Wednesday, September 28, 2011

VBAC Journey...Continues

I haven't been wanting to think too much on every thing. I haven't made a decision about an OB... The one I met with was great. But ...waiting for peace to take the plunge. I'm 24 weeks, time is flying. And yet, I wait.

I've been thinking a lot about what this pregnancy has brought me. I don't think all the questions I'm asking myself are because a friend lost her baby. The Mama that it happened to isn't even a close friend. I am closer to mutual friend who walked through the whole thing with her. A lot of this year has been us asking ourselves and each other, what and whys.  Processing what it means to have a scar on your uterus (as we both do) in this area of the country. What it means just for birthing our babies in general. Having had a cesarean increases your risks, having had multiple (as our mutual friend had) can cause even more problems, even (in some cases) in future surgical births...Having had a VBAC (as we both have) reduces our risks. And yet...

In the end, I don't think this is really about a fear of some thing happening to Newby. A lot of it is the attitude towards any VBAC Mama (in the area. We are a pain in the OB's necks, a liability on many levels. While research backs us up. While research says: yes VBAC is (generally) safer than repeat surgery (and each successful VBAC = decreased risk). While research SAYS: VBAC is really almost as safe as any other vaginal birth.

We are still marked.

Some times we are shamed for considering a VBAC.  Many feel coerced into surgery and choose a repeat with much regret.  Because the OB's feel they can control surgery more (they can't). The mainstream medical community has pushed VBAC mamas into regulations and restrictions in how and when we birth. They don't understand what surgery (especially if we had a traumatic first surgical birth) means to us. Add to all those frustrating factors,  we are complicated Mama to care for. We have hang ups, questions, our labors tend to be weird and charged with emotions, especially with the first VBAC.

I don't really think HBMW's in the area really get it either. While I think many understand more of why VBAC is a safe and an IMPORTANT option...And many support and fight to support mothers. I don't think they get (unless they have a scar themselves) how "marked" Mom's with scars feel. Especially if we have been interviewing OB's and shamed for even wanting to attempt a VBAC. Or told horror stories before we make a decision. Or told we can VBAC and then have "reasons" why we can't at term...Leaving us scrambling to find the birth we know is right for us.

It's not just this nice process of choosing a care provider. It's about feeling fully supported. Feeling safe. And feeling like we  are doing what's best.

I think what I've struggled with the most is the "IF some thing happens...Can I live with the choices I'm making?" As a VBAC (even as a 2VBAC!) I feel an extra burden to be sure that if some thing goes wrong I made choices that protected my family. It's an ugly climate where I live...I can make rational responsible birth choices...But I also have to protect my family...I have to be sure I'm not putting the liability on their heads.

And at the same time, if I feel some thing is RIGHT for me, I have to do it and I have to live with it. I can't worry about whether people would "blame me" if I made certain birth choices and things went wrong. I have to cover my bases and embrace the fact that life is life.  LIFE HAS RISKS.

But this birth, I am feeling the need to be careful...To walk cautiously...To make different choices. I feel like we're just one or two really bad births away from some thing nasty happening in my area. Whether it's fair or not, rational on the part of the medical community... Doesn't matter, Newby can't be that baby. That I am convinced of, so I keep processing.

What will end up happening as far as my birth choices go? I don't know.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

7th Heaven

I was laying awake last night after Friendly came into our room....And thinking.

Why can't life be like the TV show 7th Heaven?? You know like, Reverend Camden introduces me to this elderly woman,  "Maggie", who is a "shut in". But in reality, is just horribly shy and lonely since her husband died 15 years ago. And she is embarrassed of her messy home. I with my two adorable children, and my awesome organizational skills, help her clean and repaint  her home. We take her from hoarders to homey and clean.

We become best friends and her house is our second home. She always wants to watch my children, and my kids love her. Whenever we come over she makes me go lay down for a bit and she always has great books to read.  A few days a week she pops over for tea at our house and cleans my kitchen. While she's there she does crafts with and reads to my children. I get to do whatever I want, knit, sew....All in peace and quiet. Oh and when we're at her house, she always bakes cookies (she learned to bake gluten-free just for us)! And her back yard is fenced in and the kids just run out there and laugh and play for hours. In the end,  because of our friendship, she becomes a pillar in the community and healing is found by all.

Doesn't that sound nice?

I want my freaking Maggie.

The reality is, the only real help I have is my wonderful husband. The truth is, I feel isolated and overwhelmed a lot of days. The truth is, we can't afford help, at all. The truth is, my family is all too busy for my kids...And the ones that aren't, I don't trust to leave my babies with. I have a hard time trusting any one with my kids. Everyone is pro-spanking and really haven't' been around toddlers much to know what the reality of that is.

Another sad reality is, 7 out of the 10 children in both Hubs and my family were sexually abused when they were young. I'm not saying they would hurt my babies. But I will not be careless with my most precious gifts...I will not allow their sweet little souls to be wounded the way we have watched it all play out with our siblings.

But Maggie would be okay, my instincts say so. Why can't my instincts be on my side in reality?.

Anyway, when I do ask for help from family it usually comes with some shaming attached, just for good measure. Especially if I do some thing they don't like a few days later. The "I did ________ (bla bla bla) for you...I did __________ (bla bla bla) for them, why would you not __________(go to your grandmothers birthday party....for example)."

 It's not worth it.

This is kind of a depressing post. I've been really overwhelmed with my kids lately. It's been nearly 2 months since DH and I *BOTH* had some time off  (and not just the brief time after the kids are in bed) and we're feeling worn out.

So I will dream of Maggie, and pray for some revelation of what I need to change in my perceptions and attitudes....And maybe I need to start attending some college-age/young adult bible studies and befriending some younger, single, people who can at least come over and be a buffer some times. :0.

Maybe...kinda kidding?

Oh if only this were 7th Heaven...And yes, I watched  that show in high school...

Just because it's good to remember...Things brighter up ahead. :0)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dry Spell...FLOOD...Birth...Unschooling Ponderings

How is that for a loaded title?

This summer was weird. It was dry dry dry and HOT until about late July. Every thing was suffering, not growing well. And then it rained, and rained and rained and rained. And a few hurricanes in, and several rainy weeks. And now the area has had to deal with some serious flooding and damage

And some times, in that funny way that randomly happens, my little life is on parallel. 

Yeah, okay little dramatic. But I feel like January through hmm... July were dry. Hard...grueling months. Not all bad, some sweetness...some bitterness...Just too much on my plate, too much happening. I felt so dry...uninspired and drained. 

And now FLOOD.  

I feel like I'm on "process this" overload. I am so excited! And feeling so befuddled. And AGH! I have so much I want to say, to know, to DO, so BE...I really want to get back to reading and thinking. 

But slow and steady... taking it as it comes: when I want to rush, dive, and KNOW NOW.  Instead, I'm taking the kids to the park as much as possible....Reading more... and waiting.
Trip to the park yesterday... Apple slices on the bench.
And when I get an inkling...feeling it out. Which leads me to a little update since a few have asked...

 Newby's Birth: ???????????  I have no idea where, or how, or who, or any thing with this baby. It is honestly, a little bewildering. A lot bewildering.  I am 23 weeks and ?????? Time is not going to be my friend for long.

 I am a person who likes to have a plan. A person who knows (generally) what she wants and usually sticks with it (in the past to my determent). I am stubborn and if I know what I want and can't have it I can be kind of a bitch. At the same time, some times I'm too flexible... Also to my detriment. My life the last few years has been finding balance. But finding balance and listening to my conscience, and when you don't have all the factors in place: it gets messy. 

 I have felt out so many scenarios, interviewed or reached out and talked to so many OB offices (and a few OB's), tossed around so many home birth ideas... Felt so many emotions...Sorted through so many big feelings (and I'm sure I have more to process). And here I sit with a great BIG "?" and all I can get is *crickets*...Okay not just that His voice through has held an undercurrent of, "Shhh...Peace. Take your time. It will fall into place.Do NOT rush."

I still want my answers. But I think that's the thing with this sweet little Newby... I need to learn to take the journey as it comes. Slow and Steady. I really truly believe, it will fall into place. I'll know, and it will work out. 

I refuse to make decisions out of fear... Or shame... Or haphazardly!

In other news...I've been reading, a lot. 

Books that travel with me right now... 

Well, they also make a good table for snacks...

Learning All the Time
How small children begin
to read write, count
and investigate the world, with out being taught

By John Holt

LOVING these books. I am working through them and I really recommend them, even just to think outside your box...They resonate so much with my heart, validate so many things that I have felt for Roo. 

Our little "school times" have evolved over the last 2 months... It's been so fun to read with them, to really make a more focused effort to not just "expose them to literature" but to make my love of books some thing we share... Not just my "me time" activity. It's been so interesting (and maybe this is just where she is at developmentally)  to see Friendly's appreciation and interest in books grow. She goes off into her room, or snuggle next to me in bed, with a pile of books and "reads" to me. Also as I've been reading my "big books" I've been holding her and reading out loud, letting her take my books and read from the pictureless books as well. Roo too, has been really enjoying sitting down and going through a pile of books.

The TV has been on less...Though I'm not really opposed to it's presence.. It's been so fun though the last 2 months to watch how their play has grown. It gets more and more creative! Some of this, is honestly Friendly being more on level with Roo developmentally. They spend hours having "adbentures" and using the most random things to enhance their play (their favorite objects being, clothesline, jump ropes, stuffed animals, card board boxes, pillows, blankets and random kitchen utensils). 

I want to write more about these books as I process. I would like to talk about unschooling and what I think it will mean in *my* family...And that's what I love about it. NO 2 unschooling families are going to look even remotely similar....I will definitely be processing this here a lot. 

Just for now I will leave you with a few quotes...

This is my objection to books about "teach Your Baby This" and "Teach Your Baby That". They are very likely to destroy children's belief that they can find things out for themselves, and to make them think instead that they can only find things out from others."
-John Holt

There are SO many things that I learned about myself in his sections on reading and counting. I feel, almost like some things clicked for me. I saw myself as some of the children he described and realized a little more about how my brain works. I've been enjoying it.

"unschooling not a life to be hurried, nor is it neat and tidy."
-the unschooling handbook

"it's about the journy. Not a paragraph definition."
-the unschooling handbook

So much more to share...eventually. Intrigued, challenged, and ready to feel this stuff out!

A duck playing on a rock... deep.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ruts...And Creativity Overload

We've been in a bit of a rut for a LONG time. Some of it is Pregnant Mama... I was feeling so puny and tired for so many months I was just trying to keep every one...ya know, alive.

But that has past, and a weird sort of nesting energy has taken over. I want to CREATE! And Roo apparently does too, because all she wants to do is side walk chalk:

They were cracking up because Daddy made them a hopscotch and couldn't understand what was wrong with  it (incase you can't see it's the miniscule little thing between them! :0)

Friendly drawing on her tights, love it! Can you see our chalk city? It goes WAAAY down the path. If they look tired, it's because they were! This was the end of 3 hours at the park!! 
 I have been looking for some new projects, things that we can do when we're stuck indoors. I am hoping to blog about the process as we tackle them
And now I have a new "To Do" List (but the fun kind!)...And I wanted to share some things that have been inspiring me...

On my list:
Make a Light Box ... This on my list thanks to Play At Home Mom look at their awesome Light box Activity Ideas!
A "Sensory Swing"! Roo especially loves to swing, needs to swing. I have been talking about an indoor swing for year...And this winter I am determined to rig SOME thing up. With Newby on the way I need as easy-for-Mama indoor activities I can get. I need some thing that will be calming and also give them a bit of a work out.

We currently live in an apartment and so drilling holes is pretty much a no-no but I found THIS on amazon the other day and it got me thinking...When I was researching "make your own sensory swings" these bars came up: wow expensive! What's to say the amazon pull up bar wouldn't work? Going to have to think on it. Honestly, as long as my kids are the only ones on it, and the swing is low to the ground...

I did see this STRAP SWING  which might be nice. 

INDOOR SIDEWALK...I have never seen this officially... But I'd like to take a couple large cardboard boxes, cut them apart so they are easily stacked( and can slide behind furniture) get some chalkboard spray paint and some velcro...And lay them out on the floor and connect them with velcro and let the girls have at it with side walk chalk. I think this will be a Christmas present. :0)

That's it for now. The girls just woke up from nap... I think we're going to try to make some salt dough projects....Maybe it'll dry up enough to do more side walk chalk. I'll be back when I get to start some projects! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh Joy of JOYS!!

We have a saying in our family... Let's just chalk it up to Hubs being erm, unique.... It's been going on since Roo was a baby.

Whenever we'd pull in to park, to anywhere, he'd exclaim, "We're HERE! We're HERE! OH JOY OF JOYS!!"

The girls have picked it up...The minute we turn onto our street some one always pipes up, "OH djoy of djoys!!!!!" It's a little family tradition.

I've been thinking of all the "strange" little family traditions we have created.

From "Oh Joy of JOYS!" to "private baths" The girls like to take baths with the shower curtain closed while DH stands on the toilet "raining" water down on them from a watering can (yes, we've got some quirks!).

Or how our LittleTikes picnic table is used just as much for boating expeditions (flipped upside down0 and a doctors bed (because you can push it around easily) as for EATING.

Other things like "FOLLOW DA LAWS" and "Squished Muffins"

Ah, good times...

I need to run. I'm at a coffee shop getting some MUCH needed peace and space. Too much rain in Autumn for this Mama.

In VERY Happy news...After 4+ months of being a one-vehicle family our mini-van is repaired and working: OH JOY OF JOYS!!!!

No seriously nearly 5 months home with 2 small children + morning sickness+ an extra 1.5 hours of driving on the days I took DH to work.


Speaking of Family Traditions and Autumn Rain....I can't wait for this again!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Law...Is LOVE.

It's getting very late. This preggo is almost a pumpkin. Fact.

But I had to share this little tid bit before the orange takes over...

I've been revamping my blog the past few days... I've had some "light bulb" moments lately and I've been rehashing some things.

I wanted to be sure this got posted (*ermcough*seethishubs?*cough*) because it is definitely another light bulb "AAAH FREAKING WOW!" moment...or process, whatever.

From my "WHAT I BELIEVE" section. Check it OUT!

Like I said "process"...But might give you some things to chew on.

Authority...Whereas, Wherein, I am a GROWN UP!

At my favorite place yesterday...

I met with the OB today. He was very kind and never condescending. He answered all my questions in a frank and honest manner. I think I liked him.

I've never hired an OB before, and I never dreamed I'd hire a man... I have always preferred the midwife model of care. Especially the fact that most MidWIVES tend to be women, for my womans care. But I'm almost feeling like I need a male voice in this birth.

Reading between the lines of our conversation with a hospital birth with him: 1) it comes down to the hospital staff there that day. 2) If I want some thing I need to SAY it... The hospitals like cookie cutters.

Pretty much, if you want to be outside of the box, you're going to have to be vocal about it.

When I asked him about a few things on my mind (testing for gestational diabetes, and constant fetal monitoring in labor) he said, "I can't force you to do any thing. I'll work with what I have from the decisions you make."
say what? whoa.

Roo gave me my voice. She showed me my true heart (the one hidden under years of "people pleasing" and fear). She asked me to do things differently, outside "the norm".  She confirmed some hard lessons, nailed them in hard:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Birth Plans...Journey to 2VBAC

Our sweet Newby (facing down with spine along top...You can see her ear and hand on her face and another foot [or hand?] up near her face). Not the best 20 week u/s pic we've ever had, but sweet just the same!)

I'm going to have to keep this brief, I think. Right now I'm sitting with stomach bare and Friendly talking to the baby. She keeps wanting to be wrapped in her blankie and snuggled with her cheek against my belly to feel Newby. She's needing a lot of extra snuggles lately. I think she's getting her two year molars and has been extremely temperamental.We've been having a rough week.

I have an appointment set up for next week to interview the OB I'm interested in.  I am really excited about exploring this option. I feel like it's an integral part of my healing process from Roo. Planning a Hospital VBAC. Whether I achieve this, or go down this path fully...Time will tell.

I've been looking through the ICAN Pregnancy Resources to get a feel for what I'd like to ask him. It's not so much what I care what he says, it's the vibe I get in the meeting. Can I trust him?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Embracing Grace...AKA "Some Times You Really Do Just Have to SUCK IT UP"

It's been a ....lot lately. I feel like -oh I'd say- about a YEAR ago I hit my limit. I mean it. And I have blown off the roof of several stories of the "this is my life" building since.

My ideals and my reality haven't meshed. It hasn't all been misery, but it hasn't been...well, ideal!

I think there is some thing about your kids getting older and having them out number you (which only takes 2!) that makes you realize: you're never going to be the parent you want to be. It's a hard pill to swallow.

Mommie and her 4 mos old Roo Girl.

Those lofty "I'm going to be ___________  (an awesome, organized, well disciplined, gentle, kind and empathetic, cool) kind of Mom." was easy to believe when I just had Roo. I could do it 8 times out of 10. My feelings of failure (and actual failures) were pretty low in the grand scheme. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all ice cream and apple pie. She was not an "easy" baby! It was HARD. It was more work than I could have ever imagined! But if I were to compare it to a game: I was catching on and winning. The gentle, organized, present parenting thing wasn't too hard. She was just a baby after all!

Then Friendly arrived. I had a whole boat load of outside stresses (I really look back on those stresses and wonder how I survived: seriously!), but when it came to "just parenting" aspect I felt like I was doing okay. My kids needs were met, it was a lot of sacrifice. It was a lot of work. But we were making it.  I felt like a good Mom.

And they grew....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Having a horrid day. It's pouring. It's been raining for days. And I've dealt. But I'm done dealing. I just want to run away. I just want to crawl out of my skin. Like seriously rip it off and LEAVE it behind.  I'm feeling a bit hormonal, truth be told.

I need some perspective on my life. Because the monotony of parenting toddlers the GOYBness and the constant interruption to the most asinine and yet important task. Oh and speaking of asinine: the questions!! The 1971093780 questions within every hour. The constant talking. The overbearing aura that reeks "I am the center of the universe". The constant THERE ness of these beautiful (yes, I can still appreciate it even in my ugly mood) little people.

The combination of it all is driving me INSANE...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Leaving My Options OPEN...

This pregnancy has been a roller coaster. I have not been able to find peace about any thing when it comes to providers.

I loved my home birth with Friendly. But I don't know, I have felt since shortly after her birth that I would need to do things differently if we were to be blessed with more babies.  I don't know why...But it's just been there. When I got pregnant with baby J (the baby we lost in March) I thought I might use the MW group in R that deliver at a free standing birth center. They were great, they handled my miscarriage care and monitoring. They were very supportive.

But when Newby made her(?) presence known a few weeks later, and I realized I would be carrying and delivering some time in January or February...the thought of driving an hour in the winter sounded scary. Not just the laboring the car for an hour. But the fact that you have to leave the birth center when the baby's a couple hours old sounded awful on so many levels. I just kept thinking, THAT new of a baby out in the freezing winter air? No.

It didn't seem right for Newby...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

VBAC Angst.

  • VBAC (Vaginal Birth After a Cesarean) is such an individual thing. 
    Some areas of the U.S. it's an accepted and encouraged option, easy to find support. 

    In other locations no one really VBAC's. It's just expected that since you had one cesarean, you'll always give birth that way. Hospitals out-and-out ban them. 
     In still other areas you are told you can "absolutely VBAC". But the area is so hostile towards VBAC no provider will take you on. Even the provider who did your cesarean. Yes the one that told you "VBAC no problem!" as they wheeled you out of the OR (it happened to me).

    On the hospitals part they don't say you can't VBAC. But they have extremely restrictive policies in place for both OB's that "allow" trial of labor, and Mothers who ask for one (ACOG's guidelines for VBAC).

    In still other scenario's an OB will say, "ABSOLUTELY I'll let you VBAC." But then some where after 36 weeks they'll pull a "bait and switch". An ultrasound is ordered and the baby is proclaimed to be "too big" (ultrasound measurements can be off by a couple pounds either way!) or the pelvis "too small". Or they will suddenly come up with other reasons and suddenly become very concerned about the "horrible dangers of VBAC".  They may even discuss some uterine rupture horror stories. They refuse to allow a trial of labor "given the new information based on the ultrasound", and mother is dropped from care if she refuses to schedule the cesaren (know your RIGHTS they can't do that!).

    I'm not just saying this, I've personally (as in, in-person!) heard from many many women who suddenly find themselves reeling because they thought their VBAC plans were set.

    My Situation... AKA MY ANGST!

    I, unfortunately, don't live in a great area for VBAC. Had I known the heartache and disrespect I would be exposed to in order to have a normal birth,  I sure as heck would not have consented to the first one so easily (and my hospital records say "ELECTIVE cesarean"....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finding Center. Priorities of Parenting as ...Me.

It's been an interesting few months. This pregnancy has made me want to turn inwards more than any other pregnancy before. Maybe it's because I'm parenting two verbal and very relational young children (aka not one baby 12-19mos old like last time!). I've really been distancing myself from social activities, just trying to BE as much as possible. And I've been feeling guilty. I have great friends, I feel so blessed to have so many kinds who listen to me and share with me. Who are real with me. Add to that, I do love people. But I can't be around them right now. I feel like I either say too much, and can't filter myself. Or am processing too much internally and have nothing to share at all.

This blog post from Simple Gifts really gave me a lot to think about. After reading that, I don't feel guilty anymore. This is what I need to do right now.

This part especially I realize, I have been embracing 
-Don't over-commit. Especially if you're a relational introvert, don't commit yourself to more interaction outside your family than you can handle. A couple of outings a week seems to be my limit as a mom of smalls, unless, of course, I'm just hiding in a corner of a coffee shop with a book by myself. I have a few close friends that aren't counted as "outings", because they're more like family.

Let's Just Hash This Out So I Can SLEEP! *Sensitive!*

We saw our sweet Newby today at the "20 week" ultrasound. Newby's perfect, measuring right on. And, it's just ONE baby! Phew. I would have loved twins, but glad that's not my cross to bear this time around.

Aaaaand we don't know what Newby is. I'm guessing GIRL because Newb was being such a modest thing. Sitting breech with bum super low, Legs and feet all tucked up protecting that area.  That's how Roo and Friendly always were... All the boy u/s's I've ever heard of they're always flashing the goods.

Time will tell.

So the ultrasound was weird. I couldn't enjoy it. The tech was maybe in a bad mood? And I couldn't see very well. And Friendly kept throwing tantrums. The whole afternoon felt kinda weird and off. Maybe it's the INFJ in me. 

Or maybe my instincts knew the other shoe was about to drop.

We met with the OB I was told was very pro-homebirth and has acted as transfer back up for my MW before. This OB ispro-home birth. She is NOT pro-VBAC, I don't care what she says.

The whole visit was awful. The words "you die", dead baby, prosecution and a whole lot more were brought up. I can't even tell you how angry and blindsided I felt. It's an hour drive home, I cried most of it. And I'm not one to cry easily.

I was expecting her to say, "I can't be official back up. But you can have your MW act as doula if you have a hospital birth" (which is more or less what she eventually said, kind of).  I was not expecting the dead baby card to be drawn so vehemently. The "you are such a selfish person, putting all 'normal' women at risk because you want to VBAC at home... When you or your baby die (it was literally phrased with that annotation], your MW will go to jail and then a lot of good women will lose the awesome opportunity to home birth and have great prenatal care, because of YOUR SELFISH CHOICE."

And that's not just the gist, that was almost literally what she said...