Wednesday, November 2, 2011

But won't your baby drown?

My favorite question asked when people find out we are doing a natural water birth; "Won't your baby drown?"  And coming in at a close second, "They make drugs for a reason".

Holistic Birthing Center at St. John West Shore, where we plan to meet our little man. 

My philosophy on child birth is very similar to my philosophy on health and wellness; humans have been having babies for millions of years and up until the last 100 years we've been doing it all natural. Seems to be working out pretty well for us as a species. Child birth is a natural body function, I don't understand why we have turned it into a medical procedure. Of course there is always exceptions and of course medical intervention is required and needed in some cases, but for low risk healthy pregnancies it's completely unnecessary.  Our bodies are absolutely amazing and when we let them function naturally they do amazing things. Why would you want to mess with that? Now there's also the whole, women's rights view, why should I have to go through all that pain and uncertainty when I can choose to schedule a cesarean and a tummy tuck? You're right, you can choose whatever birth plan you think is best for you and your baby. That's the hidden key for most 1st time mothers, you do have a choice in everything. If you go to a hospital and a traditional doctor you might never know that you can choose a different path. Even through prenatal care, you have a choice. My first reaction to the routine gestational diabetes test that involves quickly drinking a sweetened liquid (called Glucola), which contains 50 g of glucose, was "hell no am I'm putting that much glucose in my body at once". Considering the average recommended amount of daily glucose is 40g per day and I have been paleo for over a year so I probably stay well below that number, 50g would knock me out for weeks. I questioned the procedure and asked if there was a different method of testing for gestational diabetes, guess what....there was. A simple meal of eggs, milk, orange juice and toast 2 hours before my finger prick. Why do we tell pregnant women to drink 50g of glucose as a routine procedure? What?! Again you have the choice. Ask questions. Next "routine procedure" that made me  question the typical methods,  ultra sounds every appointment. I will admit it's pretty cool to spy on your little nugget, but what are the effects of ultrasound exposure to our babies? Ultrasounds can be very insightful and even life saving when something goes wrong, but why expose your healthy baby to them every month just because that is the typical thing to do? You have a choice. Do research. Ask questions. Those were the two big ones for prenatal care, there's all those fetal testing and other procedures too but the doctors are usually pretty good about letting you know they are optional.  We decided not to do any of them. I asked myself this question, "If I knew there was something wrong with my baby would I do anything different?" My answer was no, so why would I want to know/worry. For me that was the best decision.

For the birthing process there is a whole list of things to consider. The major one of course, the epidural. I won't waste your time trying to explain all medical research that I have done, do your own and come to a conclusion. My good friend gave me a DVD called "The Business of Being Born":

That was enough for me. Yeah it is a little conspiracy theory like Food Inc, but it was the reason I did so much research on natural child birth. I also really liked the natural child birth series on Chris Kresser's, Healthy Skeptic Blog. Those are two awesome sources to get you started. Most people that have had a traditional industrialized child birth have generously shared their opinions about how I will be changing my mind when the actual day gets here, but I feel pretty confident in the fact that I don't want an epidural to interfere with the natural hormones that my body creates to manage labor or the bonding that is created between baby and me through those hormones. I also want to experience that natural high feeling, that accomplishment, I know it will be like nothing like I have ever experienced in my life and I feel like I would be missing out if I didn't do it naturally. Plus the warm water immersion is a great natural technique to relieve pain. And baby will not drown, he's been in liquid for 9 months, receptors in his cheeks are activated when oxygen hits them signaling his lungs to take over for the first time. How cool is that?

I will admit, there are days where I wish I could return all the knowledge that I have found and schedule a cesarean and a tummy tuck but that is just the fear of uncertainty creeping into my head. I know a natural birth is the best decision for me and Baby T.

Right after birth there are more "routine procedures" that are administered to your newborn unless you request otherwise. The three most typical: vitamin K Shot, Hep B Vaccine, and antibiotic eye drops. After doing research and talking with our pediatrician we are not doing any of them. Whoa do the research on those, it's crazy that parents don't know that they have the right to say no to them. Why are we vaccinating newborns for sexually transmitted diseases (Hep B) anyway? Yeah awesome we have the technology to prevent sexually transmitted diseases but what are the side effects?? What does that do to a newborn's immune system? What about the other ingredients that are in the vaccines? I haven't even started researching all the infant vaccines....but I'm sure that it is a similar cluster of misinformation. I found a holistic pediatrician that has similar values as we do and feel like with her guidance and a lot of research we will make the right decisions for our lifestyle.

And finally the one thing I did not cover with "routine procedures" -  Circumcision.  Wow! Lots of controversy there.  We decided to get baby T circumcised on the 8th day so he wouldn't have to get the vitamin k shot. For cultural and religious reasons we felt like that was the one thing we couldn't go all natural on.

We also hired a doula in preparation for our big day. She is an experienced non-medical birth coach that has been answering all my questions thus far, helped us create a birth plan and will be there to support me and Jeremie during the entire labor and birth. I can only imagine Jeremie and me in the room alone during asking Jeremie questions, him not knowing what to do, me yelling at him....throwing things, head spinning, speaking in different languages, walking down stairs backwards.....oh wait that's the Exorcist. Hahaha! In all seriousness though, I hope to avoid the whole "what's happening to me and my body" panic attack and the "I want to kill my husband for not understanding everything that is happening to me" by using a doula. I also have faith that she will keep me drug free.

My goal in writing this all out was to #1 solidify why I made the decisions that I did so that when I'm in the pool with no drugs next week I have a clear reminder of what I wanted to experience and #2 to empower you to take control of your own health and if your pregnant or have children to take control of theirs, be their voice, do research and choose for them.

Oh how I miss my cute little baby bump:

It's just out of control now and very uncomfortable. There's so much baby in there I'm not sure how he's going to continue to grow for two more weeks.  I officially stopped Crossfitting the first week of my 9th month. My body was not having any type of physical activity.....getting dressed this past month is a pretty great workout. Not to mention unpacking, setting up the nursery and cleaning.

We have been in our house for a whole week now.....montage video coming soon.

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