Thursday, March 18, 2010

How To: Round 1

We had our first birth class on Tuesday night. I was absolutely freaked out about it because there was talk of birth art and belly casting and I was afraid it was going to be way too open for my tastes. I had an image of walking into the birthing center and being told to leave my clothes at the door. Thankfully, that was not the case.

Jonathan and I were the only ones who showed up for the class so we had a private tutorial/therapy session with the midwife. It was great spending a solid hour and a half with this midwife since she will be doing our postpartum care and this was our first chance to meet her. However, our classes are supposed to be six weeks long and I don't know if there is enough material to cover that amount of time with only Jonathan and I in the class. We refused to draw our feelings about birth, or our ideas of what birth would look like, so we knocked this first session down to an hour and a half, instead of two. Since we are paying for the class we figure we can refuse whatever activities we don't want to participate in and tailor everything to our needs.

We did get some good information from the session, but I also learned about all the things a person can do with their placenta. You can eat it. You can somehow have it turned into a powder, freeze it, and take it medicinally for hormone issues when you hit menopause. You can bury it in the ground and plant a tree or rosebush over it. You can leave it attached to the baby (this is called a lotus birth), wrap it in a diaper and receiving blanket, and leave it alone until the umbilical cord falls off. Or they can pop it in the freezer at the birth center and donate it for research. We immediately chose the donate it to science option. There is no way I am freezing my dried placenta for 25+ years and then taking it medicinally. And the eating it is just too strange for me to contemplate. Although, I did learn how to prepare placenta in case I change my mind. You just cut it up and treat it like meat. Toss in some onions, spices and fry it up. Yummy.

On the positive side of things we were able to have a good conversation about birth fears and expectations. At this point, I feel excited about the birth. I know all the midwives really well, I'm happy I won't be in a hospital, and I feel like it's going to be a really good experience. I had a really hard time choosing to go with a birthing center, but I am so glad I decided to do it.

I'm probably most looking forward to the time after the birth. Our little girl will be here (!) and we get pampered as long as we stay at the birthing center. Or at least I do. We get to fill out a meal preference card and the postpartum midwives will cook all the meals for us. We can watch movies, or read, or just hang out and bond as a family in the big bed they provide for each room. And if we decide to stay for 48 hours, which we probably will, I can have an herbal bath and massage!! I'm afraid I may not want to leave the birthing center.

As usual, Bella Vie has come through for me. Every now and then I get a little wary of how progressive things are there, but I always get the best quality of care and the midwives are great about respecting the individual.

The midwife teaching the class said she was going to call some other couples and see if they wanted to join. Things may be very different when we go in next Tuesday. I'm still not sure if I'm going to do the belly casting, but I have time to decide. I will definitely pass on it if other people join the class since you have to be in a bra and underwear. I was raised as a Baptist; we keep our clothes on in front of other people.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Seeking Perfection

I've spent the past four weeks trying to get the stars to align so I can see a new endocrinologist. My old doctor took off for Indiana with barely two months notice and left me to the mercy of the doctors who took over his practice. I have yet to meet these new doctors, but I've already decided I don't want to be their patient. I thought it was the perfect time to find a new doctor here in Salem. However, it is dang near impossible to switch doctors, even when you've already been diagnosed with the problem you're trying to be seen for.

Today I lost my mind, and almost my manners, when the receptionist at the new office informed me they had yet to see a referral or chart notes for me. She told me they would be in touch when they had the proper information and I proceeded to cry. My midwife gave me a referral in early February. I faxed the stupid thing in myself and yet they still cannot find it. And trying to get my chart notes from the old office has been like pulling teeth. Bursting into tears at inappropriate moments has been happening far too often for my liking lately. I'm sure it's the pregnancy hormones, but I'm still feeling a bit crazed. And wailing to the receptionist about being in the third trimester of my pregnancy and needing a thyroid workup yesterday did not help me feel any less crazed.

The receptionist then informed me I would have to call my general practitioner, not my midwife, and he could request that I be seen right away. Well, the problem with that is that I haven't been in to see the GP for a long time and he wants an appointment before he will give me a referral. Add to this the fact that Jonathan is in the middle of switching jobs and insurance companies and I'm about ready to try to draw the blood myself. I finally got it worked out where I can get a blood draw here in Salem next week, they will send the results to the old office, and if I must I will drag myself to Portland to see those doctors. Only problem is - I don't know if the new insurance will cover the doctors in Portland! (I do realize I have a fairly easy life if this is all I have to complain about, but I still need to rant about it a bit.)

After my morning of fun I went to the dentist's office where I was informed that pregnancy hormones are wreaking havoc on my gums. I had to have an irrigation done, which I do not recommend at all. It was very wet and unpleasant and slightly painful at times. I've never had to be wrapped in towels at the dentist's before. I thought the hygienist was kidding when she said it was like being in a car wash and I may get a free facial out of the deal.

So all in all, not a great morning. But at least my dentist is nice! She has a wonderful office overlooking a river and even though she was running behind she went outside right before my appointment and filled up the bird feeders so I would have something to look at while they were cleaning my teeth. Since I'm pregnant they let me sit up for most of the appointment and they talked me through everything which is essential if I am going to make it without drugs.

I love my dentist (I never thought that would happen!) and I love my midwives. Maybe it's too much to ask for a good endocrinologist as well? I absolutely have to see an endocrinologist in June. Maybe by then this new place in Salem will have my referral, my chart notes, and an opening.

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