Mindful Parenting

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Failure to Progress…according to THEIR clock September 8, 2010

Filed under: Pregnancy and Birth — Lauren @ 10:37 pm

How many birth stories have you heard? Well I have heard dozens, and one story is starting to sound a bit more commonplace then it ought… Does this chain of birth-events sound familiar to you?

1) Typically a first time mother,

2) Labors for a certain amount of hours, ironically predetermined as “too long,”

3) Only to find medical professionals classifying her labor as: “FAILURE TO PROGRESS,”

4) Only to find her labor ending in a c-section. (Often around dinner-time.)

After this series of above mentioned events, a new, and usually rather-disappointed mother, asks herself some seriously reflective questions:

1) Was my doctor right? Was my body really faulty and unable to labor properly?

2) Should my doctor really have been able to make the curtain call on my labor with such ambiguous reasoning?

3) Did I really “fail to progress,” or did I just “fail to progress” according to their progression clock?

As a medical professional, taught to be a critical thinker, I have a few questions of my own:

1) Why has labor been put into such a tight and confined box? And why is labor considered such a textbook event?  (When in actuality every woman’s birth experience varies remarkably…)

2) Do all labors, in all women, for all time, seriously follow the same model?? Do they all have to progress the same way? Are they all characterized by the same things?

3) Why if the baby is not showing any signs of trouble…do long labors have clinicians sitting on the edge of their seat desperate to do something?

4) Can labor actually stop- as this “FAILURE TO PROGRESS” classification suggests? Can a baby really remain in-uterus indefinitely, and never deliver?

5) If labor starts, can it really just stop? Are there any other animal species wherein labor begins, but then stops, leaving an animal pregnant forever, or reckoned dead from an eternal pregnancy?

6) If a labor really can and does “FAIL TO PROGRESS,” and a mother goes against medical advice to have a c-section, can it be implied the mother and baby would just die in a state of labor-limbo?

Labor limbo. Ah, I just coined the term…. An ironic synonym for this “FAILURE TO PROGRESS” phenomenon. Look around at the rest of nature- is there anywhere else you find such static as labor limbo? I’d venture out on a limb, and say, no…..


Tonsillitis Twist July 29, 2010

Filed under: Pregnancy and Birth — Lauren @ 1:19 pm

My body is finally recovering from a bad infection of my tonsils. It was really bad. Now, how does this have anything to do with anything?! Well…let me explain.

Labor pain.

The big thought in everyone’s mind when you mention “labor” is unbearable, lifethreatening, excruciating PAIN….

But when you take a step back and really think about itlabor pain is of a whole other nature than the typical pain humans experience.

My tonsillitis was 6 days of 24/7 aggravating, pinching, stabbing, raw PAIN.  It did not let up, it only got worse.  I couldn’t swallow, talk, eat or drink without extreme pain.  This was not for 12 hours or even 24 hours, it was for 144 hours. It finally ended and there was nothing…no applause…no flood of pleasure hormones…no reward for my endurance…and certainly NO BABY.

Pain is typically a way to get your body to recognize there is a problem. Not so with labor pain.

Labor pain has a character, quality, and purpose unique to itself.

While every single labor has its own blue print, there are some commonalities. A slower beginning with little strength, growing gradually over time producing a stronger sensation. A much appreciated quality of this pain is that not every second is consumed with this feeling, there are breaks between every single contraction. The pain becomes very intense towards the end, almost sending the women into another place all but physically. It ends with pressure, causing the women to allow her body to push towards it, climaxing the entire experience with the last energies left to deliver her baby into the world.

This pain is not an indicator of a physiological problem, impending danger, infection or disease. It is perfectly normal. The uterine muscles are contracting exactly the way they were designed to…to do exactly what the body is supposed to do, get the baby safely out of the body, the exact way it is meant to get out.

Your hard day of work ends in the greatest “reward” EVER. A beautiful, warm, fleshy baby to hold to your chest. Really it is the first day of many days of VERY hard work, how appropriate.

…And I have never heard of a 144 hour labor


Labor and Delivery 101

Filed under: Pregnancy and Birth — Lauren @ 1:11 pm

I was lying in bed the other day and something very profound that I saw in nursing school came back into my memory.  I was doing a semester in the labor and delivery department and I had a really good preceptor. Now that I look back I think that she was gently- yet purposefully- allowing me to see some of the behind the scenes stuff she saw in her profession. 

The first patient I saw was a young, un-married girl who was being induced that morning (she was not over-due). My nurse was telling this patient that the doctor would want to do this…this…and this…and the girl looked hesitant. The nurse bent in and quietly said, “this is your day, when he comes in you just tell him what you don’t want, he can’t make you do anything you are not comfortable with”. The girl smiled nervously. I remember she ended up yielding to what the doctor wanted, as everyone knows “doctor knows best”.  It was so strange to me that she was just plugged into the system, baby out, mama gone. Surely this wasn’t the way it typically was. Maybe because she was young, unmarried and low socio-economic class…yeah maybe that was it..it wasn’t right…but something must explain her experience, or lack of experience. The glamorous labor and delivery world was not going to be knocked off its pedestal in my mind, at least not for another year or so.

The next day I was the student-nurse of a patient who was having her second baby. Her first was a C-section, I never heard why. I assumed that something disastrous must have happened for the birth to require surgery to get the baby out. It was her desire to have a vaginal birth this time, and her doctor was “open” to the notion. I wish that I could remember for sure, but I’m almost certain she was being induced that day. So anyways she was there, laboring towards a vaginal birth. While it seemed like everything was going just fine, the doctor came into her room and said something like “I think that this is just too risky for the baby, I think the best thing we can do at this point is a C-section”. 

*Note on VBAC- vaginal birth after caesarean- There is an increasing number of doctors who won’t even “allow” their patients this option. Repeat C-section is extremely common. For the few docs left who do “let” their patients “try” for a vaginal birth do something called a “trial of labor”.  This is a “chance” that the mother gets to progress quickly enough– and if it doesn’t “work” they will proceed to the C-section.*

The women consented in disappointment, but “doctor knows best” seemed to be her mentality. They prepped her for surgery, cut the uterus and pulled the baby out…happy happy happy…”oh and by the way”, the doctor chimed in, “your uterus was really thin, it’s a good thing you decided on the C-section”. While I didn’t know much, something made me question this assurance. I had seen some other C-sections, and the uterus looked exactly the same…hmmm… So I asked my preceptor if it was really a dangerous situation, if she really did need the C-section, and she said “oh no, it was perfectly fine, he just said that to make her feel better about surgery.”


By the way it was almost 5:00 PM.


Labor and Delivery DECEPTION 101…



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