Saturday, May 15, 2010

Going Hardcore

It's been quite a while since I've had the time to write here.  My job and my pregnancy have both transformed in the months I've been away from the bloggy world.  This post will be about the pregnancy and my preparations for birth and I'll save the work stuff for another day.

I have never been a fan of modern medicine.  Not that I don't think it saves us from loads of things that would have killed most of us by age 30 in centuries past, but I think often we are over-medicated and over-diagnosed.  The unfortunate reality of living in a capitalist country that offers health care for a profit is certainly a major contributer to the medicalization of otherwise natural processes such as birth and death.  Despite knowing that birth is almost always safe and rarely needs any kind of intervention at all, I was terrified to give birth for the first time. 

I was so ashamed and disappointed that I chose to have my labor induced for financial reasons (long story--save for later), and gave birth in a hospital with an IV, constant monitoring, and an epidural.  It is not at all what I imagined my birthing experience would be like.  Prior to becoming pregnant, I assumed I would give birth at home or in a birthing center in a tub with no medical intervention at all. But once I began trying to get pregnant for the first time nearly 4 years ago, I also became debilitated by fear---fear of pregnancy, birth, weight gain, parenting.  This became all-comsuming anxiety, therefore I chose to eliminate as many fears as possible by getting all the tests, having an OB rather than a midwife, and giving birth in a hospital where any possible emergency could be attended to immediately.  I told myself that if my first birth went smoothly, I would do it differently the second time.

My second positive pregnancy test came in May 2009.  I didn't think about looking for a midwife at first, I automaticallly called to set up an appointment with my OB.  I went in at about 4-5 weeks pregnant and was told it was still probably too early to see anything.  A week later I began cramping badly and bleeding.  I returned to the doctor and she confirmed that there was no fetus there, but a lot of tissue and things were not right.  We tried just waiting for nature to take its course, but it didn't, so I ended up with a D & C  in July.  What followed was more anxiety, weekly doctor's appointments and blood draws until the first week in September.  After five long months, my body was finally back to normal. 

October 6, 2010.  My husband's 35th birthday.  I came home from an after-work baby shower with Zoe and decided that just for fun, I would take my last home pregnancy test.  I certainly did not think I was pregnant, but I figured if on the off-chance I was, it would make a great birthday gift wrapped up next to the others sitting on the dining table.  Three-five minutes later, I saw the "pregnant" appear on my digital test and was definitely surprised.  Zoe was the first to find out.  I was nervous and decided to wait until I reached 7 weeks before heading to the doctor.  Still too afraid to go to a midwife after the long drawn-out miscarriage experience.

Everything was progressing normally.  No problems with me or baby Liam.  My amnio results came back 100% normal, I tested negative for gestational diabetes.  There was no risk for me having a natural, non-hospital birth.  But by this time, I was 27 weeks along.  I found a naturopath/midwife at a birthing center down the street from my house that was willing to take me as a patient, but unfortunately, my insurance would not cover a birth outside of a no birthing center.  And no home birth (not that I wanted to give birth in a tiny crowded house full of people and pets). 

Despite these setbacks, I decided to go "hardcore" with this birth---no meds or interventions.  I ordered the Hypnobabies homestudy course, hired a doula, and made a plan to discuss my birth choices with my doctor at my next appointment in April.  I could tell after the appointment that I would not be able to trust that my desires would be honored in their entirety.  I was very disappointed and discouraged.  I had two options: pay out of pocket thousands of dollars to give birth outside of the hospital, or go to the one in-network CNM practice and beg them to take me at 31 weeks. 

The morning after my appointment I sat in the staff room at school and called Providence Maternal Care Clinic.  I learned that all of my birth preferences were standard practice for them and they had one remaining spot for a June birth.  I took it even though I would not be able to get my first appointment until May 4th---34 weeks pregnant.  So now I am in full preparation for a natural childbirth in the hospital with a midwife and doula.

It is not my ideal birth, but it will not cost me loads of money and I will be able to live knowing I did birthing hardcore by choice.