Friday, April 23, 2010

Self-righteousness and Superiority

There is a woman from church that I am assigned to serve with. I visit with her once a month; she's 31 weeks pregnant and has a son a few months younger than mine. She's having an induction, the date is already set. The reason? Her first labor went so quickly that she never had time for an epidural and the pain was unbearable- sounds pretty reasonable, right?. Her first baby was "large" (8 pounds) so the scheduled induction is fairly early- I think 38 weeks.
I'm very proud of myself, I bit my tongue. I didn't say "did you know that an elective induction is almost TWICE as likely to cause fetal distress (where the baby isn't getting enough oxygen for extended periods of time)?" I did say "I can imagine how scary it was to not have an epidural when you had planned on one- that kind of pain takes a lot of preparation and when birth doesn't go according to plan it can be hard to adjust". That's as preachy as I got about NCB (natural childbirth). I was proud.
The reason for me moderating myself? Days prior on facebook, a friend had mentioned being all for epidurals, another friend (NCB-friendly, though perhaps a bit colorful) went off a bit on him, so I found myself private messaging him my views on epidurals in an effort to smooth things over. Even then, he felt attacked and judged and I felt horrible because that hadn't been my goal. It made me re-examine how I view other women's birthing choices.

I have a problem not judging mothers who take unnecessary interventions in their labors. Unfortunately, that means I'm judging 90% of women out there- including many good, dear friends. It's not so much judgment as confusion. HOW could you NOT research the possible side effects of a scheduled induction or c-section? If they knew that the induction greatly increased the odds of fetal distress, the pain of childbirth, and the risk of emergency c-section, they wouldn't choose it, right? Surely if they knew that a c-section QUADRUPLED the rate of maternal death, they would at least try labor, right? And that doesn't even bring in the dangers of subsequent cesareans.

My passion around natural childbirth is not just from fuzzy feelings about the power of women, it's from real evidence of better outcomes! How can I soften that to not make it sound like women who haven't been exposed to that evidence are somehow remiss? How on earth can I phrase it so I don't sound like I think MY way (that is, only allowing interventions when they are truly medically necessary) is the only right way (when in fact, I guess, that is how I feel). How do I convince them that I don't have some huge ego to think I know better than their OB (When I do think that for normal, uncomplicated pregnancies, the mother, if she keeps herself informed, does know better than most OBs- who the statistics show take unnecessary risks and have worse outcomes than if the labor is led by a midwife or the choices of an informed mother).

But then I remember back to my own birth, and how, even after all the research and studying, I was willing to trust my OB. I remember when my OB wanted to break my water at 36 weeks because I was dilated to a 6, I thought it sounded like a good idea. She made it sound so urgent. Heaven knows I wanted to meet my baby and I was SO sick of not knowing when I would go into labor. It was so easy to justify that intervention for the small amount of control it would give me. I was going to go home and think about it.
So I did. I asked my sisters (older and wiser) and I asked my online Natural Chilbirth forum what they thought. My sister couldn't figure out why I would consider it, why I would take that risk. I felt judged for even thinking about it. Even after my labor, I felt judged for the interventions I allowed. I can never go back and change the way I did things, so why should I feel guilty about it? My baby and I were both healthy, so why the guilt? Unfortunately, I will always have to wonder how the labor would have gone without those interventions. Would I have torn so bad (not likely)? Would Daniel have had jaundice if he had baked longer (not likely)? Would he have turned around if I had waited for his cue for labor, so I wouldn't have had such painful back labor? I'll never know. But I certainly don't need external sources make me regret those decisions more.

So why am I now judging others? Well, a lot of it is the information I have. I'm currently reading Pushed by Jennifer Block and I just want to shout from the rooftops that EVERY woman should read this book before giving birth! Every page or so I read some jaw-dropping statistic about the things that go WRONG with interventions and the things that go right when labor is allowed to progress at its own pace. Worse yet, page after page shows that OBs simply don't know what to do with a labor that goes right- they have to "manage" it, they have to speed it up, they have to intervene, often ignoring the evidence and international recommendations against it.

And really, it's not judgment. It's wanting to insert knowledge into their heads that THERE IS A BETTER WAY. So... if it isn't coming off as self-righteousness, it's a superiority complex. Great. And NCBers often come off that way- they think they know more, they think their way is better, and they often shame women who have had unnecessary-intervention-ridden births (And often, regrettably,  the women who had NECESSARY interventions feels shame as well). No one wants to hear that there birth was "wrong". And no woman wants to feel guilty for believing a trusted birth professional when he said there was no risk for the epidural/induction/c-section.
But the fact of the matter is this- the NCBers I know DO know more- indeed, I would say of the women I know, that the more research a woman has done, the more likely she is to plan an intervention-free childbirth (and by research I don't mean "finding out which OB has the happiest clients"). And it sounds wrong to say it because it is so "superior", but a planned intervention-free birth IS a better way of birthing.
A few of these informed NCB women DO end up with interventions- surely less than the average rate, but it does still happen- but they can rest assured that they CHOSE those interventions because the risks of not having them (medical necessity) outweigh the risks of having them. There is no guilt in allowing an intervention when the mother knows it really is necessary, rather than when the OB (who wants to clear out a bed or get home for dinner) says it is necessary.

So the moral of this long post? I do not judge any choice a mother makes in childbirth- so long as it is an INFORMED one. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Working towards a baby

So, I don't love working at home. I don't love what I do. I'm a "Web Analytics Consultant"- I help major websites figure out how people are getting to their site (say, from a google adwords campaign) and how effective their site is at getting people to do what they want (buy something). Lots of javascripting, lots of writing documentation. I was a linguistics major, which turned me into an HTML programmer (after all, HTML is technically a language too), then web designer, then finally analytics consultant. I'm very luck to have had this job progression- linguistics usually doesn't usually leave many career options (but boy, is it fascinating).
Anyways, I worked from home during my last pregnancy then up until Daniel was 8 months old. There is a reason people don't bring 8-month-olds to work with them- you can't get anything done. I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, even though my husband is a lowly school teacher and we'll never be rich (until I publish my incredibly popular fantasy novel;)... but that's another story). I thought whenI quit that I'd be done with corporate work forever. Last November I got a job at Barnes and Noble making less than I had ever made, even as a teenager- but I enjoyed it. I was exhausted (I could only work closing shifts so K could watch D), I was incredibly busy, but when I walked out those doors each night I didn't have to worry about my job until I came back for the next shift.
In January some old clients reached out and offered me disgusting amounts of money to consult with them- more than twice what I used to make doing the same thing. It was a total blessing- without it we couldn't even consider getting pregnant. But part of me inside was pretty bitter- it was a good enough offer that I couldn't turn it down, meaning I was working again. I mean, actually working- I had to quit at B&N. It is stressful, even if I only work 5 hours a week, I may worry for another 20.

But since I've gotten pregnant, it's so much more doable. I'm working towards something real and tangible- my homebirth! With that goal in mind, it doesn't seem like a bother at all. Just one more part of pregnancy- financing the birth. Each hour I work pays for one fiftieth of my homebirth.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Belly Pics- 4 weeks

So the pic is 11 days old, but here we go, at 3 weeks and 6 days:

And here is the end goal (from last pregnancy, 35 weeks along):

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Significance of Forty

Last time I was pregnant, I got to thinking about the number 40. 40 weeks of gestation (though obviously very few women ever deliver at exactly 40 weeks). For Christians (and even jews), it is a number of great significance- it's all over scripture.
This website discusses it thus:
The number forty has long been universally recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement. It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). This is certainly the case where Forty relates to a period of evident probation. But where it relates to enlarged dominion, or to renewed or extended rule, then it does so in virtue of its factors 4 and 10, and in harmony with their signification.
If that doesn't sum up pregnancy, I don't know what does! Chastisement (not punishment, but testing your limits), trial, probation, followed by revival, renewal and enlarged dominion. Think about it- all over the scripture the number 40 signifies a trial followed by a transformation:

-Noah's flood rains lasted 40 days and 40 nights before the earth was clean
-Moses was in Egypt 40 years before becoming sympathatic to the israelites, Midian for 40 years before becoming a prophet, and on the mountain for 40 days before receiving the Stone Tablets
-The Children of Israel wandered 40 years in the wilderness before entering the promised land
-Elijah fasted/repented in the wilderness for 40 days before the Lord sent him forth as a prophet again
-Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days before beginning his earthly ministry
-Jesus tarried with his disciples after his resurrection before ascending to heaven

And now, for Forty Weeks, I will be tested, tried, and chastised. And at the end, there will be a new life, and I will be transformed and renewed.

Anyways, I thought that was fun to think about.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meeting the midwife

So my midwife does this cool thing- she does all of her exams once a month. All of her clients come for the powwow, hear birth stories from recently delivered mommas, participate in a prenatal class, watch birthing videos... meanwhile she takes us aside one by one for our exam.
So even though I'm barely 4 weeks along, she invited me down. I'm so glad! A mom that had a successful VBAC two weeks ago shared a wonderful birth story.
There were maybe 10 pregnant mommies present. 4 of them are trying for HBAC (home birth after a cesarean). 2 others are first time mommies, one hits 40 weeks in 12 days.
Of the 14 VBACs my midwife has delivered, 2 have been transferred. Of first timers, she says about 9% transfer, usually from exhaustion (midwife kind of rolled her eyes and laughed that the first timers are so excited and eager and nervous that they can't rest when they have the chance and they wear themselves out with eagerness).

When she grabbed my file she put it in a green folder- apparently green stands for "already experienced at least one successful vaginal birth". She then told me she has NEVER had a "green folder" transfer to the hospital. So the odds are in my favor!
She has her own birthing tub she loans out for free, we just pay for a liner.

She gave me a lot of health supplements, chatted about my first pregnancy.. no internal exam or anything. We both suspect I will need to tear a bit because it sounds like my first tear didn't heal correctly.

All in all, it went great, I'm excited about my new found friend/co-clients, and look forward to next month's party/exam

Daniel's Birth Story- part 2- the birth

So we headed into the hospital about 7 am on a Saturday morning. as previously mentioned, we had had sex which started some bleeding and gave me the first "real" contractions of the pregnancy.When we arrived I was dilated to an 8, and I don't think any of us expected me to go back home. They tried to test if my water was broken but with all the blood they said they couldn't get a good reading. That may or may not have been true- but I think they would have said anything to keep me there at that point.
Sadly, as we sat there waiting for the party to get started, contractions died back down. Around noon, I agreed to let them more fully break my water to hopefully get things going again. I so wish I hadn't- I'll never known how it may have been if I let my body progress on it's own- but I was so eager to be in labor.

By 2 pm, contractions were back in full swing. I remember clearly, eating popsicles (the only thing they let you eat), bouncing on a birthing ball, singing along with Newsies. I felt like an 8 year old:).

I had a GREAT nurse. While she herself was all for medical interventions and such, she fought hard for me to get the natural experience I wanted. My doctor had wanted me on an IV and monitors the whole time which would have kept me in bed on my back, but I wanted to be able to move around and do whatever helped me get through the pain. Apparently the nurse told my Doctor (who is obviously fairly new to the job) that "such-and-such a doctor let's their natural patients do this all the time" and convinced her it wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't have an IV and they only monitored the baby intermittently.
We asked them how many women went natural and they said "um, just you:)" We hard some screams of bloody murder from the room next door and I'll admit, I was surprised to learn that that woman had had an epidural and was still screaming like that. Yikes.

Around 5 the contractions got to be really strong and I'd grab and squeeze/rub Kenny's hand as hard as I could. He was great. The baby was turned to the side a bit so we tried various positions and stuff to make him turn- all of which seemed to make the contractions more intense. I had back labor, so even when I wasn't contracting, I felt intense pressure. This wasn't what I expected. After my sister L's story of "getting to regroup and relax between contractions", I had a definite set of expectations.
Still, the pain was never out of control. I never once thought I wanted drugs. I do remember asking Kenny at one point "can we be done with this now?" I never yelled or screamed, but I do remember some unearthly growls I couldn't reproduce if I tried. I remember complimenting the nurses on what a good job they were doing, which got a good chuckle out of everyone- not what you expect from a laboring mother.

I was propped up a bit lying on my back for pretty much all of it. Moving brought on much more intense contractions.

At 6 I was dilated to a 10 and was told I could start pushing. I don't remember feeling pushy, though. I just remember wanting to be done, so I pushed. It took two nurses and the doctor- the nurses held my legs up for me which really helped. To the point I freaked out any time a contraction came and they weren't both right there.
Pushing was REALLY intense. I don't know why I thought it would go faster. It was frustrating because I couldn't really tell what progress was being made. They set up a mirror so I could see, but it wasn't like I pictured- I couldn't see too much because for most of it, it's still all pretty internal. I could just see myself get more frightfully torn up and messy down there... in the future I think I'll opt for no mirror:)

Towards the end the doctor said "we're going to go ahead and make this opening a little bigger for the baby" and I said "um, what?" I told the doctor I'd rather not have an episiotomy, so she backed off. Of course, had I had a doctor or midwife who knew what she was doing, we might have slowed down and let me stretch out a bit more. There may have even been some perineal massage to help things stretch out.
But no, instead my doctor gave me a local anesthetic shot down there right at the end so the pain wouldn't stop me from pushing. This is my biggest regret. If I had been more patient, if I didn't think I was going to have my sisters' birth, I might have done things differently. As it is I ended up with an awful 3rd degree tear. Healing from that tear was worse than labor itself. I'm not exactly petite and the baby wasn't huge... there is no reason I should have torn so badly except for sheer impatience and an OB who didn't know any method to help a mother than cut her wide open.

My husband was amazing. He doesn't handle medical things well- passes out pretty easily- so his job was to merely stay conscious through the whole thing. He helped with holding my hand and giving me ice chips, but he generally stayed in the corner trying not to look towards the lower half of me.

Finally, after 2 hours of pushing and 6 hours of real contractions, Daniel came. They immediately put him on my chest. I don't even remember the after birth, or the stitches (though Kenny did have to leave the room a bit for some fresh air at that point). He was 7 pounds and 11 ounces- not bad for a baby who was technically premature by two days.
I'll admit, the first motherly feelings I had were of "thank heavens I'm not pregnant anymore!". But he was beautiful. My husband teared up a bit, but I was all smiles. The quickness of the transformation from pain and exhaustion to joy, peace and love is amazing!

He had this crazy sideways conehead from being pushed out sideways. His head had a nasty scratch from dragging against my pelvic bones. But he nursed like a champ and got a 9 on his APGAR (would have been ten but we snuggled a bit too much and he wasn't trying to breathe through my boob, turning him slightly purple).

Because I didn't have an epidural, I was immediately able to get up and move. I could shower, use the restroom. Neither Daniel nor I were groggy.

We stayed in the hospital for 2 days. D spent probably 80% of his time with us and 20% in the nursery. I'll admit to being glad of some baby-free sleeping time. I'd never known such a pure exhaustion. I shook violently for hours after the birth.
K was a great daddy from the beginning. Completely out of his element, but so full of love:

D had some bad jaundice- another reason I wish I had been more patient and let him bake a bit longer- and we had to keep him on a biliruben tanning bed at home for the first week, so I couldn't hold him except to nurse:(.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Daniel's Birth Story- part 1- preterm labor

Here I am at 28 weeks pregnant, going out for a date- little did I know it was to be my last time leaving the house for anywhere other than the hospital for 8 long weeks:

I got pregnant in August of 2007 (on our one year anniversary, just as planned) and we moved from Utah to Texas when I was about 20 weeks along. I had a very uneventful first pregnancy- no morning sickness and no complications... until one morning when I was about 28 weeks along, I was feeling particularly crampy and my back ached. Nothing awful, but enough for me to complain to my sister, L, who was also pregnant at the time. L then said "um, you should go to the doctor, that's exactly how B (our oldest sister and mother of 4) felt when she had preterm labor issues."
I thought she was overreacting- I really didn't feel that bad. But as the night dragged on, I didn't get feeling better. My husband and I prayed that we would know if we needed to go to the hospital. At the exact moment the pain got worst. We took the hint and headed to L&D.
When we got there, we discovered those "cramps" were back-to-back contractions, and I was beginning to dilate (at first they said 2 centimeters, then as time went on they changed their analysis to one centimeter and finally to "only barely open"). All of the sudden I found myself the subject of a lot of attention. They wheeled me into a delivery room, shot me in the butt with steroids (to help the baby's lungs develop) and put me on *shudder* magnesium sulfate to calm my uterus. An ultrasound showed the baby was still healthy and measuring slightly ahead of schedule.
The mag sulfate was AWFUL. I was super hot and shaky. I was weak, which sucked, because they were pumping full of liquids and I had to go to the bathroom every few minutes. At one point I told the nurses I was going to lose consciousness (I pass out a lot, I know how to recognize that feeling) but they didn't believe me- said my levels looked perfectly fine. I then passed out. Shocking. I also threw up for the only time in my pregnancy. And I got to experience bed pans for the only time in my life. In short, it was HORRIBLE.
Amidst all of that, we never really panicked. I don't know why, but we felt strongly that it was going to be ok. The biggest things I worried about was that we still hadn't decided on a name, and didn't own an infant carseat yet (though if the baby came at 28 weeks he would not have been needing a ride anywhere for a LONG time).
After 3 days, they sent me home. I was still contracting but it had slowed down a bit. I was put on full bedrest, with "bathroom privileges" only. They prescribed Terbutaline, which my doctor correctly stated "would make me feel like a crack fiend looking for my next hit". I continued to work from home from my bed for 6 weeks, during which time I contracted 6-10 times each hour:

My husband took AWESOME care of me while on bedrest. He was essentially functioning for the three of us. I will never forget his selflessness. The weeks progressed. We had a few scares and more trips to L&D but I didn't progress. I complained to L (who was on her third baby shower) that I never had a chance to meet anyone in my area because of bedrest and that I was sad I didn't get a baby shower. She told B, who told my mom, who mentioned to my sister-in-law C (who lives about 15 minutes away) and she got right on it! In the end, about 25 people, most of them complete strangers from church (who have since become good friends) came to my shower. After weeks of bedrest and isolation, and being unable to do any baby shopping myself, I couldn't have gotten a better gift.
By 35 weeks, after 7 weeks of contractions, I still wasn't dilated to more than a one. I was effacing, but really... nothing was happening. I wasn't in pain- I could really only tell I was contracting by poking my tummy and seeing if it was hard. My husband let me sneak off bedrest to go see a movie in the theater- 21- and I was in heaven. I began to wonder if the "emergency" stay in L&D or the bedrest was necessary. I researched mag sulfate and terbutaline and learned that NEITHER of them are proven and tested for laboring mothers. There was a class-action lawsuit out for perceived negative fetal side effects for Terbutaline.

Considering at one point I was worried I wouldn't make it to 34 weeks, once I hit 35 and then moved on to 36... I was almost disappointed. While I wasn't particularly uncomfortable, I wanted to be done with the whole mess and meet my baby! Every little twinge I felt, we worried we needed to get to the hospital. My sister B showed me pictures of her baby born at 35 weeks- gray and floppy and small- and her baby born at 36 weeks- pink and happy- and convinced me a week could make a lot of difference and to try and be patient.

Finally at my 36 appointment, there was change! I was dilated to a 4 and my bag of waters was bulging (mind you, I still wasn't feeling anything down there). That was April 17th.

April 24th, my sister L had her first child with a midwife at a hospital:

It was a fabulous birth- spontaneous rupture of membranes, 3 hours in the hospital, half an hour of pushing, no tears... She called and told me the pain was bad, but it wasn't non-stop. Between contractions she could rest and regroup. I think part of me was subconsciously waiting for her to have her baby before I would have mine- she was technically 3 weeks further along and had also had (more painful) preterm labor issues (apparently women in my family do) but had made it to nearly 39 weeks. Now it was my turn, and after hearing her great birth story, I was ready!

That day at my appointment I was 6 cm dilated.  My OB (a very nice but perhaps unwise lady who I hate more and more with time) was TERRIFIED that I was that far along and still not in active labor under her care. She wanted to break my water right then and there. I knew that if she did I would be on a timer for when to deliver before they'd start intervening. I still wanted a natural childbirth and didn't want to start my labor with an intervention. My sisters also helped talked some sense into me and firm my conviction. I also knew my baby needed to bake a bit longer. So even though I wanted to meet him and was sick of wondering "am I in labor or not", and despite my doctor literally BEGGING for me to be admitted and induced, I convinced them to let me go home.
That said, I still tried every natural trick I knew to start labor. I told my boss no matter what, I was done working for at least 8 weeks. We went for walks, I ate spicy food, I was as active as I know how to be.

The next morning my doctor called me directly and asked me to please check-in to L&D to be measured. I was now 7.5 cm dilated. I was 75% done with labor and it hadn't even started! We ran laps around the hospital to get things going, but no luck. I made hospital history by walking out those doors 7.5 cm dilated. We went to toys-r-us and bought Legos to work on together to fill in the waiting time:

The next morning (I was 36 weeks and 5 days along), we had sex for the first time in 8 weeks, for the sole purpose of hopefully kickstarting labor. Needless to say, it wasn't the best we'd ever had. But it did the trick. I started bleeding a lot and contractions got much stronger. I sat in the bathtub (didn't want to get blood anywhere) while K made breakfast- it looked like there was clear liquid in the blood, so I thought my sac had ruptured (in retrospect it may have just been semen.) We then got in the car and headed to the hospital for the last time...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why Homebirth

One large reason I've started this blog is that I'm barely pregnant and already SO sick of the negativity surrounding homebirth. Everything from "oh- that's... brave" (here's a great article about that) to "hospitals are there for a reason- to keep your baby from DYING". *sigh*.

While they won't change my opinion of childbirth, I got sick of explaining myself to people who won't listen either because they don't really care, or because I might imply that their idea of scheduling labor at 34 weeks along "because one of the twins was breech and the doctor was worried" might not have been a good idea. I don't want to estrange my non-natural-childbirth friends, and they all already know my views on the matter.
But I want to shout from the rooftops: women, it can be better. Labor can be an amazing, empowering experience.
Doctors are wonderful if something goes wrong. Their training is FOR when something goes wrong. Few of them even see a normal, healthy delivery during their education, since more complicated procedures require much more training.
If something goes wrong with my pregnancy or delivery, I will get my butt to a hospital. And I won't feel like I failed at homebirth- I will feel like I am living proof that a homebirthing mother and her midwife don't take unnecessary risks.

See, where most OB-GYNs view every labor as a problem to solve, most midwives view it as a natural process that just needs some guidance and supervision. They are trained to spot when things go wrong (or might go wrong in the future), at which point a doctor (usually working in conjunction with the midwife) is more than welcome on the birthteam.
Midwives aren't the crazy birkenstock-wearing hippies you might think of. Ok, well, a lot of them are a bit on the "organic" side.... but they are trained, educated, and loving women. They bring with them pitocin, oxygen, monitoring systems, and most sanitation supplies you'd see in a hospital. They have a smaller client load, less liability to worry about, and statistically, they spend much more time at each prenatal appointment than doctors do. Unlike doctors, they are there for the whole labor- not just to "catch a baby". Most importantly they, like me, believe in the power of a woman's body to know what to do.

When someone asks me why I would take the risk of birthing at home, I think "why would a normal, healthy pregnancy take the risk of birthing at a hospital". Statistically, a low-risk pregnancy is much more likely to have major complications at a hospital. And yes, even the infant mortality rate is higher at a hospital, even when just looking at normal, healthy pregnancies with no underlying complications.

It is possible to have a natural, intervention-free birth in a hospital. Many midwives deliver in hospitals, in fact. I had a fine epidural-free delivery at a hospital for my first son. I had to fight my OB tooth-and-nail, but it was possible. My only regrets are the minor interventions I did allow (a post about that later).

I'm not saying interventions or hospitals are never acceptable. Not at all. If you HAVE to be induced because of some real risk, then by all means, get an epidural! I wouldn't go near pitocin without some medical help. If you've been laboring for 36 hours and need some relief so you can relax and regroup? Get an epidural! I won't judge. There are many just reasons for epidurals, inductions, and c-sections. So long as the benefits outweigh the risks. And the MOTHER is the one making an informed decision.

The biggest sign to me that this is the right path to me is that I find myself LOOKING FORWARD to labor. Not just to meeting my baby, but to labor itself. And people can no longer say to me "just wait til you're really there and the pain kicks in" cause you know what? I've already been there now. And while yes, there was pain, I never felt like it was unmanageable, I never felt a loss of control. And when I was done, I was so proud of myself. I had set a goal and accomplished it. I had joined the millions of mothers before me. I felt like I had climbed a mountain.

I dare anyone who doubts natural childbirth to research it. The more you find out, the more you'll see that America's standard way of birthing is disastrous to mother and child more often than it should be.

Consider the Lilies

Last September, we were struggling financially. Our cars were playing mean tricks on us and we had unexpected medical expenses from very minor health problems. My husband is a school teacher, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and our medical benefits are AWFUL. We have no maternity insurance coverage. I realized it would be years before we either had coverage or could afford an out-of-pocket baby. Our son is getting older (2 years old this month) and both my husband and I LONG for another child. Even though we planned on a homebirth, which are much much cheaper, we still couldn't afford it. Finances cast a deep gloom on my house.

With that sad mindset, I went to the General Relief Society Broadcast of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (I'm mormon). This is a once-a-year meeting for the women in the LDS church, broadcast live from Salt Lake City, Utah. In truth, I wasn't thrilled to go. The meetings can be boring. But before the broadcast, a lady in the local church leadership got up and sang Consider the Lilies of the Field (by Roger Hoffman, inspired by Luke 12):
"Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow, how they grow.
Consider the birds in the sky,
How they fly, how they fly.
He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky.
And he will feed those who trust him,
And guide them with His eye."
"Consider the sheep of his fold,
How they follow where he leads.
Though the path may wind across the mountains,
He knows the meadows where they feed."
"He clothes the lilies of the field.
He feeds the birds in the sky,
And he will feed those who trust him,
And guide them with his eye."
"Consider the sweet, tender children
Who must suffer on this earth...
The pains of all of them he carried
From the day of his birth.
He clothes the lilies of the field,
He feeds the lambs in His fold,
And he will heal those who trust him,
And make their hearts as gold."
For whatever reason, this struck me very strongly. I was so worried about money I wasn't trusting in the Lord to watch over us. Then I got a very strong impression, right there during the song, that we needed to try for a baby in February (5 months from then). Then another impression, that it would be a little girl, and she belongs in our family.
(I may have made that last part up. Sometimes my mind likes to pretend it knows what God plans for us. If the baby is not a girl, my faith won't be shaken or anything. But that's what I thought I felt at the time.) UPDATE: it is, indeed, a girl.
I don't often get spiritual promptings. Usually the Lord just says to me "keep my commandments and you'll do all right, whatever you decide to do". So this struck me all the more strongly. I didn't tell anyone for a few months.

Finances got worse. A lot worse. We were in credit card debt for the first time ever, and not for making foolish purchases- just a few months of bad luck. I thought "I must have made things up. The Lord wouldn't want us to bring a baby into a world of debt. There's no way this is happening". I told my husband the impressions I had had and we were both sad that it just didn't seem possible.
And then... in January we got our Tax Return, we got some help from family, and we got out of debt. We were still barely getting by, but a burden was lifted. No plans for a baby still, though.

Then a miracle happened. Out of nowhere a client I had worked with at my old full-time consulting job found me on the internet and asked if I'd like to consult for them (I had quit my job over a year ago because I couldn't work and tend to an infant). 50 dollars an hour, no more than 10 hours a week unless I asked for more. I could do it from home and choose my own hours. When word got out I was consulting again, TWO more companies reached out, and I took one of those jobs too.
In order for it to work, we'd have to get my son out of my hair a few hours a week. I searched and searched for a daycare but nothing felt right and few would take him for as few hours as I wanted. Then a sweet daycare woman told me that it sounded to her like we needed a Mothers Day Out program and told me of a fabulous one at a local Christian church. Sure enough, it's perfect! D goes to school 3 days a week for 5 hours. He loves it, and it has helped his development and social skills so much.
So, just before February, we were blessed and things fell into place. Within 5 months we went from poor with no foreseeable way to afford a baby, to being out of debt with money to spare- just enough to afford the pregnancy. The Lord couldn't have orchestrated it better. All the sudden my prompting from September came back to me. I could see now that God knew all along. February.

So we went off birth control in February and conceived March 25th, 2010. 12 days later I got my answer, we're having a baby!


Today I am 4 weeks pregnant with my second child, due December 16th! This blog will follow the baby from it's very beginning.
I am planning to deliver this baby at home with a midwife (my first homebirth)- I meet my midwife on Sunday.

This is what Kermit (the nickname for the baby bean-I'm just trying it out) currently looks like:

So cute, right?