Editor’s Voice—January 2017—A Baby isn’t the only thing that comes with parenthood

January 04, 2017

Posted By: Shaunescy

So too comes a new, beehive-like social hierarchy, for which absolutely no one prepares a first-time mom. Suddenly, you are being critiqued and judged on how fast (or slow) you lose the baby weight, breastfeeding or bottle, cloth diapers or disposable, binkie or no binkie, hospital or home birth?

As a practiced mother of three, I would like to go on record as saying a lot of these choices are not necessarily choices at all. You could have a very high, or slow, metabolism interfering with weight loss. Maybe you physically cannot breastfeed, or your baby cannot tolerate your breast milk. Maybe your baby’s skin is too sensitive for disposable diapers so you use cloth? For some newborns, a binkie is absolutely necessary for mom and dad’s sanity. And then there is the hospital vs. home birth/birth center, drugs or no drugs.

My cousin gave birth naturally to two beautiful girls, drug-free at home. And as quick as I was to warn her about possible complications, she was quicker to inform me of her desire to avoid a sterile, hospital experience. She said she wanted to listen to music, walk around, labor in a tub, create a soothing ambience in her room and hold her baby immediately after delivery. I could have sworn she was talking about my own experience at Bozeman Health. Apparently there is a misconception about hospital deliveries.

In my case, had I not delivered in a hospital, I may not be sitting here writing this column today. My first pregnancy was normal, with no signs of complications (besides the fact that my baby did not want to come out and was 10 days late). I chose to give birth at Bozeman Health because I was comfortable with them. That’s it, simply. After being admitted on a full moon and given Pitocin to get delivery moving, it was game on. Unable to get an epidural, I labored, drug free for 18 hours. Did it suck? Yes. Would it have sucked anywhere I was? Yes.

When I finally delivered her, she was immediately placed on my chest.

Unfortunately for me, I was unable to deliver the placenta and thus rushed into surgery after which my family was told, “It was touch and go for a while.” During the time I was being cared for, my husband gave our firstborn her first bath and held her close.

With my second pregnancy I was told it was doubtful I would have the same problem, but a hospital delivery was planned just in case. I did have an epidural with this one (my choice) and the labor and delivery sucked a little less because of it. By the way, I was totally able to push and feel every bit of the delivery. Anyway, same problem (retained placenta) as last time, so I was sent back to the operating room, but this time I lost a lot of blood – and it was very scary for all of us.

My OB-GYN warned me not to have any more children because I obviously wasn’t very good at delivering them. I didn’t listen and found myself back at Bozeman Health two years later for a scheduled C-section (to hopefully avoid the placenta issue).

So here I am, years later, talking to my cousin who is judging me for my choice to have three hospital births. And I say to her, and everyone else who choses to give birth at home, in a birth center or the hospital, “Good for you! That’s a beautiful choice.” I completely understand that home births and birthing centers are very safe and a wonderful choice for some. But I also think Bozeman Health was pretty amazing too. They were accommodating to my birth plan, comfortable and every bit as soothing as my cousin’s successful home births. And they kept me alive.

So, like I said above, about judging and critiquing – some of parenting is a choice, and some is not. No one way is better than another, let’s just be grateful we have choices and stop judging everyone around us for the ones they make, or that are made for them. This parenting stuff is hard enough as it is. mp

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