Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Me and Asher moments after he finally made his appearance.
Can you see the relief and exhaustion on my face?

Before I even begin this post let me just state for the record that I am NOT currently pregnant, nor are we trying to become so in the near future.

Now that we have that out of the way I can talk about my day today. I went to visit a midwife. For some reason as Asher's first birthday approaches, I find myself thinking more and more about when and how I will have my next baby. A couple weeks ago my friend Danielle and I spent the majority of an hour's phone conversation on the general topic of childbirth, etc. Her baby is now 14 months old and mine is 11 months, so we've both been asked lately when the next one might come along. Every time someone asks me that I think or say, "I have a baby. I don't need another one yet."

And yet... I must confess that I have started to plan for the next one. And I find myself coming around to the idea of having another sooner than I thought I would. Of course, moving to a new state means finding new care providers, and when I happened to hear about this midwife Rebecca, I decided to contact her. For some reason when I heard about her a very strong feeling came over me that she would be the one to help me birth my next baby. She has a lovely little birth suite/office about 15 minutes from my house. Today I got to meet her and tour her facility. We chatted for over an hour, and I just think she is terrific. She has tons of experience. She was a labor and delivery nurse before becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife. She has an impeccable record. And she just has a great vibe. She padded around her office in barefeet and was wonderful with Asher.

With Asher I had a midwife delivery in a hospital. As far as hospital births go, it was about as good as it can get. Per my request I was never offered drugs and had a completely drug free delivery with no complications. You can read my complete birth story here if you like. The midwife who delivered Asher was AMAZING! She stuck with me through three long hours of pushing and was never anything but encouraging.

Unfortunately, most hospitals are not very natural birth friendly. Women often can't move around freely and are pressured into getting epidurals, etc. Most of the time women are rushed through, which often leads to cesareans. I feel strongly that had I had a physician attending my birth, I could very well have ended up with a forceps or vacuum delivery or even a cesarean because I was pushing for so long.

Now that I know I can birth naturally, I really want to have an out of hospital birth. As long as I can go full term (37 weeks) than I plan to birth my next baby either at a birth center or at home. With Rebecca, I can do either. I am currently leaning toward the birth center, but I will definitely consider doing it at home. We live quite close to several hospitals, should a transfer be necessary.

Birth is such an amazing, life altering experience. It is impossible to fully comprehend until you experience it yourself. I really do love the whole process of pregnancy and birth. I love knowing that my body is capable of creating a life.

Is it totally weird that I actually miss being pregnant?

So now I have a question for all you mamas out there.... when and how did you know that it was time to have your first or another baby? Did you plan the spacing of your kids well in advance? Did you just let nature do its thing? Were you surprised to find that your plans changed somewhere in the middle? Once decided, did getting pregnant take longer or shorter than you planned? I know this is an extremely personal topic, but I am just curious as to what that process is like for different people. So I'd love to hear your thoughts if you are willing to share.

EDITED TO ADD: I'm loving all the comments on this! I just want to clarify that although I have chosen drug-free birth with a midwife and will probably birth my next baby out of the hospital, I don't think this is necessarily the right choice for everyone. What I feel most passionate about is CHOICE. We as women and mothers MUST educate ourselves and then make the best choice for US. If that means an epidural in the hospital, great. If that means a waterbirth at home, great. What frustrates me is that so often women don't realize what they are getting into and end up with a bad experience. I am also frustrated that our current system is so skewed towards medical intervention. I LOVE the approach that most of Europe has, as Missy says in the comments. You have a midwife and then IF there are problems you see a doctor. I hate that here we assume the worst will happen. For many women, epidurals work great. And I think that is awesome. I guess I have just always been afraid of them. And afraid that they won't work for me and then I'm stuck not mentally prepared to deal with the intensity of labor. Having a drug free birth doesn't make me a better mother, but it is a really great accomplishment and something that I am proud of. It was hard mentally and physically and I did it. It's good to know we can do hard things.


  1. I am 8 months pregnant with my first and am aiming for a natural birth using hypnobirthing methods. It is interesting living in Europe because the mentality is so different. Everyone is assigned a midwife and the doctor only shows up if there are problems. The philosophy is not to interfere unless it's necessary and while a mother can request an epidural, for the most part the idea is that childbirth goes the smoothest when the body is allowed to take its natural course.
    Anyway, it is weird that you miss being pregnant; I am so ready to sleep on my stomach again I can barely stand it!

  2. MISSY. I am like your copy cat. :oP I am nearly 8 months along and am ALSO planning on a natural birth using the hypnobirthing method. I've heard and read great things about it.

    As for getting pregnant. Mark and I tried for nearly 3 years.. so we were ECSTATIC when we found out. I've never cried, laughed, and shaken so much all at once before. I felt like that was a long time, but I know there are SEVERAL people who wait years longer to have one child or none at all... so I feel so blessed. As for trying for the NEXT child, it's interesting when people ask me what my plans are; because it took so long for us to get pregnant with Mont (haven't announced his name yet on my blog), it may take just as long for our next little one. I plan on doing lots of praying. :o) I think that will help guide us to when we should start looking to make another little Reeder. I'm just excited that we get our one little miracle in just another month or so.

    I loved this post, Katrina! It truly is a miraculous thing! And I'm still a novice!

  3. My little Savanna is nearly one now and Joey is almost 4, so there is 3 years in between. Joey was a difficult baby with some reflux and serious constipation issues, and was sick all the time so it seemed. Before I had Joey, I thought I wanted my babies 2 years apart, but with Joey being so stressful, I decided I would wait until he could talk and tell me what was wrong and could fully understand what I was saying before bringing another baby into the mix. So a month or two after he turned 2, my husband and I felt it was past time to start trying. I got the overwhelming feeling that it is time - now! And so I went off the birth control and I was right - I was pregnant almost immediately!! And then Savanna came into our lives just a month after Joey turned 3.

    Now, Katrina, in regards to a natural birth, I really respect you. Before I had Savanna, I couldn't understand why women would want to go so natural when they don't have to. I had an assisted delivery (induced labor, epidural, monitoring, etc) with Joey with no complications. BUT (long story short) with Savanna, they induced my labor and it put too much stress on her and dropped her heartrate super low (thank goodness for the monitoring there!!) and they had to stop my labor and rouse her. Thankfully they were able to. And they had to re-do my epidural because while I was trying to move around and rouse her, it came out. They successfully re-did the epidural, and she was born vaginally without any more complications. BUT because of the botched epidural (not sure if it was the first or the second) I ended up with the WORST spinal headache from them knicking the spinal fluid core. AND they sent me home with it! I couldn't take care of my baby - I could just lay there and wait for my husband to bring her to me when she was hungry and then take her away again. I could barely eat without getting sick because my head hurt so bad. I finally went to the emergency room when savanna was only 5 days old so they could do a blood patch to repair the leak that was causing the spinal headache.

    (sorry this is so long) Because of the awful time I had with Savanna, honestly I think we're done. While I would NEVER want an assisted delivery EVER again, the thought of a natural delivery scares the begeebers out of me. And honestly I feel now that our family is complete, so if I never do have another, I would probably be fine with it. BUT if I do... I will be calling on you for advice on a natural birth because they are not coming close to me with any of those drugs ever ever again.

  4. Each of our babies has come on their own time. We wanted a baby from the beginning - I got pregnant with T a year later (partly due to miscarriage). I got baby hungry once T was 4 months old, but B didn't come until T was almost 3 (due to another miscarriage and an unusual fertility issue that from which I will spare you details). Since T and B were a chore to get, we decided to start trying with #3 as soon as B was 1. Well, she came with no problem and that is why B and A are only 21 months apart.

    Anyway, after all that, we have learned that our timing is not in our hands and every person (couple and baby) are different. Perhaps, I had some lessons to learn. Perhaps, T needed 3 years before another sibling was born. Nobody elses spacing techniques really apply to others. I say this because I have heard many times that certain spacing works better. I know this probably doesn't give a clear cut answer, but you will know when it is time. Even when it took what seemed forever, once that baby was born it seemed right.

    You are an amazing Mommy and I miss you! Good luck!

  5. I think my last comment was so long that Blogger refused to accept it. :-) Oh well.

    AS far as timing, we've wanted our children about two years apart--we usually talk about it when we feel like it's time for another and then pray for confirmation. We have "tried" for all three, Abigail and #3 took only the first month, Jules took about four. I don't know about the next one--I only had 6 weeks between these last two where I wasn't pregnant or nursing, and I don't know if that's contributed to some of the complications I've been having or not.

    I would really love to have a natural childbirth. I decided to have Abigail with a regular ob/gyn because I figured I might have some of the same issues my mom does--and I ended up hemorraging, so I was glad I'd decided that in some ways--but I also wanted an unmedicated natural labor and I ended up getting to do my Lamaze breathing during the first 12 hours of a hellish induced labor (at 41 weeks) and then having an epidural, 3 bags of Pit, morphine, forceps, an episiotomy, and a level 3 tear. I really felt like the doctor ignored everything I'd told him beforehand and just rushed through as fast as he could.

    I was induced again with Juliet because my doctor was going out of town and they figured I'd have to be induced anyway, given Abigail's birth, and it was a much better experience. They were much more careful with the induction and I felt like this doctor really worked to make the actual delivery of the baby easier on my body--it wasn't such a rush. He also corrected all the poorly healed incisions and tearing from Abigail's birth that had been hurting for the last 2 years, since my first doctor DID NOT EVEN CHECK ME at my 6 week postpartum visit. Seriously.

    With this baby, my doctor has mentioned induction to avoid having the baby in the car (a distinct possibility given the fact that I went from 3 cm to crowning in 2 hours with Jules) and to try to stave off some of the other issues with having a large baby that is post-due. I'm not sure how I feel about this--on the one hand, this pregnancy has been so hard that I just want to be done; on the other, I really would like to actually go into labor on my own and hopefully not need to be medicated. So we'll see. I watched The Business of Being Born last night and that was some interesting food for thought.

  6. it seems i am in the minority here-- i had the most incredible experience giving birth to my son with an epidural. i requested the lowest dose and never upped it so i could feel all the contractions, but they were not super painful. my labor went fast (especially for a first baby), and i only pushed through 3 contractions and then he was here. i got up and walked within an hour of his birth and my recovery went fairly smoothly. if i could re-create that experience over and over i would, that is how much i loved it. i was able to focus on the miracle happening because i wasn't having to use all my concentration to keep the pain from overwhelming me.

    having said that, i have had an overwhelming desire to deliver my next baby without any drugs. i am planning to take a hypnobirthing class at my hospital. my dad is an ob/gyn (not mine), so i have heard too many horror stories of women not being in hospitals and something going wrong, so i will definitely be delivering in a hospital. but if i didn't love my ob/gyn as much as i do i think i would consider using a cnm.

    as far as spacing... i wondered the same thing. i thought i would want to start trying to get pregnant last october so my kids would be two years apart. october came and went and i did not feel ready. i just kept my heart and mind open to the idea that i would know when it was time. i had to trust that i would know when the time was right, but i do remember being a little confused. however, as soon as my next mental deadline came (the summer), my heart and spirit completely felt right. i really did just suddenly feel ready. and (luckily) so did my husband (actually, he was ready a couple of months before i got that final confirmation). i am hoping and praying that we get pregnant as easily this time as we did the first time (which means that i am hoping to be pregnant right now). we'll see though. good luck with whatever you decide.

  7. This is a topic pretty near and dear to my heart. The idea of having a 2nd baby is on my brain all the time. And yet I don't think I'm ready yet to make that leap, like you said, I already have a baby. I loved being pregnant, LOVED it. I initially didn't want kids until we had been married for two years but after 3 months felt the strong urge that we needed to start trying. Got pregnant almost immediately, had two consecutive miscarriages and then after working out some hormonal issues was able to stay pregnant. I delivered my Nub 2 weeks before our 2nd anniversary. Coincidence? I think not.
    I know that Heavenly Father will let me know when it's the right time to start trying again. I have buried some pretty deep fears about starting that process because more than anything I don't ever want to have to experience losing a baby ever again.

    I have a lot of respect for women who choose natural child birth. But for me I could not have had a better doctor/hospital/epidural experience. The entire process was so relaxed and laid back, I loved it. I think a lot of this has to do with the doctor you choose and the hospital you're at. If anything I've learned to be an advocate for myself, especially when it comes to something so important. Don't be afraid to speak up and ask for what you want. I know this is the reason many women like yourself choose midwives. For me I know that I will probably always go to an OBGYN because of my struggles. It's just the right choice for me.

    Part of me wants to wait to have another baby because I enjoyed it so much. And then I think about how having more babies means that part of my life is coming closer and closer to ending (I know, my brain works in such a weird way) and once I'm done all my kids will do is grow up and leave me! Panic Attack!

    But then I'm crazy and realize most people don't think that way.

  8. My hubby and I thought we may never have a baby. When people around you are popping babies like candy, you begin to feel let down and in a way, less of a woman. So after 3 years of trying and finally getting pregnant, we immediately began thinking about "the next one." Is that weird?
    Our baby is currently 7 months old, and I find myself missing pregnancy already. I have never felt so beautiful or feminine, then when I'm pregnant. There is something so beautiful and natural about creating and housing another life within your own body and birthing the child. It's no wonder you instantly fall in love with your child.
    We are currently "not preventing." If we are too get pregnant, then great! We just figure it's up to our bodies, as well and Heavenly Father.

  9. Funny you are thinking about this right now, Katrina, because so am I a lot of the time. But I'm fighting the hunger because there's no way I'm missing my graduation next May after 15 long years of college. I think that our brains are usually the first answer to the question "When should I have another baby?" and I have generally found that God generally gets involved in these issues only if we are getting the answer to the question wrong. Do you want another baby right now? Does your husband? Are the two of you capable of being loving and nurturing parents to another baby at this time in all the important ways? I guess I'm just waiting until I can answer all of these questions in the affirmative and then I'll go forth unless I feel some spiritual direction otherwise.

    I want to remind everyone out there that there is no gold medal or additional reward in heaven for having a natural childbirth.
    Personally, I had a great experience in the hospital, and a beautiful 45 minutes of pushing (often the epidural will actually shorten pushing time for some people since it helps them relax) in which I was able to laugh, chat, and fully enjoy watching my child come into the world thanks to a good epidural. I really agree with Kalli Ko about having to be a real advocate for your own health care, whether you are in a hospital or a birthing center; I made them rethread my epidural three times until I was comfortable, I refused to let them insert a catheter, I got up and walked during and after my delivery, so I was able in most ways to have the exact delivery I wanted. Don't allow yourself to become victimized.

    If you feel more in control and better able to advocate for yourself with a midwife, then by all means, please use a midwife, and if you prefer not to use any drugs, don't use any drugs. But please don't assume that the rest of us who embrace scientific advances in childbirth are wimps or aren't good mothers! I'm afraid some women I know really feel a sense of superiority for undergoing natural childbirth, and that is just plain silly!

  10. Not sure that any of you will come back to read this, but I wanted to comment on your comments anyway. :-) First of all, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it.

    Missy... as I said in my edit, I love how Europe does childbirth. And they have much better mortality rates because of it. I SO wish we would adopt that approach here.

    Jayci... 3 years! Wow. I can only imagine how ecstatic you guys must have been to be pregnant. That deserves another big CONGRATS! I sincerely hope it doesn't take that long for you the next time around. And I'm very excited to see your little Mont. :-)

    Sara Emily... I'm so sorry that you had such a negative experience. Those are the examples that keep me from having a medicated birth. There are so many other women who have similar stories. I just want you to know that should you decide to have another child, you CAN do it natural. Your body can do it. It is more a mental game than a physical one, at least for me. I would consider looking into Hypnobabies-- it deals with fears from previous births and helps you deal with it so that you can have a good experience the next time around.

    Emily... such wise words. We really don't have that much control over all this. Even the best laid plans can totally change. Hope your current pregnancy is going well! Miss you!

    Rachael... I actually watched Business of Being Born again the other night. It's a good film. Ricki Lake also recently wrote a book about birth too. And shes making another film. I hope that you get a better experience this time around. If you do really want to go natural, you have to really make that known when you get to the hospital. Otherwise, they will offer you drugs and it will hard to refuse. I obviously feel strongly that it is best to let your body go into labor on its own. That way you know your baby is really ready. Inductions just often lead to many other interventions. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  11. (I had to break this up into two comments for blogger to accept it)

    Liz... sounds like you had an ideal epidural birth. If I knew I could have that experience, I'd be mighty tempted! but there is something truly incredible about doing it natural. You definitely need to prepare though. I did the Hypnobabies program which I loved.

    On the spacing issue, I feel I am dealing with the opposite experience. Before Asher was born, I thought I wanted my children to all be 3 years apart. I wanted to let them be babies for awhile and just enjoy them before bringing another one into the family. As the months have gone by though I've found myself wanting another one sooner. Until just a few days ago, we had pretty much decided that we would start trying for another in Jan or Feb. But now I'm wondering if even that is too far away. I know I'm not ready for another baby RIGHT NOW, but it does take awhile before the baby is actually here. We need to do some serious praying and fasting (well Jared will have to fast for both of us).

    Kalli... miscarriages must be so so difficult. I can totally understand why you would fear starting the process again. I pray you won't have to go through that again. It sounds like you had the right approach to the hospital, epidural birth. They definitely can be great and you know how to be an advocate for yourself.

    I don't think you are crazy for not wanting the baby stage over quickly. I totally know what you mean. i'm kinda thinking that I might have another one closer in age to Asher and then wait a few years and have two more. That way I can spread out the baby love a bit, but the kids will still have a sibling close in age to them.

    Felecia... I feel the same way about pregnancy. It's so beautiful. I really hope you get pregnant easier next time around and of course it will happen at the right time. Your baby is darling by the way!

    Ariel... Oh man, you most definitely do not want to miss that graduation! Very good questions to ask oneself when considering having another child.

    I'm glad you such a great experience birthing Charlotte. You went in knowing how to get want you wanted and spoke up for yourself. I just think its a shame that our system is skewed the way it is. Women trust their doctors and then often end up with poor outcomes.

    And I certainly do not think you are a wimp! Hope the dissertation is coming along w

  12. hmm...well I was waiting till I had a minute to really read this Katrina...so here I am. I guess maybe you are all done with this post, and I feel like I don't have much to add. I totally get both sides of the hospital/epidural vs. midwife/homebirth or whatever combination of those things people feel right about. I guess I would just echo your sentiment that being informed and in charge of your experience is the most important thing. I feel like another important thing is just being willing to roll with changes. I also had a great experience with delivering in the hospital with an epidural after being induced due to Preeclampsia. It wasn't my ideal scenario but it turned out great. Everything was smooth, and I was up and walking around an hour later and felt energetic and great. But I wanted to get home ASAP I only stayed in the hospital for 24 hours, and felt so much more comfortable at home. For me the recovery and my stitches was much more difficult than the actual delivery. I am super tempted to go the CNM route next time though as I am kind of curious about how a slower more natural childbirth experience might help me not tear so badly. We'll see. I noticed you said she would deliver you at home or at the center...I didn't know that was possible for a CNM. Anyway, I used to work with a CNM in the NICU and I put total and absolute faith in them. Anyway...I guess I could go on and on here.

    About when to have a next baby...I don't know. I am starting to feel like its time. We'll see. I have all these weird feelings of guilt though that I am not letting Avery be a baby long enough and that I know I will not be a great mom when I have my head in the toilet for a good 5 months solid. Plus I guess I would have to wean her. We'll see. I guess I just feel lucky that I get to choose when (hopefully...and if things are as smooth as last time in the "when" department).

  13. Danielle, Oh, I'm glad you commented! I think you'd really like using a CNM. If you are in a hospital you can still get an epidural, etc, but the philosophy of a midwife is SO different from most doctors. They just approach it differently. To them it is a normal, natural thing.... to most doctors it is a medical procedure.

    Oh, and you wouldn't necessarily have to wean Avery. Lots of people nurse through a pregnancy.

  14. Hey Katrina!

    Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this post and all of the comments! It's so interesting to read everyone's experiences. They are all so individual. The human body is so divinely created & just plain amazing!

    I just love your blog!

    Hope all is well!!


  15. Katrina, I think it is fabulous that you delivered Asher naturally and it is fabulous that you want an out-of-hospital birth for the next one. I loved giving birth at the birth center, and I'm positive that if I had been at the hospital I would have had a c-section. They never would have let me go 47 hours, especially with a posterior baby, but there was no reason why I couldn't deliver naturally under these conditions -- obviously, since I did it!

    I might do a home birth next time except for the fact that I hate my house! It stresses me out. So I will go the birth center again if we're still in Chapel Hill area and still in our tiny ugly townhouse.

    I agree that it is everyone's personal choice, and I absolutely don't look down on anyone who chooses a more medical birth. Seriously. But I find it sad that so many women think they can't do it naturally, when they really can -- they just choose not to, which is fine, but they should know they most likely *can* do it. And I find it sad that so many Americans think our system is more scientifically advanced when in reality, the medical interventions give the US one of the worst infant and maternal fatality rates in the developed world. Again, it's totally fine to choose an OB, hospital, epidural, etc, but this should be an informed choice.

    As for spacing... I'm also leaning toward closer spacing than I originally thought I would want. I have mixed feelings about this. I think siblings close in age is really fun when they're older, since they can all be adults in relatively the same stage of life together. But closeness in age is hard when they're babies, obviously because of the work involved, but also because you don't want to feel like you're not giving the older ones enough attention and not fully enjoying their babyhood and miraculous developments. I get sad about Asha growing up all the time and wish I could memorize every moment. So I don't know what we'll do yet... But I kind of miss being pregnant too!

  16. I love that picture, Katrina. Motherhood... birthing, it changes you forever. I think we're done having babies, but there is something so sacred about the moment you first meet your child. Seeing that picture of you just gives me goosebumps... I've been there, too.

  17. You know its something I still think about every day and I still haven't come to a good conclusion. I see the benefits of having two kids close in age but I worry about stealing some of Fussbot's babyhood from him and missing out on the joy of just being with him alone. But at the same time I feel like I want another one so much that I loose all ability to reason and think about "the big picture." At some point I think you just have to take that leap and say "let's try now" and enjoy what happens from there.