PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Labor and Delivery: Do I HAVE To Be In The Room???

Today is my first day back from my holiday vacation (which consisted of napping, eating and wearing no make-up, bras, pantyhose or anything that constricted me in any manner). Years ago, I used to fantasize about being rich and famous. These days, I fantasize about being able to lay in bed as much as possible and wear nothing but huge, comfy tarps. Perhaps that’sthe way to go in the New Year – keep your goals and resolutions super low.

What’s your goal Jay?

To lay in bed!!!

Incidentally, what is it about the maternity clothes industry that thinks it’s a good idea that the bigger you get, the bigger the patterns should be on the outfit you’re wearing? Early on, they have little polka dots on your baby doll shirt. Then, when you’re in the third trimester, they have huge geometric patterns on a moo moo. And why are there SO MANY maternity outfits with horizontal stripes?!? Thanks fellas! Make a pregnant woman look even wider! Good plan!

I'm back at my day job now after my holiday break and have not only resumed make-up, bras and pantyhose (I recommend Berkshires Maternity Light Support Pantyhose by the way), but I’m also wearing hair extensions and false eyelashes. The bigger I get, the more I hope to resist ugly maternity clothes and glam it up. I worked hard for this pregnancy and paid a lot of money for it that I’m going to wear it well if it kills me. Of course, if I get any bigger, I may have to start carrying around spotlights, smoke machines and background music to distract from my huge ass.

Putting aside fashion challenges for a moment, two things we did during our holiday break (in addition to the napping and eating) was to attempt to put together the nursery and try, once again, to learn more about the birthing process. We took a birthing class a month ago and quite frankly, we didn’t find it very informative. Truth be told, we even ended up dropping out of it. We liked the teacher and there was nothing dead wrong with the class… but we both felt that it was a bit too new agey and stressed natural child birth more than anything else.

To be clear, I’m not saying I’m against natural child birth. I’m just saying I’d rather get all the straight medical facts and all of the options first... then decide what I’d like to do.

There was one class where the teacher (who is a Doula) talked about using your placenta to create art. Apparently, you take your placenta, dry it out, dip it in paint or ink and stamp it on a paper. Now here’s the thing: That’s lovely but is this information going to help me when I’m writhing in pain? “Quick! The contractions are getting closer together! Somebody get my painting kit!!!” I don’t think so.

I genuinely have respect for Doulas. I think they are extremely knowledgeable and if you can afford one (or are friends with one), they can be a valuable asset to a delivery. That being said though, when the teacher (who, again, is a Doula) said that one of the best things about having a Doula is that she can give your husband a break, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Why should he get a break? I’m not getting a break. I’ve endured the brunt of years of fertility treatments, needles, shots, retrievals, etc. This will be the home stretch of feminine torture and I expect him to be there. My only request is if he’s going to pass out or steal focus from me in any way, he can leave the room. Otherwise, no Doula is going to let my husband off the hook. Besides, if I’m going to punch someone because of the amount of pain I’m in, it’s going to be him. I think that was even included in our wedding vows.

And for the record, the more I learn, the more I wonder if I even want to be in the room. I have DESPERATELY wanted a baby and I'm so incredibly grateful to finally be pregnant after so much... but... how should I put this? Me no likey pain. I wonder if I could give birth via Skype????

In lieu of a class, we bought a DVD on Labor and Delivery to see if we could get the plain facts but it also seemed to have a "natural delivery" slant to it instead of a broad cut and dry description. My favorite part was when they interviewed a couple who had agreed not to use any medication. They recounted their story explaining that some point during the labor process, the woman begged for an epidural but the husband refused to let her have one. In the interview, he said, “I’m proud that I stuck to our original plan and I’m sure she’s happy we did too!” The camera then cut to her and her expression was priceless. She said nothing, kind of gave a strained chuckle and had a look of, “You’re proud honey? That’s nice. Next time you’re in pain, I’ll be sure to stab you in the nuts.” I only hope that one day he gets a kidney stone and she tells the doctor not to give him pain medication. "Are you proud now honey??? Are ya???"

What amazes me is I JUST want to know about how far contractions should be apart before calling the doctor. What a contraction feels like. What a mucus plus looks like. Things like that. I have basic simple questions and I keep not getting them answered. What’s almost hilarious is I caught the last couple of scenes of KNOCKED UP this past weekend and I think I actually learned more from that movie than I did from my entire birthing class. Then again, as I said, I did drop out.

My doctor asked us this morning what our birthing plan was and we answered, “To get the baby out in the best healthiest way.” Really. I’m not opposed to anything if my doctor thinks it’s necessary. I don’t need the “experience” as much as I need and want my baby delievered happy and healthy. She actually thanked us for this response as she said it gave us a lot more options.

I suppose that ultimately, you can have all the information you want and all the plans you’d like but no one can predict how it’s going to go. Of all the women I’ve spoken to that gave birth recently, I think only one of them had things go exactly as planned only because it was a scheduled C-Section. In general though, it seems like a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of deal.

I'd be remiss not to mention that my Russian neighbor informed me recently that babies who are delievered via C-section suffer from claustrophobia. I have no idea where she got this information or if it's true but her conviction in passing on this "fact" was impressive. It reminded me of the time she told me that Gloria Estefan had Selena killed because she coudn't take the competition.

As for putting together the nursery, I don’t think I’ve ever heard my husband curse so much in his life. I also had no idea how long EVERYTHING would take to assemble, put batteries in or simply figure out. There were moments when our stroller/car seat combo was like a virtual rubix cube. There are
levers and buttons and zippers and snaps. It was like an 8th grade boy trying to unhook the bra off of his date.

Overall, I feel like every day, between trying to look good, figuring out exactly what a nipple brush is and learning that a “bloody show” isn’t a television series on HBO, I’m winging it. We have (roughly) six weeks left to go and that will hopefully give us enough time to figure out what the f*ck we’re doing. If nothing else, I hope we figure out how to fold up the pack and play before then.


Lulu said...

This cracks me up, especially the part about c-section babies being claustrophobic.

My birth plan is "please get the baby out alive."

laura @ a little barefoot said...

we took a birthing class at our hospital, and it definitely didn't have a natural birth slant. in fact they talked a lot about medication and C-sections. have you looked to see if your hospital offers a child birth class? it might be more up your alley.

this post also cracked me up, by the way. and you are so right about the horizontal stripes!! wtf?

Mandy said...

I was totally like birth plan was just get this baby out! With my first I wanted to try all-natural. That went out the window when I started having contractions, which feels like your stomach is being squeezed really really tight, by the way. My doc told me to stay at home until they were 4-1-1....four minutes apart, one minute long, for one hour. Ask your doc, some may have a different policy. I personally did not like the narcotic meds in my IV, but LOVED my epidural. I went into labor naturaly with my first and was induced with my second. I needed an episotomy with both which wasn't great, but not too bad overall. Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to share any details you want!

Courtney said...

The class I took gleaned over natural childbirth and spent the entire time talking about pain meds! Ha! To be fair, none of the questions you have we're addressed in my class. I did it med-free.. Ican appreciate that it's not for everyone! Anything you don't know you'll get a crash course in during labor anyways! This is also true when caring for a newborn!

Heather said...

LOL about learning from the birthing scenes Knocked Up. I thought a vagina actually looked like that too during birth...until I actually gave birth. Not so much.

I too was worried about making the decision on when to go to the hospital. (I hate to bother people unnecessary.) But my doctor actually sent me over after one of my appointments, so no second guessing there. My water broke at the hospital which was a huge blessing, because it would have been a horrible car ride. LOL!

Good to know my baby won't be claustrophobic when he gets older!

The Blakes said...

haha Your blog cracks me up. I have to say that infertility really turns me off to blogs of pregnant women be that infertiles (or most anyways) or not but I thoroughly enjoy your blog. You havent forgotten how infertility has affected you and you are just plain hilarious. Thanks. :)

Oh and btw my first birth expierience was the worst in the world...emergency c-section, micropreemie, etc. But she is my best friend and LOVES having blankets on her face so you can tell your Russian friend to shove her theory up her arse. haha

BabyBumpAhead said...

I can't believe you got so little info from your birth class! horrible!

This was a really funny blog though. :) And, for the record, when I have a baby my plan will be to get it out as healthy as possible...preferably with an epidural. As in...I will deliver with an epidural unless an unprecedented natural disaster wipes out every anesthesiologist in a 500 mile radius.

And, for what it's worth, we tell our patients to come to Labor & Delivery Triage for:
~ 5-1-1 rule: Contractions 5 minutes apart that are 1 minute each and continue at least 1 hour.
~Gush of Fluid
~Baby moving less than usual
Your doctor should be able to give you info specific to his/her protocol, though.

Christina said...

I'm pretty sure pregnancy, birth and parenting are all "fly by the seat of your pants" deals. My birthing class was through the hosptial I'm delivering at and covered natural, induction, c-sections, meds, and everything in between. It was pretty helpful. How unfortunate that I didn't get to learn about placenta painting!

Your birth plan sounds a lot like mine. Everything pretty much reads as "I'd like to do x,y,z as naturally as possible. As long as we are both healthy, etc for it".

Just like new year resolutions, if you go in with fewer expectations, you'll come out at teh end happier!

robin said...

I wonder how many people who get pregnant after IF treatments have fancypants birth plans and how many feel like you. After going through so much and realizing that life just doesn't turn out as planned, and then get pregnant, I would just want the baby to come out whole and healthy!!

Rebecca said...

Had to share this post with my husband. He of course didn't laugh at what I thought was funny but then again he is a guy.

MerLemerand said...

So, first of all I have been folloowing your blog for two years and get so giddy when I see a new post because I know I am guaranteed a laugh! and most of the time a relatable cry ;) I was on the other side but my time finally came and I have crossed over and now have a 3.5 month old son. I will never EVER forget the pain and will always be a cheerleader for those TTC, as I know you will as well. You are the captain of our squad! In regards to your post today, I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the hubs not needing relief during labor. I delegated my DH to be my DJ, playing my favorite jams during labor. He asked me if I would prefer "Michael Bubble" (Michael Buble) or "Florida" (Flo Rida). I also made him play charades with my sister, mother, and father, (before the contractions got too bad). Since I was hooked up to the monitors I couldn't get up to act out anything so I wrote the words... such as, "poop," "epidural," etc... Just ya know, things coming to my mind at the time. We were there for a scheduled induction (which I HIGHLY recommend if you get to full full term), so my pain was closelly managed. I was starting to dilate and they asked me when I wanted my epi and my husband quickly chimed in, "well, what's the benefit of waiting?" And so we started the epi! I truly ENJOYED my birth experience rather than being in pain and distraught. But pain meeds effect different people in different ways and fortunately for me, we get along well. The hardest part for me was the cervical exams leading up to the birth.. Take tyelnol and be ready for some deep breaths! Let's keep in touch over the next few weeks! I owe you a bit of support for all the support you have given me over the last couple years. New mommy support is important but also, Jay, you have to let yourself rest from the constant pressure that bloggers get to respond to emails and comments, etc. You will be surprised at how little free time you have. But it is SOOOO worth it! I hope we can become pen pals if/when you have time to write. You are an inspiration to me.

Anonymous said...

You crack me up, as ever! I always was terrified at the thought of my water breaking in public--or on someone's shoes :) As Daphne (from "Frasier") said to a Doula she interviewed, "I intend to have my baby the way God intended: in a hospital and numb from the waist down." --sushay from Jersey

Nepsi said...

I think people who make birth plans are funny. It seems they have the impression they are in control of what happens which after 7 IVFs I know is totally not true. I have endured enough pain in that area of my body so I'm all set thanks. I could have used an epidural during my "mild" OHSS and DH wasn't even in the same state during my first rather traumatic and drug free uterine polyp removal so no breaks for him! Best of luck to you :)

Rita said...

When we took our birthing class (taught by a wonderful doula), I had the same thought as you--no way is DH getting a break! However, as everyone else has said, labor and delivery did not go as we envisioned and my daughter was born via unplanned c-section after 49 very long hours of labor (only the last ten hours or so were with an epidural). DH was my only support person throughout that time and I wish to God now that I had had someone else there, whether it be doula, mom, sister, friend, etc. DH did his best, he really did, but he was exhausted and I desperately wished someone else had been there to take over for a little while so DH could go get coffee/go pee/etc. I refused to be left alone so he never left but him falling asleep while I tried to break his hand during contractions really started to piss me off. I wanted to be with someone who was alert and focused on ME and what I was going through--not desperately trying to keep themselves awake!

peleb said...

Always love your sense of humor and your downright honesty! Having a baby is scarey and it is NOT less scarey just because you had wanted it for a long time or had fertility issues. The first time no one really knows what to expect and that is the what drives people to be afraid or anxious. And everyone has different experiences. Personally I found Labor and Delivery nurses to be amazing and they support you so much. I am sure Doula's do the same and I would use whatever is available. I did not have an epidural but it wasn't because I didn't want one (real long story) . It was painful but forgetable after I held my little boy. I would have loved the pain free option but hey life is always the way we plan. I am with you when the bottom line is " just a healthy Baby"! So whatever birth plan you have Best of Luck, much happiness and great health to all. Can't wait to hear about it!

Marybeth said...

Holy crap 6 weeks! I know you've got to hate it when others say this, but wow has the time flown for someone watching from the outside. I give it to ya girl for glamming it up these days. Hell, I can barely glam myself up for the weekends let alone everyday work! I wish I had something insightful to say about child birth. But I will certainly hope all the best for you on every part of the natural to medicated spectrum!
Oh - and ewwww...that doula is fucked up for wanting to paint with the placenta. Girl, I'll buy you a paint brush, leave my body parts alone!

Mommy said...

Birth plans are more about "in case everything is going great, this is my ideal." Anyone who writes one without that caveat in mind is going to be disappointed. My only hard limit on the plan was to keep me the hell away rrom pitocin, that stuff sounds terrifying. Yes I know some people have good experiences, and good for them, but no. Keep it.
After my 3 ivfs and bfp, Iplanned for a waterbirth. Baby was breech, csection was scheduled, baby came 2 days before surgery appt anyway (still a section, was medically necessary as her hands were up near her head as well). Since I kn ew I wasn't the one in control, accepting the necessity of surgery was much easier.

Stephanie said...

Oh my gosh, this post is awesome!! I'm due 2/29, so just behind you and seriously, I have the same questions! We took a birth class at our hospital which covered natural, c-section and epidural - I walked out of there not wanting any of them and telling my husband they better figure out another way to get the baby out of me! My SIL just had her first 12/30 and I spent most of our time together asking for her real experience before her memories turned to baby love memories! She assured me that I would without a doubt know when my mucus plug comes out and that I would also recognize contractions. She wanted natural, but around 4 cm, gave in to the epi. She told me to not even question it, take the meds they have for you!

Deanna: Miss(ed) Conception said...

This post seriously had me laughing out loud! I have literally said the same thing about men not wanting pain meds with kidney stones! Jerks!!! I didn't have a birth plan. Mostly because, I'd never had a baby before. I didn't know what to expect and I didn't want to have a plan that would get shot to hell. In the end, my goal was to have the baby and I ultimately didn't care how that happened. The end result would be the same whether I was in insane amounts of pain or not. Since I didn't have a birth plan, I can look back and not be disappointed in my birth experience. We dropped out of birthing classes too! They were too high and mighty about natural childbirth and I wasn't sure if that was the path I wanted. Winging it worked for me. I learned everything I needed to know during labor! And it worked!!!

Rebecca said...

Such an awesome post, as always.

I'm all for whatever anyone wants their birth plan to be -- as long as they've got some flexibility in there. It makes me sad to see women who are so disappointed because of changes to their plans that they keep focusing on that rather than "hey, look a baby!"

Personally, we've been told that we have no choice but a planned c-section due to the location of scars from previous uterine surgery unless I want to risk uterine rupture. But, I couldn't care less. I want these babies out and healthy. If pulling them out forcibly one by one is the way to do it, then that's the way to do it. It took an army and science and medical intervention to get then in here, I'm perfectly fine with it taking the same to get them out of here. I just want them to BE here.

irrationalexuberance said...

Hey -- I'm not sure where you are planning to deliver (I mean, which hospital, not the back of a taxi or something), but Lenox Hill and Sinai both have great classes and tours for expectant moms. Also, check with your OB -- mine referred me to the private class taught by a former LH nurse and it was fab. Turned out, though, that we had a breech babe and then ran low on amniotic fluid a month early, so babe came out via c-section 4.5 weeks early despite all of our classroom learning about breathing and pain meds. And do I care? Nope, not one bit!

Anonymous said...

That's one of the reasons I decided to blog in English and not in my mother tongue Russian.

You can rely on Russians to tell you all kinds of crap like that.

You have fertility problems? It means God doesn't want the two of you to be together. Split up, create new families, and all will be well.

You are decorating a nursery? You actually intend to let your baby sleep in a separate room? You should be lynched as a mother. No baby under 3 years old should sleep separately.

You bought a crib? Whatever for? It is best for babies to co-sleep.

You are actually going to use a baby carrier? Do you know their posture will be forever ruined and they will have osteoporosis?

YOU CUT YOUR HAIR DURING PREGNANCY?! ARE YOU INSANE?! (I still don't know what exactly the problem is... some superstition, I guess).

And so on and so on and so on. They give you their opinions without being asked. In a very forceful manner.

I know they wish well. But, gosh, my mentality changed way too much to be able to take all this crap...

Carli said...

As usual, I love your posts.

I just wanted to offer some encouragement. Our baby arrived 6 weeks early - after the first of 4 birthing classes. Granted, in the end, he was born via c-section - but we winged it just fine. The nurses won't let you suffer!

As far as the baby stuff - it is very confusing. And we didn't figure out how to actually fold the pack and play until our son was about 5 months old. But folding that damned thing up is over-rated.

Anonymous said...

well, I never saw my mucus plug (I'm not even sure I had one :))))) and while I was having contractions and in enormous pain I was squeezing water out of our handrail, I was still denial and I wouldn't believe that these are THE ONES, that I'm acutally in labor :). Well, I was a fisrt timer.. noone can blame me :) You experience will be unique and awesome this way or the other. And I don't think you cna be prepared for it, no matter how many DVDs u watch or classes you take. Can't wait to read your birth story!!!!!! Good luck til then!

hobbyismyjob said...

I have to have a c section bc of a mayomectomy, so the birth plan is: make sure I'm numb before you cut!! All my friends that had serious birth plans(natural, or at home with a bathtub etc) all ended up needing pitocin, and just having stressful births, and emergency c-sections in the end. So I agree that the attitude should be whatever happens happens. I have that same feeling with breastfeeding. I'll give it my best but if it doesn't work out I'm not going to LET anybody make me feel bad about myself for it. Because it's like mother vs mother half the time.

And if that bit about claustrophobia is true, that means 30% of the class rooms in 5 years are going to be full of kids screaming to get out!

Tara dS said...

Hilarious post! I am very excited for you. I love your blog and I am so, so, happy that you are finally getting your baby. I know photos aren't really your thing and you are doing a fabulous job of remaining sensitive to the rest of us IF's, which is much appreciated... But I just want to say that I do hope you choose to share with us a photo of your baby and his name. Well, if you don't post again before giving birth, best wishes for a smooth experience with minimal pain and of course a healthy baby!

Maddy said...

You're a smart woman. A flexible birth plan is the best kind and a healthy mother and child at the end should be the goal. I hoped to avoid pain meds when delivering my first child. But my labor started with my water breaking and after laboring for 9 hours and only dilating from 1 to 3 cm, I begged for the epidural. I also had every other intervention under the sun (pitocin, scalp probe for my son, antibiotics for a fever and finally an emergency C-section).

With my second child, I truly hoped to try a VBAC but ended up with placenta previa which meant I had to have another C-section. The birthing process is not something you can control and it's so much better to not be disappointed that your set plan didn't happen.

I can't wait to hear about your experience!

Emily said...

Your plan is perfect. I think keeping your options open is a great way of doing it. I have done a ton of research for a long time just being so interested in the process and I was lucky enough to be in the room with my bestie for every part except for pushing. I learned a ton there. It all just amazes me. I can't wait to hear the birth story!

Secret Sloper said...

If you're still looking for a birthing class, the class at my hospital was very evenhanded. In fact, the instructor tailored it to the wishes of the participants in terms of interventions, pain treatment, etc. We did the one-day class and there were people giving birth at other hospitals who were there. Message me if you want more info.

You're so close. He's going to be here so soon :) I'm so excited for you. We will have to meet up for baby dates in the Slope this spring.

Anonymous said...

Haha Laughed out loud! loved this post. I gave birth to twins when I was 22 and was completely unprepared. (they were 8 weeks early) I would say that sometimes, not knowing every detail is a good thing!

Good luck with that Pack-n-Play. those things take a masters degree. tip- lock sides before pushing down bottom. (i kids are 7 so it has been awhile)

Anonymous said...

I *wish* my son was claustrophobic after the c-section! Then maybe he'd agree to be unswaddled so I wouldn't have to custom design and sew gigantic baby swaddlers. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and Stadol. If you don't opt for an epidural, you want it. I did 43 hours naturally, then 36 more on Stadol, then 5 more naturally before the c-section. To hell with natural childbirth. The drugs were awesome.

nurslouisa said...

Healthy baby-- that's a very good plan. My only words of advice is that you know where labor and delivery is at your hospital so if ya have to get there in a hurry you won't end up running around the hospital like a chicken with you head cut off!

Anonymous said...

I think you're right on track. My labor classes were completely useless. I attempted to have a vaginal birth (3 days of labor in an attempt for that goal!), but it wasn't meant to be. Many of my friends found their c-sections to be traumatic emotionally, but I think because I had been open-minded about the birth plan, it didn't weigh on me the same way. Also, I felt like I had given a vaginal birth the best possible try, and then simply did what was best for the baby and I.

So, that would be my advice (probably applies to much of life, too). Try your absolute best to make whatever your goal is happen, but don't lose sleep if it doesn't end up working out that way.

Anonymous said...

Amen sister - I'm due in 4 weeks and my birth plan is to get the baby out whatever means needed, and with whatever drugs are available. After my first internal exam, I was even more convinced - they are not pleasant!!

Julia Lynn said...

LOVE this!!! Love your sense of humor! It's great to see you writing true to form again ;-)

I'm SUPER EXCITED for you and trust that all will work out well. I tell my DH that I'm not worried about the way or another the kid is coming out of me (whether I'm awake for it or not), it's not staying in there...what terrifies me is raising a little girl!!!

:-) Can't wait to read the post on the adventures of your delivery, whenever you are finally able to post it ;-)

Love and hugs!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jay, discovered your website a few weeks back. I am still in SITT and you give me hope. looking forward to your next entry.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited for you! If you no-likey pain, then an au natural vaginal birth is probably not for you. If you're freaked out about the doctors cutting your guts open (I hear they're not very gentle even though you can't feel it) then a good old fashioned epidural might a good idea as well. That is what I'm hoping to do. I can see myself dealing with contractions for a while, then getting nice and numb from the waste down. That way I can hold my baby pretty close after and not have to wait for the doctors to stitch me up. Whatever is the safest way though!!

Hillary said...

Once again, Jay, you have not failed in making me pee my pants. I love the quote about the doula stating her job is great because it gives her husband a chance to take a break. HA. I love my poor, sweet husband... but still. Rather than wanting to give him a break, all I wish is that he would have to take one of these stinking fertility shots. Just one. Thank thank thank you for all your wise and funny words. Keep writing sister! Also, good luck and feel good. You're almost there!

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