That Can HAPPEN?

Or, the ways my doula scared the shit out of me.   Ok, that's an exaggeration.  She didn't scare me.  But there were several things that I didn't even know should be considerations  in the birthing process that made me go, "WHAT? That can HAPPEN?"  And, I warn you now, not everything here is pretty.  And, I'm not very technical here, so if you want more specific information, ask your doctor.  Or Google it.  Because everything on the Internet is correct.

Before I start, though, you may be asking what a doula is.  We found our doula at Nine Months and Beyond and their definition is this:  A doula is any woman experienced with the birth process who is willing to acompany women and their support partner(s) to birth and provide continuous physical and emotional comfort measures during the birth process.  Most doulas attend a certification process and are nationally recognized for their work with laboring women.

1. Stripping Membranes  Doesn't that just SOUND awful? It's where your OB or a nurse at the hospital where "examine" you and take his/her finger and swipe the membranes that should start your cervix dilating.  Apparently, this used to be done a lot at your 40-week checkup without you even knowing about it.  And then you'd go home all curious why you're crampier than usual and bleeding, but you were likely to just think that it was because you were so close to labor. And it can cause bacterial infection.  Ew. Once you know about this, though, you can bring it up and make a choice about whether or not you want it, or when you want it.

2. Urinary Catheter  "Catheter," up until now, was just something that old people like my grandma had to use when she was on her death bed.  I know, judge as you will, but  I never thought that a catheter and myself might possibly have to go together before say, age 80.  If I'm remembering correctly, you can choose to get a catheter whether or not you get an epidural, but if you have an epidural, you HAVE to get a catheter being that you won't be able to get up and trot yourself to the bathroom.  And you have two CATH choices.  You can have a nurse CATH you intermittently or you can get CATHED straight from beginning to end.  None of which sounds particularly exciting.  I keep put CATH in CAPS becuase it reminds me of a commercial that my husband and I saw one night about catheters and they kept repeating the phrase, "Every time you CATH."  We didn't realize that CATH was a verb, let alone a word.  And for whatever reason, we found it HILARIOUS.  We couldn't stop laughing.  So, that came back to bite me in the ass.  I have made no CATH decisions at the moment, but I do plan on an epidural.  And we know what that means.

3. Erythromycin in Baby's Eyes  This is that petroleum jelly looking stuff that gets smothered in a baby's eyes after he/she is born.  It's done to prevent blindness caused by bacteria in the vagina, which is generally caused by about three different STDs.  Even if you don't have those STDs your poor baby has to have gooey eyes for a while.  When I was born and this was done to me, my eyes swelled and got purple and stayed shut for almost three days.  So, you ask, why not just skip this?  Because if you do, health services will come in and ask you and your husband questions!!  To see if you're CA-RAZY!  Isn't that nuts?  This wasn't even a regular practice for a long time.  Just the people who were at risk had it, and then somewhere along the way it became standard for every baby.  Craziness.

4. PKU (heel stick)  This is where they take 10 drops of blood from your little bundle of love and ship them off to be tested for some serious metabolic diseases.  Now, this isn't a big deal to me to get this done, but the consequences of NOT doing it seem a little extreme.  Do you know what happens if you opt not to do this test?  You can a misdemeanor on your permanent police record.  Let that sink in. 

This isn't remotely a full list of all the things that happen during labor, birth and after birth.  These are just a few of the things that stuck out to me so I thought I'd share them.  My doula recommends the following book, which I should be receiving in the mail in about three days and plan to use to further educate myself.

If you have made any choices about what you are going or not going to do in your labor & delivery (or what you did or didn't do), please share. "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -E.M. Forster

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