DS’s birth (part 2)

My water’s broke early on the 17th of February 2008, at week 39+3 (or 4, I can’t remember now).

The rest of that day we busied ourselves with last minute shopping, and our last hours together as just the two of us.

In the evening my contractions started at 15 minutes apart. We sipped on red wine, I was on my birthing ball, and then I went to sleep for a while. DH kept timing my contractions through my sleep. Some time in the middle of the night, we drove the +20km to the OBGYN’s birthing cabin (I do not recommend driving in labour – it was very uncomfortable driving through a contraction. DH had to stop the car for each contraction).

I tried being in the Hydrotherapy pool, but was getting tired with there being no way to support myself. I was also vomiting a lot and really just wanted to be alone with DH.

We moved over to the birthing area, me lying on my side with DH with me, holding me and giving me a contra to push against for each contraction. If I needed the loo, he was there with me, if a contraction arrived while I was on the loo, he supported me. He was my rock.

I completely gave my body up to the process and was supported by the doula and my husband – lots of lower back rubbing, and quiet candle light. The OB stayed out of the room, other than for an occasional monitor of the baby using doppler.

I found myself birthing in the birthing pool. I did not like being told to reach down to touch my baby’s head. I was deeply concentrated on what was going on with my body, and I was not rushing anything. We would meet soon enough, and I would birth him, even if it took one or two more pushes than the OBGYN thought necessary.

The moments after the  birth were extatic. I had done it, we had done it! Our baby was alive and well, I felt fantastic. It was just awesome.

I did not pay attention to when the cord was cut, or even notice that they took my son to weigh and dress him, I was getting out of the pool and being helped to the bed to lie down.

As time passed, the OBGYN was looking at the clock, and worrying about my placenta not arriving.He started to inject me with pitocin, into the umbilical cord, and something into my thigh. He catheterised me. He pulled on the cord, causing me excruciating pain, enough for me to physically push him off me. And then transferred me to the hospital, a 30 minute dive that was horrific. My son and husband followed in another car and my beautiful birth fell apart.

In the more than two years that have passed from that day, I have refused to think about it.

I told myself to be grateful I am alive and I have a healthy child.

And yet, as I already start thinking about giving birth again, reading up on how I will make different choices this time, I know that it might not have needed to end quite like that. I need t acknowledge the ugly side of what happened, not hide behind the beautiful parts of the birth.

I know I did not require a blood transfusion, which I have interpreted as there being no serious post partum heamorrage. I do not think I was actually at risk for post partum heamorrage. The birth of the placenta was mismanaged by a doctor who was following a protocol, not my clicical picture. Yes, retained placenta can be very serious. Yes, post partum heamorrage is very dangerous to the mother. But 30 minutes is not a magical number. If the mother is well, and there is not abundant bleeding, there is no medical reason to manage the birth of the placenta so aggresively.

I am ordering my medical file, just to see what went on that day. I never got a satisfactory explanation from the OBGYN.

The unpleasantness of trying to get myself discharged, the bureaucracy of discharging a new born and a mother was a nightmare. I had to endure staff telling me I am risking my babies life and all I wanted was to be at home.

I am definitely not a good candidate for hospital birth, or being in a hospital at all. I cannot abide someone else trying to control my body.

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DS’s birth revisited (part one)

I was so proud of how much time and energy I put into preparing for my birth and my baby. I was making choices that I felt were in informed. I was certainly more informed than my peers around me, but in retrospect I was hardly informed beyond 1st and 2nd stages of labour, and what to do with a newborn other than breastfeed.

I was doing the unheard of – I was birthing my first baby in a homebirth, with the option for a waterbirth. I was not administering vit K, no HepB vaccine, no drugs for me or baby. I felt that what I was doing was so radical anyway, that it didn’t matter too much that I kept having ultrasounds, that I agreed to the glucose screening test, that I agreed to more and more blood tests. I would do anything to ‘be allowed’ to birth out of the hospital.I even felt like I could compromise on the eye goop, and let them have ‘something’. It seemed the least dangerous of all the intervention offered, and I could not  be called fanatical.

During our pregnancy, me and DH bounced between health care providers, interviewing two midwives, a private OB and seeing a number of OB’s through the National Health.

I could not give birth in a hospital. I knew that I just would not be able to. DH was very worried, and had a huge amount of pressure from his medical father and step mother. Homebirth was seen as the ultimate in selfishness on my part, with all the risk on the homebirth and all the advantage on the hospital birth (this has become a theme I am all too familiar with now when it comes to this side of the family. Technology and modern medicine only ever seem to do good and natural is to be mistrusted).

We settled on the OB when I was about 33 weeks pregnant. We had looked into every hospital birthing option available, even considering travelling to Jerusalem (about an hours drive) as they had the best rooming in options for newborns. However, when I understood that if I needed the loo while in labour, and I was attached to the fetal monitor, I would be given a bedpan, and not allowed to go to the loo – any hope of me birthing in a hospital folded. If I could not go to the loo in private (and lock myself in there if the medical team were being interferring with my birth ), I was not birthing in a hospital.

My fear of requiring a transfer during my homebirth helped settle us on the private OB. I ignored his love affair with his ultrasound machine, his crass humour and his egotistical way of managing to talk almost exclusively about himself whenever we came for a checkup. I was getting to birth out of the hospital, and that was my bottom line. Should I require a transfer, I would be with a doctor who knew me and who would not harras me for trying to birth at home. This also reassured DH who was worried about birthing without an experienced doctor.

I hired a doula (well, she was part of the package with this OB), unsure as to just what I was paying for, and too shy to ask her to clarify. Not wanting to bother her, I took her lead and spoke to her when she initiated it. I did not feel comfortable calling her. She was very sweet, supportive and encouraging.

Everything was set for an amazing birth.

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New beginnings

Our new vegetable garden (well, the neighbouring plot)

We have joined a community vegetable garden, and took my brother to see it this morning. As of yet, we have not done anything there, other than attend the opening course on how to build the beds for the vegetables, and how to take the sun movement into consideration when planting, how to set up our reticulation and when to add compost etc.

The view out east from the community garden

I look forward to posting more pics as this project grows…. although I will be relying much more on DH to help me with this now, as yes, I am pregnant. I know, I know, it’s at the moment, and all manner of things can still happen between now and July, but right now I have a nice clear line, twinges in my pelvis every time I get up too quickly and as of yet, no nausea or anything horrid. But I am 4+2 weeks, so that is hardly anything to be too excited about just yet.

I am more and more excited about this. It feels right.

So, here it is:

My 2nd BFP

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Another sleepless night

Me last night

My brother arrived last night – or at 5am this morning. I hardly slept all night in anticipation to see him, and kept weeing every couple of hours…. so gonna test again tomorrow.

Right now I am experiencing weird twinges in my lower pelvis every time I get up too quickly – or if I am physically working hard (like working in the garden).

This still does not feel so real….. hopefully tonight I will get a good nights’ sleep and do my test tomorrow morning 🙂

Image from http://www.nurseryprints.com/images/Sheep/NEWSHEEP.JPG

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5am

And I am wide awake. My husband and son are fast asleep and I have snuck out to get my head around our news I guess that is why I can’t sleep. I am too excited.

Yesterday I got a very faint positive test for being pregnant.

The last two weeks have been quite intense, well actually the last month, and if it really comes down to it, the last year.

Two weeks ago I dreamed I gave birth to a little girl. When I was pregnant with DS I dreamed I gave birth to a little boy, so I paid attention to this dream. A week ago my maternal grandmother also died, making this last week bitter sweet. (more on that later)

A month ago I cut all grains and complex carbs out of my diet in an effort to stabilise my mood, in anticipation of being pregnant in the coming months. We were not planning on being pregnant this month. I have a whole slew of tests lined up to see what is going on in my body with regards to absorption and elimination of essential and toxic minerals, gut flora, amino acid profile etc. I have had high anxiety about being pregnant again with so little support, without my mum and just not sure how I will handle a toddler and a newborn. Anyway, I am essentially on a GAPS type of a diet.

So, if this pregnancy holds, I will be due 3 days after my mum’s birthday – which is really reassuring for me. I feel she will be with me – although I am sure it does not need to be related to her birthday. It is reassuring.

I will also hopefully be over the worst of the morning sickness (last time I had all day sickness) by the time I fly to Berlin for my fathers wedding.

I think being pregnant now is actually a good thing. It guides me on focusing on my life and helps me leave my fathers life alone. I have become so deeply involved in facilitating communication, as well as being my fathers confidant, that I know that I need to back out a bit. I need to trust that I will not loose my father. I need to trust this new woman – that she will love and share her her life with my father. I need to be OK in my life and focus on my family now.

I also think there has been enough death in my immediate life for a little while. I hope this pregnancy is a healthy and happy one. I do feel good so far. And I am so much more certain about how this pregnancy will be managed. I will not be getting ultrasounds, I will not be tested for a million and one things. I want to be left in peace, unless I feel something is wrong and warrants investigation. I think my most powerful lesson from my last pregnancy and birth, is the knowledge that my body knows. First and foremost.

I still remember the ultrasound technician scoffing at me when I came in for my 22 week scan and I had not done all the previous diagnostic scans. He asked me why, and I said that I saw no reason, and back home (South Africa) none of my friends are offered so many tests. He pretty much snickered and said he is the expert and there is no reason to avoid them, or something like that, and went on to torture me with a vaginal scan. At 22 weeks. Idiot. I will never, ever concede to such torture again. And most certainly not for a better view of my baby’s brain.

So, providing all goes well in the next 12 weeks, I will be planning a homebirth with a midwife. Now I just need to find her.

Oh, and I have one more test to do tomorrow morning.

ETA: If you know me in real life, please keep this news to yourself. I obviously would not like this news being shared just yet with people who know me.

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In search of happiness

This has been a hard year.

My mother died, my father has met someone new and I have been having a dreadful time with my IL’s. I miss my friends and I am very nervous of having another child, even though I want one, and I want DS to have a sibling.

DH and I have been thinking about moving country to take some of the pressure off of me, although that is not going to happen  now. For now we are here in Israel, and I am doing what I can to find ways to support myself here and make sure that I am OK wherever I am. I know in my heart that there are aspects to my happiness that are not dependent on where I live, and it is up to me to make sure my needs are being met whereever we live.

This has all been rather intense. My life went into fast forward since I started meeting with a lifestyle/food coach. I have been touching on all sorts of emotional issues in my life, and have found myself on a grain free diet, and at times in a heap on the floor, crying when DS asked me to read him his book, again. That day definitly got my attention, and DH’s attention – as he was often on the other end of the phone listening to me wail about what I failure I am. The shortened version, I am going for physilogical tests for minerals, amino acids etc and also looking at counselling.

I spoke with my fathers partner for the first time, and it was rather tense. Now I am worried about us not getting on, and what will that mean in the future for my relationship with my father. GAH. I really wish my mum had not died. I still get really angry that she has died and that she is not there for me, my father and my brother. I needed her to come and help with our second child. I needed her to be in Cape Town so that my home was always there. I needed her to be my mum.

For now, I have my brother visiting in 2 weeks, and his girlfriend joining for a few days. Shortly followed by a really good friend who is coming back for a visit and then my father comes out before we all fly to Berlin to meet his new partner and her family. It’s going to be a busy next couple of months.

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Same or different

I have been embroiled in yet another family saga with my IL’s, the ones with whom I actually have a better relationship. It got quite ugly with my sending a reply email that got quite specific about what I like and dislike in our relationship and in their lives and how they impact our family life. It was written in response to a very mild email, but brought together years of feeling like I do not belong and like I am being undermined and bullied for my choices.

The day after I sent the email (with my husbands knowledge) I met a mum in the homeschooling group that I had not met before. The one with plans to leave Israel. In part of our discussion, she mentioned that she has been thinking of same and different and how there is no thing such as ‘same’ really. Even in the homeschooling group, there are dramatic differences in approach to lifestyle. The feeling of being with like minded people is partly an illusion. In that group, we share children not being formally schooled and maybe natural childbirth and breastfeeding and baby wearing (Most of the mums there have the Israeli soft carrier, Yamo). However, we will have different and passionate views on nutrition, religion, healthcare, discipline etc. And that is OK. It makes it hard for me as I don’t want DS eating too much white flour/sugar (as in none yet if possible) and he has twice had biscuits that he found/were given to him. That kind of food just will be there and I will have to find my way to be OK with that. I also doubt the mums will share my passion for information regarding vaccination, and I might feel like my son needs more adult direction when it comes to discipline…. the list is endless of things that I am not going to see eye to eye on with other mums’ in the group.

I guess I am thinking ‘out loud’ as I try to figure out why I find it so intolerable that my IL’s keep trying to offer solutions that they know I would prefer not to use.

I know we are vastly different in our life approach. And in practice with DS they have never given him food/drink that they know we don’t want him having and also make sure he is not left in front of the TV. It is very foreign to them to avoid TV/sugar/white flour/electronic baby entertainers/etc. It is very foreign to make a choice outside of the mainstream.

And yet we have my husband in common and DS. Who adores them just as much as they adore him. Our same-ness is our love of DS and DH. And our desire to live an autonomous life.

Where I feel our different-ness lies at the moment, is as follows.

They – live in their country, living the lives they have lived since, well, forever for them. Meaning they have well established family ties and support bases. Are Israeli and have an aggressive communication style. Are older and more sure of what they know and the choices they make. Do not think too much about choices, and do not have an ideology other than ‘no one really knows anything, so why bother trying to know anything’.

Me –   I live in a foreign country, far away from my close friends and family. I have more of an indirect communication style. I am younger and finding my way, with all it’s ups and downs. Think a lot about my choices and my life. I do have an ideology of doing the best I can to find what is right for my family and not what someone else tells me to do.

I think our clash comes down to generation, culture and communication. And I do not know how to fix that.

I am guessing it would be ‘easier’ to write them off and just get on with my own life. But I do not know if I can do that. I have already written off the other side of DH’s Israeli family. I do not know if I can write this side off without us having to move very far away. I feel like right now I am fighting for us to be a family that accepts differences and leaves each other be with those differences.

We’ll see.

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