November 21, 2012

Giselle Marie's Birth Story

As I sit here on the eve of Thanksgiving, thinking about all I have to appreciate in my life, I am especially thankful for something I had never imagined loving so much: my two beautiful children. Yes, two! In the ten months since this blog has been abandoned, I conceived, gestated, and birthed my and Shawn's second child: a beautiful baby girl named Giselle.

Though I am still on somewhat of a hiatus from blogging, I want to memorialize Giselle's birth just as I have Liam's (which can be found here). Her birth story isn't nearly as dramatic, but is just as worthy of being written.

If you know anything about my pregnancy with Liam, you know that it was difficult. Kidney stones, recurrent urinary tract infections, surgery, preterm labor, hospitalization, bed rest... And then of course, the frantic two hour labor, complete with emergency vehicles, two lanes of a major highway being shut down, and my husband completely missing the birth of our son as he fought rush hour traffic behind the ambulance that transported me to the hospital. But if my first pregnancy was hell on earth... My second was heavenly.

I kept waiting for a kidney stone to form. I kept waiting to go into labor. Every twinge, every Braxton Hicks contraction, I was ready for another week-long hospitalization and somehow figuring out how to take care of a toddler while staying in bed.

But none of it ever happened. Other than spending my days waddling after a two-year-old and enduring the typical aches and pains, it was a pretty uneventful pregnancy. Once I got closer to being "term" though, my anxiety turned elsewhere: the timing and speed of labor.

As I mentioned, Liam's entire labor and delivery was only two hours. My water broke on its own in the morning and by the time I got to the hospital I was complete and had been resisting the urge to push. So I was worried. I have heard that subsequent labors are typically faster, and depending on traffic and the time of day, there was a possibility of not making it to the hospital on time.

While I think home births are wonderful for some people, it was not a choice I was comfortable with, so I chose to birth in the hospital with a certified nurse midwife. Due to my history of rapid labor and a positive group B strep culture, the word "induction" came up a few times in discussion with her. I am very much against induction in most cases, but I am also very much against roadside births. An induction was scheduled for 39 weeks - but this did nothing to ease my fears, as Liam was born at 38 weeks and three days.

On October 24th, I went out to dinner with my husband and son. I ate some hot wings and enjoyed our little family of three. I bathed and tucked in an unsuspecting Liam that night and enjoyed a quiet evening with Shawn. I was 38 weeks and one day.

The next morning, Shawn went in to work early, as usual. I woke up around 6:30, and I felt... Weird. Something was off. I went to the bathroom and got back in bed, and promptly had a contraction. Not a wimpy Braxton Hick; the real thing. I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep, but seven minutes later, it happened again. And seven minutes later, again. And seven minutes after that. I texted Shawn and told him that I think today might be the day. He headed home and I called my sister, who was already on the road on her way to class. I put on a locket necklace with Liam's picture inside, so my first baby would stay by my heart throughout the day.

Courtney and Shawn arrived at the house at the same time, where Liam and I were ready to go. Still having uncomfortable contractions about seven minutes apart. I was still happy, smiling, and kind of wondering if this wasn't really "it", because I wasn't in agonizing pain like with the sudden onset of hard labor I experienced with my first pregnancy.

We got to the hospital at 9:30. I was four centimeters dilated with a bulging bag of waters. My midwife, Beth, suggested I walk for about an hour and then I would go on the monitor for a few minutes . Liam, Shawn, Courtney and I took to the halls, and an hour later I was six centimeters dilated! My contractions were getting closer together but they still weren't bothering me too much. At this point Beth told me I was a "childbirth poster child"! I was proud. This was easy!

I had Beth break my water, and she told me to do whatever I liked from this point on. I decided to get up and walk. I lasted about two laps around the Labor and Delivery floor, and then things changed. I didn't want to walk anymore. Contractions were incredibly intense. Shawn held my hand and rubbed my back through contractions while I stared at a smudge on the floor. I was in a much different place now and was ready for the whole thing to be over. My sweet Liam asked if I was ok, and if the baby kicked me too hard. I suddenly felt an intense pressure and asked Shawn to get the nurse, and told Courtney that this might be a good time to take Liam for some lunch.

By the time the nurse came in I wanted to push. She told me not to and I wanted to kick her in the face. Instead, I kindly told her that I couldn't fucking help it and the baby was coming NOW. Beth flew in and the nurse got the stirrups out. She started to prop my feet up in them, but Beth said "no - I don't like those! let her be how she wants!" I was grateful because I really really hate those stirrups.

Beth told me to push when and how I wanted. It was a big relief after those insane contractions. After three pushes she started to crown and I wasn't so relieved anymore. I screamed at Beth to "GET HER OUT NOW!" She and Shawn both told me I was doing great, that it was my job to push my baby out, and that I could do this. One more push and she FLEW out into Beth's arms. As I reached for my beautiful baby, my first thought was of how small she was! I had forgotten how teeny newborns are. Giselle was placed directly into my arms at 1:04 pm on October 25, 2012, after about six hours of labor. She was seven pounds and one ounce, and 20 inches long.

I was very pleased with my birth experience and am so incredibly thankful for the support I had in my husband, sister, midwife, and even Liam, who is so in love with his baby sister. Our little Giselle is fitting right into our family, and we could not be more thrilled to have her here.

February 9, 2012

Football and Trains and Dolls, Oh My

I have a little boy. And he has tons of interests.

Like football...

...and riding bikes...

...and dinosaurs, and trains...

And mischief-making with other little boys.

Pretty typical boy, right? Oh yeah, he also likes to play with makeup...

...and baby dolls...

...and get his toenails painted just like mommy's.

Shocking, huh? Imagine my surprise at each diaper change when I find that he still has a penis.

A lot of people seem to think it's a bad idea to let little boys play with "girl toys" like dolls and do "girly things" like wear makeup. I cannot imagine why. In all my research, you know what I've found? The color pink won't turn him into a girl (though there's nothing wrong with being a girl!). Makeup won't turn him gay (though there's nothing wrong with being gay!). And frankly, I can think of no better toy for a future father to play with and learn from than a baby doll.

Honestly, I feel sorry for the future partners of little boys who aren't allowed to play with "girly" toys. I quite often find that the women who prohibit their sons from playing with baby dolls are the same women who complain about their husbands doing nothing around the house and not participating in parenting. It is quite sad, really. Maybe if their husbands had been given a doll as a child they might be a bit more nurturing.

Don't get me wrong - I don't necessarily encourage dolls and makeup over trains and dinosaurs. But Liam does have plenty of both, because I hate gender stereotypes and though it is largely unavoidable, I want him to be sheltered from them as much as possible. I just want him to be whoever HE wants to be.

January 17, 2012

Don't Act So Surprised!

Oh no! I have to have a C-section! I am 37 weeks and i was induced this morning but after six hours on pitocin my cervix is just not dilating and baby's heart rate is dropping! The doctor says we need to get him out now! Going into the OR now :( :( :(

I hate when people say crap like this. Don't act so fucking surprised; this is YOUR fault, you know.

Well, I guess your idiot doctor, trying to fit you into his schedule and billing cycle before he goes on vacation, is partially at fault too. But YOU are the one who showed up at the hospital on the doctors orders. YOU are the one who signed a consent form for induction. YOU are the one who extended your arm for the IV. And YOU are the one responsible for making sure you are aware of the risks of any medical procedure.

Among its many risks, induction makes you much more likely to "need" a C-section - in fact, it is estimated that up to 40% of inductions end in a C. 40 percent! It usually goes something like this: cervix not dilating (yeah, cuz it wasn't ready to start dilating in the first place), baby's head not engaging (no shit, baby doesn't want out yet), baby's heart rate begins to drop (pitocin contractions are much longer and stronger than natural contractions, and can lead to compression of baby's blood and oxygen supply), doctor tells mom that baby is in distress and will need to come out NOW, parents freak out and consent to surgery that probably would have been unnecessary had you just let your baby come in his own time.

Some people seem to think this is no big deal. But C-sections have many of their own risks, including infection, hemorrhage, uterine rupture, failure to bond and establish breastfeeding, and even death. And early induction/c-section - before 40-42 weeks - presents its own unique set of risks, like immature brain and lung development (pretty important stuff).

So why - other than in true cases of medical necessity - are so many women choosing to induce, when these risks are printed in clear black ink on the consent forms?

My answer: SELFISHNESS. I know how uncomfortable the last few weeks of pregnancy are. I am a relatively small person and had Pubis Symphysis Disorder with my pregnancy so bad to the point that sometimes it was excruciating just to get out of bed. I totally get the desire to be DONE. But you know what? My baby's health and development are way more important to me than my own comfort. Maybe I'm sensitive to this issue because I nearly gave birth at 29 weeks and was on strict bed rest for 8 weeks to avoid having a preemie... But I gotta say that getting induced because you are uncomfortable or "done being pregnant" is really not a great way to start off parenthood. You know, since the child's needs are supposed to come before your wants, and all that.

I know that there ARE situations that can truly cause a need for an induction ("the baby is too big" is NOT one of them), but if you can avoid it, do. And if you STILL decide for induction, even knowing the risks involved, well, don't expect me to feel sorry for you as you are wheeled into the OR for your "emergency" c-section.

January 10, 2012

Why I Am Not Quitting Blogging

I haven't really been blogging in a while. I was kind of thinking about quitting altogether, and maybe deleting this entire blog. Bye bye BB&B.

I'm not really going to delete it. But I am just really discouraged sometimes by the absolute idiocy I see in humans on a daily basis when it comes to certain issues, and I don't know if my silly little blog makes a difference. Why even try when the assholes seem to far outnumber me? Maybe I should just go breastfeed my intact toddler in a corner and shut up about it. But then I see comments like this:

and this:

..and get asked if I have a Facebook fan page (I don't, as I'm convinced that approximately four people would "like" it), and I am reminded that even one changed mind matters, and there IS intelligent life out there listening. So I will get back to ranting writing shortly. And if YOU ever get down on yourself as an intactivist, lactivist, car seat safety advocate, or any other kind of child's rights activist, remember that even if you have to deal with people like this:

There are others (with more brain cells) listening.

Location:Fairfax,United States

December 15, 2011

Intactivist Card GIVEAWAY!

Do you ever wonder what you can do to raise awareness for intactivism without being as in-your-face and pushy as I am? Well, when I'm feeling a little more subdued, instead of ranting on the interwebz, I go "carding" - that is, placing informational cards in clever places like stores, malls, and doctors' offices where they are bound to be seen - and hopefully spark some thought in the mind of whoever comes across them. Here are two of my favorite cards:

This one is perfect for the holiday season - and stores actually like them because they look so festive! Try putting them on formula shelves, in boxes of diapers (especially premie sizes), in the pages gossip magazines, or on tables at your doctors' office. Anywhere someone will see it works. 

I love this one because it is (for obvious reasons) quite attention-grabbing. The purpose of this type of card is to detract from the notion that foreskins are "gross" or "unsexy", and encourage the idea that intact men are normal, desirable, and sexy! These are great to slide between the pages of a romance novel or "sexy" magazine, on the shelves of adult novelty stores, or even in the lube and condoms section of the grocery store. 

Does this sound like something you might like to do? Well, you are in luck! Until December 31st, Saving Our Sons & The Intact Network are giving away FREE info card sample sets to Babies, Boobs, & Blasphemy readers! To get some for yourself, all you have to do is the following:

1. Find/like your local Intact Chapter.
2. On your chapter's page, link to your favorite circumcision-related post from BB&B.
3. Email your name and address to to receive one or both of these sets of intact cards! You should receive your cards by Monday.

Happy carding!

December 11, 2011

A Friendly Winter Reminder...

...that car seats and coats are a FATAL combination!

Seriously, they just don't mix. When your child is wearing a bulky winter coat, you need to loosen the straps to get him buckled in. In the event of an accident, the force of the crash will cause the coat to compress, leaving empty space between the straps and the child - potentially causing baby to fly right out!

This video gives a great visual explanation:

But, but... it's negative 10 degrees where I live! How is my kid supposed to stay warm?!

Try using a thin fleece instead. Your kid won't freeze to death on the walk from the house to the car. Or, carry your child to the car in his coat, but take it off once you get him inside the car. Then buckle him in and put the coat on backwards, or use blankets. 

It's a really simple step to potentially save your child's life.