Sunday, November 27, 2005

Decisions

There are so many decisions to make. So many decisions people ask me about and then give me their opinion or tell me a story. Some decisions we know what we are going to do and are certain about it, other decisions still need to be looked into more.

The issue is that I am a Pieces through and through and if someone gives a compelling enough argument and I previously had not thought of the issue either way, well, then I am easily swayed. The good thing is that I have not committed to any decisions and you get 9 months to think about some of them.

I know I plan to breastfeed. That's a big question that people always ask. Although I have yet to meet anyone who tried to convince me otherwise. Everyone seems to agree that you should breastfeed. My mom breastfed us and I just grew up knowing that was part of being a mom and having a baby. There are plenty of compelling reasons to breastfeed, but what it comes down to is that I want to do it. All those other positives are just gravy. I am fully aware though, that my child may not be able to digest the protein in breastmilk or that I may not be able produce enough milk (that would be a shame to be carrying these things around so long and not be able to use them for what they were meant for). But for all intensive purposes, unless there is something preventing me from breastfeeding, then I plan to do it.

Now the decision I have not answered for myself is how long do I do it for? My mom stopped around 6 months when we were able to start biting her......ok, that sounds like a good enough reason. I certainly don't like the idea of getting bit. Although others have told me that after a couple bites and you getting startled (which also scares the baby) the baby learns to not do that if they don't want to be scared. I guess it's a Pavlov response. So, I think I will need to do more reading about the benefits of the lengths of breastfeeding. I know I won't breastfeed longer that a year. I will not be a card-carrying member of the La Leche League. Not me. I honestly feel if a child can walk up and get it walk (with ease -- 14-15 months) over to me to get it and certainly when they can put together a 2-3 word sentence to ask for it (18-24 months).

Ok - next decision that I do find opposition to is diapering choices. The poor daddy knows I feel strongly about this one and is struggling with it himself and I think finds himself just saying, "well, the mommy wants to use cloth diapers". He wants whats easiest and I am willing to compromise somewhat, but not fully. If it were up to me, I might just use the cloth folding diapers with pins and covers. The daddy doesn't want pins. I think he may be afraid of sticking himself or the baby. I also think he's afraid that he won't be able to do it right. You gotta remember that I am the oldest of 4 and babysat my whole life and have changed tons of diapers (cloth foldables, cloth velcro, and disposable), the daddy can probably count on one hand how many diapers he has changed and they were probably all disposable. I think he thinks that there are too many steps to cloth diapers, but really it's just the cleaning steps. You gotta remember that you don't have to worry about running out (just throw them in the wash) and you don't have to actually run to the store to get them.

I also don't think he's too hip on touching poop. He doesn't quite realize that doesn't go away with disposable diapers either, as sometimes that stuff is stuck on or it might have run all the way up the baby's back. I think he at first thought I wanted cloth diapers because in the long run it's cheaper. Check out this site for a list of benefits. It costs $1500 for 2 years of diapering, but how many kids do you know that are potty-trained by age 2. I think a figure closer to $2000-$2500 is a more accurate, although I have seen sites that say it costs $1000/year to diaper a baby, put that final total closer at $3000. I think the cost for the 6 dozen prefold is a little high, as at Target the prefolds are $10.29 for 12, which is about $62 for 6 dozen. You don't need to buy as many wraps ro pins, as those can be reused from time to time if they don't need to be cleaned. I have seen on other sites that it cost roughly $150 to start up and you'll end up spending about $300-$400 over the diapering time for the 1st kid. With subsequent kids you just replace a few things and you are good to go. But I know I need to do the all-in-one/velcro route for most of our diapering needs, which will cost more that the pre-folds, but not as much as dispoable. BTW - they do have cloth diaper services out there that do all the cleaning for you & delivery of the diapers and their cost is roughly the same as getting disposable. Although I am not sure if it is available in out area.

But really cost is not what it comes down to. Frankly, it's better for the baby's skin. Their skin can breate easier and babies from cloth diapers tend to have less diaper rash. And these there is the issue that some babies have allergies to the disposables touching their skin. Do you want to be that person that makes your baby breakout and suffer from more rashes because you just don't want to clean off the poop in the toilet?

And without spending a lot of time on the environment - I just want to say that in our disposable society, I think I do my fair share of throwing things away and of waste, but this is one thing we can do to not add more to the waste in our landfills. I feel like I am being a better citizen of this earth if I do not add more disposables to to landfills.

Gosh - this is a LONG post. But I have a lot to say and if you are reading it then that is your choice to read this long of a post

Now, the issue I am really struggling with because I had no opinion of before and was easily convinced momentarily is the issue of a birthing doula/coach. See, my MIL and a SIL are both post-partum doulas, so of course they think the use of doulas is a good idea. My MIL made some good arguments that pushed me to think of it, at least as a birthing coach option. Personally, I feel the reason our society has gone the way of using doulas is because our society has become more mobile and we no longer live close to the person (our own mothers and grandmothers) that served that role in the past. So, do I really need a birthing coach?

I thought about it, read a little bit, and came to the conclusion that I really don't want a stranger trying to help us out. I need a relationship for me to trust them. And honestly, I don't have enough time for all my friends as it is and have felt neglectful, and have no desire this time to be making new friends (that will change later). So I ruled out strangers and feel strongly about that. So, I talked to a friend in the area who had kids of her own in the same hospital I will give birth about doing it and told her to think about it. She did, as said I should talk to her friend (who used to be a birthing doula, but doesn't do it anymore) about the pros & cons of using a friend vs. a stranger. She brought up a valid point about how friends, even though well-intentioned, will have their own agenda and may get wrapped in the birth and not be of as much use as a stranger. She also gave me some other points to think about, which I have.

So, I am at the point of thinking -- why do I want a birthing coach/doula? Do I really need this person? Am I only considering this option because my MIL suggested it? I think I would have not considered it at all if my MIL had not presented me with compelling reasons to do it. My friend said she is willing to do it, and her friend gave her a lot of books on it, I just have to give her the green light. But I'm not so sure. I guess I should make up my mind soon. The daddy & I need to talk about it. If I knew my mom would be here in time I would want her in there, but considering she has a 6 hour drive to the hospital ahead of here once the call is made (plus time to pack, possibly time to finish farm chores or find someone to cover).....the likelihood is slim that she would make it in time to be of much use. I think I will talk to my doctor more about it on Wednesday, I don't mind getting the advice when I ask for it. But I think I am leaning towards not having one, now that I start to consider my feelings and what I think the experience should be like, but maybe the daddy feels differently.

The next decision that I am met with quite a bit of opposition with is the decision to find out the sex of the baby. A LOT of people ask, I think because they are curious on what other people are doing. But there are A LOT of people who then proceed to give me a mini-lecture on wanting the element fo surprise in the delivery room. Yes, we plan to find out, if the baby is cooperative. There will be plenty of surprises in the delivery room. I've never given birth before, this is all new to me. It will all be a surprise. I want to enjoy finding out if it is a she or he, and if I find that out in January or anytime before I give birth, that is what I want. The daddy doesn't seem to care either way and may have preferred that we wait, but he knows that I am a planner and WANT THIS. I know the baby may have their legs crossed or be mooning us and we may not be able to find out at the first ultrasound, but maybe the next time, or maybe we were supposed to wait. But if we can, we will find out. It is our choice, and in the grand sceme of things not a big decision and don't appreciate the mini-lectures.

We still need to talk about options for daycare. Do we want to look in our town or in the town I work in? I'd like to find one that takes teachers kids. I know that they are out there, so it will take some investigating. My friend works for a non-profit that helps match parents with daycares that are a good match for them and I will most likely utilize that service. Do we want an in-home place or a center? How imporatant is it that they will do cloth diapers? Am I willing to allow them to use dispoables? Do I want it close enough to work so that I can breastfeed over my lunch? I know they have to be non-smokers -- for sure -- I will not even consider it if they only smoke outside or it's their spouse that smokes outside. Smoking is NOT ACCEPTABLE to me. I don't care about the issue of pets, as we have 2 cats & a dog and I think it's a good idea for babies & kids to be comfortable around animals and learn to like and respect them. How important is it that they have a curriculum for older children? How do I feel about that?

I noticed at the fair there were several daycare groups and some appeared adequately staffed where others had 8 kids and 2 adults. I don't want that for my kids. Staffing in the home is a little different than when you take them on fieldtrips. Do they have an outside play area set up or do they take them to the park daily? It's important to me that they have something planned each day that the kids can get rid of energy and move around. Kids learn to enjoy outdoor play and exercise through modeling, and that option needs to be present, no exceptions. Since I will be home for the first 3 months and will be looking for a daycare starting end of August, when do I need to start interviewing people? I think I will ask my friend what she notices here in the ways of trends of finding an ideal daycare for an infant and the timing for that.

Name decisions -- we've resigned to limiting our choices once we find out the sex of the child. We will pick out a name for the opposite sex just in case the doctor was wrong. Plus, we reserve the right to change out mind at the time of the birth.

Type of birth is another decision. I don't mean by at home or a water birth or whatever else. We are having our baby in a hospital, final. That may change with later children if we decide to have more, but the first one will be in a hospital. What I mean is vaginal or ceasarean -- honestly I am not opposed to having a ceasarean if I have to (although it has to be a horizontal cut along the bikini line, not vertical; my doctor does horizontal preferably, so that's a good thing for me). I hear from people that they don't want to have a c-section because they won't be able to give birth vaginally later -- which is not true. I just read an article that said 67% of people who have c-sections give birth vaginally to later children and I have seen similar statistics other places. I kinda think I would prefer a big cut in my abdomen rather than a small cut in my vagina. The idea of a episiotomy scares me and I certainly do not want to rip. Ouch! That does not sound fun.

The other decision is about drugs. Normally, I try to refrain from drugs when I am sick and seek natural options. Although I did have to resort to drugs for morning sickness. I held out as long as I could and tried every type of natural thing I could come up with or that was suggested. So, when I got the meds I only take what I need when I am desparate, not anymore or any other times. But when it comes to giving birth, friends who have NOT given birth ask me if I will go without meds and friends who DID give birth tell me about the meds they used and how they were thankful. I need to do more reading. The doc told me about what he normally recommends. I need to read more about each of those options, other options, and decide for myself. But honestly, I think I am leaning towards some type of meds -- just not sure which ones I feel comfortable with. So, more decisions and research.

So, those are the big decisions and there are many small ones. The small ones are easier, I like those ones.

The thing I need to remember is that we are making these decisions. They are not being made by our families or our friends or strangers or books. At the end of each day, we have to implement our decisions. Long after our families & friends have visited, and the books are closed and the strangers walked away, we have to deal with the decisions we made and all the other decisions we will have to make in the future. It kinda neat and scary at the same time, but it's our decision.

--- J

1 comment:

Trudy said...

So, here’s my 2 cents! Just my opinions mind you.
#1 Cloth diapers are most likely better for the baby and being that when I first started having children, disposables were relatively new and expensive. By the time #s 3&4 came along, there were generic and store brands available. Coupled with the fact that there was a lot to do with multiple kids, I did use them more often. It is also nice to not have to have wet, stinky diapers in the diaper bag while you are out.

#2 The Doula. Never had such a thing available here when I had kids. Don’t think I would have used one regardless. Was bad enough having to show your body to the 4 or so doctors in the partnership for deliveries as well as all the other people present in the delivery room. Besides, isn’t that the daddy’s job? If he attends classes with the mom, he’ll know what to do. After all, he’s been there since the beginning and he knows mom best; how to comfort, etc. I know I felt comfortable with my husband at my side, through the good, the bad and the UGLY! Nah, wasn’t that bad.

#3 Last I knew, caesarean was not an elective surgery, unless it was known that there might be complications, so this may be a moot point. That said, you would most likely spend a longer time in the hospital with a caesarean, as it is major surgery, being that they cut into a body cavity. As far as the episiotomy, you really don’t feel it considering everything else going on. You will heal faster from a vaginal delivery. For a c-section remember they are cutting through several layers that have to heal. And then there’s then discomfort in your abdomen, which is where you will be holding your baby for nursing and such. Not to mention there’s enough discomfort form the after pains without having a healing incision to worry about. The only thing I would insist on is sitz baths if they still do those. They would be doing new mothers a disservice if they don’t.

#4 Drugs are ok in moderation. It’s not like they “put you out” like in the old days. Sometimes it’s good to have something to take the edge off, but you might get pissed when you have to wake up just as you were getting to sleep because of a contraction. And of course if I remember right they may give a numbing shot before doing the episiotomy.

So, did I thoroughly scare and confuse you? Just thought you might like some facts as I have experienced them or remember from training. Good luck with all your decisions. You gotta do what feels right to you.