photo by Surely Sweet Photography

Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It shouldn't be about business.

I'm sitting here watching the Business of Being Born for the first time.  I've put it off, knowing that it would only confirm this nagging voice telling me that with the next birth, I do not want another c-section.  I've finally sat down to watch it, and I was right.  Less than 5 minutes into it, it just confirmed I want a midwife to deliver my next baby.  And here I am writing this.  Which I've also been putting off. 

Riley was born via c-section, after a scheduled induction.  I was 38 weeks, 4 days pregnant.  I had been dilated at a 2 for a couple of weeks, and having horrible back labor.  I went in for an appointment at 38 weeks, and the doctor suggested scheduling the induction.  I was so done at that point, that I agreed.  I was uncomfortable. 

"I" being the key word.  But in all honesty, I was fine with it.  I was still hoping to hold off on the epidural as long as possible.  I only wanted it as a last resort, for when I couldn't take the pain any longer. 

I went in early on the scheduled day.  The IV with the pitocin drip was started at about 7:00 am.  By 1:00 (or so, I don't remember exactly), I was dilated to "barely 4 cm".  The doctor had broken my water a few hours earlier (which was extremely painful without any pain meds), but things weren't progressing as they liked. 

I asked for an epidural then, after they upped the pitocin, trying to speed things along.  Well, labor stalled after that.  I couldn't feel the contactions, thanks to the drugs.  I watched them on a moniter.  Around 5:45 pm, I was still at a 4, so the doctor recommended a c-section.  He cited "failure to progress" as the reason.  He also told me Riley's head was getting stuck in my pelvic bone. 

Riley was born at 6:15 pm in an operating room.  The cord was wrapped around his neck, so it was a couple of minutes (that felt like an eternity) before we heard his cry.  Once we did, it was the best sound in the world!  I cried silent tears of joy.  I still hold dear that moment when I heard him for the first time, and then a few minutes later when I saw him.  As soon as they closed me up and took me back to my room, Riley was there waiting for me.  I nursed him within minutes of returning to the room.  He stayed in my room the entire stay at the hospital.  I wanted him close so I could nurse on demand.  And, I didn't want to be away from him.

Riley, just minutes old in the OR.
He weighed in at 8 lb 2 oz!
When I was pregnant with Elijah, I was unsure of what to do.  I liked the idea of a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), but I was scared something would go wrong.  I was scared of going through the labor process, and still needing a c-section.  I spoke to my ob/gyn about what to do (a different one, since we thought we were going to move at the time).  She told me because of the circumstances of my delivery with Riley, that she would only do a scheduled c-section. 

I ended up changing back to the ob that delivered Riley when we realized we would not be moving.  I spoke with him about what to do.  He told me it was my decision.  Great.  Now *I* had to be the one to decide.  Secretly, I was hoping he would just tell me so I wouldn't have to think about it.  I wanted a VBAC, but I was scared.

The fear won. 

We scheduled a c-section for 11/11/09.  Eight days before his due date.  I kinda liked that day, it would be easy to remember.  And it happens to be Veteran's Day. 

It was very different than the first birth.  Very calm.  A lot of waiting, not feeling at all like we were about to change our family forever.  Eli was born at 8:03 am.  Less than 2 hours after arriving at the hospital.  His cry came almost immediately after he was out, and it was a very surreal moment.  I was able to breastfeed him as soon as I returned to my room.  But I was so out of it from the drugs that I ended up sleeping most of the morning.  Eli was in the nursery most of that time.  Which is not something I wanted, but I was so out of it, I couldn't really complain.  That was the only time he was away from me, since we also "roomed in". 

Elijah, seconds old in the OR.
He weighed in at 8 lb 10 oz!

I can't go back and change anything about my 2 birth experiences.  I don't feel guilty about them, either.  I don't feel cheated.  It is what it is.  I was (and am) happy I had a healthy baby in my arms after each birth.  Not all moms are so blessed.  I won't be ashamed to tell the anyone about how my children came into this world.

I'm not any less of a mom because I've had 2 c-sections.  Nor do I love my babies any less.

At the time, I really didn't know any different than what has become the "norm" for births in America.  I didn't know anyone who had a midwife instead of an OB.  I didn't know anyone in real life who had a successful VBAC.  Online, of course I read success stories.  But those didn't feel real since they were just people behind a computer screen. 

But now I do.  The cloth diaper community has opened my eyes to a whole new world of birth!  Now I know there are midwives in this area that will do VBA2C's.  I know people who have given birth in birth centers.  And at home.  And even at home unassisted, without a midwife. 

Before the accident happened, we had discussed trying for #3 in the summer of 2011.  Well, things didn't exactly work out they way we planned.  Techically, I could get pregnant now if we wanted.  I have been told my pelvic bone is all healed up, and there are no more surgeries anticipated.  But we have been through so much in the last 10 months, both physically and emotionally, that we have decided to wait.  My body is still healing.  6 surgeries in an 8 month span is hard on any body.  I'm still trying to figure out my new "normal".  We are trying to heal and move on after a life changing event. 

I don't know when we will have another baby.  But I know our family is not complete just yet.  For now, we will enjoy life!  God has His own plans.  We may not know what He has in store for us, but I know He will continue to bless us more than we deserve!

When we feel the time is right to have another baby, I want to see a midwife. I want to give birth in a birth center. I'm not quite sure of a home birth, especially after 2 c-sections. I would feel more comfortable not in my own home. Especially if we move to the country soon.

I want to experience spontaneous labor. The anticipation of adding another child to our family.

I won't let fear win again.

I want to experience birth the way it was meant to be.

Monday, January 9, 2012

This year WILL be better!

Hello, old friends!  It has been way too long since I've had a chance to sit down and write.  I've missed it.  So this post is kinda long, playing catch up.  But I've included pics of my cute boys to make up for it!

A lot has happened in the last few months, including 3 major holidays, Eli's 2nd birthday, knee surgery, lots of physical therapy, my uncle passed away after a sudden stroke, Ryan's great-uncle passed away, my computer crashed, the DFW Cloth Diaper Project officially launched, and the DFW Cloth Diaper Group has grown to nearly 1,000 "likes".  Oh, and Ryan went on his first ride since the accident.  It was for a great cause, a motorcycle toy ride, but my nerves were beyond frayed that day.  All this on top of the normal daily routine with 2 young kids.  Things have been hectic, to say the least.

Things got so busy we didn't even have an actual party for Eli, just a fun family lunch at Babe's Chicken House!  Riley ate 7 pieces of smoked chicken and a cupcake.  Eli loved all the attention!

This is piece #6.  It really is that good.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Eli!

Yes, I mentioned more surgery.  Which makes #6 in an 8 month span.  This one was on the knee.  I finally went to see about it (since 2.5 months of PT didn't help as much as it should have).  They did an MRI and scheduled more PT.  After 4 additional weeks of PT, the doctor told me I had 3 choices:

1. Live with the pain.  Yeah, not happening.
2. Try more physical therapy.  Um, I've had a total of 3.5 months on it, 2-3 x's a week.  It's not better.
3. Do orthoscopic surgery to fix the tiny tear he thinks he saw on the MRI. 

So surgery it was.  On December 9 (just 2 weeks before Christmas), I had my knee scoped, and it was the best decision!  I am exactly one month out of surgery, and my knee is world's better!  I have a general soreness from surgery, but the sharp pain is gone.  I can walk through the store without feeling like somebody is stabbing me in the knee with each step.  He sutured a partial tear in the medial meniscus.  And also "filed" down some scar tissue on one of the bones.  It feels like my knee will be somewhat "normal" again once it's fully healed. 

Left knee a couple days post-op.

Scarring on the bone before he filed it down.
I just finished the last of my PT.  I am done, and it feels so strange.  Only one more doctor's appointment, a follow up on my knee (which the doctor said is looking great!).  And then I will be completely done!!  It feels so freeing to be (almost) done with all of the appointments.  I've had 4 different doctors (orthopedic surgeon, plastic surgeon, podiatrist, and a sport's medicine doctor; and one awesome physical therapist!).  Am I completely back to how I was before?  No.  And I never will be.

The long term effects are now apparent.  I can't squat.  At all.  My ankle just won't bend.  And my physical therapist told me that while it's not impossible, it will be very difficult for me to be able to run again.  Not that I'm a runner, or do frequent marathons (ok, none).  But I've always thought that maybe someday I would do one.  Just to prove I could.  But chances of that happening are small.  At least, running one.  I could always walk it.  I'm not even concerned about that.  My focus is more on the simple things, like What if my kid runs to the street or parking lot and I can't chase them?  I can't do that.  And it's frustrating.  And scary. 

When I returned to PT for my knee and ankle in November, I got a special splint that will help the range of motion in my ankle.  It helps some, but not a lot.  The biggest problem is I can't walk in it.  That's impossible with kids.  So, the best time to wear it is when I'm sleeping.  But it's uncomfortable, and I can't sleep with it on.  Ideally, I should wear it 12 hours a day for maximum benefit.  That doesn't happen.  I'm lucky if I wear it 2.  The PT said to use it for a couple more months before returning it. 

I wore this stylish shoe for a couple months before seeing about my knee. 
It kept all pressure off my heel so the one spot where the skin graft didn't
"take" could heal properly.  Skin grafts on the heel are a tricky thing.

The not-so-awesome-and-very-uncomfortable ankle splint I get to wear.

I am finally feeling like I can do some things without great pain.  Like cooking and light cleaning.  Picking things up is hard, since I can't squat.  But I like that I feel well enough to do this stuff.  Only problem is, I'm out of the habit.  It's been 9 months since the accident.  I'm having to figure out my new "normal".  I can't physically function the same as before, but it really won't improve much more.  So I just have to figure it all out, and deal with any discomfort.  It's not easy.

Today I took the kids to the mall to get a haircut, eat lunch, and let them play.  It's cold and wet outside, so I thought I'd let them run off some energy.  Eli was super cranky.  I forgot the stroller wasn't in the car.  I didn't worry, since I figured we'd just get a mall stroller.  But the atm wasn't working, and the machine only took cash.  I had 3 $1 bills.  It cost $5.  So, no stroller.  Eli wanted me to carry him.  The whole time.  Not only is he heavy (about 33 lbs), but the extra weight still hurts my leg.  I can only tolerate carrying him for a few minutes.  If I didn't carry him, he stood there screaming.  If I carried him, it hurt.  I was frustrated, as eyes started at me as if I was torturing my child, that I couldn't carry him easily.  Normally, I don't let the stares bother me.  But today it did.  I felt like a bad mom because I can't carry my child without pain.  I know, I'm not really a bad mom.  But it's still frustrating that I can't carry him when he wants/needs a little extra comfort. 

I'll figure it out.  I know I will, and these frustrations will be a thing of the past.  I'm still so thankful that Ryan and I did not die in that accident.  I'm also thankful that I still have my foot.  And that I can walk.  And hold my kids and watch them grow and learn each day.  My heart aches when I think about what could have happened.  God has blessed us beyond what we deserve!  He has been right here with us the whole time, giving us the strength and comfort we need.  I still need that strength and comfort.  I think the end of this chapter in our lives has been harder than the beginning. 

I was sad on Saturday as I watched Ryan and the boys play Hide and Go Seek in the yard.  I wanted to run and chase after them, and I was reminded of what I won't be able to do with my kids.  I almost feel as if I'm mourning the loss of my old "normal" life, when I had no restrictions on what I could do.  But when I get a little down about this, I just need to look at 2 wonderful little faces to remind me of how truly blessed I am.  I may not be able to run after them, but they can run to me.  And for that, I am thankful.  And my heart is full.