Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I think about babies a lot. I have a lot of babies. We just watched the movie Babies. Most all of my friends have had a baby at least within the past 5 years. Rachel (her baby is coming up on 2) was telling me about the The Business of Being Born, and I started thinking about how my babies were born. Ethan woke up at 5, and I laid awake for a long time after he went back to sleep trying to decide why I choose to have my babies the way I did (all 3 in the hospital with epidurals, 2 with pitocin). It would seem from my everyday track record that I would be first in line to have a natural birth: granola, cloth diapers, clothes line, tofu, compost pile, the works.

I decided it was because my pregnancies were so awful, I just wanted the baby out as quickly and as painlessly as possible. If I had to give birth tomorrow, I think I would be in my right mind enough that I would do it naturally. But, after 5 months of vomiting plus 4 more of [prodromal] labor while being gigantic and exhausted and everyone commenting that I must be due any day now, I am just done.

I kept thinking about this day on the beach. I was 8.9 months pregnant with Lillian. It was July and hot, so we went to Avila. I was laying on my side on a blanket reading Ethan Frome of all things when Tyler said, "Amanda, fix your suit, you're falling out."

"I don't care."

"I care! Everyone can see your boobs."

"I. Don't. Care."

And I didn't. Some freak sandstorm could have come and ripped my whole suit off and I would have lain there naked until I finished my book and was ready to leave.

I also had two thoughts about my doctors:

1. I'm really glad that they let me try to push Nora out instead of making me have an emergency c-section. Nora was facing the wrong way, and the doctor grabbed her head and turned her while I was pushing. My L&D nurse of a sister-in-law says that at her hospital, they usually make those women have c-sections as a matter of course.

2. I wish that I was more with it when I was having Ethan and I could have asked the doctor whether or not I really needed the Pitocin or if she just wanted the baby to be born so she could go home. I don't think that she would have done that, and every one of the 5,000 people who checked me as I was in triage said the baby was positioned funny, I just wish I would have asked.


Bridget said...

FYI, don't watch TBOBB unless you want to see Ricki Lake NAKED. You're welcome.

I thought this post was very interesting. I am fascinated that you were so apathetic about flashing people in your first pregnancy. It took me after one baby to be so meh like that. Well done.

Natchel said...

Oh yes, Ricki Lake was almost enough for me to not watch it.
I know we already had this conversation a couple days ago but I do wish I hadn't been rushed into delivering and ending up having emergency C-section. I wanted to kind of walk it off and be the one to decide what position I wanted to push from, as opposed to the ludicrous laying on your back position. Now after having a c-section I feel limited to my birthing options.

The Clark's said...

After I found out I was pregnant, Brad and I watched the Business of being Born and we were sold on a home birth. However at the time we lived in the middle of nowhere and I would have to drive 2 1/2 hours to see a midwife. So after much discussion we decided to stick closer to home, and go to the doctor that was only an hour away. Brad and I had decided though that we would not do anything until after all our options were given.

Caitlin said...

I saw that movie too and I felt guilt ridden for having 2 c-sections even though both of them were unplanned emergencies. Just because you like granola and cloth diapers doesn't mean you also have to have a home birth. Just a woman who loves driving a bright yellow Hummer and wearing velour track-suits that say "juicy" on the butt doesn't mean she won't like having a natural birth. No one is completely one thing or another. We don't always have a choice and you did what you thought was best. You can't change things that have already happened and the important thing is that your babies were born healthy. Maybe there was a reason for things happening the way they did. I did everything my doctor told me to and in all likelihood Della suffered brain damage either during the her birth or shortly thereafter. I think about what I could have done differently all the time. Maybe I shouldn't have gone with the spinal block. Maybe the epidural would have been better. Maybe if I had eaten better or exercised more or gotten more sleep or lifted Archer less often, then maybe my blood pressure wouldn't have dropped causing the flow of oxygen to Della's brain to almost stop completely. If I had done it at home, we both would not have made it. A hospital birth was right for me. But Chantel's experience was different and I know that it was right for her. Don't let a movie that has it's own agenda and spin on things make you doubt yourself. Besides, there is always next time, right?

Amanda said...

Caitlin: I don't necessarily feel guilty about how my babies were born. You're right, I did what I felt was best at the time. The only regret I have is that I didn't question the doctor when she ordered Pitocin. When I think about people that have natural births, I think, "that is wonderful, for them." I realize that it's not for everyone, and I know a number of women who would have died if they had not been in a hospital. I also realize that labor and delivery is such a small blip on the radar of my kids life, and your kids are not going to back-talk less if you birth them naturally (or more if you get an epidural).

Also, you have to talk to Tyler about this whole "next time" thing. If it were up to him, he'd make an appointment with the urologist today.

Myriah Cohen said...

What's a baby?

Caitlin said...

I will say that the "next time" bit was tinged with sarcasm, especially since you just had Ethan.

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