Baby Gisella enters the world

What a whirlwind the last few days have been.

Life seemed to be in a complete standstill as we waited anxiously for our precious granddaughter to arrive. We all began to seriously believe that she had just decided to stay inside her mother forever but finally at just one week overdue labor began and we had high hopes for all the planning to proceed without a hitch.

Reality reared its head though when hour after hour passed and we seemed to be sitting in standby mode impatiently waiting.

My daughter had desired a medication free, birth center birth where she could labor and deliver per her choice with her midwife, husband and myself in attendance. Reality was far from that experience and we had no idea until Gisella actually entered the world why these plans had to go so far from the desired course.

After hour upon hour of intense back labor, repeated checks of progress with little physical change, and utter exhaustion as hours turned into days of painful stabbing back pain, my daughter opted to toss the plan out the window, head to the hospital and attempt some relief with an epidural. Replaying this labor now seems unnecessary as in the end, baby was born happy and healthy. Baby was also born with one hand/arm tucked right up by her chin and the other arm/elbow jutting out so as to hinder the entire process needed for an effective labor.

We all came to the realization upon seeing just how determined Miss Gisella was to be born with her hands/arms exactly where she wanted them to be that without the alteration in plans, we would have faced the biggest medical intervention of all, a cesarean birth.

I know just how much my daughter wanted to follow her idea of an “ideal birth plan”, one by the way I backed 100% because of the strong, powerful woman she is, but I am also so incredibly proud of her and her ability to realize that sometimes changes have to occur that in the end will still provide the outcome of a healthy baby and a mom who can fully participate in that birth and not face surgical intervention. Her body tried so hard to do exactly what it was meant to do but our stubborn baby had other ideas. She was amazing, even in the face of severe back pain, and held on as long as she could with days of zero sleep.

In the end, in this birth situation, she made the right decision. She is the most amazing woman and new mom and she has given me a granddaughter who is truly a precious gift.

More pictures will follow. The new mom and dad have been and continue to work on breastfeeding, adjusting to continued lack of sleep and learning how to be a new family. I cannot stop looking into this precious face and feeling a sense of awe, much like I felt when her own mother was born. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.



Finally I can reveal the reason I have been rather pre-occupied lately and not posting a great deal here.

After passing her due date by 11 days, meandering into the world after 48 + hours of labor on August 26th 2012, my new granddaughter finally arrived

More to follow on the entire process this little sweetheart put her parents and grandma through over the last few days but for now, some pictures.

Staying away, staying calm, staying positive

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days, taking a break, being busy with other things, being hot and just being.

We still await the arrival of our granddaughter who keeps giving mom and dad wonderful little signs that she is gearing up for the big day. She is happy where she is but the changes in mom’s body signal that her world is getting ready to change.

I have talked about my dual role as mom to the expecting daughter and also doula to the expecting couple and it is at times such as this couple has encountered in the last few weeks that both frustrate and anger me in both of those roles.

The mom wants only the best for her daughter, wants this experience to be memorable in a good and positive way. The doula wants exactly the same and both of those roles are extremely cognizant that compromising either mom or baby is out of the question. This mom is incredibly healthy, as is this baby. They are both the epitome of good prenatal care.

My couple chose a birth place and experience that they believe will allow them freedom from medical intervention. Freedom to labor and birth as nature intended. They chose this because it is what they believe. They chose caregivers who should also believe this philosophy. Caregivers who of course must be mindful of the health and well-being of their clients but who encourage a strong and positive belief in the fact that pregnancy and birth are a natural experience to be trusted.

At 40 weeks gestation, full term and showing signs of pregnancy changes and that inevitable ramping up toward labor my couple; my daughter has encountered some undeniably negative attitudes and comments in her last two prenatal visits. Empathy is lacking for the first time mom who is tired, aching, and just done with being pregnant. Obtuse comments do nothing to help when mom wants to hear how great she is doing, how great her baby is doing and who should be made to believe that this is all normal.

Of course these caregivers must do their job, and part of that job is the discussion of outcomes, options and the like in the event that this little girl is just too comfortable where she is and decides to hold her position a lot longer. This birthing place has rules, restrictions and guidelines and my couple understands that. The difficult and frustrating aspect for me as a doula comes in hearing that while not only reviewing these guidelines, a little seed was planted inside mom’s head that will nag and poke and cause self-doubt about her ability, her body’s ability to do what it is meant to do. Words like induction came up, and apparently quickly following that word was the idea that mom’s immediate response would be to jump on the epidural bandwagon and plan for the “fun stuff” of a natural labor and water birth the next time around.

Hearing this from my daughter last night made me livid. It also reminded me very quickly why I chose to stop teaching childbirth education classes and advocating patient options and non-medicalized birth procedures. The wall I faced 15 years ago is still there, still just as strong and still apparently being pushed even by those who are in the business of birthing from a more holistic viewpoint. These are the very women who should be doing everything they can to encourage, enlighten and keep their couples believing that this process is natural and normal yet in the face of something as relatively common as post-dates pregnancy, they cave to the standard medical positions while almost automatically causing defeat and the beginning of a negative spiral in their clients.

Where were the suggestions for natural labor induction? Where was the teaching on acupressure and nipple stimulation and other means to encourage labor? Most importantly, where was the attitude that this is normal, that this baby will come when she is ready and the belief that mom’s body is in full control and knows what to do.

I know this. I believe this and I want my couple, my daughter to know and believe this. I can so understand how hard it is to wait. She was early in her appearance, but both of her siblings decided to hang out in my uterus well past their due dates. Mommy wants to make it better, wants to protect her child, wants to scream at the midwife who is clearly not understanding regarding the emotional aspects of pregnancy. The doula wants to ask the midwife why? Why would you ignore a teaching moment, a chance to bring a positive aspect to this young first time pregnant couple? Why you would be so crass as to completely overlook the doubt and negativity you create with just a few words? You, the midwife, who is supposed to know better, to be a patient advocate at the most precious time in a women’s life.

C-I had to write this today. I had to express some of the frustration I feel for you and for myself as a person who has seen this so many times before and so wanted you not to have to encounter these attitudes. Believe in yourself. Believe in your baby and your body. The time will come and it will be right. Hold onto that above all else.

Tuesday Writing Prompt: Impatience

I give myself credit for mellowing somewhat as I have gotten older. I try to understand that many others don’t see eye to eye with my often freakish need for doing things within a time frame that seems logical, and I admit that often the logic only is apparent to myself and no one else.

There is no way to temper that aged mellowness when it comes to waiting for your first grandchild to make her appearance. I know that my pregnant daughter will read this and I also know that while my impatience is great, hers far surpasses anything I am feeling or wanting at this point. Hang in there sweetie-we must face facts-WE HAVE NO CONTROL.

Thus, the writing prompt for today is this:

Just how do you handle moments, or great spans of time,when that virtue of patience has abandoned you?

I honestly do think the concept of patience is born out of a need for control. Patience truly teaches one that while we may like to believe we have control over aspects of our daily lives, that entire concept might be a joke. All the sociological theorems tell me that we are the product of our society and our society is made up of individuals who interact and influence everyone else who claims membership in human society. The sociological concept of “the self” and how that self functions is based upon every single thing that happens around an individual every day.

This concept then should indicate that when I feel impatience because others are not functioning in a timely manner, at least in my opinion of a timely manner, the feelings of frustration or desire to bring about change should be wiped from my emotional register because I am simply one player in the game of interactive society. Even if I could bend the social interactions of the majority, the fact is that there will always be someone, somewhere who through their actions, rather intentional or not, who will cause a glitch in my ideal.

Right now, that someone is my precious, yet to be born granddaughter. In the minute, micro social world that is our immediate family unit, this one little person, along with some pretty important maternal hormones, are exerting their own form of control over the logical process that screams out “It’s time to be born!”

In this moment, my choice to handle this growing impatience is to send this little letter to sweet baby girl Randazzo.

Dearest Granddaughter,

Your mommy and daddy have so carefully grown you and nurtured you for 39 weeks. We know how safe and warm and secure you feel inside your mommy’s belly, but the world is waiting to meet you. Your mommy and daddy are tired, mommy most of all. We long to hold you and cherish you and see just who you are and start on the journey with you to see what you will become. We are impatient and we admit to that. It is so hard for us to wait, even one more day. Mommy feels your tiny hands and feet, stretching and pushing and seeking space. We are all here, waiting to love you even more than we can possibly imagine, even more than we already do.

It’s important that you always listen to both your Grandma’s, and this one is saying, “It’s time to come out baby! We’re all waiting anxiously to meet you. Hurry, we are so impatient. Come out baby…”

The Wandering Archaeologist Returns

Still in the middle of a heat wave here with temps above 90 degrees so this is a short post just to say SHE’S HOME!

The crew actually broke camp on Friday, but she stayed in the Eugene Oregon area for a day to hang out with some of her comrades and then made a stop in Portland this morning on her way home to do a little shopping at Powell’s Books.

In her semi-professional words, “This was the best experience of my life.” I think that means she had a good time.

She also found Eugene to be a hippie haven, something that is quite appealing to this lady, who as you know if you have followed the blog for a while, is truly the reincarnation of the quintessential hippie chick of the 1960’s.

We have various piles of stuff strewn about, some allowed into the house and some not, and some gear, such as sleeping bag and foam pad, that is so gross that it isn’t worth keeping. She loved every minute of her trip, sandy dirt and all but she doesn’t get to bring the sandy dirt into the house.

I took just a few pictures of her return welcome home unloading. Right now she’s busy compiling pictures to use in her senior capstone presentation. When asked if the project was continuing next year, the answer was an emphatic yes. I could see the gleam in her eyes as she contemplated her return next summer, maybe as a grad student at the University of Oregon.

Hard to see the tan lines but the blister is pretty evident

Her cat is happy

The duct taped window is still intact

And finally a shot of the fine sandy dust that is covering not only her vehicle but everything else.