Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Um, hello????

Tyler usually gets a ride home from school with his friend's mom. One day a week, she delivers papers right when she drops him off, and he likes to go help. Today, he came running up the stairs, brought in our paper, then ran back out to help. 5 minutes later he comes running back in, stands by the door and yells "I gotta goooooooo ------ too late." And he just stands there peeing his pants, and letting out a big sigh at the end. Um, hello???? You're 5.5, you've been potty trained for 2.5 years, and you've never had an accident!!! I asked him if he needed to go when he first came in, and he said yes. How about just going to the bathroom and then going back out to help? Oy. It was actually kind of funny, and I just had this moment of total disbelief when I saw him peeing his pants. Crazy kid. He just took off his clothes and got some new pants, like it wasn't a big deal. Not that it really was a big deal, but what the heck... :o

Friday, February 24, 2006

Skype rocks!

So I updated to the latest Skype version today, and it has a video option. Got out my webcam, hooked it up, and it worked! So cool! I talked to my parents for about an hour, it was so fun. There's even an option to make the video full screen, and it worked quite nicely. Picture's a little fuzzy around the edges, but overall great quality. No delay between picture and voice, either. Woohoo! It was like I was sitting right there in the living room with them (well, almost). Kids loved it, too. Now they get to "see" their grandparents more often, yay! :o)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Poor neglected blog...

So I've been busy watching Olympics this past week. :p Yep, it's been fun. I just love the stories of some of the athletes. Like the Chinese pair figure skaters where she fell down really hard, finished the program, and they came in 2nd. Awesome! And I don't feel bad at all that the almighty Bode Miller has yet to make it to the podium, haha. I'm so tired of all the fuss about him. So he skies drunk... Yeah, he's so cool... @@ Anyway, I've loved the Games so far, and can frequently be found on the edge of my seat cheering on the TV, hehe. :p I think I've gotten the boys hooked, too, they look forward to our "cuddle time" to watch Olympics every evening. Fun fun!
I also went to my friend's doctor's appointment on Monday (38 weeks). We went over her birth preferences, and I came out of it fairly annoyed. We talked about antibiotics for GBS, declining routine pitocin after the birth, and declining IV fluids. Instead of giving the pros and cons of each choice, the doctor proceeded to tell the blood and gore horror stories. @@ I wonder if he tells the moms asking for an epidural the second they get to the hospital some of the not-so-good stories about epidurals (like, if they only take on one side, or the lady whose blood pressure dropped dangerously low, or any of the other problems that could arise from getting an epi)? Most likely, he would just tell her to be sure to sign the consent form when pre-registering at the hospital. Anyway, this is supposed to be the natural childbirth FRIENDLY OB in town. And yeah, he's definitely better than most of the other choices we get here, but still. Wouldn't it be enough to just say "these are the things we'd have to watch for" or "here are some of the risks", rather than "I knew this woman who ended up with a blood transfusion" or "this baby had to be transferred to the Children's Hospital and died"??????? Ugh, frustrating to say the least...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The case for normal birth

My friend gave me her birth plan a few days ago. As I looked over it, I couldn't help but wonder why we have to "fight" so hard to give birth naturally, without medical intervention. Maternity care in this country is so backwards. Women can walk into a doctor's office and complain about being tired of being pregnant, and many OB's don't think twice about offering induction if the woman is within a couple of weeks of her estimated due date. Women can talk to their OB's about not really wanting to go through labor and vaginal birth at all, and many OB's won't think twice about going along with an elective cesarean. Yet when a woman comes along, asking to give birth naturally with minimal or no intervention, she is almost being chastised. Because you know, labor and birth are so unpredictable. And most women will ask for an epidural after all. And sure, you can plan all you want, but realize that childbirth is an emergency/catastrophy waiting to happen. It's such a backwards attitude. No, birth is not a catastrophy waiting to happen. In the majority of cases, if left alone, birth will happen just fine, without anyone meddling. In fact, birth probably goes better if nobody intervenes with the natural process that it is. It irritates me to no end that women wanting a natural birth without interventions are constantly questioned. Sometimes to the point of people implying that a woman is putting her baby's life at risk because she refuses a routine IV and continuous fetal monitoring! The fact of the matter is, none of the interventions routinely used by OB's actually improve maternal or fetal outcome. None of those routine interventions are backed by research. In fact, research shows that many of those interventions actually hurt the natural birth process. Just to name a few:
1. Not being allowed to eat or drink during labor - this is a totally outdated practice. It was introduced back when most c-sections were done under general anesthesia, and aspiration was a problem. Nowadays, almost no c-sections require general anesthesia anymore. And even when they do, techniques to administer anesthesia have advanced to the point where aspiration really isn't a problem anymore. Yet birthing women still get denied the food and drink they need to sustain the energey needed during their birthing time. Denying a laboring woman food and drink can lead to exhaustion, which can stall the birth process. At which point, thank goodness we're in the hospital, because the doctors have all these interventions available to "help" the woman. Never mind that had she been allowed to eat and drink, she wouldn't have gotten exhausted in the first place...
2. Administration of routine IV's. To "keep the woman hydrated". Yeah, well, if she was allowed to drink she likely would stay hydrated just fine. When refusing an IV, many hospitals will still push a heparin lock, "to keep a vein open just in case". Oh, it's uncomfortable? Well, too bad, you'll just have to live with it. It really makes no sense. When an accident victim is rushed to the ER, he didn't have a vein open "just in case he got in an accident". Really, where's the logic to this? If an emergency arises that requires access to a vein, there is generally plenty of time to insert an IV just fine.
3. Continuous fetal monitoring. Research has shown that this has no impact on maternal or fetal outcome (as far as mortality is concerned). The only thing it has been shown to do is increase the chance of a c-section. Intermittent monitoring has been shown to work just as well, with the added bonus of making mom more comfortable and decreasing her risk of getting a c-section. Yet strapped to bed we are, and chastised we are for putting our babies "at risk" should we ask not to be monitored continuously.
4. Confining the laboring woman to bed. Having a baby can be accompanied by pain, but it is more so if a woman is confined to bed. Allowing a woman to move around, walk, sway, sit on a birthing ball, or use the shower or birthing tub are all excellent ways to make the birthing time more comfortable, often with the added bonus of allowing the baby to descend faster (use of gravity and all). And still we are put to bed the minute we enter the hospital...
5. AROM. It has become standard practice for doctors to break the woman's water once she reaches a certain stage of dilation. Some doctors will rupture as early as 3 cm, though standard seems to be around 5 cm. Supposedly, this should "speed up" the labor. My midwife told me about a study she had read where it showed that on average, it shortens labor by half an hour. Big deal. The bag of waters plays an important role during labor. It provides a natural cushion, making contractions less intense for the woman and the baby. Leaving the bag of waters intact also allows the baby to move around more freely, letting baby move into optimal position for birthing. And it protects against cord prolapse. Rupturing the bag when the baby is still too high makes it more likely for the cord to prolapse, a rare but dangerous complication that often results in fetal death or a baby with brain damage. AROM makes it harder for the baby to move around and get into optimal position, often resulting in the need for forceps or vacuum delivery because the baby is in an odd position. AROM can also lead to fetal heart decels, as contractions become harder on the baby without the cushion and the cord gets compressed more. Again, doctor induced "complications" that would have never happened had the mother been left alone.
6. Episiotomy. Many doctors still feel that first time mothers "need" an episiotomy so there can be enough room for the baby to be born. Or that a "clean cut" is better than a natural tear. ???? Maybe doctors should learn how to support the perineum instead, reducing the chance of tearing. Even the ACOG has come out with a statement no longer recommending routine episiotomy. Yet women continue to be mutilated. Research has shown that routine episiotomy actually causes the very problems it was supposed to prevent (namely incontinence). And the standard answer a woman asking to be allowed to tear naturally rather than get a routine episiotomy gets is that "you just never know what happens, you may need an episiotomy to make more room for the baby". Or "I'll only cut if it looks like you're about to tear". Well, with an episiotomy, you have a 100% chance of perineal injury. With tearing it's something like 40%. Hm...
7. Pitocin augmentation. Often doctors will feel the need to "speed up" a woman's labor. According to the book, women are supposed to progress a centimeter per hour once they're in active labor. Not all women labor this way, and if it's too slow for the doctor, pitocin is ordered. Some women will also experience a break between full dilation and pushing. This break can sometimes last an hour or more, during which contractions may completely stop. This is normal, and generally not a reason for concern. Yet doctors feel the need to intervene, so pitocin is ordered. Pitocin is used so widely, but is not without risks. It can lead to uterine hyperstimulation, and fetal distress. Which is when the "thank goodness we're at the hospital" mentality comes into play...
8. Routine pitocin after the birth. If a baby wasn't separated from the mom soon after birth, but instead given the chance to suckle for howeverlong the baby wants, the mom's body would produce natural oxytocin to help expell the placenta and contract the uterus to clamp it down and keep from hemorrhaging. After a drug-free labor, newborns are generally awake and alert for several hours, and would nurse a lot if given the chance. But hospital policy has it that often, babies are separated from mom as soon as the cord is cut, to be assessed and weighed and measured, etc. Then given back to mom to "bond" for half an hour, and off to the nursery it is. All procedures that could easily be delayed for a couple of hours, and assessing can be done while the mother is holding the baby, no problem. Without the baby suckling, the mom's body doesn't produce as much oxytocin, and excessive bleeding is much more likely to happen.

Of course, there are some complications that can arise even in a completely normal, low-risk birth. This is when doctors are really needed, when modern medicine is able to save lifes. What I question is the routine use of interventions, when there is no indication that they are medically necessary. The notion that a mom wanting to "refuse" routine interventions is somehow putting her own and her baby's life at risk. The continued use of interventions even when research shows they are unecessary, and may actually cause harm. For references, "Obstetrics Myths versus Research Realities" and "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth", both by Henci Goer, are excellent books to read. To see what normal birth is all about, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin is an excellent book. It shows that birth is a normal, natural process that is best left alone. In the majority of cases, it's not a medical emergency or catastrophy waiting to happen. Unfortunately, in our society, OB's are taught all of the details they need to know to spot problems. They are taught surgical skills. They are taught all the things that could possibly go wrong during pregnancy and birth. What they are not taught is the natural process, the natural evolution a woman goes through during pregnancy and birth. What doesn't happen is saving interventions for when they are truly necessary, but rather using them routinely. There is a great book about childbed fever in the 19th century. Thousands of women could have been spared an awful death if OB's had just washed their hands properly after examining one woman and before examining another. Yet OB's were ignorant, arrogant, whatever, and refused to follow this practice for a long time. Many things have changed since the 19th century, but what hasn't changed is the notion that women need to be saved from childbirth, and OB's have all the tools needed. Research clearly goes in favor of leaving a birthing mother to do her thing, yet doctors can't get past the notion that they need to intervene "to make sure everything goes well".

So I went to the dentist yesterday...

...and I didn't end up needing root canals for the first two cavities he fixed. Yay! What a relief. Now I have to go back on March 6th for the next cavity. Hopefully I'll be as lucky as I was with the other two and won't need a root canal on that one, either.
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Life is so fragile

Dave's mom called today and told us that a family friend's little boy passed away. Him and his dad were in the backyard, and the dad put a ladder against the house to go fix the roof. He went inside to get his tools, and while he was gone (probably just a minute or two), the little boy pulled on the ladder and it fell over on top of him. He was killed. It's so devastating. I don't know how old the boy was, but I imagine he was still fairly little. It's so humbling. I had kind of a hard week last week, with Dave gone for a few days, then Dave having meetings, etc. etc. etc. It really started to wear me out, and the kids really got to me a few times. But hearing stories like this, especially when they happen to friends, really puts things in perspective. Sure, the kids may drive me crazy sometimes, but really I should be thankful for that. Because them driving me crazy means that they're alive and well. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to lose a child. It was so humbling last Fall when my friend's baby stopped breathing and nearly died, and now hearing of this accident taking a little boy's life. It makes me realize how fragile life is, and it makes me so thankful for every day that I can spend time with my children. I have to admit I do lose my patience sometimes, it can be so hard having three little ones at home. But the joy they bring is immeasurable, and I couldn't bear the thought of not having that in my life. I love them so dearly, all three of them. Sometimes people say that having more than one or two children would not be fair to the kids, as you couldn't possibly love all of them equally. That's not true. Love is not divided between children, it's multiplied. With each child, your love for them grows. It was really kind of a strange feeling when we added Bryan to our family. I always wondered whether I could love him as much as I love Tyler. It's the most amazing feeling to find out that you can. Not only do I love him just as much, but I love both of them more. The same thing happened when Kaylee was born. Even before she was born. It's amazing how much women can bond with their babies long before they are born. And I know that it doesn't matter whether it's the first child or the 10th. You decide to have a baby, and you love them the minute you find out they're on the way. And the love just keeps on growing. :o) Sadly, I imagine so does the heartache when tragedy strikes. :o( I hope this family will find peace, my thoughts sure are with them.

ETA: Just found out that the little boy was only about 10 months old. That's exactly Kaylee's age. It makes me sick to my stomach. What a horrible horrible tragedy. :o(

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Olympics are on!

And I'm glued to the TV. :p I love watching Olympics. We always watched it growing up, and I guess my kids are going to have the same childhood memories. :o)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fun fun!

So I met with my friend on Tuesday to discuss her upcoming birth. She said she definitely wants me to come, and I'm so excited! She gave me her birth plan yesterday, and is going to discuss it with her doctor at her next appointment. She's probably going to have the baby in about 4-5 weeks. It'll be so interesting to witness a birth as a support person (rather than being the one giving birth). I can't wait!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I'm tired

The kids got up way too early this morning, and, well, I think that's about self-explanatory for how the rest of my day went. At least I got some phone calls, which was so nice. :o) Now they are all finally in bed and asleep, and I just treated myself to some tapioca pudding and some internet time. Yay for me! Gotta go empty the dishwasher and pick up the kitchen, and then it's off to bed. Oh, I did talk to a friend of mine earlier today, she's due to have her third baby in March. She'd like someone (besides her husband) to go to the hospital with her, and asked if I could come, or knew of someone who could. I told her of course I could come. I'm so excited! :o) I think birth is such a beautiful and amazing event, I'd be honored to attend. :o)

I'm 28!

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Had a much better day today!

Yay! We just had a calm and quiet day around here (well, except for a few fights between Bryan and Tyler, but nothing too bad...). I even took all three kids to the store, and we all got through that okay. Haha! We went to a friend's for a pizza party, since her husband is out of town, as well. The kids all had fun playing together, and the moms had fun chatting (yeah, we call it a "playdate" for the kids, but we all know what it's really about :p). Got all the kids in bed, and I even had time to update our family website. Yay for good days! Now off to bed I go, for what will hopefully be a good night. :o)

Friday, February 03, 2006

How I survived today...

...I really don't know. Dropped off Dave this morning, took Tyler and his friend to school, came home. So far so good, right? Well, I tried putting Kaylee down for a nap, and she would have nothing to do with it. Tried again half an hour later, and no luck. So I gave up. At around noon, I tried again, and she went down. For a whooping 25 minutes... Tyler went outside to play, Kaylee screamed for a while (I tried laying down with her, didn't work), and we finally got out of bed. Later on, I decided to take Bryan and Kaylee outside, for my own sanity's sake. Tyler was at his friend's house. The friend's mom came out, and we chatted for a while, and she invited Bryan, Kaylee and I over for a little bit. So we played for an hour, and then went back home. By this time, it was 4 p.m., and Kaylee still wouldn't go for a nap. Then at 4:15, another friend dropped off her three kids (I volunteered to babysit last minute). She came back at 5:45, we chatted for an hour, and then the boys had cereal for dinner, Kaylee had carrots, and I had peas and calamari. At 7:30, I got everyone ready for bed, and Kaylee was fighting so hard, she did not want to go down. I finally got her to settle down for a good nursing, and she went to sleep around 8:15. Right when I came out of the bedroom, Dave called me to let me know he had gotten to CO safely. So we talked for half an hour, I got in my pj's, and Kaylee woke up again. Fortunately, she only nursed for 5 minutes and went back to sleep. So then I spent an hour cleaning up the apartment. Whew... I just hope we all get a good night's rest... It makes for such a long day when Kaylee doesn't nap well!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

So I got my first birthday package today

Dave's mom sent me a cell phone. Woohoo! We've been way too cheap to get a cell phone so far, especially since our phone and internet access are included in rent (and we hardly ever use long distance). But it'll be so nice to have! Maybe now we can actually call family more often, haha. It's really nice timing, too, since Dave will be gone at a conference in CO over the weekend. So we'll actually be able to stay in touch. :o) Gotta love birthdays! :p