Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A sigh of relief

The Geek and I took a tour of the hospital we are giving birth in the other night and we came home thoroughly disappointed and frankly worried about our choice. It all seemed so 'chop change, chop change' to us. The more I heard about giving birth in this hospital, the less I wanted to give birth there! They seem to have this conveyor belt of baby birthing and I felt swept up in the frantic pace of it all. For example: all the test they'll need to run on her as soon as she's out, the rate of interventions, and all of the things they do there to make things run smoothly! The large postpartum rooms were a thing of the past which was a HUGE let down, since we had been so excited to give birth in a nice place. About 2 hours after delivery they move you to a MUCH smaller room and to us, they seemed a little dinky...ok VERY DARK AND SMALL after the grandeur of the big birthing suites.

I had a melt down about it all that night with tears and fears (a Bio-Chemical tantrum, as one daddy to be site put it - and this poor dad understands too) and taking it out on the Geek, who agreed with me, but was dealing with it in his own way which happens to be WAY less vocal than me. (I feel like I need to say I'm sorry for my craziness every day! I really am sorry honey, even though that doesn't make up for how I hurt you when I'm crazy. I want you there every minute of our delivery, even if you do it your own way.)

I called friends that night and talked about it, but really was not very reassured. I finally talked to a friend today who is both a mother and a nurse. She listened to everything I was freaking out about and then talked me through each thing. She had a lot of both technical and experiential knowledge, plus she knew me and knew I am not the Freaking out type, so she addressed my concerns as valid rather than giving me the 'you're just pregnant and crazy' line (WHICH I HATE!). Here's what she said:

1.The postpartum rooms were now smaller because they had a lot of trouble with the large birthing suites. Because they were so large, they could accommodate a lot of post birth visitors, (15-20!) and it interfered with the mother-baby bonding. Some mothers nearly had nervous breakdowns because they felt like they were never alone and never allowed to rest. Although I know I'm an extrovert, the 48 hours I'm in the hospital (some of which will be labor and delivery time) are not the time to have lots of friends come visit. It's a time to rest, recover, and be with the Geek and our baby girl. I can have friends visit later. PLUS, our due date is in the height of RSV season which can be dangerous for our little bean.

2. What was it I was needing that made me think I had to have lots of people around after the birth? We talked this through and it led me to some fears I have about differences in personality between the Geek and I. The Geek = introvert, recharges through time alone and quiet. The Musician = Extrovert, recharges through time with others. What happens when the Geek (24 hours or so into the process) needs to recharge? I'm on my own. At least that's what I tell myself, so I need others there. But really, I don't know how I'll be in that situation. Maybe I'll just need sleep! Maybe I'll be enamored by my little girl and not want anyone else around! Maybe I can talk to the nurses, or lactation consultant, or pediatrician (they'll all be around)! Maybe I can let go of trying to control how the Geek will be and just let him have his own labor experience too. It helped to hear about her hubby (a GREAT guy and Father) who stuck by her for every moment of the first delivery (which he realized he could not do again without risking his mental health), fell asleep during her 2nd delivery and for her 3rd went home to sleep in his own bed! (after the baby was born, of course) It's just what HE needed to do. She wasn't thrilled about it all, but he needed to take care of himself. I forget that part. I'm the center of the universe, aren't I?

3. All these natural birth books, while great, neglect to remind the mother to be that birth, in the rest of the world, is still a harrowing and dangerous experience for women and sometimes the natural approach just wont work without serious risk to mother and baby. On her recent two week trip to Ghana, two babies died under the care of midwives and the two mothers almost died. It may be natural, normal and common, but it's exhausting, intense and sometimes (even in our medically advanced country) a dangerous experience. I get caught up in the natural side of it and forget that while I don't need to be afraid, I need to be ready to give up my ideals about what I want if it means putting me or her at risk.

4. To grieve the fact that it won't be all I have dreamed up in my head with my mama and husband there and everything all peaceful and natural. They may not have the capacity to be there for me like that, and that's OK. Even if I don't like it, it's still OK and I'm allowed to be sad for awhile. It's amazing how it all comes back to accepting what I'm given and finding joy in it.

I felt like I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. I was heard, I was comforted, I was understood and in the end, it's about more than just what I think I want. Thanks H-, for all your wisdom.

PS. Sorry if this has become a 'pregnancy blog.' It's just what is on the forefront of my thoughts these days! I'm sure more will come into my head later.


Heidi said...

Hi- just a passerby to your blog... happened here through a google alert... anyway, just wanted to say that I really think you need a doula! It will help you to make the experience much more personal, less clinical, and take the pressure of 'the geek'. I'm married to a geek myself, and believe me yours will benefit from having a knowledgeable woman around. You will benefit a lot from having someone who is supporting you and making sure you don't get swept away on the hospital assembly line!
Your friend is right, birth can go bad, but for a healthy and well-nourished woman the vast majority of the time everything is just fine! You can have the hospital safety net while still assuming that everything is going to be great, and that you have the right to be in charge of how you want your birth handled.

Good luck , I hope it all goes beautifully!

The Musician said...

A google alert? How does that work?

I'll ask the geek what he thinks about the Doula. I've given it some thought, but he seems pretty intent on filling the role of coach. I'm happy for him to do it too! Thanks for the well wishes!

Josh and Kelley's family said...

The Geek can be the coach, but the doula is your advocate. While the two of you are dancing and huffing and puffing, she is watching and fussing at the staff so that they don't pull any fast ones on you and so that your birth plan is followed to a "T". Also, all of the tests and things on the baby...ask the doula or your doctor...a lot of those can wait and be done right there in the room with you. The baby should not have to leave you at may just have to make a big deal about the fact that you want the baby with you at all times no negotiating, period. Nothing they do...except maybe the bath has to be done out of your sight and presence. Just something to think about. I hope it was helpful...not stressful. We had both of our kids at a birthing center, so our babies never left the room we were in, but a friend of mine just had her 1st at a hospital, and they just insisted that he be with them all the time. They brought the tests to them in their room. Anyway, I am excited for you! It will be great :)

Mel said...

As one who had a birthing experience that didn't go anything as planned, just remember your precious result is always way more important than the "how" of her getting here. The doula route sounds like it could be a good idea.

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