Tuesday, January 8, 2013

You Want Fries With That?

By the time you finish reading all this, you'll understand why I've chosen the musical number this go-round as Elvis Presley's rendition of "My Way" by Frank Sinatra.  I was going to go with old Blue Eyes himself, but it's Elvis's birthday, so he'll get the honor this time.

Long live the King!
Now back to your regularly scheduled blog...

I have recently decided to start looking into what all goes down during labor, as I have been hearing that one should not go into this blindly, and I am absolutely shocked by what I have found!  
Apparently it's not just this anymore!
I have never worked in a fast food restaurant, but I've been to quite a few, and after looking at the eight-page birthing menu I recently got a hold of, I think I now know where the fast-food gurus got their ideas on how to torture hungry people!

I know you must be crazy with curiosity about what I could possibly mean by a birthing menu, right?  Well... I've heard my mom's stories about childbirth back in the days when they didn't tell you anything about anything.  She has also told me her mom's stories from WAY back in the day when they didn't even tell you to push.  But nowadays?  Well now there are so many options it is like glaring down a Jack-in-the-Box menu while not knowing exactly what you're hungry for!

There's even an extension?  AHHHHH!!!
I mean seriously, who needs all those choices?  It's overwhelming!  And yes, this birthing menu is quite similar to the menu pictured above, I kid you not!  Minus all the pictures, thank goodness!

I should be honest and state that "menu" is not the word typically used.  The experts call it a "plan," but my non-expert self knows a menu when I see one.  I'm a bit of a foodie, so I know all about menus, don't think that the change in a single word will fool me.  I'm on to you, experts!

Anyways, for this entry I'm going to share with all you enthusiastic readers exactly what I'm talking about when referring to this birthing menu thingy.  I have downloaded four different ones from various websites in order to compile the most complete "menu" available.  I will be going over the finer points with you all so you can understand exactly why a new mother such as myself might feel a bit overwhelmed while going through the list of itemized choices.  I suggest you get comfy and maybe pour yourself a drink, cause you're going to need it!  And who knows, maybe this will help me clear my head.  Maybe, by the time we reach the end, I will have made a few decisions about how I would like my delivery to go.

This is me at this point!
First off, let's start with all the crap you need to think about before you even get to the labor stage.  See, it starts before you're even ready.  Only two of the four birth plans I downloaded address pre-labor concerns.  Basically, they want you to decide when and if you want to go into labor.  Huh?  Good question.  Apparently you can decide to go varying routes from inducing early to waiting up to 14 days past your due date before inducing if labor hasn't occurred naturally by then.  You can even request to have "no time restraints" on your pregnancy.  Sure, what's another month right?  Let's go ahead and see if you can go for a world record or something.  My mom was induced with me after I was stubbornly 11 days late, but the doctor didn't ask her permission, he simply said it was time to get me out of my cozy nook and into the world.  It was probably a good decision on his part because I'm already bad enough with the procrastination thing.  Any longer and I might have been a completely useless human being from the get-go.
Maybe
Along with all this inducing talk, one of the menus discusses vaginal exams.  Apparently you can tell your doc to stay the hell away from your hoo-hoo until your damn good and ready to be felt up...like after labor has kicked in.  Now I may be confused, but the way it reads is that you can opt out of all prenatal vaginal probes and decide just to have one once labor begins, and then only when you say it's okay.  I've gotten so used to the gynos sticking their fingers in there whenever they feel it is necessary that I never stopped to consider that I could say no.  I thought that was the whole point of going to see the doc in the first place.  But what do I know, this is my first time with all this baby making stuff.

Once you've decided on just how long you want to tote your tot around and just how many vaginal probes are necessary before someone buys you some flowers and chocolates, then you can finally relax and get down to the important stuff...actually giving birth.

First step, deciding on that whole induction thing.  Whether it is scheduled or a necessary procedure, if you have to go there, you have to make some choices.  Mainly, how you would like to be induced.  The choices are quite varied and I'm shocked at how little I knew (before now) about inducing.  I've heard of using Pitocin, that seems pretty standard from all the moms I have spoken with, but there are a world of other more natural means you can try first.  You can go simple and just try walking, which seems odd unless you've been on bed rest and haven't tried walking recently.  Or you may just want to go with some good ole herbs.  Not the smoking kind, so get your head out of the bong already!  Still not working?  Then hop or waddle right over to your neighborhood chiropractor and have him give it a whirl (I'm assuming they know what they're doing here as it gives no details as to the procedure to be used whilst there).  You can also try acupuncture, because needles accurately placed can usually cause some sort of reaction.
Sometimes you just need to know if they're paying attention!
None of these sound appetizing?  Then maybe you're the kind of girl who needs other types of "stimulation."  Into a little back door fun?  How about an enema?  I mean why not, you may want one anyway so you don't poop on the table during labor!  No? Too much?  Well then, how about good old fashioned intercourse while playing Tune in Tokyo?

Get it?
Yes ladies, sex and breast stimulation (mainly nipple action) can be just what you need!  But be careful, wouldn't want to get that enema mixed up in there.  Make sure you make it clear on your birth menu exactly which of these is kosher before arriving to the hospital, and that if you want both they are not to occur at the same time!  I wonder what the doctors would say if I requested the intercourse option, me being single and all...hmmmm, might be worth a good chuckle to find out.

If all these wonderful natural remedies fail, you can then try having the doc break your water, strip or rupture your membranes, apply prostagladin gel (say that three times fast), or go with the old standby and dose up on Pitocin.  In the end, I think I would just go with the Pitocin and make it easier on everybody involved!

So now you are finally in labor.  WHEW!  That took some work!  Since you'll be in this state for awhile, how would you like to handle the whole labor process?  There are lots of choices, so let's get going.

First off, before we even get to the atmospheric side of things, where do you want to pop the little one out?  At home, in a birthing room, in a shower, in a tub, in a pool?  How about on the top of a tall building, in a cab, at the local pizzeria, on a ferris wheel?  It's all up to you, and my oh my how things have changed.  Don't worry, some of those choices are not actually on the menu but I'm sure could be accommodated for if absolutely necessary.

This is the pimpest of the birthing tubs!
Now that you have the location, you'll need equipment.  Balls, beds, bean bag chairs, pools, stools, bars (yes, that one sounds good.  I'll have a martini!), cars, whips, chains, handcuffs, shake weight...wait, I'm off track again.  Needless to say, laying down on a bed in the standard hospital room is so passe.  It's the new millennium and creativity is key.

The pool looks way better than the stool!
Okay, so you've got the location and the tools needed, now on to the environmental aspect of the birth.  This is where the choices really start to shine.  I believe the old choices were in a shared room with another screaming soon-to-be mom and possibly strapped down to the bed.  There were bright lights and people running around willy-nilly, yanking you around without much thought to whether or not you were comfortable or had a clue as to what standard birthing procedure even was at the time.  Once again, things have changed.  Giving birth may be the only time you can actually act like a stuck-up celebrity when it comes to your choices in the environmental factors department.

You want the lights dimmed down and soft music playing?  You got it.  You want for people to only whisper, or even better, not utter a sound the entire time?  No problem.  You can choose to wear your own clothes instead of one of those hospital-issued ugly gowns, or you can just go bare-ass naked if you like.  You can watch TV, a movie or two, wear your iPod, or wear a head cam.  You can have pictures taken, or have it all recorded in perpetuity on digitally remastered 3-D film (well maybe not 3-D, but filmed none the less).  You can also request that you be allowed to eat and drink as you like, so bring on the lobster and Cristal!  Want midgets to entertain you?  I'm sure that can be handled, too.  How about a bowl full of blue M&Ms with the shells removed?  See, you can go all Hollywood if you really think about it and plan ahead!

Bring on the Lollipop Guild!
So here you are...your nipples have been stimulated, your beaver shaved (yes, they can do that too!), you're in a dimly lit birthing suite with dancing midgets, a bowl full of shell-removed M&Ms, squatting naked over your birthing stool listening to Vivaldi, wearing a head-cam, and eating bacon wrapped lobster while sipping on Cristal...now what?

Now you must decide on exactly how much pain you are willing to endure to get your wee one into the world.  Sounds like a simple task doesn't it.  HA!  Not even going with no painkillers is as simple as it seems.  Deciding whether you want drugs or not is just the first step.

If you choose to go all natural, then you have some options of other pain management techniques.  Let's do this alphabetically just for shits and giggles.  Acupressure, acupuncture (and you thought you were getting away from the needles), breathing (always a good idea), color therapy (WTF?), distraction (Look! Dancing midgets!), hypnotherapy (and afterwards every time the baby cries you cluck like a chicken!), massage (now we're talking), meditation (ohmmm), reflexology (there's a new one), visual imaging work (just imagine that your perineum isn't ripping in two and it'll all be okie-dokie), water therapy (supposedly baths and showers are uber helpful, who knew?).  Okay, I left one out because I was saving it for last.  There is this relatively new method of semi-natural pain relief called Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS.  It goes up there with those electronic ab workout devices for those who are too lazy to do sit-ups.

Is she about to do this on the living room floor?
If you say screw having all that pain and give me the drugs, then you have another list of methods available to you.  You can go with the standard epidural or the new and improved, I-just-want-to-feel-a-little-pain walking epidural (I'm really considering this one as I'm scared to go natural but still want to experience the birth as much as possible).  If you're more into just having a big ole shitty grin on your face the whole time, maybe you should try narcotics.  Oh yes, they can hook you right up to an IV full of the best dope labor can buy.  It may get your baby high, but at least you're not screaming like a banshee and trying to yank the nut sack off the closest male specimen in the room!  Also listed on the menu are tranquilizers.  I'm not sure exactly what kind, but it's listed separate from narcotics...wonder if you can get both?
Too soon?
Now that you're all relaxed (or doped the hell up) and ready to push your little one into the world, exactly what position would you like to be in to make the experience more enjoyable for yourself?  You could just lie there if you like, but come on, live a little!  How about doing this standing up?  You may need a net for when the little one slips free, but it could be interesting.  Or you could squat, this a tried and true position  used for countless generations of women forced to give birth out in the wild.  You can lie on your side, get on your hands and knees (no barking here no matter how high you are!), lean on a friend or partner, have people hold your legs in the air, do it with stirrups, or once again go for those stools, tubs, showers, bars (martini please!), chairs, etc.  I think hanging upside down on one of those inversion tables might be fun and really give the docs a run for their money.
Real women do it while tackling a bear! 
(aka, the Sarah Palin method?)
Look at you go girl, you are finally in the home stretch, literally!  Oh but wait, there's a slight complication.  Apparently your asshole is really in the way.  We're going to need to take care of that by way of conjoining it with your vagina...yep, it's episiotomy time!  If you are squeamish, then you may want to look away for a second...
It's so God-awful I had to steal a photo!
Okay, that's the tamest photo I could find.  I could post an actual photo of the procedure, but it might make some people ill.  And believe it or not, you can choose to have this procedure done with absolutely no pain medication whatsoever!  But don't rely on your dancing midgets to get you through it, because they all just ran screaming and retching from the room.  Of course, you can choose not to have the episiotomy and just settle for tearing everything naturally. But all that isn't the worst.  If you actually have to go from here to an emergency C-section, you can opt to have that sans pain medication, too.  Yeah, some women must be completely off their rockers!

Okay, back to the pleasant thought of your baby almost being here.  You're now in the last stages of pushing, do you want to push whenever the hell you feel the urge or do you need to be prompted?  If you went for the higher dose on the pain meds, you may want someone playing the red light-green light game with you as you might not feel enough to know when you need to be pushing.   Regardless of how and when you do the pushing, eventually the head is going to crown (unless you have to do a C-section).  Once again, it's decision time.  Do you want to watch it all go down in the mirror?  (I'm probably going to go with this but skip the episiotomy watching if that occurs)  You can also choose to touch the head as it crowns, yank the little sucker out yourself, or have your partner or other bloody-bath invitee strap on their mitt and catch the baby for themselves.  Hopefully the little one will then slide right out and no forceps or vacuums will need to be brought in to help with the extraction!

Finally, there she is.  Your little one is here at last.  Just a few more decisions to make and you can hopefully relax.  Do you want to suction the baby yourself or have your partner do it?  Do you want to hold your baby before or after she is all cleaned up, suctioned, weighed, ointmented, eye dropped, etc?  Do you want to breastfeed immediately?  (I'm definitely going to breastfeed the moment after she is born before the clean-up, at least this much I'm sure of, as it solidifies the bond between mother and child).   Speaking of holding the baby, there is actually an option to never hold them at all...yikes!  I'm assuming this is for mothers that maybe are giving their baby up for adoption?  Otherwise I can see no reason this would ever be considered as an option.

What about the umbilical cord?  You can immediately cut it yourself or once again have a special someone do it and/or you can leave it in tact until it stops pulsating and then snip it.
Or snip it during the free fall?
You can then bank it or donate it if you so choose. I will be banking mine.  And what about the placenta?  Deliver spontaneously or induce it?  Once again, your choice.  You can also choose to see it or not before it gets discarded.  To be completely honest, we're a bunch of Pagans and would like to keep the placenta so that we may bury it under a fruit tree in keeping with a long standing Pagan tradition.  I'm not sure how modern medicine looks upon this, but I will be discussing it with my doctor.  This may freak the doc out a bit, but surely no more than the hoard of dancing midgets.

At last the birthing process is complete and now you can relax and enjoy your little one.  Oh geez, more questions?  Seriously?  Do you want to give the baby her first bath or let the nurses to handle it?   Do you want her in the room with you at all times or in the nursery?  Can she have a pacifier?  Can she have a bottle?  If she does not take to the breast right away would you prefer no bottle but instead try finger feeding?  What the hell is finger feeding?  Immunizations or no immunizations? Vitamin K or no Vitamin K?  PKU testing or not?  How long would you like to stay in the hospital?  Do you want guests to visit? How many at a time?  Is there anyone in particular who deems calling security if they show up?  Would you like to fill out another questionnaire or two? Would you like to donate your first born to the hungry dingos in Australia?

And to finally wrap it all up....

Would you like some Percoset or other pain medication after delivery?  YES!!!!  And make it a double!!!

Better not make me ask this afterwards!
So you see, the entire birthing process is just not as simple as one would think.  I would venture to say that it very well could be on the verge of getting out of hand!  I had no idea that there would be so many questions to answer regarding the birth of my daughter.  I guess if she was not my first I wouldn't see it as overwhelming.  I know having all these choices is to make the birthing process more comfortable for all involved.  I know it's all now geared toward focusing on the mother and child and no longer treating pregnancy as an illness, but really?  Is a 8-page list of options really all that necessary?  Is there a shorter form for us first-timers by chance?

My wants are quite simple...

I want to be in a private birthing suite where I'm allowed to have visitors.  I want my mom present for all of it as she is my acting surrogate fahter.  I want to hold off on drugs as long as I can and then move to a walking epidural.  If that doesn't cut it and I freak out, then give me the standard one.  Soft lighting would be nice and so would the ability to walk around as needed.  I want lots of laughter because laughter is the best drug of all. I can handle anything as long as my sense of humor is maintained.  As for the actual birth, I want to watch.  I want an episiotomy with pain killers if necessary.  And number one on my list, I DO NOT WANT A C-SECTION!  No matter how long it takes, I want to have a vaginal birth.  Unless it is an absolute, the baby or I are in dire straits situation, the option of a C-section is not on the table.  I think too often doctors jump right into this option if the birth is taking too long for some reason.  I don't care if it takes me two days, I want to have a regular birth.  I want to breastfeed my baby as soon as she is born, we can clean her up later.  I want her in the room with me at all times, preferably with as much contact as humanly possible.  I want us to bond from the second she takes her first breath, anything less is not an option.

I want this immediately!
And I want to go home as soon as possible.  Hospitals are not on my list of favorite places, so give me my painkillers and let me go on my way.  And I'm taking the dancing midgets with me!

I don't know about the rest of you, but just reading about this whole birthing process is exhausting.  The sad thing is, I didn't even go over every little thing on the menus.  In all honesty, I left off quite a bit.  It would have taken me days to discuss every point!  Speaking of days, I think it's about time for me to call it one.  Before I go, two quick thing...

1) Don't forget to follow Piper and I on Facebook
2) Vote for me on Top Baby Blogs if you get the notion!

Top Baby, Daddy & Mommy Blogs on TopBabyBlogs.Com

And last but not least.....

You want fries with that?



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