Monday, September 13, 2010

Remarks About a Blog Post I Read and How It Affected Me

I read a post on Facebook the other day. It really stuck with me. Before you read any more of THIS post, I recommend that you click on the link above (if you haven’t already) and read it.

NO worries…I’ll wait.

Did you read it yet? You should. It really will make my long rambling diatribe make more sense if you do. Seriously. Go now.

Didn’t read it? Oh well. I’m sure you’ll still get the idea but it just won’t be the same…

Oh fine. Just do what you want. See if I care.  :P

Here’s the link again just in case.  

Ok, assuming you finally gave in to my nagging…read on.

Luckily, the story in the link above is not about me. I was able to have (comparatively speaking) a fairly good experience all three times. I am, however, so very disappointed that some practitioners act as if they will be supportive of your views regarding birth only to pull a “bait and switch” at the last minute.

I'm confident that I'd have had a more positive experience with my son Jamie's birth if the OB had recognized my needs more. I found out later that some of the OB’s decision-making was based on outdated practices and ended up creating a much more stressful experience than it had to be.

(Point that must be made before I proceed - The practitioner who assisted us with Jamie's birth was NOT my OB. She was a back up that I didn’t know due to my regular OB being out of town. I was assured  by my regular OB that if I ended up with this person that it should be fine as she was similar in views and practice. We specifically chose this location to give birth because we were assured that no matter who assisted us with our birth, all of the practitioners had the same basic views on avoiding unnecessary interventions unless medically necessary. We changed our birth location BECAUSE OF THIS ASSURANCE.)

While the ultimate goal is always healthy baby and healthy mom...I just think that it's possible to do it in a way that doesn't use scare tactics. I am mourning the birth that 'could have been' because the OB that I ended up with chose to put me in a fearful and defensive position the minute she walked into the room and I just really don't think that needed to happen. My mistake? Not being informed of some of the potential outcomes so that I could deal with things as they happened. (For the record? I was VERY INFORMED. I am one of ‘those people’…you know, the birth junkie people? I know more than any ten people about birth and complications and outcomes. I suspect I was a little too cocky about knowing so much that when I DIDN’T know something? I panicked. Big time.) When I didn’t know what to do? I did what I was supposed to do - I relied on the OB to give me the most accurate info. She? Didn't live up to her side of the deal and used outdated info to push me into making decisions that I would not have made if I'd known better.

Now I'm fearful of my upcoming birth and that makes me so sad.

Yes, healthy baby and healthy mom is the ultimate goal. BUT, I'm giving myself permission to feel upset that what should have been a beautiful experience turned into something stressful and fearful because I trusted my practitioner to act in my best interest and she instead acted in the best interest of the hospital.

Did I have a 'natural birth' all three times? There were no drugs administered, I didn't have a C-Section and baby was healthy and perfect each time so in the interest of being fair I'd have to say yes I mostly did have a natural birth all three times. BUT, only my second ended up being the beautiful, intervention-free experience that I absolutely yearned for. And you know what? It is perfectly ok for me to want that. Even more? It's ok to feel sad and angry and upset that I didn't get it.

Interesting point to make: The thought crops up often (and opinion is offered occasionally) that I maybe couldn’t have avoided my birth experience with Jamie because I ended up with a practitioner that was not familiar with my medical history. My second birth? The awesome one? WAS ALSO DONE BY A PRACTITIONER THAT I DIDN’T KNOW.

( defense of the first experience? I was kind of an idiot about birth. My friend and I armed ourselves with as much knowledge as we could but you just don't KNOW until you have it happen to you. It taught me that I still had a lot to learn. I also honestly believe that I needed that first 'tough birth' to really show me what I wanted to have if I ever had another baby. It was my inspiration and I wouldn't change it. (Uh...except for the part where I asked for drugs and then accused people of lying to me when they said that it was too late because I thought that THEY didn't WANT ME TO HAVE THEM. That part I might make go away...LOL.)

To those who might want to tell me that I should just get over it because I was fine and baby was fine and that's all that matters? I respectfully hear your opinion. I’m going to do my best to not get mad at you for assuming that you know how I feel or know what my experience was like. You don’t know because you weren’t there. And if you feel the strong urge to tell me to get over it? Please don’t. I’ve already heard it. If you tell me anyway? Don’t be surprised if I ignore you. Don’t worry, I’ll still hear it but will just chose not to respond. If I did respond? Might not be pretty. Then again, if you are the kind of person that would actually say it after I've been clear on my feelings regarding the subject then you are likely used to ‘not pretty’ in which case I’d be wasting my time.  LOL

I want to be perfectly clear about one thing though: I feel actual physical pain for those who have had bad outcomes. Ask my husband. He gets so annoyed with me sometimes because I’m way to empathetic a person and get so upset when I hear the stories.  I know that babies and mamas die every day and I know I am lucky. I don’t pretend for ONE MINUTE to know how this feels and  I am not trying to compare my experience in ANY WAY to these families or trying to imply that they don’t matter. Having said that, I still have the right to feel exactly how I feel about what happened to us.  I can’t ignore how I feel just because I’m fortunate that my baby and my health ended up being fine. I’m so completely grateful that we all made it out ok. Please know that. I’m just trying so hard to work through my feelings about my last birth so that I can feel good about the one that is just around the corner. I know I’m not the only one that is feeling ambivalence about a birth experience and I’m hoping that this will both help me AND let people know that it’s OK to feel the way we feel about it…even if things turned out “fine”.

Now that I’ve rambled on and on about things, I should actually write a post about Jamie’s birth. I wasn’t really ready to dissect how things went and it’s been on my mind a lot. Now? I think I’m ready and this is very very good. It won’t be easy but I think that it will really help me figure out how to envision a great experience for Harper’s arrival in January. Woot!

*Disclaimer: I use *I* a lot when describing what happened during Jamie’s birth. I was to emphasize that my husband and good friend and doula were also there helping me. I can really only tell the story from my own perspective though. I’ve asked my husband to share his thoughts about the experience and am hoping he will do a blog post about it tonight. We’ve talked about what happened a lot but I’m really curious to see his ‘unvarnished’ perspective. So many times you perceive things differently and I just cannot wait to hear his view of things. Be prepared though, you will likely see swear words. Specifically, swear words that start with the letter 'F' and copious use of the word 'asshat'. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Anonymous said...

This comment will be semi-on-topic...but just had to write...I DEFINITELY think you should write his {and your girls'} birth stories down. In July, we celebrated what would have been my Grandma's 91st birthday. I thought, "I soooo wish I knew her birth story and that she could tell me about giving birth to her daughters." Think about how much birthing could change between now & when our grandchildren are born. For Jamie to have that to read...and his children...and his grandchildren...would be beautiful. It will be healing for you and a gift for your children.

Julian@connectedmom said...

Very good post. Thank you for linking to my own. I am SO glad that reading and responding to my post has helped you find a place where you can write down Jaime's birth in detail. I'll be sending my thoughts to you and praying for a great birth for your next little one!

Unknown said...

OK, so I know where your son was born, and I looked it up the other day, and it had the 4th highest rate in the Twin Cities, and haad gone up 4% from 2007. EEGADS!!!

That said, there are things you can do to make this better, and I'd suggest writing them down and going over each thing, line by line, with a doula to figure out how to deal with it this time. I like to do it with multips, and it really helps.

Ashley Weeks Cart said...

Hi love! Just me snooping around your blog archives. It was great to be linked over to Connected Moms - I'd forgotten about that post. So thank you for that - and gentle hint hint nudge nudge to get you to submit any one or all four of your birth stories - or a conglomerate of something like this over at I love the way you think about birth and this post was such a reminder of that - so yay! Submit submit! xo A