Monthly Archives: January 2012

Fooling a whole demographic

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When I was about four years old my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I took awhile to think about it, to ponder inside my child’s brain until I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a “baby doctor”. When I was twelve my sister had her first child, my beautiful niece and I was there through the entire labor. When my sister had a contraction I was the one there front and center for her to lean on, to encourage her and to focus on. I was twelve years old and my family and the nurses stood back and watched this interaction I was having with a woman in labor, something far beyond my years of comprehension in awe at the ease and comfort I possessed helping to guide her. For the nurses I had many questions, curious about every piece of equipment and every check that was going on. Her delivery ended in a C-section, but if it hadn’t I would have been there to her right or left, holding her leg back watching my niece be born into this world. For years after that I forgot about my desire to be in the nursing field. Through high school whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be I had absolutely no clue so I would pull random things out of my ass to satisfy their questions so I didn’t have to deal with the concern of adults three times my age appalled that a 15, 16, 17 year old would have no idea what she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to.

After highschool I took to reading blogs. I would spend hours on the computer stumbling upon random blogs, and the ones that always interested me the most were supposed “mommy blogs”. I would read for hours, the experiences of women from all over the world from the most medically invasive births to the most hands off births with fascination for the whole process, conception to delivery. When I first started researching my opinions on birthing was like most others in America. Birthing should be done in a hospital, with doctors and nurses who were well “qualified” and “trained” to “deliver your baby”. I had only my nieces labor and birth as first hand experience, and movies as a guide to go off of. You know, the quintessential scene of a woman in the hospital bed with her legs in stirrups, her husband at her side along with what seemed like 25 doctors and nurses at her feet and a blinding spot light aimed directly at her launching pad. Everyone yelling at her in unison to PUSH… 1,2,3…..10 PUSH, the woman laying on her back, sweat pouring from her forehead screaming “get this thing out of me!”, slapping her husband telling him never to touch her again. Until finally the babies head would crown and immediately the “trained and well qualified professional” would grab the baby by its head, guide its shoulders out and roughly fling the infant into the air declaring “its a boy!”. And immediately the “crew” would go to work, roughly cleaning the baby, cutting and clamping and poking and prodding this brand new baby while its mother lays on the table eagerly awaiting these “professionals” to bring her baby to her, all wrapped snug in a receiving blanket, to meet its mother, the 25th person its laid its eyes on so far in its few minutes of life.

And those are the lucky woman who are allowed to birth their babies naturally instead of being forced or falsely informed of the need for a C-section. In which case we all know how mother and baby meet. Mother laying on the operating table, arms strapped down, unable to move anything but her neck looking over at the child who is put by her face for mere seconds before it is swept away to be “cleaned” and “examined” while she lays there waiting to be stitched up and put back in her room where if shes lucky her baby will be waiting to formally meet her. This was my opinion and most others on what was “right” and “healthy” and “safe” to do for the delivery of your child. But it was after reading blogs of women’s experiences, and statistics and credible medical websites that I realized that woman, American women specifically have been to misguided, lied to and duped into believing these medical interventions are what are necessary and important to deliver a healthy child. There are so many different points to touch on and I could write for 10 years on all of the things wrong with the birthing industry in America but for now I’ll just touch on a few points.

-One sentence that sums the whole thing up really, “Who is going to deliver your baby?” Well who do you think is going to deliver your baby? YOU, are going to deliver your baby! The baby that you have incubated for 9 months, the baby that will come out of your body, the body with the natural instinct to birth. It is YOU that bring that child into the world and no one else. In a normal birth, with a healthy woman and child all interventions other then non invasive monitoring devices are really unnecessary! That IV in your arm? Giving you “fluids”? Fluids for what? You are giving birth, not lying on the hospital bed dying! You are perfectly capable of drinking water to keep yourself hydrated, the only thing that that IV is doing in your arm is wracking up the number of codes being billed to your insurance company to make your stay more profitable for that hospital, and in turn, that doctor.

-Woman are forced to lay supine in a hospital bed, partially wrapped in a hospital gown, attached  to 100 different monitoring devices virtually unable to move while they breath through contraction after contraction. Any woman who has given birth (I, have not therefore I cannot give my own personal opinion) will tell you that laying on their back is not only the most uncomfortable position to labor in, but also the worst position as far as basic anatomy goes for moving along your labor and eventually moving out your baby. A woman in labor should be free to move around, walk, sit, rock, lay or whatever other position is most comfortable to their body. Not only does this make laboring more bearable, it also decreases the need for pain medication and other medical intervention. Walking holds an important purpose during labor, it allows your body to gently guide the baby downwards into your birth canal using gravity. Likewise, pushing on your back is a horrible idea! Gravity is working against you, there is pressure on all of the most sensitive parts of your body such as your spine, hips and perineum. A woman should be encouraged to push in whatever position feels most comfortable for her! Which leads me to my next point of…

-Cervical checks and being told “when its time to push” is a joke! Being counted at and told when to push is a even more of a joke! I don’t disagree with cervical checks, I think it is a good tool and guide for a woman to be able to know how far along she is, and how farther there is to go. It gives a woman a goal to focus on and a timeline to go by but being told you are 10 centimeters and that “its time” is detrimental to a woman’s body! When should a woman start pushing? When her body tells her its time! Your body was created to make, and deliver babies and no one has control of this put you! When you are fully dilated and the time has come your body will feel the urge to push, such a strong urge that you wont be able to deny it! But often times a woman is told to deny this natural urge in order to make time for a doctor to show up and sit between her legs. Being told when to push and how long to push leads to horrific tearing, and denying your body its on natural order in order to satisfy those chanting a number around you. Your body should be allowed to guide you when its appropriate to push, allowing your body to stretch naturally, going slowly and preventing tearing as much as possible instead of being forced to push too quickly and birthing faster then your body is prepared for. Often pushing in this manner leads to incontinence, unnecessary episiotomies, severe tearing and even prolapse.

-Once the baby has been born the baby should be placed directly on the mothers chest instead of being whisked away to be cleaned, and wrapped and weighed. Separating a child from its mother in the seconds after birth is horribly detrimental to both mother and chiles physical and mental well being. A child needs immediate skin on skin contact with its mother to establish that immediate bond, offer security, and given comfort from the stressful birth. Everything that needs to be done to a baby after birth can wait, it is that mothers baby and no one else has the right to whisk that baby from her grasp before she has had a chance to be the first to meet them.

Birthing should be the most amazing and touching experience that a woman ever has in her life. Her birthing experience should not be tainted, and planned, and instructed by a group of people who have no clue as to her and her individual needs. A baby should be born into this world in a calming, stress free, loving enviroment NOT in a harsh, rough, sterile room being passed around, pushed around and confused.

This is of course, all just my personal opinion and based on the scenario of a healthy child and mother with no foreseen medical complications. I have no medical training, and no education other then my own personal research but I have established my strong opinions based on what I have read, and personal experience with friends and family. I believe if every woman was educated on the birthing industry in America as opposed to say, Europe or hell, even Canada they would be shocked at the facts and would chose a different experience for themselves and their baby. I will write more on the topic, im sure as this is something that I am incredibly passionate about.

Heres to the sun.

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I took this picture 3 years ago I believe. As the sun was setting below the horizon of the small town I lived in. I had just gotten my camera and was so excited to start using it. It was summer time and I was walking down the broken cement streets near where I lived, just enjoying the moment. The sun, the warmth on my skin. That is where I want to be right now. Somewhere where the sun softly pierces your soul and warms you from the tips of your ears to the inside of your belly. Washington just experienced a terrible snow storm that turned into a fury of ice and I have been trapped in my house for 4 days. I am going stir crazy, and wrote a beautiful post just perfectly completed that was going to be my next entry until I pressed the publish button and just like that it was gone. I’m not going to dwell on it. That post exactly I cant get back but I can sit down again and retell the tale that I shared with the intention of continuing my Milestones Marked in Time story. Which I will do soon, but right now I sort of just want to through my computer at a wall and scream my head off until someone sends me to an island of warm white sand and sounds of soft lapping waves.

Snowflakes

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Today the first snow of the season fell. As we were sleeping in the darkness in our soft beds of feathers the quiet snow flakes fell into the grass beneath our windows. And when I woke up and opened my eyes I knew what had happened as the shocking white made the reflection on my walls brighter then usual. This is a day I dread every year. A day that I wish against as the news casters promise and then promise again. A day that as the city is bustling with excitement and anticipation for the little snow we get each and every year, I whisper words of hope that God wont let it happen. And while children burst at the seams with joy for the flakes soft and cold I prepare my heart for the flakes of sadness that will soon creep in and stay until the final mounds have melted from the streets.

Through my childhood there were different things about my mother and father that I recognized and held close to me. Things that even as a young girl I realized I would cherish as I grew older and when I thought about these things would bring warm feelings of love and security. And to this day every time I think about my childhood with my father it is snow that comes to the forefront of my mind. Snow. So simple, something so natural and expected. Something that happens every year but for him, each time was like the first time he had ever experienced it. Standing at the living room window in the evening before bed, curtains drawn back, streetlights casting a soft glow on our faces as we watched in awe at the falling crystals. Standing in the back yard all bundled up, coffee in his hand, hot chocolate in mine quietly watching as the snow coated every exposed surface. Driving to the store through the abandoned streets, stopping in an empty parking lot as he would jerk the wheel to make the car spin, filling the truck with squeels of laughter and feelings of rebellion.

One of, if not my fondest memory of my father was one night when I was probably 15 or so. The snow fall had been abnormally heavy for our area of Washington and I had been off school for a few days. It was fairly late in the evening, probably 10 or so and I was already in my pajamas yawning and ready to sleep. He asked me if I would like to go for a walk in the snow, just around the block. Just to look at the beauty of what the universe is capable of. I jumped at the opportunity, as at this point in my life my fathers participation in all things me, had dwindled and our relationship had changed. I put on my snow boots and wrapped a scarf around my neck and as we opened the door to step out into the freezing streets I wish I would have known that this memory I would hold dearest to my heart as things exploded and he walked out of my life. We walked side by side, looping through the neighborhood streets, enjoying each others company, recalling the way that things used to be when I was younger and I was his girl. I know that at some point he began talking to me, words of advice I know is what he was saying but as I strain to recall what was said on that night there is nothing but silence that meets my ears. I cant remember what was said, the memory for me is silent and purely visual. The clear black sky with a million stars shining down on us. The soft orangy glow of the street  lights falling on the white ground. The footsteps we left behind us as we traveled on through the snowy sidewalks that no one had bothered clearing. His silhouette next to me, head and shoulders taller. It was the one and only time he had ever asked me to go for a walk with him in a winter wonderland and I did not take for granted the joy that it brought me. Snow was something that we shared, both of us loving it more then any one else. I walked with him that night, completely oblivious to the fact that I only had 2 short years with him. That at the end of that time, my life would change for ever and I would join the half of the world without a father.

At this point in my life I had already met and fallen in love with Matthew. I was so young, and while my mother supported and encouraged our relationship, I was met with nothing but hesitation from my father. It had nothing to do with Matthew himself. My family loved and accepted him as part of us but it was the simple fact that he had the potential to take my life into his hands. To change the path that my father dreamed of for me. One day the snow had fallen and school was out. He agreed to drive me to Matthews to spend the day at his house. The drive was quiet, with nothing but the soft music playing in the background. When we got the the begining of the private road Matthew lived on my father spoke words that would stay with me forever. Words that even then, in the naiive brain of a 15 year old would hit me so hard I cried silent tears down my cheeks as I closed the truck door behind me.

“I dont want you to stay here” he said. Confused, I started in on a complaint that he had already told me I could spend the day at Matthews. But that wasnt what he meant. He told me he didnt want me to stay in the small town we lived in. He said that he wanted so much more for me, that the world was vast and endless and that I needed to get out and experience everything the world has to offer me. He all but begged me to please, dont settle down with Matthew. To not let young love turn into a life ended too soon by a pregnant belly and a shotgun wedding. He wanted me to go to college away from this place, and if I didnt want to go to college, that I should just go and not come back until I had miles on my feet and experiences to share. That I had the potential to do great things, that would never get done if I allowed myself to stay trapped in the town we lived. I didnt say much back. I took these words in, words that were so out of character for him to speak to me. Words that hit me in a way that would stick with me for the rest of my life and when we arrived at the house of the boy I loved I closed the door to the truck of my fathers and entered the world a different person.

Looking back now, I cant help but feel like these words spoken to me were words coming from a man that knew he wouldnt be around for much longer. Like he was trying to prepare me to be a woman early, knowing that he would not be there when the time came to guide me and offer advice as the need arose. I always knew my mother and father wanted different things for me. My mother wanted me to find a nice man settle down and be a mother. To her, a good mother stayed home which meant that an education wasnt particularly important. To her, this would bring me happiness and fulfillment. My father always wanted me to continue on to college and get a good education. To find something I loved doing while at the same time staying young and living a life that I would hold the memories from dear to my heart as I aged, had a family and settled down. Neither of these things were wrong, they were just different. Parents to the same daughter having different ideas of what they wanted for me.

Snow was falling from the sky the night my father walked out of my life 6 years ago. The world had the quiet calmness to it that only snow can bring on as my world fell around me and life changed forever. He now lives in the mountains of California, back to where he came from. He has a new family now, the children of the woman he lives with. I have not seen him in 6 years and think of him very little. But when the snow graces my world with its presence I cant help but fall apart emotionally. Remembering the times we shared together when I was small, when he was there for me, in my life every single day. When I looked up to him like he was the keeper of all wisdom’s and when I never feared losing him.