I mentioned on Friday that I was going to go to this Birth & Baby Fair thing over in Duluth this weekend. Well I went to that, and as it turns out, things are a lot different than when I had my kids nine and almost seven years ago. What isn't different is the shaming and judging from other moms and thankfully for me, I've been doing this long enough that it doesn't bother me anymore and I can laugh it off with this wisdom that in the long wrong, their kid will be no better or healthier than mine but you do you, booboo. (I'm sorry, but the "breast is best" slogan? Shaming. You are being a passive aggressive shamer when you use that. It might be best, but to keep repeating it means you are being passive aggressive and you are putting down all other options. How about we just agree to feed our babies? Huh? Why can't we just have brochures that say, "Hey- you need to feed your baby. A lot. Here are your options." without including the "breast is best" thing??)
There were a couple of classes I wanted to go to, which happened at the same time so I had to only choose one, so I went to the one on how to have a natural childbirth in the hospital. I know, I sound like a crazy granola munching oddball, I know. I freak myself out when I say it out loud, as well. But here's my thinking, because I've thought about this for almost 13 weeks now, I want to try. I want to try to go natural and not die. I feel like my chances of dying are low, so that's a plus. I had an epidural with Olivia and it was lovely, but it worked too well and I had no idea what the hell I was even doing when it came time to push. I also had postpartum depression with her and I always wondered if it blocked endorphins that made me feel indifferent. Which as it turns out, it never really goes away. I don't feel anywhere like I did that first year with her, not at all, but sometimes I feel a lack of bonding with her and I think it's really because I was so depressed and disconnected during her crucial first year. So then you bring on guilt, and feelings of inadequacy and shame. It's awful, I don't wish that on anyone.
Then with Jackson, I also had an epidural because nobody told me that being induced with Pitocin means your entire body revolts and it's like the worst labor you could have. Those contractions were brutal, and again, anyone who says that want to do that willingly is an idiot. Sorry, but you're an idiot. The problem that time was the epidural wore off completely about an hour after I got it. Which is probably the worst feeling while in labor. First you feel sweet relief and just as you are about to drift off into a lovely nap, you realize that oh hey- those pains are coming back. Wait, what? Only to be told from the super nice nurse that yes, it was wearing off and they weren't sure why but this actually can happen, and lucky me, I was going to be pushing soon anyways and I wasn't going to die. So I pushed out a baby with no medication. I know I can do that.
I don't know that I can handle contractions without medication. I'm scared, folks. And I shouldn't be because I am practically a pro at this point, and I know that I will get through it, those babies come out eventually. The other reality is that this is my third baby, labor will be faster. Olivia was ten hours start to finish, Jackson was five. So this baby could be delivered on the bridge over Lake Superior in the middle of the night at this rate.
So keeping all of this in mind, I want to look into my options. Ideally, I deliver at the same hospital as the other two, even the same room. I had the same room overlooking the lake with Olivia and Jackson, and it was lovely and relaxing. The biggest obstacle I'm running into is that, as it turns out, neither hospital will let me deliver anywhere except a bed. So no bath, no squatting, no weird positions. It's bed only. Which, maybe isn't the worst thing in the world- it obviously works. I kind of wanted to have some other options, but in a hospital setting that's out.
The other option is the next town over has a really great birthing center, not connected to a hospital. It looks like a lovely spa and honestly, I maybe wouldn't mind spending a week there. It's also half the cost of the hospital. Which, let's talk about costs. I feel like we're going to be kind of screwed. Mostly because we are on a high deductible plan and by the time I pay my deductible and the baby's, plus whatever else I owe? I could very well be looking at a $12,000 bill at the end of this. Which I think is really disgusting in general. Now, I could go the less expensive route, but that is not covered by insurance and they are an upfront payment, and I don't have even $100 in savings right now thanks to some expenses that popped up this fall. (The whole "saving all summer and feeling great" thing is basically erased with three bills and that is so depressing.) The other thing is that what if I decide enough is enough, I want an epidural, give me one NOW? I think they transport me, but at what cost? Then add the original hospital costs on top of the birthing center costs and I will have spent enough money to purchase a car.
In the far drastic line of options is a home birth. Which is almost half of what the birthing center costs. They come to you, clean up, pack up, and leave. Which also sounds lovely, but I really would feel more comfortable knowing both me and baby are monitored for awhile. I know people do that all of the time and I know that for the most part, I'll have an easy, healthy pregnancy and even easier labor and delivery. But still, what if??
The good news is that I am only 13 weeks this week and I have until May before I give birth. I have to really start asking tough questions. It's just really stressful. Everything sounds similar, but is so different from when I had kids, yet not totally? Does that make sense? Everything is much more expensive, and that is scaring me.