Whole Foods and Homebirths

Whole Foods and Homebirths July 6, 2010

I’ve started this blog mostly in an effort to come to grips with the huge (HUGE!) changes to my psyche during these last three months of my third pregnancy. I’ve gone from being a pro-medicine, pro-vaccine, pro-hospital, pro-epidural, “give me painkillers or give me death” type to suddenly embracing the more, shall we say, granola aspects of society. And I blame it all on Medicaid.

Here’s what happened, in a nutshell.

In my fifth month of this pregnancy, Medicaid (which we had to rely on after my insurance co. dumped us when I got pregnant) abruptly switched our provider net and then refused to switch us back, leaving me unable to continue seeing the OB/GYN I’ve had since we moved to fabulous Las Vegas. She delivered Charlotte, our second child, and while I wasn’t just thrilled to death with her I was still very comfortable with her and her staff. Medicaid helpfully gave me a choice of two alternative providers in our area, one of whom held office visits at his primary location, AN ABORTION CLINIC (no, thank you, I like my offspring alive), and the other of whom is one of those multiple-doctor practices. So obviously I chose the latter. On the very first visit, I told the doctor that I didn’t want to get an epidural during labor, and he asked why. My reasoning had nothing to do with the pain (in fact, I’ve always loved the pain relief of an epidural) but sprang from the fact that after my last two births, I’ve always developed a bladder infection from the catheter they insist on if you have an epidural. I’m sorry if I’m being graphic, but this is a post about homebirth so you really shouldn’t be surprised. In any case, he informed me that the catheter wasn’t an option, and lest I get any ideas, I was absolutely not allowed to walk around. The hospital would strap me to the bed and I had no choice in the matter.

I was really appalled. Then, after I asked the hospital if this was true and they informed me that it most certainly was not, and it must just be my doctor’s choice, I was pissed off.

So I got this crazy idea that if I had a midwife instead of a doctor, perhaps she would advocate on my behalf at the hospital so that no one tried to strap me to a bed and shove an unwanted needle through my spine. But here’s the thing: in Nevada, only nurse-midwives can practice in hospitals, and Medicaid won’t cover nurse-midwives, and all the nurse-midwives in the area currently aren’t accepting patients anyway. So I was left with the choice of a horrible, straitjacketing doctor or a CPM, a certified professional midwife who would oversee a homebirth.
After doing some research and meeting an absolutely wonderful midwife we decided to go with the latter, and are now planning on renting a birthing tub and having a medication-free waterbirth in our living room. Freaky, huh? Weirdly, I’m really excited about it, though I’m sure that will change once the first real contraction hits.

The second phase of my shift into the world of yoga and granola came when I developed intense migraines about one month ago, when I was about 7 months along. This is actually not unusual for me; I had horrible migraines with my first pregnancy for the last two months as well. Ironically, before I experienced them I was one of those people who believed that migraines were something people made up, so I’m pretty sure this was the universe’s way of slapping my superiority out of me.

At any rate, after not experiencing them during my second pregnancy I had hoped it was just a first-pregnancy hormone thing, but they painfully reappeared and I set out, feeling very mature, to find out the cause of them and eliminate that cause instead of just treating the symptoms. Here’s the thing about migraines in pregnancy: you can’t really take most migraine medication because it is risky for the baby, and of the sort-of safe during pregnancy drugs, what works for me to knock out the pain is Lortab. Obviously, I really would prefer not to be on painkillers for the last two months of my pregnancy, but mostly I worry about what it is doing to the baby. Although I’ve been assured by several people (including a doctor) that the only worry is taking so much that the baby is born addicted, I still have horrible fears about our little boy being born with some sort of mental disorder or missing a limb. So in addition to being very careful about the amount of medication that I’m taking and taking it only when necessary, I’m also trying to figure out what is causing these horrible migraines. So far, I’ve eliminated caffeine, white flour and sugar, began practicing yoga and using essential oil of peppermint, started drinking herbal tea and gone to the eye doctor to have my vision checked. And so far, what seems to be causing the migraines is…the baby. I think it’s a bit early for him to have this effect on his long-suffering mother, but he seems to disagree. If any of you out there have suggestions for dealing with migraines, please let me know, cause I’m coming up blank and am really, really tired of taking painkillers.

Here’s the thing, though, about all these life changes. I’m from Texas. Things that I am comfortable with include: cow tipping, men who wear big hats and carry bigger guns, all food groups being served deep-fried and smothered with gravy, complex economic arguments about why a cessation of oil drilling now would do worse damage to us as a people than the total collapse of our planet in a hundred years, and my father shooting skunks from the front porch. This foray into the land of homeopathy has me waist-deep in very unfamiliar waters, and lest I drown, let me just ask anyone reading this for a favor.

If you ever see me sitting around a tree doing this, someone please shove a Big Mac in one hand and a shotgun in the other, and force me to drive an SUV while littering. I’ll thank you later.

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