Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Crisis of Confidence

WARNING: this is a post about childbirth, and the aftermath. I am tired of pregnancy, birth, and what comes after being a taboo and humiliating experience, especially when every single person on this planet has been involved. C'mon, people- you may not have given birth, but you were certainly born. So I need advice, but YOU may not choose to read about it. I do not want to force you to, either: this is your warning to just navigate away from the page if you do not want to be involved in the conversation.

So here's the bottom line.

Natural childbirth (read- no pain meds) was very important to me, as is the idea that birth is a very natural occurrence, and should be treated as such. With this in mind, I have been seeing a certified nurse midwife for all my well woman and pregnancy care for years. I was very pleased with my labor experience with Owen, which involved an induced labor lasting six hours (on pitocin, a contraction enhancing drug), no pain medication, no episiotomy. My midwife was with me almost the whole time, except in the earlier parts when I told her I didn't need her there, so if she had something to do we'd let her know when we were ready for her again. There was some serious tearing involved when Owen was born, but I do not fault anyone for that. (Also- I couldn't even feel it ladies- don't freak if you haven't had a baby yet). I waited an extra 11 days to give birth to a child who ended up being 8 lbs 14 oz. That was my choice as well. The healing did not go super smoothly, and I am not pleased with the quality of workmanship of subsequent repairs, which were performed by an ob-gyn who told me this would have been easier if I had had a c-section.

My mother (and most women of her generation) believe that an episiotomy would have negated most of the problems I had post-partum, but in speaking with many people (anectodally, other midwives, ob-gyns) I have learned that the episiotomy is no longer standard procedure and is indeed frowned upon in most practices today. So with 8 more weeks to go until the birth of my second child, I may be considering going about his differently. Here is what I want to know, and here's where I need your help.

If you have given birth in the last 10 years or so, and any of the following situations apply, please respond- and feel free to do so anonymously.

a) Has anyone switched from midwife to ob-gyn, or vice versa? If so, what were your reasons, and were you pleased with the choice you made?
b) Has anyone had a natural (epidural free) birth with an ob-gyn? (I am not opposed to pitocin, and handled labor fine last time, so pain management is not a concern for me)
c) Has anyone had an episiotomy? Have you had one, then not had one, or vice versa?
d) Anyone in the medical profession care to jump in, whether you have given birth or not?
e) Actually, any insight at all to second childbirth would be great. Feel free to make any comments.

I feel comfortable writing about this in a public sphere because many women I have asked have similar stories about the post-partum experience, so I know I am not alone. Nor do I want anyone to feel that I am critiquing her choices in giving birth- actually, I would love to hear about it from another perspective. Tell me your experiences, with first or second or third child. Feel free to do so anonymously.
my internet has not been working, so here is a quick update:

owen is teething, and refuses to be normal for me. Craig and mimsie get gold star super sweet behavior, though. i get bob the builder and pop requests for hours on end.

i think the baby may fall out. just saying.

craig has no clean underwear.

water gives me indigestion. but ice doesn't.

veronica wants a "ipod clopper scanner" for her bday. i do not know wtf she is referring to.

i want to buy a house down the street from my mom. it isn't currently for sale.