Monday, June 28, 2010

Dreaming of the Doctor and Dirty Socks

Yesterday was a bad day. I woke feeling well enough, but after a breakfast of junk food and orange juice, I began feeling sick to my stomach almost immediately. Throughout church, I felt waves of nausea alternating with waves of heat, and I had to leave the service a couple of times.

Mark took us out to IHOP after that, and while I appreciated the break from trying to cook in the kitchen, I feel I can say with fair certainty that IHOP is not a good choice for alleviating nausea.

We dropped Burgundy off with Tabby for a babysitting job, and I slept for the rest of the afternoon. I felt a bit better for having slept, and we had spaghetti for dinner.

I went to bed around 9:30 and slept fitfully until about 4:30. After that, I couldn't even doze. I dreamed ridiculous things and tried to ignore the aching in my belly and the itching. Every time Mark touched me or the sheets shifted against my skin, I would come fully awake, itching like mad.

The itching had me dreaming of laundry as I somehow convinced myself that the problem was dirty sheets (even though I wash them every week). I dreamed I took all my knitted socks into the shower with me, and later I dreamed that this caused some kind of alien problem that required Dr. Who to show up and fix the damage. Sadly, this dream did not feature David Tennant in my shower.

That leaves me at my desk at work at 7:00 in the morning, still achy, nauseous, and now quite unable to focus on the myriad tasks at hand. I can't recall the details from last week, the plans I made while discussing transition with L, the plans for addressing disconnects that I formulated with K. I'm just here, lost, and you have the privilege of reading the most boring blog entry ever written.

Except for David Tennant in my shower with my hand-knit socks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Homebirth, Part I

So I'm pregnant. Very exciting news, isn't it? Even more exciting is the news that it's sticking (for now); we're officially out of the first trimester, making it much easier to grin and announce the coming baby with gratitude and joy. That trepidatious sense of impending doom recedes a little more each day, and as my tummy begins to grow (only the faintest hint right now), so does the thrill and anticipation. Soon I'll feel movement (the quickening), and soon after that, Mark and Burgundy will be able to feel it from the outside. I'm making a baby.

Given how long and dearly we've wanted this child, some people have asked, all incredulous, why we would take the risk of a homebirth attended by a midwife. After all, isn't a hospital safer? Isn't a doctor more knowledgeable? For those who have been in my home, there's the gingerly asked (and possibly quite valid), "Um, is it sanitary enough?"

In a word, No, No, and NO. I mean Yes. The answer to the last question is definitely YES. No Freudian slips here; move along.

I want to spend several posts exploring these questions and the scientific evidence in favor of midwifery care (as opposed to obstetrical care) and home or birth-center-based labor and delivery. Childbirth is one of the most important rites of passage in our culture, and the way we approach care for this event in a woman and family's life has implications for safety, maternal and infant morbidity rates, cultural assumptions and attitudes toward life and toward the value of people. Childbirth is a fine example of the interconnectedness of life, love, science and progress. Childbirth is my soapbox, my love, a saving grace (for me). Healthy, normal childbirth is a passion, its promotion almost a mission for me.

These posts might be far between because I want to present them in a way that demonstrates the interdependencies of the childbirth process (for example, the well-documented "cascade effect" of our technological advances that has lead to our inexcusably high Cesarean rate in the US). I often find that when a person asks me about one thing, for example, electronic fetal monitoring, I don't do a very good job of presenting the big picture, the whole argument.

I begin discussion logically enough. Unfortunately, as I connect the dots mentally, I get a little rabid. I stumble over my own words; I get "Libertarian Eyes" (a term for the slightly wild-eyed look of a zealot in full-on Preach-the-Gospel-of-My-Cause mode coined by my friend Hannah in discussion of, um, excessively passionate people), and apparently, I lose my ability to form a coherent sentence.

When I come back to my senses, I'm out of breath, spluttering, and whomever I've just assaulted with a vitriolic denunciation of anything short of squatting in a rice paddy backs away slowly and refuses to return my calls for a month. As they back away, I follow them, saying things like, "And that's not even the half of it! I once discovered a coven of obstetricians mired in a Ritual Cesarean chanting insurance codes! I DID! And they are the reason that our society is crumbling! It’s the Demonic Obstetricians of DOOM! You must birth [spittle flies on the heels of birth; I pronounce it like a televangelist] NAKED! Do it for the CHILDREN [I begin to shout because they're running now]! JESUS WANTS YOU TO RECLAIM YOUR FEMINIST POWER! WHEN YOU BIRTH YOU BECOME A SUPER WOMAN; YOU ARE CAPABLE OF ANYTHING!"

So yes, I want to write something coherent and accessible. I want to write something that friends can read without thinking, "Christ on a cracker, don't tell her you're pregnant!" Most of all, I want it to be effective. I want people who read me, who stumble on my journal, to understand that there is a better way than epidurals, episiotomies, and cesarean sections. A safer way, a gentler way. A loving way.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NASA recently released this image of the Gulf oil spill. Let me hasten to add that this is a false-color image "created by combining data from different color bands on two of MISR's [multi-angle imaging spectro-radiometer] nine cameras."

I think everything that I could think of to say about this spill has been said, including the call by Scottish Twins to be proper stewards of Earth as a fundamental Christian responsibility. I don't have a lot to add, but the NASA image is the first I've seen that so clearly conveyed the magnitude of the spill. I wanted to share it with you for that reason.

Meanwhile, the link above will explain the two lower photos, the white arrow in the picture, and the little red +, which marks the spot of the actual well.

As an aside, if you find this sort of thing useful, please take a moment to write your Congressperson urging them to kill the proposal to cancel Constellation. To be fair, the MISR and this photo nominally have nothing to do with Constellation. The key is that Constellation *is* our future plan for manned space flight, and without MSF, we will gradually make fewer and fewer of the kinds of advances that the MISR represents.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Finally. I Have Returned

Two months. I know; it's a long time without an update. I'd tell you I'm sorry and beg your forgiveness, but honestly, I'm not sure my eight or so readers felt a significant vacuum in their lives for my absence. Just another blogger who didn't stick with it.

The thing is, I actually will stick with it. You just have to put up with the occasional dry spell. I really am sorry. Mostly just because that's not how I want to blog, not because I think my absence did a powerful harm to the Internetz.

So April 23, I posted about depression. Several things have happened since then. Perhaps most significantly, I've carried a pregnancy past the first trimester (officially today). I'm as shocked as the rest of the world, and I'm slowly getting excited.

The difficulties in our marriage have been getting better. Both of us work hard, and while I think we're also both kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, we're also enjoying this anomalous experience of actually liking our spouse.

So much and yet so little has happened in the past two months. Burgundy finished 9th grade with straight As for the second semester. She went to Chicago with our church's youth choir, and they sang in churches, cathedrals, and nursing homes as they toured their way up and back. She saw Blue Man Group on the trip, and I think she's decided to become Catholic just so she can marry in a St. Louis cathedral with which she fell deeply in love. She began a summer school enrichment program at Rice University last week.

That's a post in and of itself. It's a testament to the power of great teachers that young people in their teens, an age glorified for recalcitrance and rebellion, flock to this school in the summer. Burgundy's boyfriend begged his parents to let him go (I'm sure Burgundy's attendance had nothing to do with that), and Burgundy, who is 14 and starting her Sophomore year in August, a musician and an English nerd, comes home chattering gaily about Calculus and Chemistry. I mean, really. Maybe standardized testing isn't so effective after all? Maybe giving teachers the freedom to teach to their students is effective? Pshaw, you don't say.

It turns out that Burgundy's Calculus teacher (who has her gobbling up the limits and derivatives regardless of her lack of pre-Cal and tutoring her classmates) teaches at the Awty International School. I wanted so badly to send her to Awty when she was little. I could go on and on about them. I'm tempted to pull him aside toward the end of the summer school program and ask him about scholarships. The tuition is tens of thousands per year, but if we could put her in an environment where the teachers are free to teach (and she could earn her International Baccalaureate), I know she would thrive.

Oh, once I start writing, it's so easy. I missed, you, little blog!

Mark has been working on his book business, and I've been laying on the couch whining about morning sickness that lasts all day and all night. His business is going pretty well now, and I would guess he's selling an average of two to three books per day. He still needs to take one more class before he can sit for his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, but NASA keeps cancelling or completely overselling its occasional class for PMs. I think we're going to just pay the tuition for him to take this class. It will hurt financially given our impending unemployment, but given the value of a current PMP cert, I think it's completely worth the effort. It could double his salary.

I've continued to work part-time right up until now. I received word last week though that beginning next week, I will begin working full time. This is a blessing in disguise for me. I have been so tired and sick for the last three months that if I had needed to go full time even a week earlier, I don't know if I could have done it. Luckily, the sickness is getting less and less prohibitive, and my energy is coming back now. By next week, I should be ready to go. The real blessing in all this is that we'll be able to almost double our emergency fund if we're very careful. If we can (God willing) find a way to fully fund it and pay for the midwife before my employment ends, I'll be so very grateful.

I think that has to be all for now. I could go on and on, but I think I need to save some words for tomorrow.