Friday, 18 April 2008

I think I'll clarify a little in regards to my Lemmings post. I don't think I came across as well as I hoped, but I was not specifically calling into question the use of pain medications during birth, so much as how quickly women (myself included, sadly) are prepared to submit themselves to the medicalisation of what could be a normal birth, in a healthy female with an uncomplicated pregnancy, without pause or question.

Also, the lack of information that women recieve during their prenatals, and in discussions of medical interventions, either during the birth or before hand. Many people feel that they should be able to trust their doctors implicitly, as knowledgable care providers that only recommend safe, thoroughly-tested care, or, if there are risks, then they will give those to you as well. Perhaps this is more pervasive in the doctor/patient relationship when it comes to sickness. But this is sadly, quite often untrue when we're talking about an OB informing a pregnant patient.

There is a long, frightening history of doctors using untried methods to improve birth that seem like they would be a good idea.

For example, using x-ray on pregnant women to determine pelvic size. For one, pelvic size before labor is generally unreliable, as the pelvis expands to allow the baby to pass through. (Not to mention pushing/birthing in certain positions will expand the pelvis - squatting, for example - or narrow it - pushing on your back, knees pulled back to your ears) A few years, and far too many dead/deformed babies later, they said, "Hey! Perhaps exposing a fetus to strong radiation in utero is not the best plan after all!".

Pain medications are being tested on women and unconsenting, uninformed babies, during labor. There is NO research to suggest that it is safe for the baby. The research that has been done to date has alot more to do with changing doses (so as to reduce the harmful effects on the baby, that alone admitting that there ARE effects) with regards to maternal "satisfaction". Not safety, SATISFACTION. There's a very interesting blog post I found recently (and the whole blog is outstanding) about the research that is(n't) going on in this area. Please to be checking it out. :)

Anyways, I needs me some sleep. Weee I have internet still! They did cut our long distance, but at least we have this connection to the world still. :)

I was right!

I got my records from the hospital today.

I was looking through the (very few) notes about the labor/birth. It mentioned Ray's head being "asynclitic" before we did the c-section.

(Asynclitic usually meaning the head is tilted slightly, more generally it can even mean breech or posterior. Basically anything that may not be considered conducive to an easy labor, and contributes to dystocia.)

I've been wondering about this recently. Ray had a welt on his head after he was born, which scabbed over. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures on here or I'd show you. We did try the vacuum, and it popped off three times. It can be assumed that it was from the vacuum. Normally, the flat part of the top of your head, towards the back, is what presents first. The welt on Ray's head was behind and just above his ear. That's a serious tilt.

What could have been done? Alot. :( For starters, moving during the labor, as I wanted to. Walking, hip swaying/shaking, bouncing on the birthing ball, lunges. Also, not breaking my water. If the baby is not in a good position when it's done, breaking it can sometimes seal them in that unfavorable position. It's still possible for them to shift, but it's not as easy. (Not to mention the more obvious risk of cord prolapse if the baby is not "engaged" in the pelvis.)

Mostly? Just not being induced to begin with. *sigh*

ETA: An interesting article on on asynclitism in labor and what can be done to help.

Lemmings Didn't Always Jump.

Long ago, in the land of lemmings, there was a certain season when the female lemmings would go to the nearest cliff, and climb carefully down. It was dangerous, and sometimes difficult. Most lemmings had the help of an experienced guide, who had made the climb before. They would help however they could, but at times the journey was too difficult and unpredictable. Harsh storms would batter the climbers, ice would make it treacherous. Some lemmings grew too weak to climb anymore, or became sick, and would plummet to the ground.

During this time, a significant number of the climbers died. It was tragic, but it was a part of life. There was no escaping the danger.

After a time, the lemmings became more advanced. A few had the idea of sending ssome lemmings to the bottom of the cliff, where they would make a soft nest of leaves and fur. Up top, the lemmings were urged to just jump, and allow the Catchers to catch them.

For a time, matters seemed to be better. No more bruised paws, cut knees and elbows. There was a little soreness at the end, but it seemed the outcome was better. More lemmings survived.

Some, who were too weak or sick to survive the climb, were carefully lowered down to the bottom. This too, seemed a vast improvement.

After a time, the Catchers grew arrogant. They held the power that insured the female lemmings had a better chance of surviving their fall. They even gave them special leaves that took away the fear of the drop, and the pain as well.

But not all was well. The Catchers were not satisfied, because sometimes lemmings still did not make it, or they ended up badly injured. They poked and prodded at their females before the leap. More and more were being lowered down, because it was considered safe. Some seemed to take too long at the top of the cliff, and the Catchers felt it was unnatural. Some of them became Pushers. If a lemming lingered at the top too long, she was pushed off. Being pushed made the fall even more frightening and painful. The Catchers/Pushers reassured the females, saying that they just weren't sure what might go wrong if they hung around at the top too long.

More and more lemmings, even those capable of climbing on their own, jumped. Jumping, being lowered, and pushed, became normal. The females hated and feared this time in their lives, but they no longer knew any other way. A few wondered about climbing down, but everyone around them reminded them how dangerous it had once been. Also, since so many did not survive the fall wholly unscathed, (and it seemed so many had once perished from climbing) it was assumed that some female lemmings just didn't know how to climb properly. They needed help at every turn. They needed to be pushed and caught.

Times once again grew dim. Most survived their falls, but few came out whole. They were traumatized from the terrifying fall and the pain. They were scarred. So many were being lowered, and sometimes things went wrong. A Catcher didn't pay close attention, or the vine would fray and snap, sending the lemming to her death.

Some lemmings, as they came closer to the edge, began to wonder if jumping was really the only way. They remembered that climbing, while dangerous, was not as frightening for those that trusted their instincts. There were still a few scarce Guides, ready to help those unwilling to jump.

The Catchers berated the Guides, and the Climbers, for attempting such a thing. After all, in olden times it had been very dangerous.

Even the other female lemmings gave the climbers a hard time. Those that climbed successfully were no longer afraid! They felt alive and powerful. They were amazed at what they had accomplished.

The Jumpers were sometimes angry. "No one is waiting at the bottom with a medal, just because you climbed."

Other Jumpers were not impressed. "It doesn't matter how you got to the bottom. As long as we survive, that's what matters. Who cares if it's scary?"

These days, we lemmings have the power to make things better. We can still climb, indeed we were meant to. We can take a Guide with us, and she can watch for dangers that we may not see. If, during the climb, the way becomes too treacherous, or we get sick or tired, she can help us decide how to proceed. There will always be Catchers at the bottom, who will be there when we NEED it.

Why are you jumping, when you can climb?

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Well folks, tomorrow they're cutting our connection to the world. Yes, no internet or phone but we will be DONE with telefonica, FOREVER. Can you hear the angels singing?

Not much of interest going on here. Just lots of cleaning and tying off all the remaining loose ends. Saw the pediatrician a few days ago and Ray is doing great. 19lbs and 27.5". He's really leaning up, although there's still some delicious chunk on his legs, and of course his cheeks! Yum!

He's standing on his own a bit now. The last few days he seemed to be doing it without realizing he was, but now h's definitely catching on. Earlier he was playing with his favorite toy (the purple box from our box set of harry potter books) and using it to stand up. Even holding onto it, he was pretty bent over, so he would let go and stand up straight, arms stretched out in front for balance. SO FLIPPING CUTE. So yes, he's been testing his balance on everything. <3 Watching him grow and learn new skills has to be the coolest thing. Does it ever get old?

We did a test run on the benadryl last night, as I was advised by a few other moms that while some kids get sleepy, others get WIRED. We gave it with his applesauce dinner, maybe an hour before bed, and he only woke in the night ONCE. Can I give it to him every night? Please?

I'm also giggling at the bottle. It has pictures of kids on the box, and it says "Children's Allergy" all over it. But then it has warnings about avoiding alcohol and caution when driving or operating heavy machinery. LOL. I told Ray to lay off the sauce after I gave it to him, but he's just gotta have his nightcap...

So anyways. Internet dies tomorrow, and then we leave early monday morning. We'll be staying at the lodge, which might have pay computers that I may or may not utilize to check my email. Please feel free to leave me some love, and I'll be back May 7th at the latest. Woot!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Everything is Ruined

The Olympics already blow this year. Blah. I was honestly kind of surprised when I heard China would be hosting, and all the protesting shows why. I just don't think of them as the happy peaceful world-friendship kind of place. (Of course, neither are we...) I can't help thinking of the women there who want kids, and some, if they don't kiss ass enough to get a license to have more, end up with forced abortions. Of course it's all deny deny deny...but can you imagine? I'm shuddering at forced c-sections in the US, but abortion. Yikes.

Saturday, 12 April 2008


Hooray for headphones. I got a nice pair of noise-reducing earbuds, they sound great. I'm listening to Oprah's interview with the "pregnant man" as I type. I'm kind of less impressed by this whole first I found it supremely interesting, and I still do to some extent (why else would I listen to this?), but it's like...woman, becomes lesbian, becomes male, but keeps uterus and it's still a pregnant woman, physically speaking. I think it's not quite as fantastic as people are making it out to be. I guess the huge hold up is legally he's a he. I still wonder how he's going to feel after the birth, if he'll still feel that he can function in a father role having gone through what mothers do. I don't doubt that fathers bond very closely with their children, but even on a strictly base, instinctive, hormonal level, it is different. And I really wonder how much "feeling male" is going to cover it.

I don't begrudge them their child. They've faced many difficulties to be where they are today, and certainly many less than savory characters who are strictly heterosexual have children and then don't treat them right. I think they'll be fabulous parents, and that child will have a unique upbringing and a very interesting story to tell one day!

On to other things. Happy birthday to Anthony! He's reached the ripe old age of 27. It's been a somewhat unhappy birthday, sadly, as he's been getting alot of flack at work because of some asshat in leadership that's lazy. He (said asshat) is basically fixing the schedule so he can be a lazy shitbag, and dragging a rake behind him to cover his tracks. Unfortunately this time Anthony was the rake, and he's paying for shitheads irresponsibility. *sigh* It shouldn't go any higher than a DRB (disciplinary something or other board) and then likely get tossed out, because everyone at the command knows what's going on. One of the newer folks missed a watch recently for general shitbaggery and had to go to DRB, so it would look really bad if they didn't send Anthony up a mere week later. *sigh*

We're hoping for a trip to Gibraltar tomorrow. Woowoo monkeys!

Had a good time at Pub Los Arcos last night, kind of a penultimate final hurrah. I did some crazy assed shot called a Quack Quack, which was interesting and ended with me getting a tiny burn on my hand. I think my hands are too small to pull it off as easily as the guys.

We had our packout yesterday, and somewhat to my dismay they packed EVERYTHING in the kitchen. Which was sort of what I wanted, dishes-wise, but I thought they couldn't pack foodstuffs that were already open. I was patently mistaken, and went pretty hungry today as our fridge is fairly bare, and even the easy things like waffles, bisquick for pancakes, would have benefited greatly with the addition of syrup or honey. We used raspberry jam, and while I would never desire to eat it that way again, it was tolerable. Needless to say we went shopping this afternoon and bought dinners and such. Hopefully it will last us.

I've been spending alot of time blog-hopping, although I'm hitting a point in the birth blogs where I'm just reading the same info over and over again. This is part of the reason why I've not really blogged much about it, so many have already said it, and so much more powerfully than I. One thing I'd like to look into more is court-ordered cesareans and the effect of traumatic birth on babies.

I've found out that with a c-section you miss out on alot of the natural bonding processes. Especially after an induced labor, I probably didn't have my own hormones going that would aid in that process. In nature, if you deliver an animals young by c-section the mother will not even recognize her offspring. She won't take care of them. Now I'm not saying that I (or any c-section mama) neglect our babies, or don't love them just as much as the next mom, but for some it can be harder, and take longer. I think it contributed to our difficulty breastfeeding. I know that being unable to hold Ray for long periods in the first few weeks affected me negatively.

There is a thing called a trauma bond, where two people who have been through something traumatic together form an especially tight bond. I don't know if traumatic is the right term for my end of things, exceedingly difficult, certainly. His end though, I would guess most certainly was traumatic. Pitocin is a nasty, nasty drug. Contractions are longer, stronger, and come faster. I remember having 15-30 seconds of "break" between contractions, for hours. And even during those breaks, it still HURT. There was no "ahhh, a rest!". I can't even imagine how hard that must have been on him. Even in a normal birth, they've found that labor is intense and painful for the baby as well as mom. Not to mention being pushed on in a terrible position for four hours, possibly with his head malpositioned, having the dr and nurses poking at his head, the vacuum attempts (which left him with a huge, scabbed welt for over a week afterwards) and then the c-section. It's no wonder he was so loud after they pulled him out. It was cold, bright, and people he had never heard were handling him, holding him up in the air, prodding, testing, cleaning, before he even saw his daddy, much less me. I wonder how those experiences, his first outside the womb, will shape his personality in years to come.

As you can probably tell, I've been mowing through blogs left and right. So much amazing, troubling, thought-provoking, horrifying information to process. Feminism, racism, horrors from the war in Iraq that you'd never hear about from "news" broadcasts produced by the same people who produce soap operas...religion, politics. My head is spinning, in such a good way. I've been intellectually stimulated in ways that I haven't in years. Possibly ever. It's wonderful. So I apologize for my infrequent posts. Check out some of the blogs on the right, and see the "fun" I've been into lately. I'm busy growing. :)

Time for some alone time with the birthday man...shhh, I think I'm ovulating. ;) We're not trying, but I wouldn't complain if something more resulted. :D

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

It's getting awfully scary around here

I was reading a post yesterday about obstetricians performing c-sections under court order.

Wow. I'm almost speechless. And I'm furious. This means that pregnant women have fewer rights (medically speaking) than dead bodies. You can't do shit to a body without consent.

This whole deal of placing the unborn childs needs before the mother is...shaky. It's a nice idea, but in practice? A frightening breach of human rights. Especially in a supposedly pro-choice country. The idea that the woman in the article could likely have shown up to that hospital a few months earlier and had that same baby, who was in "grave danger", and have it aborted, and would not have received a second's beyond me. I'm not here to debate abortion, it's an awfully sticky subject.

But the idea that a woman, simply because she is pregnant, can not be trusted to weigh her options, risks, and make the best choice for her AND her baby is sad and about 4000 steps in the wrong direction.

As a woman who is hoping for an HBAC in the next few years, the idea is especially troubling.

And people want to hand over the reins of the medical industry to the government? I'm moving far, far, far away.


I really love watching Jeopardy. I love how while watching you can answer two questions correct (and have no damn clue on anything else) and feel like the king of the world.

So the Final Jeopardy question was something about what "high altitude" city did the olympics once take place in. Now, I'll admit I had no clue. But this one guy answered Sydney, Australia.


Ummm, high altitude? REALLY? Isn't Sydney a PORT city?? Like, you know, SEA LEVEL??

I'm still giggling.

ETA: The answer was Mexico City.

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Well tomorrow we officially hit the two week point.


We're scrambling to try and see if we can find a way to bring Claudia. Of course all this shit has to hit the fan on the weekend when our hands are tied. I looked up the airlines we'll be on regarding pets, and hopefully PSD can get things fixed to allow for her. I was really counting on being able to find her a spanish home, and it's not working out at all. I found a boarding house that looks pretty good in TX for about $400 before military/long-term discount. That includes feeding costs. Not too bad but of course it complicates all the traveling 300x.

Still trying to get the car fixed, and we just dropped another bucket of money into that shitty ass rental we've been driving for two months. Ugh.

My computer has randomly decided that it doesn't like the internet. Can't even reset the settings without it locking up, or update the drivers for the motherboard. The same mobo which is only two or three months old. GUH.

Housing inspection needs to be scheduled, and if we can take the cat then I need to buy her a kennel and get various forms that say she's healthy.

Ray has a dr's appt next week because I think he has an adhesion on his penis from the circumcision. I've been faithfully pulling it back daily to keep it clean but he apparently has his mommies healing powers. I wish we'd never done it.

Thursday the movers are back to take the rest of our stuff. On top of figuring out what goes and what stays we'll be mailing a few boxes of stuff either to TX or SC. So rather than sorting things into two piles, we have four. Yay.

I need to call like four different people. We can't get in touch with our sponsor and the ombudsman has not returned my email, and didn't answer her phone just now. Yay.

Someone kill me now. Even better, drug me and wake me up in a month when we arrive in SC. Don't even get me thinking about the flight. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Friday, 4 April 2008


Whew, good lord that took awhile. Ray has been back to the 'going down for the night, waking up every fifteen minutes 3-4 times before REALLY going down' thing for the last few nights. I think he's on the verge of another milestone...and I think this one may be verbal. He's been doing the "mamamamamama" more often, and usually when he seems to want me. Sometimes it's while he's whining, and hanging on my leg. I've heard that the "mamamama" sound is more angry/frustrated, and the "dadadada" babbling is happy, which I've seen evidence of. However, a few times today, when not upset, he would take off after me going "mamama". At one point this evening I was in the kitchen cooking, and he took off toward the back of the house looking for me after he heard me yell something to Anthony, going "mamamama!", but not upset. I said "in here honey!" and he came back to the kitchen gate to eyeball me. Cute!

But yeah, back to the "oy that took forever". I just spent a solid HOUR trying to put him to bed. Nursed him three times in that time. He was so restless, he would just lay there in my arms sucking his thumb and "singing", "MmmmmMMMmmmMMMmmmMmmmmMMMmm". To the point where he would actually fall asleep, thumb pop out of his mouth, still humming. Then the sound would wake him and he'd go back to sucking and more humming. Finally I put him in his bed, as he was mostly asleep but squirming to flip over, and he stayed. Whew! Maybe tomorrow he'll wake me up with a happy, "Mama!". :)

I've told Anthony time and again that with the next one we'll make sure he's more involved in the sleeping process. It's a little harder to work it in, with the breastfeeding, but what we should have done (I think) is make sure I pumped a bottle for him some nights and let daddy feed him to sleep. Not worth the trouble of doing it now, as Anthony will be gone in about a month, and we'll only see him once in the following five months. But on the next little one? For sure.

I see some folks enjoyed my last post, and I'm glad. I guess I'm at a place right now, in my process of "processing", where I'm taking more responsibility for the decisions I made, but at the same time I feel like the "system" really failed me, as it fails SO many women. Men, women, if you have a chance to see the Business of Being Born, please do so. It is so informative. It doesn't address all the current problems in our system concerning mothers, babies, and doctors, but it does bring up some of the biggest issues and for those that haven't read in depth about the current state of these things in our country, I think you may find it very enlightening. Whether you're done having kids, just starting, or don't plan on doing it ever. If you're male or female, show it to your daughters and your sons. Make them AWARE.

Things are moving along well here as far as our leaving is concerned. The car is in the shop, the movers come on the 10th to make our house truly empty and terribly boring for a week, and we're somewhat frantically trying to find a home for our lovely Claudia. Our flight is officially set, and we've purchased my plane tickets out to SC. On top of finding a house and getting the lease set up (and possibly getting our household goods delivered there before we leave) we hope to buy a car, which Anthony will drive out to San Diego as soon as we've left for SC.

In the home life, things are good. Ray is doing great, and truly getting more fun by the day. He loves to play, with us and on his own as well. He's a solid little guy, still pretty slim but heavy and STRONG. Gosh. It truly amazes me. Still not much hair but a mouth full of teeth. He's in love with cheerios or pretty much any finger food, and loves to eat eat eat.

I've received my birth doula manuals in the mail, and I'm slowly getting started. Not as quickly as I'd like but I've found some awesome blogs (listed on my sidebar) and I've been drinking in the info like a dying woman. Doulas, midwives, feminists, many interesting points of view. I love it.