Aug 21 2014
My first delivery went textbook-smooth. From the time my water broke until the time I delivered my daughter was nine hours, which is under the average of 10 to 24 hours for a first labor. The one thing I hadn’t liked: To get me through the first part of labor, my doctor had ordered some Stadol, a narcotic that is supposed to “take the edge off the pain.” It made me alternately sleepy and groggy. It was only supposed to last an hour or two, but it lasted much longer, and I was totally out of it by the time my baby was born.
By the time my second child was ready to be born, I was determined to do it differently.
When I got to the hospital, I wasn’t in active labor. I was contracting now and then, but the contractions didn’t hurt. The only sign was the bloody show I’d experienced overnight. My obstetrician insisted that was enough–I’d gone so quickly last time, and I was five days overdue now, so it made a lot of sense to get me into the hospital sooner rather than later. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 18 2014
I was out of town without internet last week and when I returned and read through Kveller I was shocked when I saw the reader responses to Rachel Minkowsky’s birth trauma post. I thought about it over the weekend and all I can come back with is that the majority of the comments were so uncharacteristic of the Kveller community but clearly the post triggered a lot of emotions for our readers.
Rachel wrote about something that happened to her that she is struggling with and has struggled with for three years. Common feelings about the human birth experience that many, many mothers share. She was told that she has no right to grieve her birth because her baby was healthy, because she could have had it worse. Her opening her heart turned into a birth-trauma pissing contest for everyone to read and chime in.
Would we tell a mother who lost a child to get over it because at least she only lost one child when others have lost two? Where does it end? Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 11 2014
My daughter’s birth was complicated. The morning after I had my baby, a post-partum nurse asked how I was feeling. I made the mistake of answering honestly: The birth left a bright pink scar skidding across my pelvis, and other people’s blood pumping through my veins. After a long labor, my daughter’s heart rate decelerated. It was not rebounding. I had to be rushed in for a Cesarean section under general anesthesia. The last thing I remember was staring up into the ceiling light in the operating room, crying quietly. My husband had not been admitted into the OR; he was left alone in a room somewhere to wait. My daughter was pulled out of me, and born into the hands of strangers. The doctors called my husband in while they were sewing me back together. My husband saw and held our baby first; I didn’t meet her for endless hours. It took a while longer before I was functional enough to attempt breastfeeding. The transfusion I needed caused other issues.
My daughter was fine and thriving.
I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 24 2014
I was born a contradiction. On the Sabbath, the day we are commanded to rest, I prompted my mother to labor and deliver me into the world. So it’s fitting that I struggle with the God thing still.
Soon after we gave birth to our first kids, one of my dearest friends confided in me that pregnancy and childbirth made her feel closer to God than ever before.
Huh. Not me.
I tried to figure out why.
From early on in my pregnancy, I needed to see it to believe it. I waited until I saw the results of the home pregnancy test before embracing the possibility. I waited longer still for the first ultrasound to feel like it was actually happening. It wasn’t real until I had proof. Some have faith; I wanted certainty.
Childbirth also called my beliefs into question. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 22 2013
When I was in my mid-20s, a friend of my parents commented that I was “the kind of person who life just works out for.” And he was right–I had a supportive family, many close friends, and a deeply fulfilling job. I had recently married the man whom I had loved since high school, and received a full scholarship for graduate school. I was a very blessed young woman.
And so, several years later, when my husband and I set out to start building our family, I–perhaps a bit brazenly–assumed that life would continue to work out. And in the beginning it seemed that it would. I immediately got pregnant, even as I watched others close to me struggle with infertility. I had easy first and second trimesters that included a month living in Israel as a last adventurous hurrah before we were to become a family of three.
It wasn’t until a month into my third trimester that I began to not feel well. I had no appetite but was constantly thirsty, my abdomen was tender, and I was “out of it.” I chalked it up to the fact that I was getting larger. I figured I’d had it so easy that I could tolerate a couple of months of being uncomfortable. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 8 2012
Recently I sat down with forms for my daughter’s new day care, ready to answer endless questions about whether she uses bottles or sippy cups and how we get her to fall asleep.
I was not expecting to have to answer any questions about my pregnancy and delivery, which happened nearly 15 months ago. But in a section labeled “Part Four: Pre and Post Natal,” there were a few shocking questions including one that made me stop in my tracks: “Did you have any anesthesia or medication during delivery?”
Really?!? What does a day care need with that information? Here, I thought I was moving past my birth experience, enjoying my daughter walking, talking, and climbing, and day care was throwing it back in my face, effectively saying: you may have damaged your child with an epidural.
Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 11 2012
I’d heard of Second Kid Syndrome long before Baby Two was on my radar. I thought, “I won’t be that lax with the second kid.” Then I had him. Last week. And instead of a fully-prepared diaper bag, I took a plastic shopping bag to his first pediatrician visit.
It’s early onset Second Kid Syndrome. You probably know what I’m talking about. Symptoms of SKS include a much calmer approach to having an infant. Instead of giving my son a full bath and new pair of pajamas as soon as the smallest droplet of spit-up hits his footie, I wipe it away as best I can and declare the PJs’ condition good enough. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 31 2012
Do I need a birthing ball?
On Friday I went to my OB for my regular check up.
Unlike my first birth, where my husband anxiously held my hand each month in the waiting room and smiled excitedly when the thumping of the baby’s heartbeat came over the sonogram speakers, eight months into this birth and he has attended only a smattering of check-ups. The reason? I usually don’t tell him about them. Why have him leave work and trek across town to witness a 10-minute check of my vitals and weight gain?
So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when my doctor chastised me for failing to book a tour of the new hospital the practice had recently moved to. Or realizing that at 32 weeks, it was now time I see her twice a month. Her actual words: “You are in denial that this baby is coming.” Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 11 2011
All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
- You’ve heard of a nanny cam, but a mommy cam? For a fee, one Los Angeles therapist will record and analyze, frame by frame, your interactions with your children. (The Los Angeles Times)
- Go the f**k to sleep, mom! More mothers are apparently leaning on sleep aids. (The New York Times)
- Mississippi’s electorate voted down the so-called “personhood amendment,” which would have defined a fertilized egg as a person. Buoyed by anti-abortion activists, the measure would have effectively criminalized abortion, and could also have outlawed some forms of birth control and placed new restrictions on reproductive medicine. (The Washington Post)
- European Jewish leaders are moving to prevent anti-circumcision initiatives from becoming law. (Ynet)
- It’s 11/11/11 — and it’s a big day for C-sections in Seoul. (Reuters)
- Time to say “dayenu“? Over at Babble, Stephanie Wilder Taylor has an open letter from “19 Kids and Counting” star Michelle Duggar’s uterus. (Babble)
- And before you give your newborn a name like “Trendy,” we suggest you consult Kveller’s Jewish Baby Name Finder. (Yahoo! via Babble)
Aug 8 2011
My last pregnancy was when I was 41--but I'd already had six babies before it.
Over the span of 20 years and six children, my birthing experiences had run the gamut from gurney-hopping in the bad old days before labor and delivery rooms, to an unplugged, unmedicated delivery with midwives. But a few constants remained: my belief in prenatal exercise, my categorical rejection of C-sections, and my disdain for those who bottle-fed. My babies were plump from mother’s milk!
I was delighted to become pregnant at 41; my two previous pregnancies had miscarried, one at 20 weeks, in a serious hemorrhage. I breathed a sigh of relief as we passed that mark, and walked every day and ate nutritiously.
The first bleeding episode happened at 23 weeks, the second at 28 weeks, and the third at 32 weeks. I was diagnosed with placenta previa–the placenta was covering the cervix. Which meant I was in danger of suddenly hemorrhaging, putting me and baby in mortal danger. On bed rest, I was to stay in the hospital until 36 weeks, when I’d be c-sectioned, since a vaginal delivery was impossible.
When the placenta previa resolved at 38 weeks, I rejoiced that I no longer faced a Cesarean and went home to enjoy a few weeks of freedom. We made it to full-term! Feeling accomplished, I arrived at the hospital to give birth-–naturally. But the baby was transverse (instead of its head being down, its shoulder or back was down). Read the rest of this entry →