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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Fears About Childbirth

My sister-in-law recently gave birth to my third nephew in what can be best described as a traumatic birth experience. She didn't have a long labor but my nephew was on the larger end of the spectrum. The delivery ended up involving the use of forceps leaving him bruised and he had trouble maintaining his blood sugar so he ended up in the NICU for several days.

His five days in the NICU wasn't easy but it was serious and required much more effort from my sister-in-law to start a breast-feeding relationship with him than if she had been in the same room for a couple days and then home. This whole situation has really gotten my wife thinking about priorities in the birth experience and what is really important.

3 of our 4 children have been born naturally and I have learned lots about childbirth through that time and feel that I am fairly knowledgeable about the subject. I must say though that my wife seems to have fairly easy and uncomplicated births. My wife has really started thinking about things and her fears with childbirth and what is important. She has told me that she believes the most important thing is to be able to take home a healthy baby. I agree that is more important than have the "birth experience" that you want to have.

Tonight my wife asked me about when she is pushing if I get "freaked out". She told me that she feels out of control and knows that I don't show it but she wondered if I was scared. I can honestly say that I haven't felt scared during the birth of any of my four beautiful daughters. Tonight I started thinking about the season of Advent we are in, it is a season of preparation for, guess what, a birth. That is the season I am in, sometime in the first half of March I am going to attend the birth of my next child.

What am I afraid of? As the father of the child I don't have to fear for myself but I do have things I am afraid of.

I am afraid of having to make a decision about my wife's medical care when she is not capable of doing so. If this was to happen it would be under pressure and I would have very little time to make the decision. That is alot of pressure for and on me. Do I allow a hysterectomy or have them try to save her fertility?

I also don't want to have to be in a place where I have to pick between my wife and my new child. If they are both in need of medical care or decisions I can't be in two places at once. This really scares me, this is my biggest fear, I know that if my wife is okay that I will simply stay with our baby but what if she needs me too?

Those are the things I fear about childbirth, I don't have to worry about finding a place to stay or wondering if their will be room at the inn. No, we know we are going to a hospital and we know which one it is, my fear is making the wrong decision or losing someone in the process, it scares the hell out of me. I know God will offer me the grace to deal with whatever may come my way. I just pray for another safe and uncomplicated birth.

I want to be with my wife supporting her, not making decisions that will impact the rest of our life. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can.

Under the mercy,

Matthew S

Practical Household Tips:3/4 a roll of Toilet paper in a Toilet Bowl

Ok, let's just say you are cleaning up the dishes after breakfast and the following HYPOTHETICAL situation happens:  You are informed by your wife who is getting ready to run errands that your 2 year old has put ALMOST an entire roll of super absorbent Toilet Paper in the toilet bowl and to complicate matters their is an important PILE of work on top of the Toilet Paper.   Your mission, and you have to accept it, is to unclog the toilet with what you have in the house.

First thing that I should point out is that I know the relative capacities of the tank on your toilet to the capacity of the toilet bowl itself.  This isn't very hard to figure out, put the plunger in the bottom of your toilet right now, before it gets clogged.  Ok, so you have your plunger in the bottom of your properly functioning toilet blocking the drain.  Flush your toilet and see how high the water goes up before it stops filling the bowl.  If it should happen to get within about 1/2 inch of the top, break the seal on the plunger and let the water drain.  You should find out that if your toilet has that normal amount of water in it you should be able to flush without overflow.

Ok, now that you have seen and hopefully calculated the "extra" volume space in your toilet you should know about how much leeway you have in toilet flushing when it is clogged.  The biggest thing to remember is that toilet paper disintegrates well when it gets wet.  If you don't know how this works simply take a cup and put a wad of toilet paper in it and then fill it about 2/3rds full with water and poke it with a fork right away, notice the toilet paper is pretty much a solid mass at this point.  Wait about five minutes, add water to return the water level back to about 2/3rds full.  The mass of toilet tissue should be softer each time you repeat this process.  If you start this about the time that you become aware of the problem in the toilet bowl and you keep adding water to both as needed then you should be able to determine when the toilet paper has broken down enough to basically fall apart under agitation.

Now that you know the toilet tissue is soft and disintegrating simply insert the plunger at an angle around the edges of the mass of toilet paper and articulate it like you were scrambling eggs but very slowly and gently so as to not splash and make a mess.  The best place to start is farthest from the drain towards the front of the bowl, break it up in the front working your way down and begin to flush, don't give it a full flush but a slow trickle effect to create some flow towards the drain.  Work your way to the full flush as you get most of the mass of toilet paper broken up and then say good by to the mess.   

Really, not a hard or time consuming process, just something that requires patience, planning and knowledge.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Childbirth and WCSS

My wife suggested that I share with everyone out on the interwebs what it is like to have me around as we approach the birth of our next child.  This is only particularly interesting in that I suffer from WCSS.  Most people have never heard of WCSS but it is a rare psychological disorder, Worst-Case Scenario Syndrome.  Put me in a situation and I can tell you exactly how the world is going to end because of it.  Normally it is easily managed and I won't think of anything worse than territorial destruction in any situation but when it comes to childbirth, LOOK OUT.  My wife will type out about 2-3 pages of a birth plan as the mother-to-be and I will add 14-15 pages of instructions/maps/phone numbers.  So, as we begin to prepare for the beginning of March, I am going to start preparing sections of the birth plan and publishing them online (some of the things will be done out of hilarity and some out of serious want to have the information with me).

Maybe I should be an emergency management consultant?

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S.