Thursday, May 19, 2005

Back in the saddle?

I can't tell you how much I don't feel like blogging. Yet, I'm also troubled by how long it's been since I last posted. I'm not even going to look at the date of my last post, as it would only depress me. I have plenty of good excuses- Jonah, illness, Allie, Gabe, Eva, moving, unpacking, and Jonah. Yes, he's supposed to be on there twice- poor kid is sick, so he's been on me (nursing or sleeping) literally 21 out of 24 hours each of the last three days, and on top of it, I've been feverish and miserable. Thanks, kids, for bringing home this latest little bacteriological pet.

Speaking of pets, we're about to get more, temporarily. Maddy got herself knocked up about a week before Jonah arrived (we think)...I was certain I had kept her out of trouble when she was in heat, but apparently, I was mistaken. Three of the kittens (available sometime in August) are spoken for, but if you're interested, let us know...we're pretty happy with just one cat. If we get a hankering for more animals here, I've already declared that we'll be getting a pair of rats. But that's a long way in the future- we had a pair when I was pregnant with Gabe and Eva (females, I'm guessing I don't have to spell out the reason a same-sex pair is desirable), but found ourselves completely unable to give them the attention they needed once Gabe and Eva were out of the hospital, and long story short, they were kindly adopted by another couple at the Porch. I think they've both since died- one advantage to rats is that they're a fairly short-term commitment as far as pets go- 2 or 3 years, usually. And unlike most other rodents, well-bred rats (from a breeder, not Petco) don't bite.

I'm still in vocational limbo...I just can't seem to decide what I want to do with myself. Do I go back to school? Find a midwife to apprentice to? Become certified as a doula and pursue that as my calling? I love birth and babies, but more and more of the birth stories that are shared with me are painful to hear- not that the outcome was awful, but the experience itself women too often falls criminally short of what it could and should be. The cesearean rate in this country is approaching one in three- that in itself is criminal. Vaginal birth after cesearean rates (VBAC) - have been dropping for about a decade, and aren't likely to rise anytime soon, since most women choose an OB/GYN as their provider for pregnancy and birth, and their (OB/GYN's) professional organization's requirements for allowing VBAC are such that most women won't meet them (this wasn't a reason that I chose homebirth, but it is a reason I was glad I wasn't dealing with an obstetrician). So I hear these stories, and I grieve for these women who are being subjected to care that is not evidence-based, who agree to procedures that put them at risk when the risks, or even the fact that there are risks, have not been explained to them, when they come out of childbirth feeling that it was traumatic or excruciating or not how they imagined it. There are a few people I can talk to about it, but most of this stuff is so taken for granted that people look at me funny, like, "what's the big deal?"

Suddenly the light bulb is going on...I guess that this is a clue for me that I will be working with women and birth in some form for the rest of my life- I can't think of anything else that upsets me as much, that makes me cry or smile or bitch as often, as this. I guess that means my vocational dilemma is, to a large extent, solved. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to deal with having my heart broken on a daily basis for the rest of my life.

I've been thinking for a long time that I should do a class at church on childbirth options and sharing stories- most of what American women know about birth is learned from their doctor (who has a vested interest in things being done a certain way) or books- usually the wrong book (yeah, I read it when I was pregnant with Allie, but there are at least a dozen I would recommend over that one for various reasons). So I'm going to do it, sometime. I don't think I want a class so much as a discussion group, though (I think...maybe have a couple sessions of "educational" content followed by an equal number of discussion/debate). My opinions on this are (obviously) very strong, and it's an emotionally charged topic, so I'm going to have to think long and hard about how I can make it happen without driving myself or anyone else crazy.

Enough for tonight. Someday when I feel like it, I'll put up Jonah's birth story. Until then, a big shoutout to the many lovely women who played a part- Rachel L, Colleen W, Brynn, Sarah, and of course, Rolla. I could not have done it without all of you. And anyway, it wouldn't have been as much fun!