emma_in_dream: (methos)
I want to write about the birth (and the issue of medical consent) before I forget it.

Going through labour made me realise how meaningless the issue of medical consent is. When I had the epidural the doctor explained the possible side effects, but it was merely an exercise he had to go through for legal reasons.

I could only hear intermittently. When I was in the midst of a contraction, I could neither hear or see. I could only feel pain.* It was as though he was speaking in another room, sometimes inaudibly.

I could certainly not speak in response. Or understand what I could occasionally hear.

And, frankly, even if I had been able to understand him, I would have taken it even if he was saying there was a ten per cent chance of a crocodile eating my head.

Now it didn’t matter because I had done lots of reading beforehand. I could occasionally hear him and recognised some of the risks he mentioned. And I had written down that I wanted an epidural in my plan, as well as signing a heap of papers beforehand which I think included permission for an epidural.

On the other hand, it made me think about how meaningless it must be for doctors to ask for patients to make decisions in circumstances where they are unexpectedly in pain and have to make major life decisions.

The law considers us to be rational beings at all times - it’s a legal concept called the reasonable man (ie. what would a reasonable man do) - but there are obviously circumstances when we are incapable of researching, measuring options and making the best decision.

I was particularly wondering about the experiences of my friends who have had serious illnesses. I was wondering if you wanted to talk about it.



* Lots of pain. I had always heard that morphine was a strong drug. They gave me some and all it did was alter the pain from so unendurable I was barely conscious to unendurable.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
The advantages of a Caesarean: Well, the birth itself was entirely painless as I had zero contractions. Plus, the child was alive and well.

The disadvantages: I was totally out of it for about 14 hours - completely unconscious. Then it took a good 8-10 weeks to feel OK again.

Also, being born vaginally has advantages in kick starting some reflexes which Pearl struggled with.

The advantages of a Vaginal Birth after Caesarean: The recovery is so so so much easier. Maybe this is just me as I have had an easier time with feeding Ruby, so I am not nearly so exhausted. Last time I was feeding for about 2 out of each 3 hours; this time it's about half an hour every three hours.

Also, it was wonderful to get to hold her after she was born. Which of course many people get to experience after a Caesar but I didn't.

And it was satisfying on a personal level, and seeing her little head crown (with the little fists on the sides) was beautiful.

The disadvantages: It was astonishingly painful.

And I feel awkward when I am congratulated on it, as if it makes me a real woman.* My plans going in were the same both times - I wanted a vaginal birth if possible, but was OK with a c-section. The first time the waters broke and then no contractions. The second time the waters broke and then there were contractions. There was no merit in having a VBAC.


* It's an impossible moving goal post to be a Real Woman (TM). You have to have a vaginal birth and breast feed and be an earth mother while also being gorgeous and put together.
emma_in_dream: (uhura)
SLF was born on 4 November. She weighed 3.4 kilos, is 50 cm long, and is very healthy.

She was born by VBAC after a quite short labour. Still quite long enough for me as the anaesthetist was not available until the point when I was in the middle of the transition.

She is a very pretty little girl, looks much like Pearl but with straight brown hair and a peachy complexion. I think she should have the on-line name of Ruby, so I have a pair of matching jewels:-)

I was so absorbed in holding her after the birth that I did not notice (and had to be told by the midwives) that I had a tear and stitches, that there were two cysts in the unusually large placenta (sent off for a biopsy), and that I had a haemorrhage.

Anyway, we are home now - and completely exhausted.

Life

Oct. 13th, 2010 07:07 pm
emma_in_dream: (partners)
I've felt quite peculiar for the past few days so I went to the hospital yesterday. As I suspected, my blood pressure is back up though no sign of problems with my blood results. So pregnancy induced hypertension again.

The problem part is that I feel so incredibly tired and that makes me grumpy with poor Pearl.

Last night was disastrous as the chest of drawers we have been promised since August was finally dropped off. Of course it came at a very late hour and totally threw Pearl into a loop (how will she cope with a sister?). So we had a night of her trying everything to get me to stay in the room with her and me becoming more and more impatient (especially after she accidentally kicked me in the face hard enough to break my glasses).

Today was not so much better as it consisted of me cleaning the very dirty chest of drawers, unpacking tons of clothes for SLF, repacking Pearl's outgrown things, sliding under the bed to get bags of stuff out, and having Pearl jump on my back in the excitement of seeing me at that angle. Not actually what I wanted to be doing while exhausted, but at least it is done now and very little else of a major nature needs to happen.

Life

Sep. 11th, 2010 09:40 pm
emma_in_dream: (partners)
I have been stuck in a bad patch for a while, mostly revolving around Pearl not sleeping (though not helped by not going to WorldCon).

She has been going to bed around 7:00 and going to sleep around 9:00 to 10:30.

Things I have managed to deduce:

* Much worse on days that I work, so some kind of separation anxiety link.
* The biting is mostly on my stomach after giving kisses to her sister. So some kind of anxiety about her sister as well.
* She gets worse when I get upset, and I get more upset when I am tired and hungry (that is, on days when I pick her up straight from work and don’t get to eat til she goes to bed, by which time the thought of food nauseates me and I have nothing).
* She gets worse when I read stupid parenting books that have useless bloody advice like ‘You may have to repeat this 50 times!’. Seriously, if I repeat something every five minutes for two hours, that’s an easy 20 a night, right? So for a month, that’s over 500, yes?
Also, I find the advice to send in my partner *enraging*.
I can’t tell if it is hypochondria or an attempt to keep me in the room when she complains of sore feet, sore knees and sore shoulders or if they really are sore. She does have hyper-flexible joints and her knees actually did swell up once in a horribly disturbing way (went away before the GP could see it of course). I find giving her massages more and more painful with the bending over her.
She gets worse when I think about how hideous it will be when there are two babies. I seriously cannot imagine how I am going to cope.
She is perfectly happy when I hold her all night, but this cannot be a pattern we relapse into! Because someone else will also want holding!

In fact, I will go so far as to say that I have been wondering if I have made a terrible, terrible mistake; if I am in fact incapable of taking care of two children. I feel like I am barely coping, clinging on at the moment and things are only going to get much, much worse.

I know it won’t be the same as last time. At the very least, the odds of the house being hit by lightning again are low (and if it does happen I am so selling my story to women’s magazines). So I will probably have functioning electrical goods and a phone. Also, it won’t be so cold so even if the heaters do all explode, it won’t be so bad.

But still.

Epidural?

Sep. 9th, 2010 08:27 am
emma_in_dream: (methos)
I am looking ahead to the labour, and realise that I have no idea what it will be like. Pearl’s birth involved not a single contraction.

Anyway, I was talking with Baby_Elvis and one of the things that came up is that perhaps my reaction to the epidural last time was not typical. My response was to vomit eleven times in the first hour and to feel like I was being tugged off the table. They said it would feel like the doctor was doing the dishes in my stomach but it actually felt like I was going to be pulled off the operating table..

So, is that how other people experienced it?
emma_in_dream: (Default)
I think I’m going to have to accept that I’m going to have to tandem feed. Despite having been weaned for nearly three months now, Pearl still lunges at my breasts every time she sees them. If she succeeds in latching on, she will continue suck for as long as I let her, undeterred by the fact that there isn’t a drop of milk.
 
My reasons for not wanting to tandem feeding were partly practical – it seems harder – and mostly psychological. Two of my worries about having a new baby circle around breast feeding.
 
Firstly, what if I do not bond with SLF instantly, as I did with Pearl? I would feel terribly guilty; and even worse if we went through the same breast feeding drama as last time because I know that I simply can’t do that again while I have Pearl to take care of as well. I spent up to two thirds of every 24 hours breastfeeding last time (factoring in breastfeeding, pumping, bottle feeding, cleaning up) and that’s just not going to be possible with a toddler as well. So if I don’t bond with the little one at once and I don’t breastfeed her, I will feel rotten about it for the rest of my life. 
 
And secondly, what if I look at the tiny, little baby and suddenly Pearl seems like an enormous, rampaging monster who inadvertently threatens SLF with her toddler clumsiness. This would certainly be exacerbated if she was bellying on up to the bar, putting her large (beautifully round) head next to a tiny newborn and literally taking food from her sister’s mouth.
 
I shall have to do some reading on how people handle tandem feeding.  I know I could just say no, but, frankly, I just don’t see that I’ll have the strength for that. Currently she accepts that there is no milk, but I suspect will become much more demanding once there is a supply.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
The routine check up with midwives on Friday shows that SLF has spent the last month growing at a monster rate and is now apparently six centimetres taller than she should be. Genetics were suggested as an explanation but I scoffed at that. No other explanations were offered, and I must wait two more weeks before seeing a doctor in overworked public system.

And yet this is not at the forefront of my mind. What I am obsessed with is the gearbox of the car. Apparently the pins of the carriers failed and all the gears are destroyed and the box itself is holed. The cheapest solution appears to be a second hand gear box, but I am told there are very few available and I am still looking at a cost of $1500 for the part, plus the same for labour, which is money which frankly I don’t have given that I stop work in six weeks.

And I am so ticked off that I have wound up in this position because of the stupid hail storm in March. Because it totalled my car I had to get another one. Because everyone else was buying at the same time I had a choice of one slightly overpriced car and had to get one without a service record. Although I had it inspected and immediately serviced, it has conked out. Because it was second hand it did not have warranty. Because I have had it for more than three months (22 days more), it no longer has second hand caryard warranty. Because it just broke, rather than being in a crash, it is not covered by insurance. And so I am left with an enormous bill.

I am so stressed by this that I am barely even thinking about the much more serious massive child issue. Why? What does this mean? Why such a porker? I have so far resisted Googling it but I don’t know if I can hold out for two weeks.

All this is exacerbated by Pearl’s terrible sleep patterns. She has been completely thrown by the new fridge. (No, don’t laugh, having lots of people over two weeks in a row, things moved about, then having to walk about at night so the RAC could pick up the car, has totalled her sleep patterns). She is back to only wanting to sleep while being held which is really exhausting me. This is why I am zooming through the Queer Lit 50 challenge – I am reading them at night in the long hours that I spend holding her.

This augers very badly for the future. If getting a new white good has disrupted her routine to this extent, I cannot imagine what she will be like with a new sister. I dread it.

Of course I feel rotten about my self-preoccupation. Some of my friends have real problems. I just have a mysteriously big SLF, a non-sleeping toddler and a money hole.

Birth

Jul. 16th, 2010 08:01 pm
emma_in_dream: (Default)
I was asked the other day if I wanted this birth to be the same as the last one. The answer is yes and no.

Yes in the sense that I produced a healthy, live child with no permanent injury to either of us. Yes to immediately bonding. Yes to recovering quickly from the birth. Yes to not getting post-natal depression. Yes to the lovely support of the fabulous midwives. Yes to getting a child with such a gentle, loving disposition.

No to having a premature baby. No to the mystery of her lack of reflexes and strength. No to having a child who could not grasp my finger. No to having a child who lay in the position you put her in because she lacked the strength to curl herself up into a little newborn ball. No to the extended hospital stay. No to the nightmare of her not feeding and me not producing milk. No to having her kept in a box. No to never going into labour. No to the C-section. No to having her whisked away for oxygen and not seeing her again for hours, and then only for a few minutes.* No, on a more comical note, to having some random stranger barge into the recovery room as I had my legs in the air (he was looking for the orthodics ward and no doubt would not recognise me as he was not looking at my face.) No, on a really heartfelt note, to spending the first night without her.

I have no psychological issues with having a caesarian. I was born by one myself, and, frankly, would have been equally happy had Pearl arrived by c-section, by vaginal delivery, or wrapped in a box with a ribbon on top. But obviously it is desirable to avoid abdominal surgery where possible, especially in circumstances when you know you are going home to incredibly hard work and lots of heavy lifting rather than rest. And it is better for the child, in the sense of stimulating her reflexes (an issue which Pearl has had so much trouble with).

So my ideal birth would be one in which I go to term, have a VBAC, recover quickly, bond immediately, and produce a healthy child who feeds effortlessly and sleeps well. But I could remove all of this except the important part about having a healthy, live child and still consider it an excellent birth.

· The only good part to this was that my Mum was there as my support person and she went with her, so poor wee Pearl was not alone for her first few hours.
emma_in_dream: (Default)
Very good news:

I had the 19 week ultrasound and there results were most encouraging. No sign of hypotonia, in fact SLF (Special Little Foetus) wriggled around like a gymnast.

Also, it is a girl!
emma_in_dream: (Jeremiah)
I am so happy to be pregnant, but I do genuinely have worries.

And I'm not looking for just reassurance on this. I do welcome your constructive criticism, despite my earlier post.

* That I might have a child like my sister (in the sense of her sleep patterns). She did not need more than four hours a day of sleep and didn't sleep through til she was six years old. Could I handle this?

* That I don't have enough money. I will have to go back to work after six months, which is virtually nothing. The poor little bubba probably won't be able to sit up at that age.

I really didn't want to go back when Pearl was 18 months but six will be even worse.

* The thought of going through establishing feeding again. (And also, finally weaning Pearl).

* That I might have a child I don't like! What if I don't like him or her? What if I find him or her irritating as I do some of the children from playgroup? We'll be locked together for the rest of our lives!

* What if I can't handle two sets of children needing things at the same time. How do I feed them both at the same time? Comfort them when they are both awake at the same time?

* And what if the poor child has something wrong with his or her genes due to my advanced age? The tests came back as 1 in 500 for Downes, which is a lot worse than Pearls 1 in 3,500. That's the difference that nearly three years makes.

* And what if Pearl does not like sharing my attention?

Oh, there are lots and lots of issues. However, I believe that all parents face these issues when they have babies. So hopefully I will soldier through. One thing at a time.

Right now, priority number one is for us both to get over this wretched cold that is making us so low.
emma_in_dream: (uhura)
I am very pleased to announce that I am 12 week pregnant.

Hooray!

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