Wednesday, May 5, 2010

33 Weeks

I feel like I'm in a time warp, seriously, how does Wednesday pop up every time I turn around?  SEVEN weeks to go!

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!!!


  1. The nursery looks fantastic. Congratulations on being debt free! Your little one will be here so soon!
    I think your idea about trying to have a natural childbirth, but considering an epidural is a good idea. I wanted a natural childbirth but things didn't work out that way for me. An epidural was wonderful for me (once I had labored naturally for long enough). And a doula or birth coach can help you to labor naturally and make you feel supported.
    Keep us posted on your progress.

  2. Can't wait to see the finished nursery.
    I didn't have to get a IV till I said I wanted an epdural, and was only on coninuous monitoring for the first hour after the prostaglandn gel induction and after my epidural was in. Other than that, they'd put me on it for 5 min or so every hour. Even after my water had broken.
    There's got to be lower levels of intervention if you're low risk, even if you labour in hospital??
    Glad you're so far along and all's well!!

  3. Hire a doula!!! It's seriously the best thing I've done yet...though I did change providers AND hospitals as well...but the doula will come to my house and help me labor at home as LONG as possible. I know I will need someone here to remind me that I'm NOT dying and that I CAN do this....

    Plus she has just been a great support person in these last weeks.

    I ended up just calling and talking to a few...that part is free you know!

  4. We did the same thing in the nursery!!! Take my advice, make no judgements at ALL until the tape is removed, lol. I almost started crying when I saw how it looked with the paint tape still up - after all that work. I told Brett we had to redo it...then we removed the tape and it was beautiful!!!!

    I was getting more and more pissed reading your post about the nurse. How could everybody get pitocin? That is just nuts. why would everyone get pitocin? That totally blew me away! I was induced and never even got pitocin. Unfortunately, I had to be on my back for most of my labor but when I was free to finally move around (gave me a spare hour in between putting in those mesopro thingys) the nurse on duty put herself out finding me a wireless monitor and letting us walk around. Even after my water broke and I got an epidural, they let me put the bed up so I was almost sitting up to let gravity work! I will say long as the baby is doing fine in there, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to labor on your own. It took 23 hours for them to decide to break my water and from that point forward (after an immediate epidural), it went so fast!

    Also - I looked into Doulas and because I liked what I heard from the nurses, hospital and doctors, I didn't hire one. HOWEVER, my SIL who had 2 prior c-sections that she thinks were unnecessary in retrospect, hired a Doula for her third birth...and she finally gave birth vaginally! The doula really helped her out a lot. She did plan on avoiding an epidural...but had to give in there too at some point. The doula did seem to help a lot. And, she waited until 37 weeks to hire her!

  5. Wow, that is a crazy story, and a angry-sounding nurse. Makes you wonder why on earth she was teaching/subbing that class. Not such good PR for the hospital.

    While I know nothing about this stuff, a doula sounds really nice. An advocate, a person that is very familiar with labor, all that sounds good to me.

    And the stripes look great so far. It is going to be a really cute nursery!

  6. The nursery is coming along! I can't wait to see the finished product!

    Super crazy story from the crazy lady at the hospital! Ha ha

    And the same belly is getting so large...some things like wiping my bum or not peeing on my hand when I give the urine sample is getting difficult! It is hilarious! I love it all!

  7. Wow Jill, I think the nurse you got was a little off, unless that hospital is a bit extreme. I was induced with Carley and NEVER got pitocin. My doc said that they don't use it much anymore here. I got this jell substance rubbed around "down there" and then I went walking around the hospital for an hour or so, got into hard labor, then they put in the iv, got into bed and delivered shortly after. Between Kerry and your doula, I'm sure you won't get anything you don't want.
    Congrats on being IVF debt free! That's awesome!
    SEVEN weeks left!! Enjoy girl, you are going to miss the belly rubs!


  8. Gosh that nurse would have ticked me off too! I've never heard of such a thing....I've delivered in two different hospitals and in two different states and neither hospital does Pitocin UNLESS you're being induced. I went on my own with Brayden, was NOT induced and never had Pitocin. I obviously did this time around because I had to be induced for medical reasons. Even if you do have it....ignore the horror UN-induced birth was WAY worse than my induced birth:-) As far as worrying about laying in bed, etc....seriously I was in so much pain that I would not have "wanted" to get up and walk. The bed was all I wanted and I too was able to have the back of my bed completely sat up so gravity worked with me. Try not to stress....all will be fine and that baby will make it out one way or another:-)

    Glad you're having progress on the nursery.....don't worry about that little linea will go away eventually. Mine started on the bottom too and then the top filled in....funny thing was the top & bottom didn't line up either...LOL

    I can't believe you're down to only SEVEN weeks.....awesome!!!

    As far as having everything set in your mind how you want things to go during the whole labor/birth thing....I seriously don't know ONE person (including myself) that had things go exactly as they "planned".....labor is the most intense pain you'll EVER feel in your life and one that you can't even begin to explain to someone who's never gone through it. Everyone has different levels of pain tolerance and I always thought mine was high UNTIL I was in labor. I never wanted pain medication but soon realized that there was NO WAY I was finishing the process without it once my contractions were one on top of each other with hardly any break in between:-) Just keep your mind open...that's all I'm saying! For every ONE person I talk to that had NO pain meds....there are 10 that're actually in the very small minority if you DON'T end up getting some.

  9. Whoa! I cannot believe the nurse told you that. Yikes! I know you don't want to switch hospitals, but I am pretty sure that Baptist has labor tubs. If you are wanting to go all natural these things are the way to go and would improve your chances of being able to bear the pain. Also they may be more open to letting you walk the halls instead of just your room. I would check it out if you are interested. Congrats on being IVF debt free!!!! That is awesome! I know that has to relive so much pressure! Now you can enjoy the baby without that on your shoulders. :0D Baby belly lookin' good!

  10. Hey, Jill! I can't believe that nurse! I think the doula is a GREAT idea. I have a friend who used one and said that the doula was the reason they were able to resist the doctor's push for pitocin. We are thinking of finding a doula as well, but either way we are planning a midwife delivery at our local hospital, and the midwives are quite prepared to do things au naturale if at all possible, for which I'm now even more grateful! I knew hospital births by OB tended to be like what you describe, but I am shocked that the nurse would be so blunt about it. Although I guess if she's right, we should be grateful that someone is at least being honest....

    About the diapers, I would be very grateful for a review, though we'll probably have to have some on hand before we hear from you on that :-) . I have a friend (one of the tickers on my blog) who's planning to use gdiapers, which sounded good to me. Have you heard of them (not that you want more options)?

    Your belly is so big! I'm starting to have a complex about how small I seem to be carrying. I have to keep reminding myself that my fundal height is fine, my weight gain is fine, she's moving around a lot, etc. I guess I just have kind of a long torso, and I suppose I should be grateful, but after all this time trying, I really want to look as pregnant as I am!

    Jill N

  11. You are moving right along...with everything! Time sure flies. :) And IVF debt!!

    And please don't stress over labor...I think some nurses try to offer realistic scenarios but they end up scaring people. I had no pitocin and never felt "tied" to my bed...I prefered not to be walking around anyway. As for me, I pushed and gave birth laying down and again, had no desire to be standing or sitting. I opted for the epidural because I didn't think I needed to be a mom superhero who was drug free :) but mostly because my sister in law attempted that, the baby wasn't coming, they had to quickly do a c-section, knock her out, and she missed the whole birth!? I had all these plans for a hospital bag, relaxtion techniques, pedicure (!), enjoy a few days off from work prior to the due date...none of it happened...and I still had a baby! :) Again, don't stress!

    I will add too, my doc originally told me to stay at home and labor as long as possible, then go to the hospital. Also, my nanny is a doula so if you want to ask her questions, let me know.

    Smiles, Heidi

  12. I'm so sorry the nurse stressed you out. Sometimes the comments that they make can do more harm than good - I had a similar experience in the NICU with the head nurse who made a comment to me regarding breastfeeding that I wish she hadn't made because it really affected my perception. I'm not going to share it with you because I don't want to negatively impact you.

    We hired a Doula at 31 weeks from the hospital (recall that I was hospitalized for 3 weeks prior to giving birth) and it was the best decision ever. She was wonderful and was a great support to both Jeff and I during the whole process. After having doing as much medical treatment as we all have to get to this point, you are an extremely strong advocate for yourself and my doula was actually impressed with how strongly we advocated for ourselves. However, that being said, it was really nice to have her there to discuss and bounce things off of in the process of making our decisions during labour.

    One thing I found really important during labour was the simple notion of continuing to breathe, especially when the contractions hit. They hurt but if you try to remain calm and breathe your way through it rather than hold your breath and tense up, I found that it helped immensely. I started to freeze up when the contractions became really painful and hold my breath and they became even more painful until I remembered to take deep, calming breaths and then I could manage. You'll be fine whatever decision you make re: epidural/no epidural and it sounds like you're getting a lot of good information regarding pushing positions. One side note - I was not allowed to get up and squat to push after I had the epidural so if you have any desires of doing other positions other than flat on your back post epidural, you won't be able to or you will be strongly discouraged as I was (they say you can't feel your legs, you can stand up, etc. etc. but if you ask me, I think I could have stood up if I wanted to). Good luck with everything and finding a doula you're comfortable with. Interview a few!

  13. That nurse should never have been allowed to teach your childbirth class nor should she be an OB nurse. She sounds like an unhappy person on a power trip. Hiring a Doula seems to be the appropriate move and will certainly make you less stressed when the time comes. You should enjoy this experience although some will say that's an oxymoron. Having had my 2 babies au natural, I am not qualified to discuss epidurals and pitocin. The only thing I asked for the 2nd time around was an enema only because I would rather have had another baby than have that first BM after my first child. (He arrived 20 minutes after I got to the hospital and I tore pretty badly.) It may have been my imagination, but the enema sped things up with Jeremy and he arrived 3 hours and 45 minutes after we got to the hospital. I roamed the halls before having the enema and stayed in the room thereafter but got in and out of bed to use the bathroom as long as they allowed me to do so. Everyone tolerates pain differently and every birth is unique. Make it the best experience you can and I'll be there in the cheering sectin for sure! Love you, Mom2


Thank you for your comment! Hugs, Kerry and Jill