Whether my placenta moves or not, we’ll be having a hospital birth. That’s just a fact. But whether we have a c section or not, things will be different than they were last time. Many thing will stay the same. The baby will not be getting eye drops or vaccines, and will not be taken out of our sight for anything. Other things I’ve learned even more about and I’m completely comfortable being a mama bear now so I won’t be pushed around or bullied if someone tries to play the ‘dead baby’ card on me again. So lets start with the dead baby thing they pushed on me last time:
Antibiotics for Group B strep - Last pregnancy my doctor was out of town during the appointment I would have normally been tested for group B strep and somehow it was overlooked by the nurse practitioner. That was ok with me because I’d heard the test can be fickle and results can change from one day to the next. So I didn’t worry and didn’t think of it again. Well, when I was in labor and they discovered I hadn’t been tested they said as a precaution I would have to get a few doses of antibiotics because it was hospital policy. I needed at least two doses over a four hour period and when I questioned the risks of not taking them and the possibility that the baby might come before I could even get them done, I was told babies die from this all the time and it’s a very serious thing for newborns to get. (I remember thinking ‘this is what our Bradley instructor warned us about!’ but actually being threatened with a dead baby is a scary thing.) So I agreed to the antibiotics. They hurt/stung/itched/tingled/burned going in. It was pure torture. I swear it was the worst part of labor because I couldn’t relax while I was getting them. The best part? My doctor thinks I’m allergic to penicillin because I developed PUPPPS a few days after giving birth and it was supposedly triggered by the antibiotics.
If you’ve never heard of PUPPPS, believe me when I tell you it’s your worst nightmare. And you’re supposed to have it while pregnant, not after! There is no known cure/medication you can take for it, other than to have your baby, which, hello, I’d already done. You just have to ride it out over a few weeks or sometimes months. At it’s worst, Andrew would wake me up in the middle of the night because I was scratching myself in my sleep so hard I was bleeding. It’s like chicken pox and poison ivy (on steroids) at the same time.
Since researching more on the whole group B strep thing, I’ve come across many studies that question the routine use of antibiotics ‘just in case’ and I love this article and how it really breaks down the numbers/risks. So this time, they can test me if they want, but I’m not taking antibiotics.
First bath – This baby will not be getting a bath in the hospital, or maybe even for a week or two. Babies really don’t get that dirty. Sure, there’s gonna be a stinky bum if you don’t wipe that down during diaper changes, but other than that, what could possibly make your baby dirty? Bathing your baby a few hours after being born lowers their body temperature and then they might need to be put under a warmer, and then there’s always the possibility they get too warm, and to top it off, vernix is good for your baby. Yeah. That’s right. That white cheesey-looking stuff that babies come out covered in? Turns out God actually has reasons for it. Now, some babies come out seriously sporting the cheese look, while others, eh, not so much. If my baby is really covered we might wipe a bit off, but there’s no need to scrub it off. And there’s no need to bath it off. Malachi had his first bath a few hours after being born and then he was cold, so they put him under a warming light, and then the nurse said he was too warm, and I just felt like it was a lot unnecessary stress for a baby. Until his bath he had been the perfect temperature sleeping on mommy and daddy’s chests. One thing I’m happy I did do was ask the nurse to not use an soap on him. I didn’t want his baby smell washed away by nasty Johnson & Johnson products. He’s still only ever had oatmeal soap and coconut oil used on him. No chemicals for my kid’s skin! Plus, I hate the way J&J stuff smells. Bleh.
Circumcision – Malachi is circumcised. Unlike group B strep, I did do a lot of research on this topic and I came to the conclusion that it is a completely unnecessary procedure, but Andrew thought otherwise. We didn’t talk about it much, because honestly, we were both very passionate about our stance on the matter and it always led to fights and hurt feelings. Not good, I know, but that’s how it was. Everyone we happened to mention it to was completely for it except, and I find this funny, our OB who said it was a personal, not medical, decision that we as parents had to make. I left it to Andrew to do the deciding (since he’s the dad) and I truly thought he would change his mind once the time came.
But he didn’t, which came as a shock to me, and I signed the papers in a daze, and they wheeled my sleeping baby away, and when they wheeled him back he was screaming bloody murder. I was so mad at myself and Andrew that I didn’t even want to hold Malachi when it was done because I knew it would make me feel worse and bawl like a baby. I didn’t stay mad at Andrew because I knew he made the decision that he felt was best, but I didn’t understand how he could have come to the complete opposite conclusion that I had. I couldn’t change Malachi’s diapers at all till it was completely healed or I would start crying. I cried about it at night for weeks while I was up alone nursing him and Andrew wouldn’t know. I truly wasn’t mad at him, I was mad at myself for signing the papers, for not trying to discuss it more, and for feeling like I failed to protect my baby from unnecessary harm. I couldn’t read anything about circumcision online, even seeing the word would make me upset. I even looked for support groups because I had to make sure I wasn’t emotionally unstable or something. Surely I wasn’t the only mom who had reacted this way?! (I’m not. There are plenty of others out there.)
It wasn’t till we were pregnant this time and our midwife gave us some birthing dvd’s to watch and there was one on circumcision that Andrew and I finally talked. I told him how I felt like I failed as a mom, I was still so upset about it (more than a year later!) and I was scared this baby would be a boy and I’d have to either go through this all again or go against my husband’s wishes. After lots of talking (and yes, more crying too) Andrew told me if this baby was a boy we would not be circumcising. He had done more researching on his own and realized it’s very rare to medically need to be circumcised. And if there’s not a medical need, what’s the point of operating on a baby unnecessarily? (If you want more info, The Whole Network is a great place to start.)
There are other small things. I don’t want my kid wearing those cheapo scratchy hospital shirts, hats and blankets. Yuck. I remember everyone telling me you don’t even need to bring anything because the hospital will have anything you need, but I don’t like the feel of things at the hospital. They’re not soft and they smell weird. I couldn’t wait to get my baby out of that stuff last time. So I’m bringing my own pillow, diapers, baby clothes, and blankets. I’ve never been a light packer anyway.
My baby will sleep in bed with me if I want and I am fully prepared to sign a paper stating I know the ‘risks’ of co-sleeping. Last time a nurse told me if she found me asleep in bed while holding the baby she ‘was required to take him to the nursery.’ I didn’t think that sounded right, that she could just take my baby away from me, but I didn’t really know, so I made myself stay awake pretty much all night because Malachi was wide awake and not wanting to be put down. If I had only known that co-sleeping is a safe option I would have told that nurse politely but firmly to mind her own business.
I think that will pretty much be my attitude overall this time (unless there’s some medical emergency or the baby needs to be in the NICU.) I prefer to be left alone with my baby/family and everyone else (ie hospital staff) can just mind their own business and leave us alone. Ya know, the old ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you’ thing. There’s (usually) only one thing a baby truly needs after birth anyway, and that is its mama.