Against All Odds: Gillian, VBA2C

I have neglected to post an announcement about my daughter’s birth.  I was thinking that I would have a birth story ready to post within a few days of her birth, but clearly that is not the case.  Actually, in addition to her birth story, I will be drafting additional posts related to this crazy birth experience and a couple of guest posts for other blogs.  Stay tuned!  For now, here are some stats for your enjoyment, and a picture of my latest love bug.

Gillian, day 2

  • Gillian, born Tuesday, July 12 around 5:30 am
  • 8 lbs, 14 oz
  • 21.5 inches long
  • 15.5 inch head!
  • HARD labor commenced at 7pm on Monday, July 11, about 5 hours after a second dose of castor oil while pumping, at 41w4d gestation, the same day I cancelled the ‘required’ 41.5w cesarean (scheduled for 1:30pm on July 11)
  • About the only thing that was physiologically NORMAL about all of this is that she came out of my vagina and I was not given pitocin (well, not until stage 3)

I must give particular thanks to the women of ICAN and Birth After Cesarean for lifting me up, particularly during the last trimester of this pregnancy.  The last week of my pregnancy was sheer emotional hell, and I wouldn’t have made it through without these networks of amazing women.

RPL Update Number I Lose Count

I started writing up a big post about the more recent developments in my journey through recurrent pregnancy loss.  I still need to finish it up, but in the meantime, he’s a quick update:

  1. In August I had a hysteroscopic myomectomy done in Denver.  The idea was to hopefully remove a fibroid that was bulging into my uterus.  Instead of a fibroid, the surgeon found an adenomyoma located directly above my cesarean scar.  I have to review my records from my 1 successful pregnancy to determine whether or not the fibroid that was present during that pregnancy changed into this adenomyoma.  Otherwise, it is likely a lovely by-product of the 2004 cesarean section that was performed on me and my daughter.
  2. I have a substantial progesterone deficiency.  Progesterone levels should not drop below 8-10 in 2nd luteal phase draw, and mine dropped to 3.  I will have to have HCG shots during the luteal phase and progesterone shots during the first trimester to support the corpus luteum and developing baby.  It makes me INSANE that the last OB I asked to test my progesterone outright refused.  I lost that baby, obviously.
  3. I have to wait until November to have an ultrasound performed to let me know if my uterus and endometrium have repaired from the surgery.  Then we can talk about ttc.

That’s my nutshell.

Cesarean Awareness Alerts

I just received my weekly “cesarean awareness” google alert.  I find it interesting what is included and what isn’t.  I blogged about Cesarean Awareness Month posts I found and found additional ones here.  Some of these are not mentioned in the alert copied here below.  Also, I find it interesting that my posts didn’t show up in the blog alert but did in the web alert.  HuH!

April is Cesarean Awareness Month
By timothydeanmills.com(timothydeanmills.com)
In the United States in 2006, 31.1% of babies were born by cesarean section–a 50% increase since 1996. In Georgia, that number was 31.3%. The World Health Organization recommends a maximum c-section rate of 10-15%.  Tim’s weblog – http://timothydeanmills.blogspot.com/

International Cesarean Awareness Month
By Kathy
April is International Cesarean Awareness Month. Please check out my C-section posts by clicking on that category. In addition, here are some other C-section related links. The International Cesarean Awareness Network Pushed Birth …
Woman to Woman Childbirth Education – http://womantowomancbe.wordpress.com

Cesarean Awareness Month!
By doula_char(doula_char)
April is Cesarean Awareness Month What is Cesarean Awareness Month? An internationally recognized month of awareness about the impact of cesarean sections on mothers, babies, and families worldwide. It’s about educating yourself to the …
whatzadoulado – http://whatzadoulado.blogspot.com/

April is Cesarean Awareness Month
… and let them guide you and help you, is it up to you to ask the right questions, is it up to you to make sure you get the right answers… Here is the website to learn more about ICAN, and Cesarean-Awareness-Month …
Boriquita’s WebSite – http://boriquita.multiply.com/

April is Cesarean Awareness Month
By Boriquita(Boriquita)
I wish I knew half of what I know now for my first birth. I guess I can use this information now for this birth and any other experience in the future… I have learned that I must take responsibility for my learning, not one person in …
Boriquita Comments – http://boriquita99.blogspot.com/

Google Web Alert for: “cesarean awareness”

National Cesarean Awareness Month – Topix
April is National Cesarean Awareness Month! Over 50% of the C-Sections taking place in this country TODAY are deemed unnecessary by the World Health …

International Cesarean Awareness Month — Blogs, Pictures, and more …
James KG wrote 2 days ago : Cesarean Awareness Month (CAM) is an internationally recognized awareness month which sheds light on the impact of cesarean …

April is Cesarean Awareness Month – Associated Content
Check out April is Cesarean Awareness Month – Submitted by WD at Associated Content.

KentuckianaMoms :: View topic – April is Cesarean awareness month
April is Cesarean Awareness Month! 1 in 3 Louisville women gives birth surgically, and the number is rising every year. Join us Monday, April 7 to learn …

Cesarean Awareness Month — Blogs, Pictures, and more on WordPress
James KG wrote 2 days ago : Cesarean Awareness Month (CAM) is an internationally recognized awareness month which sheds light on the impact of cesarean …

I wish I understood how all of this web aggregator stuff worked . . .

April: Cesarean Awareness Month

Cesarean Awareness Month (CAM) is an internationally recognized awareness month which sheds light on the impact of cesarean surgery on mothers, babies, and families worldwide.  Cesarean birth is major abdominal surgery for women with serious health risks to weigh for both moms and babies.  Cesareans may be safer now than they ever have been, but this surgery is being conducted more frequently than is prudent or safe.  The acceptable rate established by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 10-15% – what is your community’s cesarean rate?

The blogosphere is atwitter about Cesarean Awareness Month.  Here are some posts I found today that deal directly with CAM:

  • Instinctual Birth’s post
  • No Womb Pod’s post
  • Strain Station’s post
  • Cesarean Awareness’s post
  • CT Birth Experience’s post
  • She Got Hips’s post
  • CT Doula’s post

If you have blogged about Cesarean Awareness Month and don’t appear on my list, please leave a comment so we can read your post.

To learn more about cesarean awareness, support, and education, visit the Internation Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) website and/or look for a chapter in your area.  Another great resource to consult when weighing the benefits and risks of intervention in chilbirth is Childbirth Connection.  Also, I recommend looking at and considering the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative.

How do you plan to honor Cesarean Awareness Month?  How can you let people know that natural birth is an important issue for you and for them?  I promise that there is some way, no matter how small it may seem, that you can have a positive impact on your birth community.  Even wearing a cesarean awareness ribbon several days this month will help.  If you need ideas, feel free to ask.

Blog Talk Radio features Unassisted Childbirth

Following is a notice from Lynn Griesemer, a birth advocate and author of the Your Body, Your Birth CD which was reviewed for the Spring issue of ICAN’s the Clarion which is due out this month.

~    ~    ~    ~    ~

     I will be interviewed by Lesly Federici, former Labor and Delivery Room Nurse on her program this Friday, March 7, 2:00-3:00pm EST   www.blogtalkradio.com/usmilemom.  If you cannot listen to the program live, you can access the show at any time after that by going to the website.

  I expect that we will be spending the entire hour discussing childbirth and in particular unassisted homebirth – giving birth without a doctor or midwife.  Whether you agree or disagree with the topic of unassisted homebirth, I hope you will listen to the show because I plan on sharing many secrets for having a successful birth experience and why the way we birth is so important to femininity, families, society and civilization.

Sincerely,

Lynn M. Griesemer
www.unassistedhomebirth.com
www.yourbodyyourbirth.org

—–Mother of six, Author of UNASSISTED HOMEBIRTH:  AN ACT OF LOVE and YOUR BODY, YOUR BIRTH:  SECRETS FOR A SATISFYING AND SUCCESSFUL BIRTH.  During the past six months I was featured in the Washington Post and appeared on PBS “To the Contrary” and a WJLA news story on Unassisted Homebirth.

Where to birth

I found this rather simple yet possibly effective intro mainstream news article about birthing “venues” on Cape Atlantic ICAN’s blog.  Check out this site, because Tiffany is posting really great stuff there.  Kudos to Montrose, CO and the care providers there who are doing their part to improve birthing outcomes in their community.  I’d like to discuss a few points made in the article:

*~*~*~

“I think our society, we control so much — we control (birth) too.”

LAY MIDWIFE

“The worst machine in the hospital is the clock,” [Bill] Dwelley [midwife] said, adding that he allows the natural process to continue for as long as needed if everything is moving along healthy.

He said 90 percent of children are born without complications. Of that 10 percent that do have complications, an experienced midwife or doctor can handle 7 percent; 3 percent require surgical care.

But because of increased inductions, which increases the risk of c-sections, surgical intervention is rising. MMH has a 17-percent c-section rate.

“It’s about keeping the right to choose,” Dwelley said. “We are doing it in the spirit of the woman gaining power.”

These are powerful and perceptive statements.  Indeed, a woman who labors in the hospital is put on a clock.  Labor that does not happen according to established norms will be “helped”.  A 17% cesarean rate is really not that bad – perhaps that is a reflection of a fairly healthy birth culture?  It is important to remember that only a small percentage of babies are born with complications, most of which can be resolved with time, confidence, and supportive care.  When these complications cannot be resolved, transfer to a hospital is prudent.

NURSE MIDWIFE

“I love that this is available to us,” Baskfield said. She added that she feels she can choose to have her baby naturally and that she is comforted with the idea that she can take as long as she needs “without feeling like it’s wrong.”

As far as inductions and c-sections, CNM DeEdda McLean said they don’t offer the option unless there is a medical reason.

The nurse-midwife experience is about encouraging empowerment and supporting the road the mother wants to take.

Consider that these births are taking place in the hospital and therefore more succeptible to the medical model of birth.  Keep in mind that CNMs are generally overseen by obstetricians.  This nursing group is managing more than a third of the hospital births in this area, and it is likely that their cesarean rates are lower than that of the obstetricians.  In my case (I must admit my bias), the CNM began suggesting intervention as soon as she arrived at the hospital.  I believed, as did Baskerfield (quoted above), that a CNM would not take me down the road of intervention, and in the heat of the moment we both caved.  In retrospect I am diappointed that her care in labor & delivery didn’t match the excellent care given prenatally.

HOSPITAL

In a larger hospital, there may be a nurse taking care of the mother before, another during and even more attending to the baby. In Montrose, she said, it’s usually one nurse and so a bond can be formed with the family.

But she said patients do choose a hospital and the hospital has rules. This means an IV tube must be set up for emergencies and intervention is possible.

“When they are coming here we have to be ready for a disaster. If they choose a hospital, they choose to have interventions available,” she said.

In a small town, mothers may receive more consistent care.  It is important to find out about the nurses’ schedules and how many would be attending you in labor and recovery.  I had excellent care from my nurses.  I also recommend knowing the hospital protocol ahead of time.  You can refuse things such as automatic IV, heplock, or continuous fetal monitoring.  Yes, you can refuse it.  Those are interventions that are unnecessary if you are a low-risk patient.  “If they choose a hospital, they choose to have interventions available.”  Keep that in mind – if the interventions are available to you they are also available to your staff.

Physician Jacqueline Garrard said the birthing world is “pretty liberal,” allowing mothers to choose when and how they want to deliver.

Liberal is not how I describe the birthing world.  Childbirth is still largely governed by men who treat the female body like personal property.  Besides, not all mothers are “allowed” to choose how they deliver.  Ask any number of women who are denied VBACs in this country every year.  We have a long way to go before someone like me will call the birthing world “liberal”.