Thursday, September 16, 2010

While He watched over us…

… I was in labor, and every contraction was a blessing, because it meant I went into labor on my own, with no need for an induction (which would surely be considered a necessity by every medical professional for someone who went past 43 weeks, counting from LMP – which only proves sometimes that way of counting, can be way off track.)

Labor was shorter this time, and very intense – I could hardly believe how fast I approached the time to deliver. Like last time around, I used warm showers, a birthing ball, movement and prayer to get through. I also ate and drank throughout the labor to keep up my energy levels.

I truly feel as though I have no right to complain, now that I'm holding such a beautiful baby in my arms, but there was one thing I learned, which is: a hospital is a hospital. Even having a good experience once does not guarantee it will happen again, because you never know who's on shift when you arrive.

Physically, my labor was unhindered. There were no drugs, no i.v. poles. Emotionally, however, I felt very disturbed by being questioned, in length, about details of my pregnancy during intense contractions and by the presence of staff in the room who weren't necessary for the actual delivery. Also, instead of handing me the baby right after birth, the midwife immediately whisked her off to get weighed on another side of the room. There are many other details I'd rather not go into, but the whole experience lacked peacefulness and intimacy. If my first birth was something I fondly remember, this time is something I would rather forget soon. I woke up shaking on the morning after, thinking I'm still there in the delivery room.  

This time, I had my baby by my side nearly the whole time, except for a couple of hours. However it didn't come easy, because for some strange reason, babies are viewed as hospital property that is "borrowed" by their mothers – a situation which, oddly, is seen as normal by most of the mothers. Except for me, there was only one other mother who chose to have her baby in her room. I don't like having to make a "special request" to be with my baby day and night. They also kept making ridiculous requests to bring the babies to the nursery, for things like having their diaper changed (!).  

I stayed in the hospital for a total of about 72 hours, which was far too long – however we couldn't go home due to it being Rosh HaShana followed by Shabbat (for those who are unfamiliar with Jewish customs, we don't drive on Shabbat and holidays.)

I feel that if I'm blessed with another pregnancy, I will probably feel a strong desire to have a home birth with a midwife I know and trust. Despite the risk of being far from the hospital.

Time will tell.

PS: We haven't decided on the name yet. :o)

39 comments:

Leah Brand-Burks said...

Sounds as though our experiences were reversed. What you described for this birth was similar to my first child, and my second was better, like your first. Trust me, while those memories won't get better, you will slowly begin to view them as an annoyance that you and she have moved beyond together, as you create your own wonderful experiences together at home. Congratulations again, Anna, we think of you often!

Thursday's Child said...

Congratulations on your new little one!

maria said...

Dear Anna,

Praising Our Lord that you had a good delivery. But yes, I agree with you that hospitals are what they are.

The birth of my second child was fast and furious. I refused everything they wanted to give me, instead I chose to have my little boy naturally. Uncalled for in their minds, but perfect for me.

Unfortunately, they do believe as if the baby is theirs while we are there. A horrible experience happened the first night.

I could hear baby crying and I knew that my baby needed nursing. It was the middle night. The lights were low and I could not see when they brought me my baby. When I went to nurse him, I realized that this was not my child. They had brought me the wrong baby boy!

I turned on all the lights and told the nurse to bring me back my son right away! She began to argue with me that this was him...and I began to get very emotional at this time saying she had the wrong child.

My mother, Praise the Lord was with me at the time, my husband had to go back to check in on our three year old. I had noticed that my baby had a birthmark on his right foot and when I checked this baby he, of course, did not.

After more than 5 minutes, it seemed longer to the crying child and to me, they realized the mistake. They brought me my little boy and I did not allow him to leave my side for the rest of my stay.

So yes, hospitals are what they are and you do not know what kind of nursing staff you will get when the shift changes.

Again, Praising Our Lord with you and your husband and your lovely little girl.

May Our Lord continue to give you peace and comfort as you begin to enjoy your little one.

Blessings,

Maria

Anonymous said...

Mazel tov! I just read this post and the last one today and I am delighted for you! My two boys are 16 months apart and introduce each other as their best friend instead of their brother. Yours likely will too.
I like the suggestion from the last post for a fitting name, although Zoe is Greek and you are Hebrew ... how about Chava? It sounds nice paired with Shira's name too.
God bless you and your family as you adjust to the newest member!
Sherri

Elle said...

my last hospital birth was very much the way you described. It wasn't horrible (my first one was!) but it lacked peacefulness. it intruded on the spiritual side of things. and I was incessantly annoyed with questions and questions and... more questions. and charts to fill out about wet diapers and nursing schedules... and blood pressure checks in the middle of the night (as stand procedure, no other reason) and nurses turning on the lights JUST as I had fallen to sleep... beeping machines, and that hospital smell.

and you know? a lot of the nurses were very nice and helpful and I appreciated them. but over all, it was just too much. and I felt like I just wanted to have my personal space and time respected more. you only get to be born once and i wanted it to be a good experience for my baby too!

The next birth I had was at home... alone. and it was wonderful!

LadyLydia said...

Having observed 4 home births by my daughter and her midwife and doula, I highly and heartily recommend home birth! They are very professional and bring all kinds of equipment from oxygen to incubators, and with cell phones have immediate contact with medical professionals and hospitals. My daughter said it was so nice just to get back into her own bed and not be disturbed. These midwives are much better in many ways and increase the comfort of the mother. Childbirth is not a medical condition, and therefore, can take place at home rather than in a hospital. I watched these women and found them very very professional and knowledgeable, moreso than hospital staff or doctors!

"Morethnrubies1" said...

congratulations mama!

Kacie said...

I am so glad to hear you were able to go into labor on your own and avoid those pesky hospital interventions! But I do sympathize with you about what you had to deal with in terms of them separating you from your daughter. That's really not right!

So I know you were 43w by LMP (which of course isn't a good indicator...I would be about 6 weeks more pregnant than I am if we went by that, and i'm just not!)...so how far along do you think you were?

What was your baby's weight? Was your placenta showing signs of old age and the like? My friend delivered at 41w5d and the placenta was a bit aged, as the midwife had put it.

Anyway, hope you can keep on enjoying your baby and recovery!

Anonymous said...

Sadly this is the experience here in the States with a hospital birth also. But congrats to you and yours. Karen

momto9 said...

Sweet congratulations on the arrival of your new little one! Sorry you had a bad experience!
Can't wait to see a pic of the new one:)

Star said...

How interesting to read about your experiences. They took me back to my own, many years ago now. In those days (1974), 43 weeks would have been considered as far too long. After 42 weeks the placenta was thought to start breaking down, causing possible distress and danger to the baby. So if you were that overdue, you would be induced. I was 10 days overdue and my first baby was induced.
Like you, the baby was whisked away as soon as he was born, for weighing, cleaning up etc. I didn't like that at all. The babies were also kept in the nursery overnight and brought back for feeding at 5.a.m. It was distressing to be without the baby for so long. Makes me shudder to remember it. There was a reason and that was for the nurses to be able to keep an eye on the babies and monitor that they were doing well.
However we look at it, we both had perfect babies. Weren't we lucky. I wish you many years of happiness with yours, both of them.
Blessings, Star

Ashley said...

Congratulations on your new precious daughter! I always feel badly when you talk about your hospital delivery experiences; I wish you could have the birth that you would like.

My daughter was born in an American hospital. I was induced (in hindsight it was probably unnecessarily). I ended up having a c-section after quite a long labor. This seems to be typical nowadays, and I understand that a delivery like mine is far from ideal. The thing is, I have no problem with my delivery! Every single doctor and nurse I saw during my four days in the hospital were kind and helpful. Furthermore, I have friends who are doctors and nurses, and I know without a doubt that they are always doing their best to treat their patients kindly and to the best of their ability. My sweet daughter just turned one year old last month! I'm enjoying her each day and rarely think about her delivery; when I do, it is with fondness, as it concluded with a perfect baby and ecstatic parents!

It is difficult for me to read your increasingly negative entries regarding hospital deliveries. Why do you think that we feel so differently about this? Do you think it has to do with attitude towards the experience? Do you think it is cultural? Do you think the doctors and nurses in your country treat patients differently than in the U.S.? I am interested in your thoughts; however, these questions can be rhetorical, I know that your family is your first priority and this is an especially busy time!! I'm jealous that your new little is here...our newest is due in 6 months!!! Take care!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Anna; I hope your whole family thrives.

I do want to ask something that I am not sure how to phrase in a completely "politically correct" way, but I really want to know, and I know that you delight in educating people about your tradition and its customs and expectations, so I'll just ask: Obviously you and Yitzhak are happy to have two beautiful, healthy children. But is there something of a worry on your husband's part that one of your two children, at least, is not male? Is a man who has only female children (and obviously you may go on to have boys yet, I realise) seen to be viewed differently by Hashem, or his community, than a man who has sons? I am genuinely curious about this, but do not want to come across as someone who is saying that your husband does not love his daughters with all his heart. I hope I have phrased this acceptably.

Many blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Anna! Congratulations! I'm sorry your hospital experience was anything less than peaceful and up-building, but I'm delighted for you, Yitzhak, and Shira, on the arrival of your new baby girl! I thought the suspense would kill me! ha ha

Sally

Andrea said...

What a wonderful blessing that your newest addition is here, whole and healthy. I am so happy for all four of you!

Anonymous said...

That's so wonderful that you did everything natural--no drugs or unnecessay interventions! Good for you! It sounds like you managed as well as you could in a hopsital setting. Your babies are blessed to have a mom that cares so much about their health, and knows the importance of bonding right from the start! Congratulations on your new little one!

Susan said...

I can't believe they let you leave the hospital without giving a name. Do you guys have any favorites picked out yet?
~Sue
http://armylifeadventures.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

"...and every contraction was a blessing"

Good for you Anna! Wish some of the feminista, "labor is dangerous and unnatural" women could hear that! You are one powerful woman! Congrats on the new baby!

Cherish said...

Congratulations! I'm sorry you had unpleasant aspects of the birth and hospital stay. Still, what a blessing to have a healthy baby that came in her own time.

Lena said...

Pozdravlayu with the new baby!! I wish you lots of happy and sweet moments with your newborn. My 3rd labor was not what I had in mind, my 2nd labor was the best one so far. I am hoping the 4th one will be even better.

Anonymous said...

(There is no need to post this, it is just for your own edification.)

1) Mazal tov on the birth of your little girl! May you be zocheh to raise her to Torah, Chuppah and ma'asim tovim.

2) There are rabbinic opinions that allow for one to take a car home from the hospital on Shabbos/Yumtiv, as staying there can be viewed as a sakannah (the risk for catching a hospital born illness is unfortunately quite real). Additionally, there is a halachic presumption that children recover best at home. Of course one needs to ask their own shayla, but if you have never asked it is worth considering.

Anna said...

Hmmm...what do you consider far from the hospital? I am considering a home birth for our first. It is very accepted where we live, but we're 25 minutes from the nearest hospital. I've heard that midwives can usually spot a potential problem well before it becomes an emergency, but should I be concerned about the distance?

Kristiina K. said...

"I can't believe they let you leave the hospital without giving a name."

Is this a mandatory procedure somewhere? That you should know the name of the child before you leave the hospital? Here in Finland babies usually go by names like "girl surname" or "boy surname". Sometimes parents have some kind of working name which might be given but by law you have two months before you have to give a name to register office.

Analytical Adam said...

Sorry to hear that. I guess you mean when God was watching over you.

Megan said...

First, congratulations on your new daughter! :)

I feel like I have to pipe in here about the hospital environment. I think it really does depend on the hospital. I had both of my babies in a fantastic hospital. They completely respected my wishes to have a natural birth and did everything possible to make that happen -- even for my last delivery when ultrasounds had shown he was at least 9 1/2 lbs (turned out to be 10lbs 7oz) and we had to induce. I knew I wouldn't need pitocin, so they trusted my judgement and just broke my water. Three hours later I was holding him, without any further intervention.

I had beautiful views out of the windows of my room and a very calm and relaxing environment. There was certainly NEVER any chance of a baby swap, as they essentially tag the baby and both parents immediately after birth with matching security bracelets. They assumed my babies would room with me, only taking them when I requested a couple hours of peaceful sleep.

So not all hospital experiences are negative. Sorry that yours haven't been great!! (And now I'm a little nervous, since we've moved across the country and I'll have to find a new hospital for the next baby).

Anonymous said...

dear mrs Anna,

I am pregnant with my sixth child and let me tell you that all my experiences have been poor at the hospitals. My first was a
c-section. all others vbac. Let me tell you that when i trust my God and my own knowledge and experience, I do better than the drs and nurses. I am greatful to you for your strength because i had the confidence to refuse many of the tests that they were insistent on for no reason. I thank God that all of my pregnancies have been wonderful and healthy - no morning sickness, I always feel great, and healthy babies. But because I am older now they put me in some kind of high-risk catagory to suck my insurance dry. Again - your stories have been inspirational and I am looking forward to my sixth arrival this December.

you are appreciated dearly,
Mary M

Bethany Hudson said...

Mazel Tov, Anna! It is true, hospitals can be so hit-or-miss. Still, what a blessing that you are the mother of two healthy children! I had a wonderful birth center experience with my son, and then we ended up in the hospital for a week because he was born the respiratory distress, so who knows? All I can say is, praise God for modern medicine, and may he grant our practioners the discernment to know when it is necessary and when we just need someone on stand-by!

God bless you as you seek a name for your new precious blessing!

Bethany

Audrey said...

Congratulations on your new little blessing! I'm so glad things went wonderfully.

I completely agree about the home birth thing. My first birth was atrocious... typical hospital experience, ended in a cesarean. My second birth, I drove 45 minutes to a hospital that would take a VBAC patient, and although the experience was infinitely better than the first, it was still in a hospital, with too many things going on, too many people, and too much expectation. Now we have moved to an area where no hospitals take VBAC patients, so even though I have had a successful natural VBAC with no intervention, if I'm blessed with another baby I have to either have another cesarean, or drive 45 minutes to the nearest hospital that does VBACs (but I have to drive through a big city to get to it, so if traffic is a nightmare, as it usually is, it will take even longer). My second labor was only 3.5 hours (and I do NOT want to go to the hospital too soon, I'd rather have my baby on the side of the road!), and laboring in the car does not sound fun, so I'm having a home birth next time around!
I can't wait to hear what you decide to name her!

Anonymous said...

As to the name, I have a friend who is Jewish (Reform) and she said that there is a tradition of naming a child after a dead relative. Is this the case with you, too? or is it just her family?

Sally

Mrs. Parunak said...

I am rejoicing with you at the birth of your precious little daughter. And I'm so sorry you had such a hard time!

We've had all four of our babies at home and are planning a home birth for this next baby as well. I found it a huge blessing to be in my own environment where I was in charge. Our midwives refer to us as "clients," not "patients," which says a lot, I think.

But for now, you are home and passed the hospital. Enjoy your wonderful time of settling in with your husband and two little girls.

Literature Goddess said...

Anna--So happy for you and your wee family!

Ashley--I share Anna's ambivalence about hospital births. Thank goodness we have them for emergencies! But for most normal births, unnecessary interventions happen--and these lead to C-sections. A great film about this--and American hospital births is "The Business of Being Born". You can get it a Netflix.

My firstborn was born in a hospital. The long labor (I think, due in part to my anxiety at being in the hospital) led to an epidural, which led to a vacuum assisted birth. My son was taken away from me because he had trouble regulating his body temp--because of the epidural. Nursing was rocky at first. My own recovery was more difficult than it should have been (but I'm sure, nothing like a C-section).

My 2nd was also a hospital birth, but we waited as long as we could to go, and spent just a few hours there before my son was born. He stayed with me the whole time, and we had fewer regulations because I was drug free. My recovery was a breeze and we left the hospital in 24 hours, a happy nursing couple.

I know my own thought is to avoid a c-section if at all possible due to the long recovery, the fact that most hospitals won't do V-BACs, and that most doctors advice limiting a woman to 3 c-sections. I'd like as many blessings as possible! :)

The Little House That Grew said...

Congrats! Just stumbled on to this blog! I am very excited to explore.

Amy said...

I'm sorry about the experience you had at the hospital. I know, first hand, the lack of intimacy you described and the feeling of having to "borrow" your child from the hospital staff. I had 2 breech babies, both delivered by c-section. I fought to have my second child naturally, until I found out she was breech. I prayed that she would turn until the very end, but she didn't. I was devastated, because I knew that I would be forced to have another c-section. Before she was born, I requested to hold her right after she was born, and they would not let me. I then asked again, and I was still told "No". It was about 3 hours after she was born before I was able to hold her. (It was 4 1/2 for my first-born son.) That was devastating to me. I can understand why people stay out of the hospitals and go the home birth route(when possible)!

Samaria said...

Congratulations! I'm surprised your newest is a girl; I totally expected you and your husband to be blessed with a son. Surprises aside, I am glad that you and your new daughter are doing well despite the negative experience. Best wishes!

Rebecca said...

Congrats Anna. Wishing you an abundance of blessings as you get to know your new little girl.

CappuccinoLife said...

Congratulations!! I can't wait to hear what name you pick!!

Stacey said...

Congratulations over the healthy birth of your new daughter! Many blessings to you and all your family.

Homemakers Cottage said...

I have to agree with you... hospital staff do seem to think they "own" your baby. That's a very unsettling feeling, to say the least. We chose to have our last 2 children born at home (with a midwife) for the very reasons you shared.

So thankful that all went well and you and your precious little one are doing well.

Kristy @ Homemaker's Cottage

Gombojav Tribe said...

CONGRATULATIONS, Anna!!! Blessings!