So we had a substitute instructor for our childbirth class last week. She's a labor/delivery nurse at the hospital I will be delivering at. Prior to this class, our instructor has been teaching us about relaxation techniques and things like using gravity to help us progress through labor, etc. Well all things changed during this class, which discussed medical intervention. I asked the nurse what determines whether a patient gets Pitocin or not. Her answer about dropped me to the floor, "everyone gets Pitocin". I asked why's that? Her answer, "because it's a hospital". Someone please pick me up off of the floor! I then asked how I could avoid Pitocin and her answer, "labor at home".
If you're not sure what Pitocin is or why I'm against it (unless medically necessary), it's a synthetic drug that mimics our body's natural oxytocin to bring on contractions. Our bodies spit out oxytocin in spurts causing contractions that are spaced apart and allow the mother and baby to recover between contractions. The body will also release endorphins in response to oxytocin for some pain relief. But with Pitocin, the contractions are much stronger, longer, painful and can cause the mom and baby distress.
We then were given a tour of the maternity floor and L&D rooms. She told us that as soon as we arrive, we will be given an IV and put on monitors. This pretty much tethers you to the bed. I asked if we would be able to walk around and the answer was pretty much no. It has been proven that walking around and utilizing positions that use gravity helps labor along significantly. The last thing I want is to be stuck in bed on my back halting progress and then necessitating intervention.
The nurse then demonstrated the position we would be in to push, flat on our back, no assistance from gravity whatsoever. She explained that we would push like we were having a bowel movement. I commented, since when do we take a dump laying flat on our back?
I left this class feeling quite stressed out. This is not the experience I was wanting. 3 of the 4 couples in the class were questioning whether they wanted to deliver at this hospital after this class. It's really sad how intervention heavy hospitals can be these days. I know it can be a true blessing when medical situations arise and intervention can really save the mother/baby, but it has gone so far that it has become standard practice. C-section rates should be no more than 5-10%, but today's rates are more like 25-35%. I have seen this consistent pattern over and over again while watching shows like Bringing Home Baby or The Baby Story where they hook you to monitors leaving you in a non-gravity-friendly position, you don't progress as well as they think you should, so they start Pitocin, contractions become unbearable, mother gets an epidural which slows down contractions, they up the Pitocin, baby shows signs of distress, next thing you know, you need a c-section.
As soon as I returned home, I dug into my book "The Birth Book" by Dr. Sears and was unable to put it down. If you're planning a hospital birth and are looking to avoid unnecessary intervention, this is a must read!!! Kerry and I both started questioning if we should switch hospitals or hire a Doula, ie labor support person. Hiring a Doula seemed like the less stressful option being this far along.
At my OB appt (everything was perfect), I addressed my concerns. My OB was upset at the L&D nurse for telling us all this. She said that no, not every patient automatically gets Pitocin and as long as my water has not broken, I would be able to walk around our room, but they unfortunately don't have wireless monitors, so I would be limited by the length of the cords. Her statements were filled with lots of disclaimers. I told her that after $93k in medical intervention to get me pg, if anyone understands that sometimes the body fails us and medical intervention is needed, I do. I'm just trying desperately to avoid unnecessary intervention and looks like I possibly have my hands full in that area.
Kerry and I are now looking into hiring a Doula. It will be 100% out of pocket, but we feel it will be well worth it considering how long we have waited for this experience. Our goal will be to labor at home as long as possible with the Doula helping me through the process and telling us when it's time to leave for the hospital. Once at the hospital, she'll continue to support me through labor and be my advocate against unnecessary intervention. In today's hospital environment, you don't have a dedicated nurse helping you through this, they only periodically check on you. Outside of that, they are watching multiple patient's monitors from their desk and the OB is monitoring you through the nurses via phone. So a Doula would provide me with one-on-one support. This will help take the stress off of me and avoid unfriendly comments from the nurses when saying no. This also relieves Kerry to be a loving husband and cheerleader and not have the pressure to get me through something he can never understand, which he is very happy about.
My goal is to go natural, but if the pain is unbearable, I'm not against an Epidural. I obviously have no concept of how painful this could be and while I will give it my all, I won't beat myself up if I just can't make it. If at any point my baby is at risk, I will do what is necessary. The Doula will also take pictures/videos for us, freeing those attending the birth to enjoy the experience and not be bogged down with camera duty.
Regarding diapers, Kerry and I are going to give it our all and try cloth diapering. Cloth diapering has come a long way since our mother's time. I have received a few from my registry and am really excited about them. I'm planning on trying out a few different brands to see which system works best for us. So far I have a Gro Baby, Bumgenius and Bumboo. I also registered for a FuzziBunz. The up front cost will be a little more, but in the long run will save us quite a bit of moola over disposables. If we can pull this off, we'll also be helping the environment as disposables take around 500 years to break down in the landfills. I'll gladly put out a review after I've had a chance to use these, if anyone is interested.
This week's belly. According to the scale and my waist measurements, baby is really growing in there. I'm starting to get a very faint brown line from my belly button down, boo! It's starting to become difficult to do things like put on socks, give a urine sample without peeing on my hand and well, wipe my bum. I'm having to get creative.
Nursery update. We're making good progress! The crown moulding is up; nailed, puttied, caulked and just needs a layer of touch up paint.
We've taped off the chair rail moulding.
I've started taping the stripes. We're doing random vertical widths.
I notated what color to do on each stripe and Kerry started painting. We haven't gotten beyond this wall, so long ways to go. Once the stripes are done, we'll then install the chair rail moulding.
I made a changing pad cover. I know, you'd think I would have been able to find a pre-made blue minky dot cover, but all the ones in stores are a totally different blue, so alas, I made my own.
In other good news, as of today, we are officially IVF debt free!!!!! Thanks to a huge tax refund resulting from huge out of pocket medical expenses in 2009. Wahoo!!!