Monday, March 21, 2011

Childbirth: Think about it

“Pregnancy and birth knit womankind together. Help weave a gorgeous thread to add to the fabric. Be supportive. Be kind. Be wise. Be open.” – Desirre Andrews

This weekend I stumbled upon an article that I decided to share on facebook.  Because it is an article on childbirth, I knew it would probably stir up some debate, but I had no idea how heated the debate would become.  As the conversation progresses and the comments become more and more personal, I feel like I need to go on the record about where my heart is... regarding childbirth and regarding my decision to post that article. In no way was it my intent (or will it ever be my intent with future posts) to offend or hurt someone's feelings.  If that happened this go-round, I am deeply and sincerely sorry!

While I was pregnant with Noah, I was questioned, doubted, and even criticized for choosing to birth with a midwife at a birth center. I took this in stride, knowing that most people just have not been exposed to that type of choice. It makes me a bit sad, though, that it is difficult to pose the other side of the conversation without deeply offending and hurting people. I love having respectful conversations with people who believe differently than I do... I think this is what life is about. It is interesting and often educational to learn others' convictions, thoughts, and passions, regardless as to how I agree or disagree with them. I hope that somehow childbirth will get to that place... where we can all respectfully talk about eachother's decisions sharing facts, research, and ideas... and I think that simply comes through having more and more conversations.
Something about how a woman chooses to birth their child creates deep, heated, passionate emotion.  I can totally relate... since having Noah, I have been exposed to a whole new world of natural childbirth and natural medicine.  It was the most empowering and spiritual experience I have ever had the opportunity to live, and it was amazing how Micah and I got to really experience his entrance into the world. It sparked a passion in me that continues to grow more and more every day.  I have no doubt that my involvement with the birth community will continue far beyond my years of being pregnant and having kids, although I have no clue what that looks like right now.  The more I read, the more I listen, and the more I learn, the more I realize how hidden so much information is in reference to childbirth, the trends in America, and how they are affecting women and children.  The Lord has placed a burden on my heart to share this information in hopes to simply spark the curiosity of other women.  After the link I shared received so many negative responses, I almost deleted the link all together fearing that I was broaching a subject that was just too senstive and too controversial, and that I needed to just keep my findings to myself.  Shortly after, I received a comment from a girl I graduated from high school with nearly 11 years ago.  I have not spoken to her in person since we graduated, but she posted:
"Krista, I saw the documentary "The Business of Being Born," and I've been recommending it for all women to see!! It made me think of you and other friends who gave birth at home or in birthing centers. I never thought I could do that. . ....but I've been won over. :) I'm all about home birth now (granted, if I have a healthy pregnancy and feel this is the best option). But more so, as you say, I'm all about researching, reading, and knowing myself so I can be confident in what I want for my baby and myself. Thanks for being such an inspiring example for me, girl! :) Your birth story really started me thinking. . .and I think that was a God thing."  It's amazing how the Lord gives you just what you need it right when you needed it.  Lauren's comment is exactly why I share my story and the facts I have uncovered: To get people thinking.  Not to put down other options of childbirth. Not to try to sway someone one way or another.  And certainly not criticize someone's choice to do something other than me.

I feel like I also need to say that I firmly believe that there is a place for doctors, specialists, and hospitals in childbirth.  I don't think they are the wrong choice for everyone, I simply do not think they are necessary in all cases.  I have friends whose lives and/or baby's lives have been saved because of the knowledge and expertise of a medical professional.  I am SO thankful they exist! There are situations, and people, who need the hospital environment for different reasons, whether it be health problems, prior birth experiences, or pregnancy complications.  It would be unwise, and likely unsafe for these women to choose to birth without medical supervision.  I totally get that, I totally respect that, and I totally support that.

All of that being said, I don't believe that the average women and the average birth needs to be treated with a abundence of medical interventions, which is often what happens when treated under an OB's supervision at the hospital.  I could probably write several blogs about the information that I have found that supports why I feel like it is very difficult to have a non-medical birth in the hospital, as well as why I feel like unnecessary medical treatment is both potentially harmful to the mother and to the baby, but that is not the reason I am writing this post (there may be future blogs about that, though).  I also believe that the Lord made our (women) bodies to carry and birth babies.  Everything about the female anatomy and physiology points to that.  I believe in trusting our bodies and letting them work the way they were meant to.  (And for the sake of not being misunderstood, I know that there are times, although nowhere close to 50%, that the body needs help in some form or another, which is where medical intervention plays a crucial role.)  There is something pretty spiritual about choosing to suffer, as the Lord chose to suffer for us, with the goal of joy in our site.  Hebrews 12 1:2 says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  The Message translation says "Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!"  These verses really encompass my entire birth experience, and continue to provide encouragement as I prepare for the birth of baby #2.

I am going to end with a quote that I believe to be completely true, and that I hope encompasses where my heart is.   “Whatever way birth happens, it is your rite of passage into motherhood, and that passage is to be celebrated. Natural childbirth is a passage, cesarean birth is a passage, and birth with an epidural is a passage to be celebrated. That passage cannot be taken away from you. Every mother’s birth experience is valid, and an act of courage.” –Ananda Lowe

~The Grant Gang

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Status Updates = Blog

I've realized that I am fairly good about posting little facebook updates (likely because it is easier to post to facebook than it is blogger), so in an effort to catch up and document for posterity sake, I am going to do a month in Noah-related status updates!

February 9: "Made momma's heart happy! I used to spend entire summers trying to teach 5+ yr old kids to blow bubbles, and he decides to just teach himself in the bathtub!" 

February 10: "When Noah signs please, he always flashes the biggest grin. Charmer, much?!"

February 12: "Just watched Micah put Noah in time out.... And he couldn't keep a straight face. Softy!!!"

February 16: "There are very few things better for the soul than an afternoon at the park on an uncharacteristically warm day."

February 21: "If Noah understood bribes, I'd totally bribe him right now. Sleep, child... Sleep!"

February 22: "I'm not sure what this says about him, but the two most recent toys Noah has fallen asleep with are a metal faucet splitter and a non working flashlight."

February 25: "How does a 15 month old become SO absurdly funny so quickly?!"

February 26: "Trying to figure out... When is my day off?"

February 26: "My favorite time of the day... Daddy/Noah playtime!"

March 1: "My child has not been this still since... He was in the womb? Here's to hoping that cuddles and cat naps fix it all."

March 2: "Has my energizer bunny back. Wonder how long it'll take to miss the cuddles?"

March 2: "My not even 16 month old child just climbed out of his crib. His crib that is lowered as far as it can be lowered. NOW what do we do!?"

March 7: "I love you Noah, I really do. But this 5:45am crap? It's gotta stop. Stat."

March 7: "After whining about Noah's early wake ups, I realize he is cutting all four incisors. #motherhoodfail"

March 8: "Has spent the last 30 minutes sitting at the front door with N watching construction trucks go by. I love little boys!"

March 8: "Noah's current favorite car toy: a musical valentine that has been ripped to shreds, but still plays "who let them dogs out?!""

March 10: "Nothin' like an 8am dance party with N to start out the day!"

Next post I will do a month in iPhone picture updates :-)

~The Grant Gang

I'm alive! (and actually feel human again)

Quite clearly I have been MIA... you can thank Fuzzy for that.  I haven't exactly felt human for the past 10 weeks or so. I made it to week 5 of pregnancy without any issues (a whole whoppin' week! pretty impressive!) and then it all hit me.  After sleeping for 10 hours at night I would wake up feeling like I had not slept in 48 hours.  I was having to eat every 2 hours on. the. dot. to minimize the nausea, and then the food only sometimes stayed down.  Oh, first trimester pregnancy, how I love you.  I am not sure if it is easier or harder with a little energizer bunny active toddler running around everywhere.  On one hand, all I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and wake up somewhere around week 14 of pregnancy.  On the other hand, that little active toddler forced me to be up and moving around, which made those 14 weeks go by pretty dang fast (maybe not for my sweet hubby who had to cook his own dinner every night because I could not stand looking at anything that was not a carb).

Somehow, I made to the other side and finally feel like a functioning human again.  I can't remember a time that I have appreciated energy as much as I do today!  If this pregnancy is anything like Noah's, I should be good to go till it's the day for us to welcome Fuzzy into the world... which I am really looking forward to!  Here's to a healthy, happy, full of energy 25 (+/- 2) weeks of blissful pregnancy!

~The Grant Gang