I Need Prayers

I wasn’t going to announce this on my blog so soon, especially before our families know, but something has speeded up the process.

Last Saturday I got a positive pregnancy test.  It put me at almost five weeks.  We are thrilled and I am due a little after Christmas.

Last night, I started bleeding.  It wasn’t spotting, it was about as heavy as my period.

This morning the cramps started.

I called the hospital and no one would get me in for an ultrasound or anything more than labs because I’m so early, and labs won’t tell me anything for a couple days, so I just decided to stay home and watch it.

I have put myself on rest today and possibly tomorrow, but me and my little bean need a lot of prayers.

I know that if I am losing the baby it was meant to happen, but I would love to be able to keep it.

So, I am considering myself pregnant until proven otherwise.

Thank you all in advance for your thoughts and prayers, and I truly do feel all the love that everyone is sending me.

I promise to keep everyone updated as often as I can.

Thank you again!

**Added**

Still bleeding tonight, but the cramps are gone after having some really bad back pain.  If anyone knows what is going on here, I would love ideas:

The blood is really dark, not bright red like new blood.  I had some tiny clots, about the size of pin heads, and about half of the stuff coming out is mucous.

I don’t know what is going on, but would love some ideas, if that makes sense.  I am worried to hope, but that is all I have left.

Thank you again for all your help, and love, and support!  It truly means the world to me.

**Added**

I took a test this morning, and the second line was darker than the one last Saturday (tho that isn’t hard, the one last Saturday was barely a line haha).  The bleeding has slowed, but I always slow at night, so hopefully it stays slowing.  I don’t have cramps anymore, so maybe I’m in the clear.

I know it is crazy to hope, but again, I am going to say I am pregnant until I am proven otherwise!

Thank you all again for your love and support!

**Added**

Still bleeding today, though it is mostly spotting.  This bleeding has followed my normal period amount perfectly.  Heavy the first day with cramps, then slows down very quickly, and from today until maybe Tuesday I will just spot with maybe a little bit of blood.  It makes me wonder what is really going on.

And I still feel like I did last week, so I am still peeing a lot, still thirsty, still hungry all the time, I’m cranky, my boobs are sore (but not as much as they were before I started bleeding), and I am tired all the time.

Tomorrow I am six weeks and I will test in the morning.  If the line is still dark, I’m going for an ultrasound.  If not, I have my answer.

Thank you all so much for listening to me ramble and for all your thoughts! It means everything to me.

**Added**

I tested this morning and it came up completely negative. I think I lost the baby Thursday, but the tests needed time to come down.

Thank you all so much for everything, and I truly do appreciate it all.

The Ones I Replace “It” With

When I go to bookstores, I replace the What To Expect books with these gems:

I so wish they sold more books than this, like the REALLY great ones :), but such is life. Hopefully someone takes one of these instead of What To Expect, or even in addition to it.

What To Expect – Is It All That Grand?

THE GOOD:

The best just got better.
Expect the best! A brand-new fourth edition—filled with the most up-to-date, accurate, and relevant information on all things pregnancy. Realistic, supportive, easy to access, and overflowing with practical tips, covering everything you’ll need—and want—to know about life’s most amazing journey, from preconception planning to birth to those first miraculous weeks with a new baby. It’s all here: the lowdown on lifestyle trends and life in the workplace; the latest in prenatal testing and alternative therapies; the best in birthing options.

**

I love this book. It’s so easy to read and so informative. It’s set up is similar to a magazine.. It’s just really easy to read. A lot of the book is in a Q&A format which is nice and straight forward. It covers pretty much everything. I even bought a copy for my best friend for Christmas and she loves it too! It has a lot of interesting facts and really puts you at ease. It covers everything from before you even think about getting pregnant to way past giving birth. Great read!

**

The iconic pregnancy book. Glad that I received this as a gift!

**

I bought this book as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Thus far, I’ve read through the chapter on the 3rd month of pregnancy and everything is great. It’s well written, funny, and I’m learning from it. I don’t plan on finishing yet, mainly becasue I want to read trimester by trimester, but I have learned from it. There’s plenty of information on what to expect with your body changes, the baby’s growth, “side effects” advice on how to deal with morning sickness, and more! If I have any friends get pregnant in the future, I am going to advise they read this.

**

A MUST have: If you are looking for a thorough pregnancy book, this has to be it. When I got it from my doctor (he gives one out to each new, expectant mom) I was suprised at how big it was. Wow! A lot of reading material. However, this one covers just about everything you want to know about pregnacny and then some. There was also some stuff in here that I particularily didn’t want to know!! However, it’s a good, solid read and one of the best. A classic.

**

My youngest daughter is expecting her first baby in May 2010. She had a lot of questions and some worries too. This book has eased her mind and has helped her to understand all the changes happening to her during the time when she needs the information the most. Excellent resource for anyone having a baby – either their first or their fourth. I would recommend it to everyone having a baby.

THE BAD:

As a first time pregnant mother, this book has made me afraid of being pregnant! Every terrible thing that could possibly happen to your unborn child is clearly laid out in this book. I finally had to quit reading it and just put it away. I agree it is important to be informed, but books like this just scare any new mother and take the fun out of being pregnant!

**

This book does a good job of answering those weird questions all pregnant moms have, but leans towards the paranoid. If you want a painful, medicalized pregnancy & birth, this is the book for you!

**

Everything in this book is worst case scenarios. If you want to avoid going crazy during your pregnancy, stay away from this book. Every possible problem is shed in the most disconcerting way, leading you to believe the worst in most situations.

**

This book was disappointing to read. It did not provide adequate information as to what is going on for fetus growth and development during each week. It discusses in detail that drugs, alcohol, and smoking are dangerous, and this is covered over and over in the book (not necessary).

**

While this book has a lot of info in it, it also has a lot of TMI. Chances are you will never need to know most of the stuff in this book and it will just scare the bejeezes out of you with the long lists of all things that could possibly go wrong not to mention the part at the end with the so called ‘ideal’ diet. It never had any information on some of the stuff I wanted to know more about, and just made me more paranoid.

**

This book is terrible. As if in pregnancy, you’re not emotional enough. The second I opened the book and began reading, the whole book is about everything that can POSSIBLY go wrong in pregnancy. Forgive me, but I like to think optimistically, and this book has no optimism whatsoever. If you like the idea of reading about your child possibly dying in utero in millions of different ways, then by all means, but I would never suggest this as a pregnancy read. NOT AT ALL! Just a forwarning.

*********************

I didn’t get this book when I was pregnant with my daughter.  The only one I actual read my entire pregnancy was Your Pregnancy and Birth by the ACOG.  My midwife hands it out to every patient and I thought I knew all there was to know by reading this book (HA).

When I started working more in birth and all that, I finally decided to read this book that so many women love and so many more hate.  I have never found someone that is in the middle about this book.  It is all just uber love or intense hate.

I read the third edition first, and just got angry, and then the fourth edition came out and I ordered it.

This book was worse than every previous edition that had been published.

It has been updated with the latest ‘medical’ studies, and had tons more of the really dumb questions that are just common sense if you know anything about your own body.

I hate when books and people talk down to pregnant women and new mothers like they are just patients or pieces of paper that need someone to hold their hand and rescue them from the horrible pain and body wrecking that is pregnancy and childbirth.  And I especially hate how women don’t see they are treated that way, and think this is all just normal and the doctor or midwife just “cares about me.”

Now, the book does have one perk.  Yes, in my mind, there is only one.

I love how the book is set up.  In month to month format (although I do love the week by week ones better just because they have more specific information and great pictures of the baby at different stages), which helps to be able to find answers for the specific time you are at in your pregnancy.  You don’t have to search through the book to find an answer, which saves time and a lot of stress.

However, this book is so chalk full of everything that can go wrong, it can get so overwhelming and scary very fast, especially when a woman is as hormonal as a pregnant woman.  Every little thing is a worry, and unless they truly trust the process and understand it, it can become very overwhelming, especially with all the information in this book.

This book truly shows women they need to be the perfect patient.  Not only does it never say she should advocate for herself and truly ask questions about her care, every third sentence in this book says, “call your practitioner”.  Now, I think that if there is serious worry and you aren’t okay with reading a book or asking others for answers, a practitioner is the good place to go to.  Especially if that is the first pregnancy for you.

A lot is going on in your body and it isn’t easy to grow another human being, but there is a time when there is truly a reason to call, and then you are just being overly worried and stressed about something that isn’t a problem.

And their labor and delivery section is seriously lacking, which makes me really sad.  So many women are scared of the process and the lack of information just makes it more sad that it isn’t being discussed in the most bought pregnancy book.

And, just because I have had a cesarean and didn’t bond with my daughter at all, I really hate how she says that bonding happens no matter when you see your baby or how you deliver.  She is giving advice to all these pregnant women that this will happen, and what happens when it doesn’t?  She has no information in the book about when bonding doesn’t happen or when PPD or depression happens because there is no bond to a newborn that cries and you are ‘supposed’ to take care of.

This book is so medicalized, and needs to just come off the market.  Pregnant women are kept in a cycle of innocent trust with their practitioner because this book tells them they are supposed to trust them completely.  They are the ones with the degree after all.

If you are given this book, give it back or throw it away.  It will cause you nothing but grief.

Adventures in Bookstores

Now, I can be considered an eccentric a lot of the time.  I am very fanatical about birth and women and pretty much everything surrounding that.  If you know me in real life, I rarely have anything to talk about that doesn’t have to deal with birth.  And I know I annoy the crap out of my friends with it, but I can’t stop talking about it all the time.

One of my second favorite things in life though is books.  I love how books smell and I absolutely love visiting bookstores.  Except when they have a TERRIBLE pregnancy and birth section.

There is a bookstore where I live that carries all the good books I adore and only a couple of the bad ones, which I absolutely love.  But sometimes, a Barnes and Noble trip is fun.

Only problem, they whore out the books I absolutely hate for pregnant women to read and buy.  Books like the What To Expect series, Babywise, and the Week By Week books.

SO, I have come up with a plan.

Now, that middle row in the picture used to be What To Expect When Expecting.  There were at least 50 copies of that awful book and the books I love had one copy each.  Maybe two if I was lucky.

Whenever I go to book stores, no matter which ones, I ALWAYS hide all of the What To Expect Books and the Babywise books.

They are so popular and I truly don’t understand why.  I guess if you are very medically minded, it makes sense to have a medically minded book, but why read that trash?

This is the kickoff of my “What To Expect” Series.  It is the books I believe are so much better than that awful series, and why I truly hate that horrible book.

First post will come tomorrow, so keep your eyes open!

How To Help Your Friend

Today is my birthday and a crucial part of my cycle, and I need to take my mind off of it.

A while ago, I posted the Infertility Etiquette article (which I still think is amazing and everyone should know about).

When one in eight or ten couples struggle with infertility, whether primary or secondary, people need to know that saying certain things when they know of the situation can just cause more pain and suffering for the couple struggling.

I had a lot of people tell me that it is insensitive to pregnant women, saying they shouldn’t complain or things like that because they could hurt an infertile’s feelings and no one should have to censor themselves.

I wrote Pregnancy vs Infertility after I thought about it for a long time, and got some amazing responses.  I know that pregnant women need to vent and I know that pregnancy is uncomfortable and tiring and so much more, and it is almost like a catch 22 between those that don’t think they should have to worry about an infertile’s feelings and an infertile crying because they cannot experience what their friend is experiencing, even at its hard points.

Because I have experienced pregnancy and then infertility and loss, I am more attuned to being able to understand the pain.  I don’t understand the pain of women that have never had children, or people that have medical treatments to try to conceive, or families that try for more than two years and have no success.

We are on our 23rd cycle, we have had two losses, at about six/seven weeks, and I don’t like synthetics and am trying to use herbs to regulate and find out what is wrong with us.  I only know what we have experienced, but have so much love for those that are going through infertility and the struggle to have hope and dejection every month.

I truly wish there was more understanding around infertility.  To not feel like a pariah when I am around other people because they just found out about our struggles, or when they ask me why we don’t have another and I’m not comfortable enough to talk about our situation.

I have found great support on twitter and through a few of my friends, and the one thing that truly helps more than anything else is knowing there are there when I need to cry out my frustration, or cry because I miss my babies, or need to vent because another one of my friends is pregnant and I’m not.

If you know someone going through this, or suspect they are, or just know, be there for them.  They need more support than ever just to stay sane, not only to keep their marriage okay through the struggle.

No one knows that they will go through infertility (well, except the special cases) so most times it comes as a really big shock to learn they might not have biological children.

Just a couple things not to do:

-Please do not tell a couple to look into adoption.  How would you feel if someone told you to just give up your ideas of having a pregnancy and a biological child that you would raise from the first minutes of its life?  Just because it is a great option for some, they need to be prepared for the idea of adoption.  It isn’t cheap, and can take years to get a child that isn’t even a newborn.  So please, do not bring it up unless they do and need to talk about it.

-Do not give advice on how to handle their treatments.  Unless you have been through it, reading information in a book truly just makes you look like an idiot when you start recommending things to an infertile couple.  Especially when you start mentioning treatments that they aren’t even close to using, like IVF.  None of it is cheap, and a lot has very low rates of pregnancy, so they have to be able to not only afford them, but be prepared for the rollar coaster that it will entail.

*****

Just remember, BE THERE FOR THEM.  Be there for them to cry to, to vent to.  Don’t try to push your ideas, don’t interrupt, just sit and listen.  Cry if you need to, hug them, bring food for them if they are having a bad day.  They may not have lost a baby, but going through month after month of disappointment takes its toll and eventually, your sanity and patience flies away, even if it is just for a few moments.

Just be there.  That is truly all that is needed.

Your Baby Isn’t Done Yet

One thing that repeatedly sets me back in my work with pregnant women and helping them understand a due date isn’t really a due date, is everywhere they hear that anything after 37 weeks is considered “term”.  And even that varies by doctor and midwife!!

Term is considered everything after 37 COMPLETED WEEKS of pregnancy.  So it is actually 38 weeks pregnant until 42 COMPLETED WEEKS of pregnancy.  And yet I always hear women so excited when they are 37 weeks because they are now term and the baby can come any time.

When we found out Glade was breech, we had a lot of things done.  Ultrasounds 3 times a week followed by non-stress tests, a consult with an OB I had never met who took over my care, and a lot of people telling me that a version would be fine at 37 weeks, even if I was put into labor or needed a cesarean because the baby is term and is completely ready for birth.

She was born at 37 weeks 1 day, and was definitely not ready for it.

But the idea of term has stuck with me, especially after hearing some of the stories women have about length of pregnancy.

At 37 weeks, I know a lot of women that have started induction techniques, and have also scheduled inductions in the hospital because obviously, “I’m term so the baby is ready to be born.”

I was researching this, and I could find ZERO research as to why 37/38 weeks is considered term.  The only thing I found is that by this time, babies that are born normally thrive and don’t need much assistance after birth like babies born earlier.  It is also said that the baby’s lungs reaches full maturity at 37/38 weeks and everything else is just them practicing breathing so they don’t really need to stay inside to just practice.

The only information I can find is looped in an infinite cycle of information that doesn’t answer any questions.  It has a link for ‘full term baby’ and it links back to information for 37 weeks of pregnancy.  And it just goes back and forth on every site I found.

So, why does EVERYONE say that 37+ weeks is term?

I went on some embryology sites and founds some power points with development and what point in pregnancy everything is fully developed and ready to be born.

Every site said that development stops at birth, but never went into detail about how far along in pregnancy it normally is.  However, the one thing I did find was that a baby’s lungs are normally mature by about 37/38 weeks, and just practice and get ready until labor starts spontaneously because the lungs are fully ready to be used outside the womb.

I was talking with my sister in law about a story I had heard and was trying to rationalize why anyone would volunteer to be induced at 39 weeks, when there is a big chance her due date is off by even just a week.

Then I got to thinking.  As pregnant women, we are always told that pregnancy is 40 weeks, and yet the baby is ready to be born at 37.  And when a doctor or midwife tells you the baby could be born any time, especially if they do weekly vaginal exams to check your progress, you get really impatient for it all to happen.

And when they mention things, even if they are just saying it, most pregnant women take it as medical advice, because well, they aren’t doctors.  And when you are uncomfortable and wondering when the baby will be born, it is so easy to just trust the baby is ready to join your family outside your womb, even if that means being induced early with all the risks that entails, it is kind of an exciting prospect.

When I was told I might meet my baby the day of the version, I was pretty excited.  My mom had cesareans, so I figure they couldn’t be that bad if I needed one.  And since the OB told me that there was less than a 5% chance that she would be early and need help, I was excited that she was joining us sooner than we thought she would.

And I learned the hard way that the baby truly is ready when the BABY is ready to be born.

As care providers, we need to help women understand that there are serious risks to having your baby early unless there is a TRUE medical reason for it.  Scheduling for convenience is not a medical need.  Neither is having a big baby, or going a week over your due date, or a baby making breathing reflexes in the womb.

When you deal with pregnant women, whether you are an OB, a midwife, a doula, or just a friend, realize what you say sticks with them.  When you say the baby is ready anytime after 37 weeks, imagine what that means coming from your mouth.  Especially if you are the care provider and it can be taken as medical advice and medical knowledge.

Stop telling women that term is 37 weeks.  Stop sending weekly updates to pregnant women saying that this week their baby is term.

There is a reason labor starts when it does.  It isn’t just to make you wait, it is truly because your baby is finally ready to meet you guys and ready to be born.

Future Birth Thoughts

This is the absolutely perfect example for what I want for my next birth.

Pregnancy and birth is my life.  Even at the births I go to, the woman is the one that does all the work and I am there just in case.  Even with my doula clients, the mother does all the work, I am just there if she wanders off the path.

I truly believe birth is best left alone.  Just like all other bodily functions, women birth easier and faster when left to their own body and instincts.

I imagine my next birth all the time.  I often find myself daydreaming about what it will be like and who will be there.  I try to imagine what season it is and if that will give me a clue at all.

The room is always lit with candles, since obviously I will labor at night haha, but instead of actual candles, it is the plugable tea lights so I don’t have to worry about them burning out or Glade knocking one over.

I have a birth tub set up in front of the bar, next to the bookshelves.  There is a chair over there for my husband to rest in for when I am in the tub.  The soft light makes it seem so peaceful.

I always see myself in the tub, since water always makes me feel better.  I breathe and sway and do what I need to do.

Every once in awhile, I imagine myself looking over to the other side of the room to see who is with me.  There is always my best friends, ones who are there for me.  One is playing quietly with Glade, and every once in awhile Glade comes over and gives me a kiss and tells me I’m doing a great job.

I see the birth stuff near the door or kitchen, it moves every time, and I know it all belongs to me.  Sometimes there is a doula there, othertimes it is just my husband or my friend coaching me through rough patches.

But the one thing that stands out at all these births is that I am free.  I am free to do what I need to do to help progression and to give birth to my baby.  I don’t have anyone coaching me to push, or to catch.  It is just me giving birth to my child.

Freebirthing is seen as something dangerous and taboo.  When I tell people I am thinking about an unassisted birth, they look at me cross-eyed and don’t understand how I could ever want to kill my child when there is a hospital so close and I can schedule my repeat surgery.

Someone even told my sister in law when she was discussing me that “no doctor would ever let her do that”, which actually just makes me giggle.

The one huge thing I learned from Glade’s birth is that it truly is my fault.  When I am around authority, no matter who they are, I bow to them.  I listen and I don’t question.  You can say it is how I was raised, but I cannot stand up to it when it is about me.  I am great when it is other women, but for myself, I follow whatever they tell me.

I have been planning a homebirth for over a year, and always imagined a midwife there.

Then I saw the Freebirthing episode on Discovery Health, and it all shattered.

If I have an attendant at my birth, even one as amazing as the midwife I work with and love, it will not be about me.  I will always be wondering if I am doing things right and if I need to do something else and hoping they suggest something.

My birth, however selfish this may sound, should be about me and what I need to do to deliver my baby.

A lot of people might have problems with this, and to me, that just means that they do not trust the birth process.  If you are a midwife or a doctor or a doula or anything and do not trust unassisted birth and are not excited when a woman chooses one, you are terrified of what could happen and want to control the situation.

I cannot wait for my midwife to have her unassisted birth, if not to show my husband how beautiful it is, but to show everyone in the birth community how beautiful it is, even if they only read it online.

For me, an unassisted birth after cesarean feels right.  I need to know that my body works, that I can birth my child in my own power.  I am not only doing this as a healing experience for me, but because I believe birth is something special, and no one should have to birth how they aren’t comfortable.

Right now, for me, this feels so very right.