Monday, 14 January 2013

As Nature Intended?

I look back two years to when we found out we were expecting our first child that we had been trying for. Having lost my first baby 3.5yrs before hand to my former partner and a a few failed relationships that lead to me not getting pregnant I told myself I wasnt able to carry or conceive a child and I told this to Simon when I met him. And so I put my energy into my career and accepted what was handed to me by the God and Goddess, I wasnt destine to be a carer of one of their children. How I felt the day my period was due was the same with my first pregnancy with Gummi, the much wanted pregnancy was starting to feel like it was actually here and no I wasnt happy about it, I willed for my period to come, I told both Yaz and Renee that I was praying like mad for my period to start, that I thought I was pregnant and they knew I wasnt wanting it, even though meer days and weeks, months and even YEARS before hand I was wanting it very much, I prayed for this to Gummi and to the God and Goddess for it...and this is a natural and normal feeling in my eyes to be scared of such a big life changing thing, it comes as a shock to the system but we had started to set in place things we wanted. I remember getting a book out of the library called Your healthy pregnancy : a practical guide to enjoying your pregnancy by Doctor Miriam Stoppard. I read this book from New Year's day at night, until I had read it from front to back and I started planning out what I wanted to do in terms of exercise, the type of birth I wanted, what to eat etc for the next 9 months, I think it gave examples of foods and what they were good for etc, and also the  different types of drugs both natural and pharmaceutical and their effects etc. In my eyes it was a GOOD book and it was my bible, I planned to get her Your New Baby one out after I gave birth and many others of her books but alas I didnt get around to doing so! Essentially this was the only book I think I read on pregnancy and parenting while pregnant second to a Yoga in Pregnancy - another thing I planned to do in addition to swimming..!

So here I was on my big healthy natural high and then BAM 6wks 6days and my morning sickness started on the morning of my first scan and it didnt stop, it got to the degree where anything I ate or drank made me feel worse and eventually I avoided both in fear of being sick, it was like having an eating disorder all over again. Endless phonecalls to my doctor's practice and talks with the nurses and receptionist, eat foods with ginger, have small snacks often, you need to eat dry plain crackers as soon as you wake up, small sips of water, lemonaid, ginger beer, ginger ale you name it I tried it. Simon even ended up going to the supermarket and buying me some stuff that I liked at the time and seemed to be able to keep down a bit of. And mum would always put a packet of Healthries Potato Sticks on my pillow in the morning ready for when I woke up (by this stage Simon had moved back home with his parents into their new place, he also had just started his first job in NZ) - however nothing was working and I ended up in hospital on a fluid drip and having to be on meds because I had such a horrible headache and didnt have any energy to get up and do anything, I was misrable. I was discharged luckily without having to be in overnight on a ward with a script for Ondansetron and a reflux med (sorry I can not recall it without pulling the bottle out of the memory box!).

Ok so not what I planned, but those drugs which at the time were not fully funded for pregnancy due to being for cancer patients with chemo got me through to 16wks before I stopped vomiting. I also didnt invision that I would end up seperating with Simon by 12wks. And there is a long list of reasons why that happened some being the stress from the Earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan (I had friends, family and co workers involved in both), and a big BIG part surround my miscarraige of Gummi, when we split it was around the time of his birthday (due date) and I was by this stage 6wks ahead of what I was when I miscarried, how that was possible I had no idea. It is also recently I have read and learnt that Hypermesis Gravadium (which I had) causes so many problems in terms of relationships and what you feel as a woman. Its a horrible HORRIBLE illness to have when pregnant. ANYWAY - Those meds made me feel weak inside for not toughing it out or growing some balls as some say woman should do. I hated myself a bit for it and felt a bit of my vision and dream pregnancy slipping away some more. But they allowed me to actually DO things, I was able to eat and drink without fear and worry, without vomiting every 5 mins all day every day, I could get up and out of bed and go out and live my life, I was even able to go swimming with Yaz (short lived that was thanks to her partner) - Hypermesis Gravdium is NOT fun and it can be fatal sometimes for both mother and baby. I slowly weaned myself off them but it took 10wks till I was able to stop having them and keep my food down all day and everyday. I kept the antiacids going still but they werent a daily thing anymore for me, that and I found that Chocolate Milk helped me ALOT and the odd Quickeze (the last time I had them were when I was 12 and at Standard 4 camp after having Food Poisoning, Jamie-Lee gave me some to make me feel better!). As for food in pregnancy, I wasnt one to stick to the no you can not eat this or that, ok I did avoid things like soft cheese - not that I buy them much, only when Im having a party and putting out a cheese board. And I was good and didnt have soft service ice cream, but I ate my bacon and my ham and I LOVED it, every little biteful! Listeria what??? But my healthy foods soon started to move over a bit once my cravings started to kick in and who am I to deny my body of a cheeseburger, or salt and vinegar pringles or a chocolate caramel slice from Hollywood Bakery??

I had scares with no movement until I went down to the hospital, jumping on the trackers and finding all was perfectly fine. And I found our daughter being super active once I got home, she sure knew how to give me some grey hairs from the very start..!  I didnt have a midwife either as I went shared care with my GP who I trust with my life, and believe me seeing his face almost in tears when we both heard my daughter's heartbeat for the first time is something I will never forget. After all I have known my doctor since I was a toddler and I wouldnt be here today without him helping me with my depression. But I stayed with him because he SUPPORTED me and my choices, he wanted to keep things as natural as possible, he didnt want to medically intervine, infact he was reflucatant to give me medication for nearly everything, he was rather suprised I was getting meds for my Hypermesis.

 I ended up in hopsital in my second trimester with suspected food poisoning, yes yes I know you shouldnt eat bacon but in all honesty I had been eating from that pack for a couple of days now and I asked for those drugs again (what they wanted to give me I have a sensitivity too), because vomiting can cause contractions and I was starting to feel these happening so drugs were given to help stop me wanting to vomit. Not long after this I developed Symphis Pubis Dysfuntion and you got to start thinking is this really what pregnancy is all about? But I tried my best to not be one of these pregnant mums I use to read about over the years on the  forums that couldnt wait to have their baby out, and moaned about EVERYTHING. No I toughed alot of stuff out, at least online I did, but I spent alot of time in tears and getting angry and depressed with the lack of support from people who were not listening to me. I didnt want drugs to take the pain away, but I needed some answers and a natural way to fix it or at least help me get through to the end. This of course didnt happen until I was due and by this stage it was all too late and nothing could be done about it. I had to tough it out. I think back and these things werent mentioned in that book I had read...!!

I had my lovely drug free, natural water birth planned in my head. We got information in antenatal classes about some homeopathic drugs and Simon actually recommended I use them over drugs and so I had them on my list to get but sadly I wasnt able to get them.  I would have to be put on a order list and the expected delivery date was after my due date for most pharmacies and they couldnt garantee they could get them or those specific ones so I went without. We were shown a C-Sec and a natural home birth videos in those classes, boy were they scary to see esp the natural home birth one when your a first time expecting parent - I still remember all our shocked wincing sounds we made as that baby crowned..!! Simon use to joke about how a C Sec was the easy way and fast way to get a baby out. I vouchered to never watch or listen to anyone's birth stories after that - of course I was curious 6wks before I was due and watched a friend's freshly upload videos of her giving birth on you tube and I was rather sad and put off, seeing an induction and all the drugs she took on board, all of it filmed and seeing how there was no emotion and how much hard work it took for her to give birth - I vouchered after that some MAJOR changes with my birth plan, where I moreless put my plan into stone. Around this time I think alot of Simon's friends back home in England must of known my birth plans and were trying to get him to scare me into how painful giving birth was. I told him they were weak girls who didnt trust their bodies at all. I started to ignore and in some cases block people who gave negativity to me about how things will be when I gave birth and once my daughter was born, ignore their horror birth stories as mine wasnt going to be like that no way (ok and if you have read mine or I have told you about it I guess in a way mine is a bit of a horror story but I went in with a positive mind!).

But watching One Born Every Minute resently got me thinking about how easy they gave out drugs and kept them there while mothers gave birth in the UK. A big part of me wants to experience a pregnancy and birth in the UK to compare it to NZ. I already shared my pregnancy with my friend Cordy in the USA and it was rather suprising seeing the differences in care and delivery. And I still strongly believe if she hadnt been booked in for a C-Sec and allowed to go naturally she would of probably more than likely have gotten her VBAC. Which makes me partly glad that in NZ they seem to push for this. C-Sec are after all major surgery that really should only be kept for major emergancies or for real proper medical reasons where the baby (and if possible the mother too) are at true risk.

I read everything in the notes we got from our classes fully in my last few weeks trying to educate myself on knowing what labour was, how would I know I would be in labour?? What does a contraction feel like? And what I didnt know until after labour started and I gave birth is that I just needed to trust my body, and I would KNOW when it was the real thing. (I told my educator this nearly a year after our daughter was born) and the one thing I wished one of my friends who had children told me was this - to TRUST your body, your body is designed to give birth. We would not be able to have babies if were not able to then give birth to them afterwards..!

My birth didnt go to plan fully, my daughter passed mocanium in the waters, I had a midwife in duty who didnt give me any support at all, I highly doubt she read my birth plan because not long after I arrived at the hospital she wanted to just give me drugs to deal with it all and I said NO - I mean come on lady be a little bit more supportive I wasnt in major pain at this stage, I was still walking about somewhat. I wanted my water birth and the pool she said she was filling on the phone to me a couple of hours before hand. Little did I know she never had filled this pool. Perhaps if she had, things would of been a heck of alot different, I probably would of been alot more calm. Actually if she had been more supportive and showed me how to breath and was calm and nice herself I probably would of had more convidence in myself and not start to develop fears. Thankfully Simon hadnt come with his mates views on me giving birth and instead supported and helped me through things. He remembered I wanted nice visions painted on what I would be doing. I could see a bit of that man I first met 10 months earlier that day, the guy who caught me as i collapsed in his shower and took me to hospital....

I welcomed that hand over and some new midwives who were a bit more happy and warm and supportive. Those words I had been waiting to hear were spoken of "filling the pool" and I was getting excited and happy in my dazed state I was in slightly. However due to my waters having been pooped in by my darling daughter that suddenly got ripped away. And all of sudden things too a drastic turn, I dont know if I went into panic or what happen to me as I lost control and I just want to push, my contractions were in full swing and so I was put on gas to stop me wanting to push, and I was put into an ambulance and rushed to the main hospital. I wasnt happy taking the gas, and I wasnt shown how to use it so I would suck it in and then out again from my mouth, bit like I use too when I tried smoking 10yrs prior...! I took in enough each suck to knock myself out and put myself into a state that my body did what it had to do. None of this was going to plan BUT as much as I didnt want gas I guess it was the next best thing to going complete drug free. I must admite I didnt pay much attention in Chemistry, so I dont know much about the gas apart from Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide more so I dont know much about Nitrous Oxide.....I was the girl who liked to mix things, I was a hands on, and only did well with sums and stuff if given the equation and an example...... ANYWAY - It got me through my contractions and I gave birth with nothing, that gas was taken away and I did it all myself with determinantion (see this is what I was refering too in regards to One Born Every Minute, they KEEP the gas with the woman while pushing), the fact my daughter was going to distress and her heart rate was declining being inside is what push this determinaiton to get her out - I felt her coming through, it hurt yes, it was like a big chinese burn, like the ones my sister would give me when I was little or worse my dad....yes yes just like dad's chinese burns when I begged him to stop - instead I was regretting the fact I didnt work harder on my relationship with Simon because perhaps we could of done those massages we read about in the antenatal class notes when we got them a few months prior.

I tore badly but it was because she tipped her head back as she was coming out during her distress and after all I was pushing with all my might and will power to get her out (I will admit that not long before I was told I was 10cms I did think in my head just take me to have a c-sec this hurts like crazy, Im going to get cramp in my legs and Im going to disgrace myself with pee and poo! Then I thought dont be so silly girl, that is major surgery, they will cut your stomach open, you have gone 25yrs without any surgery except a couple of minor ones on your toe and fufu to stitch it up from an assault you CAN do this and that thought of C-Sec was gone out of my head as fast as it popped in). When our daughter was born, she was put on me right after she was born - I would have to look at the videos again to see if her cord was cut before or after this, but there was no crawlling up to me but there was her lifting her head up and looking at me and me looking down at her, there was no instant latching because she was taken away to be seen too and I was being stitched up after I was given my jab to bring on my placenta. And while I know this isnt natural it was weighed up greatly when my birth plan was written up with a midwife during a hospital visit, for medical reasons as I was on iron suppliments and my previous blood condition history (I have had low platlette levels and pro long bleeding time, in addition to low blood pressure) it was decided to not risk anything and give it.

I had a lactation nurse help me with feeding, my biggest hurdle was breastfeeding, I was scared about the whole process and the changes to my breasts, because for me for so long my breasts were a sexual item, they were an asset  to my body and my career - and no I dont work in the sex industry but believe me as a woman, your boobs help you out alot in Hospitality...!! I think I was also scared about how my body would react to a baby sucking my nipple given how it react to a man sucking  and playing with them. I also didnt like having my boobs out on public display for people to see and touch, they were private things and Im from the western world here. So this was a bit of a learning curve that would and has taken many months to over come having my breasts out in front of people, especially those I dont know or those who arent parents themself. But I had done it and in my books that to me was as nature intended, what happened was written in fate's book.

And while we had agreed that breast was best and what our daughter would have I also wanted her to have a bottle so that she could have bonding time with daddy. So he felt like he was doing something and for a long time after our daughter's birth Simon didnt feel like a father, he felt like he had no role apart from changing nappies and holding his daughter, he wanted to do something for her that was caring for her, and this was them spending that bonding time with a bottle of milk. So he brought a pump for me to express off and he brought all the bottles for her she has (90% of them at least). But then I got very ill after 3 days and I was so hot that I was freezing cold, I had a dozen layers on me to keep my warm, getting out to go to the toilet sent me in a shivvering cold compulsion and so did getting my breast out, anything from my neck down that wasnt covered by these layers left me shivering. So Simon made the call to go and get a stick of formula and a bottle from the supermarket to give to his daughter, but doesnt mean we are bad unnatural parents. He made a promise to not let our daughter starve and he had great joy in doing something to help his daughter and me too while I was sick. He was my big support and help with breastfeeding, he would be the one who would latch her on cause I was terrible at missing the cues to latch her on. He would sit with us and massage his daughter's head and play with her feet and stuff so she didnt get sleepy, and he would take her off me right away and wind her. So yes we had formula for the odd top up, sometimes it was what was needed once a week to help settle things down after having a baby attached to my boobs nearly all day and all night, and me not getting any sleep, rest let alone a meal in after a day or so. We did discover though that formula that was GOLD reacted with her, so we stopped using it, we thought hey its got all these extras in it so its got to be good for her right? But when I started comparing the two the gold sticks to the standard sticks I found extras, and she didnt need these extras really because she was getting them from me.

When my PND kicked in, my supply started to drop a bit. And formula started to increase because of this. Not only that but all the negative attitudes and comments I got at work about expressing milk off and how grosse it was and the laughs from my co workers - I realised before long that breastfeeding in places like Asia was frowned upon it seemed and I thought this was very sad. I said to my co workers that when you are pregnant your body produces milk, this is the food for baby, its good for them, its healthy and natural. But those comments and those laughs scared me from that day on and I just couldnt face going back to work. I wont even go there with the strange looks I got from a guy in my department as I was carrying my bottle of milk to my little fridge and back out again when I was going home. Not a father obviously.... definately not an uncle....or educated man maybe?  And  when I decided to change jobs, I ended up with an unsupportive boss who didnt like breastfeeding mothers, she thought it was horrible, and she didnt like woman who breastfeed openly in her restaurant that she managed. While I said to her in my interview that I wasnt a fan of openly flopping my boob out for all to see, I recall I have never had a problem with it, I always make breastfeeding mums feel happy and welcomed but also give them comfort and privacy away from the public eye if they want it. I remember not long after I started this new job having a breastfeeding mother come in and thankfully my boss wasnt on that day but I felt a connection as a breastfeeding mum to give her somewhere nice and comfty. I sadly lost this job 6wks later and that one comment from my boss when she fired me really hurt - not only did she fire me for being sick and that I wanted to go see my deceased son, she made a comment about how they didnt know what to talk to a mother about other than breastfeeding.... again uneducated non parent. What would you know? You havent felt that connection of having a child..! But after working there my supply just dropped more and more. My sister had a negative attitude towards me the day I fell ill 3 days post delivery when my milk came in, about us using formula, but this was OUR child, and in all honesty there was no way i was going to use someone elses milk, definately not her milk, smoker and all. The thought made me want to vomit. Infact the thought of using someone elses milk made me sick, it just didnt sit with me because I didnt know what was in there milk, not only that it made me feel like a terrible parent because I couldnt supply that much milk. Milk is the only things I will not give to someone else or accept from someone else all other organs I am happy and fine with (but then they are usually screened and found compatible 99% of the time). I always feel such anger from people towards those who use formal, like we are faliures for not being super woman in producting milk - but maybe that is just how Nature intended our life path to be perhaps? We arent starving our child, we are adapting to a change that for us is becoming natural. We still feel a bond when we give our baby a bottle, ok sure as they get older and independant and want to hold it themself....there are still other ways.

I use to have a major negative attitude to some of my friends who were bottle feeding their newborns - but I took the time to find out why, and I didnt make them feel bad about it, I gave them support. For some they were suffering great stress from it, to the point it was nearly causing them to get PND and once they made the change they started to improve. For others they had no choice, they wanted to feed very much but their body just wasnt designed for it and that was how Mother Nature made them. Like the plum you pull off a tree with a big dent in it, its not rotten and mushy, its still eatable its just got a major dimple in it and didnt end up being nice and round and perfect. That is how nature intended it to be right? There is alot of negativity surrounding medical intervention and some of the medical science we have today, I actually LIKE alot of this new medical science, because we are able to learn more and more each day about things. I like to think about all those Pagans who were just living a natural life style off the land, in tune with life and what it had to offer and how they were killed horribly because they had the "mark of the Devil" and in recent times we have learnt that there are things like depression, tumours and cancer, birth marks and disabilities that have all come about from how our genetics and chromosomes have formed together from our mother and father. That is how nature intended us to be in most cases, definately not something evil. Sure a C-Sec may not be natural, but how many babies are alive today because of it? Ive seen it on TV but Im sure its inspired from real life but you see cases of women who have sadly ended up in a coma or brain dead and on life support pregnant, keeping a healthy baby alive until it can be born - how else do you expect it to come out? And those who are against plant or other animal based milk, what are their views then on transplants using artifical things or animal parts? Pigs are the next compatible with us for skin and valves for the hearts....even Kidneys if I remember rightly. What about those woman who can not have babies naturally either because of them with their ovaries and eggs or their partners with their testicals and sperm? Or because they have a genetic condition they dont want to pass on...? Is IVF and AI not natural then?

End of the day our/my daughter is happy and healthy, infact she is alot more healthy than other babies I know who have been very sick and were breastfeed and not vaccinate etc sure it may not be the Wiccan way of life and my how nature intended it to be vision I had 2yrs ago or what I originally read in that bood or in the copies of The Natural Parenting Magazine (who are very against formula feeders) I got while I was pregnant and not long after I gave birth, but I am proud of ME, proud of US and what we  have all gone through and how we have climbed up and over these mountains put in front of us. Dont get me wrong I read alot of things in that magazine that I thought YES I am so doing that and finally something that supported what I feel and believe in, but once reality hit, it didnt go as planned. Plans changed all the time.

So what is as Nature Intened?