Thursday, March 1, 2012

Little update

For my memory's sake and those who might be following along here... (My memory is back to being horrible. I fed the dogs twice in one evening. They've been trying to get me to do that for years. I fed them, and then about 3 hours later Fritz went and sat in front of his bowl. And I though, oh no, I forgot to feed the dogs! So I fed them. And about 15 minutes later I was wondering why they weren't scampering to go outside... then I remembered they'd already been out, 'cause I'd already fed them.) =)

Anyways, we're still waiting on the genetic test to come back on Ladybug. Should get it back in another week and a half or so. She's had several days when she's acted like her head was hurting, either grabbing at it or rubbing it back and forth and whaling high pitched cries. We hold her, rub her head, and give her Tylenol and she calms down. I just think it's a bit absurd to be giving a now 5 month old Tylenol 1-2x/week. But, when she acts like that I figure it's just cruel to let her be in pain, if I even have a hint that that's what the problem is.

We did finally make a little progress in the pushing up status. Yesterday, on her 5th month birthday, she finally made a little effort to push herself up on her forearms. I've been putting her on her belly on the changing table while I put her clothes on her, trying to use any time I can for belly time that might distract her from screaming. I knelt down in front of the changing table so she'd look at me, and then once I had her attention I slowly stood up, and she actually raised her head to follow me and then put a little weight on her arms and raised her chest up, just a bit. I was so excited! Small victory, but I had really wanted her to at least show some effort to push up by 5 months. I'm beginning to get an idea what parents of premies and developmentally delayed children are like; you really do get ecstatic over the littlest things, cause while they seem little to someone else, when you've been trying for them for months it's huge!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Caution: may offend on multiple levels.

"scrape... scrape... scrape... bump" Soapbox now in place... "Thump thump" I climb on.

So there's this monthly magazine of sorts that gets placed by the bulletins at my church. It's called Faith for All of Life. Now I have no idea who decided this was a quality publication for our church members to read. I have no idea if anyone reads it ahead of time. I just know it's been there ever since we started attending.

After a few months, we started picking it up just to critique the articles.

That's horrible, I know. But it's the only use we could find for it. We don't have a fireplace.

Basically, it seems to make a saint out of this fellow named Rushdooney. He is/was apparently a theologian. Neither the Mechanic nor I had ever heard of him prior to coming to this church. So why he gets an entire magazine devoted to him every month, in which every article must quote something he said, I will never know.

This magazine features a lot of articles about a variety of subjects. I don't tend to read the purely theological ones. I'm not comfortable enough with theology to pick out the good from the bad, but based on the articles that I do understand I don't want this person's ideas to impact my beliefs. There are quite a few articles about training children. Read: home schooling. We purposely did not go to the church that implied home schooling was the only acceptable method of training your children. There is a reason for that. So of course we have problems with these articles. There are quite a few articles about the USA and politics/constitution/regaining America. Read: America was a Christian nation and must be re-made into one. The articles make statements implying that we should act like a theocracy. The problem is, we're not one! I believe in a recent edition a statement was made that we must make people act like Christians even though they're not Christians. Not sure where in the Bible they got that idea... Once again, we're not a theocracy.

Shortly after Ladybug was born, there was a two-part article concerning childbirth. After all, the title is, Faith for all of Life. Childbirth is part of life. I have no problem with a theological magazine discussing this subject. But not how this magazine handled it. This was offensive. This was offensive to every woman in that church who has had a child by c-section. Basically, the article stated that women who have c-sections can not bond with and love their child like someone who has an unmedicated natural birth. And ultimately, the article implied that I am a lesser Christian because I did not have a natural birth. They also did not put much in the way of a medical necessity disclaimer, which might have taken the offensive edge off.

Let me tell you. The fact that I did not push my child out my vagina does not mean I love her any less than if I had. We bonded just fine, thank you very much. I love her plenty. I care for her. I would protect her. Don't you dare have the nerve to tell me that I don't love my child as much as the woman who had her child at home, simply because my oxytocin came from an IV bag instead of my own body.

I watched The Business of Being Born, a documentary filmed in NYC. This contrasts the hospital birth that is so common now against births attended by a midwife, either at home or at a birth center. I believe the lady who wrote those articles previously mentioned must have watched it too. Or, she read similar literature. Because, sure enough, a doctor is quoted as saying "where would the world be without love?" At the end of a long discourse about how oxytocin is the hormone of love and bonding, and it is what causes mammals to bond and protect and care for their helpless newborn. About how Pitocin (artificial oxytocin given through an IV) acts differently in the brain than natural oxytocin produced by your body. Basically he's saying, women who are induced and fully medicated, or women who have a c-section, do not love their child the same way a woman who pushes them out her vagina does.

Okay. There are so many flaws with this argument. The first being, how do you quantify love??? You are saying that birth-at-home mom loves her kids more than I do mine? Loves them better? How are you measuring this? So I didn't scream "oh my God" when my child was pulled out of me like they did when the head came out their privates. That means I don't love her like they do? So I didn't agonize for hours in pain before birthing my child? So does that mean the women who went through 36 hours of labor loves her child more than the woman who labored for 6 hours?

Have they done studies showing higher rates of abuse for c-section babies? Have they done studies showing poorer school performance? Have they shown more cases of failure to thrive? Abandonment? Drug use among mothers? How are they proving that having a c-section affects the relationship between mother and child? So the mother who gave birth at home can scream "I gave birth to you! I labored for 36 hours with you so you will mind me!" That's going to be more effective than me screaming "they cut my stomach open to get you out! I stood up and felt like my guts were going to hit the floor! You wanna see the scar? You will mind me!" Yeah...

I believe the best method of birth is natural. I think it's best for mom. I think it's best for baby. In MOST situations. NOT ALL. Some moms can't bond with their child after going through that much pain... they look at it initially as the cause. It happens. Some moms have multiples that can't safely be delivered naturally. Some moms have breech babies. Some moms have diabetes and therefore large babies that are likely to be injured in a natural birth.

Here's the other thing. They quote all these numbers about the rise of c-sections, fall of home births, and say that we must believe in the woman's body and ability to do this. Women have done it for years. True. BUT. And I'm not going off any scientific study here, this is purely an observation and my opinion. I believe God works through nature. There are infertile women. There are women who have great difficulty getting pregnant. I know, I know... it's not always the women's fault. That's fine. But what I question is this: what's the likelyhood that those who can't get pregnant on their own, can't give birth naturally either? I'd like to see stats on C-sections for those who had IVF, or fertility drugs. I'm not saying that women who need fertility drugs or IVF shouldn't be having babies; that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm simply saying that we are assisting women who normally couldn't have children, to have children. And their inability to conceive just might be tied to their inability to give birth naturally. I think God works like that when He created us; I think he did the same with the animals.

I missed out. I will never experience the "orgasm-like" feeling that those women experience during childbirth. I will never get that feeling of "I did this, I can do anything" the midwives talk about. Do I regret it? Depends on exactly what you mean. Do I regret having diabetes? Yes. I wish I had taken better care of myself over the years and maybe it could have been avoided. Do I regret not being physically capable of delivering an 9lb baby (cause that's what they were predicting)? No... I don't know if I was physically capable or not. I can't regret what I don't know. Do I regret not trying? A little. Maybe I could have done it. But, do I regret my decision? NO. I do not. I chose to have my baby in the safest manner possible, for the baby. Not safest for me. Safest for my baby. Who is asleep in the swing next to me as we speak. If I had tried... the induced contractions might have been too much for her and her heart rate and O2 might have dropped. She might have gotten stuck and had to have her arm broken or shoulder dislocated to get her out. She might have pooped in the canal and inhaled meconium and gotten pneumonia. She might have been fine. It wasn't worth the risk to me.

If I had had a complication-free pregnancy and if my baby was measuring between 5-8 pounds, I'd have gone for it vaginally. But that wasn't my situation. It's not a lot of women's situation. Don't tell a woman that she doesn't love her child as much as another mother because of the way she gave birth. Don't make it into a spiritual matter when it's not one. You trust God to take care of you and your baby. And you trust Him to give you and the doctors brains to figure out the best way to do that.

*stepping down from my soapbox*

Monday, February 20, 2012

Diagnostic tests take #2

Had Ladybug's lab work done today for her genetic test... it was slightly traumatic. I've been through two sets of shots with her, and this was worse. Granted, the tourniquet was more upsetting to her than the actual needle. With shots, it takes about 10 seconds... even for 3 needles. It's over by the time she screams, and so I can immediately pick her up and calm her down. With phlebotomy, she screams because of the tourniquet, but of course that's only the beginning. They had to stick her twice because her veins are so tiny and buried so deep in her fat arms. Even after I was finally able to pick her up, she was so upset that she wouldn't stop crying, not even with a paci. Seemed like an eternity before she eventually stopped screaming; the entire outpatient area knew a baby was not happy!

The Mechanic said he was proud that I didn't scream for them to stop. I think he's finding that I'm a much calmer mom than he thought I'd be. My reply was that I was a nurse before I was a mom... not that I don't care (I had tears in my eyes while it was going on), but when I believe the people working on my child are competent, and I believe what they're doing is for her best, then I'm not going to interfere. Now, you let one of those ER nurses near my child and let them try to stick her twice with the same needle and you're going to see a mama bear.

So now we wait. Results should be back in 3-4 weeks. This test has a 90% sensitivity... that means that if it's positive she's probably got it, especially with the clinical correlation. If it's negative... well, we continue to watch her because she might still have it. But, it's a chance at an answer.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Life these days

So, I didn't realize when you save a post and then publish it later, it not only keeps the original date stamp, but it also puts it in chronological order of being written. Jan. 17th's post was actually posted yesterday. :^/

I'm on my 4th week at home. Things have not gone exactly how I'd planned... I anticipated having my house clean, working on organizing Ladybug's room and the basement, keeping detailed track of our money, cooking a hot meal at least every other day and making sure the Mechanic ate breakfast before he left for work. Not so much. Things are not deteriorating, but they aren't getting cleaner or more organized.

It's not hard for me to figure out why. I'd rather sit and play with Ladybug than clean. I ran around like crazy the first week, then spent the next two weeks sick, and now the morning sickness has started. There is no desire to cook when you constantly feel like puking. It's 1420 and I've had two Saltines. That's it for oral intake. The fatigue also is contributing; I either sleep past 1000 or I take a nap.

Of course, I'd much rather be home dealing with morning sickness than at work. And I'd rather be able to take a nap than work 8-5 and come home with a crying baby. I've had some people suggest B6 to help morning sickness, and I'm also wondering if I prolong the nausea by not eating. My OB told me after birth that if I'd eat regular food instead of just liquids I'd probably feel less sick... So I'll try some things to see if I can push through the morning sickness. Then maybe I can actually start on my house... maybe. If I can tear myself away from staring at this adorable face.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baby Visit #1

It's sort of fun keeping up with the absurd number of doctor visits I have during pregnancy. Here's the first summary for baby #2!

As usual, I went in, peed in a cup, then got on those atrocious scales. 124.5 starting weight for this baby. Blood pressure awesome, 118/78. We had our first ultrasound, and I admit I was a bit worried at first. It was a different tech helping them out for the day, H, and at first I couldn't see much of anything. I finally saw a little black area, and when we zoomed in on that a little blob appeared. She measured it at 6w4d, which isn't that far off from the date based on my last period. We zoomed in a little more and there it was, a little quivering heart. Pretty cool to see, since you can't even distinguish a head yet. 118/minute, which at this point is fine.

Then it was off to the lab for a ton of blood work. Eventually we got to see Dr. A; her repeated comment was "you're going to be busy." I appreciated that; at least she didn't call me crazy! We talked a lot about my sugars; it's going to be a LONG 9 months. Dr. A is pretty much convinced that I'm diabetic even without pregnancy, despite me passing the 2hr GTT 6 weeks postpartum. I have to start checking my sugar 4x/day every 3rd day, and I'm supposed to e-mail her my numbers once I get 3-4 days worth. If they're not perfect, fasting less than 90 and 2hr postprandial <120, I have to go back in 2 weeks. If they are perfect, I can wait a month. I'm supposed to start eating the gestational diabetic diet now, and it's really important to keep my sugars down as right now is when all the major organ systems are forming and problems could occur. They're making an appointment with the high risk OB in Johnson City for ~20 weeks; I can't go to the one they prefer because he's associated with Wellmont and my insurance won't pay for it. Stupid CrestPoint.

So, I got up this morning and checked my fasting sugar... 90. Shoot. It's going to be a looooonnnnnggggg 9 months. If we can't keep them under control, it's a strong possibility I'll be put on insulin. It's also really important I keep my weight under control; no more than 25 pound weight gain. Because these two babies are so close together, my uterus really hasn't had time to recover, and because of the C-section we're risking uterine rupture. This is why I'm SO thankful there's only one baby in there; if I had twins I'm not sure I could carry them anywhere near full term. I was okay with having the first two close together, but if there's a third we're going to have to put some distance between them. Dr. A doesn't want us to have a 3rd at all because of the C-sections.

So, I ate my one egg and one oatmeal pancake with sugar free syrup, and drank my skim milk this morning. We'll see how that two hour sugar is here in just a few minutes. Oh boy! =)