Monday, April 21, 2008


I'm having a baby on Thursday. It's kind of weird to think of it like that, knowing that I'm going to walk into the hospital Thursday morning, still very pregnant, and by the end of the day have a baby boy in my arms. It's weird to plan for something like that.

We had a doctor's appointment today, and we've decided to induce labor. Isaac's estimated fetal weight is nine pounds, 10 ounces, which means he could weigh anywhere between eight and 11.5 pounds. Our doctor doesn't see any benefit to waiting and letting Isaac get any bigger, so we're going to go ahead and start and IV of Pitocin early Thursday morning. Hopefully, after the doctor breaks my water, I can start laboring on my own and we can turn the drugs off. I'm still hopeful for a natural delivery, even if I'll be birthing a toddler. Please send us all your prayers and good thoughts.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Too Much Stuff

So being the woman of leisure that I am (for the time being), I watch Oprah almost every day. I can't help it, I really love it. Today was an interesting show: Oprah challenged families to use less stuff, cutting back on the amount of non-necessities they buy, the TV they watch, the time spent in front of the computer. What really blew my mind was the amount of trash generated by this one family of five. With the refrigerator and pantry stocked, the mother would throw out nearly a quarter to half of her inventory before going out and spending hundreds more dollars on groceries. She threw away things that had gone bad, pop that was flat, leftovers never eaten, and the amount of food wasted was tremendous. And I do the exact same thing, maybe not to the same degree that she did, but only because my family is much smaller. But I'm always throwing out things that are bad because I've bought them and not eaten them or things that aren't bad but that I know I'm never going to eat.

The show served its purpose, forcing me to think about how much I waste. Another issue was water bottles. I use the same bottles over and over usually, and John and I have begun to recycle, but something as simple as investing in a water purifying pitcher and refilling aluminum containers would cut back so much on waste. I was excited to convince John to start recycling with me, and I have already noticed a decrease in the amount of trash we produce, but this show definitely made me want to examine all other aspects of our lives and ways in which we can live greener. If anyone has any tips or can recommend any good books on the topic, I'd love to hear them. The one big problem we have is opting for convenience in favor of conservatism. But really, it can't be that hard.

One thing I have been thinking a lot about, and this may be a tough sell to John, is switching to cloth diapers once Isaac is three months or so old. At the beginning of this pregnancy, I thought the idea was outlandish, but just thinking of the amount of waste disposable diapers create makes me want to give cloth ones a shot. And Shelly seems to have had some good luck with them and says they aren't much less convenient than disposables. They are a little expensive up front, but I think the money and waste saved will be worth it. Again, the toughest part will be convincing John to participate in the switch.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Road to Natural Childbirth

Very early on in my pregnancy, I could not fathom giving birth naturally. I didn't find women who made that choice "crazy"; I rather envied them their courage. I just couldn't believe that my body would be capable of such a feat. John was actually the one to suggest natural childbirth. He told me that, although the decision was of course mine, that was the route he would prefer to travel because of the benefits it would award our son. I thought about it, briefly, and quickly dismissed the idea. I was in no hurry to think about what I imagined would be the most painful experience of my life.

What actually prompted me to consider natural childbirth were the birthing and breastfeeding classes I took at St. John. Neither were meant to promote or advocate natural childbirth, but both offered simple and very quick overviews of the birthing and breastfeeding processes. It was there, though, learning about the epidural and the other drugs offered to women in labor, I started seriously considering my options. I didn't like the idea that the narcotic pain relievers offered could cross the placenta and affect the baby and that the epidural could leave both mother and baby groggy and out of it, wanting from the experience. I also didn't like how offering a laboring woman one drug often led to an avalanche of others because, once the epidural was in place, it could lower blood pressure and increase blood sugar, meaning that other drugs would need to be administered to counteract the first.

Also, in our breastfeeding class, we were showed a video of a baby, delivered without any pain medication, who could literally, moments after birth, crawl the length of his mother's abdomen, latch onto her breast and begin breastfeeding without assistance. The babies who were delivered with medication could not. They were groggy and had difficulty focusing and latching on. After seeing this, I started thinking about natural childbirth, not for its benefits to me, but for those afforded to my son. Then I began reading everything I could about the subject, and the more I studied, the more I honestly felt natural childbirth was the only choice I had when it came to delivering my baby.

I definitely do not criticize women who choose to have epidurals or other pain medication during birth. I think any woman who delivers a baby any way is a hero. I do wish, though, information about the benefits of natural childbirth were more readily available to women. Those who seek it out find that their bodies are capable of much more than they could imagine and that the benefits of natural childbirth greatly outweigh the risks of medical intervention. But instead of believing that our bodies are strong and capable and that childbirth is a natural occurrence and not a medical procedure, we are made to believe that childbirth is a painful rite of passage that women must endure. I think we're sort of cheated in that respect.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good News (and a little rant...)

I had another doctor’s appointment yesterday, and I am one centimeter dilated. Dr. Larson seemed skeptical that my three sets of 15 squats per day had much to do with my progress, but I figure, even if they didn’t help, they certainly didn’t hurt, and I’m going to keep doing them in the hope that by next week’s appointment I’ll be at least to a three or four. I was relieved, though, to hear Dr. Larson say she’s not in a hurry to induce me yet, which I consider a great blessing. She said the baby’s a good size but not too big, and we can wait until next week and see where I am. I’m using these pelvic exams to help prepare myself for childbirth and the relaxation and breathing techniques I’ll need to use to get through it. The exams are uncomfortable and somewhat painful, but there was a big difference for me between the first and the second because, during the second, I made the conscious effort to relax and breathe deeply, which significantly lessened the discomfort I was feeling. I know a pelvis exam and the birth of an eight pound baby may not seem comparable, but I’m using ever instance of pain or discomfort I feel as an opportunity to practice relaxing and breathing through it. Any practice is good practice, I think, and it’s helping me to be even more comfortable with the idea of what my body will soon be going through.

The two books I’ve been reading, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method have both been instrumental in helping me prepare myself for natural childbirth. The thing I’ve really enjoyed reading about and found profoundly interesting is the idea that childbirth doesn’t have to be painful. Western women are made to believe that labor and childbirth have to be a tortuous experience, but, in other, less civilized cultures, women understand that childbirth is a natural experience, one a woman’s body was made for, and needn’t be unnecessarily difficult or painful. When women understand what their bodies are capable of and aren’t fearful of it, the pain associated with the experience will be considerably less. Even in the childbirth class John and I took, which did not advocate natural childbirth over medicated, our instructor told us that the uterus is simply a smooth muscle, very much like the heart. When the heart is healthy and working properly, it doesn’t hurt. So, in theory, when your uterus is healthy and working as it is meant to, it shouldn’t hurt.

I was telling a friend all this over dinner one night at Tokyo Garden, and a women sitting nearby at our table interrupted us to say, “Trust me, it hurts.” I get really irritated when people—strangers, friends, family, anyone—feel the need to discourage a woman who is considering giving birth naturally. Not every woman’s birth experience is the same. I don’t expect labor and childbirth to be completely without pain. I do expect, however, to approach the experience without fear and for the pain to be manageable. And I don’t see that as an unreasonable expectation. So when other women hear that and feel they need to scare me into thinking I’ll need medication to get through the arduous task of delivering my baby, I don’t get discouraged; I get angry. I would never tell a woman she was crazy for wanting to have an epidural, and I wish people would stop telling me I’m crazy for not wanting one. I believe I can have a natural, joyful experience, and I’m grateful for the people in my life who support this decision. I’m also grateful to have a doctor who supports this decision and who told me she would do everything in her power to ensure I have the birth experience I want.

After my doctor’s appointment yesterday, I visited a new store on Brookside called Lundeby’s Eco Baby. It’s a store similar to Soleil Moon Frye’s The Little Seed in Los Angeles that sells natural, organic clothes, diapers, toys and other baby necessities. It’s a really cute little store and its presence, combined with that of the Holistic Moms Network, I think proves that women in Tulsa want safe, natural, healthy options for their babies. I hope the store does well. I only wish I had the idea and the start-up capital first. I’ve always thought owning some kind of little boutique would be really fun, and now that my world revolves around this little life inside of me, having an all-natural baby store would be kind of the best job ever. You never know what could happen, I guess. Maybe by the time I have enough money to do something like that, Tulsa will be ready for two organic novelty shops.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Still no baby

I went to the doctor last Thursday and found out, much to my chagrin, that I haven't started dilating at all. I've been having a lot of contractions over the past few weeks, and I hoped at least some of them were getting me somewhere. And, I had a dream the night before my appointment that I was at four centimeters and ready for my water to be broken. I had hoped it was an omen, but it would appear it was just wishful thinking. I have another appointment Wednesday, and until then, my plan is to walk and squat, walk and squat. I'm hoping I can get myself dilated at least enough that Dr. Larson will just break my water and not give me any pitocin.

In the meantime, Tuesday is my last day at work, and I'm really happy that I'll have a few days to keep my feet up and catch up on my reading. And Tasha has volunteered to come over and help my practice some relaxation exercises that will help during Isaac's birth. Having someone present at my birth who has delivered a child naturally and who is getting certified to help other women deliver naturally, has given me so much more confidence that I'll be able to have a happy, natural experience. Now, if only we could get this show on the road! I wouldn't be so eager to get labor started, except that I don't want to be induced. So, if anyone has any tips (I already know about sex and Castor oil), let me know!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

This week and the last have been like a breath of fresh air, almost 100 percent stress free! When I planned my maternity leave, I figured I would work up until it was time to have the baby because I didn't see a need to take weeks off in advance. The closer I get, though, the more I see the need! I get more and more exhausted every day, and the stress I was feeling at work, especially during the production of the special insert, the Spring Thing, wasn't helping. I found myself resenting being at work and wishing I could just stay home, put my swollen feet up and prepare for Isaac's arrival. Last week and this week, though, I've handed over all of my duties and responsibilities to our Editorial Assistant Katie and made it clear that I'm here for moral support and to answer questions. I've also been working on finalizing the Swimsuit Issue, but that's been more fun than anything else. These two weeks will be great for Katie because they'll give her an opportunity to practice doing my job while I'm still here to guide her, and they're great for me because they have allowed me a little time to relax and focus my attention more on having the baby. I take leave a week from today, and I'm hoping I have a few days at home to read and relax before Isaac comes.

I don't want that much time to pass, though, because my doctor has already threatened my with induction if Isaac doesn't come pretty quickly after my due date, which is April 12. (I really love my doctor, by the way, and I'm sure she isn't actually threatening me; I just really, really don't want to be induced.) I know having the pitocin in my system will make it so much more difficult, if not impossible, to have Isaac naturally, so I'm hoping to go into labor spontaneously. So, during the first few days of my maternity leave, I'm planning to take many, many walks.

The thing I'm working on now is choosing a pediatrician. I'm hoping to find someone who is open to natural and holistic healing and will try those methods over medicine whenever possible. I also want a doctor who will support my decision, should I make it, not to vaccinate Isaac or to at least delay his vaccinations. I know that the doctors at the Young People's Clinic have more natural attitudes toward medicine, but I've heard it can be difficult to get into that group. If anyone has any other suggestions for local, natural doctors, I'd love to hear them. As for the vaccinations, I haven't really made any decisions except that I do want to put Isaac on an alternative schedule if I do choose to have him vaccinated. I got Dr. Sears' The Vaccine Book, which actually provides a non-biased explanation of what the vaccines are, how they're made, what the risks and rewards are and how prevalent and dangerous the diseases they are meant to prevent are. I've only read the first couple of chapters (still trying to finish Ina May and my hypnobirthing book), but they've been really informative. Through my reading, I've come to the conclusion that some of the vaccines may be necessary, but others are meant to prevent diseases that are so rare, it's unlikely your child will get them. And since I plan to breastfeed as long as possible and not put Isaac into any kind of daycare setting,his risk of getting those diseases has lessened that much. I know no matter what I choose, the decision will be a difficult one, and I'll probably be more likely to immunize him once he starts going to school and interacting with other children. But until then, it's my hope that I can keep as many toxins out of his body as possible.

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