Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All I Can Say Is WOW!

If you read my last post, then you know all about my Doula training workshop that I did last weekend.  It was, quite possibly, one of the most amazing, educational, inspiring, unique, special things I've ever participated in, in my life.  Truly and hands down.  My brain is filled with so much information that I didn't know before, I'm having a hard time sleeping, trying to sort through it all.

While I now know everything from how to use a fetoscope to labor positions to breathing techniques to common (and now I know VERY overused) medical interventions, my biggest take-away is that, as a doula, it will be my quest to help women (and their partners) have their best birth possible, whatever that looks like to them.  To share information they need to be able to make well-informed decisions, regret free.

I really, really tried to not make any of the session personal, which was hard since I was the only woman in the room (out of 17) that made the decision to have an epidural...twice.  I didn't feel judged, but I also really did -- hard to explain.  But, there were others with regrets too...from the woman that dreamed of a home birth that couldn't to the one that needed pitocin to jump start labor when she only wanted things done the natural way.

And, it was a little emotional as well.  I tried to listen objectively as the instructor was talking about how epidurals can cause the baby to move down the birth canal at an awkward angle.  And, how this can cause shoulder dystocia.  My Lulu had this when she was born.  I'm thankful each and every day that my amazing doctor (and my amazing body, by the way) was able to get her out before any permanent damage.   Also, an epidural includes some heavy duty narcotics that are passed through the bloodstream to the baby.  I didn't know.  And, more disturbing, I never asked...even as it was being injected in my spine.  I couldn't hold back my emotions knowing that because I made the decision to ease my pain, I put my beautiful daughter at risk.  I don't know if I would have made different decisions -- hindsight is always easier -- but I wish I knew more then.

I think there is a reason the training is an entire, almost uninterrupted weekend.  It gives women, like me, the opportunity to process and sometimes grieve their own choices in a therapeutic/safe way, so that we can forgive ourselves and move on to helping others.  That is how I feel now. 

As a next step, I'm in the process of signing up for a wonderful organization that offers free doula support to women/families in need.  It is perfect for me, since I can pick and choose my 12 hour shifts. 

I don't know what my future holds in this line of work, but I do know that I will make it my mission to ensure a woman never walks into a delivery again without full knowledge so she can make informed decisions when it comes to her birth.   I don't want anyone to walk away from the magnificent joy and miracle of childbirth with regrets.

I can't wait to see how this new journey unfolds!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where to Start...

My son's late (and later and later and later) bedtime has thrown my world into a slight tailspin.  Aside from no longer getting important things done at night (like, say...watching trashy television and reading my gossip magazines), gone is my time to collect my thoughts and write. 

MDB is at that strange needs-a-nap but napping-makes-bedtime-a-disaster stage.  His bedtime routine has gotten to the point that it's a battle until he finally passes out from exhaustion, sometimes as late as 9:30 p.m.  I turn into a pumpkin at 10, so what's a girl to do?  We are trying to shorten his nap to 1.5 hours...hoping for a miracle and a quiet household by 8!  And, of course, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't constantly worrying about the lack of sleep and late bedtime (Weissbluth would just shake his head in disgust) and the impact it will have on his overall health and well being.

My wonderful husband makes fun of me because I attribute EVERYTHING in the kids' lives to, as he says, "my research on my dissertation in the sleep patterns of my children".  He's right...I laugh when I catch myself associating every single bout of crabby-sick-wired-clingy-aggressive behavior to the quality and quantity of their sleep.

Anyway...I regress.  Let me get to the true point of my post.  I've so been wanting to write about what I'm about to partake in this hard finding the time.  But, here is goes...

I'm finally realizing my dream of becoming a doula.  This weekend is my hands-on, intensive training seminar.  The session is focused on all aspects of being a birth partner...from massage to emotional support to learning to decipher the stages of labor to understanding the entire delivery and pre-and-post natal process.  And, of course, to make sure we understand this isn't for the faint of heart, I will also be partaking in a hands-on "physical" examination of other session participants. 

And, the best part is that I can do this knowing I can realize my dream and not have it impact my life too much!  I found a wonderful doula-group that is looking for part-time Doula's to be on call only during the weekend, as little or as often as I want.  I mean, how perfect is that?  This is also a chance to get trained on post-partum (baby care) and lactation.  And, if nothing else, part of my certification is to witness 6 births.  In my opinion, there is nothing more amazing than that!

Why this new passion?  Overall, I'm pretty obsessed with pregnancy.  I think it could be that I'm surrounded by it at work, as its part of my job is to manage maternity leaves and there are a TON of them right now!  And, my friend/co-worker is expecting a baby girl in December and I've pretty much been her go-to on all things pregnancy and baby...and I LOVE it!  I could sit and talk to women all day about pregnancies, delivery, breast feeding, baby care and more! 

And, I also have regrets from my own delivery.  When Lulu was born, my water broke at 5 a.m. and by the time I got to the hospital an hour and a half later, I was already 7 centimeters dilated.  My contractions were so close that I had no reprieve in between.  I must have asked the hospital valet for my epidural 19 times while I was waiting for the wheelchair.  Poor guy.  I ended up getting it -- at about 7:30 a.m., when I was 9 centimeters. 

I never really considered having a natural, drug-free birth.  My pain tolerance is non-existent.  But, thinking back, I was SO close.  I probably would have delivered her within the hour...not 6 hours later since the epidural slowed things down so much. 

Now, I know how lucky I am that I got to deliver both of my children at the world-class Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago.  I have heard more stories than I can count about the life-saving measures and care provided.  And, I adore my doctor, who stayed at the hospital after a night on call to deliver me!  But, what I can't stop thinking about is the fact that during the entire delivery process NO ONE (from the MEAN triage nurse to the delivery nurses to the students to the doctors) gave me ANY advice on how to work through the pain.  I know I was asking (okay, begging) for my epidural, but why didn't the trained staff recognize how close I was and give me some pointers for getting through the pain and letting my body take over? 

I want to be there for other women, so they don't have to look back in hind-site with regrets. 

I realized not too long ago that my desire to have another baby has absolutely nothing to do with actually wanting another child -- I just want to get another chance to be pregnant (which I LOVED) and do the birth process again.   Since, that is only something Octomom would do...I will instead work to help others in their journey to motherhood! 

I will let you know how it goes and wish me luck!