Posts filed under ‘birth’

Quick Christmas homebirth story

My Absolutely Amazing Homebirth of the Christmas Baby

The short version: I started having contractions around midnight on Cmas morning. I stayed in bed til I couldn’t rest anymore, then I got up and walked around.  Whenever I’d feel a contraction, I’d sway my hips like I was dancing.  I didn’t feel like I needed anyone so I didn’t wake up my husband or my mom (who was visiting) or call my midwife. I just walked around the house and swayed.

I was tired, but every time I tried to lie down the contractions would get really intense until I got back up and moved. Around 5am things got even more intense and I decided that at 6am I’d start making calls/waking people up.  I woke up my husband for a few last-minute housekeeping errands; by then the kids were up and eager to open presents.  My kids, my husband, and my mom opened Christmas presents – while I called my midwife and asked her to come over. After we hung up, things got extremely intense (I know I keep using that word, but I don’t have any other word to describe it!) and I called her back and asked her to talk me on her cell phone til she arrived at my house.

When she got here she examined me and said I was complete except for a small lip, and the baby was at +3. My bag of waters was still intact and I begged her to break them – which is ironic because I’m fairly anti-ROM! She suggested I get on hands-knees to make the lip go away. While on hands-knees, the contractions were really powerful and I could feel them all throughout my pelvis. It was the first time I’ve had pain in my back during a labor.

My water broke during a contraction – at which point the contractions actually got less intense! I sat on the toilet until I felt the urge to push. I found pushing to be very painful and at that point I didn’t think I could do it. I just didn’t think I could get the baby out. However, after what felt like forever on the toilet to me (my midwife said it was only a few minutes; in reality she was only at my house for an hour before the baby was born) my Christmas baby girl was born at 8AM. The placenta came out a few minutes later, and I hardly had any bleeding. She is 7lbs 11oz. She’s perfect and loves to nurse. After the birth I got into bed with her and we cuddled and nursed. It was a beautiful perfect birth – exactly what I wanted. I could not have imagined a better birth.

December 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm 4 comments

Transitioning…

For the last few days I’ve noticed some hormonal changes, and I’m hoping wondering if this is my body getting close to labor and birth. I’m starting to have night sweats again, I’m breaking out on my face, and I’m getting more crazy with each passing day. I kind of feel like I’m back in my first tri, except with 40 extra lbs. I originally went to the doctor because of the night sweats, thinking I was having some kind of endocrine issue. Nope! Just pregnancy!

I’m so excited to find out if Tax Deduction is a girl or a boy. I’ve gone back and forth so many times in this pregnancy, first thinking it was a boy, then girl for a looooooooooong time, now boy again. I just don’t know. This pregnancy has been a weird mixture of more and less intense than my others. It’s more intense because of my weight loss; I can feel a lot more than I could with all the others, and I’m more knowledgeable about the process. It’s less intense because — duh! — I’m a lot more busy with the older kids. A clerk at Tar*get will say something to me about how it’s getting close and I’m thinking, “Close to what, exactly? Oh, yeah. I’m having a baby.” I feel like not knowing the sex inhibits the bonding I’ve felt with the other kids. With the others, I would think, “Hey, The Informant, how did you like this Thanksgiving meal? Pretty good huh?” but now I think, “Hey baby who might be XX or XY and we’re still not 100% certain on a name, what do you think of…” and by the time the sentence is out I’m totally distracted by something else anyway.

Last night I was having some intense back pain, thinking, “This is it… maybe…?” but nope. I took a bath and went to bed. It was probably from doing “too much” on Thanksgiving. All that cooking, plus I moved a Graco Nautilus car seat from my garage into the house, so that The Happy Mathlete could borrow it.

Next Friday is My Chemical Romance’s birthday and it might be sort of cool if the baby shared his birthday.

November 26, 2010 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

The very brief birth story of Animal and Mineral

Note: They are 7.5yo now, so many many of the details are hazy, but here’s what I recall. I wrote this for someone on mothering.com who asked about hospital vaginal birth of twins. Parentheses go into a little more detail for those who aren’t birthy people. I really wish I’d written their birth story just after I had them!

Monozygotic (“identical;” from one egg that split) twins with TTTS (they shared a placenta, with two sacs, and had a discordance in the shared blood vessels which is fairly rare).

I was induced at 34w due to IUGR  (intra-uterine growth restriction; not uncommon in TTTS donor twins) for several weeks (as seen in ultrasound) in baby A (Mineral). I had a lot of ultrasounds and non-stress tests and bio-physical profiles during the pregnancy due to TTTS. I was on bedrest from the day I found out I was having twins — with TTTS — at 18w til the day I gave birth.

I was induced with cervidil; I never had any cytotec or pitocin, thank goodness. I was supposed to get pitocin after 12h on cervidil, but I didn’t need it. They were born about 8h after it was inserted. I’m so grateful that the labor was fairly short.

I labored in my own clothes in a room on the “high-risk” floor — basically it just meant I was hooked up with continuous external fetal monitoring and there was no birth tub or anything cool like that. I had a fantastic doula who helped hold the monitors in place so that I could stand upright — I stood up for most of the labor. I am very grateful to her. I’m not sure I could have had a vaginal birth in the hospital without her.  (You can see her hand holding one of the monitors in my pic.)

I got off the monitors as frequently as possible to pee. I remember that being hooked up to two fetal monitors and one contraction monitor was REALLY annoying. It was hard to keep them in place. Luckily the nurses left me alone for the most part.

I had an epidural (by choice; I wasn’t into natural birth back then!) and felt the urge to push when Mineral”s water broke (spontaneously, fairly soon after the epidural). At that point I was rushed into an OR and could only have one person with me. I chose my mom (I was a single mom of twins, so it was just between my mom and my doula).

There were at least 10 people in the room. Obstetrician, maternal-fetal medicine doctor, nurses, neonatal doc, two NICU nurses — and for all I know there was a freakin’ orderly cleaning up in there, or a student, or a person reading time off the clock. I didn’t really care, except that they were all giving me different orders of what to do/not do. That was kind of scary, plus the urge to push was INTENSE. I felt overwhelmed.

(My mom always interjects the story of how I practically stood up on the bed and yelled, “Everyone calm down!” and one of the nurses gave me a look and said, “No; YOU calm down!” SNORT. I was 23 years old, I was single, I was not supposed to be in labor yet, and everyone was YELLING AT ME. Bitch.)

Mineral shot out without crowning. He was the donor twin, only 3lbs 11oz. Animal”s water broke about five minutes later and his foot slid out. He was a foot-first breech. At that point, everyone really started to yell at me to push. I did, and out he came. He was 5lbs 10oz.

Mineral

Animal

I’d been told that because there was a size discrepancy (which is a TTTS thing), and because Animal was bigger, it might be hours between them, but it was only about 10 minutes, if that. As soon as they were out, I thought, “I can totally do this again!” and I did, twice more, at a birth center and at home. And planning another homebirth with this one.

They were in the NICU for a week, a pediatric room for a few days after that, and then we all went home. They were kind of small compared to other kids for the first year or so, but they caught up fast.

August 15, 2010 at 12:20 am 2 comments

Yes, the rumor is true.

I really did rub stool softener on my nipples and then pump breastmilk for my then-34 week preemie twins. Or put them to my actual stool-softener laced breast. Either way, they drank Col*ace.

And I might even win an award for it! Please vote for me!

July 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm 3 comments

Weird things I like/don’t like

LIKE

1. Organic Milk. 2%.

This isn’t that weird — except for the fact that I’m craving non-raw milk right now. Maybe it’s the consistency of raw that is turning me off. The first few cups of raw milk are practically cream; the last few cups are like drinking skim ::vomit::  Sometimes the place I buy my raw milk runs out, which is how we’ll end up with a gallon or two of organic, and I’m totally hoarding it.

2. Nonfiction.

I just finished Orange is the New Black and it was the best book I’ve read in a long time. Which is really saying something when you consider that I probably read two books per week. Another recent nonfiction winner? Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. I’m on a wait list for the Oprah bio; I can’t wait for that one either. Along with The Imperfectionists, which is supposedly creative non-fiction.

3. Baking.

I love to cook, that’s not a secret. Baking has never been my thing because it’s so scientific; you really can’t play around with it. You can see or taste if you put in too much flour or not enough baking soda *Not that I would ever do that. Perhaps baking is appealing to my current control-freak tendencies, leading us to #4…

4. FlyLady

Yes, that evil witch with her stupid fairy wings and lace-up shoes — and her ridiculously clean house. I’m trying to form a long-lasting relationship with my “swish-and-swipe” routine. FlyLady is probably improving my marriage: she has taught me that expecting My Chemical Romance to do all the dishes is futile; six people plus a Dog Without a Downside use more plates and bowls than one person can keep up with. Even when using that modern convenience called a dishwasher — and we always use a dishwasher. I am morally opposed to washing dishes by hand. It is perhaps the one way in which I’m totally not-crunchy.

5. My Sixth Sense for Pregnancy

Recently I’ve noted that two women were pregnant long before they even announced it. One, I realized it on the very day she peed on a stick. Another was from a Face*book status. I thought it was abundantly clear to everyone who read it, but so far I’m the only one who has even guessed. Clearly I’ve got some ESP going on with my fellow breeders.

DON’T LIKE

1. Fiction

Oh, whine. If I pick up one more book that involves a “birth gone wrong” scenario, I’m going to live webcam my homebirth so that people can see that birth is normal. Seriously, even that bestseller that I waited on a library lists for months for, The Postmistress, somehow brought in a HORRIBLE TRAGIC BAD BIRTH STORY. The most frustrating thing is trying to find a book that (1) is well-written (2) doesn’t involve HORRIBLE TRAGIC BAD BIRTH STORIES (3) is well-written. Seems like you get either well-written or you get normal birth/no birth.

2. My therapist

Actually, I love her. Possibly too much; I want to know how much longer therapy is going to continue. I started seeing her because I needed a note from a psychologist clearing me for weight-loss surgery; two years later I’m skinny and still problem-plagued. At least in my mind. But having a therapist is a bit of a crutch for me: I use her to gauge where I am, and I need to trust myself to gauge where I am. She says I’ve made progress. Eh, I probably have, but who’s to say I wouldn’t have progressed on my own without her and her $10 copay?

3. Pregnancy brain

What was I just typing about? Where am I? What time is it? I got on this computer to do something, and now I find myself doing something completely different with absolutely no recollection of what I am supposed to be doing, and a vague sense that I’m forgetting something important when I go out in public, like my purse. Or a bra.

4. The Library’s New Hours

Or lack thereof. Due to city budget cuts, my local library is currently open four days per week, two of those days only until 5pm. All I want to do is read (nonfiction; or well-written fiction about non-breeders) and I get agitated when I realize it’s going to be three days before I can even browse paperbacks again. The next closest library is 20 minutes away.

5. The Heat.

GO. AWAY. Seriously.

July 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

Some gratitude to share

I’m grateful for the following:

1. CLOTHES

Several friends — who all have babies born in December! So when their babies turn one, Tax Deduction will arrive! — have loaned me maternity clothes. Thank you. Thank you! Thank you! They are cool maternity clothes. They are — dare I say it — stylish?

My last pregnancies,  I wore things like this

And now? I wear things like this

Thank you, Das Goofenheimer and Friend Without a Nickname *for now. (There are several possibilities but I haven’t narrowed anything down yet.) They are also regular members of the Friday Night Girls Card Game, which takes place here when My Chemical Romance is at Nerd Night.

2. CAR SEAT HELP

Have I mentioned I’m a Child Passenger Safety Technician?

For a while, when I was overwhelmed with too many things to do, I wasn’t so into car seats. Now I’m back. First, The Informant outgrew her Bri*tax Marathon by height, so she needed a new seat. I got her a Gra*co Nautilus. I loooooooooove the seat. Love. What a great install, what a great design, what a great seat! It’s a forward facing-only seat, that goes to 65lbs with a harness (although will be outgrown by height before 65lbs) and then converts to a high-back booster and also a backless booster. Fantastic seat, and the price is good, around $150.

Then I found out about Tax Deduction and one of my first concerns was where the hell everyone would fit in my car. Seriously. I have five seats in the back of my minivan. I will soon have five children filling those seats. When car seats are wider than about 10 inches across — and this includes cup holders and arm rests — it’s hard to fit them. I’ve been stressing and dreaming of winning the lottery so I can buy a 2008 Dodge Sprinter Passenger van which seats a bunch of kids — with LATCH and tethers!

look at all those seats!

I’ve been toying around with “puzzles” — car seat lingo for different configurations of car seats that work together in one row — and practically crying. My car and my seats — and my kids! — don’t puzzle well. Finally, after poring over http://www.car-seat.org and talking to my friend J who is a very experienced, highly OCD-about-car-seats tech, I came up with a solution: get an extra third-row and put it where my second row is (currently two captain’s chairs), and then use the following puzzle configuration in the second row: Animal, My Masterpiece, Tax Deduction. Third row: Mineral, The Informant.

It works. Somehow. And we don’t need a new car that we can’t afford. (Just a new seat: the supremely narrow Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL for My Masterpiece, which will puzzle nicely between Animal’s booster and Tax Deduction’s infant seat.)

3. SUPPORT

Yeah, still a bit freaked out about the pregnancy. Four kids is overwhelming at times. Sometimes, it’s so overwhelming that the mere idea of five makes me want to crawl into bed with a good book (I have been reading like a total maniac for the last few weeks. I merely finish a book, take a breath and begin a new one. I start to panic when I have less than three books on my nightstand.) Anyway, I’ve gotten a lot of support.

My Chemical Romance looks at me like I’m crazy when I mention my trepidation about five kids ages seven and under. He just accepts things at face value; I’m pregnant with Tax Deduction so therefore we will have five kids ages seven and under so therefore it will be fine. Oh, to be that… sane.

My friends have been very understanding. Wii tolerates my incessant crankiness — combined with whining about a pregnancy-cold that is driving me absolutely freaking out of my damn mind — with great aplomb. My nose! Won’t stop running! I can’t breathe! And it never gets better!

My Face*book “friends” who have scheduled inductions-that-turn-into-c-sections (or, more frequently, just scheduled c-sections for suspected macrosomia or being GBS positive or just plain old “my doctor told me it was time for me not to be pregnant anymore”) remind me why I’m happy to have a homebirth. Someone I know is being induced in late June because she’s due on July 4 and if she goes into labor then, “there won’t be enough staff on at the hospital because it’s a holiday.” Really???? Better tell all the rednecks not to play with fireworks, in that case!

June 18, 2010 at 9:36 am 8 comments

It’s not about the baby

Y’all, I am freaked out.

For about a month, I’ve known that I’m pregnant and due in December, and I just cannot freaking believe it. I am still in shock, and I’m still not at the point of happiness.

It’s not about the baby, himself or herself. I’m sure he or she is lovely — I’ll find out in six months or so.

I’m just freaked out about having FIVE kids. Five.

The truth is, I’m overwhelmed by four. I don’t think I’m very good at this; I yell more than I should, I don’t give any of them enough individual attention, I’m short with them, I spend too much time online, they’re growing up in SQUALLOR. This parenting gig is hard — I totally GET why people only have one or two.  (Well, as an only child, I would have preferred a sibling, but I get it from the parent’s point of view.)

Basically, I feel like with each kid I have, I have become less effective as a parent. I certainly become less “gentle” as a mother, which is what I strive for in my parenting. (Although I give myself some credit for breastfeeding my fourth child for a year; for cloth diapering #3 and #4 and this one will be in cloth; for switching to organic; for being a better nighttime parent as I’ve gone along. I’ve gotten better at some things. But I’m still not even close to hitting the target on many many things that pain me as a mother.)

Yes, this is mommy guilt talking, as well as tiredness and of course the old standby: pregnancy hormones. And I think that in real life, it sounds like its about the baby — but it’s really not. It’s about me, of course (isn’t everything?)

I visited my friend Heather this week for a few days. She blogs at It’s Twinsanity. She has two older boys, and then two sets of identical twins. Her husband is deployed. For those counting, we had, between us, a total of ten kids ages seven and under — seven kids ages five and under! Anyway, she totally LOVES her life with her crazy amount of children — and actually wants more! I felt bad because I found it very overwhelming — and I find my own life overwhelming — and I can’t bring myself to enjoy something when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Is that normal? Maybe I need to just act and not think — which is what I saw Heather doing. She just did the 3252532532 things that needed doing every single day without taking the time to think, “wow, I am really feeling overwhelmed at this moment.”

I need to do SOMETHING about these feelings I’m having — they’re causing a kind of psychological inertia about both my current life and my future life with five kids. I’m distracted. I’m filled with a lot of thoughts and feelings.

May 28, 2010 at 11:27 pm 6 comments

The Old-Fashioned

I love old movies. When Animal and Mineral were about 18 months old, and we went through that phase with twins were you can’t.go.anywhere (twin moms know what I’m talking about) we watched old movies every day. Mostly musicals, like Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and The Music Man. We watched them over and over. (Years later, when my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s son was a few years old, we asked what we could get him for a holiday or birthday gift. My sister-in-law said he’d like some videos — but she specified not to get any musicals.)

My children consider me old fashioned because I will not get them a Wi*i, DS, Ninte*ndo, etc. We only have two TVs — one downstairs, and one in our guest room. We eat dinner together every night that we’re all home. While I cook, I wear a really cute paisley apron I got online.

I let my kids run all over the neighborhood with their friends, which is not very au current. It hearkens back to my own childhood, when I did the same thing. (Nowadays, I could probably be arrested for it.)

I found out I was pregnant with #5 in much the same old fashioned manner: I went to the doctor because I felt sick, and he told me.

Yes.

Overall, I felt exhausted and unmotivated. I didn’t want to take the kids out. I didn’t want to cook. I didn’t want to blog — obviously, since I didn’t for a few weeks. I actually told My Chemical Romance that I thought I might be having a depression; I didn’t feel sad but I just wanted to sleep.

My first step was seeing the hematologist. I was certain that my general exhaustion and lethargy was due to low iron. I don’t know who was more surprised when my hemoglobin came back at 12.1 — nice and high — him or me. He asked me a few other questions, but we didn’t determine anything, and I left with a shrug and a promise to come back if I didn’t feel better in a few weeks.

Next I called an endocrinologist. I told the nurse my symptoms, and talked about my thyroid issues post weight loss surgery, and she said it sounded like an endocrine issue, but I needed a referral from my primary care provider first.

I saw him the next day. I said, “I’m so tired I can’t keep my eyes open.” I said that after I sat up, from laying down on the examination table with my arm over my eyes, trying to catch a few minutes of sleep. He had me pee in a cup and give a blood sample. Then he came back in and told me I was pregnant.

Yes, I was shocked. Yes, I was surprised. No, I wasn’t planning on being pregnant, and being pregnant after weight loss surgery. No, when I was eating vico*din sandwiches after my recent surgery, I didn’t realize I was pregnant. My cycles have been messed up — forget it, I don’t need to share that much info. I’m pregnant. That’s really all you need to know.

I’m due in mid-December. I’m having a homebirth, although I’m also seeing a homebirth-tolerant OB because of my weight loss surgery. I’m going to have growth scans every two months, which grates my “ultrasound is dangerous” belief, but they are medically prudent. I am going to wear a sleep mask during the scans so I don’t find out the sex.

I’m not quite “excited” yet, but I’m kind of looking forward to doing the things I haven’t done before: not finding out the sex; extended breast-feeding; elimination communication; cosleeping. I’m trying to focus on those exciting things. And, other than the tiredness, I feel fantastic. No sickness, no nausea, no heartburn or indigestion. I feel great.

May 9, 2010 at 11:35 pm 6 comments

In honor of International Midwife Day

(Sorry for the absence — hopefully your heart is growing fonder!)

I had no idea what a “midwife” was, although when I was about 10 I learned that I had a very distant relative in Hawaii who was married to a midwife.

My dad was very good friends with an OB, so I went to him for all of my needs until I went to college. (And then, I think University Health Services took care of me for four years, including one ear infection that I got at the ripe old age of 20. Misery.)

But then I got pregnant, unplann-edly, with Animal and Mineral. I had just graduated from college — with a degree in Psychology and Creative Writing, so the job offers were not pouring in — and I had no insurance. I was working as a server at a ribs restaurant. I had a black labrador named Oakley. I lived in a two-bedroom apartment with a teal-green bathroom.

I was pregnant. I didn’t want to have an abortion — or give the baby up for adoption. I called Plann*ed Parent*hood to ask about low-cost obstetric care; they had Certified Nurse Midwives on staff who provided free care.

Although I have a friend who swears that they have an abortion quota (SNORT), I never heard the word when I was there for prenatal appointments. The Nurse Midwives were very kind. As the reactions of my family members ran the gamut from shocked (on the positive end) to appalled (on the negative end), the Nurse Midwives seemed particularly kind.

They asked about my “situation;” they gave me referrals to programs that helped single moms with no money; they made suggestions for improving my eating habits;  they didn’t mind when I would cry during my appointments. I was freaked out. It was not the best time in my life.

However, one day I went to an appointment and the midwife started grilling me about my due date. Was I sure I was only 16 weeks? I was very very pregnant looking. In fact, when I was out in public and would see women who looked comparably pregnant to me, they were always around seven months, while I was four.

She scheduled me for an ultrasound, because she had a hunch I was having twins. (Hunch is overstating it; I had several friends who were absolutely certain, just by looking at me. You haven’t lived til you’ve seen someone pregnant with twins. The sheer size of my belly was astounding.)

I called my mom. I said, “I think I’m pregnant with twins.”

She said, “Don’t be ridiculous. Everyone thinks they’re pregnant with twins. Nobody ever is.” (She is about 66% right. Most pregnant women secretly harbor a wish for twins. Given all pregnancies, about 33% are twins, a number that includes reproductive assistance. The chance of having monozygotic or “identical” twins is 1 in 285.)

But, of course I was.

I was more distraught about leaving Plann*ed Parent*hood than I was about having twins. The Nurse Midwives there couldn’t continue to provide my care. Most legal midwives are unable to attend a twin birth. On top of that, Animal and Mineral were a little more complicated because they also had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

So, I was sent to a high risk OB and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist. I was in clinic with other moms of twins, triplets; drug users; and women with previous medical conditions.

The clinic wasn’t nearly as nice as the midwives had been. It was a typical medical clinical. The doctors were nice, but aloof. They really didn’t give a shit that I was a single mom of twins. They were focused on the TTTS, keeping me pregnant as long as possible, and making sure that Mineral was doing okay. I was focused on having a vaginal birth. Most women with twins give birth by cesarean surgery. As I was about to be a single mom of twins, I didn’t want to be a single mom of twins recovering from major abdominal surgery. I wasn’t as crunchy then as I am now. I didn’t really care about having an amazing birth experience — I just wanted an easy recovery.

I was induced with Cerv*adil at 34 weeks, when Mineral needed to come out. I had a fairly short labor and a relatively easy delivery — I was upright during my labor, thanks to my awesome doula, Gretchen Humphries, who gets most of the credit. As I mention often, Mineral came out first, and then my water broke with Animal, and his foot slid out. He came out a foot-first breech. It really was an important moment in my life — knowing that I can vaginally deliver a breech baby makes me believe I can do almost anything.

Of course, I went on to have The Informant at a Birth Center, and become a birth doula. I had My Masterpiece at home, in a birth pool in our bedroom, and then I became a childbirth educator, and a child passenger safety tech. And then — briefly — a student midwife and apprentice.

I support midwifery care. I love midwifery care. I believe midwifery care is superior to obstetric care — and the research backs me up.

I am very grateful to the midwives at Plann*ed Parent*hood for getting me started on that path.

May 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm 2 comments

Confronting my fear of confrontation.

I used to be an apprentice midwife. I thought I wanted to pursue midwifery as a career. It seemed fitting: I’ve always been interested in birth; I’m a birth doula; I’m a childbirth educator; and I had a homebirth which I loved. Pursuing midwifery seemed like the next logical step.

I think most doulas aspire to become midwives. As a doula attending hospital births, your responsibilities are so limited. You see women treated so badly and you can’t really help. I have smiled and nodded when a doctor cut an episiotomy, when inside I was horrified. I’ve kept from rolling my eyes when a doctor suggests “just a whiff” of pitocin. I’ve even heard a doctor say out loud that he always cut the umbilical cord as soon as the baby was out because if the cord was left intact, all the blood could flow out of the baby back into the placenta.

Attending an out-of-hospital birth, on the other hand, it’s like reaching the holy grail. You see a provider who is “with women;” she is kind and gentle (in my experiences) and helpful. She practices evidence-based midwifery. Usually the mom has spent months with her midwife, and they have a relationship that surpasses patient/provider.

So, with that in mind, I pursued midwifery when the opportunity arose.

By the way, I think that was another issue: the opportunity to pursue midwifery doesn’t arise often. Apprenticeships are hard to come by; there’s a local midwife I know who has a line two miles long of women who want to apprentice with her. When the chance to apprentice basically fell into my lap, I jumped at it, thinking another opportunity might not come along for years. Or maybe ever.

So: I talked My Chemical Romance into a plan where I’d spend one day per week at prenatal appointments — and pay a sitter that day — and attend births with my preceptor. Simultaneously, I entered a midwifery school that required full tuition up front (although I paid via a monthly payment plan). It is a very popular school; the students absolutely worship the director and her controversial point of view regarding birth — and I knew someone who had just graduated.

It was not as easy as I made it out to be. I think My Chemical Romance had some concerns, but I assured him it would be okay. And it was — somewhat. With so much extra responsibility, I stepped up my game in other areas. To prove that I could do everything — and be everyone — I kept the house really clean and started cooking all the time. I took as many doula clients as I could to make some extra money (since apprentices don’t get paid). When my kids were in school, I made sure everything was always packed and ready and I didn’t have to rush to the office because I forgot to send a signed permission slip. I tried to make it look easy.

It wasn’t.

It wasn’t killing me or my marriage or my relationship with my kids, but I was starting to resent pregnant women after a while. Which is not conducive to practicing midwifery.

Telling my preceptor that I no longer wanted to apprentice with her was easier than I thought. She understood. In my heart, I knew she’d understand, but I was still worried about letting her down — or that she might be disappointed in me. Maybe she was — probably more disappointed to lose my company once a week — but she totally understood and our relationship has morphed into a friendship. I love her.

Despite the fact that I am the snarkiest bitch you’ll ever meet, I’m not into confrontation. I’ve read about it. I know how it works. I try to confront fairly and justly, like the books say, and use “I” phrases and stick to the subject at hand. I can do it. I don’t like the idea of someone being mad at me or disliking me. I’d rather assume they’re mad at me or hate me than to confront them and actually find out. I spent a while trying to decide whether I’d rather continue resenting pregnant women than tell my preceptor that I didn’t want to continue apprenticing and face her (possible, but doubtful) anger and/or disappointment.

Meanwhile, when I decided to stop apprenticing, I thought I’d still continue with my school. You can study midwifery without apprenticing; it’s the opposite that proves tricky. But it’s been three months since I stopped and I have no desire to go back. I haven’t cracked a book, I haven’t done anything midwifery-related — and I’ve liked it. I realized: I don’t want to become a midwife. I believe in midwifery care, I support midwifery care, I’d never have anyone other than a midwife provide me with prenatal care — but that’s not enough passion to pursue midwifery as a career.

My Chemical Romance was supportive of my decision — as he is of nearly every decision I make, truly — but I know he doesn’t get it. He is one of those people who discovered as a teenager his interest (chemistry), went on to get a full academic scholarship to college (to study chemistry), and has always worked in his field (as a chemist). I admire that tenacity — or maybe I just haven’t found the one thing I love and want to pursue forever.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’m still paying tuition, I would have just cut my losses and moved on, but I am still paying. And that was grating at me. I’d signed a contract, and I’d sent postdated checks. Even though I had decided I didn’t want to become a midwife, even though I’d returned the curriculum, I still had to pay the tuition. It didn’t seem fair, but I didn’t know what to do.

Finally I decided that as much as I haaaaaaaaaaaaaate confrontation and finding out people are mad at me, I had to do something. I asked my former midwifery school to return my checks, or destroy them. They said no, I had to keep paying. So I filed a claim with the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General’s office (department of consumer protection). I said I should not have to continue paying tuition for school in which I’m no longer enrolled, and no longer have the curriculum. I said that a resolution would be for the school to return my checks to me, or to destroy them.

I also contacted my bank and let them know that I was disputing checks, and gave them the BBB claim number.

My midwifery school is pissed. I got a somewhat nasty email saying the director is surprised and disappointed — and I’ve removed myself from group emails, but I’m certain there are emails flying about this. Not about me specifically (I hope), but about how someone is not honoring her agreement with the school and taking money away from them. Whine whine whine.

It felt good to confront the school, and stand up for myself. It was scary, but I’m really glad I did this. I believe in what I’m doing. The school administrators seem mad — but that’s okay. I confronted them. They’re mad. The world is still spinning.

April 22, 2010 at 11:30 pm 4 comments

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About Mommy Soup

Wife and homeschooling mom of five, including my Christmas Day homebirth baby. Not Catholic, Amish, or quiverfull; we just like to... you know!

Writing about my interests: natural pregnancy and birth; attachment parenting; cooking; baking; homeschooling; green living; human rights; child passenger safety; dog training, and life after weight-loss surgery.

In my free time I try to figure out how I can promote world peace while wasting time on Facebook.

NaNoWriMo 2010

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