Saturday, May 31, 2008

A crazy mofo of a month

May, a aonth in which life continues in a pace that makes the 4 minute mile looks like a snail's napping pace. This month I attended my first local conference that required me to be out of the house from 6 am to 10 pm. Jason and Fenner met me at a local coffee shop every 3-5 hours for snuggling and snacking.

Monday night J has a writing class and our friends Miko and Cathy looked after Fenner for close to 3.5 hours. Fenner had never been without both J and I for that long before. Miko is a baby whisperer and kept Fenner having fun pretty much the whole time.

We also discovered that Fenner would drink breast milk from a sippy cup providing she was sure I was far far away. This is a freeing development for Jason who proceeded to use this power at Movies for Mommies to watch the new Indiana Jones movie.
I remember the months that leaving the house required layers of layers of clothes for both Fenner and I. This weather makes my head dizzy with the ease of leaving the house. We go out every day after dinner for at least an hour to give J some time to recover from the day - she and I go rollerblading or just walking through the neighborhood.
She is still as bald as bald can be - it's a bit of a hazard if you're not wearing eye protection.
She loooooooves to swing. Not too high right away but man she loves to warm up to height and speed.She's crawling. I have very mixed feelings about this - she looks far too small to be crawling across the room and certainly too small to be crawling towards the stairs and various types wiring. This is a picture of her crawling towards me after loving a skein of Noro silk to the point of purchase. Darn ;c)
We took about 3 weeks off of solid food eating - it was no fun and a lot of work to try and trick her into opening her mouth. The turning point was when she was smiling with her mouth closed at the dinner table so that we wouldn't stick anything in it.
We tried it again last week and she is TOTALLY INTO IT. Opens her mouth for the spoon, leans into the meal and it totally rocks - she eats everything! We eat together at all meals both in the house and out. She'll have a side of avocado when we go out for brunch, pureed sweet potato at Gio Ranna's for dinner, melon, banana, water melon rind. So far there isn't anything that she's rejected.
Hope springs eternal that she's an eater. I loves me a kid that'll eat it all.
Thank you all for your stories, emails and comments. I can't help but feel like maybe these "emergency c-sections" wouldn't be as common as they are if maybe people laid of the 'induction' of women and babies that show absolutely no signs of stress.

One finished object out of a few - The Ostrich Plume Baby Bonnet from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders bought at the Purple Purl, out of a Rowan Cashmere/wool blend that was gifted to me by Amy Singer. The ribbon is from Lettuce Knit. It's far to small for Fenner's large noggin but there is a special new baby for whom this was knit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Part II. Pop!

I'm home alone for the first time in weeks - let's finish this chapter shall we? Then we can get on with the finished objects and the fun antics of my current life. Like the cottage.
I'd like to preface this part with a fun fact about me. I have never been in a hospital as a patient in my life. I've advocated for patients, and I know how important it is for patients to have strong/diplomatic advocates but I have never been a patient....and apparently I'm very bad at it.

When last we met I was in Labour. It was hard it was fast - the resident offered me an epidural or to rupture my membranes within minutes of the second dose of progestoglandin and I not so nicely declined. Things started to happen that in retrospect should have warned me that I may have been in trouble. An IV got inserted, I must have consented but I can't remember why I would have it was so cumbersome and distracting. The fetal monitor really made me angry because it dug into my belly every contraction - I negotiated with the midwife that if I went to the bathroom she would remove it and the IV.

The fact I "negotiated" didn't register until....5 minutes ago actually.

The IV didn't get removed and I remember it being in my way. I started to throw up in the bathroom. I was exhausted and called for the epidural, I was at 5 cm, my water broke. Right as they were inserting the epidural I asked if it was 'un-doable' and my midwife said no. At that point all of my instincts told me to stop it and I didn't.

Fenner reacted immediately to the first dose, her heart rate stopped recovering so well from the contractions. To this day that child has been very clear about what she digs and what she doesn't dig. I wonder how many emergency C-Sections are done - not because "The baby's head was too big" but because of a poor reaction to a narcotic that is used IN OVER 90% OF MT. SINAI DELIVERIES. There are stats for other hospitals but I don't want to get ramped up right now.

Jason had to wait in the hallway while they prepped me. I made them put music on because the O.R was the worst place I'd ever been. Johnny Cash was what she was pulled out to. No signs of meconium, stress or being fucking post-dates. At this point, I heard my instincts - we had been had.

Jason called her sex before anyone else did and when they finally gave her to Jason he did not let her go. He done good. They tried to put her in a bassinet away from me but he wouldn't let them. She was on my numb breast 15 minutes later, latched like an angel and never left my side until we checked out.

The point that I knew there was a distinct over familiarity with the effects of epidurals was when I said to my midwife that that fucking epidural was the worst thing I've ever done and she patted my hand and said "There, there, I'm sure that your placenta just deteriorated - I just forgot to ask to see it to be sure."

The placating went poorly. If my placenta had deteriorated why was there amniotic fluid everywhere? My cup was overflowing while they were flipping me back and forth trying to get Fenner back in the game - scaring the shit out of me.

Folks keep asking me why I'm so upset - wasn't she worth it? Fenner is amazing, every day she teaches me something about myself and the wider world. I'm not upset with my super-fantastique daughter but with my inability to have protected us against the unnecessary.

At no point did she or I have any signs of medical distress or she fetal distress. Not a single sign. It is this knowledge that keeps me awake at night. That I knew we were all healthy, that I understood the risks and still consented.

My trauma over her birth is not a rejection or a criticism of her but my own inability to check out of the impending train wreck. I am seeking help to process this experience from a therapist who specializes in medical post traumatic stress disorder. I think I'm not alone if there are specialists for this sort of trauma.

In other news, c-sections are shit to recover from. Shit. And I'm done. Stay tuned for less angst and 100% more knitting and fun.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Taking a minute to enjoy the little things.

Just to take a break from the healing process - as if we needed another reason to love Tom Waits.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Fenner's Birth Story Part I or Tripping the light fantastic down the cascade of intervention

It's been just over 6 months since Fenner joined us and I've been trying to write her birth story for about that long. Shit. I can't even talk about it without losing my breath and feeling a great weight of panic sitting on my chest. It keeps me awake at night still.

Luckily we sleep together and the smell of her head is the smell of all things good and right in life.
(photo courtesy of Michelle)
When she was just under 2 months old one of my oldest friends Sarah came to visit from Vancouver. We were on a walk and talking about the funny turns life takes, her burgeoning career as a therapist and mine as a mother and project manager.

The subject of Fenner's birth story came up and I mentioned how I was trying to write a story that wasn't full of bitterness, disempowerment and anger. That her birth story is rife with pushed timelines, feeling cornered and how I didn't want Fenner to know that it was awful. She encouraged me to write about it truthfully and it might help the healing.

This is the story of the Cascade of Intervention which I knew all about and could not stop.

I started out with a midwife and a homebirth plan - which ended with 8 OBs, 2 Residents, two midwives and our student, who, had been a practising OB in China (which presented it's challenges in advocacy when push came to shove, pun intended).

Knowing that none of us can really induce labour unless Le Bun is ready to join us, at the estimated week forty I started getting antsy and taking course of homeopathics that might gently convince her to come and play. Baths with Clary Sage oil, sex, spicy food, long walks, sex, raspberry leaf tea, walks, nipple twiddling. As week 42 got closer I got more desperate - the College of Midwives doesn't recommend homebirths that far post dates (their words not mine).

We started getting bio-physical profiles done every 2.5 days, knowing that if we didn't have proof the baby was healthy we'd have bogeys all over us.

I was having contractions at night but they'd chill out during the day, which felt a lot like a Hitchcock psycho-drama. Once 42 weeks ticked by we had to start consulting with OBs - my vagina became the pie in which many fingers got put. A kitchen with many chefs.

42 weeks and 1 day:
1 dose Progestoglandin (2 would have been too much) and so,
1 Folie Catheter which required me to be hospitalized and I spent 5 hours having intense and unproductive, unorganized contractions.

42 weeks and 2 days:
6 hrs later we were moved from the Labour and Deliver floor to the high risk floor

12 hours later - The midwife came with a confession that judging by the ultrasounds we were off our dates by 6 days, unfortunately obstetric "business practise" is that the dates on your file will not get changed unless the ultrasound is off by 10 days or more. We continue to have to convince OB's daily that we are sane, normal and healthy people that don't want a c-section.

I hate the fucking catheter and haven't slept in a day in a half - A nurse comes in to our room and suggests we have sex or twiddle my nipples. I start riding the razor's edge.

At 42 weeks and 3 days:
The catheter was removed and the Cervidill(pickle) was inserted. I am still not allowed to leave the hospital and go home. Jason and I break out - they don't serve caffeinated coffee to women on this floor. It's a special kind of hell. We go to Tim Horton's - it is hot and sunny outside. Jason tells me that he was amazed at just how many tools got put in me when they inserted the catheter. I get woozy.

14 hrs later at 6 am we were woken up and told that we had to move back to LD because they needed our bed - I lose my shit. The nurse watches Jason pack me up and says: Make sure you get some rest - you'll need it. I believe I actually said "fuck you you fucking crazy motherfuckers". Jason tapes a sign to our new room telling everyone to leave us alone unless it's an emergency.

I page the midwife, see the OB, get everything removed (I can't believe I had to write that) and get the hell out of dodge. In the cab on the way home I call my masseuse who cancels her afternoon appointment - I went home had a clary sage bath, went for a swedish and then for a shiatsu "induction" massage. I was a wreck.

At this point I turned to Jason and said that this was the first of many battles we were going to have to go to for our child and we were losing. We were hitting so many deadlines all set by other people that I couldn't even see straight. The OB's were starting to use terms like "scheduled c-section", the nurses were talking about what they were going to do with us and the other patients were telling us they were in for their c-sections because their arches had fallen or they had a hang nail or something.

We spend the next 36 hours in the land of the living. I got massaged, went to Lettuce Knit where I proceeded to by 8 skeins of orange misti alpaca - sleeping, walking, twiddling my nipples and knitting.

42 weeks and 6 days:
1 more dose of progestoglandin gel. Before they give me the 2nd dose we have our daily consult with the OB on deck. Dr. Seaward who refuses to meet with us and tells our midwife to tell us that we can have our section before or after midnight - he sends his resident to deliver the second dose of gel.

Predictably, like my impotent and exhausted rage, labour comes fast and hard. I could spend hours finessing this half of the story but I just had to get it out of my head. There are a number of lessons to be learned from this story - a lot of them having to do with unquestioning faith in healthcare providers. We'll take a look at that tomorrow (or the day after I make no promises)

Before I sign off - here's a moment from my day. A sweet something before bed: