The Post Every Pregnant Mom Should Read

by Emily on February 25, 2015

If you want a natural birth don’t have your baby in a hospital, you will end up with a c-section. Having your baby at home is dangerous and stupid. Birth centers are amazing because they feel like home but if your baby isn’t breathing they can’t help you. Hospitals are the safest. Hospitals are dangerous because they will make you have procedures on your baby that you don’t want. Is anyone confused yet?

If you are pregnant or even mention that you are thinking about getting pregnant everyone and their mother (literally) will have an opinion on where you should have your baby. Really you don’t even have to tell anyone just check out the comments on social media on articles surrounding birth and be prepared for an all out war. However, now that I am on my fourth pregnancy and I have learned something I wish every mom would understand:

It does not matter where you have your baby, at all. Read that again. It does not matter where you have your baby.

Have your baby at home, have your baby in a hospital, have your baby in a birth center, have your baby squatting in the woods (although I have to say that sounds the least appealing to me personally). It doesn’t matter.

Why doesn’t it matter?

Over the past 8 years I have been pregnant 4 times, have given birth 3 times, and am about to give birth again in a few short months. My first birth was a very typical 21st century birth. I labored for a long time, had an epidural, and had a baby in a hospital. Not exactly what I had planned, but nothing was terrible about it other than the 6 months of my upper thigh being numb to the touch from the epidural (one of the side effects I wasn’t told about). My second birth was probably the worst and most traumatic day of my life. He was also born in a hospital. You can read the story at the link above. My third birth was also in a hospital, but this time was the first time I took the time to really choose who I was going to have taking care of me. I think I interviewed half a dozen different OB/MW teams. This hospital water birth was the most incredible, healing birth I had ever had. Many of the natural birth crazies would say it was because it was a natural birth. I would somewhat disagree. It was because I trusted the birth team that was with me and my wishes and rights were respected. I was cared for like a real person and not just another patient. Having a natural birth is one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had, but I don’t think that is what made the biggest difference.

I had 3 hospital births and they were all completely different experiences. I learned the hard way during my second birth that hospitals aren’t always the safest places to have a baby if you don’t have a good team taking care of you. Both my baby and I faced moments where our lives were in jeopardy. Then I learned during my third birth that there are doctors in hospitals that will take phenomenal care of you. I experienced terrible care in a hospital setting, but I have also known women who experienced terrible care at home and in a birth center. It can happen everywhere, just like incredible care can.

So what does matter?

What does matter is who you choose to be there with you when you have your baby. This matters so much, so very much and I don’t think many moms grasp just how much this matters. Where you have your baby doesn’t matter, but who is there when you have your baby matters more than anything else you need to consider while pregnant. In fact, I am going to say that who you choose to be present when you give birth is the single most important choice you will make while pregnant. More important than the nursery design, more important than what travel system, crib, or baby toys you register for, more important than your baby shower guest list. It should be at the top of your list. Most moms that I know choose to go to the most well known practice in the area, the practice at the top of the list on their list of in-network OBs, or the practice that most of their friends go to. They make the choice and then blindly go to their appointments and trust everything that provider says. They are the doctor, right? As a new mom that is what I did. Most of the time moms wanting a home birth or a birth center birth are a little more aware of the choices they are making due to those choices being less popular, but still I have read home birth and birth center stories that are just as scary (and often more scary) than hospital situations.

First Things First

Before you can choose a care provider, you actually need to know something about pregnancy and birth and what is going to happen in your body during the process. This seems like common sense, but again it has been my experience that very few women have a clue about what goes on in their bodies during the 10 months (yep it’s 10 months, not 9) they are pregnant and during the labor process. You can’t really know how to choose medical professionals to care for you during the process until you know what kind of care you want to receive. So how do you do that? First, promise me you won’t read the book “What to Expect When You are Expecting” unless you want a book with zero references and just want to be told not to worry and just trust your doctor. I have compiled a list of some of the best resources I have found on learning about pregnancy and childbirth below. You may notice that several of the books have a very pro natural childbirth stance. The reason for this is because I have found that those are really the only books that seem to give real, evidence based information. As I mentioned above I have had 2 medicated births. I strongly believe that moms should be free to have an epidural or pain management if they choose, however I also believe that we need to have all the information on such choices in order to make a confident choice. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some of the best I have read. Feel free to share your other recommendations in the comments.

How to Choose?

Once you have an understanding of what you want for your pregnancy and delivery you are now equipped to choose a provider for yourself and your baby. I recommend interviewing several different doctors and midwives until you find one you really feel safe with. Let them know what you are hoping for and find a doctor that is supportive of your wishes and doesn’t brush you aside. I think many moms are used to being brushed aside by “doctor speak”. I know I was. Until my third pregnancy and I was interviewing the OB I ended up choosing. He was so kind and even apologized to me for the way I had been treated in the past. No doctor had ever done that before. I was under the care of the midwives for my pregnancy, but it is so important to know the OB as well. All the midwives are under his/her authority. Chances are if the OB is fantastic, the midwives will be so as well and unfortunately the opposite is not true. Fantastic midwives do not always mean fantastic doctors. Childbirth Connection has some really great articles on how to go about doing this that are worth checking out. If you find yourself having a hard time please reach out to me, no matter where you live I can help you find the places to look for really great care providers.

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Santa is Dead! An Update

by Emily on December 2, 2014

One afternoon last week I went to grab my kids from a neighbor’s house and my awesome neighbor pulled me aside and told me my oldest son was telling her son that Santa was dead. Not my proudest moment. Sigh…

The Back Story

Last year, my post regarding how our family handles Santa was published in a magazine and my site got more hits than it ever had. I was so happy we had figured out a way to handle the whole Santa thing without our kids turning out to be “that kid”. and I wanted to share what we did. Well, turns out my seven year old was “that kid” now. If you go back and read my post you will see that we most certainly do not tell our children that Santa is dead, but if you knew my seven year old you would know exactly how he came to that conclusion.
My seven year old is just like his daddy: extremely logical and analytical. He has very little imagination and almost no creativity. He is extremely concrete and likes things to be just so. He is a math genius, has an awesome sense of direction, and can assemble and build amazing creations with no directions. He is the opposite of his mama. We have always told our children the story of Saint Nicholas. We tell them he was a man that loved Jesus and gave to others as a result. so each Christmas when we see his face we are reminded to give to others at Christmas time. They know the story of the dowry and the stockings, so they know that people hang stockings and they are filled with goodies in remembrance of that event. We also watch and enjoy Christmas classics like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and other Santa based shows, just as we watch any other fun family shows like Toy Story. We don’t ever have serious conversations about them afterwards, anymore than we have conversations about whether or not Buzz Lightyear is a real Space Ranger.

The Aftermath

So that evening I sat down with my seven year old and included his five and a half year old brother as he was present for the conversation at the neighbors and asked them what happened. My oldest told me that his friend kept insisting that Santa was real. I told him that Santa is real. To which he replied, “No mom he was real, now he is dead!” Didn’t I tell you he is a realist? My second son is much more like his mama. He is a dreamer with an impressive vocabulary and has probably ten times the dose of creativity that I have. He says: ” Right, but his spirit is still here at Christmas reminding us what Jesus wants for his birthday.” I was impressed. what am I here for if my five year old gets it? Then my oldest says with arrogance in his voice: “Maybe, but he is still dead.” I couldn’t help but laugh. I knew he was not going to relent so I agreed with him. “Yes honey, you are correct Saint Nicholas the man is dead, but lots of people still like to celebrate him today and remember his kindness by giving to others. Some parents like to pretend to be him and give their kids gifts and let them be surprised and we need to respect that. So you are not allowed to tell children that Santa is dead because that is not kind to the children who still like to be surprised. Do you understand?” To which, he agreed and then asked if we were done talking. And so far this week we have been without any dead Santa incidences.

My Takeaway

Parenting is always evolving, as my children get older I have realized that my parenting style and conversations need to change. It goes beyond Santa. My children’s curiosity changes and their ability to observe and understand more increases. As parents we need to be open to changing our stance and continue conversations that we thought were done.
Christmas is full force in our house right now. The advent wreath is sitting on the table and our Jesse tree is in the works. This year my seven year old has asked to read some of our daily verses from his own Bible, which has been so much fun. This year since we live in Idaho we took a family trip up into the mountains and national forest to cut down our Christmas tree. Afterward my husband and I decided that moving forward this would be a special trip reserved only for children over the age of 6. Trekking through a foot of snow up a mountain with a three year old was less than fun. Don’t be afraid to adjust family traditions and add new ones as your kids get older. Honor and respect your child as they grow it will make them feel great as they get older and get more privileges and it will give the younger ones something to look forward to.
My oldest in a rare quiet moment in front of the Christmas tree.

My oldest in a rare quiet moment in front of the Christmas tree.

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Westward Move Day 2-3: Omaha, Nebraska

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