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Archive for the ‘home birth’ Category

I want to tell my story. I want to tell everyone who may happen to read this how I got to the place I am today. There’s a lot to tell… but I think it’s worth telling.

My husband and I met and married young. Nick turned 22 one week before our wedding. I turned 23 a few months after. We were (and are!) madly in love and very happy to be together. We knew we wanted to have kids young, but were waiting on health insurance to come through with his work at a small software/ video game company in Seattle.


(photo by Chris Purdum)

We bought a home in the midst of the housing bubble. We were given what was at the time a great deal by some friends (who subsequently used the profit to adopt their daughter, which in the end, makes all of our troubles worth it if you think about it.) I remember thinking what a sound investment we’d made. At 22 and 23, we were home owners and proud of it. We were told that we could expect our home value to double in less than five years. I’m sure you can guess that it did not.

In April of 2006, our insurance finally would cover pregnancy. So we tried. And got pregnant right away. On June 12th, while on vacation to California, I miscarried our first child. It was a painful, heart wrenching experience made worse by an insensitive ER doctor who was flat out rude to us when we went to him for help. He delivered the news that we were, in fact, losing our child like you’d tell someone what the time was or that their shoelace was not tied. Matter of fact, no emotion, no sympathy, bored even. When I burst into tears, he said “What? You wanted it?” Of course I wanted my baby. This was my first bitter experience in the world of western medicine. It would not be my last.

We spent an unreal week in California and then went home to mourn. As soon as the doctors told us it was okay, we tried again and, once again, got pregnant right away. We were told we were due April 19th, 2007. We were so excited, but very, very scared.

I didn’t really like my OBGYN, but the clinic was the only one in the county my insurance dovered. At the time, I never thought twice about seeing a midwife. It sounded like choosing to have worse care to me. I don’t know that anyone could have convinced me otherwise at the time.

I had a hard pregnancy with lots of morning sickness for the first half and lots of preterm contractions dubbed preterm labor that had me on bedrest for most of my third trimester.

On April 10th, I went to bed having contractions. This was not unusual for me by any means and I didn’t think much of it. On the 11th at 3:00am, I woke up to bloody show and called the hospital as instructed by my OB. They said to come in, and I did. They told me I was in early labor and to come back when it was going strong. I went back in that afternoon, with contractions a minute apart- and was not even dilated 2cm, so they sent me home again. I went back in again at 4:00am on the 12th and had only made it to 4cm, but was admitted.

This is where it gets hard for me. I trusted the medical personnel as I thought I should. I thought they would help me to make good choices and that my baby would be safe. I was wrong.

I can’t really know what went on for sure, but I do know that a nurse told me a few hours after my arrival that I was between 5 and 6 cm dilated and that my water had broken. She told me that if I wanted and epidural, I needed to get it then or it would be too late. So I did. Only when they were done with it, I was informed that I was given a spinal “because you’ll probably end up with a C-section.”

I didn’t have it in me to fight with these people. I wasn’t educated enough. I wasn’t strong enough. I was annoyed, but I kept my mouth shut. After a few minutes of having the dang thing in, I wanted to rip it out. But I left it in out of fear and knowing that I would still have to pay. I hated the way it made me feel. I felt concentrated pain but was unable to move. It was miserable.

Then, I was checked again and found to only be at three centimeters dilated with my water still in tact. I was so mad and confused. I wanted to cry. I may have. I was exhausted.

They sent in an Ob, who said he was checking me for dilation. Instead, he broke my water without my consent. Once again, I was mad, but didn’t know how to speak up. It’s not like they could unbreak it. And I probably would have consented, but I wanted to participate in my own labor.

Eventually, I got as far dilated as I would go, 9 1/2 with a cervical lip. They told me to push through it. I pushed for three hours before an Ob showed up. After she’d been there an hour or so I was yelling to have the spinal removed. It was if I wasn’t speaking. (I actually asked Nick later if I was really asking, he said I was screaming.) I was so tired. I hadn’t slept in more than 40 hours. I said I couldn’t do it anymore. What I wanted was encouragement, a break, anything. What I got was intervention. She (the Ob) said that I was not going to make any progress pushing and I needed either the vacuum extraction or a C section. I asked if the vacuum was safe. She said yes.

She turned the damn thing too high. She pulled so hard that the seal broke and she flew back and hit the wall. Then she stopped using it and told me to push. (Remember, she said I couldn’t push him out a few minutes before!) After 30 min, I pushed out my son at 11:56pm on April 12th, 2007.

He seemed perfect in every way. He got nines on his APGAR’s and was doing well, besides the fact that he cried loudly. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. It turns out his screams were so loud because his brain had been damaged by the vacuum and he was in pain.

We had a beautiful 20 hours as a family. Then he quit breathing when I was trying to nurse him and turned blue. He was taken away from me and put in the nursery.

Very long story short, after a lot more abuse from the hospital, staff ignoring and insulting us and not keeping is informed about our son, Keagan was eventually transferred to the highest level NICU in our region because he had bleeding in his thalamus. He stayed there until he was eleven days old. I had to wash my hands for three minutes to even touch my child. I was not allowed to nurse him for five days. I was only allowed to hold him when given permission. It was hell. I’ll never be able to put into words how it feels not be separated from your child, to need to ask to pick up your baby crying for you… to not be able to nurse your child as he nuzzles into you, rooting hungrily. There are no words and I still ache today for the time that was stolen from us.

We couldn’t tell if his brain was okay or not because the bleeding was too heavy. Once it was controlled and he stopped having seizures (what the episode at the hospital turned out to be, he had eleven before the transfer and a few after) they did an MRI that was inconclusive. They sent us home telling us that we’d be back in four months when the blood was all gone to see what we could find out. We were left with the possibility of brain surgery when our son was 4 months old.

After that MRI, we were told that his brain was injured by the course of his birth and that the improper use of the vacuum suction was most likely to blame. They could not tell us for certain – because they can’t speak against doctors in that way… but the paperwork all said because of the course of birth and the only thing unusual about the birth was that darned vacuum.

A few months later, Keagan had a seizure, something that’s happened a few times since and will probably happen again. Because of the scarring on his brain he’ll always be at risk for them, though at this time he is not considered epileptic. His seizures tend to be fever induced, which are normally harmless, but because of that scarring he has, risk of complication is higher for him.

So not long after we got home, the medical bills started to roll in. Oh my goodness does it ever cost a lot of money to stay in a NICU. Even with insurance and stable jobs, we were in over our heads.

Keagan had too many appointments for me to keep my job. It just wasn’t realistic and I thought I could get it back later. I was wrong, the economy tanked and I didn’t have a position any longer. I applied everywhere I could and did not get hired.

The company Nick worked for was falling apart. He sought employment to avoid being laid off. He found it, but had to accept a paycut.

We looked into refinancing to a lower interest rate so we had more money each month to pay bills. We were fooled by a crooked mortgage man. We kept thinking the loan we had sounded bad, but every time we’d ask, he’d mention the Truth in Lending Act and how he couldn’t lie. Well he did, and things got worse for us. The interest rate soared up each month, along with the amount we owed on the house. We should have had a lawyer look at it, but we couldn’t afford to do it. Looking back, we should have found a way.

We tried to sell our house. We found a buyer for a short sale, as the value had fallen greatly. The offer came in our third wedding anniversary. We felt so much hope that day. That night, we renewed our vows on a small local beach with a few friends in family- and a tiny new life, in my womb. It was a beautiful, happy night.

The bank accepted the offer and we moved out.
Then, somehow the deal fell apart. We got another offer from the same buyer. The bank accepted. We waited. It never finalized. The buyer walked. We got yet a third offer from a new buyer.The bank rejected it, then foreclosed.

We’re now financially ruined, living in a small duplex and making ends meet. We have learned so much through this all… learned to educate ourselves about medical issues. Learned to live simply. We are who we are because we’ve been through this heartache.

I’m now the first person to advocate for natural healthcare, especially in childbirth. I think that the way pregnancy and birth are treated in this nation is a joke. I think that a lot (not all) of OBGY’s just want to make it easy on themselves and care more about their schedules than laboring women. Though I still have anxiety problems when near hospitals due to Keagan’s birth and first weeks, I have healed a lot through the homebirth of my 2nd child. I now know how much better birth can be.

I also have learned so much about living simply. We really were not over the top in our level of consumerism by most standards, however we bought more than we needed. We didn’t need a 1700 sf home. We didn’t need a new car. We didn’t need new clothes. We could have done things differently. We didn’t and we’re paying the price. But I now know that I love our simple. clutter free life. It’s better for us, it’s better for the environment and it’s better for those with whom we share the planet.

So we’re the face of foreclosure. We are the victims of our medical system. We are your average family, just with a lot of life thrown into short years.

I don’t regret most of it. Do I wish I’d been better informed of my birthing options and made better choices? Of course. But I can’t change it. I am always going to wish that I had done better for my son, for his brain…but I can’t change it. He’s doing so much better than we’d ever hoped. We are blessed beyond belief. And even though it’s been hard, God provides. We’ve always managed to stay fed and sheltered, even when it came down to living with my parents a few times for a little while. I wish we’d waited a few years to buy a house? Do I wish I didn’t let society’s pressures tell me I needed to buy one? Yes, but then again, I know we helped our friends in their path to adoption, so, as I said, that all makes it worth it in the end.

We’re better for our heartache. We’re better for our pain and we’re ready to tell people about it now. I don’t want people to make our mistakes. Please, if you’re pregnant and reading this, look into your options. Hire a doula… she can help you so much through your birth. Look into midwifery and natural childbirth. Do not let anyone near you with a vacuum extractor. And if you’re thinking of buying a home, be sure you’re ready and make sure you know why. Renting isn’t all bad.

So there it is. This is how I came to be a crunchy granola mama on a mission for simplicity. As long as it is, it’s the short version. 🙂 I hope I’ve helped someone with my tale, but if nothing else, it’s healing to write it all out.

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I took this silly little quiz on facebook. It was called “What’s Your Parenting Style?” I got the result “Extreme Granola Parenting.” It then went on to use the term “cave-mom” and other various negative descriptors such as hostile. It was fairly cute, but come on now. (and yes, I know it does not matter. It is just a facebook quiz…)

But it made me think. How do people see me? Does that fact that I wear my baby, nurse, cloth diaper, co-sleep, birthed Eden at home and take the kids to a naturopath instead of a pediatrician change people’s opinion on me? Do I care?

I was not always “crunchy.” In fact, I was very mainstream before becoming a mama. I just kind of went with the flow. I didn’t bother to question much. But I don’t think I would have come up with a silly little name like “Cave-Mom” for someone who was different from me. I just wish people could understand that not everyone thinks the way they do and that it’s okay! We’re all unique and that’s a big part of what makes this world so beautiful.

So I may wonder if my parenting changes how people see me, but I guess I don’t care. I am doing what feels right for my family. I have made educated choices about parenting and I am happy with them. I am not, however hostile towards any other mama who made an educated choice to do something different than what I chose.

Well it’s time to hit the rock (I am a cave-mom, right?) I’d better find my baby and nurse her in my bed while cuddling my two year old who sleeps there as well and my husband. Then I’ll wake up and put her in the sling and start my prehistoric day 😛

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Eden came into the world with full force early this morning.
Warning- this has all the details, so if you don’t want them, don’t look

Last night I was having a few contractions, kind of sporadically and not really time-able. I tried to go to bed, but I kept waking up with what I thought was an upset stomach. I kept trying to go to the bathroom and couldn’t…

About four I woke up and noticed that the “tummy pain” had moved to my back and was quite strong. I got on contractionmaster.com to time what I now realized were contractions. The first three were eight minutes apart. The fourth was less than three minutes after the third… and strong. It was 4:43 am.I knew this was it. I woke up Nick. I had a few more really strong contractions and about 5:00 decided to call my midwife, my parents and Alex (my wonderful friend and doula.) My midwife, Amy said to see how it went for an hour and give her a call back. I couldn’t get a hold of my mom or Alex. After a bit, I did get ahold of everyone. A little after 5:30, I realized that there was no waiting an hour to call Amy back… this little girl was coming – and fast. I think I had Nick call, I don’t really remember. Amy said she’d be there in about an hour. I worried Eden would get there before Amy!

My folks showed up about 6:00 to get Keagan. I was trying sooo hard not to scare him. I really needed to vocalize at this point, so as not to scare him I tried to sing “How Great is Our God.” He loves that song. It lasted for half a contraction and then I lost it and moaned. Right then, Grandma and Grandpa showed up. Keagan cried. Nick ran him out the door… the contraction ended and I chased them all so I could hug Keagan and tell him Mama was okay. Apparently, he was fine, but my poor dad cried.

About this time, I started shaking and threw up. I knew this meant I had to be close and worried again that no one would be there to help. I had Nick call Amy and thankfully, she was close. She got to the house between 6:20 and 6:30 I would guess… When she settled in, Amy checked me and I was at six centimeters. I was so shocked, I just knew I had to be closer than that. I had to use the bathroom, so I went to the toilet. I couldn’t pee, but the bath looked appealing. I had Nick start it for me and he went and told Amy I was getting in. As the water was still running, Alex showed up. Not too long after that, my water broke.

Then I couldn’t help it anymore. My body was pushing. But I went poo in the tub a little bit with the pushing, so I thought it was just really intense need to use the bathroom… I got out of the tub as fast as I could to try to use the bathroom… and soon realized that it was not that, it was baby! Her head was part way out of me and I was sitting on the toilet! So there I pushed. I stood up after her head was out and gave another push, and Amy guided her into my arms. There she was! My beautiful little girl! It was 7:14 am, 17 minutes after my water broke and about 45 min from when I was dilated to six.

It took a moment to sink in and then I saw my wonderful husband’s face. He was so happy… he had tears in his eyes. It hit me then. She was really here. We enjoyed a few minutes as a family before I birthed the placenta, then we made our way to the bedroom and just enjoyed one another.

Eden took to the breast right away, having three successful nursings before 10:30 am. She’s a hungry girl!

Home birth was so empowering… beautiful… real…and full of God’s love. It was the perfect way to overcome all the pain associated with Keagan’s birth. I can’t explain how much better natural childbirth was for me than hospital birth….

Keagan loves his “BABY!!” and is trying very hard to be soft with her. Though, being 23 months old that isn’t the easiest of tasks for him. He really wants to cuddle her nonstop.

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