Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Soapbox and My Story

Note: This post is all about labor and birth. It includes words like vaginal, and describes me in labor, as well as addressing controversial birthing topics. Also, it's eight pages long, and probably full of grammar and spelling errors because I couldn't even bring myself to spend the time rereading through it, and the spell checker only worked on half of it. Proceed with all due caution.

At long last I'm returning to the blogging world. Except have I ever mentioned that I hate the word blog? It's so ugly, and although I'm sure it has made it into the Oxford English Dictionary as a real and official word, I still don't think it's legitimate. So right now I'm going to say, I'm returning to the journaling world. After all, my pen and paper journal probably has been consumed by cobwebs by now, so this is really the only journal I keep. Moving on...

So I want to write about birthing Elisheva, but I didn't immediately run home and post about it, partly because our Internet has been on the fritz off and on (actually for the last month. At first it was really tiresome to not have the Internet for days at a time, but then actually I began to feel strangely free and unencumbered, but that's a topic for another time.) but also because I've told the blow by blow account to my mom, and honestly it's kind of boring, and ultimately unimportant and story impeding details kept on creeping into the account. So I've been waiting until I had a spin on it, a take on the topic that didn't detail things like the food ordering system in England in Hospitals, or how I feel about nausea the day after a baby's birth (Horrible. Her whole first day was kind of a blur, I was so out of it).

For this post I'm going to climb up on my soapbox, and defend natural labors, and why I feel so strongly about having them. Often throughout my two pregnancies people from close friends to strangers would rant and rave about how could I think of having a natural labor, when the technology exists to have a relatively painless one. I've been presented with analogies, like if I had a toothache, would I have a dentist work on my teeth without pain medication? How is that different from childbirth? I've had people ask me if I take Tylenol or Ibuprofen, and that's medicine, so why am I against using medicine for a larger thing? I usually just murmur that I believe in natural childbirth, and leave it at that, because as pushy and opinionated as I am, which is aplenty on both accounts, I hate confrontations and controversial subjects when I know that I already don't agree with the person I'm conversing with.

That doesn't mean that I don't have a fully formed and thought out opinion on this, and this birth made me think about my stance even more, so I'd like to take some Internet space to be controversial and preachy for my opinion. I don't mind if you don't agree with me, after all, most people don't on this subject.

My mother had five natural births. In fact, the last two births were home ones, and although I don't know about my sister born two years after me, I do know I was at my little brother's birth when I was four years old, because I remember it. (another controversial subject. In my memory, I wasn't disturbed by the birth at all, but I have to admit, I myself feel uncomfortable at the thought of even being around Lydia for labor, let alone a birth.) So I always grew up with the idea of naturally birthing a child as a very normal and doable thing. Don't get me wrong, my mother thought that labor was hard and painful, and absolutely did not look forward to it. But she was for natural births.

Once I myself was pregnant, I began to read a lot of medical literature and opinions from doctors, midwives, and anecdotal thoughts from mothers about natural vs. medicated labors. Although I came in with a bias already, I found that my basically groundless opinion increasingly became grounded in favor of natural births.

I want to take this paragraph here, and say that I am very grateful for modern technology. I have a sister who has had to have two c-sections because her body doesn't labor on its own, and I'm eternally grateful that her two daughters are her and safe and healthy. I have two other sisters that after gargantuanly long labors both got stuck at 8 cm dilation for five hours, and after sticking it out that long they both opted for an epidural, which let them sleep and rejuvenate so that they could actually birth their babies, whom I also love and adore. I know that induction can in so many cases save a pregnancy, help prevent worsening and possibly life threatening health problems like placenta previa. I am absolutely not against using medical aids to help make a safer and/or possible live birth.

I also don't believe that you must pay the price of pain to be a mother. Once again hearkening back to my c-section sister, she is fully a mother, and it would be ridiculous to think that her motherhood, or love for her baby is in anyway compromised by having a surgery. I have another sister (for those who don't know, I have seven sisters, so I have a lot of up close examples of motherhood and births) who has an adopted son. She is completely his mother, although he didn't come from her body, and she experienced no physical pain or process to bring him forth to this world (although plenty of other pain and processes). I don't think that natural birth is a rite of passage that marks an exclusive motherhood club, and if it does, certainly no one has sent me a membership card. As my mother says, no one is handing out awards in motherhood, so we don't need to beat ourselves up if we have a medicated birth, even if we planned for a natural one.

I still believe in trying for a natural birth, though, and my reasons are medical, not emotional (although like any opinion, I do feel strongly emotional about my medically grounded thoughts). Birth is a natural process; it's not a disease or illness, it doesn't need to be treated to come about. Now, of course I am talking about in the vast majority of situations; as I've already addressed, there are times and seasons for everything, and some babies do need convincing to come out. But for most pregnancies, and most labors if left alone, a natural birth would produce a healthy baby and mother. Although in most labors medication also produces a healthy baby and mother, ultimately my aversion to intervention of any sort stems back to the fact that one intervention often leads to a cycle of medical interventions, made necessary by the previous one, that all too often can result in a c-section. A necessary c-section, but only made necessary by the chain reaction of medical "help" given to the labor.

I recently read a CNN article about how the percentage of women who are dying in childbirth has risen for the first time in decades in America, and how this increase is caused by (in addition to more diabetes in pregnancy) the rise in c-sections in America, which does increase the risk of birth, because c-section can rarely have sever side effects, the worst being death.

To have an epidural, you must have an IV for fluids on continuously, you're usually not allowed to eat in case of nausea, a side effect of epidurals; epidurals usually slow labors down, which isn't that big of a deal, but if your labor goes on for too long, or if your water is broken for too long, many American hospitals and doctors will push for a c-section; epidurals call for more continuous monitoring of the baby, sometimes internally, which in and of itself can cause problems for the baby if it involves an artificial rupture of the membranes. The largest direct consequence of an epidural is that it numbs your lower half of your body, which means that you're confined to a bed, and by default are in the least useful positions and method of working with labor and contractions and gravity to bring the baby out. Also, in the birth itself ventouse (vacuum extraction) and forceps are more common, because the mother often can't feel the pushing urge as well, nor can she move to a position to birth the baby with gravity, so the baby ends up have to come out essentially uphill, which all too often is impossible without the help of these outside aids. Of course, if forceps or ventouse don't work, especially the latter, than a c-section is all but inevitable. Also, another possible complication occurs since the epidural makes it near impossible for the mother to get into a position that widens her pelvis and vaginal opening, so often an episiotomy is needed to make room for the baby's head to emerge, or without an episiotomy up to third degree tearing can occur.

None of these potential spiraling of medications takes into account that the epidural affects the baby, as all drugs in pregnancy cross through to the uterus, and widespread use of epidurals are recent enough in world history that we don't know the long term effect of epidurals on babies.

Now, I know that this previous list is a worst case scenario list; that many of these negative side effects never occur in most labors with epidurals. Also, I know that things can go wrong in natural labor; women get too exhausted to labor effectively any more, tearing occurs in natural births as well, and nausea is well known to natural-laboring mothers, not just epiduralled (I love making up words) ones. However, once the choice for an epidural has been made, the possible side effects and consequences stack up much higher and faster than in a natural labor. In a natural labor a women has the most options and choices; she can labor in water, if available, which is an effective (I used it with Lydia), method of pain relief; she can labor while moving, she can eat to keep up energy, she can work with the contractions to help the baby come, she can move freely because she's tied to neither monitors nor an IV.

Inductions also start this cycle of interventions, because the contractions are harder and longer from the beginning, and much more difficult to cope with than natural contractions (from what I've heard and read), and also because with an induction you're tied to an IV, it's harder to be moving and laboring effectively, so epidurals almost always accompany an induction.

In answer to all the women I've never told my true opinion to, no, getting an epidural is not like getting pain medication for dental work; it doesn't spiral into more and more medical interventions that can end up in major surgery instead of a relatively easy to recover from birth. And it doesn't potentially affect another human being for me to have pain medication for dental work, nor when I take Ibuprofen for other aches and pains. If there was a way to have a painless, medicated birth that didn't complicate the labor medically, and also allowed for optimal healthy delivering techniques, I wouldn't be opposed to it at all. I'm not opposed to medicine, just unnecessary health complications.

So that's my soapbox.

This all relates to Elisheva and her birth, because induction became a real option with her labor, and all of my convictions for having naturally occurring labors and deliveries were called up and examined in the face of reality and my own life.

I really wanted to have Elisheva early, partly because I felt very done with the pregnancy (despite having no real pregnancy complaints; I was just done), and partly because of the logistics of moving back to America on June 2oth, and all that entails with a passport for Elisheva, etc. However, I didn't feel like I would go early, and although I had told Avram on Saturday, April 26 that it was the perfect day for having a baby, absolutely nothing had happened, nor did I expect it to. The next day, Sunday, I asked Lydia when Elisheva was coming, and she said "now," to which answer Avram and I had a good laugh. Maybe Lydia knew something we didn't, though.

Last Sunday night, April 27th, I told Avram that the next day was a bad day for labor (I had been rating each day's potentiality for labor and birth for the past week) because the house was messy, dishes needed to be done, he would be gone all day, etc. Of course, at five am the next morning, eleven days before my due date, my waters broke, but without any starting of labor. My midwife had told me to go to the hospital if my waters broke (not a necessary thing to do normally; in Britain they won't make you be induced until your waters have been broken for 96 hours without labor), because I needed to have an IV for Group B Strep, and it needed to be given at least four hours before the birth, or little Elisheva would be given the antibiotics via an IV every four hours for her first 48 hours of life, and as quick as I had Lydia (six hours start to finish), it would be good to get to the hospital to start the IV.

So we dinked around until a more Godly hour (well, Six), and then called the hospital to let them know we were coming, and we also called our ride to the hospital, as well as Lydia's babysitter for the duration, to have her come. She made her way to us, and we eventually arrived at the hospital, John Radcliffe, at eight am. Also, Avram had to call and wake his parents in Virginia, so they could email his boss and tell her he couldn't come in because of my going to the hospital, because our Internet wasn't working, and hadn't been for the last whole week, and he hadn't yet gotten her phone number for contact info. They also retrieved my parent's phone number off of the Internet, yet another thing that we hadn't done, because we had assumed we would have the Internet right there at our disposal. Oh well for modern technology.

Once at the hospital I was monitored, and yep, my waters had broken, and nope, nothing was happening. They were very busy that morning, and so Avram and I spent the next four hours hanging out in an admissions room by ourselves, while the midwife on duty periodically came in and talked to us, or checked on us. She was trying to round up the antibiotics for us, but needed a doctor for some part of it, and the doctor on duty kept on getting called to the theatre or to someone who was actually in labor, and so who automatically rated higher up on the scale than us. Finally at noon, four hours of a whole lot of nothing later, the antibiotics were administered (it took twenty minutes). Ideally after this Avram and I wanted to leave the hospital and walk around the neighborhood, but they didn't want me to leave the hospital with the vin-flow (called a hep loc, basically just the place the IV goes in for) in my hand, so we moved our things up to an empty bed on one of the recovery floors, and then spent the next four hours walking briskly up and down the corridors of the hospital, trying to encourage my body to go into natural labor. During all of this time, the only person to mention induction had been myself, specifying that I didn't want it, and was intended to do all I could to wait for/bring on the onset of labor naturally. The midwives seemed fine with this, and no one the whole day ever brought up a deadline for labor start, or anything.

It made me really grateful to be in Britain for this birth, because they are a lot more laid back about birth and labor in general; in the states I'm sure they would have been very antsy for induction. Actually every thing about the labor and birth aspects were great here (the recovery though...that's for later in this post).

By five pm I was at my wits end; we had been at the hospital for nine hours with no sign of labor. I missed my daughter Lydia, whom I had never been away from for that long, I was impatient to meet this new incoming daughter, who showed no signs of appearing, I was physically and emotionally tired of attempting to start labor by all that walking, and I was almost ready to ask to be induced just to get things started. I would have mild contractions about every five minutes while walking the halls, but then when I sat down they would taper to ten , then fifteen minutes apart, and then stop altogether. The visiting hours for husbands ended at nine pm, and I didn't know what to do with Avram then if I wasn't in labor, because in the delivery suite husbands are welcome at all times, we were currently housed in the recovery halls, and so he would have to leave me, but then if I did start labor in the middle of the night, there would be no way for him to get back to the hospital to be with me. Also, I didn't think I could last beyond the next morning without just asking to be induced anyway, and at that point, I was starting to wonder if I would ask the next morning, why not just right then.

All of my carefully researched thoughts on medical interventions in labor came into hard questioning at that point. On the one hand I still firmly believed all of the previous facts I talked about with epidurals and any medical intervention that started spiraling down the intervention line. Actually, the admissions midwife felt the same way I did; for that matter, all of the midwives I came into contact with felt this way. But I felt so beaten down in the hospital; not by the staff, but by the sheer boredom of waiting, and of not knowing when and how I'd go into labor. And frankly, I really wanted to meet my next daughter, but she felt so far away, although so close because whether labor happened that night or not, relatively speaking her birth was still very imminent.

I discussed all this with Avram, and he counseled me to put off asking for an induction, because if I did, he felt I would end up regretting it. He's always saving me from my own doubts, and helping me live up to what I know I really want for birth. When I was in labor with Lydia it didn't build up slowly, but the contractions came hard and fast almost from the very beginning. They tell you at the beginning of labor to watch a movie, or sleep, or make a casserole to freeze for after the birth, and I couldn't even talk, let alone walk during my early contractions, and so I thought I had a really low pain threshold, and wouldn't be able to handle the later part of labor naturally. When we were at the hospital, and they were checking to see if I could be admitted, I started begging the orderly hooking me up to be monitored (a requirement for admission) for an epidural. It was really quite pathetic, because even knowing I didn't want interventions, my mores broke as soon as it was hard. Thankfully Avram still had his head on straight, and encouraged me to wait and see, and not opt immediately for an epidural, and of course, once I began working with my contractions instead of fighting them, I didn't even think of asking for medication again. This time he saved me again, and I realized that desperation wasn't a good reason for intervention.

We agreed to go on one last walk, so Avram could get his dinner from the cafeteria, and then return to my room where I could get dinner, and at that point we would stop going on walks, since they didn't seem to be doing any good, and were wearing me down. Once again I got contractions every five minutes while walking, but once again they slowed down to ten minutes, and then fifteen minutes apart once back in my room, while I ate dinner. I tried not to think about it, and at this point Avram found a wifi network he could connect to with our laptop we had with us, and we did all the catching up online that we had missed over the last week, including posting the notice about me being in the hospital on my journal here (notice the nice avoidance of the word blog there), which posted about six thirty pm.

Although I had stopped really paying attention, this time the contractions hadn't completely stopped, but were still coming every ten to fifteen minutes, and they felt stronger than the previous ones. We dinked around some more on the Internet, but by seven I began to hope and believe that I was actually in labor, at least the early stages, so I had Avram turn it off, because my contractions need my (and thus his) attentions when they came.

For me labor is like a very fast (and painful) train; you can't get off, and it starts and just goes and goes without much time for contemplation of what's happening until the end of the line, which isn't too far away, although it feels like forever, mainly because I don't know how long it will take to get there.

Having my water break first and then having mild contractions all day long while attempting to start labor was like taking a bicycle and trying to get it going fast enough to catch up with a fast train; very futile feeling. I began to suspect that I had finally caught up to the train, when suddenly instead of wishing with all of my heart that these contractions would turn into real labor, I began wishing for an exit from the train, and for the contractions to stop and go away, because I had changed my mind about wanting labor at all, ever. Having had two very different beginning labor experiences, I far prefer the first, which just took me by surprise, rather than the slow, contemplating beginning.

By this time it was about seven fifteen, and contractions were about five minutes apart. This is also around the time I lost track of both how often my contractions happened, other than close together, and of the time in general. The midwife had been in a couple of times to our bed, which was one of four beds in a room kept for pregnant women with complications, like high blood pressure and such. It was full, and although there were curtains around each bed area for privacy, I began to feel awkward because I was audibly in labor during contractions, and I didn't like laboring in front of other pregnant strangers. Mostly I just felt bad for them having to hear me. Somehow, though, the midwife kept on managing to miss being in with me during a contraction, and so as of yet she had nothing to go on for me going into labor except mine and Avram's comments that we thought I might be in early labor.

Finally around this time she saw me have a contraction, as Avram talked me through it, and then I burst into tears as soon as it was done, for no real reason (besides hormones, probably). Talk began of moving me to the delivery ward, but by this time it was 7:30, and a shift change (all the times given her on out are by reconstruction later), and I was due for another dose of IV at 8:00 pm, so between the changing of shifts and the rounding up of the antibiotics, and resolving whether to give them to me there, or in the delivery suite, I had neither moved nor had my antibiotics by about 8:15 pm.

By this point, being the fast laborer that I guess I am, I was definitely in the throes of labor, and not in the early stages at all. The method I used for natural laboring this time involved revolving my hips while on hands and knees during a contraction, while also taking short breaths in through my nose, and releasing them through my mouth while vocalizing in a low voice, that was almost like moaning (I'm sorry if this is too much information for you, but if you've kept on reading this far, which is currently at 4160 words, or about five and a half pages single spa. ced, then I guess you're not going to be put off by a little moaning). Well, I was on all fours on my hospital bed, and at first I didn't vocalize at all, but just breathed into my pillows. Then I moaned into my pillows (by the way, I found this a very effective way to naturally labor, that helped the pain a lot, and gave me something to do during each contraction, and didn't take a lot of training or thought, but really came very naturally and organically), and by this point, I had thrown things like maintaining a social face to the wind, and was lowing through each frequent contraction as loud and free as it came.

Thankfully about this point, the new midwife on duty came, and did and internal examination, and I was at four cm, and so finally, finally they decided to just save the IV for the delivery suite, and at about 8:30 the midwife came with a wheelchair to take me to delivery. Avram apologized to all of the pregnant strangers as we left, which I appreciated. (I returned to the same floor for recovery, just the room next door, and I sort of avoided going by my room of the previous day, because I did feel very awkward in memory for having being in the midst of labor with them, but thankfully I never saw anyone from that room).

The elevators we used to go down the four floors to the delivery suite we just the public ones, and when we got on they were empty, but at the very next floor about ten people got on (these are very large elevators), and right then another contraction hit, so I had more lovely witnesses to my laboring and lowing. I still had the presence of mind to feel badly for them, but I guess it was their own fault, for being in a maternity ward visiting in the first place.

The midwife, Helen, took us to a room dimly lit (perfect for labor), and I had Avram help me down onto a yoga mat they have for labors (they also have bean bags. I love how supportive this country is of natural laboring; I never even touched the bed until around an hour after delivery). I felt really hot during this labor, and yet couldn't do anything about it up in our previous room, and so here I had him strip off all my clothes in between contractions, while midwives and students and such came in and out. There's nothing like being in labor to abolish all sense of modesty, or any socially acceptable behavior for what feels better.

Helen had me try Gas and Air at this point, which is laughing gas. It's very popular here in Britain, to the point that they're always really surprised we don't use it at all for labors in America. Laughing gas is actually one form of pain relief that doesn't spiral into intervention (because it leaves your system as soon as you start breathing it), and it has no medical side effects, but it's kind of a love/hate thing, where some women can even imagine laboring without it, while others hate the disorientation they feel using it. I was pretty sure I wouldn't like it, because if you're already using a method of coping it usually interrupts that, but I let her have me try it for a few breaths. You have to only breath in and out with your mouth, though, and that interfeared with my breathing, and it tastes funny and medicinal, and I didn't like it and spit it out, and that was my whole experience with alternate forms of pain relief.

Very soon after we moved, I went through transition (so about 8:45), although of course I didn't know it at the time. I just started saying things like, "I want to go home" or the classic, "I don't want a baby anymore." Also, I told Avram a very true sentiment for me, "I believe in natural labors in theory, and after I have them, I'm very glad that I did, but I don't like laboring naturally in the middle." Which is very true for me; I believe medically they're better, and even emotionally I felt so in control of the labor, and of birthing, and so aware of everything. But that doesn't mean I enjoy the pain, or the experience while being in it.

I also started pushing involuntarily during contractions, which worried me because only a half hour before I had been at only 4 cm, and I was worried that I was pushing prematurely, and was going to tire myself out. Also, I had only been in labor at that point for about two and a half hours, counting the early easy contractions, and so it didn't feel like it had been long enough yet. Regardless, I had a very capable midwife, Krystina, and her lovely young student, and Krystina encouraged me to listen to my body, to not feel like I needed to artificially push the baby out, but to just go with the contraction where it took me. Also, she was very happy to have a birth on all fours to show her student, because so far all of Hannah's (the student's) births had been on beds, and as she said after the birth, she wanted Hannah to see a birth that the midwives weren't in there doing everything, but more as a supporting cast while the mother did the birthing.

By the way, the nice method of natural birthing went out the window during my transition; I couldn't breath in any more (too painful), and instead of lowing, it was a lot more like really loud yelling (although still helpful for pain relief), and at one point I transitioned into a scream I didn't know I was capable of producing. After this I only had pushing contractions, so that was probably Elisheva moving out of the uterus and down the birthing canal.

Although it felt like a long time, I was only pushing for nine minutes (according to my birthing notes), and then she came half out in one contraction (according to Avram she looked around opened one eye, and then gave an indignant squawk), and then more gentle easing, and there she was, a new little baby to the world, born at 9:17 pm. Actually, according to my birthing notes, I only had a one hour and two minute labor, but I think they started counting from when Helen examined me at four cm, and I definitely felt in labor before that point, so I count it about a three hour labor from start to finish.

I got everything I wanted from my birth plan; no IV for fluid (in fact, although I was set up for an IV, the needle was a skinny one only for meds; it wasn't large enough to even accommodate the kind of IV needed to keep up fluids), no pressure for induction, or pain relief, or anything. Also, they had clearly read it, because I asked the midwives in it to talk to my husband about anything during labor, because I'm not very coherent during labor (who really is?), and they did when they had any questions. And I had a natural third stage (ie, from birth until delivery of the placenta), something they don't usually do here, instead opting for a shot that causes the placenta to deliver. Elisheva was left attached to the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsating with blood, then the midwife had Avram cut it, and then 12 minutes after birth, so just a few minutes after this, I delivered the placenta. As the student Hannah put it, I couldn't have had a faster third stage even if I had had the shot anyway. Also, I didn't tear at all, which has made recovery from labor really easy (on the physical side at least; I'm still overwhelmed at the idea of doing dishes, although I've decided that tomorrow I'll resume dish duty, at least partially).

Then Avram and I were left alone with Elisheva while I cuddled her skin to skin on my chest; that was nice to just be calm and together, and then they helped me up to the bed, where I gave Elisheva her first feed. Elisheva was a thumbsucker in the womb; we saw it during one scan, and during another scan her thumb hovered next to her mouth the whole time. Two minutes after she was born, she was sucking her thumb, and I had resigned myself to a thumbsucker. But after her first feed, she has rejected her thumb every since. She'll still suck on mine and Avram's fingers (for as long as we'll let her, but I get tired after a half hour of it), but I guess her own are too small for her to feel satisfied anymore. So she ends up wanting to nurse a lot, partially just to suck. It's hard enough that although I hate them, if it continues much longer I may give in and buy a guckie (what we call pacifiers) to give my poor fingers a break.

So that was her birth. They weighed her and such, and she weighed 3.27 kg, which is about 7 lbs, 4 oz. They don't measure the length here (they also don't give babies a bath, which actually wasn't a problem. She was covered with vernix, which had all basically rubbed in by the time she was dressed, and then I later cleaned off her hair with some wet paper towels, and she's been fine ever since), but I borrowed the pediatrician's tape measure the next day, and would estimate she's somewhere around 20-21 inches long.

Avram called the Dicks, who were watching Lydia, and let them know Elisheva had been born, and they came and gave him a ride home, which was especially nice because they live a half hour south of Oxford (where the hospital was), and we live about ten minutes north of Oxford, so it's a long trip completely out of their way, but by this point no buses were running to Yarnton, so otherwise he was planning to walk home at eleven at night.

Then they took me back up to the same floor, where the staff all welcomed me back, and congratulated me on such a short labor, etc. (It's funny, because people will congratulate me on having such short, efficient labors, like I did something to cause it. Don't get me wrong; I'd rather be in labor for a short time than a long one, but I don't think I was extra good in the pre-existance to get them, or something.)

Here my love affair with the NHS system ended. Avram and I both absolutely loved the care of the midwives in the hospital and community, and Avram especially felt like they were more competant at the birth here than they were in America at Lydia's birth. However, sharing a recovery room with three other women was not my idea of a good time. You can rent a private room for 70 Pounds Sterling a night, but we're cheap and students, and so never even considered it. I was settled in my room at one am, but didn't sleep until after three am because a women was sawing logs continuously all night long. I finally fell into fitful dozing from three to six am, but that was it, because then they hand out medication for the day, and everyone's up and moving, so it's impossible to sleep anymore.

I was nauseous the whole day, and ended up throwing up all over my bed, and so they did a bunch of blood work on me, because they were concerned, but all was well, and I certainly wasn't going to spend another night away from my Lydia with the snoring wonder, so I went home at 7:00 pm on Tuesday night. So, I recommend the private room, but otherwise I was very, very happy with the hospital birth I ended up with.

We still haven't named Elisheva officially; Avram's going to register her birth this Thursday, and we'll do it then. So, we don't have a middle name for her yet, but we will by Thursday.

So that's my soapbox, and my story.


  1. Oh pookie! Thsnk you so much for that post with your soap box and your Birthing story. I read the whole thing and loved it! Am right there with you on your soap box, infact I would say we share the same feelings. And I felt like I was at your birth while reading it. I miss you SO much! Way to go. You did it and you made it back to the part where you are happy you have a baby, without comnpromising your beliefs on how she should get here. You are SO strong. Don't let those dishes overwhelm you. Get Avram to do them or something. I would if I was there. I wish I could come do your dishes. Oh and kiss that sweet little baby for me.

  2. To be fair, the word "Blog" is properly rendered "'blog" being a contraction of "Weblog."

    Other then that, I have nothing further to say, beyond "I read the whole thing."

  3. Thank you for your story, Thora. I'm still trying to bring myself to write Willow's birth story (14 months later). Kevin warned me this morning that you had an epic, 8-page post to read, but once I got started, I was supprised when I hit the end and thought "That's it?" (meaning the post, not your labor, which I felt was very complete.) I miss you!

  4. I always try to use 'blog in its formal usage, probably because of my dedication to formalism.

    Also, I read thole thing too, and I was there for it the first time. Kudos to you Matt for reading it.


  5. Hooray! What a wonderful story. I read it all :D
    I'm glad you wrote all that about natural births vs. medicated. Though I have never given birth, my reasons for wanting natural births seem to be mostly emotional. I was glad to read your information about the medical side that I haven't given quite as much thought to. And I was shocked how many people are against natural births, and the logic they use! The toothache that's logical. Right.
    Anyway, I loved the story, and I can't wait to meet Elisheva!

  6. Oh thora, I loved this... thank you so much for writing it all out!! i much agree with you and your soap box. I hate giving birth in the hospital, and i feel so torn about it. But a midwofe wont even let you have a home birth here if you have had a kid go to the NICU ( porter) and a baby stillborn. plus i would worry that the baby would die at home. Sadly at the hospital they do hover more than i would like. Its hard, but i guess worth it for a live baby in the end. I do LOVE the hospital here after birth.. i love the food and that they change my bloddy sheets while i take my first shower. I think many woman dont know that yous till have some options at the hospital. For instance i ate through all of my deliveries.. my LONG ones too. Even with pitocin, or an epidural, or with broken water i had a full on meal. I also unhooked myself from all the machines and took a nice long shower when i was a 6 with theo.. I just needed to take a break from all the people and labor so i just stood in the bathroom shower for 30 minutes and enjoyed being alone!! I think with this baby i will lokc myself in there and come out every 30 minutes to just check the heartbeat! LOL. Anyways i lvoe that they didnt rush the placenta delivery. I will have to do that this time.

    we are so oposite with our labors.. yours are so quick! once i get to a four i still labor for 24 hours.. yuck! I feel like you on the train, but mine is a cross country ride with no stops!! And i must say i wish my big ol boy heads came out in one contraction... theo took three to come out and i was going all natural and that burning sensation was horrid and i thought i was going to rip apart!! I screamed so loud, the only time i screamed like that in labor too. I dont mind all the contractions really.. i can breath through them. but when the baby's head is halfway out for twelve minutes i just wanted to pass out!! I think i would like just a local anesthetic put down there for the crowning!

    well i better not write a whole novel here.. but I love you and so happy for you. i cant wait to see more picture of her. she is beautiful!


  7. Thora,
    I totally agree with your soapbox thing. Kaliyas cord also wasnt cut until it stopped pulsating and you know what? First Cardon was rushed to an O2 tent cuz he wasnt breathing well, then he also was so tired for a long time and wouldnt eat (cuz he was lacking in blood that wasnt allowed to come back into his body since they cut the cord) and Kaliya was born and hungry, and she had NO breathing problems either. they also didnt bath her. But hello, they arent dirty, just a little sticky, but that goes away quickly. Im glad you had a good hospital birth, you are right here in the states your birth wouldnt have been as good at the hospital. Oh and the moaning thing, it totally works! I also had a scream that I didnt know where it came from. It scared me and everyone else in the room. We all jumped.

  8. Looks like your soapbox is getting a little crowded, but I'm squeezing on there too. I've never had any babies of my own, but I have been present for three of my mom's four natural births (though I'll admit that I don't remember much about my own) and while it's scary, it's a scary that I'm ready to handle. NOT doing a big ol'needle in my spine, thank you very much.

    I don't say 'blog.' I'm on livejournal, so I say 'lj.' It works.

    I've now got half a mind to move myself to England, so I can marry an Englishman and have an English birth. It sounds like a much more supportive experience than the labors I've seen in U.S. hospitals. (Although you do gain a new respect for your mother when you see her, half an hour after labor, start laying down the law with a medical assistant who wants to take her daughter away and put her under a heat lamp.)

    Thanks so much for writing all this. Loved reading it!

  9. My comment is this

    Women should have the right to have a baby anyway that they feel comfortable with.
    It is unfair to pressure them into a situation because it is more
    "natural" or on the reverse, "medical"
    Sometimes the friendly discussions about such things are very tense and full of quite a bit of pressure something that a pregnant mother does not need. There will always be people on both sides of the line.

    Good for midwives and for doctors both have their place in the world.

    However for some of us who were born cesarean, under the influence of an epidural, with the labor having been inducted some 26 years ago it should be considered that we are quite normal and in some cases are very intelligent(not to brag). All children are sacred and wonderful and have incredible potential no matter how they were born.

    Good for Mothers who bring us into the world by any means. Theirs is such a greater sacrifice than pain it is a Sacrifice of love.