Cesareans. Cesareans, EVERYWHERE.

Cesareans used to be performed on dead or dying mothers to save the baby. The earliest record I have seen of them in the 1500’s.

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Cesareans now are performed at the mother’s will and the doctor’s convenience (not always the case).  There are real medical emergency cesareans and thankfully, we have those. I cannot fathom how many mothers or babies would have been lost without surgery.

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I find that I am often doubting my ability to have vaginal birth. I am so afraid of all of the things that could potentially happen but the risks are exponentially greater with a repeat cesarean and that scares me more. You talk to people about your plans hoping they’ll share in your excitement and then you find out that they’re horribly uneducated about how birth works.

You talk to your family and they tell you, “Just have an cesarean! It’s so much easier and you can plan it!”

Yes, because major abdominal surgery (without medical necessity) is how I feel babies should be brought into the world. For me personally, there is nothing more impersonal than an cold, barren operating room when its supposed to be the best day of your life. Doctors slice and dice like its business as usual.

Heaven forbid you get pregnant again and want to try to VBAC. Finding a supportive OB and hospital is quite possibly the biggest pain in the ass ever. You will feel so much rejection. So much animosity. So much stupidity.

I was at WIC the other day. They asked for my OB and I said, “I don’t have one yet. I am searching for a VBAC friendly doctor.” After explaining what a VBAC was to the nutritionist, she looks me dead in the eyes and said, “NO DOCTOR IS LET YOU LABOR AFTER A CESAREAN. LET ALONE THREE!”

1 in 3 women will have a cesarean in their life. That is horrible.

Each cesarean has with it, its own set of risks.

Recently, ACOG stated that VBAC is safer than a repeat cesarean, and VBAC with more than one previous cesarean does not pose any increased risk.

This will be a journey but I will do it.

My birth stories…

I have just recently came to peace with the stories of my children’s births. For so long, I thought that if I didn’t talk about them, it was like they never happened. So…

At 20 years old, I found myself pregnant and very uneducated about birth and pregnancy. In all my infinite knowledge, I allowed my doctor to induce me the day after my due date. I wasn’t dilated at all and barely effaced. After 16 hours of back labor, they deemed it “failure to progress” and at 10:02PM, my daughter was born via cesarean. I was very heartbroken. Later I found out that my OB had a golf tournament early in the morning which just upset me even more. Fast forward four years and I am pregnant again. I had heard about VBAC but I was really uneducated about it. I wanted my vaginal birth so I switched providers four times. By 36 weeks, I was so disheartened at the lack of VBAC support and providers, that I consented to a elective cesarean. It was much more relaxed than my first and I felt a little better about it but I still was very upset. Two years later, I am knocked up again, and my OB said I could try for the VBA2C as long as I went into labor before my due date. I was so excited! I went to every appointment, made sure to stay healthy and keep myself in prime shape. Then I started realizing that every time I had an ultrasound, he’d find something wrong and send me to the high risk doctor. At my 30 week appointment, he said he was going on vacation from the week before until after my due date and we should just schedule my section for the his last day before he left. I refused. I was given the opportunity to try for my VBAC and he wasn’t taking it away for his convenience. At 37 weeks and 2 days, I had a growth scan scheduled. I went and after the ultrasound, the technician sent me upstairs for a “non stress test”. Okay. Not a big deal. I get up there and the nurses are all looking at me and they walk me to the pre-op room. I have my mother-in-law with me, my husband is home with my two other children and they’re trying to give me a section right then and there. He said that the fluids were dangerously low and she had to come right there or she could die. He also said, “It is in and out and we’re done.” Business as usual, right? I was so scared that my baby was going to die. I called my mother and asked her to meet me at my house so she could take my kids and I could grab my husband and I went back for my third section. (I am getting so mad even just writing this out.)

Nothing makes me more angry than just typing this out. It hurts my soul to think that a chance at a normal, natural delivery has been taken away from me because of choices my first doctor made. A man who is no longer a practicing OB/GYN. That man ruined everything. My perfect birth— gone out the window. My subsequent births— ruined.
I know people say that your births are what you make them but I honestly find that to be the biggest load of garbage that I have ever heard. A woman can only fight so much before she gives in from sheer exhaustion.

Bullies.

Anti_Bullying

Ever since I’ve become a mother, I’ve learned that the biggest bullies are other mothers. So often I see women putting another woman down for her choices without knowing the whole story.

Oh, you didn’t even try to breastfeed? You lazy, selfish, person. You shouldn’t even have kids.”

“You’re not vaccinating? You should be sterilized?”

“You’re circumcising your son? What about his rights?”

“You eat processed foods? You’re killing your children.”

“Crying it out? Are you insane? They’re going to be retarded because of it.”

“You’re going to smother your children because you cosleep.”

“You’re a pervert if you cobathe.”

“You discipline by spanking?! You are breaking the sacred bond of trust between mother and child.”

Here’s my take on it. I am not a crusader for people to parent my way. If you are, then you ought to look for a new hobby besides pushing your beliefs down anyone’s throat. There is more than one way to raise a child and your way isn’t always the right way for someone else.

We are so stuck in this mode of though that involves being the best and knowing what is the best. Its saddening that mothers can’t turn to each other for support without getting treated like garbage.

That woman you made feel like shit because she didn’t breastfeed, had a double mastectomy to save her life.

That woman who doesn’t cosleep, has an alcoholic husband and can’t risk having her beautiful baby in her bed.

The mother who cobathes can barely afford her water bill as it is.

The woman who chooses not to vaccinate, lost a child to vaccine injury and is just too ashamed to talk about it.

We don’t stop and think about why people do things the way they do. We just take their choices at face value and attribute it to being a horrible person and parent. Its not fair.

As a person who runs a groups for moms, I am always seeing mother’s bashing other mother’s choices and it hurts my soul because in the end, we’re all mothers doing the best we can for our children. Parenting is already hard enough without having to listen to the constant barrage of insults.

BE KIND. EDUCATE. LOVE.

This is my group’s motto. Honestly, when I put it up there, I meant it. If you want to change how someone does something, attacking them will never help. It will never fix it. It will only make them defensive and angry and hurt. Attacking them will make them feel like they are less than human and they are pieces of crap.

Mother’s are always trying to teach their children not to be bullies but most of the time, we as mothers, are the biggest bullies and our own worst enemies.

Being A SAHM

My day started at six am with a poopsplosion from the youngest. She has had tummy issues for the last two days and it has resulted in numerous outfit changed on both of our parts. So bright and early before I’ve even had a cup of coffee, I am giving a 10 month old a bath and singing her a song because she hates baths— with a passion.

7 AM rolls around and the oldest is up. She’s hungry and I better make her cereal right then or she’ll do it herself and make a huge mess.

8 AM brings the boys awakening. He’s screaming and punching the door because god forbid I take my time. He also managed to pee through his diaper and the bed, his jammies, and he are all soaking wet with the awesome smell of piss and he crapped up his back. Just another bath to another kid who hates baths even more than Charley.

I have to hurry though because Adison has to be in language arts class at 9 AM and I have to stay on her like white on rice. She wants to go to Youtube and watch Frozen videos or play stupid Frozen games. She wants to fight with her brother because he’s being a jerk. Class runs until 10:15ish and then I have 45 minutes to go to the store and get what I need to get.

I get home at 10:50 and unload three kids plus all the crap I bought and then I have to get everything ready for my husband to get up to go to work. So 30 minutes to roll his cigarettes, make his lunch, get his clothes, and put everything into the bathroom for him. I wake him up at 11:28. I have to change two diapers in between there too because they all shit at the most inopportune time.

I haven’t eaten anything nor I have I sat down besides to drive the car.

My husband leaves for work at 11:44 and then I have to get the kids fed their lunch and then Adison into her school work which she has to work on until 1 PM when its time for math class. I have to keep Benjamin busy while Adison works and Charley naps and I still haven’t eaten anything.

Benjamin finally goes down for a nap around 2 PM and I get stuff done around the house. The last few days, I’ve painted the entire downstairs. Charley wakes up from her nap and Adison plays with her for a few minutes and then around 4 or 5, Benjamin wakes up and he’s hungry. So I start dinner and that takes usually 45 minutes. While I am cooking, I am asking Benjamin to “quit touching the lamp” or “stop climbing on the chairs.” Its always the same thing, every single damn day.

“Stay out of the fridge.”

“Quit licking your sister.”

“Quit hitting each other.”

“No, you can’t have a cookie. It’s almost dinner time.”

I feed everyone dinner and its yet again, a whole lot of me telling Ben to sit down and eat. We usually spend over an hour at the table. Everyone calms down and watches a bit of tv before bed. Charley falls asleep in her pack and play around 8 PM. I take Benjamin upstairs and put him in his bed and we read the ABC book (EVERY SINGLE NIGHT) and I tell him “Good night Tookie. I love you.”

And I get a cute little, “Lub du.” He doesn’t even take the cup out of his mouth.

9 PM rolls around! Adison’s turn. I then spend the next hour telling Adison to go upstairs with her coming back down to tell me something or ask if she can do my hair or something ridiculous. It goes on and on and on until I finally say, “Dad’s on his way home.”

She finally goes into her room for the night.

I spend the next hour or so picking up after everyone. I put all the toys away and do the dishes. I feed all the animals.

My husband walks in the door.

Me: “How was work?”

Him: “It was work. What did you do all day?”

Me: “The usual.”

Him: “Sooo nothing?”

I spend the next two hours getting homework done and making taking a bath or shower. Then I go to bed.

In addition to all these things, I am also supposed to take the garbage down to the end of the driveway, shovel the driveway, and in the summer— I mow.

What the fuck?

So men, if you have a stay at home wife, don’t be a dick. She doesn’t stop all day. Even if she did nothing else but take care of the children, that’s more than your job. You can at least escape to the shitter at work. If she says she needs a break, trust her. She does. Don’t ever say you have a vacation every day.

Lastly, don’t make her do what you’re supposed to do.

A girl and her dog :D

This was originally written June 27, 2014. Somehow, I forgot to publish it.

Eight weeks ago, I gave birth to a darling little darling named Charley. Last weekend, I made this insane choice to get a puppy. She’s a cute little thing named Tankasaurus Rex. (Yes, my obsession with dinosaurs has apparently transcended into naming animals.)

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This was Tank’s first night with us and she was scared, of course. She had to always been within touching distance of any human but she seemingly loves to around Charley. They sleep and snuggle all during naps.

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Tank even crawls into the carseat the moment I walk through the door. Its amazingly sweet to watch these two innocent little perfect beings snuggling at every opportunity.

With that being said, our older dog, Jack Attack O’Neill just turned 9 a month ago. Its amazing how puppy-like he still is.

Before Marriage

I usually don’t blog about super personal stuff but I thought that maybe what’s going on with my life could help someone else.

Before I was married, I had exactly two best friends. One has been my best friend since kindergarten. We met on the playground and she chased me around because I had a shirt with a pony on it and ever since have been each other’s go to friend. Nothing has ever come between us. She’s still living her life and respects that I am married with three kids and doesn’t get mad when I don’t want to go to bars. We hang out on my couch and talk about the things going on. Our friendship has evolved and matured the same as we have.

I met my other friend at an old high school hangout. He was a private school kid and after our initial meeting, we were inseparable. He’d spend the night at my parent’s and we’d talk about boys and our crappy dates. I’d take him to meet every perspective boyfriend and he’d always have final say. Fast forward to today and apparently, I am a bad friend throwing away a friendship because I have changed. Of course I’ve changed since I was fifteen years old. I’ve had so many life experiences in the last thirteen years. I’ve met lots of people and forged ever lasting friendships with people from the military and my general shenanigans across the US. I’ve learned that life isn’t always peachy and I’ve become quite cynical about it. I’ve learned bad things happen to good people and that sometimes the world isn’t fair but I’ve changed for the better.

Imagine someone telling you they don’t know you anymore. Why is it so hard to tell him that maybe if he got over the fact that I wasn’t the same person, he could meet the new me. The person who’s life revolves around my children and my husband and who’s idea of fun is sitting on my couch eating twizzlers alone and watching Netflix. It hurts that he doesn’t understand that he is my friend but not a priority. How do you tell someone they aren’t a priority? Wouldn’t it be safe to assume that he would understand that without me having to tell him? Should I be mad that he’s acting like a child?

I was stupid. I blamed my husband when I didn’t want to hang out. So that started an intervention of my husband being controlling. Thankfully, I got the balls to tell him that I just didn’t want to hang out it him and that ended the discussion of my husband being controlling. For those of you who don’t know, I have the most freedom in the world. I want something, I get it. I want to go somewhere, I go. That being said, my husband and I discuss if me doing something or going somewhere is financially responsible. We are a single income family of five0 so of course we have to be aware of our bank account.

Being a single income family means that I can’t go get Chinese whenever you’re hungry and it means we can’t just go buy another vehicle so I can available at your whim. Yes, we have one car. My 2003 Ford Focus named Ferdinand that has nearly 200k miles and has been in three accidents. He takes it to work every day unless I have something to do because I am not getting three kids up at 5 AM just to drive around. At this point, getting another car isn’t a priority nor is it an option and frankly, I don’t want a car payment or full coverage insurance because we’re saving up to buy a house.

For those worried about my children’s safety while my husband is at work, he is a supervisor. I say, “Honey, come home. There’s an emergency.” He will be home in less than 7 minutes. I have epinephrine, albuterol, and am fully trained in both CPR and infant CPR. I know how to set broken bones and perform a tourniquet. I pray nothing bad happens but I am about as prepared as you can be and people who know me in real life can attest to the fact, I am pretty much always calm. If I were really unprepared for what happens, the emergency rescue is seriously five minutes from my house and have a very fast turn around time.

Sorry this is so long winded but this has been two weekends of me being barraged and attacked because I am such a horrible friend. I’m sorry you can’t see me once a month but seriously, I can’t even take a shower or shit by myself once a month.

5. Never apologize for being a dickwad and then continue to be a dickwad by being a self righteous, pretentious cry baby.

4. Marriages where one of the spouses is still going out like their single is doomed to fail.

3. Honoring my husband is entirely different than being controlled.

2. I may not be super religious but I do believe in biblical marriages. I honor my husband. I don’t cheat. I don’t lie. I tell him everything and more than anything I respect everything he does for me and our children.

1. I don’t go anywhere without my kids. They’re like my left arm. So don’t tell me that you’re awesome for being “cool” with my kids coming to hang out with us. If you had an issue with that, I’d ALWAYS pick them over you.

So friends of married mothers and father, stop being fucking assholes and realize that people grow up. Priorities change. Sometimes a mom with a six year old, two year old, and newborn is totally cool with showering and taking a nap. My husbands only night off for the week will be spent with him because I miss him during the week.

Two last things…

I’m almost thirty.

(I don’t do sleepovers.)

I fucking hate Chinese food.

BOOBS ARE MAGICAL.

When I say, “Boobs are magical” I mean it in the unicorn or flying pig kind of way. All these years, I’ve though boobs were just fun bags for my husband and here they are leaking and hurting and nurturing a tiny little human. Breastfeeding and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it and it hates me back.

So far, I’ve dealt with thrush twice and I must say that as much as I love seeing purple everywhere, I don’t enjoy feeling like I am lactating razor blades. (Yeah, it hurts that much.) We also get to deal with the small baby things where every single person who has to weigh the baby makes me feel absolutely inadequate. I also get to deal with the cuteness of milk drunk babies. Nothing is better then a little baby completely satisfied with your breast milk.

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I also find that the more comfortable I get with nursing, the more I want to share the love and show everyone, although this not always appreciated. I have not had too many unpleasant experiences when I have to nurse Charley in public, YET. I am sure I will get some ignorant person telling me to cover or to do it the bathroom. The stares will continue even though she’s in her sling and people will resist the urge to say something.

Its an amazing thing. I gave up with Bug early because I was selfish and lazy. I made the mistake of giving Ben bottles because I didn’t want to feel embarrassed and because I learned not to be selfish and lazy when it comes to your children, I slaved away at a pump for two years. With Charley, I want to have an amazing extended breastfeeding relationship. I don’t care if people says its for me or she’s too old.

My Mini Babies

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The next person who argues with me about Benjamin’s age or asks me if Charley was premature is going to get yelled at. It actually bothers me quite a bit that small children don’t exist anymore.

My husband and I were born in the 80’s. I weighed 5lbs 12oz and my husband weighed 5lbs 6oz and there was never an issue with us being “too small”. We are still considered small people. I am 5′ and he is 5’4.

Here is Benjamin’s growth chart for his measurements last week.

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Smaller than average. The WIC office says he’s obese and the pediatrician says he’s alright. How about my son is freaking perfect no matter what the numbers say? He’s bright. He’s hit all his milestones. He speaks well and is very active.

Here’s Darling Charley’s.

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Why can’t people just accept I have small children? I eat healthy and don’t engorge myself on fast food and microwave meals. I am physically active. I chug water. I lose weight during pregnancies. Statistically, Benjamin and Charley are following nearly the exact growth pattern. Ben only gained 2 lbs in the first 6 months of life.

I think doctors and parents should stop focusing on the numbers and worry about raising their children and ensuring they’re completely healthy. Why does weight and height have to be such an issue?

My husband and I have never let our height keep us from doing what we wanted to do. We use it to our advantage. We’re both relatively smart and use that as well. So apparently physical attributes have become more important because let’s face it, everyone is joining the NFL.

Zero to Baby in 25 Minutes

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This is the Ecker’s newest little baby. She came into the world May 2, 2014 at 6:01 PM weighing 5 lbs 8 oz and 18″ long. She was 37 weeks 2 days.

On Friday, May 2nd, I had an ultrasound scheduled with the high risk doctor. My mother in law and I went to the appointment because she wanted to see the baby too. They did all the measurements and then magically the high risk doctor had left for an emergency. I was then told that she was going to call Dr. Laz and discuss the results of the sonogram with him. She came back in and told me that he wanted me upstairs in L&D for a NST. Simple enough, I thought. That’s a 20 minute thing and then I can go back home.

My mother in law and I follow the nurse to the third floor where they start walking me to the pre op room. I looked at the other nurse bringing in the catheter equipment and simply stated, “You’re fucking joking, right?”

She looked flabbergasted and told me that I was having a cesarean. I said, “When?” She stated, “In about 25 minutes.”

I then proceeded to lose my shit on the entire nursing staff. I feel pretty bad about it but how could they even think I would be okay with being sent upstairs for a very evasive procedure without agreeing to it and without ensuring my other children were taken care of and my husband was there to watch him daughter be born?

I then asked to talk to the doctor. He tells me that my baby’s fluid is low and that is very dangerous. (Okay, I understand that but is waiting an hour going to do any harm?) He also tells him if I want him to do the procedure that I would have to have it right then. He said it would be a quick hour and then she would be born. You know business as usual. It was also made known that his daughter’s confirmation was that weekend so he either had to do it then or the doctor on call would do it.

I told him she could do it and his reply was that I couldn’t leave the hospital. At this point, I am so freaking angry and feeling more than violated that I hung up and told the nurses I would be back but not before cracking some Count jokes about Dr. Laz. I make people laugh when I am nervous.

I then called my husband and said, “Honey… we’re having a baby.” He was unsure of what I was talking about and said, “Yeah, I’ve known that for 9 months now or was in something else before?” I explained that Dr. Laz had decided that the baby needed to come out that day and I would be there to get him ASAP. I then called my mother and she was soon on her way to grab my older two children. I dropped my mother in law off at her home, ran to Bug’s school and picked her up, and went home to pack my bags for the hospital. My mother must have drove very fast because she made it to Jefferson before I even left.

I put my kids into her car. I started crying because this was the first time I had ever been away from Benjamin and I felt like I was missing out on precious mommy-Benny time. I hugged him a little harder than normal and kissed him way more times than were necessary and I left for the hospital. We parked and got up to the third floor where we were taken into pre op and I was strapped with the monitor. I got all the bells and whistles and waited for the doctor to get there. I met with the anesthesiologist and he was the coolest, older Asian man. He was so super sweet.

The doctor came in and at that instant, I knew that I wanted her to do my cesarean. She was amazing and understanding. They took me into the operating room and Jeremy was given the dad gear. He waited while they did the spinal. The doctor helped with the spinal which I have never had happen before. They usually just came in when it was time to slice and dice and deliver a baby. I laid there and waited for the epidural to kick in. The tingles came and I lay motionless and waiting. Jeremy came in and the older doctor grabbed my hand and put it securely into his.

Jeremy looked at me and he was nervous as usual. We waited and waited. The anesthesiologist told me everything that was happening. They had brought respiratory therapists and neonatal doctors in just in case. FULL HOUSE. Finally, I here a little pressure and in typical Sarah-fashion I yelled, “Who the fuck is sitting on my chest?”

And then the smallest little cry. They brought her over to my side of the sheet and I saw the most perfect, tiniest human being I had ever laid eyes on. They checked her weight and all that jazz and she was perfectly healthy. They handed her to Jeremy and he just stared at her.

At this point, I felt like I was having a heart attack and the anesthesiologist slipped me a sedative. I kept waking up every ten minutes and then they were taking me back in my room.

 

Not every birth is perfect. Its not always what you hoped but when you meet the little person that has taken up residence inside your womb, it makes the pain and stress and agitation all seem less.

Charley Mae <3

Journey to baby… with the worst OB ever.

My first pregnancy, I had the most amazing doctor team ever. I knew all of them. The appointment wait times were very bearable. They were passionate, kind, understanding, and they listened.

Then I moved to Ashtabula County, OH where your choice in OBGYNs is very limited unless you want to drive 30+ minutes in either direction. I have been attending the office’s of Dr. Laz in Ashtabula since I was 26 weeks pregnant with Benjamin. During my pregnancy with Benjamin, I didn’t have any issues really. He didn’t have to order much lab work or any ultrasounds, he just measured and finally did the c section when it was time.

I find that going to him for an entire pregnancy has become the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in my life. This has been a recurring theme with any doctor affiliated with Cleveland Clinic though. They will tell you how much they care until it comes down to how they can bill my Medicaid for even more. You want an exceptional example?

May 23, 2013- Benjamin wakes up with a cold. He is having trouble breathing and a slight fever. I decided to take him up to ACMC. We get there and he is diagnosed with CROUP. Please keep in mind, he didn’t have a single symptom of croup. All of a sudden, we’re in the back of an ambulance being transported to Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. Upon arrival, the doctor asks us why we’re even there and says Ben has a cold that agitated his asthma. He’s given a nebulizer and prescription for Albuterol and told lots of fluids and rest.  We could never get his pediatrician to diagnose his asthma because it was ALWAYS aspiration of breast milk. Then again his genetically big head was caused by hydrocephalus and his genetically small stature was caused by failure to thrive.

His new pediatrician says he’s perfect.

That hydrocephalus and failure to thrive all require a referral to another Cleveland Clinic doctor who can bill Benjamin’s Medicaid for more unnecessary services. How about the once a day lab work for the first three weeks of his life which required us to go to the local hospital every day?

So back to the original issue at hand… My ob has sent me for two glucose tests. One at twelve weeks and another at 26 weeks. Apparently, the first one was to get a base level. I have never had that happen before… EVER. After every single ultrasound, the next day something is “wrong” and I have to be sent to the Maternal/fetal medicine doctor who travels from Cleveland and never finds anything wrong. Two weeks before my schedule c section, I am being told my child is measuring small and I have to go for another ultrasound. They said they could get me in Friday at 2. I tell the woman on the phone that isn’t possible. Well, we’ll put you in anyways.

And you’d think that a mother who has had 5-6 ultrasounds would have lots of pictures of their beautiful baby. Nope. I have 5. OF THE SAME PROFILE. I have none declaring gender, none of her face, no little hands waving ‘hi’. I ask for more and am told this is just for fun and she doesn’t have to give me any pictures if she doesn’t want to.

I’ve lost 40 pounds during this pregnancy and explain to the OB that I have no appetite whatsoever and frequently eat only 500-800 calories a day. I try to eat more but I just feel so full or sick. He doesn’t seem to think its an issue. Any pain I have is normal and won’t even consider it being anything else. My constant infections are of no concern and they show no sense of urgency when calling in prescriptions.

Cleveland Clinic has ruined pregnancy for me. They say children are the best form of birth control but I would honestly say having the worst possible OB and office has definitely made me question my decision to have more children in the future.