October 11, 2009 by Jo
Last week, we made two important purchases.
The first came on Monday. After months of deliberation, planning, and praying we made the deposit on a magazine. Jeff is now head editor and publisher of a small magazine, which he is excited and passionate about seeing flourish. And I am one proud wife.
Then, on Friday, we drove to Cullman to see our (amazing) midwife for another prenatal (I’m going once a week now) and paid her for her services.
The following statement is so cliche, but I’m going there. Making the decision to have an out-of-hospital birth has been one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done. So I thought I should write a little about it.
First of let me say that our doctor was not horrible. I enjoyed the first visit we had with him. For our second visit, they scheduled me for an ultrasound and when we arrived for it there was no ultrasound tech on duty, so after almost two weeks of looking forward to it we had to reschedule. But once we did, our ultrasound tech was awesome. His assistant was really cool. But something was not right and I knew it.
The fourth appointment had me waiting almost two hours to see him. I finally got back there, they did the usual vitals, and sent me to wait for him in a room. Another 20 minutes go by; he comes in, carrying my charts, says everything looks good, asks if I have any questions (I mention talking about our birth plan, which he says we can talk about in the next visit), makes a joke about why I even came in (“Because you told me I should be checked every 4 weeks” was my answer), and sends me on my way with a bottle of glucola (which I insisted I wasn’t going to be able to keep down, but that was ignored). The entire process (minus the 20 minutes I waited in the room) took, literally, 8 minutes.
I felt out of control of the situation. This was my fourth time in that office and I was still just another preggo, just another uneducated woman who didn’t know what was best for her body. But I wasn’t quite ready, didn’t quite have the courage to make the step I’d been contemplating. I thought I was overreacting and that the whole thing deserved one more chance.
So 3 weeks later, I fasted from midnight until 8:45am, when I drank (on an empty stomach in total turmoil) a bottle of glucola…or in other words, STRAIGHT SUGAR. We got in the car and made it all the way to the parking lot of the doctor’s office, when I suddenly vomited all. of. it. back up. I could’ve refilled the 8 ounce bottle. I was weak and really pissed at myself for not being able to keep it down in time for the test; but really, looking back, I should’ve been pissed at the doctor who didn’t listen when I insisted that my body wouldn’t be able to handle it.
When got inside and I signed in, telling the receptionist that I was supposed to do the glucose test but had just regurgitated it in the parking lot. She said that was too bad and tried to hand me another bottle of glucola, saying that we’d need to come back the next day and try again. I was speechless; totally flabbergasted.
And then my darling husband took over; he stepped up to the counter and leaned in slightly and said,
“You’re telling us that we’re going to perform the exact same process and expect a different result? That’s the definition of insanity.”
She started to speak and he barrelled on: “I know that you don’t have a degree in medicine, that you just sit there in your scrubs and do your job. I understand that. But we’re not doing this again. Not this way.”
My hubby? Amazing. He said exactly what I couldn’t.
She sent us back right away and they took my vitals and sent me to a room. The doctor came in and told me I needed to get flu and swine flu shots. He said everything “looked good” and then asked if I had any questions. I said yes, I did…what were we going to do about the gestational diabetes test? And he had no idea what I was talking about. No one had grabbed him in the hall and told him what had happened. Again, I was a preggo with no brain. He said we could try again, which I refused. I said I could keep down a soda and a candy bar (I’d heard from friends this was how they took theirs). He said we’d do that and sent us on our way.
That night we bought a Spanish Coke (DELICIOUS, with real sugar) and a Butterfinger and spent a long, LONG evening weighing our options. I didn’t sleep that night.
Two days later we had a huge day at work which started with a media conference to announce our new Executive Director to the community. Right after the conference I was talking with one of our Board members, one of those women I really admire when it comes to being a career woman and a mom all at once. She asked how things were progressing in my pregnancy and somehow we got on the topic of natural birth and it was revealed that she had birthed all of her 3 kids at home when she lived in Seattle. That led to an amazing, spirited conversation about being a woman, about empowering yourself, about being a mother. And I knew what I was going to do.
When we got back to the office I called Jeff and told him that I was ready to make a final decision about the whole thing. He agreed and said he knew what that decision would be, and I put the wheels in motion.
I didn’t go back to the doctor that week; instead, we met with my dear friend Judy and got our last lingering questions answered. The next week, we interviewed our midwife. This past week Jeff finally wrested my records from the doctor and we had our third visit with her to go over them.
So. I believe that my Maker is in ultimate control of this process and pregnancy; I believe He made birth to be a natural physiological process, not the medical emergency doctors in the state of Alabama tend to treat it as. I believe if something goes wrong, He is still in control and has a plan.
Because of those beliefs, I want to control what I can to ensure that the natural process is followed.
There will be pain; lots and lots of it. I get to choose how I deal with that pain, in my own home and then in a beautiful little house in Tennessee. Pain is more about management and mental preparedness than anything else; it will be surprising, beautiful pain and I there is no way I can be totally ready for it. But at least I will have the choice to deal with it how I see fit.
There will be times that I have to make decisions about my body and my baby; I am as educated as I can be about those scenarios and prepared to deal with the consequences.
We will be in control of how the natural process is dealt with. No pressure from a knife-happy doctor (which my former doctor was, now that I’ve done some heavy research about him…should’ve done that first, obviously) when the baby’s “not progressing” in the time he’d like. I’ve done the research (two years of it, in fact) and this is my educated decision and that’s all I can hope for any mother. Make your pregnancy YOURS, whether you choose natural birth in a hospital or a planned c-section. Make it YOURS and the process will be exactly what it needs to be for YOU.
For this control freak and her extremely supportive husband, this path is the right one, and I cannot wait to share our birth story.