Friday, June 09, 2006

Laid Back Ladies, Chilled out Chicks, Moderate Mamas

One of the things that has been on my mind since having Noah is, in such an overly cautions, fear inducing parenting age we live in, where could I find moderate Moms like myself? It seems that so many parents that you meet at the park or at play group or in the grocery store totally buy into what I like to call "twenty first century parenting". It's restrictive, it's by the book, it's competitive.

I'm from the camp that being a kid means eating a few oreos with milk, not outlawing them. I said a few Oreos ok, not ten. Same kind of thing with having an ice cream cone on a hot summer's day. I'm also not afraid to say Noah was formula fed for the most part because at the time it's what worked out best for both of our situations. He's been sick only ONCE, a tiny cold, in 19 months and just like our five intelligent formula feed pediatricians, Noah is just as smart minded as his peers. I don't shun TV, I like Sesame Street, Sagwa the Chinese Cat and a host of others on Sprout. We don't watch television all day, it's always age appropriate toddler programing and we make sure to get active and run around outside a lot. I think this type of moderation is just fine. For a while I was very into a particular "Sleep Method" book. It said that kids Noah's age should be in bed by 7:00, 7:30. It said that if you put them down early, like at 7:00 for example, they would sleep longer and that if you put them down later, they would get up earlier in the morning, not as well rested. I follow what the pediatrician author said for a while and things were ok, just ok. Then you know what? I said "forget you, you annoying sleep book!" I realized that Noah is not a generalization of an 18 month old, that he is a unique person and that he, God forbid, was not personally tired and ready for bed by 7:30 most nights. So now he stays up until 8:00 or so and guess what!? He's fine! He even sleeps longer total at night, the exact opposite of what the book said he would do!
I don't hover, I let Noah run, climb, explore away from me sometimes. I protect him, but I am far from over protective. I think kids learn from experiencing, from trial and error. Ok, taste the sand or the chalk, I bet you won't want to taste it again!

Today Noah and I hung out with two particularly laid back ladies, chilled out chicks, moderate Mamas. They're my friends Andrea and Erica. Both these Moms seem to stand about where I do in the way we parent. I never feel like I'm being judged by them. They are just very accepting, very relaxed. I really love and value all of my Mom friends, "twenty first century" friends especially, who teach me a good thing or two about being a parent. I am so lucky to be surrounded by a great group of women who all have different takes on raising our kids. They say Variety is the spice of life and it's also just nice to know which spice jar you fit in!

On a side note that is kind of related, I feel like my labor with Noah kind of gave me a peek into this whole "twenty first century parenting" thing from both sides of the coin. I had been told while pregnant, from a woman in the pregnancy isle at the bookstore, that natural birth, that is, with out pain meds. is much better, much safer. I freaked out and read all that I could. Studies had proven that not having an epidural was better for the baby, better for the mother and lessened your chances of having c-section. So, Jon and I decided to go for a natural birth. We switched to new doctors that were more open to alternatives and that also had midwives in their practice. We chose a new hospital with an alternative birth center where you could labor, not have the baby, but labor in a Jacuzzi for pain relief instead of an epidural. And to cap it off, we took Bradley Method classes which were against pain meds of any kind and taught you to relax and breath instead.

In the end, I had in my opinion a very classic, terrible labor. Twenty Two hours of back labor (that's where there is no rest between contractions, only searing pain on your spine), no medication, stuck in transition (the most intense time when you have contraction after contraction, it lasts for most just 30 minutes) mine for six hours, Noah wouldn't descend so I had pitocin which made his heart rate crash. I was rushed in for an emergency c-section but the epidural that they put in finally was put in wrong, so they had to rip it out and give me a second. Which by the way was also put in wrong because as I was strapped to the operating table I heard a crazy metallic noise in my ears and got dizzy because the epidural was put into my blood stream and not my spinal cord. So in thirty seconds I was knocked out cold with general. I never saw Noah being born, never heard his first cries. I wasn't part of my husband meeting his son for the first time, I can't remember us being all being a family that first day, I only have the photos. I woke up on morphine and only half woke up it seems as I can't remember the first day and a half of Noah's life.

Soooooooooo.....the point I would like to make is, that I bought into all of that "natural labor" is the best hype and look where it got me! Sure, I know, it could have turned out the very same way WITH drugs, but you don't know. That's the thing, you never know. There is no right way to do things. From now on, I will trust my instinct. You know what, hour 18 of labor, I really wanted an epidural but I was afraid to use drugs. Maybe if I would have allowed myself to get one, I would have had a more competent anthesiologist put in my epidural, maybe it would have worked. Maybe if still had needed a c-section, at least I would have been awake to see Noah being born, meeting Jon. There are too many "what-ifs" and frankly, I don't think about them anymore. I never want to go through labor again, but I try not to think about that day 18 months ago. I can turn right around and say, but gosh! You know, floating in the water was really helpful and almost as pain relieving as the epidural and it was cool to see that if I relaxed and concentrated I was able to get through labor. I was proud! Drugs, no drugs, drugs, no drugs. I could go back and forth forever.

You really never know how things will turn out, you just have your instinct to follow when it comes to life. All I know for sure is that it's ok to do what my gut tells me when it comes to being a parent and today it said "Noah can have that Quaker Oatmeal Chocolate chip granola bar with his lunch" and "even though it's 8:00, we can stay five more minutes at the park tonight". Because guess what? Everyone's doing just fine.


Judy said...

Theories always sound better than the way things REALLY are.

Both my boys were c-section babies. Travis wasn't planned that way, but when they finally got him out via the knife and had to rush him off to NICU because of the gash on his head from my pelvic bone (can you say HUGE HEAD???), I knew there was a reason God made c-sections. Tyler was a planned c-section from month 3 on. I just wasn't going to go through all that again. And you know what? That is perfectly alright. Sure, I missed the whole "baby on your chest/cut the cord" moment, but really, in the general scheme of things, it really didn't matter. Look what I have NOW. That is what is important to me.

As for being laid back...I vascillate. I am a schedule gal. Always have been - it is my personality. Travis is, too, and it isn't because I brainwashed him that way. He just thrives on a schedule. Tyler however, is our fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kid. And I love it. He sleeps in the stroller (okay, he fell asleep three times in the stroller, and twice was with the nursery workers at church - not even my doing!), he'll go to bed at 7:45 or at 9 and do just fine with his sleeping. The kid is flexible, which is great since I tend to usually not be.

I wholeheartedly agree with you on the experiencing life. Tyler has eaten sand, drank pool water and lake water, tried to kiss a frog (ew), and my mother-in-law almost lost it when she saw him pick up a days-old fruit loop off of the back porch and eat it. I'm not sure if she was more upset that it was a (gasp) fruit loop or that he picked it up off the ground, but hey - I figure he's just building his little immune system!

Ugh - it is late - almost midnight - and I'm rambling! I'm off to bed!

Laura said...

Gee Lauren, I didn't know that your labor was so hard. Did you at least have a good experience with the new hospital and practice? I hope so, since I was the one ranting and raving about how wonderful it was, for me. Your experience just goes to show that hardly anything goes as planned. I am planning another "natural" birth with this baby, but we'll see. I will post more about that on my blog.
By the way, the cruel labor was worth it, right? Just look at that precious little boy!

meagan said...

hey man, i had several hours of transition, too. shitty shitty shitty.

even with an epidural.