Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Birth Story is In a Book!!!

Chapter 14: Jennifer and Michael (Alison and Greg)
~ How much longer can this go on? ~

Excerpt: Jennifer did not sleep that night (second night of labour), only able to nap between contractions. The contractions were very painful now, a minute to a minute-and-a-half long, and too difficult to talk through. Tuesday morning her contractions picked up as she became more active, like walking up and down the stairs. Her midwife explained to her that the general rule for physicians is to induce labour if the baby is not born within twenty-four hours after the amniotic membranes have ruptured (my water broke on the Monday evening), but studies had shown that there was only a slight risk of infection, even if the baby arrived three (or four) days after.

(Riiiiiight...I should have listened to my mother. Baby arrived via c-section on Thursday evening after induction and an heroic attempt at a vaginal delivery. Medical report after the c-section indicated that baby's head was transverse - top of the head lying horizontally across the cervix - and stuck. A surgical "T" type incision was required to remove the baby from the birth canal. Usually, only a horizontal (top of the T )incision of the uterus is required.)

Postscript - In the end, Jennifer was disappointed with her labour and delivery experience, not so much with the surgery, but by the prenatal care late in her pregnancy. She blamed her midwife for not having realized that her baby was in a transverse position, making a vaginal delivery impossible. She felt let down by her midwife and wanted to use an obstetrician for a second child. This reaction was not surprising after enduring labour for so many days, only to find that the baby could not have been delivered on her own anyway. I don't know if this could have been avoided, if anyone could have known, or expected that the baby was not in a good position. If the baby's position could have been determined before or during labour, then both the obstetrician and the midwife missed it. Yes, the baby's head was down, buy she was lying horizontally across Jennifer's cervix.

There is no denying that Jennifer had had an unusually rough delivery, but the odds are slight that her next child would be in the same position in her uterus during labour. The actual problem seems to be that the midwife, who was in charge until she handed off the delivery to the obstetrician, waited too long before checking out why Jennifer's labour had not progressed.

(After reading the surgeon's report and a description of the T cut involved, I determined that my risk of a uterine rupture during a subsequent attempted vaginal delivery was too great and I opted to have a scheduled c-section with an obstetrician for my son's birth. I also felt that I'd endured enough of labour to last me the rest of my life and wanted to avoid experiencing it again, if possible)


I am so pleased with Karin's retelling of my pregnancy and birth experience in her book. I had forgotten so many things about it! Some minor details are slightly inaccurate but she did a wonderful job!

Gillian is highly amused by the name changes, including her own to Taylor!

Read the whole story, and many others like it, in Karin Banerd's amazing book:

Inspiring Births with a Midwife by Karin Banerd

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Just Dance!

My daughter received the new Just Dance 2014 video game from my brother for Christmas. I anticipated that she would love it (she does!). I did not anticipate that her brother, Graham, would get as much out of it as she does, or that I would adopt it as an ideal indoor workout in the midst of the coldest/messiest winter we've had in years.

I'm still going to aquafit, but now I also have something to keep me moving in my own basement. If you've never tried any of the Just Dance games, they really are a fun way to get grooving!

With bright graphics and easy-to-learn dance moves, this game is a winner. Popular and classic songs are available with range of danceability (easy, medium, hard) for any participant.

I was more than impressed with my six year-old son's ability to really pick up the moves! He is quite the little mover. And my daughter, who is in her second year of hip-hop dance classes, amazes me as always.

As for myself, because I'm incredibly uncoordinated and have some slightly compromised abilities, it helps that as long as you move the hand holding the motion wand properly, you can get a pretty high score, even if you're not attempting the fancy footwork!

~ Alison

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Am Reading

Dexter and Duke (her adopted daughter and son) have changed my life. People say they're lucky to have me. I don't know about that. That's not the real story. The real story is, I'm the lucky one. They've saved me, and I know what from: myself.

~ Then Again - Diane Keaton (autobiography)

I took this out of the library on Sunday afternoon because it looked interesting. I've always liked Diane Keaton. Her performance in Mrs. Soffel with Mel Gibson will always haunt me. She's always seemed to me to be so very relatable and down to earth, like she's not even convinced that she's a movie star.

Anyway, that night my husband and I cuddled up in our newly organized basement den to watch The Golden Globe awards after the kids had gone to bed. Diane Keaton accepted a prestigious award for her friend, Woody Allen, and I flinched inwardly.

The next day, on Facebook, some of my friends indicated their disgust for Woody Allen and disbelief that he would have been given such an award, and that Diane Keaton could still possibly be friends with the man.

I have to say I agreed. The fact that Woody Allen seduced and married his nineteen year-old Korean stepdaughter, thereby destroying the bonds of his family with Mia Farrow, is something I cannot forget. He is also alleged to have abused another adopted daughter, seven years of age at the time.

So I was kind of interested to read this autobiography and see what impression Woody Allen had on Diane Keaton, and why they remain friends.

It turns out that Diane, twenty-three when she and the older Woody Allen 'dated', was in the midst of a secret five-year bout with bullimia. She admits, in one section, that Allen was always attracted to insecure women. She eventually conquered her illness and her romantic relationship with Woody Allen came to an end.

I can pass off her acceptance of the award on his behalf as a kind of misguided loyalty to a man who essentially launched her career and remained loyal to her.

The autobiography itself is entertaining and thoughtful. Diane interweaves a biography of her mother's life with her own, and the result is powerful.

Her mother, a young homemaker who abandoned her own dreams for marriage and to raise three children, eventually led a dissatisfied, isolated and introspective life before succumbing to Alzheimer's Disease.

The telling of Diane's own story, interspersed with excerpts from her mother's many journals, are fascinating and reveal a bond between mother and daughter that exceeds biology. Diane wonders what motivated herself to avoid marriage and eventually decide to raise two children on her own, and what motivated her mother to sacrifice her ambitions for her family? Was it just the times they lived in, or an intrinsic nature to discount one's own true value?

Throughout this memoir it becomes obvious that Diane's own inner demons of insecurity, self-doubt and body issues reflect those of her mother. However, coming to parenthood later in her life, and having achieved her own dreams beforehand, Diane is embracing and loving motherhood and the way it gives us something positive to focus on instead of spiralling down an endless chasm of narcissism and obsession.

~ Alison