Thursday, August 26, 2010

Skin to Skin saves lives

This is an awesome story how a mom brought her baby back from death because of skin to skin contact after birth. It's just amazing!

Helping Others

This is a beautiful story of how tragedy can be used for good. I think it's easy to get wrapped up in our own problems and tough times and not see that someone else is going through the same thing. We can help each other through these times and gain strength and hope. I hope to use my experiences to help others as well.
Please read this amazing story.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hospitals out for the money

I just finished reading the book Birth the surprising history of how we are born by Tina Cassidy. There is an excerpt I want to share on pg 224.

“Postnatal hospital stays are decreasing in length not only because insurance companies have begun to assess why childbirth is so expensive, but also because of a movement of women across the country who don’t want childbirth treated as an illness and have welcomed the opportunity to leave the hospital as soon as possible. Yet hospitals have for decades encouraged women to stay,” wrote Alexandra Lally Peters, a former president of the Maternity Center Association, in a letter to the editor of the New York Times in 1994. “Because these women, who aren’t really sick and who require minimal care, are paying plenty for their extra care, are paying plenty for their extra days. The maternity wing, as any hospital administrator will tell you, generally floats a hospital. The almighty dollar is speaking here.” (emphasis added)

This really struck me. I know money drives hospitals and Dr.’s to do a lot of unnecessary interventions, but I had no idea that the maternity ward carries the hospital. So, no wonder they don’t practice evidence based care, they know there is evidence against these interventions but they don’t care. The interventions make money. This is sickening and wrong. I know a hospital is a business but since when did doing business mean you harm your customers all for money. I thought business was supposed to be a win-win situation not a win-lose situation. And by the way your doctor and hospital and nurses were hired by you, so if you don’t like something they do or the way they do stuff FIRE THEM! As a child may say “they aren’t the boss of you”.

What I don’t get is that if insurance companies are so concerned with the money going out for maternity care why aren’t they asking more questions on why certain procedures are being done? Why does it seem like every women that goes to the hospital automatically gets Pitocin, whether needed or not? Why are most Certified Professional Midwives not covered by insurance companies? It’s considerably cheaper to cover them and the care they offer (and better outcomes) then for doctors.

One thing I did get from the book, one person can make a difference. There have been many people that have changed the way birth was treated for good and bad over time. I want to help women become informed about birth as I know many others who do. Hopefully change is on the horizon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Obsessed with Vaginal Births

I was thinking in the shower this morning about birth, which is pretty normal these days. I was thinking about how I’m obsessed about the subject lately. I’m reading the book Birth by Tina Cassidy and I’m reading tons of blogs and Facebook pages all about birth and childrearing. Anyway, I’m especially obsessed with vaginal births. So I was thinking about this and wondering why I’m so obsessed with it all and one reason came to mind. I’m obsessed because as a women/mother I feel incomplete in this area. I went through labor but I didn’t go through the birth (read our birth story) and this makes me feel incomplete as a woman/mother. Sometimes I look at Trey and wonder how he got here and if he’s really ours. Sometimes I feel like we adopted him because I labored, went to sleep and when I woke up there was a baby. I feel very disconnected from the whole birth part. I know that his birth was supposed to be the way it was but it still leaves me feeling like I’m missing a part of who I am. I didn’t see or feel him leave my body; I didn’t even see him for about an hour after he was born. I didn’t “give birth”. I don’t feel complete in this area of my life.

The more I read the more I’m convinced that birth isn’t as simple as we tend to make it. God designed birth to be this wonderful dance between a mother and baby that affects us as women more than we give it credit. Having a vaginal birth is critical for us as women. It affects so many things, recovery time, bonding with baby, breastfeeding, emotional well being, future pregnancies/children, trust in themselves and others.

I’m not saying that women that can’t or don’t have babies are not complete. I’m saying that I’m not complete because of the way Trey was born. And it makes me wonder how many other women out there are feeling the same way.

All I know for sure is that I want desperately to birth my next babies vaginally. I want to feel and know that the baby came from me and to “be there” when they are born. I want to go through this rite of passage. I NEED to go through this rite of passage. Maybe I’ll finally feel more complete as a mother, we’ll see.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fearful Decisions

When it comes time to make a decision I’m pretty thought through. I’d say about 95% of what I do and the way I do it and my values and beliefs is very thought through. I usually think about the simplest way to do something or what works best for me and my family. When I wanted to home birth, I had been researching it and hospital births, midwives and such. I told David what I wanted to do and why. While some people probably thought that I didn’t give it much thought, I had given it a lot of thought and we decided it was what was best for us (we still believe that).

When I read birth stories or blog posts or just hear conversations in passing I hear that a lot of people have made decisions based on fear. Let me give an example; in the medical community VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean) are considered dangerous. If a woman goes to her doctor, more often than not they will hear that if they attempt a VBAC they could rupture their uterus and lose the baby and that it’s just too risky. Now let’s briefly talk stats, the risk of a uterine rupture for a low transverse scar (horizontal bikini cut) is less than 1%. Now let’s talk rupture, a rupture can be anything from a small tear (window) to a complete blow out. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t consider a less than 1% chance of something happening as “risky” or “dangerous”. (I’ll go into more detail on VBAC’s in another post). Unfortunately many women don’t hear the stats from their doctor; they only get the danger card, so they agree to a repeat c-section. They just made a decision out of fear. They didn’t do the research themselves to make sure what they heard was completely true. And instead of finding out that VBAC’s are a safe option for most women and that the risk is very small, they allow a repeat cs which is a LOT more risky. Ok, enough birth examples.

Why do we make decisions based in fear? We don’t make a good quality decision, one we can feel good about later on. We end up second guessing ourselves because we let fear rule our lives. If we made all our decisions based in fear, we’d never leave the house. And no one ever said that life was without risks. I’m not saying that we need to take needless risks, and of course everyone needs to do what’s best for themselves and their family. But decisions based in fear only breeds more fear.

I for one do my best to not make decisions out of fear. I research, I talk it through with David or friends/peers, and I pray. Then I make the best decision I can and go with my instinct. Don't let what you want to do be influenced by what you're scared to do.

A quote from the movie Kung Fu Panda from the old turtle master: “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it”. Don’t make a decision based in fear because you will often end up with exactly what you set out to avoid.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Since I was about 12 years old my face has broke out. In my teens we all assumed it was just hormones and genetics. My mom took me to a dermatologist but it didn’t seem to make a difference. I learned to wash my face and moisturize and to take care of it as much as I could. In my twenties it still broke out. I kept waiting for that age when my face would realize I was an adult and quit breaking out. It didn’t matter what I did, wash my face religiously every morn and night, tried not to touch it (oils on fingers), got facials, or used masks. Then I got pregnant and my face cleared up. For the first time in my adult life my face was clear. But it was short lived. Then we come to Trey. At a couple months old he was getting baby acne but not just on his face, but his arms and legs. The pediatrician told me it was common and just to scrub the spots to help it go away. So I did and it didn’t. I chalked it up to genetics. Then one day reading I came across a blog post that talked about baby care products and the chemicals in them. They referenced a website (here) that would rate body products for adults and children. It puts the product on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being safest 10 most dangerous. So I checked out Trey’s soap and lotion. The soap was a 3 but the lotion was a 7. No wonder his skin was breaking out. So I changed his lotion and the breakouts have dwindled. Unfortunately he’s not totally clear but I’m working on that. So, this got me thinking, if there’s stuff in children’s body care products to make them break out why wouldn’t there be stuff in adult products to make me break out? I’m a bit slow in realizing this but I guess Trey and I have sensitive skin that just doesn’t handle most products well. So I’m on a mission to check and change the products I use to help my skin react positively. And I need to get my hormones in balance to help it too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

12 years and counting

12 years ago.
12 years ago (and 2 days, I'm a bit behind) David and I started seeing each other every day. We'd been dating for a couple of months but he'd been out of town most of the time. But on Aug 1st we were able to start seeing each other every day. We have seen each other every day for the past 12 years, we've never spent more than 24 hours apart. It hasn't always been easy to do but we make it a priority in our marriage. We love that this is part of our story. I love you David!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our Birth Story (Trey) from David's perspective

Their first meeting.
It was the 4th of July, fireworks were nice. We headed back home ready to get into bed. Marixa never really did. Her labor started at midnight. We called the midwives in and for the next two and a half days Trey did not want to come. Early Monday morning Ann, midwife extraordinaire, asked me to pray for Marixa’s labor to pick up and become consistent. The very next contraction after the prayer started her on her way. God answered the prayer. We called Marixa’s mom Bunny and asked her to come over early Monday morning. She sat with Marixa and helped her work through her labor. My Mom & Dad and our friends came over around six that morning. Around 7 we prayed for Marixa’s water to break. Within just a few minutes it had broken. God answered another prayer. Labor continued as they tried to get Trey into position for delivery. His head would come down far enough that they could feel it, but it was determined that every time Marixa would push, Trey's heart rate would drop. Around 11 we prayed again. God had answered two of my prayers almost instantly before. It was my hope that He would answer our prayer for Trey to come here at home. Within 15 minutes I realized that not receiving an answer was the answer. Trey's heart rate was not stable and it was time to go to the hospital. Marixa, midwife Margarett, and I loaded into Bunny's Explorer and we rushed to OU Medical Center. Bunny drove fast, but remained much calmer that I was. We got there quickly ad had to get out of the car a few hundred feet from the door. So, I did what any husband would do, I picked up my pregnant wife and carried her to the door. A very kind man say us coming and brought us a wheelchair. We rushed to admitting. It took some stress away when we got to the hospital because they were able to hook Marixa and Trey up to monitors. However, the stress quickly returned when we figured out that an emergency C section would have to be the delivery method. I was supposed to go back and be with Marixa when she went in for delivery. They had to prep her and I was to be called back 15-20 minutes later. 50 minutes later a nurse with little tact came to inform me that Trey had been born and Marixa was in recovery. She "apologized" for not coming sooner to tell me. I was supposed to have helped delivery my son at home, and not I had missed the whole thing. Emotions swept over me and I lost it. My dad came into our room and had to calm me down. The rage I felt, along with the hurt, pierced me to my core. Where was my wife? Was she ok? Where was my son? Was he all right? What had happened? After I calmed down I made my way to the nurses’ station to find out what was going on. She told me that I would be called back shortly for the delivery of my son. I told her that would be hard since I had been informed it had already happened. She promised me that she would find out what was going on. I appreciated the concern in her eyes as she went to do what she had said. I went back to the room to wait. Within five minutes the door to the room opened. All of the stress that I had felt for three days melted away. The most perfect little creature I had ever seen was handed to me wrapped in a blanket. I had been introduced to my boy. I told him hello and who I was and that I loved him very much. He looked up at me, straight into my eyes and said, " Uh, whah." I can only assume that meant, "Hi dad." He didn't cry. He just stayed there with me. I took my shirt off and cuddled him skin to skin and waited, surrounded by family, for his mother to get there. The wheeled Marixa in within the hour. She had been through 65 hours of hell. God had given us a piece of heaven in return. It wasn't until later we were told the rest of the story. Trey had meconium in his amniotic fluid. He had it in his lungs. When they delivered him they had to revive him. We could have lost him. God had answered my prayers and the prayers of many others. Through it all He had kept His hand on them. They were safe. God watched over us and showed us his love in so many ways. We could visibly see his hand protecting us that weekend. It was awesome. It was humbling. I am forever grateful.

Our Birth Story (Trey)

This is a long story but it’s necessary to fully understand the decisions that were made.

In labor

Our birth story doesn’t begin with the positive pregnancy test. It begins years before. David and I got married in Jan ’99. Like most young couples we wanted to wait a few years before having children. So after about 4 years we got off birth control and didn’t really “try” but we didn’t prevent it. We thought if it happens great, if not it’ll be ok too. But after a year of this we really started wanting to get prego. So we started “trying”. Late 2004 David found a knot in one of his testicles that was very sore. So he went to a general Dr. and was told it was probably an infection but he’d refer him to a specialist if he wanted. One visit with the urologist and David called me to say the Dr. thought it was cancer and 2 days later he was to be in surgery. The Dr. wanted to see if it was cancer and if it was remove the whole testicle. It 3 weeks till Christmas, we were selling our house and David had cancer. The next month David went in for his monthly CT scans to make sure it hadn’t moved up his limp nodes in his stomach. Jan was clear, but Feb showed cancer. We had a decision, another surgery to remove the limp nodes, or chemo. Now most people know that chemo can sterilize a person and that definitely was on our minds. We didn’t feel comfortable with the surgery option so after banking some sperm, David started chemo treatments in March. I won’t go into all that here but it was a rough 3 months. The end of May gave us good news, no more cancer. For the next year we healed and half heartedly “tried” again. But we didn’t feel very hopeful. Then one day we talked to a chemo nurse and she said that none of her patients were sterilized permanently, and she said give it about 2 years. So we just kept trying and praying. 2007 came and we were serious about it again. We tried hard to do everything right to get prego. In Sept I went looking for a new OB/GYN and had a consultation with one. I told her I was late and we were trying. She wanted to know if I wanted to be tested but I declined. I’d been taking tests for months and of course they all said negative, so I didn’t really expect a positive and in the back of my mind I thought if there was a chance it was positive I didn’t want to tell David over the phone. So I waited another 2 days. I woke up Thursday morning dreading taking the test, but I did it. When I went to look at it I went into shock, there were a lot of lines! So I ran to the trash can to get the instructions and double check myself. David had woke up and saw me running around and asked what it said. I was barely able to croak out “I’m pregnant”. He jumped out of bed and I had him double check it. We were both in shock, we’d waited for a long time to get this baby! For the next couple of months we did the usual OB appointments and I started doing research on everything labor, birth, baby related. This was fall/winter time and everyone was getting flu shots. I never get one, I don’t get sick very easily and I don’t remember really getting the flu. I also wasn’t very comfortable with getting one while being prego. So we went to our next appointment and they wanted to give me my flu shot. I told them I wasn’t sure I wanted to do get it. My OB comes in and says that I should get it because I wouldn’t want my baby to get it and die. Yep, she played the dead baby card. Now I certainly didn’t want that but I didn’t feel comfortable with it either. So, I agreed to it, which I ended up regretting. This visit was a changing point for me; I no longer felt I could go to a hospital to have my baby. I knew women had been birthing forever and it was a natural thing and I didn’t feel like going to a hospital where they would insist on regulating everything. I also have never liked hospitals, that’s where you go for surgeries or to die. So I researched birth centers and midwives. When I couldn’t find a birth center close to home, I started considering home birth. A bit of background here: I’m the oldest of 4 girls, my mom had wanted to have me at a birth center but her labor stalled after a couple days so ended up at the hospital, the next 2 sisters were at a birth center and the last one was at home. So home birth wasn’t foreign to me. The more and more I researched the more and more I got excited about it and knew it was right for us. I had to convince David but after showing him lots of info he really liked the idea too. We found Heaven Sent Birth (HSB) midwives who do home births and after meeting with them, hired them. I loved going to visit with them for each appointment. It was so laid back, they were fun to talk to, we could just chat about whatever was going on or questions I had. I also knew exactly who would be at my birth, as it was just the two of them Margarett and Anne. It was fun, not routine. I was a client, a friend not a patient. Anyway, I had a great pregnancy no complications other than extreme back pain from my office job. Thankfully, my position was being eliminated by the end of June, and in May it was almost nonexistent so I asked to be able to go home. I’d been having Braxton Hicks starting in May and was hopeful that it wouldn’t be much long (due date June 14th). Well my due date came and went, then my birthday (20th), then July started, then it was the 4th. We did our usual holiday activities and I had been having contractions all day; but since I’d been contracting for over months I didn’t really take them seriously. When we went to bed about midnight they had picked up. By 3:30am I couldn’t sleep and woke David up. We timed them and when they were about 3-5 minutes apart we called Anne and Margarett, and then everyone else (our parents and our best friends). I was checked and told we still had a ways to go. So I labored well into Saturday. By late Saturday I hadn’t progressed very far so they sent everyone home and tried to get the contractions to slow down so I could get some sleep. I slept fitfully that night and I think we ended up calling them back by Sunday morning, as things had picked up again. I was checked again and still not as far along as I should be, so I went for walks and paced the house between contractions. Sunday night was the same as Saturday night and Monday morning came and at about 7am while being checked, my water finally broke, but it had meconium in it (sludgy meconium). Anne and Margarett were concerned but since I had started feeling the need to push we just went with that for a while. I pushed for a few hours but wasn’t getting anywhere. They said I was only dilated to about 8cm and it seemed like his head was getting stuck because of it. By early afternoon I was exhausted, having not eaten anything since Friday dinner because I’d throw up at every contraction and I wasn’t getting any sleep. My contractions were slowing down and my labor was coming to a halt, and by then every time I pushed his heart rate would drop. So Margarett finally said that she thought it was time for me to go to the hospital. I didn’t like that idea at all, but David and I talked about it and then asked my mom what she thought (she’d been helping me since Sunday) and everyone agreed that I needed to go to the hospital. So they rushed me out of the house, with a lot of help getting into to car. Mom drove with David in front and Margarett with me in the back checking Trey’s heart rate and calling the hospital, while I sat sidewase holding onto the seats for support. We rushed to OU Health Center and Mom dropped us off at the door and David carried me in till someone was kind enough to find me a wheelchair. We finally got into a room and they started monitoring me. They put a monitor on Trey’s head and a catheter in me (yuck). They watched me for a couple hours hoping that his heart rate would pick back up to the point where they could give me some pitocin and I could deliver him vaginally. But it wasn’t going up and I had gotten to the point where I was so exhausted that I couldn’t have pushed him out. They said that I should consider (I like that they asked me) doing a c-section. After talking to David, Mom and Margaret I agreed to the one thing I never wanted from my birth experience. They were considering this an emergency c-section since his heart rate was low and not picking up. After everyone came in to say hi before I left, they wheeled me out and David was going to follow as soon as they got me ready. They put a spinal in and then they asked if I could feel certain things at my waist and every time they asked me, I could still feel it. So they said they would have to “sleep” me and that meant that David couldn’t come in with me. I don’t remember much after that, except that they had put the curtain up between my head and belly and they stretched my arms out beside me (I felt extremely vulnerable). Then I was out and I knew there was lots of movement and noise and colors, then the colors changed and they pushed on my stomach and I almost came off the bed, I could feel it but not quite. Then I heard David talking to me and I asked him if we had a baby. He said yes and put Trey in my arms.

Margarett worked at getting Trey to start breastfeeding since I wasn’t totally awake yet. I couldn’t really see for a few hours, or at least my eyes wouldn’t focus on anything. After a couple of hours they moved me to my room and I was starting to feel normal again and was able to get a good look at my baby. My beautiful baby boy. Trey. We found out later that Trey had an apgar score of 1 at birth and 8 a few minutes later (0 is dead, 10 is perfect). We almost lost him but we didn’t, he didn’t even have to go to the NICU!

I know that some people would say that it was because I was at home that all of this happened and that it was dangerous of me to try to birth at home. But as I look back on my decisions, I don’t regret any of them. They were exactly what were needed at the time. I am actually very glad I was at home even though I had to go to the hospital. If I’d been at the hospital the same things would have happened there too, but I would have ended up with lots of interventions and ended up with a cs sooner. And then I would have looked back and thought that I didn’t do something right and that’s why he had to be born that way. Instead I know that no outside force or interference caused his birth to be the way it was. I know that I was a true emergency cs, and looking back I know I made the right decision to not get pitocin. If I had been in my normal mind I would have said give me pitocin, but my labor mind knew better. If I’d chosen pitocin I really think we would have lost him, it would have been too much for his little body to handle.

Having Trey was hard on all of us, David and I both missed the birth of our son but I think it was best that way. It would have been terrible to watch helplessly as they tried to resuscitate him. I was the last one to see my son, all family and friends got to see him first. Thankfully David was very careful in not letting anyone hold him until after I did. I had told David while prego that I wanted skin to skin, and since that wasn’t possible for me, as soon as he got Trey he striped his shirt off and put him skin to skin because he knew it was important to me. I definitely didn’t get the birth that I wanted but it turned out to be what was needed for Trey. I don’t know why God wanted Trey to be born the way he was; maybe I needed to see both sides of birth, maybe I need to be an advocate for natural births, home births, &/or VBACs. It’s definitely leading me on a journey.
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