Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Pressure of Giving Birth

I got pregnant with my first baby when I was 19 years old. Other than the knowledge that I wasn't supposed to drink or smoke, I had no idea what I was doing. I had never heard of a birth plan or even thought about how the baby was going to come. When I went into labor a little before 36 weeks I was given shots to stop the labor, the doctors told me they wanted the baby to stay in as long as possible (even though I selfishly was ready for him to be out). Finally at 36 weeks exactly I went into labor (again) and they didn't stop it. 

The only thing I knew for sure was I wanted an epidural, and I wanted it ASAP.  After 16 hours of labor, I had finally fully dilated and was ready to get the baby out. The nurses would wait for a contraction to show up on the monitor and tell me when to push. With my chin burying into my chest I would push every minute or so. After about 10 minutes alarms started going off and I was told to stop pushing. They had me lay on my sides, they would push on my belly and even shake it at times. When I asked what was going on they told me that the baby wasn't handling the labor well and was in distress. They then told me I was going to need a c-section.   By the time I got into the OR they told me they had to get the baby out right away, meaning there was no time to numb me more.  I remember the doctor pressing the scalpel to my thigh and asking if I could feel it, I said yes but he said there was no time.  I was cut hip to hip, and felt a very good portion of it.  It was the most terrifying and painful event I have endured thus far in my life. 

Like I said before I had no idea what I was doing or what I wanted. All I knew at that point was I was scared and young and trusted that what I was being told was the only way to go. I never felt there were more options. I had no idea that all of my future deliveries would be decided by this one moment. They got him out and he was safe, small, but safe. He stayed in the NICU for a while because of his size, but ended up being just fine

I got pregnant with my second baby 4 years later and had heard a lot about VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). After doing all of my research I had come to the conclusion that I was a perfect candidate to attempt it and was eager to do it. When I told my doctor about my plan I was flat out told "no". I was told that in order to have a VBAC the hospital would have to approve and that the doctor would have to be available 24 hours to monitor my labor. That was something she told me simply wasn't possible due to the amount of patients she had.   I was devastated.  She also scared me by telling me how dangerous it was.  I looked into doctors in the area that supported VBACs and there was one, yes ONE.  

I wasn't educated enough to look into doulas and midwives, let alone meet with one.  I had been with my doctor since I was 16 and was afraid to jump ship to another one.  I didn't think that she would lie to me when it came to the way I wanted to give birth.  I am now done having children and ended up with 3 cesareans.  I dont know if it is my age, or that times have just simply changed since I had my first baby but VBACs are everywhere now.  I see success stories so often and while I am happy for those women I am incredibly jealous.  Its hard to watch someone do what you wanted to do so badly.  In a way I feel I was robbed of giving birth.

Sometimes women don't have a choice when it comes to a c-section, but in my case it came down to the fact that with my second my doctor just didn't have time for me.  Plus what she told me was not completely the truth.  While yes there is a risk with a uterine rupture in a VBAC (1%) I was more likely to die on the operating table with a repeat c-section (3%).  Giving birth no matter how it is done is a beautiful thing and an accomplishment.  In the end I ended up with three beautiful children that I grew inside of my body, and I do feel very lucky to have been able to do that, but there is a part of me that wishes I would have fought harder to give birth the way I wanted.  Do I feel like less of a woman?  No, and I don't think anyone who has had to have repeat c-sections should feel that way.  The only thing I feel is that I didn't get to experience something I was so close to doing, and wanted so bad.

If you have had a c-section and don't want to go through it again, do your research.  If your doctor doesn't support you, look into another one, or even a doula or midwife.  Don't give up!  If you are fine with having repeat c-sections then awesome, some people prefer it and that's just fine.  Fight for yourself and your baby, don't let anyone tell you, you cant do something with YOUR body (unless it is medically necessary of course).  It doesn't matter if you are 19 or 40 explore all of your options, and make the best decision for YOU.  Don't be pressured into another c-section (or a first) because your doctor wants to make their tee time, or has to catch a plane.  You should be the only thing that matters to your doctor, and if you aren't, then its time to find someone else

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The 5 Types of Pick-Up and Drop-Off Parents

If you have school age children then you know the struggle of your morning.  Getting up before you want to, making breakfast for cranky children that always includes at least one "I didn't want THAT for breakfast!", fighting to get everyone dressed, trying to find matching shoes in a hurry (where DO they go??) and the inevitable fight over who is going to get in the car first.  Most of this is done before you get to enjoy your first cup of coffee, unless you want to get up even earlier than you didn't want to in the first place.  However, by the time you enter the 1 mile radius to the school everything else looks like a piece of cake, because parents trying to drop their kids off at school are a million times worse than your cranky children in the morning.

There are several types of morning drop off parents, I'll break them down and then you can decide which category you fit into

1. The Wow its a Beautiful Morning Parent:  These parents are rare and few and far between.  This is a parent that woke up on the best part of the bed and has had an amazing morning that they want to share with everyone.  Their children were probably unusually behaved, ate their breakfast quietly, got dressed without hassle, and were ready to go before the parent was.  In the drop off this parent will willingly wave you ahead of them in line, smiling as they do it, wave to the crossing guard, and even use their turn signals.  Like I said RARE

2.  The Zombie Parent:  This parent is just going through the motions of the morning routine.  Kids act the same way every single day, they aren't particularly having a good or a bad morning, just a normal to them morning.  They are alert enough to get their kids safely to school, but are oblivious to your turn signals.  They either don't drink coffee, or don't get up early enough to enjoy it.

3. The Screw This Morning Parent:  This parent usually has most things under control in the mornings but is having an unusual start to the day.  Either the alarm clock didn't go off, one of the kids spilled an entire gallon of milk on the floor, the toaster burned all the toast, or the coffee machine just broke.  This parent doesn't do well without structure and is completely frazzled.  At least one child is probably wearing two different socks.  This parent will give you the "please just let me in!!" look, will try to use their signal until finally giving up and having to pull out in front of someone, and is most likely to roll down the window, wave and scream "YOU'RE WELCOME!!" to someone they were nice enough to let in, but was not thanked or even acknowledged

4.  The Hey We Made It On Time Today! Parent:  This parent likes to sleep in and has absolutely no expectations of getting to school before the final warning bell rings.  This parent rushes everyone through breakfast, has everyones clothes out and lunches made the night before, and a timer on their coffee pot just so they can get those 10 extra minutes of sleep.  If they happen to get to school while other people are still dropping their kids off they are pretty relaxed.  They don't use their signals (mostly because there is hardly anyone around), they take their time saying goodbye to their kids, and will sit and drink their coffee while watching their kids walk into the school until they are no longer visible.  They are a very controlled chaotic drop off parent.

5.  The I'm Way More Important Than You Parent:  This parent is always just an asshole.  Even though they get up with more than enough time to have their coffee, get dressed and probably put make up on,  their children always listen to them, and are out the door at the exact same time every single day, their social skills are lacking.  This parent weaves in and out of traffic, pretends not to see your turn signal (or you), speeds around you to get that spot you were eyeing (every day), pulls out in front of anyone at any time, NEVER EVER uses a turn signal, and is usually your school year enemy.  They can sense a #3 parent and prey on them, and are usually the type a #3 parent has to roll down the window and yell at, in the event they even waited to be invited to be let in.

I'll admit I have been all of these drop off parents.  Sometimes I am more one than another, but at some point we are all of them.  Try and remember we are all there for the same reason, and most of us don't want to be there, so next time maybe let that parent with the signal on in with a smile and a wave.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Dog Collar

I don't care who you are, if you are in a relationship you have fights.  If you say you don't, you're lying, and if you REALLY don't well then you're just a freak.  I'm not one to ever really air my "dirty laundry" but in this case it was far too relateable not to share.

We recently moved from one unit to another.  It was stressful trying to pack and move with 3 kids, work, and a time limit even though we literally moved about 100 feet.  We did everything in such a hurry that things were thrown in boxes, not labeled and put wherever they would fit in the new place.  That was 2 months ago.

Lately I have found myself looking for things, like lots of things, and can't find them anywhere.  My husband and I organize VERY differently.  My organization may look messy to others but I know where all of my stuff is.  My husband on the other hand can't stand clutter, and therefore we clash when it comes to the way we organize the house.  About a week ago I noticed ALL of my hoodies were missing.  My husband said they were probably in the storage shed outside and he would look the next day.  A week went by, still no hoodies.  Then last night I needed our new dog collar (that I bought before we moved) and asked him where it was, same answer probably outside in the shed.  For whatever reason this set off an argument (which I started).  I asked when exactly he was going to go out there and start getting our stuff out.  OK I know what you're thinking, why don't I just go out to the damn shed and get it myself?  Funny you ask that because my husband asked the same thing.  The reason?  I don't do bugs, more like spiders.  I'm insanely afraid of them, and swear no matter what there is constantly one lurking just waiting for me.

This somehow turned into you don't do this, and you don't do that, why don't you do this, and why don't you do that.  Remember this started because of a dog collar.  Then as with most arguments we got off the subject and started fighting about things that happened last week, and up to months ago.  Both trying to one up each other the argument just got worse and worse.  Now he changed his mind and insisted it was in the house and I told him no way I already looked, it had to be out there.  Finally after saying for the 10th time that he said he was going to get my hoodies out of the shed for over a week now, he goes to the shed.  While he's out there I started honestly trying to remember what we were fighting about.  I couldn't.  He came back in the house empty handed (I'm not sure he was looking but just humoring me), then he started looking in cabinets.  I asked what he was doing, he said looking for the stupid collar.  Then it hit me, the stupid collar, that's how this started?  A fucking dog collar?  A $7 dog collar?  Wow.

We were both under an insane amount of stress, I had been tired from working graveyard the night before, and he has been working 16 hours a day 6 days a week for a month and a half, oh and our oldest was suffering from a stomach bug.  I think we both realized how stupid it all was.  We were fighting at that point just to fight.  Just to get the stress of life out.  Its healthy in a non healthy sort of way.  Why an argument over a dog collar got as big as it did doesn't matter, it shouldn't have happened, and it sure shouldn't have happened at midnight.  He apologized, I apologized we went to bed.

In the morning the question still lingered.  Where was that stupid collar?  I asked our oldest son if he had seen it.  Nope he said, then "Oh its in the bag in the sun room, Daddy put it there when he was clearing out the sun room. 
Yes that paper bag right there.  It was in there the entire time.  So who was right?  Was it inside or outside?  I guess it doesn't matter, but of course I like to say TECHNICALLY it was outside.  I sent this to him after I found it.
After we have a fight we like to make fun of it, it nice that we can both laugh and joke about the situation.  Humor and the ability to realize when we are wrong is what has kept us together as long as it has.  If you want to stay happy you have to be able to take a joke and laugh at yourself. 

Moral of the story?  Fighting is inevitable in a relationship, but try to stay on the subject (even if its a $7 collar).  Oh and always check the sun room.

Now seriously where are my hoodies