For those who have experienced labor and childbirth, the pain can be indescribable. I can recall many moms talking about how, during labor, their husbands acted like they were over exaggerating or acting dramatic. Since males cannot experience the pains of pregnancy naturally, some smarty-pants scientists came up with a way of simulating labor pains via abdominal electrodes. I came across this video a couple of days ago (which has gone viral) in which two husbands get hooked to electrode-simulated labor-pains as their wives watch on (see the wives high-five about half way through, ha ha!). What a nice way for these guys to identify with the strength and courage moms everywhere!
The day of the induction and delivery of my baby was not at all what I thought it would be like. I had Pitocin administered through an IV at 6:00am the next day and by 11:00am my water broke and all hell broke loose in my body. I went from feeling like I could handle labor and the level of pain I was experiencing to having my husband and Doula take turns jamming their fists into my back. I was one of the unfortunate women who have posterior babies (the baby’s skull is in the back of the pelvis). It was the most incredible back pain I have ever experienced and I needed the counter pressure of their fists to get through each contraction. Once I reached 8 centimeters I asked for something to slow the contractions down and give me a break! They gave me a small amount of pain medication but it didn’t do much to help me. I eventually got to 10 centimeters and started pushing. Everyone kept telling me to grab my legs and thought to myself, they want ME to grab my legs?
I am normally very modest and well-mannered but at this point I didn’t care what was showing or coming out of me, and I was swearing like a sailor. I always hear women say that they are nervous they might poop. When you reach the point of no return, you don’t care what is going on, you just want that baby out of you. I was placed in all kinds of squatting positions and nothing worked. Two hours later, my bladder was swelling and there was no head in sight. I was in a lot of pain and the decision was made to have a C-section before it turned into an emergency C-section. It was the worst case scenario for me, but I knew I didn’t have a choice. I had a spinal block/epidural and by 6:41pm, I had a baby. It wasn’t what I envisioned but I had a healthy baby and eventually came to terms with the outcome. Many women experience a range of emotions and go through a grieving process when they have an undesirable birth experience. Information and resources for women who have had cesareans can be found at the International Cesarean Awareness Network.
Last week I attended an incredible workshop with my colleagues, where we talked about the emotional side of abortion work. About ten of us, all working in different roles within our affiliate, shared with each other how we cope with the stigmatized nature of our work, and how we deal with protesters both in our communities and in our personal lives (friends, family, etc.). I learned so much about the strength, courage, and absolute commitment to helping women that my colleagues and I share. It was really emotional and absolutely inspiring to recognize the commitment we have to this work. I am so proud to be a part of in the struggle of women; in the herstory of women.
Having said that, it was ironic that a few days later I became involved in a confrontation about my work with a distant relative through, of all places, Facebook. While I honor and love this family member, and have incredibly fond memories of our time together in my childhood, we just don’t agree politically or socially now that I’m an adult. Specifically, when it comes to social issues and the issue of a woman’s right to decide. So, I posted something about an interview with anti-choice protesters, and was issued a moral citation via comment box.
A few days later he sent me an email about the better choice being adoption. I now felt like I needed to explain myself without apologizing or igniting personal defenses. I do not want to fight with family about the work I do. And I will not apologize. Having spent time discussing such awkward and uncomfortable interactions with family a few days before at the workshop, I felt like I was prepared to respond. Awkward? Yes. Impossible? No. In summary:
…I’ve been working one-on-one with women who choose abortion for the past 5 years. I’ve met with hundreds and hundreds, perhaps thousands of women in my office, and my beliefs about choice stem from listening to them and learning their stories. For many, adoption is an excellent choice, and I whole-heartedly support women who choose that route. I am most excited when I meet with a woman who has planned her pregnancy, and is ecstatic when the pregnancy test comes back positive. There is so much joy to share in life.
Though the organization I work for only sees about 10% of clients for abortion services, I travel to our different locations and work predominantly with those clients. I do family planning education and give emotional support to women who are choosing abortion. I feel I am an angel for so many of the women I see, who are ashamed, afraid, stigmatized, guilt-ridden and desperate. I accept them, I accept their choice, and I honor them as human beings trying to do the best they can for themselves, their families, and their futures.
Having said that, I speak with each and every single woman who is considering abortion about adoption. That is a requirement; we talk with women about adoption and how to continue their pregnancies for parenthood, along with abortion education. Over and over and over again, when I talk with women about adoption, many give the same response: there is no way they could spend 9 months becoming emotionally attached to their pregnancy and give it away. The guilt and resentment they would feel knowing they had a child in the world that they had “abandoned” is a worse choice for them than to prevent the pregnancy from continuing. These are their words, not mine. For others, adoption is an opportunity to give their child to a family who is ready and able to provide a quality life for their child. Every woman’s view is valid.
In many cases over the years, I have helped women choose to continue their pregnancies. I support their choice, regardless of the outcome. It is their body, their life, not mine…. Having said that, our perspectives on this issue are different, but I respect your opinion, as your beliefs are just as valid as mine.
This line of work is both incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding. Our greatest hope and mission is for all children to be wanted children, and for the need for abortion to no longer exist. However, we do not currently live in a world where this is possible, and abortion is a safe option that 1/3 of U.S. women make in their lifetime. I emphasize education and prevention. I will not apologize.
The following images pretty much sum up the lighter side of breastfeeding. WARNING: laughing too hard post-babies may make you tinkle a little. Sneezing too. And coughing. Hell, just expect to pee your pants a lot after you have a baby. Enjoy!
Just admit it, you’ve totally caught your own face in the crossfire.
Work it, girl!
Chopped liver. Dads.
Love it when celebrity moms normalize breastfeeding.
Take that, sucka!
Not funny, but awesome nonetheless.
Do you have a funny breastfeeding story to share? Leave it in our comments section.
I had a baby 3 months ago and my life as I knew it has changed forever. I am in my mid-thirties and planned my pregnancy, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into. I can now say that I had no idea and was pretty clueless. My partner was even more unprepared. I planned on having a vaginal birth and took as many steps as I could to ensure it would happen that way. Well, you know what they say about plans . . .
I ended up being induced because I went to 42 weeks. I thought I would go early or maybe a few days over the due date. After each day passed I was sure he would come before I would have to be induced. During week 40-41 I did everything that was safe to try to coax him out. I tried sex, acupuncture, massage, drinking olive oil, lots of spicy food, walking, yoga positions, and I even tried using the breast pump. Obviously they didn’t work but I was desperate and wanted him out! I ended up working up to the day that I was induced. The following day was anti-climactic. I showed up at 5:00 pm, filled out a ton of paperwork, put on the dreadful gown, and started the process of having Cervidil inserted vaginally to open the cervix. I had to stay in the room, and have monitors attached to my belly, but I was able to have some food and could tolerate the medium grade menstrual cramps I was experiencing though out the night from the medication. At this point I was not happy with the outcome but had come to terms with being induced and was ready to take on labor the next day, or so I thought . . .
Surrogacy is the process of carrying a child for someone else. Surrogates typically carry for couples who struggle with infertility, same-sex couples, and single people. There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.
A traditional surrogate (TS) is a woman who donates her eggs and carries the baby. This method is typically used when the intended mother (IM) can not use her own eggs. Many times, the intended father’s (IF) sperm is used and therefore, the child will have the genetic material of the surrogate and the intended father. The TS may become pregnant using IUI or IVF. If they choose to use the IVF process, they may extract more eggs to be fertilized than they can put back into her body and in that case, the embryos are usually frozen for later use. Typically, 1-3 embryos are transfered during IVF.
A gestational surrogate (GS) only carries the baby. The embryos transfered to her body might be fresh or frozen and have either 100%, 50%, or 0% of the intended parent’s (IP) genetic material. If the IM is not using her own eggs, an egg donor will be needed. Likewise, if the IF is not using his sperm, a sperm donor will be needed.
A surrogate must be a healthy woman, typically in her 20′s or early 30′s, who is willing to forgo all parental rights once the baby is born. Many surrogates already have children. Surrogates must undergo a battery of tests, both physical and psychological. She will have to inject herself with hormones, potentially endure invasive medical procedures, and of course, will have to be pregnant and deliver a baby or three. Once “matched” the surrogate and IP’s must draw up a contract, usually covering a litany of “what if” circumstances. There are attorneys who specialize in surrogacy. Having an iron clad contract drawn up by a skilled attorney and both parties should protect everyone involved. Some states like New York outlaw surrogacy, while others, like California, a “surro-friendly.” The process can be done privately or through an agency. Surrogates are usually compensated by the IPs, unless they are doing an altruistic surrogacy (usually family members). If you are interested in surrogacy, here are a few resources:
SurrogateMother.com is an online community for surrogates. The forum allows people to share their experiences, get educated about laws, health insurance, and processes, and may even help someone find their “match.” ALERT: be wary of scammers!
Resolve, The National Infertility Association covers various ways of building a family.
Even celebrities are not immune to the need for surrogacy. Nicole Kidman, Elton John, Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Jessica Parker, Giuliana Rancic, Ricky Martin, Michael Jackson, Neil Patrick Harris, and Dennis Quaid all had the help of a surrogate to build their family! You can also see a modern family being built with the help of a surrogate in the tv sitcom The New Normal.
As a Sex Educator, this is one of my favorite commercials from the Super Bowl:
Even though the dad’s answer is competely innacurate, it is a good representation of how parents often feel when asked the dreaded question. Many parents are caught off guard by the question and in a panic, come up with some ridiculous answer. Of course, the answer will be different depending on the age of the child asking the question and how much they already know. Here’s a good way to field questions about where babies come from:
Child: “Where do babies come from?”
Step 1: Affirm that you are listening, then ask them why they are asking. This buys you time and gets at their real motive for asking. Be sure NOT to use a tone! If you use a tone, it will shut them down and they’ll be afraid to ask any more questions for fear of getting in trouble or upsetting you.
Parent: “Good question. Why do you ask?”
Child: “Because my friend said that . . . ”
Step 2: Turn the question back on them to find out what they already know, what vocabulary they are using, and if there’s any misinformation you need to correct.
Parent: “Oh, well, where do you think babies come from?”
Child: (answers will vary)
Step 3: Take a deep breath and tell the age-appropriate truth! Use proper anatomical language. (Ex: Babies don’t grow in a stomach, they grow in a uterus.) This is where you will insert your family values. You might want to talk about love or marriage or God. You might even have to explain how babies are made in same-sex relationships. You will have to be the judge on how much to tell them. Maybe they don’t want to know how babies are made, but just how they get out of the woman’s body (this is why it is important to pay attention to their answer from step 2).
Parent: “Babies are made when . . . ” or “Babies come out of . . . ”
Step 4: After you give your answer, ask them if they understand. If they do, ask them if they have any more questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell them that you’ll look it up and get back to them.
Remember, what’s important is not that you get every single reproduction factoid correct. What’s important is that you try to answer their questions and keep the stream of communication open. And trust me, they are going to ask more questions. If you think you get to have “the big talk” and be done with it, you are VERY wrong. Think of it more as a bunch of little talks. FYI – The steps above work for all types of tough questions from kids.
P.S. Did you notice that the kid in the commercial asked this question in the car? The car is where lots of “teachable moments” happen because they are captive and often not distracted by other things. If you have a DVD player in your car, turn it off once in a while and marvel at the quality of the conversations that come from the back seat.
Endometriosis is a medical condition where endometrial cells (cells from the lining of the uterus) implant outside the uterus. This can occur in many places in the body, most commonly the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, outer surface of the uterus or the lining of the pelvic cavity. The cause is unknown, but it tends to run in families, and may be related to the immune system.
Often the number one symptom is pain. Periods may be painful, and the pain may start just before the period. Pain during or after sex, pain with bowel movements, intestinal pain, spotting between periods, and infertility are also symptoms. Because the symptoms of endometriosis are fairly general and vague, you may first be screened for other causes of pain and irregular bleeding, including infection. If endometriosis is suspected, a pelvic exam and/or ultrasound may be done to look for cysts or scarring of the uterus. But the only way to fully diagnose endometriosis is through a minor surgery called a laparoscopy.
This article explains a laparoscopy well: “You will receive general anesthesia before the surgery. Then, your abdomen is expanded with a gas to make it easy to see your organs. A tiny cut is made in your abdomen and a thin tube with a light is placed inside to see growths from endometriosis. Sometimes doctors can diagnose endometriosis just by seeing the growths. Other times, they need to take a small sample of tissue and study it under a microscope.”
If it’s determined that you have endometriosis, there is a variety of management methods you and your doctor can discuss. Pain medication, usually NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) may be used to manage discomfort; birth control pills may be prescribed to “decrease menstrual flow and prevent overgrowth of tissue.” Other drugs used to decrease estrogen levels, surgery to remove growths of endometrial tissue, or even a hysterectomy may be considered.
If you are having pelvic pain, it’s always time to visit the doctor – please visit your doctor for an examination as soon as possible.
I am obviously very pregnant to friends, family and strangers. It can be really fun and exciting for people to notice and ask you how far along you are, but it can also be a little intrusive or annoying. Here are a few of the comments that my friends and I have received.
- A friend and I were at the gym and an older woman came up to my friend and asked her when her due date was and if she wanted her hand-me-down baby clothes. She was not pregnant! It also made her feel even more self-conscious about her weight, which is why she was at the gym!
- I have had 8-10 different people ask me if I planned the pregnancy. These individuals obviously don’t know me because if they did they would know that it was a very planned pregnancy. This is not a question you should ask unless you know the person very well.
- I have had a slew of comments from elderly men. I was in the checkout line and the man behind me pointed at my belly and very loudly asked the cashier if she was going to charge me for the watermelon. I had another man stop me as I was leaving a restaurant and tell me that the song, “Any Day Now” came to mind for him as he starred at my belly. The others have just made comments about how I must be giving birth soon because, “I look like I’m going to pop any second.”
- I have had several friends who were asked when they were expecting and they had already had their babies several months ago. They were not happy campers!
I am posting this blog because it is funny, but also to caution anyone who might be well-intentioned but could end up sticking their foot in their mouth. I also caution people to ask if someone is pregnant unless they are really sure, because I have had several friends who were thin and visibly showing, but miscarried around 4-5 months. For more comments on what people shouldn’t say, but have to pregnant women, visit Baby Center.