Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So many topics... so little time..

For once I have so many things to post about, it's hard to decide where to start.

Being pregnant is a lot like being engaged. There are parties and showers to attend, registries to fill, thank you notes to write, countdowns and checklists to keep up with, and planning sessions to schedule. One of the first thing a couple needs to do when they get engaged is select their team, the people who will help them put the whole shindig on. And picking a compatible team is of the utmost importance. If you have a vision for a rustic, nostalgic, hay bales and mason jars wedding, then choosing someone who specializes in ultra-glamor, urban, modern masterpieces is probably not going to be a good fit. The last thing you want is to be butting heads at every turn and milestone.

Well, the same holds true for pregnancy, and even more. You "could" fire your wedding planner/caterer/stationer/etc. and do things yourself. With childbirth... not so much!

I've been seeing an OB/GYN for yearly exams for a couple of years. I liked him. He was quick. He didn't linger in "there". He put me at ease. When I called to make an appointment to confirm the pregnancy, they told me that I didn't make an appointment with a specific doctor when it came to maternity care. I'd have to cycle through all the doctor's because I would be delivering with whomever was on call the day I went into labor.

I wasn't super happy about this. To back up a little bit, I should tell you that I'm a childbirth freak! I've been interested in childbirth since I was in college when a Women's Studies professor recommended I read Misconceptions, a book about a college professor's negative experience giving birth. I fell in love with the idea of natural childbirth, and began to read just about anything I could get my hands on.

(Note: please do not read anything I write from here on out as a judgement of how any other woman has chosen or will choose to give birth! This is a VERY personal choice! I speak only for myself and my wishes for my birth!)

A few years later, I attended a training course to become a Doula (trained labor coach). Unfortunately, though, given that I worked 8-5 M-F, I was never able to have enough flexibility to attend the birth's I needed to become a certified Doula. But the information I learned was invaluable.

Another piece of important information to know is that out of my mother's four births, three were completely natural without any pain medication or interventions. My baby brother was breach and she chose to have a c-section for him. I went to the hospital for his birth, as the decision had not be made yet, and my mom wanted me to see a birth where the woman was relaxed and in control and not scream and begging for mercy like on TV. Well, when they decided to do a c-section that changed the plans. But I was always raised in a household where childbirth was a natural thing and not something to be feared.

If I had my way, I'd birth up at the hippy commune The Farm in TN with the mother of the modern midwife movement Ina May Gaskin! But alas, I don't see myself traveling up there, staying in one of their guest hippy buses for a couple of weeks prior to the birth and then traveling back home. So, I've got to figure out how to make the best of it right here in Charlotte, NC.

At my confirmation appointment (I feel like I'm nominated to the Supreme Court), I asked the doctor about the practice's position on natural childbirth. He bristled and said that that term meant a lot of things to a lot of people. I spent the next few minutes trying to convince him that I was not a crazy hippy who wanted him to help her birth in a field of wild flowers, that I just wanted to first give my body a chance to do this thing on its own. I could tell from his response, though, that we were not going to be on the same page.

At the next appointment, while going over the awesome planner the nurse was giving me, she showed Jay and I the page for keeping all the contacts. She looked down the list, made a dismissive hand gesture and said, "You don't need to fill in like the Doula or anything". Hmm... strike two.

My next appointment is in 4 weeks. So I have until then to find a replacement team member, so that I don't have to spend time at every appointment explaining to a new doctor why I don't prefer a scheduled induction, or why I'm not hoping for a c-section, or why I'm one of those crazy women who takes drugs when they don't need them and refuse them when they do. (Not that I've taken drugs before! I promise Mom! Really!)

I've found a few nurse midwives in the area and gotten some recommendations. I've just never interviewed a doctor before. I feel very pretentious even thinking about it, but the birth of my child is the biggest event of my life, and I and the baby deserve to have the best team possible.

Here's to finding a great midwife... and convincing the insurance company to pay for it!

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