push their babies out, but imagine sitting in a circle of 6 people with a bowl in the middle and being told that the first one to poop in it will get $50.00. Or, have you ever been in a bathroom stall that does not lock and realized how the little fear of being walked in upon effects your ability to use your sphincter? This is the theory that Gaskins presents: the same laws apply to anus, bladder and birth canal. Many a labor has been draw beyond its natural course due to fear. I believe my 30+ hour with Madeleine was effected by fear. With Gracen, I was doing great until we transported and I lost it. I lost my coach who was having to drive (and fast) and there was a lot of fear because of circumstances, not because of my own body. But, I ramble. Read the book for yourself, it's one of those things that you read and go, "Duh, why doesn't everyone know this?" Well, medicine is politics, and if you watched the RNC then you can see how commonsense can be overruled by those who have the most money. Hospitals make money. Doctors make money. Why do they want you to do naturally what they can help you do and make a lots more money. She needs pitocin, ch-ching; she needs a blood draw, ch-chaing; she needs an epidural...well the anesthesiologist just bought an Audi, so let's get him in here. ch-ching. 

But, there is a revolution rising. I just found out about the Improving Birth Rally taking place all over the nation and there is a group in Murrieta. or you can visit the national site

Birth matters. Do you believe that? Do you believe that the way that the mother brings her children into the world absolutely impacts both in ways they don't fathom? There are reasons to induce; there are reasons to c-section. But, for the majority of healthy, pregnant women like me the most empowering and effective birth for me and my baby is one that values us, not the litigious or monetary interests of my hospital, caregiver or insurance company. I encourage all women, but particularly pregnant ones to research alternatives to the procedures of the medical model. Question why they are asking you to do the things you do. And remember the 4 magic words:                    I do not consent. 
Love, Lauren


Rose Starr said...

Great rant Lauren!

I have to say that my quickest labor and delivery (with our second) was the best. Fear totally played a role in all my births but with Owen, I was able to get it under control very quickly (Having a friend act as a dula really helped me focus). I got in the zone and despite my doctor not being there I knew it was time. Owen's head popped out, the sac had not broken, so the nurses broke it and pulled it over his head. The doctor walked in and helped deliver the rest of Owen. I did not use any pain reliever. All natural and I was so amazed at how great I felt! It was amazing! what you wrote is right on. I pray what you have learned empowers you to have an amazing labor and delivery for this third sweet baby! Love you guys!

Laney Ellen said...

love you! love your passion lauren :) really encouraging to read your words. it was great to see my big sister today, what a sweet surprise!

Julie said...

This is great. So good to read, I'll definitely need to read up more but it all makes such perfect sense. It's amazing to me how little hospitals care, I've told Brad that we need to be a team so that he can fight for me in L&D, he's been at every appt too and I think he likes the idea of having such an important role in our baby's birth. :)