Monday, August 26, 2013

Birthin' Babies

I just read this post by Holly, and I was immediately impressed to write this blog! So thanks Holly ;) 

She wrote about the things she wish she would have known when she was giving birth.

1. Don't go to the hospital as soon as your water breaks.
2. You have a right to informed consent and informed refusal. 
3. A doula is imperative.
4. Decline cervical checks.
5. Decline third trimester ultrasounds.
6. Baby's position matters, but it's how you respond to it during labor that matters the most.
7. Birth Matters.

I think that her blog provides a lot of really good information for a lot of people but I also know that a lot of her list can be avoided. 

(This is NOT an insult to her or her choices because I love her and sometimes Dr.'s suck and being pregnant immediately puts you in a vulnerable position for people to walk all over you and do what THEY want. NO judgement to her or any other pregnant lady. How sad is it that I had to disclaimer this post...) 

1. Don't go to the dr. as soon as your water breaks. 
My water didn't break on it's own. I was having contractions 1-2 minutes apart, so even if it did, I would have had to go in anyway. However, with my next baby, knowing how my labor went with Gracie, I will ride out the 1-2 minute apart contractions until my water DOES break to avoid getting Pit next time to increase my ability to go natural. (Unless, of course, I am high risk again and I have to be in the hospital when my water breaks.)

Holly is 100% right on this, labor as much as you can before you get to the hospital, especially if you want to go natural. Having done most of the labor at home, when you get to the hospital, they may not have time to hook up an epidural even if you did want one, so your will power won't be tested :D 

2. You have a right to an informed consent and an informed refusal.
This is to prevent interventions from being taken. A LOT of people don't know you CAN refuse to have them do just about anything. 

I had an amazing amazing doctor. EVERY "intervention" that happened, I was informed about, I was asked about and my doctor and I had previously talked about before I was in labor. I put a LOT, a LOOOT, of research into my doctor. One that wouldn't induce me just for kicks and giggles, one that had one of the lowest c-section rates in the STATE and one that had a very low mother and child morbidity rate (as in like, ONE. ONE baby out of his 30-40 year career. Word.) He knew my birth plan by heart, because I made sure he did. BUT he also let me know where we may have snags but that was ONLY if Gracie was ever in danger. 

There came a time where my nurse said: "We need to start considering a c-section." I told her to go get my doctor. He came in and was said "We don't need a c-section. Gracie is doing beautifully, you're fine. Until either one of those changes, we can get her here without that. We can stick to a vaginal birth." I could have kissed the man. I can't TELL you how badly I did NOT want a c-section. 

3. A doula is imperative. 
Holly says that a doula is your voice when you are in too much pain to speak, they are your advocate. WHILE I AGREE with that, I think a LOT of the problems she speaks of, and a lot of problems women face can REALLY AND TRULY be avoided when you pick a good doctor. Granted, I know that sometimes the doctor choice is NOT in your hands (Hello, military.) but when it is, having a good doctor there who IS your advocate is awesome.

HOWEVER, I wish I would have had one anyway, because I REALLY, REALLY wanted to go natural. I did NOT want to get an epidural. And after the 2nd round of  , I caved because that.crap.hurt. Daniel was just like "Holy crap. She's in so much pain. EPIDURAL."  In many ways I am glad I GOT the epidural because my labor was SUPER long and I had to have a lot of doses of pit because my body was stupid. I can't imagine what it would have been like or where I would have been if I hadn't gotten it. Anyway, having a doula there who isn't a scared dad or an in pain mother, would have been nice to be like "Tanika, no. Let's work through this." Who knows though, I may have caved anyway. Pitocin is the freakin' devil.  

4. Decline Cervical Checks
I knew this from the get go. I asked about it during our hospital tour.(Soooo recommend doing this.) I asked what their routine wait time was for cervical checks and their procedure for labor. I was armed with the right questions and luckily I got the right answers. My Dr. also has his own rules of when he wants patients checked. I was checked a total of 6 times in 24 hours. And two were back to back because it was the nurse told the doctor I was ready to deliver and he had to confirm. So four times independently throughout the day before I was ready to deliver. While that was more than I would have preferred, my stupid labor dictated more than usual. Again, another problem that could be avoided with a good doctor and asking the right questions before hand. 

5. Decline 3rd Trimester Ultrasounds
This was the one that honestly had me going WTF. Having a Dr. look at your ultrasounds and say your baby is big so he has to come early or any variation thereof is BULL. That is when you know you should probably turn around and get yourself a new doctor. 

Unless the Dr. says "The baby has stopped growing, we have to get them out of there" or "You have gestational diabetes and your child is growing at an unhealthy rate and I am worried about development, here let me send you to a specialist who knows more than I do" you do NOT have to give birth early because your baby is "big". 

Trying to guess the fetal weight of a baby who isn't here is stupid. You can't tell and I don't know why people try. My doctor gave me an estimate and TOLD me it would be off by 1-2 lbs. ONE to TWO POUNDS. The monitor thingy said about 8 pounds and Gracie came out at 7 1.5 a smidgeon of a 7 pound baby. That guesstimate ended up being almost TWO pounds off. So don't give up on vaginal delivery just because an ultra sound says your baby is big. I knew a woman who was induced because her baby was "big" and he came out at 8 lbs 4 oz. While this is not a hard and fast rule, I find that it generally true. 

So unless there is an exact science rollin' around on how to weigh babies in the womb that I don't know about... that claim is bull. Again, another problem that can be avoided with a good Dr. 

Here is my advice to ya'll about birthin' babies. 
in my truly limited experience of birthin' one very cute baby. 
  • In the first trimester, take the time to truly research your options as far as doctors go. I looked up as many as 10 doctors and read everything about them (especially the reviews) called in to schedule a meeting with three of them before I settled on the one I wanted. Having a good doctor is, to me, imperative in a good birthing experience.
  • NEVER be afraid to get a different doctor. If it's not vibing right, switch and switch as soon as possible. Go with your gut.
  • Know the right questions to ask. Research and create a birth plan. Go over it with your doctor and go over it with your birthing staff. NO question is stupid. NO birth plan is stupid. Just keep in mind it's a PLAN and sometimes things don't go according to plan. Be realistic about EVERYTHING and keep in mind the #1 important thing is to get your baby here safe.
  • NEVER be afraid to say "No." If you don't want Pitocin, tell them no. If you don't want a c-section and the baby is doing fine and so are you, tell them no. They can't do anything without your consent, especially after your tell them no. Fight for your birth experience. EVERY intervention I had, I agreed to.
  • DO NOT be so stuck on ^^^^^ that you compromise your health and your child's health. Again, this comes with picking a good doctor that you can trust. A doctor will let you have the birth experience you want and ONLY interfere when they need to, and when they DO interfere they ASK and TELL you about it.
  • TALK to your doctor about common complications BEFORE going into labor. That way nothing surprises you and you are armed with all the information one can be while in the midst of labor. HOWEVER, take this one with a grain of salt. Asking a bunch of questions about complications can make you paranoid, if you are one of these people, be realistic about what you really need/want to know.
  • Take the hospital tour so you can become acquainted with where you are giving birth and know what to bring. It will give you a sense of familiarity when things get crazy. Also take that time to talk to the delivery staff (when they aren't busy) and ask about their labor practices and such. Arm yourself with enough info to make you comfortable.
  • If you feel like you may be too emotional/in pain/ scared/ crazy during birth, get a doula. I know that is #1 on my list next time. YOU CAN HAVE BOTH, PEOPLE. They can be strong FOR you when you feel like your who-ha is gonna fall out. I recommend this HIGHLY for those who want a natural birth. 

Mainly, it all comes down to doctor selection. For me, that was the most important choice I could make about my delivery. Try to make your choice as informed as possible and don't settle unless you have to. 

In the end, if nothing else went as planned and you still have a healthy baby at the end of it, focus on that, because that was the point of everything, right? Don't get so wrapped up in your birth experience that you forget the reason behind giving birth! ;)

edited to say: Don't take that as me meaning you can't be upset about your birth experience. I can understand how traumatizing it can be to have a c-section when you have planned for a vaginal delivery! I was more meaning to not be upset if you get the epidural and to not let THAT ruin your birth experience :) <3 

Good luck mama's!


  1. I hope you didn't disclaimer it for me because I don't take it that way. I like to promote healthy discussion :-) I agree with a lot of this here with the exception that a healthy baby is not all that matters. Of course I wanted a healthy baby. But, I'm still dealing with the trauma of my son's birth almost three years later, which has affected me in so many aspects of my life it's ridiculous. Yes it's great to have a healthy baby, but having a mom who has been traumatized to get that healthy baby is not ok either.

  2. Speaking of military, did you know Tricare will pay for a midwife?!!! I didn't know that 'til after I picked an OB. It takes some work to find one who will accept Tricare, but I'm more familiar with and fond of the ones that work with hospitals anyways. (No soothsayers, for me, lol.) My mom always had a midwife and a doula, and considering that my parents had a lot of kids, were self employed, and paid out of pocket, I'm assuming they're not that much. Or maybe she got a discount because she had so many. ;) Who knows. Anyways, I love this. I'm almost half way done with this pregnancy and birth is terrifying me!

  3. so you agree with everything Holly wrote, right? But you think you wouldn't have to deal with any of it if you have a good doctor? Well that's true of course. But if you don't know about the things Holly wrote about, how would you know what your doctor thought about them? Her point was to educate, as was yours, I think.

  4. Oh man, as a doula in training, this is my soapbox! P.s. a doula should not be a voice. A doula is there to remind you or your husband of your voice unless asked to voice YOUR opinions. Anyway, YES i totally agree with you. Doctor selection has A HUGE part in how your labor plays out. I've done 4 births as a doula and I hate 2 of the 4 doctors. One of my moms switched pretty late in pregnancy to a midwife because her doctor wasn't supportive of her want of a natural labor. I think one of the biggest things about being a doula is educating women on their choices and things just like this list.


Thanks for taking the time to say something back! :) One sided conversations are never any fun! :) Thanks for reading!