Friday, July 18, 2014

40 weeks Informed

 Today marks 40 weeks of being pregnant with this little one. I am sooooooo ready, and hoping and praying that my uterus will start contracting soon and he'll start making his way into the world. (tonight would be lovely....)
According to evidence-based maternity research, it's normal to have a due date that's off by 2 weeks. Unfortunately, It's also normal to go 2 weeks past your due date and go crazy! 
I'm hoping I don't have to wait too much longer, for the sake of my sanity, not so much for the baby, because I know that he's happily bobbing around in there sucking on his thumb and putting magnificent amounts of pressure on my well as growing strong and healthy brains and lungs.
But really, I feel peaceful at the moment. I have so many positive, supportive, and optimistic people in my life that are here to encourage me if I start to doubt myself. I appreciate the people in my life who take the time to educate themselves and trust the body's natural process of pregnancy and birth. There's so much misinformation and un-truth out there about birth that it gets uncomfortable to carry conversations with others I don't know well. I get a lot of people asking me when I am due. Then when I tell them I am 39/40 weeks along, I get,"Oh wow, my doctor never let me go that long." or ,"Oh wow, aren't you worried about having a big baby?" or, "Oh wow, I never wanted to go past 38 weeks so I opted to induce." 
 I don't personally get down about other's people's choices, or start to compare myself to them, but I do like my own voice to be heard. I want people to know why I make the choices I do--- Why I am standing here at 40 weeks pregnant without a doctor telling me what to do, allowing my baby to grow bigger and bigger, all whilst choosing not to induce.
Contrary to popular opinion, it's not just because it's the natural, organic choice of child-birth, but because it's actually been scientifically, evidence-based and proven to be safer, healthier, and overall better for mom and baby.  (I'm not a hippie!)

There's a great website called Improving Birth that talks all about evidence-based maternity care. According to the website, "Evidence-based care means practices that have been shown by the highest quality, most current medical evidence to be most beneficial to mothers and babies (reducing incidences of injuries, complications, and death)"
I think this is such a great resource for people looking for articles and facts about receiving optimal care in pregnancy and birth. The main message here is that women should be informed of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to whatever choices she has in her maternity care and/or labor and delivery, according to the most current medical research.

There are too many unfortunate stories of women being forced to do things they weren't informed of, and without their consent, and too often without their own knowledge and education. In an ideal world, pregnant and birthing mothers would receive evidence-based information from their doctors and the opportunity to make the best choices for themselves and their babies. We wouldn't have so much,"My doctor wouldn't let me do that,"and more,"I chose to do this because I knew it was right."
Women are taking the power back by educating themselves and choosing the best choices for the best outcomes, with or without their doctor's consent. 
I personally choose not to get induced because I know that it increases the risk of complications in birth, can cause fetal distress on baby and physical distress for me, and increases my chances of C-section. All of these things and more can be read on this sight here.
I was reminded of last year in Hilo when a friend of mine organized an Improving Birth rally outside of the Hilo hospital. It was a friendly, open opportunity to let the community know that they have options, plus encourage the hospital to make those options available to women. Moms who desire a VBAC in a hospital on this island have to fly to another island (Oahu) because of the lack of doctors who will 'let' mothers do VBACS. Yet, the complication rate is still very high causing many mothers and newborns to have to fly to Oahu anyways for incidences due to artificial induction! Talk about uninformed choice-the irony kills me! (You can see me hanging out back there under the canopy supporting the cause.)

So anyways, the point is that we have choices, or at least we should have choices, which is the whole idea behind fighting for them. One of the greatest choices I've been able to make is to birth my babies at home. I am so grateful for the freedom I've have to make this choice, and for the power to educate myself for optimal outcomes. I fully trust my body to do what it needs to do to bring this baby safely into the world. I think about the upcoming birth every single day and envision this little baby boy sliding right out of the birth canal. Well, first I envision him crowning his huge noggin up against my opening cervix while I cringe in pain, then I envision him sliding right out of the birth canal. (I never said home-birth was pain-free or easy, just that I prefer it over everything else. haha)
 The mommy friends I know of who have had complications arise during their homebirths, resulting in transfers to a hospital, are still grateful for the opportunities they each had to make that original choice to be able to labor according to their own evidence-based knowledge. Even though the experience wasn't ideal, the emotional outcomes were still positive because of the power of informed choice. (Not everything goes exactly how we want it to sometimes, but in the end the choices are still available, which is empowering in itself.) 

So here's to being 40 weeks pregnant, keeping positive, and believing in the power of the natural birth process. These are the things that are keeping me afloat right now as we wait for baby boy's arrival. 
(As I sit here I am having Braxton Hicks after Braxton Hicks, contracting, and loosening, over, and over. Please come soon!)

Til next time.

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