Off the keyboard of Gypsy Mama
Published on The Butterchurn on June 4, 2013
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
When you pay attention, you’ll begin to see how disheveled our society is. We rely on corporations to grow our food, cook our food and poison our food under the government’s fuzzy down wing. We are afraid of processes that our ancestors used to cure and preserve food (ex: fermentation) because the “health department” has warned us against the dangers of creating food reserves outside of the boxed, shrink wrapped and canned products they assure us are “healthy.”
We have spread ourselves far away from small town living and much farther away from community. We rely on vehicles to get us to and fro businesses and places that should still be within walking distance from our homes. We sit in air conditioned, mass produced chipwood homes filled with formaldehyde and chemicals.
The majority of us think that sitcoms are a good form of entertainment. We watch television to get away from our reality in our cheap quality, made in China, recliners and couches.
We have managed to detach ourselves from nature…from what is natural.
Notice the pattern of “We” in my text. I do not claim to be separate from this society that we have created for ourselves. I do, however, have the power to pick and choose the things that I wish to change about what society has handed me as a child of the 80′s.
Enter: Our children of the 2000′s…When Aaron and I found out we were pregnant with our second child, we knew that we would NEVER want to experience the hospital birthing process again. Our first son, Ayden, was born in the hospital that owned the EMS service Aaron was working for at the time. Luckily for us, the entire birth and 3 days hospital stay was paid for entirely by the insurance we carried (all $13,000 of it). If this had not been the case, we may have opted for a natural birth the first go around.
However, we were still in a different mindset in 2010. Aaron was a bit further ahead in seeing the world for what it is (and was) than I. We had a garden. Aaron was peak oil aware. (I was getting there). We were fermenting sauerkraut and kimchi. We opened the windows instead of using the air conditioning on a nice breezy day. We did the small things that we could to change our lives to where we saw benefit in dismissing the status quo.
As a new parent of two, I am already finding it hard to not compare my children. I don’t want any resentment formed over the years…I know that my sister was always discouraged by constantly hearing how “good” I was as a child…how “good” my grades were, etc. I want to be aware of verbal comparisons between my boys as a parent.
But…when your first child is born at 1:55 PM and your second is born at 1:50 PM…it is hard not to compare those numbers. Also…when both boys are born on the 19th day of the month, one month apart…well, that’s something to compare as well.
In the next few blogs, I will compare the birth of our first son, Ayden, to that of our second son, Harper. Ayden was a hospital birth, as I’ve stated above. Harper was born at a birthing center. These two birthing processes are WORTH comparing. I want to do all that I can to get the word out about the extreme difference in the two. I feel as if mothers around the U.S. are missing out on something so empowering and magical…the gift of giving birth has been stripped away to a medical condition by hospitals…regimented and programmed, just how modern day society has planned it.
The hospital birth (2010):
I went into labor with our first son, Ayden, at around 3:00 AM. Aaron and I had been lying in bed reading when what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions became stronger. “I’m hickin’ like crazy!”, I remember saying. Shortly after that, I got up from the bed to use the bathroom and instantly threw up. This is when we knew it was go-time. I had not thrown up once in my entire pregnancy, so the impromptu vomit was a sign to us that this wasn’t just me “hickin.”
We had already packed the hospital bag, so we called the OBGYN and told them what was going on. They recommended that we head to the hospital…which was about 5 minutes from our Rock Hill home. So, we got into Hank the truck and drove away from our home of two.
When we got to the hospital, my cervix was already dilated 3 CM. They told us we were staying and moved us from the “Check ‘em to see if they’re really in labor” room to the “Yep, they’re in labor” suite.
Aaron had worked a 16 hour shift that night. About the time I went into labor, he had been home for three hours…awake and reading a book. Being that we were about to be newbie parents, the obvious nervousness and fear was present in the go-go-labor suite. So was the sleep deprivation. Good preparation for a newborn, I guess.
Slowly, my body began to work its Mama magic. I laid in the hospital bed for awhile, and then was able to get up and move around a bit. This was allowed since we had went into the birth process by filling out the paperwork for the hospital and their staff to let everyone know that we were planning on delivering this baby with no medication. They scoffed at us, subliminally. We received plenty of “Yeah…one of those. Good luck Dummy” looks from the nursing staff.
We tried to remain aware of the pressure of the hospital’s “ways” throughout the labor…but as the contractions became longer, stronger and closer together…and poor Aaron’s eyes and body began tiring from lack of sleep…I began to ponder whether or not I could do this without the intervention of some meds.
We got me up off of the scary hospital bed with the stirrups and toddler rail system and put me into the labor suite bathtub. This bathtub was of normal size…well, normal for most people under 6 ft. tall…so it wasn’t really comfortable. Just a plain bathtub with no shower curtain.
Slowly, the pain increased and I decided that I’d have them check to see how far I had progressed with dilation. I had managed to travel from 3 cm to 5 cm. I expected I’d have been at around 8 cm by then…and this is when they spotted my weakness and uncertainty.
I was told that if I didn’t get the epidural NOW, that it would be too late. (This was a lie. You can get the epidural at 9 cm if you want it…as long as they get paid, you got it!). I caved in. Instantly, the nurse left the room and in came a team of dope-er-up staff. I was given an IV for fluids in my left arm. (I HATE needles). I was introduced to the guy who would proceed to stick the longest needle I hope to ever encounter in my life into my spine ( I never saw the needle. If I had, I may have chickened out).
I was then told to sit on the edge of the bed and to stay as still as I could. HOLY HELL. What if I moved???? We all know the answer to that, right? Paralysis. Permanent Paralysis. I went into my dream world and barely breathed while I felt the poke and then the pressure of the epidural needle enter my spine. An instant rush of cold, liquid sensation rushed through my pelvis and into my legs. I was theirs, at this point.
Since you can’t walk after an epidural (because your legs are NUMB and of no use to your body anymore), I was stuck in the bed for the remainder of my labor. Instead of the fear of the pain given to my body by the contractions, I was in fear of moving around too much and ripping out the epidural piece/IV in the center of my spine AND in fear of pulling the IV out of my arm ( I REALLY hate needles).
The epidural is indeed a pain reliever like I have never experienced before. I could tell when my body was having a contraction, but the pain had dropped from an 8 (on a typical pain scale of 1 to 10) to a 2. I was also given control of a little button that I could push to send more medication to my spine when I began feeling more pain. It would only work a certain number of minutes apart ( can’t remember the number), but it was there to help.
Soon, the second nurse of the labor came in to check my dilation. Apparently one side of my cervix was not dilating as much as the other side. She had me lie on one side, and then the other. She’d check me and then have me roll over again.
At one point, while I was lying on my left side, she came in to check on me and told me that the baby’s heart rate was not where they’d like to see it, and told me to roll over again.
WHAT? Rolling over will help that? “Not where you’d like to see it?” This terrified me. I instantly went back into my mind’s safe place and began to concentrate on relaxing. I figured that my heart rate might have been affecting his (because I was pretty much scared out of my mind at this point) and decided that I should calm myself down to do all I could to try to help the baby’s heart rate.
I guess it worked, because I was given no other update on the baby’s heart rate after I rolled over and took a mind trip. Nothing. No “He’s back to where he needs to be now, you can relax” No support. No SUPPORT is the main difference between a hospital birth and a birthing center birth using a midwife. The nurses who were there to “help” me obviously used up their sympathy and compassion for laboring patients eons ago. Patient vs.Person is another point to be taken here. To them, I was not Wendy…I was a customer/patient.
Apparently the cervix dilated to where they’d like it to be an hour or so later, because at that point the OBGYN (that I had seen maybe twice out of the team of doctors that worked at the office we had chosen–and liked the least out of all of them) came into the suite. He was followed by what seemed like a team of at least 10 people in scrubs who dispersed around the room to their positions.
Once he was in the room, he had pretty much decided that it was time to have this baby. I guess his time was valuable…or maybe I had dilated the full 10 cm? I wasn’t told. Here lies another difference: INFORMATION. I felt as if I was given minimal information about the birthing process and what was to be expected of it. I was not up to date on what was going on with my body. I could not FEEL half of my body. I was just another pregnant woman on the slab.
Soon, I was told that when I felt the next epidurally pain reduced contraction, that it was time to push. I tried…but I couldn’t feel anything below my waist, so I have no idea exactly what muscles I was using, what I was pushing, etc.
The staff became visibly frustrated with my pushing progress after awhile. Soon, two of the scrubbed strangers came up on either side of the bed and grabbed my limp legs and folded them up to my chin. Lame voices of “just breathe”….”breathe like this (insert breaths)” half ass encouragements with sourpuss faces offered their help.
“Push. PUSH!” was also offered. I pushed…whatever…down there, but was apparently not getting very far into the process. This was when the OBGYN doctor decided that he had better things to do and grabbed the kiwi device.
Aaron was standing next to the doctor at the end of the bed during this entire process. Some of the nurses were obviously frustrated with him for standing there. I guess they didn’t want him standing in “their” spot. The doctor looked over at him at one point and told him where the closest chair was if he needed to sit down. Aaron, with his EMS background and curiousness for all things medical, was not giving up his spot that easily. He informed the doctor that he was an EMT, and that he wanted to watch. The doctor sorta scoffed at that one, too. Lots of scoffing going on in that labor suite.
The rest of the delivery was quick. A portion of Ayden’s head was visible upon exit. Enough was visible, I guess, that the doctor decided that the kiwi device should help him to exit the rest of the way. From Aaron’s words, the doctor placed this suctioning device on the occipatal bone of Ayden’s skull. He pumped up the suction, looked over at Aaron and said “No worries, we use this all the time” and began PULLING our son out of my body by his skull. Apparently the doctor didn’t pump it up enough…because it popped off. Without a hitch, he placed it back on Ayden’s skull, pumped it up and pulled again. He pulled until Ayden’s head and shoulders were visible and then removed the device. This is how our son entered the world. He was pulled out head first by a suction cup.
This is what the kiwi device looks like:
Apparently, this device has replaced the forceps in the delivery room. After researching this device, I am pretty pissed off that it was used. I ran across articles talking about fatal brain injuries in newborns after vacuum extraction was used. If Aaron and I had known what the hell that thing was, there is NO WAY we would have allowed its use. This is an example of the possible misfortunes of not being informed about the dangers of what is socially acceptable. Our son could have had fatal brain injury. How could we have lived with knowing that we could have prevented the doctor from using that device if something had went wrong? Scary stuff.
Luckily, Ayden was not injured…despite a mark from the suction cup on his skull that stuck around for a day or so. It looked similar to this:
Once you enter the hospital for delivery, you are at the mercy of devices and tactics such as this. There’s a good reason to think about having a natural birth. If we had only known then what we know now!
Ayden was a big baby. All 9 lb. 7 oz. and 22 in. of him! He took to breast feeding immediately. He barely cried and lived up to his middle name, Zen, quickly.
The Natural birth (2013):