Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Crib Sheets, Renovations + New Birth Plans

Crib sheets in the new sewing room!

Crib sheets at last! And it really was the simplest thing to turn these 2 yard cuts of fabric into fitted crib sheets. I followed my Quilter's Crib Sheet tutorial to refresh my memory and used elastic that was conveniently on hand. 

Crib sheets in the new sewing room!

These pale colored prints should pop against the peach walls I'm planning for baby girl's nursery. Fabrics are all from Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory: Miniments in raw, All Paths in clear and Bed of Daisies.

Crib sheets in the new sewing room!

Remember that we are adding onto our house right now? Our current master will become the new nursery after 1. we can move out of it into the newly built master and 2. we complete some repairs on the emptied space. The contractors have nearly finished their work on the addition, so my husband has started painting. He'll be doing all the finishing on weekends and evenings: floors, trim, installing the master bathroom, lights, etc.  Still we think we'll be in the master before we bring baby home about 10 weeks from now. Then baby can live with us in the new master until Brandon can complete repairs on the new nursery. Phew! All that to say, I've decided crib sheets are all I'm going to sew for baby in advance. It's not too motivating to make things without a room ready. 

Crib sheets in the new sewing room!

But how do you like those windows? This is my first photoshoot in my new sewing room, which is part of the addition. We enlarged my sewing space and separated it from the rest of the house, so it's not part of our entry anymore. I was super excited to include skylights in this room to bring light specifically to the area where my design wall will be placed. Crossing fingers I can photograph my works in process right on the wall! Right now I have to move around my design wall in search of decent light, scattering pieces that fall off the wall as I go!

When the sewing room is done, you can bet I'll be sharing pictures. In fact, maybe you'll be visiting someday! The room is also designed to host weekend workshops for 8 students!!!

Now... about my birth plans. I've been wanting to share some things with you, but it's such a complicated topic. What follows are a bunch of personal opinions very much influenced by my experiences. Please don't be offended! I respect those who disagree. I just wish to share how my own perspectives have changed on this topic.

On Monday my mom and I drove two hours to a hospital in Charleston, where I plan to deliver baby. Until now I've been receiving maternity care at a local OB, but we haven't been comfortable with their general lack of caution and disregard for testing recommended by a MFM, in view of my birth history.  Currently, I plan to deliver via induction at the hospital in Charleston so that I don't go into labor two hours away at home.  Now more than ever we understand it is essential to be able to trust one's medical team. We trust the team in Charleston, which is nationally ranked for obstetrics and aggressive about evidenced-based care. It's a completely different birth plan and a radically different birth paradigm as compared to my previous three births.

My perspective on maternity care is so different than it was prior to Eleni's traumatic birth! Before Eleni, I gave birth naturally at home to both Aria and Liam under the care of midwives. Those experiences were very positive and mostly uncomplicated. You can read about my original birth perspectives in this post.

Eleni with her siblings

Eleni's severe birth injury and ultimate death were due largely to medical negligence. She was born by induction in a hospital, but my maternity care was done by a home birth midwife and an overseeing OB, as required by South Carolina law. I've had lots of time and many medical experts help me understand what happened. For me, understanding what happened and how it could have been prevented were very important for emotional healing. Even before we decided to have another child, I began to reconsider my views on home birth. Would I still recommend it to a friend? To my daughter? It was a hot topic with my local friends, many of whom had wonderful home births themselves.

First, I have concluded that out-of-hospital midwife care in the United States is very different than that offered in some other developed countries. Many studies evaluating the safety of home birth and/or midwife care are conducted in European countries with excellent results... and very different medical systems. Here in the U.S. laws impacting out-of-hospital birth vary radically from state to state.  In addition there are very few areas where home birth midwives are well-integrated with the support of local OB teams and hospitals. In our country there is much antagonism between the camps. This, in my opinion, translates to less accurate risk assessment and poor care in the event of emergencies. Women and midwives fear giving up their control to the ruling hospital/OB systems by asking for assistance, and may take unnecessary risks to maintain autonomy.

I believe we in the U.S. should rely solely on U.S. studies of home birth safety. The studies that I see are mixed, with some showing there is not an increased risk to mom/baby and others showing there is double the risk. The mixed results could be due to the differences in local law and care networks. I will tell you that there are more midwife attended and planned out-of-hospital birthers in the Facebook community called Hope for HIE, which is for babies like Eleni. More by far than is average for the United States. That was something I noticed right away and recently confirmed via poll.

So, where have I landed? I guess you can tell.  When I chose home birth before, I did so mostly to improve my birth experience and protect my baby from unnecessary interventions. Now I prioritize a healthy baby so very, very far above either of those concerns that I would not only refuse to deliver out-of-hospital, I would also choose a hospital with an excellent NICU, just in case. The way I see it, unnecessary interventions associated with hospital birth are generally detrimental to an enjoyable birth experience or physically damaging in the short term only. Compared to the possibility of preventing a lifetime of suffering or all-out death via interventions that turn out to be necessary.... give me an unnecessary c-section and a live baby any day over a preventable birth injury. In short, I believe doctors do have to do unnecessary interventions, including c-sections, to save as many babies as is possible. And that's what I want, when it comes to birth.

With this baby, we will opt for an induction to guarantee the chance to deliver in an excellent hospital with top-notch staff. I'm still hoping for a mostly drug-free natural birth, but mostly I'm hoping for a healthy baby. 

And, my friends?  Not a one of them would have another home birth in our state after what happened to Eleni.  Granted, all of us are extremely impacted by her singular story, but that's how we make most decisions in life - informed by data, but shaped even more by the people we love.

79 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your thought process. It certainly makes sense to me! Every one has to make decisions with the facts and emotions on hand! You and your family are making an informed and emotional calculated decision that gives both you, your new baby and your family the security of knowing that no matter what happens you are well-eqipped for any scenario! I wish all of you only the best on this journey!

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  2. Given your experience with Eleni, I am not surprised at your decision. However, in light of your two successful births with Aria and Liam there was no reason for you not to do what you did. Hindsight is always so precise. I'm just happy to see that you've made your decision and your preparations and that you are happily anticipating the addition of a new baby girl to your family.

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  3. As you said, we are shaped by personal experiences. One thing I have learned is that usually when someone has a different opinion than me on something like this, it is because they have been fortunate enough not to experience the hard circumstances that would have educated them. Their opinion is a symptom that are more blessed than they know in being ignorant of how things could have been. Remembering that helps me be graceful in my responses to people with "ignorant" opinions. I am so sorry that you went through what you did with Eleni. It's a hard club to be in. And I am so glad that you have reached peace with your plans for this next birth.

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  4. Thank you, thank you for sharing the fruits of your careful research!

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  5. I'm happy you have made your decision, and you shouldn't get grief from anyone regarding it. I don't think there is a right/wrong way to do most things, but when it comes to the safety of your family, cautious is best.

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  6. Well thought out, well researched and you absolutely touched on some points that should be improved in the medical system for the benefit of the patient. I'm an OT and in some states, other professions try and limit your treatment bc they want the monopoly...aka money...for that treatment. The patient and health are most important. Let's work together to achieve that, not fight. I'm also happy to hear you say you wish for a healthy baby. Nowadays people act offended when you say that but honestly it's true and we all hope for it, admit it or not. It also doesn't mean you won't accept a less than healthy one and you more than anyone are a living example. You've given your heart to all your kids. Thank you for your honesty and being vulnerable. I pray you have a positive and healthy delivery! And your sewing space sounds amazing! 😀

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  7. It is your body, and it is your decision. I am not surprised at your decision and if I were a friend of yours that would be my recomendation. A healthy baby is what we want, via c-section or not. I am glad you talk about those topics on your blog.
    10 weeks and you will have a healthy girl on your arms.

    xxx

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  8. Totally your decision Rachel. It is your body, life, family etc. You have to do what you feel is best for you and your family. I can't wait to see the sewing space and addition! Babies don't need a room from day 1, lol. Whenever they get there is fine, lol. Enjoy!

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  9. Not that you asked for our opinions, but I completely support (and agree with) your decision. I hope you get the birth experience you want. But most of all, I hope you have a healthy baby.

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  10. I adore the sheets!
    Your sewing room will be wonderful. I love the windows!!
    Remodeling is funnnnn, until you are tired of those handy people in the house making a racket.
    I am glad hubbs is going to finish up the details. I love doing that part too.... well not anymore. I am super happy that you will have your own office for your stash and where you can work without clearing stuff away all the time.
    I am really excited about your new baby. I am glad that you are going in for induction. Christina was going to go in for a c-section bc Sarah was full breech. But three days early her water broke and there you go. She had the c-section.
    I had one of each. Every one has a story. Those are so great to share (among mamas only) All of you are always in my prayers.

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  11. Great decision! No offense (I'm certainly not judging your previous decisions just expressing my personal feelings on the subject) but I have never understood home births due to the lack of emergency medical care for the baby if there are problems. I'm with you...do whatever it takes to bring this baby into our world healthy and happy ;c) Best wishes to you all!

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  12. Hooray for you for being the strong thinker that you are! Being able to reconcile your position with the realities of the situation is what allows us to move forward in such an uncertain circumstance. I cannot wait to meet your beautiful new family member; and I just have to say, the picture of your three children is just perfect. Much love to you and yours.

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  13. The renovation looks marvelous and the sewing room looks great. And crib shets are so easy to make, aren't they?
    I think midwives are fine for some women, in some circumstances, where emergency equipment/services are nearby.
    But I would take technical expertise over bedside manner as far as a baby's health.
    Things can go wrong very quickly during delivery. It makes sense to do whatever you can to minimize risk before and during delivery. At least you've had the experience of a home birth (twice!) which is what you wanted at the time in your life. Now you think differently, and that's okay too.

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  14. I love the way you are approaching this analytically. I've appreciated your candor throughout Eleni's life. It's been a great testimony to see your faith help you through it. Thank you for continuing to share these intimately personal details and decisions.

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  15. Thank you for sharing. I'm glad you're moving ahead, making changes, and anticipating a new baby. The home improvements look wonderful - bringing the indoors in helps our environment. I look forward to seeing future posts of your sewing room in the month or so.

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  16. Also, classes in your home--what a great idea! I wish I were local!

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  17. Thank you for sharing. Doing what's best for you and your child takes precedence over other people's opinions, and when you back it up with solid research and personal experience, who can argue? I remember struggling with that decision when I was pregnant with my son and finally decided I couldn't risk it so I opted for a doula instead. I'm glad I did or it would have ended up with an ambulance ride to the hospital and a lot more complications. Can't wait to see her in your arms. xx

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  18. I've been following you for several years. My own experiences sandwich your pregnancy and birth with Eleni (miscarriage first then pregnancy to term a year later) so I have followed every post with avid interest and many prayers.

    I want to share my experience with midwife care just as another story, not in any judgement.

    I chose to switch to midwives from traditional OB care out of fear of unnecessary medical interventions at our local hospital. It was a decision I heavily researched and although I wanted a home birth it wasn't legally available in my state. Instead I found a birth center about an hour away that has admitting rights at one of my areas best hospitals. The hospital was my first choice for low interventions and I had considered delivering there if I went with a hospital. I truly feel like my birth center and the midwives provided excellent care to me and my daughter. That said, they are certified nurse midwives who have worked in hospitals, participate in national studies, and are up to date on the latest evidence based care. Patients have to meet certain low risk criteria to deliver at home or the birth center. They have plans if there's an emergency at the center to transer to a hospital in the immediate area. And for patients like me, who end up with complications that put them at higher risk, they have privileges at one of the best hospitals in the are. I developed preclampsia in less than 24 hours. Throughout the experience, I felt like my midwife did a great job supporting me while making sure my complications were handled seriously. When I tell people my birth experience they are all extremely surprised at how well the hospital respected me and my wishes (I got to eat something before pitocin!). I believe my midwife was a large part of that.

    All of that shared, I completely understand the need for a care team you feel comfortable with. I switched OB's after a dreadful experience with my miscarriage. While I would highly recommend my specific birth center because I feel like my care was evidence based with access to excellent hospital care, I personally wouldn't not have a home birth in my current area for many of the reasons you outlined.

    Best wishes for you, your growing little one and your family. Having care you trust in an environment that your are comfortable is one of the most important things. You and your family are in my thoughts.

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    1. I'm glad you shared your experience here! It makes such a difference for your birth center to have admitting rights at a good hospital. In my area there are absolutely no birth centers because they are not at all supported by the hospital/OB's in the area. One was open for a very short time before having to shut down. So, in your area you can't have a home birth and in my area you can't have a birth center birth!

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  19. You are very wise! You cannot be too cautious. Thanks for sharing

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  20. Thank you for sharing, despite the potential judgment lurking in many mom groups. I have been induced four of my five babies, and will probably be induced with number six in about 14 weeks. It makes me sad that so many moms (and dads!) have expressed surprised and disapproval over my choices. I have just enough medical issues that I don't want to labor at home, and I know jn my last delivery that my very attentive and experienced OB saved my baby's life (without making me panic when I realized something had happened). You'll be in my prayers!

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  21. But ..... WHEN ???? just teasing.... the most important thing is that you feel 100% confident. I want so much for you to be able to relax and trust - I know you will never be able to feel as reassured as you once did, but I do hope you will be able to just relax, stay in the moment, and welcome a wonderful new family member........ so.... once again... WHEN? lol, just teasing... your business.

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  22. Rachel - I wish you all the best for this birth and applaud you for doing the research and making the best choice for your family. It is awesome that you will have a new sewing room and a special new nursery for this baby. All the best to your beautiful little family.

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  23. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences. I believe, as you obviously do, that if you help one family have a better birth experience, it is the right thing to do.

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  24. I'm Canadian, so our health care system and midwifery program are quite different and much more highly regulated than in the States. My first was born in hospital under care of a midwife, but overseen by an OB because my labour had to be augmented with oxytocin and I had an epidural.

    My second was born in hospital after a very fast natural labour. We had moved to a very small community where there was no birthing at the hospital. My pregnancy was followed by the GP in the town, and he did a very good job. Four weeks before my due date I went and stayed with my parents, waiting for the baby. I called my husband when I had signs of impending labour, and he drove the 9 hours to get there. The labour and delivery were very straightforward.

    For my third, I was followed for half the pregnancy by my GP, and for the other half by a midwife in a town one and a half hours away. It was the middle of winter, which meant snow and freezing cold. I started panicking at the thought of being in heavy labour for the hour and a half car ride, or at the thought of delivering in the car on the side of the road. In the end, my labour was so fast and furious that I ended up delivering at the tiny hospital not equipped for birthing. When it happened, it felt kind of exciting, but afterwards I was a little shaken. The baby was big, I had torn badly, and it took months for my body to feel normal again.

    With my fourth, despite everything looking normal, I just had a feeling. It may have had something to do with a mother of a boy in my daughter's class losing her baby after a completely normal pregnancy and c-section delivery. They weren't able to clear his lungs out properly. It was the first time that someone I knew lost a full term baby and it shook me pretty badly. I requested OB care in a larger city, about 5 hours away. At my first appointment with the OB, at about 26.5 weeks, she decided to do an u/s simply because she trusted her technicians more. Everything had looked normal until then, but the u/s found that the baby wasn't growing properly. In the end, I started developing HELLP syndrome (which is similar to preeclampsia, but with liver complications), and I was induced and delivered a 2lb 11oz baby at 32w 6d. He is two years old now, and doing well, though still quite small. But if I had refused that "unnecessary" u/s on the basis of wanting to be as "natural" as possible, both the baby and I could have died, the baby almost certainly. I see things the way you do, too. Yes, there may be some unnecessary procedures that are done, but the VAST majority of health practitioners just want mom and baby to be as healthy as possible.

    Anyway, sorry about the novel of a comment. I hope and pray that this delivery will the opposite of Eleni's in every way.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Heidi. I do find it so interesting how different maternity care is throughout the world.

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  25. Rachel, I had no idea what you and your family went through. How devastating, especially after you had done so much research and were working so hard to give your baby the best and safest birth that you could. I was right there where you were with both of my pregnancies, probably reading the same books and articles you were reading about unnecessary C-sections etc and wanting so badly to protect my babies from epidural drugs and everything else I could. I'm in North Carolina and I was fortunate to find an OB/GYN with nurse midwives on staff, so I saw midwives for my prenatal care, and midwives were able to attend my hospital births (with the hospital nurses afraid to come anywhere near me due to my 10-page typed Birth Plan.. They just whispered "Bradley patient!" and scurried away). Anyway, I'm telling you this only because I totally identify with the woman you were when you chose home birth, and I totally understand why you're choosing a different path this time. I hope that you feel loved and supported in your decision by all of your family and friends, and I will keep you and your baby in my prayers.

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  26. Beautiful post, Rachel. I will pray for an easy (and highly monitored!) delivery and a beautiful healthy baby! And this child will be so blessed to have you as her mother.

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  27. Thank you for having the courage to talk about this very controversial topic. The birth of my first son did not go smoothly. Even in the hospital we almost lost him. They struggled to clear his lungs for so long, I still perfectly remember glimpsing his little grey body as he was being passed between the medical team. No longer the pink he started at. Not purple or bluish. Gray. There was no warning he was going to have trouble breathing on the outside until he gave that first little cry and then stopped. At the push of a button there was a whole staff by his side to help him. There is not a doubt in my mind that if I were not in that amazing hospital with its top notch NICU that my baby boy would have died that day.

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  28. Amazing post, Rachel, thank you for taking us through this. It's up to each of us to do what we think is best...unfortunately it not always IS the best, but we aren't always to know this. I kinda went the half and half option with my babies. I had all of them in hospitals, but managed to skip the drugs. Fortunately I/my bubs needed minimal care...one of them needed a bit of oxygen when he first appeared, but all good except for that. Even knowing this, that I could have had a home birth, I would do what I did exactly the same again. It's what was right for me (and my kids). You'd never catch me on a yoga mat in a stream pushing out a baby! I hope you have a comfortable final 10 weeks and I can't wait to meet your new baby x

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  29. Everyone has said pretty much everything, but this I'll add: I've had critical-care baby deliveries and garden-variety deliveries and there is no way to know which is which. I must say, though, I'm really glad I had extra medical help for the critical-care babies. I wish the same for you and for you to have a happy and problem-free delivery. Thanks for sharing your research and your thoughts.
    Elizabeth of OPQuilt.com

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    1. Like you said, I've come to realize what it means that you can't know which delivery will be which. That's why it's called "low risk" and "high risk" - they both have risk! It's human nature to believe that we will personally escape the terribly, yet unusual things that can happen, to believe that those things happen to other people. But, sadly, it's not so.

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  30. I always wonder why everbody in the mom boards seems to be a professional medical care giver to decide what is nessesary and what not. Sure hospital tend to rush through a birth because they may need the delivery room again, they may talk you into treatments which are not all nessesary. But in the end they do have the medical knowledge and equipment to do the best they could in an emergency. All of my four kids were born in a hospital I never dared myself to give birth at home. I always needed the security that if there will be something some help would be near and fast. I do understand and support friends and other women who like giving birth at home but I always recommend to have a good midwife who knows when she has to ask for help, a nearby hospital and the lack of risks in birth and pregnancy history. What really bothers me about the complaining when giving birth in hospital is, that those people always calim hat they are out of control as soon as they arrive in the delivery room. But in my opinion you are still able to use your mouth you can tell the midwife/docotr what you want and what not. You can inform yourself beforehand and tell your spouse or whoever is with you to speak for you if you are not able in the situation. And you can ask for reasons when professionals want you to take a treatment and consider then it is important four you and the babys health. Sorry if this was a bit long, there are a lot of thoughts in my head about that topic. You know here they now have kind of birth were woman go into the woods or somewhere to give birth alone. Not my cup of tea.
    Anyhow I think your decision is the best you could make for your own sake and for the baby. You have to feel save, you have to feel right about your decision that is all what matters. May I ask what the doctors said why Eleni had that lack of oxygene during or before birth? As far as I know she was delivered in the hospital.
    I still am sad about Elenis lost and pretty happy for you that you had the courage to add another one to your family. I still feel a bit connected because my fourth was born around 8 weeks after Eleni. Hope all my blabbering made sense to you, it is always hard to argue in a different language when you are emotional about something.
    Last but not least I can't wait to see the remodelling and the new sewing space and mainly the new babygirl :)
    Best to you all Sibylle

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    1. I think it is amazing that you are conversing like this is second language! I can't really go into detail about the causes of Eleni's oxygen deprivation because there is a lawsuit involved for medical negligence. Yes, she was born in the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital, I was not at all in labor. I was induced. =(

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  31. Dear Rachel, I wish you all the best! I enjoy always reading your posts even don't have children on my own. x Teje

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  32. Hi Rachel, long time reader, first time commenter. I won't share my horrible story here, don't want to scare you. What I did want to comment on is the fact that everyone has been so supportive and "nasty comment free". It't really nice to see. I wish the best for you and your little one, if anyone deserves it, it's you! Have you deciced on a name, we'd all love to know.
    Keeping you in my prayers, Tisha

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    1. Yes, Tisha, everyone has been so nice! We haven't chosen a name. We have several we like, but I think due to our last trauma we will wait to name her until after she is born when our hearts will have an easier time bonding fully with the reality of her. Right now we like Cora, Esme (pronounced Ez-may) and Elowen (pronounced Ell-Oh-when).

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  33. Hi Rachel. Thank you for your public service post. Despite the unfortunate experience, you have done so much good for others. Congratulations on your decisions and best wishes for the future!

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  34. Good morning Rachel! I've been following your blog for quite a while but didn't realize until today's post that we are practically neighbors (I live right outside of Charleston). I have always been impressed with how incredibly gracious you are in sharing your knowledge, skills and ideas. Please feel free to contact me if there is anything I can do for you and your family while you are in Charleston. Wishing you the best! Sue

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  35. Thanks for sharing your plans. We had a complicated hospital birth with hospital based midwives. I ended up having induced labor and many other interventions all of which contributed to a healthy baby in the end.

    Birth is one of the most dangerous things woman and baby will ever do (statistically) and it sounds like you have a good plan and a good team on your side.

    I often felt this attitude "women had babies in caves for millenia your body knows what to do" but I bet those mamas would have given anything for our access to care . It is so hard. I am thinking of you and this most joyful and most stressful time.

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  36. I had two uncomplicated pregnancies but two complicated births. I THANK God for modern medicine that helped save me from a complication immediately after birth the first time and for helping save me and my baby during my second birth. I am thankful I chose hospital births for both. Many many well wishes for a healthy baby and mama this time around for you!

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  37. Good morning Rachel, and, thank you for sharing your plans with us, especially since I've been thinking so much about your impending delivery. I am so happy to hear that you are taking measures to insure that you and baby will be in the safest of environment available, and that all bases will be covered. We must all take every precaution we can to safeguard that most precious of all gifts given to us by God.

    Sixty years ago this month, I gave birth to my eldest son, and fortunately was blessed to have a doctor who was very caring and made sure every precaution was made to save both my baby and me. I started labor, then stopped, started and stopped, and then began bleeding. Upon examination, they discovered I had placenta previa and did an emergency c-section. I was only 20 years old, and to say I was scared, would be putting it mildly, but I had complete faith in my OBGYN and that made all the difference in the world.
    Back then, they kept me in the hospital for 10 days, and I was climbing the walls to get home with my baby. Looking forward to seeing more pics of your addition as it takes shape. Hugs

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  38. You were very courageous to choose a homebirth. I never felt confident enough. I think you are also just as courageous to choose NOT to do a home birth. I wish you and your family the best. I cannot wait to see your sewing room pics!

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  39. As a former neonatal ICU nurse, I applaud your decision. The general public has no idea how quickly a "routine" delivery can spiral into something which needs medical intervention/and or has serious life and death consequences. I'm sure anyone who has gone through the heartbreak you have experienced would much rather have a good outcome than a birth plan filled to the letter.

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  40. First, I will say that I respect every woman's right to decide how/when/where they would like to give birth. I had both of my girls in hospital with two different induction procedure. Both without any further interventions (drugs/forceps/episiotimies/etc). The lack of interventions was my decision (and the birth processes allowed that safely). The induction decisions were made in conjunction with my OB (one overdue child, one GD pregnancy).

    I just wanted to share my story as I heard a lot of negativity around inductions without pain relief. It was definitely uncomfortable and intense, but it was also fairly quick :) I'm happy to share more details if you are interested!

    Leigh Anne

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  41. Rachel, you are so brave for opening up your heart again for another baby. You are a good mom. You make the best decisions you can for all your children and this new little girl is so blessed to be given to you and your sweet family as was Eleni, Liam, and Aria. I pray protection and safety over you and baby girl in her arrival and a sweet time together when you meet her face to face so soon.
    I was induced for three of my four children and those were better than going into labor naturally. I enjoyed the attentive care of my doctor and nurses who took such good care of us. My first son was born with a cleft lip the ultrasound missed and the hospital staff were able to help us through this scary time. I had a more challenging late pregnancy and birth with #4 and I was very thankful for my doctor who took no chances and induced as soon as possible to protect us. I agree that the common complaints of hospital births are usually temporary griefs or things that made labor unpleasant, like pitocin, but far more often those complaints pale to the moms and babies who needed the extra care only hospitals can give.

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  42. I totally understand and agree with you!
    Personally I would never (and never would have) choose a home birth because some friends are midwifes and the stories they tell make you wish that you are in good and medical well stuffed hands.
    I live in a big city and a really good hospital is a 10 min drive from me and so I would always choose to go there because it's no act at all. Perhaps I would think different if I would live in the countryside with the next hospital a long drive away but that's not the case for me.
    Whatever you choose and decide (and everybody who reads this) I wish you all the best and a healthy baby.

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  43. Thank you for sharing your view and perspective. Praying for a safe delivery for you and baby. Looking forward to seeing more pics of the new space!

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  44. I'm not going to read the other comments posted but wish to say I support your decision and know how difficult it was for you to share your experience and thought process. I worked for many years in high risk OB in a provincial referral hospital. Sadly I've had many patients with similar stories, most changing their approach to subsequent deliveries and some not. May all go well for you and your family and your new arrival.

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  45. I had a complicated pregnancy and a complicated birth. The care of the doctors and the hospital staff both for me and the baby were timely, essential and necessary. The "baby" has just turned 13 and is taller than me. I am sure you and your family have made a wise and informed decision. Praying for a safe delivery for you and for the little one.

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  46. I think it is so interesting (and not really in a good way) how different the maternity care is in different parts of the country. I guess I mean other than the hospital. I had my first two in the hospital with an OB and my third at a birth center. My midwife didn't work directly with an OB, but the hospital knows her and she is welcome on the few chances she has had to take a momma in. There are so many birth centers here it baffles me that there aren't where you are. Your decision doesn't baffle me, only that they just aren't there. But here they are everywhere. That's so strange to me.
    I completely respect your decision. We spoke a little about out of hospital birth before Eleni was born. We are all influenced by so many factors - our experiences, our location, support available, friends/family and their experiences. I have a friend who lost baby at birth and now delivers by scheduled cesarean (her choice, not a medical need but what she needs). What matters is a healthy baby. I'm so happy that you have made a decision that you are happy with and that you have peace going in to your birth. It sounds like you have an excellent team. I'm so excited for you and your family.
    As always, thank you for being so real and honest and sharing with us.
    I love the sheets you made. I made one bed sheet for my little girl and they are my favorite to have on. I really love the miniments in raw fabric.
    I think remodels are so fun. My husband is a custom home builder and does remodels often so I just love seeing the glimpses.
    My littlest stayed in the room with us for 6 months. Both boys went to nurseries almost immediately (old house with the bedrooms all close together) but in our new house she would be so far away I couldn't do it! So we set up the crib in the master and she hung out with us until we were ready to send her across the house to her room. It seemed like such a dramatic choice at the time.
    Goodness I'm rambling today. I hope you have a fantastic afternoon.

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    1. You're right that the differences in maternity/birth care in our country are not interesting in a good way. But I would have to add that I think the irregularities extend to hospital settings. Before Eleni I assumed that American hospitals were generally equal in the care they can offer. That's very untrue! I've witnessed that rural hospitals may offer a far lower standard of care. Because Eleni was medically complex we saw many hospitals while she was alive, both locally and in our therapy travels. The quality of the doctors and availability of testing varied greatly. That learning experience is a big reason why we are going to Charleston for this birth.

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  47. Have I told you that my daughter (first birth) was an emergency c-section? It's a long story but I so very thankful it ended with us both healthy because it could have been very different. So yes, healthy baby and mama are the most important thing!

    Oh, those windows and that view!!!

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  48. Thank you Rachel. This post really helped me to process my most recent birth where I felt more like a procedure and less of a person. I have always longed for a home birth, but insurance and pregnancy complications have always prevented it. I had some less than friendly nurses and doctors this time around at the hospital (and I have lingering pain from repeated catheter practice-fails by a training nurse), but as you so rightly put it, those hospital inconveniences are "detrimental to an enjoyable birth experience or physically damaging in the short term only." While I did not enjoy my stay, those doctors spotted my daughters newborn ABO-type jaundice right away and got us the necessary (although, frustratingly, separating/multi-day) treatments. I still feel sad about my experience, but this really puts it all in perspective. Thank you so much for all you do. I think of Eleni often : ).

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  49. I've followed your blog for a long time and was so deeply saddened by Eleni's story. I cannot agree with you more about the state of care in this country and the differences between midwifery in the US and in Europe. Are you familiar with Amy Tuteur's work? I think a lot of her research on interventions and standards of care would resonate with you.

    I delivered my first child by scheduled c-section 5 months ago. When I found out that I would have to have a c-section, I initially felt very sad and guilty, but my baby was large and breech as of 32 weeks and refused to turn around. After her birth I was extremely, extremely grateful that I had such a wonderful medical team and that I had access to such excellent care to spare my baby the risks of an attempted vaginal delivery. I wish you nothing but the best with this delivery! I strongly support your decision and am very impressed by your willingness to be so open.

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  50. Beaming love to you and your family as you get closer to meeting your new arrival; I applaud more than I can express in this space how much I respect you and the thoughtfulness you've approached this decision with, and the diplomatic way you phrased it all. I delivered via emergency c-section due to a placental abruption at 26 weeks and as terrifying as it all was, knowing I was in good hands made it as easy as it could have been. Holding you all in my thoughts these next few months.

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  51. Great reno happening - such exciting times for you and your family.

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  52. Your renovations look great so far! You have so many wonderful things to look forward to this year! :-)

    And, regarding your birth choices, I just want you to know that I completely agree with your position. I had to have a planned C-section with my first daughter because she was hopelessly breech. (We tried everything to get her to turn, but the cord was wrapped around her neck and there was NO moving her. Planned C-section was literally the only choice. So much so, she had to be delivered early, at 38 weeks.)

    When I became pregnant with my second daughter, I wanted so badly to have the natural birth I had wished for the first time around. I considered a VBAC. I know many women get through them safely. But when it came down to it, I knew in my heart that the real reason I wanted a VBAC was because *I* wanted to experience natural birth. But I had a very deep intuition that a repeat planned C-section was the right choice for *my baby*. I decided I couldn't risk a uterine rupture during the VBAC. (They're relatively unlikely, but still...they're a true risk, often resulting in injury or death to the baby.) I just wasn't willing to pay that price. In my mind, having a repeat C-section in a great hospital with an excellent doctor I trusted was better than attempting a delivery that could potentially end in disaster. I came to understand that birth lasts only a day or two. But putting my child's life on the line was...risking her entire life. I realized I didn't actually need the "natural birth gold star" my ego had wanted, to somehow prove that I was a good mother. So, I had the repeat planned C-section, it went absolutely perfectly, and now I have two healthy, thriving children.

    Do I wish sometimes my first birth could have been different, (non-breech)? Sure. But the circumstances of that first birth were completely out of my control. And honestly, I am now truly at peace with everything as it happened because I have my beautiful children. What more could I want?

    All that to say, I applaud you for staying true to your own heart and doing what YOU think is best, after lots of thoughtful consideration. The decision can't have been an easy one for you to make. (And I agree with your insights about how home birth in the US cannot really be measured by foreign standards when there are so many fundamental differences between the systems.)

    So, I just wanted to chime in to share my story as a way of offering you support and cheering you on. (I am so tired of people judging other women's birth choices! There are so many hard decisions to make along the way and we each have to do what we think is best.) I wish you nothing but happiness. Sending all the best to you and your baby!

    *Disclaimer: Please note that my views are my own personal feelings as they related specifically to my own birth. I know lots of women have wonderful and successful VBACs, so I am not trying to make VBACs seem inherently dangerous or reckless! I don't believe they are. The purpose of my comments are simply to let Rachel know that lots of women deal with very difficult birth choices and I support her in doing what she feels is best for her this time around, even though it's very different from her past choices. (So, just wanted to make it clear that I am not bashing VBACs in general; it just was not the right choice for me, personally.) xoxo

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  54. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. My first was a rushed caesar due they thought to a cord around the neck! All good outcome, and next was a normal, carefully monitored delivery. BUT as I had worked for 16 years in Special Education settings and seen first hand the results of a few minutes of oxygen deprivation did not ever wish for my babies to experience the life long results. Oh I am an Aussie so the hospital situation is different to that in the US. Fingers crossed the renovations are completed in time and that the new bub enjoys a good birth. Sam the Aussie

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  55. I love your crib sheets! We just took down our crib for the last time and I'm wondering what to do with the handmade sheets... but they're flannel and well worn, so I think I'm looking at cleaning rags : P

    As for your birth plan, it's wonderful that we have so much research available to us to make informed choices. My first birth was such a traumatic experience and so far from what I could've anticipated (but wholly medically necessary, absolutely without doubt!), but it made me extremely cautious the second time around and helped me have the best experience I could given my history. And your point about NICUs is a good one - you never think you'll need one till you do. And seeing babies there who were hours away from that care at birth vs. right down the hall is a very poignant reminder of the difference immediate care can make in some circumstances. All that said, I hope your daughter arrives safe and healthy and happy, Rachel : ) And after that, I hope she loves the newly renovated nursery when she moves in!

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  56. The sheets and your sewing room wall color are lovely!

    My thoughts on home birth also underwent a radical transformation after my experience with my youngest child. Since my first 8 births had been quick and uneventful, we decided to try a home birth with #9. (My husband had delivered the previous child who was born one minute after we arrived at the hospital.) However, things went south at about 7 months when my blood pressure began skyrocketing and I developed severe preeclampsia. Thankfully, my midwife transferred me to the excellent back-up doctor. (My concern with midwives is that they often are too cavalier about problems, saying that birth is normal.) Anyhow, Ben was born at 33 weeks, weighing just over 3#. We then learned he had several cord issues, and if he had been born full-term (or at home), things would almost certainly have turned out very differently. He just turned 13, and now you'd never know he had such a rough start.
    That said, I understand how opinions on this vary! My oldest daughter chose to deliver her youngest child at home last summer.

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  57. Without knowing more about your daughter's history than I gather from your current post and without reading previous comments, I want to personally commend you for your very thoughtful remarks about choosing where to deliver this current baby. I have been an NICU RN for over 30 years. I cannot tell you how many parents have told me how, in hindsight, they regret mistakes made in previous children's births OR that, looking back, how fortunate it is that nothing untoward did happen during those deliveries. We all wish for pregnancies and births of happy, healthy, term babies. However, none of us can anticipate everything that can occur, even when one's obstetrical history and current pregnancy give no clue. I hope that this delivery is as non-eventful as any delivery can be, but I can assure you that your decision is one that, looking back, you'll be happy you made. And - even if the surroundings of delivering in easy proximity to an NICU aren't exactly what, in a perfect world, you might want, I also suspect you might be pleasantly surprised by just how comfortable you will feel. All the best, Opie Rosenfeld, RN (Infant Care Center, Children's Hospitals & Clinics, Minneapolis, MN

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  58. I imagine that the internet is a hard place to share a choice like this, and I thank you for sharing with us.

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  59. I love, love, love what Amy Poehler (I know, total childbirth expert, right?!?) said about said about her experience and her friend's in childbirth. She talked about how her friend gave birth at home -- and Amy said, "isn't that amazing? She's awesome. Good for her! But: Not for me." And that's how some things are -- good for you, not for me. I've had my four in hospitals without epidurals because I am more afraid of paralysis (even temporary) and of needles than of pain. My friend Emily has had all her kids with epidurals, and she has these lovely clear memories of her babies being delivered,, and it was so sweet and peaceful and calm. She was laughing as her second was born! And my memories of the deliveries are just wild. WILD. I just remember intensity and focus being overcome and then it's over and, look, there's a baby on my chest. Not the same variety of memories at all, and even though I'd plan to do it the same if I had another baby (although you never know until it's happening), I still envy her those rosy memories of her children's first moments.

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  60. Thanks for sharing! I'm a week away from a scheduled c-section after a previous successful vbac. I keep reminding myself that having children involves personal sacrifice, even sometimes giving up my preferred birth experience in an attempt to do what is safest/healthiest for my baby. =)

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  61. Good luck with the birth, I for one am very glad you are choosing this route. A healthy baby matters. I am eternally grateful for modern medicine, sure it can be impersonal, sure the patient is often forgotten as a person and is seen as a case. I know so many cases where a healthy child is running around because they were born in a hospital where a problem was detected immediately. Also I'm old enough that I don't care about being called judgmental, I have my opinions on many things and I will express them, even if it offends someone. You unfortunately had one of the worst experiences with the birth and then a year of fighting for Elenis' life. I am proud that you are having another baby and that you are going about the birth very differently this time. good for you and your family. God bless and may all go smoothly.

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  62. [[Hi Rachel! I am mostly on IG but I check in with you here from time to time...]]

    Thank you for sharing your invaluable perspective. I've shed so many tears over my first, very-medicated hospital birth. A big part of me felt that I failed my self and my baby, both by risking out of the natural birth center at my hospital's campus and by agreeing to the drugs. Five and a half years later, I see all the ways that my CNM fought for me to have the best, least-traumatic birth possible, and she knew that the way to do that was Pitocin and two epidurals. It's the antagonism between the home birth movement and the CNM/OB crowd, right, that makes me feel a failure--the idea that I could have had a "beautiful birth" rather than the safe, totally-average one I did have.

    I have my second (CNM-assisted, planned hospital, doula-accompanied) birth coming up in a few weeks and I'm really thinking about how to have a better experience. Maybe it's all in changing my attitude. Your perspective makes me think about these choices and variables even more carefully. I am so thankful for your willingness to share. Blessings and peace to your momma-heart as you plan for the safe AND beautiful arrival of your baby.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Laura! I'm glad my writing in some way helps you process your past and think about your upcoming birth. Best of best wishes to you on birth day!!!

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  63. Birth choices are so very personal and options vary so widely. I would have never considered anything but a hospital birth but everything about my pregnancies(4) have been high risk. That doesn't mean I think that one size fits all so to speak - it doesn't. My son (4th pregnancy; others were miscarriages) was born 7 weeks early. He was born in a hospital that only treats women so the care was amazing. That was luck, just as it was simple luck to deliberately change OBs in the early months of a very high risk pregnancy. . After reading your post, I realize that we need to dig and investigate before making such critical decisions. I'm not afraid of doing so with other decisions, why do I somewhat blindly place my trust in a doctor or a hospital. A referral isn't enough. I'll continue to ponder this as my father has been diagnosed with a rare but aggressive skin cancer and lots of new doctors are entering his life. Thank you for posting your story.

    I've read your blog for years but I don't believe I've ever commented. Love your color sense, my heart broke for you when Eleni passed, and I've been joyfully reading your latest posts. Wishing you all the best!

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  64. I have followed your story since inception of Eleni, and always wondered why you chose home birthing. I didn't realize you were 2 hours away from the nearest hospital, which is a huge challenge. I am happy that you have chosen a path for you and your family that is right for you, and you are satisfied with your choice. I am so very happy for you! I am anxiously awaiting the news of this baby, and want to wish you the very best. Your story has touched my heart, and I thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Just want to add, I had 4 c-sections, and I don't even know what a labor pain feels like!

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    2. Oh, no, I am NOT 2 hours away from the nearest hospital. There are many hospitals closer to that, and one just 10 minutes away. I am going to the farther hospital because it is better equipped.

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  65. I'm so happy to hear all of this exciting news in your home! And, wow, weekend workshops for 8! I can't wait to hear more about those. I've had 3 c-sections, so although I would have liked a more natural birth, I'm very appreciative of the medical teams that brought me 3 healthy boys, and I'm glad to hear you have found a plan that you feel good about. I'm excited to see more of your renovations and, of course, the arrival of your sweet little one!

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  66. I have always been extremely paranoid pregnant. I took Bradley classes and wanted the peaceful,intervention free birth experience but was too afraid to birth at home. I chose a hospital birth and an eventual induction. I don't regret it. It wasn't my dream birth, but I got my dream baby and I made informed choices and decisions every step of the way. With my history since, I basically will be required to birth in hospital. But should I fall pregnant again, I have a fab MFM at the ready! I'm glad you are making choices that help you feel comfortable. I want another but am also so. Terrified. I can't imagine your stress so if this team of docs makes you a bit more comfortable, good for you!

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  67. Your birth experience is YOUR birth experience, and not anyone else's. I hope it works the way you desire! And I agree that a healthy baby is the ultimate outcome and should be the top priority when all factors are taken into consideration.

    I love your sheets - especially the Daisy Field. One of my very favorite patterns lately! And being Art Gallery, so baby soft. Excellent choice!

    AND, if you do start hosting workshops in that new sewing room, sign me up! The perfect excuse to travel cross country. :)

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  68. We had complicated births for all three of our children, all born in hospital with medical teams standing by. Your decision is completely understandable Rachel. It's yours to make too - so offer no apologies. I wish you, your baby and whole family God's blessings.

    That is going to be one amazing sewing room. Oh the fun you will have there!

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  69. Wishing you and your family a healthy happy baby girl that brings you lots of joy!

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