Friday, April 30, 2010

Labor & Delivery Questions for our Doctor

I got most of these questions for my doctor from the same sources I got the hospital questions: Baby Lists and Your Best Birth.

First Round of Doctor Questions

  1. How much fetal monitoring do you do during labor? Do you allow intermittent fetal heart rate monitoring?
  2. Under what circumstances do you recommend a c-section? What is your c-section rate?
  3. How often do you cut episiotomies? How often do you opt for a natural tear? Is there anything you can do to help prevent my having an episiotomy? Do I have to have local anesthetic for an episiotomy or can I have a pressure episiotomy?
  4. How many of your clients deliver babies without medication?
  5. How many of your clients are induced? How long past the due date will you allow me to go before scheduling an induction?
  6. Right after my baby is born what is the normal routine for nursing/cord cutting/etc?
  7. How many centimeters do I have to dilate every two hours in order NOT to be induced? How long do I have after my water breaks before I'll be induced?
  8. How long will you let me push so long as I and the baby are doing fine?
  9. Do you have a time limit for producing the placenta? Do I have to have Pitocin to deliver the placenta?
Overall, I'm very comfortable with our doctor an his responses to our questions. 

Neither he, nor the hospital do alot of natural/unmedicated  births - they do a TON of scheduled inductions and c-sections because apparently Plano women get "tired" of being pregnant.  Normally that would make me nervous, but I do know another mom who had an unmedicated labor/delivery with my doctor at the same hospital and felt fully supported in her decision.

And now I realize I've been asking questions along the lines of natural/unmedicated labor and delivery, so don't worry - there's a blog post coming about that touchy topic as well.

I didn't want to overwhelm my doctor with my "interview" for fear he'd fire me as his patient. So, I'm saving these secondary questions for subsequent visits.

Second Round of Doctor Questions:
  1. When should I go to the hospital?
  2. How often do you augment labor? How many moms are put on Pitocin?
  3. What percentage of moms get epidurals?
  4. If you're unavailable when I'm in labor, what is the back-up plan? Can I meet that doctor(s) before my due date?
  5. At what point in labor will you arrive?
  6. Do you allow a doula/midwife/friends/family to be present while I'm in labor?
  7. Do you encourage movement and positioning during labor?
  8. Will I be required to deliver lying down?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hospital Questions for Labor & Delivery - Follow Up

A few weeks ago I wrote about our Hospital Questions before going on our tour of Plano Presbyterian.

Ya'll gave some fabulous feedback and additional things to think about.

Our tour was small (four other couples), given by a very friendly nurse and addressed many of our questions before we even asked. Although I did ask so many questions that at one point that the nurse made the assumption that this was NOT our first child, that I had "done this before." I laughed and told her, "No, I just read . . . ALOT." Yes, I know, it's a little bit of a sickness.

A few things I didn't realize before going on the tour were:

  • Hospitals are competing for our business. Apparently there are other hospitals in the area who serve lobster as a way to get you in the door. With that in mind, we tried to listen objectively and discern if we were just being told "what we wanted to be told."
  • Doctors give the orders. If my doctor is supportive of our birth plan, then the nurses will follow his instructions.
  • Some of our questions (mostly regarding the practices of keeping the mother with the baby) were totally out-dated. 
I've come to the conclusion that I will feel most comfortable in a hospital setting, even if we decide that we want a natural/unmedicated labor/delivery. I've never had a baby before, and while I've had no complications thus far in my pregnancy, it would ease my mind to be at a place where medical help is instantly available should anything be abnormal or wrong.

With that choice to deliver in the hospital, I've also come to realize that I'll probably be making the following compromises:
  • I'll have to have a Hep-Lock (an IV if they deem it necessary)
  • I'll have to have fetal monitoring (intermittently if everything we are doing okay).
  • My labor has to progress at a satisfactory rate (1 cm every 2 hours), otherwise they'll augment it with Pitocin.
  • I won't be allowed to eat anything while at the hospital.
It was encouraged that if we were going to have a natural/unmedicated labor/delivery that we ask for a nurse who has experience in unmediated births.  Overall, I was very pleased with the hospital and the staff and, other than the quasi-long distance up the Tollway, am glad we'll be having Baby Boy there in just a few short months.

The day after our hospital tour we had our 28-week appointment with my doctor, so in my next post I'll share some of the questions we ran by him during that visit.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baby Stiller - Week 28

Week 28 (2010.04.20) FINAL

Hello Third Trimester!

I don't have much to say about this milestone, because really, how many times do you want to hear about how STRETCHED I FEEL! I feel like I could pop . . .yadda, yadda, yadda. 

I've started feeling exhausted again, and because I'm so tired I realize now that I must have had a few weeks of "more" energy! But I didn't realize I had more energy, so I'm afraid I didn't relish in it. 

Baby Boy is kicking and moving and wiggling and poking. Sometimes Danny starts talking to him and you can see him poke against my belly. It's awesome and weird all at the same time. I now God created this beautiful process but sometimes, when I'm sitting at work and my belly's moving and rolling on it's own, I feel a little Men-in-Black-ish - like aliens are going to coming jumping through my skin at any moment. 

Danny and I've been doing lots of reading, communicating and processing about childbirth, gift registries, breastfeeding and sleeping habits - so rest assured I have blog topics enough to last me the next few weeks.  

Monday, April 19, 2010

Photography Workshop . . . CHECK

Remember these Goals for 2010?

See that first goal under "Photography" - to attend a photography workshop?

Well, in good goal fashion, I've been doing my research all year. I've sent emails, read blogs, and searched for just the right training session at just the right price. And, at just the right time of year, because in case you're new here - I'm going to be a little busy come July. Nothing has come to fruition.

And then, the mother load of all workshops announced that they were coming to Dallas. I have followed Lauren Clark, Davina Fear, Millie Holloman and Kelly Moores' blogs since BEFORE I purchased my first digital slr. Their Love Affair Workshop is what I had in mind when I originally set my goal for 2010, but for some reason I kept telling myself I needed to start smaller.  Finally, Danny and I decided just to go for the gold, so this fall I couldn't be more excited to learn about photography, photoshop, business and more.

This week they are giving away all kinds of prizes on the Love Affair blog, and I am going to do my darndest to win a scholarship, so check out their blog here: Love Affair Workshop

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hospital Questions for Labor & Delivery

Tomorrow we are touring Plano Presbyterian Hospital. I'd like to know where we're suppose to park before we're actually in labor and freaking out!


We're scoping it out, making sure it's good enough for Baby Stiller to make his grand entrance. Although I'm sure it's good enough. It's Plano. WEST PLANO. I'm pretty sure West Plano mom's aren't delivering their babies in a dive.

If you've never been to Plano, let me give you a preview. My ob/gyn had a conversation with a patient (no, not me) that went down like this:

Patient: "I would like to have a natural birth. Do you do natural births?"

Doctor: "Well, you're going to have to tell me what you mean by natural birth. We're in Plano, so when someone says natural birth, I assume that that means they are going to show up for their scheduled C-section wearing no make-up."

And that, my friends, is Plano. I do not exaggerate.

In preparation for our tour, I did a little light reading. I relayed information to Danny over breakfast this morning and together we came up with a list of 37 questions.


They are going to fire us from this hospital before we even try to deliver there!

Maybe it's overkill. Maybe it's first-time-I've-never-done-this-thing-called-BIRTH-before jitters. Maybe it's I'm-Type-A-personality obsessiveness. But, whatever it is The Baby List book and Your Best Birth made me ask them!

**All non-pregnant people stop reading right now - the sheer boring-ness of what's about to be blogged might blow your mind. But in case you are pregnant and don't want to read books or make lists, I give you the cliff-notes version of all the books I've read rolled into one blog!**

Questions for Hospital Tour:
Hospital Staff:
  1. What is the patient-to-nurse ration? Is that ratio consistent 24-hours a day?
  2. When will the nursing staff tell my doctor to arrive?
  3. Do you have 24-hour emergency staff and anesthesiologist present at all times?
  4. Is a neonatalogist or pediatrician on staff at all times?
  5. How will my pediatrician know I've delivered my baby?
  1. What is the parking situation? Where do we park & is there validation for Dad & visitors? 
  2. When I come to the hospital in labor, where do I go?
  3. Where do I go after hours?
  1. Are you open to natural methods of pain management and birth, including a water birth?
  2. What non-drug pain relief is available? a shower? a tub? a birthing ball? Are these routinely use by laboring women?
  3. Will I be allowed to move around during labor?
  4. If I need pain relief, who do I ask?
  5. Are walking epidurals given?
  6. Can I wear my own clothes?
  7. Will I be allowed to eat and drink during labor?
  8. How many rooms will be I be in as my labor progresses?
  9. Do you honor birth plans? To whom should I give my plan?
  10. Do you allow doulas to attend births?
  11. Will my husband be allowed to stay with me at all times?
  12. How many people are allowed in the room during labor/delivery?
  13. Do you allow cameras/videocameras/photographers in the room during labor/delivery?
  14. Can I bring my own music/ipod to play during labor?
Monitoring During Labor:
  1. Is continuous monitoring standard?
  2. What is the rate of IV use? Is a Hep-Lock available instead?
  3. How much fetal monitoring do you do during labor? Do you allow intermittent fetal heart rate monitoring?
  4. How often do you do vaginal exams? Can we request that those be limited?
Post Delivery
  1. Is the nursery prepared to handle emergencies or would my baby be transferred to another hospital?
  2. What is the policy immediately after birth? Can I hold/nurse my baby right away?
  3. Can the baby stay with me after the initial examination and not be taken to the nursery right away?
  4. What are my chances of getting a private room after my baby is born? Is there a special procedure to request one? What is the cost?
  5. What type of security system does the hospital have?
  6. Does the hospital have in-house lactation consultants available?
  7. What are visiting hours?
  8. Can I bring my own electric devices/hair dryer for afterwards?
  9. Is there wireless internet in the rooms and are cell phones permitted to be used?
Did I forget anything? Feel free to share any resources you found helpful in researching your hospital/birthing center/home birth.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Name Game Continues

Just thought I'd give you an update because everyone always asks if we've decided on a name yet . . . we haven't.

We have narrowed it to our top five favorites. That means that since we told you our favorite boy names we've ruled out one name every week. So, give us another month and we might just be down to THE ONE!

That will leave us eight weeks to find a middle name. This might be more exhausting than registering at Buy Buy Baby - who knew looking at hooded towels and fitted sheets could wipe you out!?

Oh, don't ask me why this is so difficult for me. Lindsey could testify to the fact that we use to spend countless Saturdays coming up with lists of baby names (for our baby dolls . . . duh), so I thought the real deal would be even better/easier/more fun. Nope, it's just more permanent.

So, the final five are:


We're down to two actors, one book of the Bible, one missionary, one inanimate object and two Hendrick boys. (Initially, unintentionally, but so coincidentally, we had all four of the Hendrick's boys names on our list - Anson, Ashton, Hayden & Hudson. Really, what are the odds - we have fabulous taste!)

Danny's reigning and consistent favorite is Hudson, while I can't let go of Cannon. And yes, I've thought of the copy machine, my camera, the big/loud gun, etc. I STILL LIKE IT! It packs a punch and somehow, between Danny's personality and the way this kid wiggles and moves inside, I don't think it'll be a far cry from accurate.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This Thing Called Labor . . .

We had our second birthing class last night.
For those of you on Twitter and Faceboook you already know that it resulted in my first (but probably not only) freak out and emotional break down afterwards.
And, since you have been here all along - through the announcement of our pregnancy, to telling our parents the exciting news, to our continued wrestle over baby names, to finding out it's going to be a Danny Jr., to our DIY nursery plan to our crazy belly shots - I thought you should be along for the roller coaster that are my emotions when it comes to childbirth.
We watched a video in birthing class on natural childbirth. Basically it showed four or five births back-to-back. And, while a part of me did want to tear up each time that baby popped out and they put it on the mother's chest, with each birth I wanted nothing more than to turn that TV off.
Do you know how emotionally draining it is to watch five women go through the agonizing pain of birthing a baby - especially when you have one kicking his little reminder to you from inside your abdomen that he's growing BIGGER and BIGGER (emphasize the BIGGER!) and there's only one way he can get out?
As the video ended, the instructor asked what we thought, and no one said much at all. I can only imagine I wasn't the only one writhing in fear.
I held the tears back, but the minute we were in the car and Danny asked me what I thought, the waterworks started and I burst out, "I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT! I DON'T THINK I CAN DO THAT! BUT THERE'S NO TURNING BACK NOW AND I'M FREAKING OUT!"
And so, here we are in the middle of pregnancy. I've been reading up a storm, telling Danny all about natural childbirth to the point that he's totally convinced and ready to coach me through hours of labor and all I want is an epidural - a very STRONG epidural.
Go ahead and laugh. I give you permission. Pregnancy hormones are funny . . . until you're in the middle of them.
Give me three months and in my sleep-deprived state I'll look back and laugh with you at the drama that was me trying to figure out this thing called childbirth, probably all-the-while wistfully remembering how much more restful and quiet it was carrying our son inutero.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Baby Stiller - Week 26

Week 26 (2010.04.06)

All I have to say about this is, sometimes I look down, gasp, and think, "Is that (meaning, my belly) really mine?" Like someone just stuck that baby boy there one day and forgot to tell me - when in reality, I've had 6 1/2 months to get use to this. 

And then I shed a little tear at the number of weeks I still have left to stretch. protrude, feel my intestines gurgling in MY CHEST instead of my abdomen and run my huge stomach into things like the counter because I forget I now stick out over my feet.

This is also the point in the story where Gara starts seeing all of her wonderful maternity clothes cycle through on my blog.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


. . . Because you guys are demanding and relentlessly told me I HAD to post before and after pictures.

You're lucky I'm a people pleaser . . .



And, because many of you are concerned for the well-being of my hair:
  • I won't regret chopping it off - my hair was almost this short a year ago. (See me in that header up above - that was last February.) Yes, it grows - FAST!
  • This isn't the "mom" cut. I would be cutting it off even if I weren't pregnant - even if there weren't going to be little fingers grabbing at it in just a few short months. If I were trying for the "mom" look I'd leave it as is and keep it in a pony tail. 
  • There's NOTHING quite as fun as walking into a salon, handing the gal a picture, telling her to chop it off, and watching her glee as she goes to town!
More pictures forthcoming with the belly picture.

Monday, April 05, 2010

18th Quarterly Review - Round Rock, TX

Remember that time the rain got the best of us?

Well, last month we were ready to tackle Enchanted Rock again.


Only this time we had the opposite problem. The weather was SO nice that when we got to the park we found out it was at capacity and closed to any further visitors for TWO HOURS.

Undeterred, we occupied ourselves with Blizzards from the Dairy Queen in Frederickburg and waited our turn in line before spending a beautiful afternoon hiking around a big rock.

See that line of cars snaking up the road - we had to wait our turn in that line before getting into the park.










My one request was that we stay in a hotel with a jacuzzi tub, which turned out to be a fabulous idea after trekking up a rock all day. Danny found the best room ever, and I believe I took three baths in less than 24 hours. We drank coffee (yes, decaf for me) at Mozart's and avoided downtown Austin like the plague to avoid hitting SXSW traffic.

This was our baby-planning quarterly review. It was this weekend that we finally narrowed down our non-existent list of boys' names to the nine names listed here. We worked on the budget and prioritized the baby supplies we would need to register for/purchase. And then we'd look at each other and go, "Can you believe we're having a baby?!"

I'll leave you with one last picture.

Every time I upload pictures off of the camera I find pictures that Danny has taken of just my baby belly. I guess he's wanting to commemorate all of the place his son went before he was born. 

So, here you go Hudson/Cannon/Jude/Hayden/Ashton/whatever-we-finally-decide-to-call-you: proof that you traveled to the top of Enchanted Rock and that I hydrated you well with gatorade.


Quarterly Review History:

Friday, April 02, 2010

Flashback . . .

On her last visit, Danny's Mom brought one of his baby books.

It was a little flash back . . .

1980.11 - Danny Sleeping





. . . or maybe, just maybe, it was a little flash forward.

I guess we'll just have to wait until to July to find out. 

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