Thursday, April 11, 2013

My battle with Secondary Infertility

I'm not sure how to start this post because of such a mix of emotions that I have been feeling.  I guess I will start by giving the definition of what this month means for me.  

Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. The birth of the first child does not involve any assisted reproductive technologies or fertility medications.  Infertility is defined as a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages.
I have read stats that secondary infertility affects 1 out of 5 women trying to get pregnant after already having at least one biological child.  I have come to the conclusion that I didn't know this because many couples who have this issue simply don't talk about it.  I can relate.  The month we decided we would try for our third I was so excited.  I figured I would be pregnant the very first month.  After all, Brayve and Glory were both unplanned.  It seemed I had no problem at all becoming pregnant.  I didn't become pregnant that first month, or second, or third.  At that point I felt a little worried.  I started to think that something could be wrong.  My past cesareans were haunting me.  I knew there was a greater chance of infertility with a previous cesarean.  I already had a lack of faith in my body because of the outcome of my children's births.  I had been planning my VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesareans) this whole time.  I had a dream in my head of how it might go and I was victorious.  All of a sudden I had a new mountain to climb.  I was very embarrassed.  I didn't discuss it with anyone except for my husband.  I was obsessed for a good 6 months.  It was really a roller coaster of emotions.  I read everything I could, and began my journey to find out what was wrong with me.  I reached a pivotal moment when after having my daily rant with my husband one day while we were running he snapped back at me.  He didn't understand why I was so devoted to becoming pregnant.  Of course he wanted more children too, but he felt like it was an attack on my happiness with my family.  He just wanted to know why I couldn't be thankful for what I already had.  That was incredibly hurtful to me.  I never had looked at it that way for one thing, and the only person that I had been confiding in just told me he was tired of hearing it.  I cried a lot for the next month or two.  I kept it all in and didn't say a word.  Who wanted to hear me complain about my inability to become pregnant when I was already so blessed with the two amazing children that I already had?  I could consider myself lucky.  Some women aren't able to have any biological children, and I was sitting there with two very healthy, smart children of my very own.  I guess it kind of put things into perspective for me.  Month to month started to get a little easier.  I stopped focusing on my NEED to become pregnant now, and started focusing on my health and keeping my family happy.  

A few months ago I finally confided in my mom and one of my sisters.  I had to talk about it.  It had been so long that I had kept my mouth shut.  I just needed somebody to lean on for a second, so I could gather myself back up.  It was very helpful getting it out.  Its like a race i am running, but instead of making it over the obstacles on my own, I have some people supporting me.  They are there giving me support and love, which I feel like everybody could use more of. :)  

I belong to a trying to conceive support group.  Yesterday I posted that I am now at a year of TTC, and this week alone four people have announced their pregnancies.  I had backlash from that post from women who have been trying longer, 2,3,4 years and up.  They were angry that I was complaining about a year.  This was tough for me because I belong to that support group for a reason, for support!  I was blindsided by the negativity.  Of course I feel sadness for those who have been trying to conceive for years on end.  I was in no way trying to belittle their efforts.  I just needed a few, "I know how you feel," comments.  I was also reprimanded for being so selfish as to feel sorrow over not being able to conceive my 3rd child, when I should be thankful for the two that I have.  I can not even express how thankful I am for the two children that I have, but no matter how strong that thankfulness is, it does not stop my desire to have more children.  Those same amazing children ask me often if I have a baby in my belly yet, or if I could just give them another baby brother or baby sister.  Recently we were in the car, and Brayve from the backseat lets me know that he has been asking God to put more babies in Nana's belly.  When I asked him why Nana and not mommy he said, "Because you are having trouble."  After I explained to him that a person can ask God for help when they are having trouble, he has been asking God to put another baby in his mommy's belly.  I don't know what to say besides that its heartbreaking.  No, I am not suffering from a terminal illness.  Yes, my family is happy and healthy.  My husband has his job still.  There are SO many things that I am thankful for, but that doesn't stop the ache that I have for another child.  I read a blog the other day.  This woman explains it well. 

The author is Victoria Lambert:
"I fully appreciate that I am infinitely luckier than all those who are unable to conceive at all – either through infertility, timing or sheer bad luck – but that doesn’t make the pain any easier to bear. 

What I could not have known before my daughter was born was that infertility is infertility, plain and simple, whenever it occurs. I had no idea that trying for a second child would be like starting with a blank page; that my accumulated wisdom and experience of motherhood would count for nothing in terms of conception."

--Lambert goes on to describe the guilt she feels about one child not being "enough," the frustration with her body...why can't it create another child?, the guilt the current child gives because they want a sibling, the pain of seeing all of the baby items she keeps stored in hopes that she can use them for another child. 

--Lambert closes her article with this statement: "These days, it has to be said, I long for my need for a second child to go away almost as much as I do for a positive pregnancy test."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Home Birth-Is it a safe option?

There have been studies done with large groups of healthy pregnant women that have favored home birth outcomes.  This squashes the complaint that these studies are skewed because high risk women birth in the hospital which makes the outcome unfair.  If you ever read Birthing From Within by Pam England some of them are listed in there.  Could it be that the interventions regularly used on healthy women at the hospital cause negative outcomes, injury, increased mortality rates even?  Lets not even talk about the increase risk for disease!  Home birth isn't for everyone, but for those who have educated themselves, are healthy, have good care providers, and feel 100% confident in birthing at home it is the right choice for them.

Double click on the title below, and go to the link to read the article recently published from USAToday.

Study: Home birth with midwife as safe as hospital birth

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Childbirth-Let Us Stop Judging Each Other and Start Supporting Each Other

    I want to address some issues that I have come across lately with other's opinions on women's choice of how they want to birth their babies.  The most common controversies that I see are the divide between women who want repeat cesareans and the women who would like to try for VBAC's, women who choose medicated births verse women who choose natural births, and women who choose to birth outside of the hospital verse women who choose to have their baby in the hospital.  Although I do understand the point that each is trying to make, I don't understand the judgement being passed upon other mother's and their decisions for what they believe is best for themselves and their babies.

    There are so many details brought in each situation and no one decision can be cut and dry.  A woman who has a cesarean then has an option for their next birth.  She can choose whether to have a repeat cesarean or to try for a VBAC.  Some women have a cesarean and then just know that they will deliver their babies by cesarean from then on.  That is perfectly fine if that is their choice and they feel it is what is best for their family.  Some women have such traumatic labors with their first that end in cesarean and thinking about going through all that traumatic labor again scares the hell out of them.  They may feel safe with a cesarean because they feel like they have more control over the situation.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  In fact I can relate.  Although I don't choose to have repeat cesareans I know the fear a person can have over the unknown of labor.  I also respect a woman who chooses to have a cesarean because it is not a walk in the park when it comes to recovery.  They may not go through hours of labor to get a vaginal birth, but you better bet they have to travel a painful road of healing.  With that said, there are also some women who recover incredibly well from their surgery.  I applaud their bodies for that.  Most women who have major abdominal surgery have issues for months, years, or for the rest of their lives.  Scar tissue isn't something to dismiss.  It can throw your body completely off balance and cause problems with a number of things including your internal organs such as your bladder.  There are so many details a woman should consider when making a decision between cesarean and VBAC.  I have posted about the risks of VBAC verse the risk of cesarean before so I won't fully go into that again, but just know there are risks with both.  I choose VBAC for many reasons.  I feel that it is safest for myself and my baby.  The thought of surgery scares me beyond belief.  I want to be able to bring my baby into the world myself, and have the energy to be able to hold and comfort her in her first moments of life.  I feel so strongly about this that I have been researching, praying, planning, and digging deep down in my soul to find strength and peace with the decision to even attempt again.  I have thought about opting for a repeat cesarean.  Then I wouldn't have to deal with planning, worrying, being afraid, and the unknown of what labor might bring.  I could put all the responsibility in the doctor's hands, but in my heart I don't feel like that is what is meant to be for me and my baby.  I have done the risk assessments for both options, and I feel safest with VBAC.  I should never be judged for this.  I should receive support especially from my loved ones.  The same goes with a woman who chooses a repeat cesarean.  She should get support in her decision, and should have a lot of support for her recovery.

    I feel like there is also a lot of judgement passed between natural birthers and women who choose medication.  There are some that feel the need to defend their decision based on other's reaction.  I think a woman needs to be educated and read all of the risks of any medication she may be given the option to use during her birth.  I feel this is necessary no matter if you are planning a natural birth, or if you already know that you want to use medication.  You can't be sure of how your birth will turn out.  I think it is great if a woman chooses to have her baby naturally.  In that instance you can guarantee that your baby is not receiving any medication or unnatural substance in his journey to the outside.  You also know that your labor will not be willingly affected by an outside source of medication being administered.  The problem with epidurals, narcotics, or any other intervention is that women think that it is an option that carries no risk, but that is untrue.  Many studies have been done showing that interventions including inducing is directly linked to the increasing rates of cesareans.  With that being said I think keeping your mind open is the most important thing when going into labor.  I have heard of women who are having issues dilating for whatever reason, including being so scared that they are tensing up every muscle in their bodies, and are given the option of either doing a cesarean or trying an epidural in order to relax after not progressing and being exhausted.  Sometimes an epidural is given and the woman gets so much relief that they are able to let their bodies do the work, take their mind out of the situation, completely relax or take a nap and then deliver their babies vaginally.  The epidural might have saved them from getting an unnecessary cesarean!  What a great option to be able to have!  I have also personally witnessed a woman who knew ahead of time that she might want the relief of a narcotic at some point during her labor if she ended up being exhausted from a long labor.  It turned out that she did have a long labor, she did become exhausted, and she did feel at the end of her rope.  She tried the narcotic, got some sleep for a couple of hours on and off, and woke up rejuvenated enough to continue.  She was in a good place, and was able to have her baby a few hours later.  That was her choice to make, and nobody was there judging her for it.

    Now, addressing where a woman chooses to birth her baby.  This has been a hot debate for some time now.  Most women choose to birth their baby in a hospital.  They have many reasons for this.  In society this is where a woman is 'supposed' to have her baby.  Most women feel more comfortable being in the hospital where there is medical help if needed.  If a woman is thinking about having a medicated birth then her obvious choice is the hospital.  Some women don't even know there is another option.  A lot of women feel more safe at the hospital during childbirth.  Women who have high risk pregnancies obviously benefit greatly from being at the hospital because the risk of something going wrong increases.    Sometimes there aren't resources available to a woman who might have second thoughts about going to the hospital and may feel it is really her only option.  There is no doubt about the life saving technology that a hospital has.  With that being said, childbirth is a normal part of life.  Throughout the media and personal stories being told it has been presented to be a time of high anxiety of the unknown for a mother and even the father or partner.  Childbirth is directly linked to the thought of pain.  If you were in extreme pain you would feel the need to go to the hospital right?  What people forget is that childbirth is a natural process!  It doesn't have to be scary, it doesn't have to be controlled, and it doesn't have to be thought of as only pain.  Some women realize this, and some of those women choose to stay at home or go to a birthing center instead.  If their pregnancy is low risk, they have done all the research, they have prepared, and have chosen a good care provider then they have made an educated decision that is right for them.  Of course bad things can happen inside or outside of a hospital.  A woman makes her choice based on what she feels is best at the time for her family.  The main argument that people have against home births is that they think a mother is being selfish for choosing to birth at home.  People say that they choose their own birthing experience over the health and safety of their baby.  This doesn't even make sense to me.  Mother's don't choose home birth over the safety of their children.  They choose home birth because they honestly believe that it is the best option for their baby.  If a woman knew something negative was going to happen to their baby they would absolutely be in the hospital.  The point is you have to weigh the benefits against the risks in every decision that you make.  Some women believe that the best decision and most peaceful, loving way they can bring their baby into the world is by doing it in the comfort of their home surrounded by the people that they love, not strangers.  The fact is that the chance of something going wrong during childbirth with a healthy pregnancy and healthy mother is low, and if something does go wrong in most cases it can be handled at home or the mother will be able to be transferred for medical care in time.  There are even rarer cases where there is an absolute medical emergency that requires immediate attention.  If that happens the situation could be fatal at home or in the hospital, but obviously in these extremely rare cases a woman and baby's best scenario would be in the hospital.  That doesn't mean that the hospital doesn't come with risks of its own though.  A baby or mother is much more likely to develop infection at a hospital because of the high rate of it in hospitals.  Sure there is a separate floor for the maternity ward, but every other floor is filled with sick people.  Some have extremely contagious infections or disease.  I'm not saying that being in the hospital with your baby put you at a high risk of infection that you might not encountered otherwise, but even though the risk is not high it is still a risk.  The chances of getting interventions at the hospital is also extremely high and if you want to go natural it will be very hard to do that in a hospital setting.  All interventions carry some kind of risk.  There are so many things to consider when making your choice.

    Every woman should do the research and make the decision that they feel is best for their family.  We should be supporting each other instead of criticizing each other.  Every single situation is different.  Every single family carries a variety of details that do not completely match anyone else's.  Why do we feel the right to judge someone else's choice on what is best for their family.  If we stopped putting energy in judging and criticizing and put that extra energy into our own lives and families we would all be better for it.  The childbirth scenario around the world, and especially here in the United States would be completely different.  If women were given all the information, support, and options to choose what they felt was best, the maternity care system could be turned around.  Babies could be born at peace, women could give birth at peace with their choices, more families would be made with the support and peace of their experiences.  The world truly would be a better place, because after all, our navigation of this world starts at birth.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Update: Yoga, Chiro, Acupuncture, Rolfing, Eating Right!

I wanted to write a post updating on some stuff that I have been doing lately.  I have done a lot of research on scar tissue and connective tissue issues in the body that can cause an imbalance in a person's body mechanics.  Every injury or trauma our body experiences comes along with scar tissue that builds up and attaches to whatever is near such as muscle, tendons etc.  This causes tightness or pulling in muscles that can set our bodies off balance which in turn can cause chronic pain.  I am now 14 months post partum and have just recently found some things that have helped me with my back pain and overall stiffness and pain I have been experiencing.  I did an inventory of the injuries I have, and the surgeries that I have gone through.  I found out that there are multiple things that could be causing the issues I am having.  I have tried going to the doctor where I was given prescription pain killers that I never took because what is the point of masking the pain?  It is still there.  I am on a search to fix whatever is causing the pain.

First off I want to say how incredibly important I believe yoga is!  It is basically what I am using for physical therapy because I believe that it is more effective and cheaper!  I am doing stretches, muscle toning, and meditating all in one!  This alone has helped tremendously with the pain I experience throughout the day.

Second, I have been going to the chiropractor monthly.  He adjusts my whole spine and my hips (which seem to always be out of place).  I have a ripping noise in my right leg that occurs when I move in certain directions.  It is a really strange unhealthy sound.  My right leg is also stuck in a position that prevents me from stretching my inner thighs (adductors) as far as my left.  It is very uncomfortable and pretty frustrating considering I don't know exactly why it is like that, but I have my theories and I'm guessing it is linked to my tight psoas muscle (hip flexor).  That could have been caused by the high mileage that I ran for so long, and the failure on my part to stretch it back out after running.

Third, I will be trying acupuncture on Thursday for the first time.  From what I understand it helps relieve pain, and can open up points in your body to help with healing from the inside out.  I'm getting the full body one done, front and back.  We will see how it works out (I'm a little nervous about the needles).

Fourth, I was given a tip about a technique called rolfing.  It is a treatment that is done over ten sessions that is supposed to help align your body so that you can move with proper body mechanics.  I have been to two sessions so far and it is a little intense!  The only provider close to me is in Iowa City so I make the 1 1/2 hour trip every Saturday for the 1 1/2 hour session.  The first session was very interesting.  She worked a lot on my quads which are very bulky and tight.  I'm not going to lie, it was pretty uncomfortable.  I have very sensitive muscles which tells me that there is an issue.  You shouldn't be so sensitive that if someone applies light pressure to a certain muscle on your body that it makes you jump.  I was pretty sore afterwards, but I felt so weird.  It is hard to explain.  I was walking different…it almost felt like a glide.  My quads actually looked different in the mirror.  Instead of the bulkiness that I usually see they were…. less tone looking?  I don't know how to explain it really, but I measured myself and I was an inch and a half taller.  I was elated!  I have always told my husband that I feel like my body is smooshed, and that I should have been a few inches taller.  All of sudden I was!  The next morning I woke up free of pain.  The first session also released an emotional response.  I believe that every trauma, physical or emotional can lie dormant in the body until something provokes a release.  This definitely provoked a release that I have never experienced before.  I got out to the car and was trembling, confused, and sobbing.  Alex was worried!  I kept telling him that nothing bad happened, and that it was all so interesting and I really had no idea why I was crying.  The second session she worked a little more on my hips and it was a love-hate relationship.  She was getting her hands and arms into spaces that have probably never been touched on my outer hips.  For the rest of the day my hips felt so free.  I'm really excited about this treatment, and will be updating when the ten sessions are up.

Fifth, I'm eating right, loving life, and keeping an open mind!

I have a few reasons why I am diving so deep to try to correct my issues.  I don't want to be so stiff and sore that I can't play with my kids.  I don't want to be in pain everyday.  I want to be a healthy person.  I want to avoid another cesarean and experience birth the way it is meant to be.  I have a lot of work to do before my next baby.  I feel that if I try everything I can that I will either succeed, or feel a sense of peace if I don't that at least I gave it 100%.  We plan to try for baby number three sometime between the end of the summer and the fall.  I have gathered all of my contact numbers for the support team that I am building for the birth of baby number three.  I have my diet mostly under control to provide the best nutrition I can for my body and future baby.  All my plans are slowly coming together.

Oh, and side note, I finally broke down and bought a scale.  I have decided to release the official number since I have had so many inquiries about it.  I now weight 143lbs.  That is 15lbs less than I weighed when I became pregnant with Brayve and also Glory.  A reminder for all of those out there that are on the weight loss journey I did this by eating right.  I do believe exercise is very important for overall health, but if you eat the right foods that your body needs you will be at a healthy weight for you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My healthful revelation!

Today I went to subway after a dr. appt. because my kids are both sick and I have no groceries.  I went in not knowing what I wanted yet, and as I was standing there I was debating over my usual 6 inch sandwich or a salad.  If a person is on a diet what is the right choice that comes to mind?  A salad with a lowfat dressing right?  Well, I used to be that person who chose to eat healthy most of the time partly because I knew it was best for my health and partly because I was trying to stay or be "thin."  Can anyone else relate to this?  Today when I made my decision I can honestly say that it was 100% for eating healthy in order to be healthy.  I chose a veggie salad, and I wasn't thinking of how much better my regular sandwich would be.  I was thinking how yummy vegetables sounded at the moment and my  mouth started watering.  Then I asked about the dressing options.  When she told me my choices I realized that I felt really turned off by all of them.  My guess is that there is just too much sugar or fattening something or other my body just doesn't get a long with anymore, and instead of choosing none of them because they weren't light enough, I chose none of them because I actually didn't like them.  Amazing huh?  I then realized on the way home that I have been doing this for awhile now.  Don't get me wrong, I still eat some things that aren't the best for me, and I definitely have a sweet tooth from time to time, but my choices most of the time are pretty solidly healthy.  This is an incredibly freeing feelings.  I don't have to be miserable because I'm constantly dieting and choosing things I don't really want.  I can eat healthy because I want to, its easy, and therefore I can be healthy!
Now you all are thinking… great, glad its so easy for her, wish it could be easy for me too.  Or maybe some of you are right there along with me, and if you are awesome!  For those of you who are still struggling I will give you a little advice.  Keep in mind that it isn't easy, and yes it will feel like a diet at first and I know that sucks.  After I had Glory (my second cesarean), I talked to a midwife who gave me some great advice for the next time I become pregnant.  After telling her that I took a lot of sugar out of my diet when I became pregnant with Glory, and that I kept running/jogging/walking 3 miles 4 times a week she praised me for my move in the right direction but she gave me a better plan.  After hearing my history of sporting event choices, and bad behavior with sugar intake she suggested I not only cut out some sugar from my diet but almost all, and that I be gentle with myself when it came to exercise.  I decided to take a shot at it.  I stopped running, and started walking instead, and began yoga.  Then I took her advice on loading my diet with only vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, lowfat dairy products.  I did that, and switched some things around like drinking coconut milk instead of cows, and buying organic fruits and vegetables.  I was eating sandwiches that consisted of the whole grain thins as bread, spinach, jalapeno hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, and banana peppers.  My breakfast turned into plain oatmeal with blueberries.  My snacks were things like almonds, or greek yogurt.  After a month of doing this without any stepping out of line it became easier!  I didn't crave sugar anymore, and i wasn't able to eat lunchmeat or beef.  It just plain grossed me out!  That one month was the hardest part.  Now I have added a few things back in here and there.  I will eat a cookie if I want one, or have some steak if I really feel like it.  The good thing is that most of the time I DONT feel like it!
Now, for the reason that I think holds all of this together like glue.  Before I became a mother I didn't 100% care about myself.  I thought I did, but when I look back on it and think about my habits and behaviors I honestly didn't.  After I had Glory I realized that my body was in a lot of pain, and I felt like a 26 year old in a 80 year olds body.  This is a very scary feeling for a new mother.  I decided that I needed to honestly care about myself.  I refuse to tan and now wear sunscreen, if I feel like there is something I need to go to the doctor for I actually go, I developed a positive outlook on life and dropped a lot of the things I used to stress about, and now I eat right and find exercise that is kind to my body.  I still hurt, but now I am on the road to feeling better.  I have some injuries that probably will never go away, but I can manage them correctly in order to preserve myself as long as I can naturally for the sake of my family.  My children are the most important thing in life to me, and I want to make sure I am here to protect them and love them as long as God lets me!  
Oh, and I'm building a yoga studio in my basement!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Were my cesareans necessary? What steps I will take to decrease the chance of another one.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about necessary cesareans lately.  I had posted something in a birth group that I belong to on Facebook in response to someone's question about long labors and positioning of babies.  A midwife posted back that it sounded like my cesareans were necessary.  This felt strange to hear from a group that seems so natural based.  It made me step back and really analyze every detail that led up to my cesareans.  After thinking about it for days I responded back to that midwife with a brief summary of why I felt they weren't necessary, although in the exact moment without taking what had happened all throughout labor into consideration I did feel like one of them may have been necessary.

Let me explain.  My pregnancy with Brayve went well after I got out of the first trimester.  He was always moving and had a strong heartbeat.  I took the labor and birth class from the hospital that I was going to deliver at.  I read the book that was lent to me, "What to Expect When Expecting."  I went to the first and actually only OB that I knew.  That was about all I did to educate myself on labor and birth.  I didn't think twice about pain medication, epidurals, or cesareans.  I was going to have a natural, normal birth with my husband and mother there to join in the miracle of watching my son be born.  Nothing went as planned.  My labor with him was exhausting, frustrating, stressful, and confusing.  I never saw the OB throughout my labor, my husband was exhausted and confused as I was, my mom had no information to give because she had birthed in the 80's with a great family practitioner that had faith in her ability to birth her babies.  I saw three nurses throughout my hospital stay.  The first could barely speak english and was really frustrated with me every time I asked her to repeat herself.  The second was very sweet, upbeat, and friendly but didn't offer any knowledge on what was going on because her job was to take care of my medical needs.  The third nurse was nice, but quiet, and I felt like she was annoyed with me.  After 49 hours of labor the OB finally walked in and said, "you need a cesarean."  At that moment I felt like I knew absolutely nothing and the OB was king of the world.  He was knowledgeable, experienced, and I was there to be a good patient and do what he says.  Despite the profanities that I was throwing out I did do what he said and went in for the cesarean.  Afterwards I found out that Brayve was posterior with a large head.  That was all of the information I was given.  When I found out I was pregnant with Glory I just had faith that she would not also be posterior and I would get a doula in case she was.  The doula I chose was the only one I knew and she taught childbirth education classes at the hospital.  I chose a different care provider which was a group of midwives instead of a very busy OB from the clinic next door from the hospital.  My plan was to labor at home as long as possible because by that point I was terrified of going to the hospital.  I once again was planning an all natural birth with no medication and no cesarean.  At 37 weeks I found out I had tested positive for the Group B Strep bacteria.  They told me that when I went into labor to come into the hospital as soon as possible for penicillin to be administered every 4 hours.  I did my research and made the educated decision to go against the midwives advice.  Unfortunately my doula was also a nurse and could not help me in my own home.  After a good 24 hours of laboring at home my water broke and I was saying the famous phrase, "I can't do this anymore."  When we went to the hospital I was told there was meconium in the amniotic fluid.  BUT I was dilated 7cm!!  Unfortunately I panicked and I think I would have gnawed my own hand off if it meant I could go home and the pain would go away.  After being at the hospital for about 7 hours stuck at 7cm and then down to 6cm I started running a fever.  Because of the meconium and my fever I was worried for my baby.  I went with the midwives advice and opted for the cesarean.  In that circumstance at that very moment I honestly do believe that the cesarean was necessary.  A newborn with an infection is a very serious and life threatening matter and I wasn't about to toe that line.

This is my take on my first cesarean.  I had very little education.  I had no knowledgeable support.  I read a book about pregnancy and birth that if wasn't borrowed I would use for firewood.  I knew nothing about positioning of a baby or even what my baby's position was!  I had a very bottom of the line OB who did a huge botch job on my incision.  I do not believe at all that the cesarean was necessary.  I believe that there were a lot of things I could have done prior to labor starting and also during labor that could have helped that baby turn if I would have known that he may have been or was in an unfavorable position.  Putting all that aside though, my epidural was wearing off and I was then told that the baby was posterior.  I called my childbirth educator and she said I could try getting on my hands and knees.  Brayve's heartbeat was great, and my blood pressure, temperature and stats were also good.  I didn't know what to do and neither did my mom and husband.  I had a cesarean because I had been there too long.  If I had been with a midwife who was knowledgeable of the spinning babies techniques, or who had the patience and interest in helping me figure out why I was laboring so long and why my contractions were so irregular the scenario might have been completely different.

My take on my second cesarean is much the same as my first.  If I had been with a more natural midwife,  who was interested and knowledgeable on baby's positioning throughout pregnancy, labor, and birth things could have been different.  I probably should have opted for a homebirth considering the fear I had of the hospital.  Glory was stuck in my pelvis forehead first.  That is how they found her when they were performing the cesarean.  That explains the meconium because that is a very stressful position for the baby and fetal stress has been linked with meconium being present in the amniotic fluid.  Although, I believe that the cesarean was necessary in the moment I also believe that there were many things that could have been done prior to labor and during labor that might have changed her position when she dropped down into my pelvis.

I want more than ever for my baby to enter peacefully into my own arms.  I want him/her to be comforted with my heartbeat and the sound of my voice.  I want to be able to kiss my baby within the first few seconds of his/her life.    

This is what I will change if and hopefully when I am faced with bringing my next child into this world.
1. I will find a midwife who 100% believes in a woman's body and the labor and birth process.
2. I will labor and attempt to birth my baby in a place where I feel safe.
3. I will hire a doula who is experienced and knowledgeable in positioning techniques.
4. I will eat right and exercise regularly.
5. I will get help from a chiropractor who is experienced with prenatal care, the full webster's technique, and myofascial release.
6. I will get help from an acupuncturist and also receive prenatal massages.
7. I will have good posture whether sitting or standing and will use what is recommended on Spinning Babies to get my baby in a favorable position from the start.
8. I will use water for pain relief and relaxation of my muscles during labor and possibly birth.
9. Most importantly I will keep an open mind, have patience with my body, and be proactive in my own experience by making informed decisions.

I honestly do think, giving what I know now, I could have avoided both cesareans.  I have done a lot of work emotionally in order to get through the what ifs and could haves.  I no longer have negative feelings about them.  I actually have a huge amount of hope that comes along with the accepting of my past experiences.  They are what they are, and cannot be changed.  The future is wide open though, and I plan to give it all I have for my baby, for other women who need the inspiration, and for myself!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Chiropractic Can Help With Your Pregnancy and Birth

How Chiropractic Can Help With Your Pregnancy and Birth

This came straight off the Birth Without Fear blog that you can get to by clicking the link above.  It is a great blog with a lot of awesome info, and you should check it out!

How Chiropractic Can Help With Your Pregnancy and Birth

Editor’s Note: This is a Guest Blog Post by Brandon Harshe, D.C with The Atlas of Life Chiropractic!
Pregnancy and Birthing Without FearMorning sickness. Vomiting. Nausea. Back pain. Pelvic pain. Shortness of breath. Hormones gone wild. High blood pressure. Swollen ankles.
These symptoms are seen as normal during pregnancy, something you better get used to for the next 38-42 weeks. You wanted a baby, now deal with it. Right?
Wrong. Sure these examples are common among pregnant women, but the intensity or even the presence of these symptoms will greatly diminish if under Chiropractic care.
As we established in previous posts, the nervous system controls all in your body. Under the direction of your body’s Innate Intelligence, the nervous system will adapt to the changes brought on by a growing new life inside of you. This new life you carry has its own Innate Intelligence that will do whatever it must to preserve the health and well being of itself. This will come at your expense, causing a number of deficiencies that your Innate Intelligence will have no choice but to adapt to.
The presence of a vertebral subluxation will interfere with the nervous system’s ability to communicate back and forth with the body. The subluxation will result in three things:
1.) Body Imbalance – a subluxation at your atlas will tilt your head to one side. Your brain has a reflex called the righting reflex which keeps your eyes level with the horizon. This will cause your lower cervical spine to bend the opposite way of your head tilt. To compensate, your thoracic spine will bend the opposite way, then the opposite way in the lumbar spine, resulting in one side of your pelvis being drawn up and causing one leg to appear shorter than the other, as well as an uneven distribution of weight putting undue stress on the joints. An unevenly aligned pelvis during pregnancy can be incredibly painful, as well as problematic for the baby trying to get into a proper birthing position.
chiropractic and pregnancy
2.) Nerve Tension or Pressure – Because of these compensations traveling down your spine, the muscles on one or both sides of your spine will become very tight, and inflammatory effects will take place and escalate in places of spinal misalignment. These changes will add stress to the nerves exiting your spinal column at some level, be it the nerve root or further along the distribution of the nerve. The nerves exiting your spine all lead to various parts of your body, including muscles, organs, glands, and blood vessels. Left alone and, over time, this nerve stress will lead to degeneration in these various body systems.
Chiropractic Pregnancy and Birth
3.) Brain Stem Tension or Pressure – A subluxation of your atlas (C1) vertebra will not only narrow the spinal canal in which the spinal cord travels down, but this narrowed space will result in an increase of pressure within this spinal canal. This added pressure will cause undue stress to the brain stem located just above the atlas.
If you remember Christopher Reeve, he shattered his atlas and nearly severed his spinal cord at the level of his axis (C2) vertebra. The brain stem is the Houston Control of your body, coordinating any and all communication from the brain to the body and vice versa. Because of an injury to this area near the brain stem, Christopher Reeve could not breathe on his own without a respirator and he eventually died of heart failure due to decreased brain stem function.
As you can see, the results of a vertebral subluxation do not equate to healthy changes in your body. Your Innate Intelligence can only do so much when given a limitation of matter. Add in a growing baby using up much of your body’s resources to survive and grow within you, and you can begin to see where a subluxation can wreak havoc on the health of a pregnant woman.
The spinal compensations resulting from the subluxation may result in distorted pelvic positioning, causing the baby to get into an unfavorable position for birth, possibly breech. This unfavorable position could be adding increased pressure to your pelvic veins and vena cava (the large vein on the right side of your body carrying blood from the legs back up to the heart). This pressure could slow down the flow of blood back up to the heart, causing the blood to pool in your legs. This will only add to the swelling you might be experiencing in your ankles, as well as contributing to the increased risk of preeclampsia in your last trimester.
Blood Pressure in PregnancyThe nerve pressure and tension caused by the spinal compensations in the spine may lead to improper signals to be sent to various organs and tissues. Pressure and tension on the nerves in your mid to upper thoracic spine may lead to decreased function of the heart and/or lungs. This may result in an added shortness of breath. Or maybe high blood pressure, adding to that risk of preeclampsia.
Maybe pressure in the lower thoracic, lumbar, and sacral nerves results in decreased blood flow to organs such as your kidney and liver. This could result in decreased organ function, which may cause protein to leak into the urine, another sign of preeclampsia. Nerve tension in these lower spinal areas may result in a tight uterus, making you unable to relax during labor due to the pain you feel with each contraction. This might keep you from dilating properly, only adding to the stress a possible cesarean section can create.
A subluxation of your atlas will cause tension or pressure to the area of your brain stem. This tension or pressure will interfere with the brain stem’s ability to coordinate the messages being sent to the body by the brain. This could interfere with proper distribution of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Since the placenta is being developed with the help of estrogen and progesterone, a lessened amount of both these hormones may result in complications with the placenta, and therefore the growing baby inside that placenta.
As you can see, a vertebral subluxation is not a minor thing to ignore. Even the most seemingly insignificant of subluxations will always run some kind of interference to the brain-body communication. This is never a good thing, and especially not when you are pregnant and your body needs the most help and the least interference.
You deserve to have the best chance at a successful pregnancy and childbirth, and you can only do that with a nervous system that is running free and clear of interference.