Sunday, February 9, 2014

Reader Q: Water Birth, Screenings, Sonograms, Strollers

My lovely, mommy-to-be girlfriend sent me an email with some mommy questions. She would like to be anonymous; however, I have had a few people ask me questions along the same lines and I figure why not answer it all at once (with her permission, of course)? :)

Here is her letter to me:

"Hi! I hope you and your little family are doing well!! Are you going to find out the sex soon?? I have a few questions for you/your opinion. I read somewhere you are not doing there something I should know about using them? I watched a water birth last night. The lady looked so relaxed, I would like to try that if I have another baby. I feel like I really hate being "pinned" down to the hospital bed!! I was also wondering if you are doing/did any of the screenings and your opinion on that. Strollers. (Sorry this is getting random, I have so many questions I am having a hard time controlling my thoughts. I have the worst pregnancy brain, I forget words all day and I am so scattered brain!) anyways, back to strollers. I like the JJ cole broadway stroller. It is $400. Do you think it is worth investing in one that expensive? I have more questions for you, you are like the "all knowing mom" to me!! ! I need to go get ready for work and cry because I can not fit in anything! I still have not told the majority of my work; have you told yours? I love how open you are on yours."

-Anonymous (you know who you are and I adore you)

I do solemnly swear that I didn't pay her to be so sweet. "All knowing mom" is up there on my biggest compliment ever list. Maybe she just doesn't know many moms? Haha kidding... kind of ;)


My response (or at least the pieces you'd care to know about, broken down by category for ease of reading/scrolling):

Home Water Birth

In all honesty, this subject probably should have it's own post because of how much there is to my thought process. However, the basics consist of the fact that I don't have maternity insurance or leave (teacher insurance is not all that unless you elect to pay a lot more each paycheck... and I never anticipated this baby's pending arrival), as well as the fact that I want to go natural since my labor with Caydon was horrendous, and am pretty much "over" mainstream medical care because of my fight for Cay's health. This topic is very much my own personal opinion with both how beautiful natural laboring is, as well as what I simply view as "right" combined with being "economical". I also have done a ton of research (which I will elaborate on in the coming post) that has me much more excited than just intrigued about having this baby at home. I hope that kind of makes sense... stay tuned is all I can say here!

The Sonogram

No, I never intended to do any sonograms. I am keeping the pregnancy as "minimally invasive" as possible because of the risk of Autism and other developmental delays. This, in addition to a curiosity that got the best of me (and maybe a tad more, but that's another post for another day), led me to going the midwifery and "all-natural" route. While I would love to find out the sex of the baby because I am terribly impatient, a sonogram just isn't worth the risk to me. However, because of my decision to deliver at home and without direct access to medical intervention should the baby seriously need it (as in, heaven forbid, it's bladder didn't go back inside it's abdomen, it has heart problems, etc.), my midwife does insist on the anatomic ultrasound. This will be the only "test" and "ultrasound" we will have unless she deems it necessary further on in the pregnancy for whatever reason. I trust her :)

If you research autism and sonograms (HERE is a great article I pulled up quickly via google. seriously... do google it. You'll be amazed... it is one of the many hot topics), you will find that it is a known fact that ultrasounds create and energy and heat. It's how the technology works. What is controversial is how harmful the effects are especially in early fetal development when the brain and parts are growing so rapidly. I am just not willing to take that risk, especially since I know that we have some sort of genetic predisposition for autism. 

With my pregnancy with Caydon, I had an ultrasound every few weeks. At first it was to see if he was ok while I was deciding whether or not to keep the pregnancy (just being honest), then it was the "basic" screenings, then it was to find out the gender, then it was was anatomic, and THEN I had high fluid and he was facing the wrong way. So, needless to say, I loved the ultrasounds at the time... but now I seriously regret it. 

We ask ourselves, "Is it worth the risk?" with everything, especially when pregnant. Caffeine, wine, drugs, fake sugars, hot tubs, cheese, horseback riding, sushi, deli meat, bikram yoga, sleeping on our stomachs or backs, etc. Yes, it seems like we are directed to stop doing so many things, yet there is a reason behind the advice... we just have to dissect it. We have to realize that the advice is there for a reason... but that's all it is: advice. I do eat cheeses, minimal mercury sushi, and deli meats, but I trust my source vs eating it at, say, a potluck or a hole in the wall restaurant (which I do still love.. just not for risky food!). I treat myself to a half diet/half regular soda probably once a week to every other week. I don't go near bikram (sad face), hot tubs (sad face), or horseback riding/extreme sports (another sad face) but I don't view it worth the risk. 

I try to process all the advice that I'm given with a "why am I being advised this?" perspective. I honestly don't trust my source when it comes to mainstream medicine telling me what is "possibly safe" for my baby and a lot of that is based off of my experience with Caydon. I've made a lot of doctors mad by not taking their advice and searching deeply for other opinions, but I feel my job as a mother is to do what I think is best for my child... not what others think is best. That's like trusting the FDA when it comes to "possibly safe" foods or medicines when the rest of the world thinks we are insane of consuming X, Y, and Z on the daily because it's banned in their part of the world. I'd just rather not trust people who have other agendas such as money or "preventative" medicine (thank you for stopping my heartburn but giving me anal leakage... no, thank you...). That's my own personal opinion on the matter... I choose my risks and I would rather be safe than sorry.

Which leads me to discussing my next question..

Genetic Testing

Alright, so this topic is also very personal. My midwife was "the one" and I searched no further when she told me that she believes in informed choice medicine. Which means that she gives me the pros and cons of everything while encouraging my own independent research, and I work through the questions to come to an answer. This topic was my first... I wish I had taken a picture of the "flow chart process" for my questioning. 

That being said... while I totally get the hype on knowing if there is something wrong with my baby, I have asked myself the following two basic questions:

  • What would I do if there IS something wrong with my baby?
    • If my baby has a few hours to live, will I want to continue the pregnancy?
    • If my baby has a lifelong disability, will I want to continue the pregnancy?
  • Is the testing, be it ultrasound, amniocentesis, or CVS, worth the potential risks? Again, there are risks to everything (even basics like staying at home vs getting into my car... or drinking regular water vs bottled... everything)
My personal feelings on the matter is that I would want my baby to have a fighting chance. I would be ok with a lifelong disability. I would do everything in my power to help my child, and I know this because I did exactly so for Caydon. Would I ever take Caydon back? Absolutely not. Once you have your baby, you will find that you will love every little thing about them... perfections, typicalities, and flaws. I wouldn't change Cayd for the world. Obviously you try to protect your child, so it's not as if you are supposed to snort a line thinking that you'll love your child with the brain damage you caused. But, when your child has flaws.. because he/she WILL have something, eventually, that isn't perfect. **It's called being human**... you'll love your baby no less and know you did everything you could to help be it behavior management, therapy, surgery, tutoring, or simple guidance. 

I also want to know I did everything to prevent what I was aware of as being a risk, and I know that I will love my child regardless of the abilities. Going with ultrasounds, the "cons" outweigh the "pros" that mainstream medicine throws at us.

Strollers (and other Gear Investments)
When buying anything.. not just baby gear... I ask myself:
  • Does the cost fit my budget? 
    • If not, could I somehow get it cheaper?
    • If not, could I cut other areas of my budget to justify this expense?
  • Will the use exceed the money spent?
  • Could I get the same thing for less by buying a more basic brand? (If it's a function/flavor/quality you want, are you sure there isn't a better option that has the feature but is less money aka a knock off or generic brand?)
  • Is this my one and only splurge because it is a "must have" in my mind for whatever reason??
Work through those questions. I don't think there is anything wrong with a $400 stroller that you view as eye candy and that has great functionality. You will definitely get a lot of use out of a stroller, no doubt, while there are other items that aren't even worth registering for. However, if it causes you to have to cut groceries for a week or take out a cash advancement... it's not worth it. I really can't tell you want you can and can't afford, but I do completely understand that certain objects are so incredibly tempting and likely worth it that it IS worth the purchase.

With my budget and trying to balance cheapness with my taste (I can be kind of snotty when it comes to brands or looks, but I also love functionality!), I have found myself going on major deal hunts. A lot of items that you buy for the baby can be bought for half-off. There are reused baby stores, craigslist ads, and an abundance of "pages" on Facebook that sell baby items gently used. Babies don't use most of what they "need" to justify what the products cost.  So far, I have bought a MamaRoo and Ergo, both being items that I wanted specifically for functionality even though they are at the top of the line. I didn't want to spend full price on them because it didn't work for me budget wise, so I bought them gently used for over half off. They still function exactly how I would want them to. I can overlook the one scratch because I saved $130. I also have a Britax carseat that I believe I am picking up today (I am buying it from a girlfriend who I can trust hasn't been in a car accident... used carseats can be a grey area if it's from a stranger!). I'm also buying a cheap Ikea crib from her because I know that I won't be needing the crib that frequently, as we are a co-sleeping family and it's not worth the investment to buy something better.

Does that make sense? I would LOVE to have a Bugaboo Buffalo, but unless I can find it used for a fourth of it's retail value at $1,129.00, it just isn't happening.

I'm keeping my eye open and have a back up stroller in mind that is in my budget should that route be   impossible. I'm just not willing to spend that much.

One thing I WILL be splurging on is a Kate Spade (my favorite brand) Diaper Bag. I love Kate Spade and I am a total name brand purse person... it's my weakness. So I'm not saying it isn't bad to splurge here and there... you just can't do it on everything.  I will do my research to try to find what I want on sale somehow, but I'm anticipating paying full price because it is worth it to me. I'm already tucking money away for it so that it doesn't hurt my budget when it happens, and view the money saved via gently used items as money that can go towards my new purse... I mean, baby's diaper bag.

So, if you can't find what you want for less, it fits your budget, AND it's your one (or few) big splurge(s), do it and don't regret it. Enjoy it so much that you definitely get your money's worth. 

There you are, sweet friend. Hopefully this kind of helps you see my perspective and answers to your questions. Remember that you do the best YOU can with the information you are given.. so it's not like you are ruining your child if you go against a friend or a doctor's advice. There is so much to think about during a first pregnancy that it is overwhelming to try to process it all! Choose the topics that you view the most important/relevant for you and weed through it from there. 

I do intend on getting back to you about the openness of my pregnancy, so hang tight. It is so important to not find shame in your pregnancy regardless of the circumstance, which is something I have learned by feeling shameful throughout my entire pregnancy with Cay. Any more q's, feel free to ask. Take care and rub that belly for me!



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