My thoughts on childbirth

January 21, 2012

So I haven’t posted on here in about a million years. That is the joys of having a full time job and a 1-year old, then 2-year old, and now 3-year old! But I have now been on maternity leave for a month, with baby #2 (a boy) due on January 24th. With his impending birth – any day, hour, minute now, I find myself thinking about the act of childbirth a lot.

With Penny, the maternity clinic I was being seen at was a low-risk obstetrics unit. There were 9 doctors there and you would see any one of them for your appointments, because you didn’t know who was going to be on call when you went into labour. They were all great doctors, to the best of my memory. But they just sort of rushed you through your appointments and made it a routine instead of personalizing it. Anyway, I ended up at a different hospital and not dealing with anyone familiar from the maternity clinic so it didn’t matter. The clinic I am at this time is the same setup with 4 doctors. One is also on maternity leave, being due the same day as me (but with a significantly smaller stomach than me). I have only seen 2 of the doctors, including the one now on mat leave, so chances are I won’t know the doctor who delivers this baby. Even still, I have had much better feelings about this clinic and the ability to have this birth go the way I’d like it to.

First of all, I do NOT want a cesarean section unless it is to save one of our lives. A c-section is major surgery, with considerable recovery time, nevermind the risks of having any surgery at all. I know it happens to other women all the time, but how am I supposed to take care of an active 3-year old and a newborn with a huge gash in my stomach? How am I supposed to be as independent when I’m not allowed to drive for 6 weeks? These are limitations to my life that I’m not willing to impose simply because my birth isn’t quite progressing the way the doctor would like. With Penny, the doctor threatened a c-section at the end because I was ‘getting tired.’ But honestly, when I look back at the birth now, there were a number of factors that contributed to ‘nothing happening’ and none of them were about me being tired. I had an epidural, which completely masked the contractions. I had no concept of when to push, except for the nurse telling me. And because I couldn’t feel anything from the waist down, I had no idea how hard I was pushing. Now it feels like I was barely pushing at all and I could have made much more of an effort. We also figured out just before Penny was born that my contractions would get stronger/longer if I laid on my side. As soon as I realized that, more then 24 hours before, I should have purposely laid on my side to get the birth moving. But in my fear of the pain, I would immediately move to my back again, effectively stalling the contractions.

Pain management is not an issue for me. I’ll go as long as I can without intervening pain management, because it allows me to respond more accurately to my own body’s needs. I can do morphine. I can do laughing gas, although last time I would almost pass out from using it and would have to switch to oxygen really quickly. And I won’t say no to an epidural, but this time I’d prefer a walking epidural if I need one at all.

What I have been thinking about the last few days is my desire to not be induced. I didn’t want to be induced with Penny, but was told that as soon as I declined being induced I was no longer a low-risk patient and couldn’t go to my clinic anymore. There are times when an induction is needed for health reasons, but I believe the majority of the time it is not required. Did you know that the pitocin they pump into you is hundreds of times higher than what your body produces naturally during labour? This places extra strain on your body, and in turn on your baby’s body. They increase the amount of pitocin so rapidly that your body does not have time to naturally adjust to the pain levels and the things it is making your body do. The number of interventions (forcep extractions, vacuum extractions, c-sections) required when you are induced are ridiculously higher. When I was pregnant with Penny, I did all the research on this and had the numbers – now I can’t be bothered to go find them again for you.

What reason do they have for inducing? Based on the date you give the doctor for your last menstrual cycle, they count 280 days and that is your ‘due date.’ But we’re not machines! Not everyone is the same. We have different length menstrual cycles, we have different bodies, we have different factors affecting our births. If you buy 2 bunches of bananas from 2 different stores, they’re going to ripen at slightly different times. If you bake a loaf of bread in Calgary, and use the same recipe and steps to bake a loaf of bread in Victoria, the loaves will be different. Nevermind that! If you use the same recipe and steps to bake a loaf of bread on a bright sunny day versus a rainy day, the loaves will be different. Our bodies ‘ripen’ to birth at different times and in different ways. I don’t think a doctor can say that you need to be induced on a specific date, because your body just isn’t quite ready yet. The oven timer hasn’t dinged yet!

When you allow your body the extra time to prepare, if it happens to be 42 weeks or 43 weeks (I’ve even heard of 44 weeks!), I believe your body knows what it is doing. I believe your joints loosen more, the ligaments stretch more. Your baby will obviously be bigger, but this is what our bodies are meant to do and they know how to do it. Women birthed big babies before medical interventions came along. I realize there were more deaths of both moms and babies back then, but that is where the medical community comes in now. They recognize these risks and should be there ‘in case’. But it is not their place to dictate that your pregnancy be 280 days long, with active labour lasting no longer than X hours because you might get too tired to push, and that the baby needs to be ripped from you if your labour doesn’t follow their text books. I’m going to talk to my doctor on Tuesday about not inducing and how they feel about it, but I am going to push to not be induced (Just a few more days, doc. Just a few more days!)


Where Have I Been?

September 23, 2010

You might have noticed my lack of online involvement lately. Or you might not have. But some people are starting to wonder (Joie). So it sounds like it’s time for an update.

For my online friends, you know I went back to work in December. I was working 1-8pm and I spent my mornings sleeping in, then hanging out with the Penny-munchkin. When I got home at night, I spent a bit of time with Court before we crawled into bed to do it all again the next day. That schedule wasn’t bad, but it sure didn’t account for LIFE. I didn’t spend alot of time with Court. Not alot got done around the house. And I was feeling useless at work because I was part dayshift, part nightshift. Not to mention no interweb time.

Finally in July my schedule changed to days. I’m working 10-5 now and have more time to get things done. But I’m sick of spending that free time sitting around at home. Back in March, we fostered a dog rescued from Mexico from Pawsitive Match Rescue. Poor Spudnik! He was scared, and in a whole new world. He had been abused at some point. The vet found bullet shards riddling his torso. He’s gone to a new home now, with wonderful adopters. But he ate our new couch and wrecked our blinds in our new house before he did go. Now Court says no to foster dogs. I get that, and I don’t begrudge him for it. But I still want to help the dogs.

I spend alot of my time helping them now. I do airport runs – which are meeting travelers at the airport after they’ve cleared customs with a couple crates of dogs. Then we take all the dogs outside for a potty break, and send them home with either their fosters or adopters. I do supply runs all over the city – picking up and dropping off whatever needs transporting. I even got a magnet for the back of my van that’s a pawprint with “Rescue Dog Transport Vehicle” on it! Oh yeah, I upgraded to a minivan from my wee little Neon! I couldn’t fit Court, Penny and I in there, let alone dog crates! Now I can do all sorts of transporting.

I’ve been wanting to do more of the computer related tasks though, and have recently started helping with medical requisitions, tracking medical papers, mailing out the records to adopters, activating the 6 weeks of free pet insurance, updating the website, posting on their facebook page AND running their twitter account!

I try to help find fosters for dogs coming in, and I answer any questions that people have. I help out at adoptathon events (speaking of which, we have one at the Blackfoot Farmers Market this Saturday, Sept. 25, so come visit the dogs!), go to meetings, drive dogs around for fosters who don’t drive, and sneak in the occasional supply run for Pound Rescue as well.

So now you know where I’ve been. And while you’re here reading about it, check out Pawsitive Match.

We have something like 42 dogs coming in this week needing fosters. Sorry for some of the bad photos – it’s all we have so far. If you’ve ever thought about fostering, now is the time. Or if you’ve never thought about fostering, ask me about it. It doesn’t cost you anything, and judging by everyone’s reactions to Spudnik most dogs don’t act like he did. They just need a home to stay in until we can find them an adopter. Most dogs¬†stay 2 weeks to 2 months.

Of course, you’re always welcome to adopt one of these beauties (or any of the other ones that aren’t on here).

(Edited to take out the dogs needing fosters because they’re outdated and eating bandwidth)


Wok Box Kid’s Meal Is Not Worth It

July 24, 2010

It’s hot here today. Heat makes us lazy. OK, admittedly we’re lazy with the heat or not. But we’re super lazy tonight, so we ordered delivery from Wok Box. We’ve been to their restaurant location a few times, but this is the first time we’ve ordered delivery. The meals that Court and I have had have been great. It’s amazing to watch their cooks prepare all the different types of food. They serve a variety of Asian dishes from Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Mongolia in a quasi-fast food setting. You order at one of the counter, get a number and pick up your dish from the other end. Find yourself a seat and enjoy. My favorite dish is the Singapore Cashew with chicken. It’s on the spicy side but I like most of the vegetables (and I’m picky about some Asian vegetables), and I can sort of handle it. I was hungry tonight and I thought Penny would be pretty hungry too, so rather than share, I ordered Penny her own kid’s meal – Jungle Noodles. This is how their website and their menu describes Jungle Noodles:

Veggies tossed with chow mein noodles served with stirfry sauce.

Sounds somewhat appetizing for a child, albeit lacking in the protein department. Sounds like fun too, because an 18 month old can have alot of fun with noodles. But this? This is what we got:

Yes, that is one VERY lonely strip of carrot you see in the middle. And that was pretty well the extent of the “vegetables.” That, plus a 200 mL juice box cost me a whopping $3.99. I could have bought a 8 pack of juice boxes and cooked Penny a pack of ramen noodles for less than that.

Needless to say, I’m really disappointed with Wok Box and am rethinking spending our money there.



July 15, 2010

I just saw an old employer of mine advertising an organization that matches disabled persons with jobs. It made me think, why aren’t there more jobs for people with disabilities? I mean, how hard is it? It could be as simple as adding a note to your job posting that your building is accessible. You need to be willing to conduct phone and/or video interviews for people with limited mobility. You could say point blank that you are willing to work with people with disabilities. It’s always going to depend on the impediment involved. You might need to purchase some speciailized equipment. You might need to look at specialized training. You’ll probably need to have an orientation session with your existing staff. But it can be done! If I was in any kind of hiring position, that’s what I’d be doing.


Brainwave of the Day

July 13, 2010

I saw a billboard today, something along the lines of “Join the fight to end bad driving.” It didn’t say ‘bad driving’ but it was something like that.

My brainwave? Change all of these “Join the fight to end ________” advertisements to “END the fight against __________” advertisements.

I don’t want to a join a fight, whether it’s to end cancer, MS, cerebral palsy, kidney disease, diabetes or anything else. However, I’d like to support the eradication of these diseases and illnesses. Stop them in their tracks and boot them out of our lives. No more pansy-fingertip-poking trying to shoo them out. Just drop kick them as hard and as far as we can.


My name is Nicole, and I don’t finish projects.

July 13, 2010

Even if you aren’t that kind of person yourself, I’m sure you know someone like me. I have a horrible habit of not finishing projects. I’m not too sure why, but maybe it’s in an effort to find hobbies that I like. There’s been many of these projects over the years:

  • a hooked rug with 4 dinosaurs that I started when I was about 8 years old
  • various knitting projects
  • cross stitching kits
  • sewing projects
  • soother straps I wanted to make to sell

Obviously I want to do some sort of craft but I have yet to find one I really like. The rug hooking was tedious, the knitting frustrating, the cross stitching needs to be perfect, the sewing was too hard, the soother straps too much work. I love the idea of knitting; to be able to while the time away and do something productive with my time. My nana was a knitter for as far back as I can remember

Obviously unfinished blog post


Today, I Celebrate

May 17, 2010

A year and a half ago, I didn’t know that women chose not to breastfeed. I thought if a women and child did not have a breastfeeding relationship it was because it wasn’t possible for one or the other. At the time, I chose to breastfeed as long as my baby and I were both willing and able to do so. Little did I know how much time I would spend snuggling Penny up to me – for sustenance, for ‘us’ time, for love.

I have never regretted breastfeeding, although at times I missed having my breasts belong to ME. At first, I spent so much time nursing Penny that I thought I did little else. Over time the frequency diminished until I went back to work in December. After a couple of weeks of struggling to nurse her every morning and every night, I cut out our evening session. We’ve both been happy to meet in my bed every morning before we start our day, and lie tummy to tummy while she suckled away. Her hands never stopped, always playing with the blankets, my bra, a toy, her toes, the dog or her daddy if he was home. But she knew what she wanted and her mouth never let go until she was done.

But that part of our relationship has come to a close. Over the last few days Penny has only nursed for a few seconds before rolling over and energetically starting her day. Today, she wouldn’t suck at all. So now, while I mourn the loss of that intimacy with her, I celebrate instead because my little girl is growing. I know that we will continue to find time for Mummy and Penny to snuggle, and I steal probably a thousand kisses from her in a day. I now get that half hour of morning back when we need it, and by golly my boobs belong to ME again! Well, and to Court too ;)