Friday, September 25, 2009

Tim McGraw & Your Banned From Baby Showers Moments

My life has been so busy -- who isn't, right? -- but every now and then, I'll find myself thinking, "This would be so great to put on the blog." There are many topics that I have written in my head, but just have not sat down to write.

If I may, I would love to tell you some of the totally unrelated things that have been happening in my life. Those of you that know me will appreciate this, and may already know all about it!

As I mention in my paragraph about the blog, I am an enthusiastic member of the Tim McGraw fanclub. I've been a member for almost 10 years, seen him 9 times live, done a Tim McGraw Cruise, etc. Well, a few weeks ago, the fanclub members were told about a taping of "CMT Invitation Only: Tim McGraw" that would be recorded in Nashville. It was very hush-hush. Needless to say, I got an invitation and flew to Nashville 10 days later! I got to see Tim perform in a studio with 99 other people. I was one of the lucky people that got to sit front row, too. It really was a blast. I was so lucky to get to go do that. My husband is the most supportive guy ever. He was picking out my dress online when I found out I got an invite! It made the whole event that much more special, especially since I went all alone. (Actually, my aunt and uncle met me there and I was so lucky to have them all to myself, without my kids fighting for their attention.)

So if you have Dish Network, it will air on October 1. Otherwise, it will air on CMT on November 6. Exciting stuff. I, assuredly, will be the overly happy fan in the front row!

OK, on to birth stuff:

I have talked with so many people lately who have told me funny stories about conversations they have with people about birth and how they just have to keep their mouths shut. When I say, "You had a banned-from-baby-showers moment," they seem to be confused. Maybe I haven't been clear about why I really don't go to baby showers. I want to keep my friends. It's a simple decision. Either give information or zip it! Since baby showers and playgroups seems to be where I hear the most absurd birth stories or "my doctor said" stories, and I just cannot keep my mouth shut, I have to stay away. This way, I keep my friends. If they want information, they know where to find me.

So, I want to hear your banned-from-baby-showers moments. Did you speak up? Did you share your experiences? Did you want to, but didn't? Have you lost friends over birth and breastfeeding issues? I have. There are people that I simply cannot have this conversation with.

Feel free to vent! I am getting more tolerant in my "old" age (tonight someone guessed I was 28!), I like to think. I actually have read so much more material over the last year or two. It helps.

If you find yourself in these situations a lot, one of the most powerful suggestions you can make to a couple is that they look into midwifery care and why you chose to use a midwife. Birth Networks are sprouting up and are also a good place for couples to seek out evidence-based information.

I look forward to hearing your stories and how you handled these delicate situations.


Anonymous said...

Okay, well, I don't have anything really good off the top of my head (not that I don't have these moments ALL THE TIME, but not much stands out to me at the moment), but if no one else is sharing, I'll start. (By the way, please share, people! I want to hear what other people encounter and how they handle it!)

I always cringe at the conversation with *that* woman who is due in, like, 3 weeks, who is what I call "bumbling" into birth and has these great expectations of how it will be and how she will "go natural," or whatever.

I do not believe in luck, but what I invariably find myself saying to *that* woman is, "good luck," because that is all I feel I CAN say. The situation would have to be so perfect for it to just "work out" without any education, preparation or good support.

I refuse to be the "Yeah, right! You'll see!" woman that she's already run into, so all I can say is, "good luck," as kindly as possible. (And truthfully, my head shakes inside, knowing she doesn't have much chance of doing many of the things her fairy godmother whispers to her.)

Another difficult one is where I see the choices made and can spot the cesarean, etc. months ahead of time, but it would do no good to encourage a change of the current mode of operation, since it would be met with excuses, and likely elicit anger and disappointment in me for being such an unsupportive and naysaying person.

So, I stay silent. And they get the bells-and-whistles-birth/c-section/highly traumatic experience. And . . . I nod my head in understanding when I hear how it went. My views on birth haven't cost me friendships yet, but I believe it is only a matter of time.

I'm with you. I just can't talk about it with some (possibly most) people beyond the very basic stuff. As soon as I feel as though I'm turning into a nag, I know it's time to pull back and let it go and focus my energy in more helpful directions toward more open people. (S. C.)

Donna Ryan said...

I knew that was Sarah!!!

OK, CMT: Invitation Only Tim McGraw obviously did not show on the 1st, but it looks like it will be on Dish Network on Oct. 6. It's really all I can think about!

Emily said...

This post couldn't be better timing. I found myself in a situation just last Tuesday night. And I went straight to my blog and vented. But, after talking it over with my husband and mother, decided I should sleep on it and see if I felt better in the morning. Well, I didn't feel better in the morning, but I did go back and edit my original post to taking out the details of the situation seeing that my 'friend' reads my blog and just tried to stick with the facts.

Emily said...

So I'm going to copy/paste my original blog here that I DIDN'T publish that explains the situation and my feelings: (please excuse any typos and I am going to have to post it in multiple comments because they only allow so much per comment and apparently I really needed to vent, sorry)

"I really thought I was done talking about natural childbirth. I had said my peace, presented the facts and ended with words of encouragement. I am not one to push myself on anyone or make anyone feel awkward. I feel the need to get a few things off my mind. This posting is more for my sanity and personal 'head clearing'. If you are choosing to read this, which you are more than welcome to, know that this is not meant to be taken personal. I am going to share with you a situation I found myself in a few nights ago and I just need to reflect on it. I also am going to repeat and clarify some earlier postings I typed about the birthing process. It has come to my attention that in past postings that I may have offended people, which makes me want to immediately apologize for because that was in no way, shape or form my intention, so if you found yourself feeling that way, I am truly sorry. Here was the situation that I found myself in:

A few nights ago, I met up with a group of friends for nice little girls night out dinner. (now I know a few of the girls that were there are probably reading this right now and like with any re-telling of a story I might have seen and heard things differently than they had, but to be honest, this 'situation' seriously came out of no where, completely took me by surprise and I'm still trying to digest what all was said.) We were all chit-chatting like we normally do, talking about our kids, husbands, life in general. We started talking about having more kids and joked about how I would make the perfect surrogate mother. (we were joking girls, right?) Anyways, all of a sudden one of the girls got all fired up about my blog and my posts about natural child birth/inductions/epidurals. She said that she felt that I was judging her and that I thought that I was better than her because I had a unmedicated birth. I was shocked! The main issue that my friend brought up was the use of epidurals. And to be honest the only thing that she threw out for her side of the argument was that she had given birth twice, both with epidurals, everything turned out great and that she loved having her epidural and that she wouldn't change a thing about either one of her births. My response was that I was so thankful and happy that she didn't experience any complications and that she and her boys were all safe and healthy. And that is where she kind of lost me. Why was she getting all upset with me about that? Rewind for a second, while she was pregnant a year ago, I asked her if she would watch my copy of The Business of Being Born because I really wanted her to see it and I also wanted to hear her point of view of it knowing before hand that she was a fan of the epidural. She took it home, watched it, found the information interesting, but said that the epidural was just so nice to have last time, she didn't see the need to change it up (those probably weren't her exact words, but something like that). We both laughed and I said (jokingly) that I hoped that her labor was quick and that she wouldn't have time to get the epidural. And that was it, I didn't bring the subject up ever again and I just continued to pray for her along with a few other of my friends that were expecting. I don't know why she took my posts so personal. I mean I do, but I don't. I wasn't talking specifically to her in those posts, or really to anyone specifically. I was talking to us (mothers) as a group or at least I thought. And it wasn't like I was throwing out some non-sense opinion. I was making statements that were 100% backed up by facts. Why get upset with me? And why even assume me of judging or thinking that I was better for having a natural birth?

Emily said...

First of all, I have re-read those posts several times since then and no where did I state that anyone was better than anyone nor did I come off as judging anyone for any birth decision that they made. You can re-read yourself:

Pursuit For Better Birth
Dooce Did It, So Can You
Dooce Did It, Part 3

And if she (because I know she probably is reading this) or anyone else still thinks that, please copy and paste the parts and email me. I specifically gave details on how the birth process works and how everything has a purpose. I go on to only state facts about how inductions and epidurals have side effects and can lead to further complications. But most importantly, IN EVERY SINGLE POST I tell you that we (mothers) have choices and that no matter what choice you choose, we need to research and seek out the information/answers before we makes those choices that not only affect our health, but affect our babies health. I have only tried to encourage and support other mothers into making sure that they know that a natural, unmedicated birth is achievable and that it can be this wonderful, awesome, life changing experience. Too many women have this horrible idea/picture of what giving birth is like. With that being said, I want to also point out that if you do choose a natural, unmedicated birth it is very important that you surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people. I could not have had the birth experience I had without my mom, sisters, the encouragement from my aunts and of course my loving husband. And with Sloan's birth I had the addition of a doula. I would recommend hiring a doula to anyone that is planning on giving birth without medication.

I would also like to re-address just a few questions that came up this past week:
Are natural, unmedicated births the safest, healthiest type of birth? YES (I'm talking about healthy, normal pregnancies) The birth process itself is a natural occurrence, so why intervene when it's not necessary.
Are epidurals healthy? NO. Please tell me what is healthy or safe about pushing a large needle between two of your spinal vertebrae. Then injecting a synthetic man-made anesthetic that stops pain by blocking the pain messages sent to the spinal cord and brain by the nerves that come from your uterus and the lower half of your body. (The Whole Pregnancy Handbook, pg. 463)
Does this synthetic man-made anesthetic cross the placenta and into the blood stream of the baby? YES. How much and what effect these medications will have is difficult to judge and could vary based on dosage, how long labor continues and individual babies. Studies reveal that some babies may initially have trouble "latching on" among other difficulties with breastfeeding. While in utero, they may become lethargic and have trouble getting into position for delivery. These medications have been known to cause respiratory depression and decreased fetal heart rate in newborns. Though the medication may not harm the baby, the baby may experience subtle effects like those mentioned above. (American Pregnancy Association)
Another topic that was brought up was "what about all the women and babies that die during natural birth?" No one said the birth process is fool proof. I'm saying that an unmedicated natural birth (whether in a hospital, birthing center or at home) is the safest, healthiest type of birth for a woman who is having a healthy, normal pregnancy. And that having an epidural will not save anyone's life. It's a form of drug, not a surgery or miracle maker.

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily said...

Now you all are probably wondering how me and my friend ended things. We said that we were ok, but I don't think we were. I know once I got home and had time to really take in what had all happened, I felt like she kind of attacked me. I love sitting around talking about motherhood, breastfeeding and childbirth, but I would have much rather her come to me one on one and meet specifically to talk about whatever issues she had with me and my blog. I hated the fact that I left my husband and children in hopes of having a carefree enjoyable night and only coming home feeling exhausted and not knowing exactly what had hit me. I'm sure she feels better for getting all that out, but I don't agree in the time or place in which she did. Let's just say there hasn't been an apology directed my way. And not that I am expecting one, but I felt like she turned a night of friends/fellowship into a personal rant. I felt bad for the other girls at the table, who unsuccessfully tried to change the topic, which I did appreciate (funny fact is that out of the 5 us of that had given birth at the table, I was the only one who had a natural birth, 1 was an elective c-section, 1 was induced, and all 4 had epidurals. Thankfully only one of them wanted to argue/debate me). :) It made it very awkward for everyone. It seemed to appear that she had these thoughts and feeling all cooped up inside for awhile, seeing that my last post on such topic was on Aug. 5th. I would say she probably still disagrees with me and that is fine because it isn't me that she is disagreeing with, it is the facts that she is disagreeing with and well, that just doesn't make sense. She did say something about if she was to get pregnant again (she had previously stated that she thought she was done having children), she might be able to see my side of having a natural childbirth for spiritual reasons. In the conversation I mentioned how I felt that God had specifically designed our bodies to give birth. He didn't give us our reproductive organs because they are pretty to look at. :) They have a purpose. If you really think about it, He designed every microscopic detail of our bodies to procreate. All the organs that release hormones that react to the pain of childbirth.....EVERYTHING about the birthing process has a PURPOSE, that includes the pain. Genesis 3:16, To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children." Everybody can translate that differently, but I just feel in my heart that God made it painful for a reason. Not just because the fact that Adam and Eve sinned, but because it can teach us something about sacrifice. It teaches us peace and patience and most importantly, it is just one more event that we can turn to Him for strength and guidance. He gave us the gift of bearing children. And that is how I see it, as a gift. Something I don't take lightly. As a woman you have been given this gift to give life. How awesome is that? So I guess my bottom line is childbirth is a BIG DEAL, one that shouldn't be taken lightly. I encourage every mother/mother-to-be to treat this gift as special as it really is.

If you would like to research more information about all your birth options I would highly recommend The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer, Rhonda Wheeler. I like this book because it is not one sided. It shows the pros and the cons of ALL birth options.

WOW! I feel so much better for getting that out. Thanks for those who have taken the time to listen. And to my friend, I am totally open to having another talk. Not about childbirth in general, but to tie up any loose ends that may still be out there."

AGAIN....I did not post this because I knew she would take my personal post and get upset. (go figure) You can go to my blog and read what I actually ended up posting. We are suppose to talk on the phone this evening, so be praying for me.

Emily said...

Seriously, SO SORRY for my very long, multi-comments. WOW, maybe I am a little too passionate about natural birth. :)

Anonymous said...


As a woman who has had the epidural and willingly made that a part of her birth plan, I guess I think your friend probably feels insulted every time you discuss natural child birth because women like you make us feel like bad mothers and women. Perhaps your friend is well aware of the dangers of the epidural and has struggled on her own with the decision to use one and feels guilty enough...I know I did. It has been my experience that people who advocate natural child birth have the best of intentions but end up making women who don't fancy it feel like dirt and I don't think women and mothers should do that to each other. Perhaps your friend has just had enough of your silent judgment. I haven't had a "banned from baby showers" moment because I try not to force my opinion on people. But if I were to ever have one it would be to tell people like you to get over yourselves. Its great that you can do it naturally and I wish I was that kind of woman. But I am not and I am well aware of the type of births I have chosen to have and I don't need people like you making me feel guilty about that. Just trying to give you insight as to why your friend got angry...BTW, I don't think she is the one who owes you an apology.

Donna Ryan said...

I have a different angle which I am able to approach people, being that I had an epidural with my first baby. I was SCARED TO DEATH of giving birth. I understand the fear that drives women to make these choices. Truly, ignorance is bliss!

Worse, I wished bad things on my friends who wanted to give birth without drugs. Somehow, subconsciously, that justified my medicated birth. I wanted them to fail. I can recognize that now, many years later.

Ironically, it is their births that inspired me to give birth naturally. I went on to have 3 unmedicated births -- one in the hospital with a CNM, and two homebirths afterwards, one being a water birth.

Natural birth is a life-transforming experience. All mothers and babies deserve it and are depriving themselves of the best day(s) of their lives when they let medicine run this event.

I have had a handful of moms take my class and have an epidural for different reasons. NONE of these moms did it because they were afraid or "just couldn't take it anymore." They knew they were on the road to a c-section and it was the lesser of the two "evils." Sometimes they still had a CS, but often they did not. It's all about APPROPRIATE use of meds in labor and birth.

Anonymous, I am certain that Emily was not touting herself as a birthing champion, just wanting the same wonderful experience for her friends and for all women. That is how I feel. I want women to know how strong they are and that they CAN give birth without medication, with the right education and supportive birth team. While I do not know Emily, I feel confident in saying that this is how she meant her comments.

Emily said...

Thank you Donna! I never push my opinion on ANYONE nor do I boast about having a natural childbirth. I can totally understand why my friend felt like her feelings got her, but I wasn't even the one who brought the topic up at this dinner. If my friend was stating facts, not opinions about birth in general that made my decision look like it wasn't the best for me and my baby, I could take it personal. But that's the thing....don't take it out on the messenger. Facts are facts. Just so you know where my friend is coming from she went on to tell me last night over the phone that if I make my personal blog public I should be able to handle comments like hers (which I am more than capable of handling, just not at a girls night out dinner) and maybe I should just go buy a journal. I don't know about you, but do you think it is right for someone to dictate how and what you put on your own personal blog?

Anonymous said...

I find that the most frustrating situation is when people find out I went naturally, then immediately ask "Was your labor long? Because mine was 24 hours, which is WHY I had to have an epidural."

Both my labors have been relatively short (7 and 9 hrs respectfully). And, sure, that might have "helped". But ya know what? It still freaking hurt! With my second, my contractions were coming every 4 minutes, then spaced out to 20+. Since my water broke about 5 hours before, my midwife suggested pitocin. Can I just say, having pitocin and then delivering naturally is far, far more painful then I ever imagined.

Also, it drives me up the wall when women who have epidurals complain about pain. One friend had an epidural because she was "too tired and needed sleep". The doctor woke her up and said "when you're ready to push, go ahead." Are you kidding me?!? I'm sorry, that might be delivery, but that is NOT child birth. Give me a break.

And sure, women choose to have epidurals. Fine, I totally understand. But don't for one moment say that you had to have one because your labor was longer/harder than mine. That, my friend, is a cop out.

Sarah said...

Anonymous, it isn't just you. Women say it to me, too, and I have long (prodromal--as in days and more) labors. (But they don't know that.)

But that is still a very common thing I hear. "I was just too tired."

"Labor wouldn't progress until I got the epi. I would have been in labor forever without it," is another one. That one is sad, because the belief is that some people/labors just *need* an epi; when the truth is that what was accomplished with an epi (total relaxation) can also be accomplished without one (and yes, with practice, they could do it, too!).

What I get when people find out I birth unmedicated is that I must have really easy labors. Especially when they find out we went to the hospital only hours before our first was born, or that I actually enjoy birth, or that I move (and even walk!) around until RIGHT before my babies are born.

Natural birth commonly looks like this, but the idea is totally outside the paradigm of the woman who was flat-on-her-back-for-all-twelve-hours, nervous, drugged *and* in excruciating pain.

The answer can never be that the difference between the average American birth experience and mine has to do with being educated and prepared for what lies ahead, and working *with* labor, not against it.

No. It must be that labor was easy. Or short. Or both.

Labor is not called labor for no reason! It is hard work for all but a small minority of us!

When someone prepares to birth naturally only by deciding to try to outlast the pain, she will inevitably assume that others who were able to go natural were able to outlast the pain because labor was short enough or it was easy.

"It was so painful for me, and I had drugs, so it must have been easy for you, since you didn't need them."

From their (very short-sighted) perspective, it makes sense. It's just not true.

Anonymous said...

I haven't even begun to proselytize natural child birth, except to my husband to rally his support. I have, though, already faced the conflict under discussion in this post. In choosing to use a diaphragm instead of birth control pills and preparing to have a natural childbirth (if the Lord wills), I have sometimes estranged my mom. She has often felt that my making different choices than she means that I judge her, but my making arguments in favor of these more natural methods has only been justification--my trying to win her trust, so she won't be so afraid for my sake. Now that I'm actually pregnant, she's much more supportive and willing to listen. But I certainly see how telling others about natural methods can seem offensive.

In other areas of life, I myself am prone to seeking approval and often feel judged when someone disagrees with me or offers any insight that comes across as critique. But I've realized that what I wish more than anything is this: that we would all trust each other's love enough to hear different opinions without feeling judged.

Sarah said...

I do have moments where I wonder if I should say something or not, be it about breastfeeding, methods of raising children, or homeschooling (usually this one), but have learned to control myself and to let other people have their opinion. If they are seeking information or seem like they would be open to it, that's different. Most moms do what they believe is best for their families or they wouldn't be doing it- at least I hope not. No woman should ever be made to feel like less of a woman because of how she gave birth or that they made a horrible decision. If the homebirthing advocates ever want to really get the word out, they are going to have to figure out a way to empower women without putting them down and making them feel like jerks first because as soon as that happens, people stop listening. I'm not saying you are doing that Donna, it's just a general feeling I get from that side of things and I'm even someone who used a midwife and does believe that is best for babies and mom.

Lena said...

Oops- hat was NOT Sarah, lol. arah is my 11 year old.

Colby said...

I talked to my pregnant cousin the day before her EDD as she was coming home from the doctor. There was 'no progress' and her doctor scheduled her for an induction two days later because, and I quote, "The placenta only has a shelf life of 40 weeks." I nearly choked on my tongue. Thank God she went into labor on her own the next day and her son is healthy!