Skip the Drama, Stay with Momma

"But I shall show you a still more excellent way" 1Cor12

The Circus Act of My Natural Birth

{In this photo, I was in labor. Early, happy, excited labor -but labor nonetheless, and I wanted a last shot of luxuriously blow-dried hair, because I know by now, that won’t be happening for the next few weeks… months maybe.  It’s good.  I’m at peace with neglecting my vanity.}

So we’ll just dive right into it then…

Friday evening, the 14th I began feeling mild contractions— heavy menstrual cramps for the ladies who’ve never experienced them— or waves of the sudden onset of impending diarrhea for the men who’ve never experienced menstrual cramps.  Also, I experience a sudden congestion in my sinus cavities before each contraction.  Strange, I know… but relevant, now that I think about their location in relation to my body’s central blood vessels and nerves.

The morning came and they persisted. I knew that my labor had officially begun. How exciting!  I’d been preparing for this for 9 months and was anxious to put my knowledge and research into practice!  The playoffs had arrived, and this was the championship game.  My husband and I called/texted my parents who took our boys for the day so that I could labor peacefully at home.

It made such a huge difference to labor in the quiet, comfortable of our home.  Instead of my previous two births: basically panicking and hustling out the door for my epidural, instead, I eased my way into each contraction.  For the better part of the day, I was able to shuffle about, crocheting my blanket project, napping and lightly snacking as each contraction came and went.  I mostly experienced one or two every half hour.

The contractions slowly increased in intensity throughout the day.

 After a long afternoon nap, my husband and I took a tour of the grounds on our property.  That’s saying something for me, as I never take “tours” or hikes or walks outside… I’m not the outdoorsy type.  Walking is supposed to help gently encourage the baby further into the birth canal (gravity, duhhh).  I really enjoyed just slowly walking with and being by my husband, talking, joking and laughing. 

{On the far side of our little pond, which I never visit.  Bugs.  That’s why.  I don’t enjoy bugs or their bites.}

We decided to install the infant carseat and took a small drive to get a “dying man’s wish” of some greasy McDonald’s French fries. 
I know that’s a terrible choice, but whatever.

{my husband snuck a lot of ridiculous photos of me…}

So after a relaxing, restful day, the intensity of my contractions picked up at 4pm. I remained in our living room with our orange medicine ball, hanging over it, sitting on it, kneeling over it while crocheting the blanket I’ve been working on through each contraction.

I decided to upload a contraction timer App for my phone which helped a ton. My children have a little Pottery Barn Kids chair that I moved to and started leaning over for support.  As the contractions picked up in intensity and frequency, I didn’t want to move from the chair.  My husband made a joke that I normally would have laughed about, but as another contraction began, I told him, “No, no, no, that isn’t funny, this is serious right now…” and I began to breathe through the throbbing wave.

{My husband later told me that this photo made him think of the scene in Disney’s Tangled where Maximus hides and poorly disguises himself behind a rock… like so:}

I realized we needed to head to the hospital when I found myself in a meditative rest -almost sleeping- in between each contraction.  Yet the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart.  I knew I would absolutely refuse to get into a car for a 30 minute ride to the hospital if I’d waited any longer.

 I had probably 10 contractions which I had to work through in the car, in the parking lot and into the emergency entrance.

Of course, we enter and I’ve got a large audience in the waiting room, silently watching me work through the one contraction I had at the desk. Seriously, why were there 20 people in the waiting room at 9:30 on a Saturday night!?

I refused a wheelchair and Craig and I walked our way to the labor and delivery floor. It was difficult and I began to become emotional, knowing “this is really happening”. Craig let me hang onto him and supported me through each surge of pain that coursed through my body.

We finally made it to triage where I was examined and told I was dilated at 6cm and fully effaced. 
My doula, Maren came, as well as my OB (to my great surprise!) and we all walked to my birth room.

There I chose a chair to kneel in front of, on top of a cushion, and work through many contractions. 
Sitting on the toilet actually felt nice too, but I could tell I was making my nurse and OB nervous that I would deliver into the toilet, so I moved toward the bed…

I felt extremely relieved to not be forced to have a hep-lock placed into my hand.

Quickly, I realized the nurse attendant was extremely respectful of our crunchy wishes (no medication, no IV, ability to freely move, intermittent fetal monitoring, no vaccinations, eye goo, etc) and she asked me before she did anything to me or in preparation of the baby’s arrival.

Such a stark contrast from my last experiences. It was so nice to be fully mentally present and feel fully integrated into my labor and delivery of our child. Not just a vessel.

I began to be so uncomfortable that I sought different positions. The labor bed had the capability to transform into a sort of step ladder shape so that I could squat on it foreword or backward, with different handles for me to use for support or to hang onto. The nurse and Maren attached a huge metal bar, encased with soft sponge, as I decided to turn forward and rest semi upright on my back in between contractions.  (Not typical of a natural birthing mom, but it brought my tailbone some relief!)

I began to feel some relief in pushing and crying out during the intense waves of insanity that tore through my lower back and hips.

Here’s where the one man—er, woman— circus act began.

I lost it.

Completely lost it.

I was pushing, but our baby wasn’t moving.  

With each push, the pain intensified instead of bringing the reported relief that each laboring mother is supposed to experience.

As I had just finished a particularly shocking contraction, we heard a knock on the door and in walked a man with a table full of tools and medicines, “I hear someone called for an epidural?” he sang merrily.  (&!^%!@?#%*!!!!!!!!?)  

"NOOO!!!" shouted everyone synonymously. 
"no thank you, " I heard myself squeak.  And everyone laughed at my little, polite refusal.  

Out backed the epidural man with his table of drugs.  If I had a chance to back down and get an epi, I’d lost it now, I thought to myself with a sense of finality and triumph over the temptation to escape the fear of the unknown…

The contractions were double-peaking and so closely on top of each other by now that I refused to let my OB (who’d remained in the room with us the entire time) check my cervix for progress.

When he finally did check me, he informed me that he needed to aid in pulling the cervical lip back; that it was keeping our baby from being pushed to the point of crowning.  Which explains the abnormal pain.  I was pushing our baby into a wall, basically.  

{This diagram illustrates why I was experiencing such pain.  I wasn’t fully dilated, yet still pushing.  Ouchie.}

So instead of my OB doing the typical perineum stretching that happens in the final pushing stage, he was aiding in cervical stretching. And it hurt. It was like rubbing salt onto exposed nerve endings in an amputated arm.

At this moment, I closed my eyes and did not open them to anyone for the last half of my labor.  It was me against myself, I knew, by myself.

I sang the opera:

Held a long, low note of a male Tenor with each contraction and crazily thought I might be auditioning for the part of a pirate in the musical Pirates of Penzance. (which I did do in 7th grade).

I bellowed like a blind, old cow. 
I barked like a constipated, fat dog (Craig’s favorite sound to recount).
I wailed like a banshee,
Screamed like a girl riding down a roller coaster. 

Screamed like a horror film heroine.

{Psycho, anyone?}

I Bellowed in such a way that I actually heard my OB utter the word “water buffalo” during my resting period.  

{Now I know what a water buffalo is, and what it sounds like}

When hollering proved insufficient, I punched my own thigh in disbelief of the reality of the pain. I slapped it like “DAYYYYYUMMMM!” as if I could not believe such sensations were gaining victory over me. 
I thrashed my head- shaking it saying “NO NO NO NO NOOOO!!!!!” absolutely forbidding the pain to triumph. 
And then, after each contraction, I raised one hand or the other into the air, eyes closed, like a passionate gospel singer, and slowly grasped at absolutely nothing.

{Or Mariah Carey.}

The few times I did open my eyes, I refused to focus them on any one.

I was gone. Lost. Completely lost. 
Craig tells me it frightened him to see me so lost, knowing he could do nothing to help me find my way out.

At this point, soaked in sweat, I actually sobbed, saying “I don’t want to do this anymore!!! What else can I do! Please!!” I looked my husband full in the face for the first time and I knew there was nothing. He firmly urged me on. My nurse urged me and my doula reminded me that I was born to do this. Finally my water broke— 

And I felt a new pain.  A welcome pain.  Our little boy was descending.  Finally descending.  I gave two great pushes, and out came our little boy’s head.  

"Open your eyes and look down!" I was told.  But I refused to open them until my husband placed our boy onto my chest.  

Craig caught our little Collin John Paul.  I opened my eyes as Collin was handed to me, and I was completely taken aback by the shock ofjet black hair covering his head, his beautifully colored, baby pink skin (our other boys came out grayish/purple because of the epidural I believe), and the amount of vernix still coating his little body (indicating that he perhaps wasn’t overdue like we’d all believed).  

And it was: love at first sight.  I feel bad for my first boy…I didn’t know and I was too afraid of the unknown to appreciate seeing him for the first time.

I was filled to the brim with a complete sense of peace.  Of love.  

And then I barked, “NEVER AGAIN!” to the whole room.

And 15 minutes later, I caught myself saying, “well, next time…” 

I realized my voice had a sudden similarity to that of a heavy, life-long smoker, and I laughed at my labor charade. 

This birth humbled me to my core.  It fulfilled my identity as a woman.  

My life is full of incompletes, of goals never accomplished, of things started backward, or not carried out from A-Z. 

But this one.  This I can humbly claim.  I can know in my heart, “I really did it.” 

It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t enjoyable.  It wasn’t.  

But it was amazing. It was better than winning a sporting event.  Better than winning a gold medal.  Better than getting a raise, a promotion, a new possession, being famous, walking the runway, jumping from an airplane…better than any achievement, award, reward or drug I could ever possibly attain.  And I got to experience it.  I did.  Just me. 

And I am humbled by that privilege.

But I must admit that I’ve never in my life felt or understood the genuine meaning of the word GLAD.  I was SO GLAD it was over and completed.

Will I do it again?  

…how about asking me that question again a year from now… ;)

I Think it's Cute How Much Jezebel Loves Being Wrong About Things →

The article above, by Kristen Walker, echoes what I continue to write about the Pill as a regulator of women’s hormones and as an abortifacient.  I love reading about other women who believe they deserve better, who took a road less-traveled, asked questions, and talked to other women.  She too, has found the “still more excellent way” and will always be healthier for it.  Bravo for a woman with an engaging brain! 

"But what Sandra Fluke and others are screaming about is that women use birth control pills for things other than preventing pregnancy, such as regulating periods and correcting hormonal imbalances. Now, I know a little something about hormonal imbalances. I won’t go into detail, but I experienced hormonal imbalance so severely that I experienced “that time of the month” non-stop for 18 months. (Looky there, I just went into detail.) I became severely anemic and very sick. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and adrenal fatigue, among other things. "

BEWARE: Even Doctors Are Bigots.

Begin conversation I had with a doctor this week:

Dr: Is this your first child?
Me: No, he’s my second.
Dr: Wow, you look like you’ve barely broken 20 years old, good for you momma.  So you’re a very young momma then?!
Me: *laughs* I’m 27 and we have a third one on the way!
Dr: Oh wow! How many do you plan on having, momma?
Me: All of them
Dr: *starts and double-takes, laughs* Ahh, funny.  Really though, how many…? 
Me: All of them.
Dr: *chuckles again, shakes head* I mean, do you have a goal?
Me: Every child that we are given, I will have.
Dr: OH.  So…10, 15, even 20 kids… you’ll have them?

Me: Well, doctor, I’m 27 years old, do the math.  Even if I have one baby at every possible fertile moment until menopause, it’s hardly biologically, physically possible for me to have even 12 kids… unless I have multiple, multiples.
Dr: How do you figure that? 
Me: Well, I can’t get pregnant for 10 months while I’m already pregnant… I also breastfeed, so that adds at least another year of infertility…

Dr: Oh, WOW!  So you’ve thought this out very carefully!  Okay let’s see… so if you had a kid every 15 months… *he does the math, incorrectly, and telling me that I’m 26, even though I’d already told him twice that I am 27* … well it’s possible that you might have 12 kids, at least.

Me: Yes, it IS possible. And if I have 12 kids, I have 12 kids.
Dr: Oh… so you’re very religious then…?
Me: It’s not so much religion. It’s more from a scientific, metaphysical perspective that I cannot, as a woman, agree that chemical contraceptives are in any way healthy for me or any human life that may be formed in my uterus. 

Dr: Oh… So you’re an earthy child then!
Me: …Earthy child?
Dr: Did you go to college?
Me: yes.
Dr: What did you study?
Me: French language and culture, and fine arts.
Dr: Ah ha! Yes, you’re an earthy child indeed. What does your husband do?
Me: He’s an executive logistics coordinator at […] 
Dr: So there’s you’re counterpart- you’re perfect for each other!

*end inappropriately motivated conversation*

And that is how, within minutes, this doctor was able to presume his prejudices about me, a “young”, white, “momma” (as he continually called me).  

Never mind the fact that I was not there for MYSELF.  I was at the Ear Nose and Throat Specialist for my youngest boy’s recent ear infection.  

So this ENT had the audacity to ask me questions that did not pertain in any way whatsoever to the well-being of my little boy, and to draw assumptions on my views about health based off of what I looked like, what my religion is, and whether or not I had an education.

At any moment, if I had said to the doctor, “Oh… so you like to go to clubs and enthusiastically dance on any women standing alone?”  He might’ve been offended.  

And then, if I had justified my question in the way he did, I would have said, “oh, well you are wearing a dark purple and black striped, open neck, shirt with your chest hair hanging out and a shiny flat gold chain… I mean your hair is greased back too.”

I also could have pointed out his ethnicity and made assumptions based on that as well.

But I didn’t.  Those thoughts didn’t even cross my mind until I left the medical center and realized I had just been subjected to prejudice and quite possibly blatant bigotry by a doctor. 

Why did this doctor, who had no business asking me about my family planning methods, feel like he was entitled to do just that?  Was it because he owns the title “DOCTOR” that makes him some all-knowing, all powerful force of the high inquisitor?

What was the point of him even asking how many children I plan on having? Mere conversation? I doubt that. I don’t off-handedly ask my acquaintances how many children they plan to have.  It’s a very personal matter that is decided between a married couple and hopefully, God.

And then to jump to the conclusion that I MUST only be religious in order to believe that I would actually elect to have “ALL the children given to me” Is flat-out absurd and bigoted.  
And because I didn’t give him an absolute answer on my religious beliefs, he calls me earthy, and asks about my education credentials.  Hmm.  

If he REALLY wanted to know the motive behind why I believe the way I do, why didn’t this doctor ask me to explain why I think contraceptives are unhealthy for women?
 He skirted right over that topic and tried to scare me into thinking I shall be subject to the “pains” of carrying 20 pregnancies.
 You don’t agree that he tried to scare me?  
If he was any sort of thinking, logical individual, he couldn’t have used that tactic because he would have known for a likely fact that it couldn’t be true.  I had told him my age, twice.

 But no, this DOCTOR had clearly never thought about it.  Apparently, scaring women in this way works.  And sadly, many women don’t know how to answer it, or else, that kind of question wouldn’t have been brought up to me.

So, Mr. DOCTOR, again, did not ask me what my reasons were for not taking contraceptives.  After he tried to scare me and I debunked his attempt, he was not given a satisfying answer that I must be a religious, ignorant zealot who only does what THE POPE says because “that’s just what the Church’s stance is”.  He then proceeded to wonder if I was educated.  

We already know, based off of this conversation, that education and credentials bear no significant weight if you’re already a bigot; that education, science and logic can be thrown aside if you’re a prejudiced chauvinist.  And when Mr. Doctor was not satisfied in knowing that I was uneducated, he affirmed that I must be an “Earthy child”.  

Earthy?  Meaning: au naturel?  Like I’m a flower child? A hippie?  Is that how he was able to discredit me in his mind?
Isn’t that kind of a dated thought?  We now know more and more that natural medicines, organic, unprocessed foods and homeopathic remedies are better for us than many of the marketed chemicals today which are associated with cancer. So I am failing to see how being an “earthy child” might’ve satisfied him, but apparently it did because he asked me no further questions on the subject.

What is disturbing is that clearly, this doctor looks at children as objects to acquire: he looks at life as a dispensable, un-valuable commodity to have or dispose of at convenience.  
Which only means, that if I want to have my child seen by someone who will take all means necessary to cure and heal him, because he believes that each and every human life on this earth is deserving of dignity and equal value, I DO NOT want to continue seeing this doctor.

Parents and prospective “mommas”, it is important that you ask your doctors what the value of a human life is to them.  The answer should be a simple one: All life is infinitely valuable.
If the doctor can’t answer you directly, or has to give long drawn out explanations, I’d seek another doctor because you can probably safely assume that the doctor won’t fight for your life, or that of anyone you love.

A doctor is supposed to value human life.  A doctor is supposed to want to save human life, preserve human life, and encourage a human’s well-being.  A doctor is supposed to be able to put prejudice aside -if he/she has any- in order to focus on the care for the patient.  But apparently, not all of them do.  Beware, do your research, and most importantly, ASK QUESTIONS. 

I’ll end asking the prayerful to pray for all doctors (because I MUST be very religious) and for their increased awareness of the intrinsic value of all human life.

Bear With Me on This One, and Please Forgive Me. →

Again. Look at it. It’s SCIENCE, not religion, that explains why birth control is TERRIBLE for you and your baby that you may never know you had. This is a truth that is hard to come by. Why? Because then when we accept it, we have to accept a greater responsibility for our reproductive health.

AS WE SHOULD. I am a woman for goodness sake! Why wouldn’t I want to know how my amazing female body works? And how would knowing hurt me? For certain, it takes some work. It takes some time out of my day, reading and studying. I’ve got two toddlers and a house to keep up along with constant morning sickness- I do it. Isn’t it worth it to any true feminist? To know what her body does and can do? To not want to suppress her natural gift of nature?

I feel like the other “feminists” who ignorantly claim that a fetus is “my body” are unknowingly and woefully mislead by MEN: Men who want to have sex without consequence. Many partners. Dispose of any evidence of abuse. Men who paint and market women as objects that can be tailored to look however they want (hair extensions? Implants? Injections? Lingerie? Plastic surgery? Anyone?), used to momentarily satisfy their spastic sexual fantasy, only to be able to dump the object and move onto the next one. “GIT ER DUN!”

What are those “feminists”, really? They think they’re really independent??? Sexual freedom? It’s enslavement. In her sexual revolution, this woman has chained herself to a (crappy) man, to do his bidding. For a man’s pleasure. A man who doesn’t value a woman and her dignity, her true femininity, her true beauty and mystique as a rightful to-be-revered creation. To push for birth control. “I don’t want you getting pregnant and ruining my life” so pop a Pill and let’s get it on, woman!

Or these feminists think poppin that cancer inducing pill will ensure them true equality in the workplace, a rewarding career. They think children are the enslavement. I hate to inform those “feminists” that if it weren’t for their mother, and her love or “enslavement”, they wouldn’t be blessed with the chance to scratch their way up the career ladder they’re scaling at the moment. I feel like these “feminists” have a shallow, puddle-like view of their world and the worth of their life.
I’m stopping right there. Being in the first trimester and having a 1 & 2.5 year old -one who’s sick right now- it sometimes takes me a week of periodic writing to complete one blog entry. I go at it like it’s my job or something… ANYWAY— What I wrote above was laced -actually FUMIGATED- with anger, over-generalization and sarcasm.

It’s so easy to be angry after reading or witnessing ignorance parading as intelligence.

And even at that, ignorance can be intelligent.

Here are my renewed thoughts, and this time, with compassion and love:

I’ve been sick to death wondering why so many women ignore the science of chemical contraceptives: That they increase the risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer. That they mask the ailments a woman has and don’t treat her problem. That they have the ability to chemically abort an already conceived human being.

It angers me that women are so stubbornly supportive of such a chemical, even to the extent that they are willing to risk chemically aborting a human they’ll never see in order to better plan for their future.

The link above provides scientific fact behind my assertions. I have many more scientific links in support throughout my blog but I’m not taking the time to retrieve them… I realized today that many women in support of contraceptives believe there is no other way.

What got me to calm down happened today, obviously… I read an article by Kristen Walker, a pretty retro, hip and funny pro-life advocate. I love her astute honesty and sometimes I (regretfully) relish her brutal generalizations on the left-minded pro-abort individual.

So, in my constant nagging way, I shared it with my Facebook pals.
One of my high school friends commented saying that while the article was funny and entertaining, she felt she was being more responsible by taking birth control so that she could better herself -finish school, save money, own house- before starting a family. She asked why she should be made to feel irresponsible for doing that: improving her life.

I love my friend. How can I possibly want to make her feel like she’s doing the wrong thing, and she’s a bad person for wanting to plan for her future? I could never!

I realized that while both sides are busy telling each other who’s wrong and who’s right, hardly anyone is giving the safer alternative. I am so constantly trying to edify my correctness with the facts that I don’t provide the ways to know better.

The answers are out there. They’re just kind of hard to find.

By my friend’s calculations, she is doing the right thing. She’s trying to be the best she can be, the safest she can be and the smartest.

But what she doesn’t seem to fully know is what I so angrily introduced in the beginning of this entry: a woman’s natural way of telling her what’s going on.

This is a woman’s responsibility. She will be empowered to know it.
We are given boobs, a uterus and ovaries for a reason. Yes, they are for a baby, but they tell us more than that.
It’s hard work, understanding this and trying to improve ourselves. Many times, it requires a lifestyle change: no smoking/drinking, diet change, exercise etc. But it is, IT IS the better way. It is the healthiest way.

While the question of whether or not chemical contraceptives cause or reduce the risk of cancer is constantly being battled, this alternative zeros out the question completely. This natural way, can probably reduce risks to any cancer, providing that it requires a woman to live in the healthiest way according to her personal needs possible.

This is what pro-lifers should be concerned about just as much as saving lives. I know many are focused on this too…. but many others are just angry. Don’t be angry! No one responds to anger well.

I am so guilty of this. Almost 3 years ago I wrote an entry filled with frustration and anger at the ignorance of many toward their understanding of chemical contraceptives. The article was supported with truth but written with malice. It rendered some family members who have been close to me all my life very distant. VERY distant. I made those people feel accused of doing something terrible.

While what they may or may not have been doing is still wrong, according to science and Christianity, they closed their hearts to it because of the manner in which I presented it.

Since then, I have tried to be careful and compassionate, mainly posting articles that support my findings instead of writing my thoughts alone.

You live, you learn.

So here we are again, Contraceptives the hot topic because of the HHS Obama Mandate. I have an opportunity to talk, write and educate people about it. I can offer what I know!

I’m going to try to do just that. If I can, legally… It will take some time ( LIKE MONTHS ), because as I said, I don’t have hours on end to sit and research and write. But I hope to be part of the community that wishes to bring a woman up, to help her understand her body better than to suppress it with fake hormones that can harm her in the long run.
I pray for the perseverance!