(Gunnarr has the traditional Scottish spelling and is pronounced “gun-er”.)
I began an afghan for Gunnarr before he was born. Of course we didn’t know if “he” was a boy or girl so I chose a lovely green color – organic cotton – a lovely yarn and a challenging pattern for my knitting skills. Certainly doable though. I’d been knitting for a couple of years and knew all of the stitches.
It just wouldn’t come together. I tried and tried, frogged and frogged… and only NOW, with his 9 month birthday looming, is it nearly complete. It was quite a journey, but of course, so was his pregnancy and birth. I’ll blog about the pregnancy another time, but for now will talk a bit about his birth.
I had the MOST lovely home labor I could have dreamed of. Predictable labor pattern, totally what I wanted with my husband at hand, in the water, candles.. music… got the 10 cm and felt like pushing after about 6 hrs. I couldn’t believe how fast it was going!
And I pushed. And Pushed. And PUUUUSSSHHHEEDDD. Nothing. Changed positions, used homeopathics, contractions hard and strong… the little fellow wouldn’t budge.
Now, of course we hasn’t a little fellow at all. He weighed 10 pounds and 8 ounces and was 23 inches long! But I’ve seen 10+lb’ers be born slick as a whistle, easy and in a state of bliss… it just wasn’t happening for me.
6 hours later, Gunnarr plugging along just fine, he was born surgically in our local hospital. He was fine, I was devastated. Even though I made the decision to transport, even though he was ok and so was I (physically) it really REALLY hurt. A few months later I attended a butter birth… big baby whose mother I now call my friend… and she had MY birth. And it hurt again.
Then today, as I am finishing up Gunnarr’s afghan…. it suddenly started just falling into place… the last few stitches, the edging… all of it. And it hit me: “This doesn’t look exactly like I envisioned it but it still is a nice little blanket!”
Sometimes crap happens. Sorry for using that word, if it offends anyone. But it does. And it’s messy, and it stinks, and well… who wants it? Not me! But it happens. So we clean up the mess and move on. And once in awhile, something beautiful turns up in spite of it.
I’ve been recently compiling a few more resources on salt intake during pregnancy. There simply is no science to support the idea that REAL, WHOLE salt should be reduced or eliminated during pregnancy NOR that doing so will decrease swelling.
Here is a great handout on SALT in pregnancy (not to techy). It is from the UK with some US sources.
MidwiferyServices.org has a lovely section on salt to this tune:
What’s Up With Salt?
Sodium is an extremely important component in your diet and yet many women still get misguided advice to not eat salt while pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stopped recommending salt-restriction to pregnant women in 1974, when it was finally acknowledged that this was not only not beneficial, but was potentially harmful!
Sodium works together with protein (albumin) to maintain a normal circulating blood volume. A pregnant woman needs additional sodium to help support her expanding blood volume. Additional sodium goes to the baby and to the expanding breast and uterine tissues also.
Commonly, friends and family will offer advice to cut back on salt if you are experiencing swelling. This is not a healthy solution to this problem (if it really is a problem) and can in fact cause problems. The correct response to swelling is to increase protein and fluid intake. You may even need additional salt if it has been hot or you have experienced increased perspiration. The general rule of thumb is: Salt your food to taste.
And this is my all-time favorite article on the salt-myth because it includes some discussion (often lacking) about the importance of the TYPE of salt you use. Thank you Maryn!!!
I’m tired tonight. I’ve driven roughly 600 miles this week, and that’s not counting driving for family matters. That adds about another hundred miles or so. Now, I’m not complaining. I’m really not. I am blessed beyond words, and HUMBLED by the number of colossally awesome families I meet in a given day. For instance:
The last minute meeting with a gal I’ve only talked to in passing that turned into a real “Ah-hah!” afternoon while we both nurse our babies and spoke of ways to improve MOTHERING support in our community.
The family I served this week (albeit BARELY!) who will leave for Mexico as full time missionary’s as soon as this baby’s birth certificate arrives. The mama wants to learn about herbs and homeopathics, and essential oils – she wants to mother her family to the fullest in a possibly hostile and surely third-world environment.
The family who is trying their level best to deal with well-intentioned but sometimes annoying family members who question their choice to homebirth. To see the GRACE with which they do this, and the STRENGTH behind their choice is astounding. I’m SO proud of them for standing their ground REGARDLESS of the choice they make (hospital birth vs homebirth really isn’t the issue here).
The young family that chased me down on the highway because they recognized my vehicle and wanted to see me again (I served them at their birth a few months back). We chatted about organic farming and their recent chicken killing activity over a latte’ at Starbucks. Well, I was the only one with a coffee… and I HAD quit until THIS week hit me! The conversation ranged from that to rare hogs to missing hens and non-GMO corn. Oh, and I got to cuddle THE sweetest baby boy who is getting SO BIG!
Really, I could go on and on. The text conversations with my sister-midwives, my daughter’s dreams of life after high school, my oldest calling home (sniff, sniff), my wonderful sons and husband who cook and even clean in my absence with nary a complaint. They even let me sleep the afternoon away until I can reclaim my home-post.
The real meaning behind my original statement is that when one is walking out their life-calling it can begin to move really really FAST. Once things get going the momentum is breathtaking! I know Staples has an EASY button, may I have a SLOW one? Because I certainly wouldn’t want to stop, skip or fast forward this journey. I simply would like time to enjoy it a bit more.
Modern media has proven that you can wrap up just about anything and people will like it: IF the wrapper catches your eye!
Well, wrapping your baby isn’t a marketing ploy – and the cute factor is what’s INSIDE your baby wrap! There are many reasons to wear your baby. I love this website’s list. I can’t vouch for the items they have for sale as I’ve never purchased a wrap or sling. They are too easy to just make yourself!!!
Seriously though, you don’t have to spend $50 – $100 on a good baby carrier. My favorite to-date is a lovely length of fabric I purchased from the $1/yard table! No sewing required!!!
If you are new to mothering, you simply must give wearing your baby a shot. It will quickly become your favorite accessory.
My favorite with sewing instructions:
Wear Your Baby
And if you need to “see” how to use a wrap, thank goodness for YouTube!
You Tube Wrap Videos
Ok, so if you’re going into a hospital that has a 30% cesarean rate, and you go in for an induction, does that make your chances of a cesarean go up to 60%? Probably not, but it did make me ponder. SO many of the induction I hear about from friends, relatives, etc. end in a cesarean. To say that half of them do is not a stretch.
CONCLUSION: Labor induction is significantly associated with a cesarean delivery among nulliparous women at term for those with and without medical or obstetric complications. Reducing the use of elective labor induction may lead to decreased rates of cesarean delivery for a population.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II
(C) 2010 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Here is the article just published with these stats:
Ehrenthal, Deborah B.; Jiang, Xiaozhang; Strobino, Donna M.
Obstetrics & Gynecology. 116(1):35-42, July 2010.
I just can’t believe it… I don’t WANT to believe it. That midwives (the “guardians of normal birth”) are using cytotec (also known as misoprostyl) to induce labor at home. The fact that they are using it in hospitals doesn’t shock me, makes me mad, but I just add it to their list of sins again women and babies. Nothing new there. But midwives… sweet, caring, lovely homebirth midwives. Thinking this doesn’t harm anyone. I hear it over and over again, “I’ve used it judiciously for years and have never seen a problem with it.”
Well good for you. Tell my blog-friend Anne that you’ve never had a problem with it’s use. That you’ve never seen a baby die from it, or a mother die or lose her uterus from it. Good for you. Put some flowers on her baby’s grave and say, “Well, we don’t know for SURE that cytotec caused her death.” That you have played the tables and had good luck doesn’t change the fact that this is a potentially dangerous drug that you are using for an OFF-LABEL situation. There are no safe dosing limits or instructions, no risks to inform your clients of because the company that makes cytotec has no intentions of marketing it for obstetrical use. I doubt their lawyers would allow them to. Too much of a liability perhaps?
Here is a quote about misoprostyl that sums up my own position and one that, I believe, should be taken by all birth workers:
Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said she was “absolutely incredulous” that any hospital would give the drug to women outside of clinical trials.
She said: “This drug is not licensed for use in labour, and the NICE guidance is categorical on that point. In this country, misoprostol should only be used in labour if the baby is already dead, or after the birth, because otherwise the risks are simply too great.” [ click here for the newspaper story ]
I’m not likely to stop beating this drum for awhile yet. In fact, you might want to cover your ears because frankly? I plan on beating it louder.
I am So frustrated at the amount of misinformation put out there as FACT soley for the convenience of the provider! Grrrr!!!!! Some OB’s do it, some GP’s do it, some midwives do it, heck as far my experience shows some DENTISTS do it.
There was recently a comment made on my Castor Oil post from a woman who was told she was too small and couldn’t go to 38 weeks or her “uterus would rip open”. Baby was just TOO TOO big. Even if the poster got some of the semantics wrong (probably is her pelvis they are talking about not her uterus) the arguments for induction just amaze me. Of course I did not offer he any advice as to induction.
My local hospital routinely does inductions at 37 weeks. 37 WEEKS! Yeah. Ludicrous.
The main reason given to women for inductions and even cesareans is the “big baby” argument. And we have these wonderful things called sonograms to “prove” they are too big to “fit” through your pelvis. Please. Do they think we are stupid? Ignorant perhaps, but we are not STUPID.
Here is a lovely blog post by the fantastic “Unnecessarian” on sonograms and estimated size and due dates. Sonograms can be off as much as a pound either way and 2 weeks +/- for due date predictions! So if the sonogram says you are ok for an induction at 37 weeks (by the sonogram) and you induce and it’s off by 2 weeks guess whatcha get? A baby at 35 weeks with respiratory issues, breastfeeding challenges, and a myriad of other psychological implications the likes of which we have NO CLUE about yet.
And the weight predictions are just fantastical. The stuff of Harry Potter and traveling circus acts. There is some science there – just enough to be dangerous. Sure. Gaze into the sonogram screen and see your future: induction + pitocin + epidural = surgical birth.
And let me tell ya from experience: a 2nd degree tear is alot easier to heal from than a 10″ wound on your belly complete with scar tissue and a spinal headache for dessert.
Here in the US, homebirth midwives normally seek to remove and distinguish themselves from the term “obstetrics”. It conjurs images of sterile green hospital walls, episiotomies, paternalistic care, and the dreaded bed and stirrups of 2nd stage.
I recently came across the term used in a most delightful way at the Homebirth Australia site.. It’s definition most creativily defining what homebirth midwives do:
However, domiciliary obstetrics is the ‘art of invisibility’ and without complications a woman gives birth herself, supported and aided by her midwife. -Jan Pilgrim
I would love to have turned that phrase. “The art of invisibility”. Yes! A watchful eye, careful watching, gentle hands. THIS is the art of the midwife.
I understand that the off-label use of pharmaceuticals is a normal occurrence in the medical world. I get that. What’s not cool is that this is done in maternity care as well with dire consequences.
I’m not talking about the random, “uh-oh”, I’m referring instead to the drug company themselves issuing statements saying “We do not endorse the use of this product for any use other than that described on the label.” Yeah, they’re probably just covering their b*tts but still. They said it. Yet it happens everyday in the labor and delivery department of nearly every hospital in the country. It has become so commonplace to induce labor that not only have we stopped wondering how/if this affects the baby or the mother we have now started grabbing whatever drugs we can find that give us “a better induction outcome”.
Bishop’s score be damned. God created women’s body to birth. With consideration made for the odd-one-out with pituitary damage or other disorders that truly make her body hold onto her baby long past safely, using drugs to begin labor before the body begins to open up on it’s own is risky risky risky.
Births are kindof like bowel movements. They happen on their own. Can’t plan ‘em, can’t stop ‘em, can’t hurry them along. Bowel movements happen (errr… I can’t help but think of a certain bumper sticker I’ve seen alot of right now).
Birth HAPPENS as well. Babies are born when it is TIME. If we have accepted that every other body system has knowledge to know when to open and release, then why can’t we accept the body’s wisdom in birthing when it is time?
You might have had a Cytotec induction. And so did your sister, your friend, aunt, daughter’s 2nd grade teacher… and all went well. On the surface perhaps. But what did it do to that baby’s emotional/psychological health to be so rudely pushed into the world before he/she was ready to come? And what about the women reading this who is a victim of a cytotec induction who is grieving the loss of her womb? Suddenly hurrying a baby out seems less important when faced with an emergency cesarean to save your baby’s life and a hysterectomy to save yours.
All from a couple of tidy white pills manufactured to treat ulcers. Who’da thunk?