msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
- Adrienne Rich



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Kickin' it

Must. have. malted. milk. balls.

I am the walrus

6 months along

Fired by my OB-GYN

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October 28, 2003

Kickin' it

So I went for my first real midwife visit with Veronica today. We spent over an hour doing my history, talking about issues. It was quite impressive. I was actually with Rebecca most of the time, not with Veronica, which I was kind of bummed about, but not much I can do. I like Rebecca enough, but she's not Veronica.

I was only able to pick up my records from Dr. Kolderup's office yesterday. It took them over a week to make some shitty photocopies of my basic records and lab results, for which I was charged $25. No ultrasounds or anything like that were included. I'm glad that I have *my* ultrasound copies anyways. The whole thing is ridiculous. They're MY medical records. I paid good money for them. I paid for the ultrasound. I paid for the lab tests. I pay the doctor to take those notes. God, I hate the healthcare system in this country.

Julian kicked me in the bladder all day yesterday. He was kicking side to side most of the time previously, but it felt like his feet were tangled up in my bladder and guts yesterday. Weirdest feeling, I would literally jump whenever he would kick, and he kicked all day long. Last night I was sitting on the couch watching "In the Bedroom" and he kicked me nonstop, right above my pubic bone, in the most twingey spot. I tried poking him, to no avail. Finally I put my legs up on the side of the couch and tried to get my pelvis a litle bit upside down to dislodge him from that position. I guess it worked a bit, but then I started feeling sick. My stomach is getting pushed upwards by the baby, and lately if I bend over or lean down after I eat I start to vurp, which is a nasty phenomenon. So after I eat I have to be sure to stay upright for a while and not do anything like bend down to pick things off the floor.

For the next three days I can't have any sugar at all. Depressing, but maybe it will get me over the hump of this sugar binge I have been fighting. I'm glad that I have already been cutting down or I would be in big trouble, total sugar withdrawal jones! The reason that I can't have any sugar for three days is that I have to do my glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes.

Really, it's a good thing. I have been eating much better since I tried to cut down on sugar. I eat much more fruit now. It's very true that those empty carbs take up room in your diet that you would otherwise use to eat things that are good for you.

My first prenatal yoga class is tonight. I hope it's good, and not lame. There is 45 minutes of discussion and 45 minutes of asanas. I think it will be good to network with other mamas-to-be, that's my main reason for going. I have those two videos at home that I can do, and the class is only once a week, so it's not like I'm doing it for the fitness!

October 27, 2003

Must. have. malted. milk. balls.

My dietary strictness has been working. I only had dessert on Saturday night at John's party, other than that I have been good. I am having a powerful fantasy about going over to get a bag of chocolate malted milk balls from the cafeteria right now, but so far I am holding it off, though barely.

26 weeks pregnant as of last Friday. Dan helped me put on my left shoe this morning. I think I'll have to recruit him for that job in the future, it's nice and it makes things so much easier. It makes me cranky to bend over 12-14 inches of baby in a fluid-filled sac just to buckle my shoes.

October 23, 2003

I am the walrus

Oh wow. I got on the scale this morning and I now weigh 167 POUNDS! That's 27 pounds over my previous weight, which was already about 10 pounds over where I want to be. Dammit! And as we speak I am *craving* sweets. Desperately. What I wouldn't do for some chocolate right now!

I have been exercising fairly well, avoiding total sloth, but when it comes to desserts I seem to have zero self-control lately. I have been having frozen yogurt after lunch at work, piled with chocolate chips and crumbled Oreos. At night I have been eating pumpkin bread and kidding myself that it's fine because of all the vitamin A and fiber. I don't know how the whipped cream on top fits in...oh, calcium of course.

Well, no more of that, I have to make a stand. I don't want to feel like a huge walrus, I DON'T want stretch marks, and it's time to get this under control. Hot chocolate will have to take the place of all this other crap. I'll start making jello with fruit chunks.

My glowing pregnancy feeling has had a bucket of cold water thrown over it. I'm sure some of it is hormones as well. I've been feeling more cranky lately. This weight gain sucks. I have also had a persistent headache on the right side of my head for the past feels like I have pinched a nerve in my neck or gotten something out of alignment and I can't seem to crack it back into place like I normally can.

I ate a huge dinner of sushi rolls at TGI Sushi with John and Dan the other night, and then we went out for Cold Stone ice cream afterwards (which was MY idea, of course). I got a small, but the girl behind the counter filled the little cup obscenely full, there was about a pint of ice cream in there by the time she handed it to me. And of course, I had to finish it all. Afterwards I felt like I was going to explode. And all the next day I felt the same way, like I was about to give birth to triplets. I could barely breathe. My digestion is so slow these days, by the time food comes out I don't remember what it was that I ate way back when.

I realized that I just can't stuff myself like that. SMALL meals are key. It's too uncomfortable. I can barely breathe or walk when I eat too much, it's ridiculous. So I'm going to limit myself to fruit after lunch (not frozen yogurt), and maybe 2-3 pieces of chocolate from the downstairs Yahoo! reception desk instead of a whole cookie. I'll try to focus on having a hot chocolate or something, instead of just chocolate chips. Vanilla yogurt. Something with redeeming nutritional value at least.

I have absolutely nothing to do here at work today. I think I'll go home soon. Swimming tonight. Oh, my head....Maybe I should go get a massage to try to loosen my neck up. There's something about the way that I'm sleeping that screws it up. Hmmm...

October 20, 2003

6 months along

I just passed the 24 week/6 month mark, and Julian is ramping up fast. Lots of moving around now, every once in a while he gives me a kickbox style jab, but nothing painful or's mostly just surprising that a little 1 pound baby can muster up that much force! He gets especially active about 30 minutes after I eat. I don't know if it's much noisier in there with all the digestion going on, or if he's eating what I just ate...but he gets all fired up. Cute.

I totally remember being disgusted by the idea of a little parasite inside your uterus kicking you from the inside out, but now that it's happening to me and it's my own fantastic baby, of course I don't mind at all. It's fascinating to watch my belly moving as he grooves around.

Whew, this is so far happening just as I suspected...I feel the same way about kids that I do about dogs. Other people's dogs are sometimes cute and fun, but mostly they're annoying, or smelly, or slobbery, or barky, or too big. *My* dog, on the other hand, is the light of my life. He can shed on my pillow, lick me right on the's all good. Bugs is exceptionally clean-smelling though, very well-behaved, and not slobbery at all. He *did* have dog breath last night (which is extremely rare) when he woke up from a nap on the couch, but I brushed his teeth and he was back to normal. I'm glad that my dog and husband are both similar: handsome, impeccably groomed, sleek, and they always smell good.

So anyways, I always thought that I hated kids and wouldn't be a good mother, but I think it's just that I don't like *other* people's kids all that much. Like dogs, most of them are either bratty or slobbery or bug in some way. And I can't do anything about it. You know, I can't just take over and start disciplining the dog or kid properly, or feeding them a balanced diet, or brushing their teeth, or take away their violent loud toys. It's like people in general...I'm picky about who I like to hang around with. I'm not a total people person. If I can't be around smart, interesting, funny people, then I'd rather just read a book by myself or something. If my own dog or husband or kid does something bad though, I can do something about it, so I tolerate it much better.

I haven't weighed myself lately, but I suspect I'm close to 170. That means that I've put on almost 30 pounds with this baby so far. I was trying to stick to 25-30 overall, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen. But I'm not too worried about it. I don't feel *fat* or swollen. I think a lot of it is boobs, honestly! I had none before, and now I have D-cups. It's belly, of course, and baby. But my legs and arms look pretty much the same, maybe a little bigger. I was getting a pretty cellulitic ass, but now that I'm swimming and exercising more, that seems to be looking better as well. So whatever...I'm just trying to keep my diet balanced and healthy, stick to only one dessert a day, and not worry too much.

I am definitely starting to feel the extra weight though. I sat on Dan's back the other day to give him a rub and he was like, "Whoa!", but he enjoyed having me rub around and dig my buttbones into his lower back.

I tried to pull myself out of the pool on Saturday at the edge (insted of using the ladder) and it was like doing a pushup wearing a backpack full of rocks! Normally never a problem, but this time I wasn't sure I would be able to make it! And then I could barely get my leg up over the edge...I felt like I had given myself a hernia afterwards! I'll be using a ladder from now on.

Then we went for a hike up at Kennedy Open Space. You basically climb uphill gradually for several miles until you get to the top ridgeline of the Los Gatos Mountains. You can look out all the way to Santa Cruz from there. I was completely huffing and puffing and sweating my ass off for the first hour or so, even though I was going at a snail's pace. I couldn't really talk to Dan because if I stopped constantly huffing and puffing while climbing, even just to bark out a monosyllabic response, I felt like I wasn't getting nearly enough oxygen. Then it started getting easier. I was able to go faster and not be quite as breathless. Normally it takes me a while to get into my stride anyways...I warm up really slowly but then I can go forever. I must be all slow-twitch endurance muscles.

Anyways, we went farther than I have ever been before. Dan wanted to go all the way to the very top, but when we were almost there I saw a really steep switchback ahead and I called a halt. I was done climbing after a few hours of doing it without a break. Ready for some DOWNhill action. On the way down I practiced my "belly-sucked-in, tailbone-tucked-under" technique so I worked my abs and didn't have an overarch in my spine.

When I got home I was *trashed*. My feet were killing me (another side effect of the extra weight), and my lower back felt like a truck had run over it. I was glad to get the exercise, and it was a beautiful hike, but I was really surprised at how much it took out of me. Geez, I guess I am pregnant after all.

I came home and made some spaghetti with the leftover pizza ingredients from Dan's birthday party, which entailed another 45 minutes of standing up in the kitchen. By the end of that I was ready to collapse. Standing up for long periods of time is not on my list of favorite things to do at any point, but these days it's really HARD. I feel like I'm on some other planet where the force of gravity is twice as strong.

I have this paranoid fear that Julian is not going to turn around and be head-down in time...then I'll end up with a breech baby and have to go in for a C-section. Awful. I have no idea what position he's in right now, or how we will manage to find out what position he's in without doing an ultrasound, but obviously there IS some kind of way to tell. Maybe you can just poke around and feel where his arms and legs are after another month or so. I don't feel anything but soft-hard belly. It all feels the same in there to me. I can feel when he kicks (punches?), but I don't feel any parts or anything.

I saw in some magazine that a good method for turning a breech baby is to lie on your back and lift your pelvis in the air, basically it's "bridge pose" in yoga. So I tried that out the other day and was surprised to find out how freakin' *hard* it is now that I have all this extra belly to lift in the air. I used to do 30 of those lifts at a time without even thinking about it, now I could barely even lift my ass in the air once without struggle. It's that supergravity thing again. I don't know, Julian has probably turned himself around by now, or will turn himself around, I'm just paranoid about it. If I do have to go in for a C-section, who the hell would I see? My own doctor has pretty much ditched me over the home birth thing. So then it would be a complete stranger I guess.

Ugh, can't even think about it. Turn baby, turn. I keep telling him..."head down, Julian, butt to the front".

April told me that she and Ed barely ever had sex when she was pregnant. Ed was totally not interested. I told her that Dan is not interested either. But Ed is apparently *still* not interested. That doesn't bode well. I guess it's a weird thing to have your significant other grow this big belly and enormous breasts and develop a completely different body.

It's not like I look in the mirror and see a sexy body either. It's an interesting body, and even a cute body with all the rounded features, but definitely not a sexy body. When I turn sideways I'm always like "holy CRAP, look at that belly!" So I don't know why I feel hurt that Dan doesn't think about sex when he looks at me.

Actually I don't know what he thinks. I don't know if he's afraid he'll hurt me, or if he's just completely turned off, or what. I should just ask him.

I know that he thinks I am especially beautiful now, and it's true, my skin looks great, my hair looks decent, and I have a pretty glow about me. Everybody comments on it. But I don't think a madonna-esque glowing beauty translates into sexy, necessarily. Which is fine, and I don't know why I'm even worried about it.

October 02, 2003

Fired by my OB-GYN

I went in to see my OB-GYN yesterday to tell her that I really like her, but I want to give birth at home, not in a hospital.

It starts out as a normal appointment. She listens to the baby's heart, my blood pressure is taken, she tells me I will probably gain about 35-40 pounds total the way I am going (dammit!).

She asks me about birth classes and pediatricians, do I have any in mind? I ask her for pediatrician references.

While she is giving me pediatrician references, she starts telling me about how she an her husband did "attachment parenting" with their first son, and she thinks it was a mistake...he can't entertain himself and wants to be the center of attention all the time.

I am still trying to bring up the home birth matter, but she is going on about her son, has picked up her papers and now she is edging towards the door.

She opens the door, says goodbye, and I have to interrupt her to say, "Wait! There's something that I really want to talk to you about."

She comes back in reluctantly, and I spit it out. "Dan and I are thinking that we would prefer to do a home birth."

Immediately she becomes stone-faced and says coldly, "I can't continue to see you then. I don't even have anyone I can refer you to."

I tell her that I don't need a referral, I already have a nurse-midwife lined up, but I *do* want her opinion...after all, I think she is a good doctor, and I will continue to see her after the baby is born for my gynecological checkups, etc.

"Well, if you still WANT to, that is," she says, still ice-cold.

Then she continues on about how she would never do a home birth, she won't attend one, she wouldn't choose one for herself. She has worked in county hospitals and seen disasters resulting from home births. Oh sure, there's only 1% chance of that happening to ME, but do I really want to run that risk?

She is really upset, and seemingly very angry with me. If I had suddenly taken a crap in the exam room, I don't think I could have unpleasantly shocked her more than I have. *I* am shocked by how coldly and angrily she is reacting to this!

"Well, what kinds of disasters? What is the most common problem that you have seen with home births?" I ask her.

"I saw a beautiful 9-pound baby boy. Brain-dead. Totally preventable."

This is totally vague. I ask her what happened during the home birth to cause this. "Bleeding," she responds mysteriously.

I want to ask her for more info...after all, I'm not going to have my next-door neighbor or Dan delivering the baby, or try to do it on my own. My midwife is a registered nurse with 30 years experience of delivering babies in this area under her belt, she will have two trained doulas with her, and the hospital is about 2-3 minutes away at most.

Instead I say, "The biggest reason that I am considering this is that so many of my friends have had bad birth experiences in hospitals. They arrive at the hospital and then the change makes them stress out, stops or slows down their labors. They end up being induced or given Pitocin, which creates a horrendously painful labor. Then they end up getting an epidural becasue they can't take the pain of the Pitocin labor. They feel out of control of the whole process, and like there is too much intervention. I trust *you*, and I think you wouldn't intervene unnecessarily, but you don't come until the very end, I don't know the maternity nurses there, and who knows, maybe you are unavailable when I go into labor and I get another doctor completely."

She replies, "I *do* make it to 90% of my deliveries. And I know that you are thinking that you just want this warm, fuzzy, *comfortable* birth experience, but to me, the risk is not worth it. The *disasters* that I have seen, totally preventable. If you want my opinion, I would absolutely not do it. You might come down with florid preeclampsia and need a C-section at 36 weeks, anything could happen."

Sure, but my nurse-midwife would certainly catch something like preeclampsia, it's something she carefully screens for at all later visits. Still no real details on the 'disasters', and I am now thinking...I would have a TEN percent chance of being in the hands of a total stranger? Yikes.

I still want to be on good terms with her, so I say, "I really would like to see *both* of you throughout the pregnancy, but insurance will only pay for one provider."

She hands me a record transfer form! Then she says, "I would seriously think about this if I were you. If you change your mind, then I'll neeed to see you in 4 weeks." And walks out!

I hear her in the hall saying to her nurse somewhat frantically, "I know, I'm WAY behind schedule. Can you check on Room 3 and tell her I'll be late."

What the fuck! Sorry to take up FIVE minutes of your time discussing the birth of my CHILD with you!

I am still floored that she reacted the way she did. I am certainly open-minded, I was looking for her opinion, and if she had calmly given me some good reasons or statistics or *some* kind of valid reasons to forget about home birth and have the baby in the hospital, I would consider those reasons.

You know, I just wanted her to listen to *why* I wanted a home birth. She could have addressed my issues with the hospital, maybe promised to work out a birth plan with me in advance. Instead, she acted like I was suddenly insane and totally irresponsible, and I had better not ever darken the doorstep of her practice again.

So last night I woke up to pee and then started thinking about all this. What if something *did* go wrong? I will have to ask my midwife what her plan is, what does she do in that case? And what are the most common things that *could* go wrong?

She has told me that breech babies aren't a problem for her to deliver, she has delivered many in the past without problems, but now insurance liability forces her to assign breech babies to be delivered in the hospital, where you get an automatic C-section.

So what if the kid is breech? Am I on my own, looking for a doctor? And at what point is that decided..."he is breech and won't turn around after this point"?

Arrgh. I spent several hours tossing and turning, with the baby moving around inside me, giving me little tiny kicks, and the dog kicking my feet in his sleep at the end of the bed.

One the one hand, I feel freaked out by the possibility of something going wrong at home, though I think the chances are tiny and remote. That pushes me to think maybe I should change my mind. But I don't have any real stories of bad home births done by a trained midwife.

I *do*, on the other hand, have *many* firsthand acounts of bad birth experiences in hospitals, horrible Pitocin labors, unnecessary C-sections, mean/evil maternity nurses, painful episiotomies that took forever to heal, etc.

And then my own BAD experience with this seemingly nice and cool woman doctor, who can't even talk to me for five minutes!

Just by contrast, my midwife gives me an HOUR appointment when I see her, chats with me about all kinds of things, makes sure all my questions are answered, lends me books and magazines to read. It's a much more personal experience.

So I am still planning on the home birth, but now I need to ask her for more details on all the what-if scenarios so I know what the contingency plan is.

When I told Dan about this experience yesterday after I got home, I thought maybe he would question the home birth as well. But instead he asked me who we could complain to about my doctor's behavior! I told him that I didn't want to complain about her to anyone, I just was having doubts about my decision purely based on her reaction.

He reminded me of all the research I have done, and how I shouldn't let one doctor's inappropriate angry reaction sway me. If she had some facts for me, that would be one thing, but just having her flip out wasn't reason to change my mind. In fact, it was a confirmation that I shouldn't want someone so unpredictable in charge of the birth! *Why* should she be so MAD at me?

True, true. But ick, what a mind fuck!

Anyways, back to enjoying my 3 days of comp time off this week (we just finished up our most recent software release at work).

Yesterday I took the dog for a long walk, made a nice salad and grilled a tri-tip steak for lunch with Dan on the patio, took a nap, read magazines, had the doctor's appt :-(, and then went for an hour-long sunset swim. A very relaxing day, except for the doctor part of it.

Today won't be quite as chilled-out...I have to do some freelance web design stuff for a few hours, research how to refinish our wooden deck for this weekend, sell two computers on eBay, and some other stuff. But I'll still fit in a dog walk and another long swim, so how bad can life be?

If I have time to walk the dog *and* take a long swim, it's a pretty good day. Simple pleasures, you know. ;-)

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