Friday, March 2, 2012

Chickadette v Modern Medicine... Again

I have found myself in this position twice now in my life. Should I dare a home birth or rely on the safety of modern medicine to deliver my child? I respect, and extremely admire, the women who are comfortable and capable of being at peace with home birth. I think it shows a strong sense of comfort and maturity to take on such a daunting task. As much as I wish I were like that, I tend to appreciate the advancements of modern medicine and most importantly, a woman's access to knowledge and her rights. Also, the Southern Belle in me cringes at the thought of having to deal with all that mess. *shivers*

I made a trip to my ob-gyn to see my mid-wife because after three days of shooting pains I began to get concerned that my cervix was opening. I was right, instincts seldom let me down. What I wasn't aware of were the contractions that were presenting themselves in ways I was unfamiliar with. I barely noticed them but they landed me in Room 102 for 2 days and 2 nights. My doctor's office works with two on call CNM's. One of which is completely supportive, and encouraging, of my all natural attempt (and previous success) at child birth. She delivered my other baby... au naturale... in a hospital. Yes! It's possible! The other has a tendency to rely on protocol and drugs. Of course, she was the nurse on call. It is a strict policy at my local hospital to prevent and discourage at all costs the delivery of a pre-term baby. The limit is 34 weeks. My timeline marks me 33 weeks. Within hours of being admitted, with only irregular "contractions" showing, it was brought to my attention that for precaution sake it was being suggested that I be given a triple dose of a drug called Brethine to 'relax the uterus'... basically stop the contractions. 

I immediately began asking questions. 

For one, I hadn't even been checked to see if my cervix was widening further. So perhaps these pains weren't labor but rather 'uteran discomfort' as one of the nurses kept suggesting. Second, the 33 week mark is at best, a lucky guess. The truth is, we have nearly a 4 week open window of when he was actually conceived. Third, I wasn't uncomfortable in the least and Declan was just as active and happy and showing no signs of distress what so ever on his little monitor. I have to admit, nearly 3 days of listening to his heartbeat made my heart swoon. 

I asked what the facts of and risks are to taking the medication. I was only going to be administered it because they were nervous about his lungs being under developed. The medicine wouldn't actually stop labor, just slow it down so they could transfer me. (Slow it down? Was it even going?) The most common side effects were the baby being born 'listless and unresponsive for some time' but generally they were 'ok'. Um, what the hell? I think my heart literally (insert Rob Lowe voice) skipped a beat. I asked for a minute and talked it over with Brett. I certainly didn't want my baby born and then immediately incubated because his little lungs are underdeveloped. However, I felt even more strongly against fighting nature and perhaps causing him more harm. When the nurse came back in she then told me the side effects for me but made sure I 'not worry' because there were more drugs they could administer to fight off those side effects. Sick cycle carousel for sure it sounded like to me!

The nurse returned to the phone to notify the on call midwife that I was not willing to take the Brethine. She then returned stating that they were going to check my cervix (Oh? Now?) and if I had made any change they were going to have to transfer me to another hospital more capable of delivering a pre-term baby. Ouch, is that my arm being twisted? I believe so. However, I am smart enough to know that I actually can refuse treatment. So, no contest. To me, standing my ground was an easy choice to make. I kept my system clean, which is what I strongly feel is best for us both, and all I have to 'suffer' is a 30 minutes ambulance ride (which, admittedly, seems a little exciting to my inner drama queen) and a different (probably nicer) hospital room? Done. Wouldn't you know it? They checked my cervix and found I'd only progressed half a centimeter and nothing was necessary? How 'bout that? I spent another night in bed and after another examination was sent home to wait it out. Drug free. I have 6 days until I can deliver locally. I don't mind in the least keeping my feet up for such a short amount of time!

It may seem like a simple win, but it's extremely daunting to be in an unfamiliar space with 'professionals' insisting on 'what's best' and reminding you how much more experience they have than you. Truth is, I'm actually a push over and easily manipulated. It's taken me years to learn that I find it easiest to keep my mouth shut, listen, respond with simple answers, and hold my ground. It also helps to have support. I am extremely blessed to have a banging support system.

On a funny note, here's a What I Wore post for you!

Gown: Courtesy of Hospital... oddly liberating
Socks: most comfy everrr


  1. I totally kept my cozy hospital socks after being hospitalized a few years ago...

  2. Good for you for standing your ground! I actually want to have home births some day, because I don't want any chances of decisions being made for me, or me being bulled like they tried to bully you into taking Brethine. On a side note, I found some awesome knitted socks with rubber grippies and pom-poms a few years ago that are even comfier than hospital socks. I think they have them at Wal-Mart and Kohls. You should check it out. Glad to hear you're home and resting comfortably!

  3. Good for you! You're a wonderful mama ... Instincts are amazing! Glad to know Declan is still nice & cozy & safe in there!

  4. Aww, good for you! I hope, hope, hope when the time comes I'll be strong and wise enough to know when I should turn something down. Also, your outfit post is hilarious!

  5. Good for you Ashley Marie! I am so happy that you decided to stand your ground! I love the gown! Did they let you bring it home? Haha! I have to say, I totally enjoyed my home birth and would 100% do it again. However, it's not for everyone. I love you, see you soon! XOXO.

  6. Good on you doll, you do it your way!! As long as the baby is doing dandy, all is your choice!! I had both of mine in the hospital, but with only the midwives and there was a pool and all kinds of cozy stuff, was like being at home, I really preferred this way and I think women need to make their own choices. I had both all naturally with no drugs or anything. You do what is best for you!! Am very pleased for you & that you are doing so well!! BIG hugs from me to you!! XXXX

  7. Power to the sistahs! Proud of you, girl, for keeping your head and standing your ground! Both my boys were born sans drugs in the hospital. You look cute even in a Hospital Gown...

  8. I am SOOOOO PROUD of you for sticking to your gut feelings. OMG so proud. You are going to do amazing.

  9. Great Post and The WIW is FAB! Stick to your guns. If I have learned anything from my body it's to trust your instincts and do what you are comfortable with! Good luck!

  10. Hey I am glad that you questioned them! Gut feeling is always the right feeling. Our oldest son came early and I was a lot younger and did a half and half. Stuck to my guns half and listened to them half. I can't wait until you have the little one and post pix! :) BTW "What you wore" totally HOT! Wish I could support an outfit like that! LOL :)

  11. Good for you!!! I feel like this all the time and I'm so glad you were able to think rational about it and stick to your guns - was there crying? I always cry when I believe strongly in something.

    PS - you look FABULOUS.


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Ashley Marie

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