Category Archives: pregnancy

8 Reasons I Support Breastfeeding in Public Without Qualifications

Love this picture.

I’m not writing much these days, and I’d apologize, but I feel like I do better with the things I actually have to say than if I were just trying to crank something out once a day or once a week that my heart wasn’t into. This topic has come up several times in the last few days, and I’m so sick of the crap I hear about this from the naysayers. “It’s about respecting the people around you.” “Have some common courtesy for other people.” “I shouldn’t have to see THAT.” “Modesty is key.” And the rhetoric used to describe breastfeeding: “whip ’em out,” “bare it all,” “flash everyone.”

I’ve tried. I cannot whip anything with my breasts. They just don’t do that.

I used to feel like breastfeeding was private. I used to think it needed to be done behind a closed door or under a blanket and that accidentally showing nipple was a social faux pas of epic proportions. I don’t feel that way anymore. Here is a list of the reasons why:

8. Breastfeeding can be hard. It isn’t always hard, but it really can be. It can be painful. It can be difficult. It can involve sleepless nights, hours of discussions with lactation consultants, doctors visits and even surgery to make it work. And even if it doesn’t involve all of those things, it can be hard. There is no reason to make it harder. If a mama has fought the battle and is making it work, you are not entitled to tell her she is doing it wrong. If you can’t seem to keep the criticism to yourself, go be somewhere else where she is not.

7. I’ve had children. I had one who was fine with a cover, who took bottles of pumped breastmilk and who slept through the night at 4 months. Then I had 3 more who wouldn’t. Not all children are the same. Just because I managed to birth one child who was willing to bend to other people’s expectations, doesn’t mean that all of mine will, nor does it mean that all of everyone’s will. Even if you had 20 kids who you managed to press into that mold, that’s still a very small sample. If you can make several thousand kids do it, then come talk to me about your secret. Even still though, several thousand other kids doesn’t make it the right choice for MY kid.

6. I can’t stay home or feed the baby before going out every time. To avoid offending your delicate eyes that have never seen human mammary tissue before? Sorry, no. I have a family to feed and children who have to get to activities. I’m responsible for the bills in my home. I don’t have all day to not go out. And even if I didn’t have all of those things to take care of, why should I have to stay home, just because I’m a lactating woman? Seriously? Is this some sort of lactation chhaupadi? And as far as feeding the baby before I go out, babies are notorious for wanting to be fed when they want to be fed, even if they were just fed, even if they shouldn’t be hungry again so soon, even if you went to your witch doctor to get an amulet that ensures your child is never hungry when you are out in public. Your amulet will fail. The baby’s gotta eat.

5. Not all babies can figure out how to take a bottle. You know how not all babies can figure out how to properly latch on? Same problem but on a different nipple. They might get angry, feel like they’re drowning or it might simply be not as comforting as suckling, so they may never take a bottle. They may get uncomfortable gas. They might just scream at you because they get so frustrated and hungry. I’ve had 3 such. If it were a necessity because I was no longer around, they might have eventually gotten it, but for me, a work-at-home mom, to pump just so I could bring bottles with me when I go out in public, so that other people could be comfortable? When all I have to do is lift up my shirt? How does that make any sense at all? My conclusion is that it doesn’t. Baby’s right to eat comfortably and mom’s right to convenience at home and in public trump anyone else’s right not to see a nipple flash from time to time, directly correlated with breastfeeding. Being a mom is hard enough. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t place ridiculous cultural conditions on it that make it even harder.

4. In the same vein and for all the same reasons as pumping and bringing a bottle, using a cover. No. There is no reason to tell moms they have to use a cover. If they are more comfortable using one, that’s fine, but not all moms are, not all babies will eat with a cover over them and no one should be pressing more or other ridiculous cultural expectations on a mom. Being a mom is hard enough.

3. The top 4 reasons why women stop breastfeeding all stem from a lack of support. This speaks specifically about the top four reasons moms stop breastfeeding. #3 is discomfort nursing in public. I’ve said twice now, in a comment and in an email, that while we can’t be everyone’s lactation consultant, pediatrician or employer, we can all be supportive of moms who nurse in public. Say something nice, or say nothing at all. If you can’t be kind, look or walk away. You have options about dealing with the situation. The nursing mom, really, does not. She’s just trying to deal with a hungry, tired or otherwise upset kid.

2. Infant nutrition is the single most important public health issue. Period. It directly affects nearly every other issue. The way babies are fed as infants directly impacts them as children and adults. Rates of asthma, allergies, ear infections, obesity and general health are all directly impacted by the way children are fed as infants, not to mention how it helps with cancer rates for mothers and children. Babies deserve a start at life that is, at the very least, the way nature intended. Formula is sub-par, a last resort, and usually what mothers switch to because they don’t have the support they need to keep breastfeeding to their own goals, or the goals that public health agencies have set. The AAP says 6 months at the least, but much better a year. The WHO says 2 years. The CDC says some 77% of infants are breastfed at birth, but the rate decreases to less than 50% at 6 months and only slightly better than 25% at a year. Every drop of breastmilk is precious. If we’re serious about addressing public health in this country, we need to be serious about addressing public health. That means supporting moms who are nursing. They are the ones who are ensuring the next generation has lower instances of chronic and short-term illness. They are also the ones who will be less likely to need help with health care bills addressing women’s cancers and osteoporosis in the next 30+ years. Show some respect. They are decreasing your health care tax burden coming and going.

1. I don’t care anymore. Baby’s gotta eat. I shouldn’t hide that. Our culture shames women who don’t behave “appropriately.” If it’s not slut shaming, it’s mother shaming. Eva and Ave. We don’t mind breasts that are provocatively tucked into bras or bikini tops, or extensive cleavage in a shirt, but we mind breasts that are feeding an infant? Why the double standard? Viewing breasts as exclusively sexual is a cultural phenomenon, and it’s one that we can easily take charge of and change. If you see a nursing mother being harassed, stand up for her. Thank nursing mothers for nursing in public and helping normalize it. They are engaged in a cultural revolution, simply while sticking a nipple in a kid’s mouth. Above all, if you can’t say something positive, keep your mouth shut and walk away. Even on the internet. It’s not ok to reduce a woman to her breasts for any reason, even if she’s lactating. The baby’s gotta eat and being a parent is hard enough without being shamed. With it, it is well nigh impossible. Is it any wonder the rates of post partum depression we experience in our culture? 1 in 7 mothers.

We can and we must do better for this generation of nursing moms and for the next.

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Slut Shaming and Mother Shaming: Be Who I Want or Else

Two feminist posts in rapid succession? Well, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and into a land of madness!

Enh. It’s my blog. You get to hear about whatever is rattling around in my head and recognizing and rebelling against the patriarchy has been rattling around for awhile now.

Especially regarding parenting choices.

Just a few of the nonsense things the patriarchy says about being a good mom:

-You should breastfeed but only following my personal comfort levels.
-If you formula feed, you should only do it under the circumstances that I dictate.
-Research vaccinations
-but don’t choose not to vaccinate after your research.
-Always respond when your baby cries,
-but don’t let him manipulate you.
-Make sure your kids don’t eat junk food
-but don’t deprive them.
-If your kids have chronic health issues or allergies, it’s your fault.
-If your kids as exceptionally healthy or strong, you got lucky.
-Never spank unless your kids are doing something in the category of things I say.
-Homeschooling is only a good choice if I say so,
-but the quality of public schools is such that no kid belongs there.
-C-sections are only appropriate under the circumstances I say.
-If you want a natural birth, you are crazy.
-Think for yourself and follow your instincts,
-but only if they lead you to follow the herd and not go astray.

Be different, but not too different. Follow your instincts, but only if they go the way I believe they should. You know your child better than anyone, except this list of professionals who think you are being too soft. Be yourself, go against the grain and stand out, but not too much.

The mommy wars are another face of the patriarchy gone amok. Women participate in it too. They gain a certain amount of power by putting down other women’s choices and so perpetuates this idea that there is one ideal way of parenting and only the cream of the crop can manage it well. Here is the essence of the mommy wars. Daddies sometimes get sucked in too, usually for making choices that are perceived to be feminine.

Basically, what it boils down to is this is another way to slut shame, only instead of it being about how a woman is dressed or her perceived approach to her sexuality, it’s about how she parents. And the only time men are subject to the same degree of scrutiny and subsequent shaming is if they parent (or dress) in a way that our culture deems feminine, rather than masculine.

The other day, a friend commented that one of the worst insults you can throw at a man is to call him in some way feminine. That’s not only true of men either. Even for women, being feminine is considered being subpar, even subhuman. It gets equated with weakness, while masculinity is equated with strength. “If you like pink and purple, that makes you girly. If you paint your nails, that makes you girly. You throw like a girl. You parent like a girl.” Yeah, I do. I parent like a girl. That would be because I am a girl. It doesn’t make me weaker and it doesn’t make my choices any less valid. It doesn’t make me less the disciplinarian and it doesn’t mean I’m a pushover or that my kids walk all over me. There is no shame in “parenting like a girl.” There is nothing degrading about being a woman.

I’m also not inherently stupider or less able to appropriately gauge choices and consequences because I’m a woman. I also don’t have to care about the comfort of the people around me regarding my choices. My kids’ father is the only other person entitled to an opinion.

Passing along research and information is good. We like research and information. We don’t like being shamed back toward the herd when it is perceived that we have strayed too far. Mothers don’t need to justify child-rearing choices any more than fathers do. If a woman finds herself in a family court, just as a man would, she will need to justify her choices, but short of that, she’s doing just fine.

We need to drop the shame tactics. We need to drop the emotional appeals. We need to stop acting as though a woman is less qualified than a man to determine how she should parent. Unless we would tell a man who is not related to us the same thing, we really shouldn’t say it to a woman.

Freedom of choice is not an indulgence. It is a right to which women are well-qualified. More often than not, they know what is best for their kids. Short of them asking for advice, let’s trust them to know what they are doing.

Becoming a Birth Junkie Made Me a Feminist

The experience I had birthing my oldest child was very empowering, and it made me into a birth junkie. Women need to be empowered. I felt like a superhero and I wanted all of my soon-to-be-mom friends to feel the same. Some of them did, and some less so.

Once I became a birth junkie, I could not get enough birth stories. I read them wherever I could find them. Natural birth stories were my favorites, but I read anything I could get onto my screen. I discovered that there is a massive problem with women being disrespected while they birth their babies. Ignored, marginalized, disrespected, threatened and even raped. What. The. Hell. We’re into the 21st century. Rape is a crime. Birth rape is a thing. Not only is it a thing, but an extremely prevalent thing. And it’s protected. How is it possible that our culture understands that no means no, unless a woman is trying to push a bowling ball through her pelvis? A few months ago, a friend of mine screamed for the medical personnel to take their hands off of her while she birthed her baby and she was ignored. She was assaulted and because the people involved were wearing scrubs, very few people take her story seriously.

I started reading My OB Said What. Not only are women treated badly in childbirth, but it’s common enough to be seen as routine. A lot of women will tell you that “that’s just what birth is like.” No, no it’s not. And it shouldn’t be. They want validation that everyone experiences trauma during the births of children and that all women are treated badly in the labor room. They don’t want to know that what they endured was probably unnecessary trauma and they were likely abused. Sometimes emergencies arise in childbirth, but never is it acceptable for a laboring mom to walk away from her baby’s birth with PTSD. But it happens all the time and our culture condones it.

Our culture condones abusing women when they are in the most vulnerable position they will ever be in. Childbirth is the last place where women are told to lie back and take whatever comes to them. Women are routinely punished during the birth of their children for having sex, for getting pregnant and they are treated as though they deserve whatever they have coming to them. The menu often includes getting bullied, harassed, digitally raped, given medication without consent and getting cut without consent. It doesn’t always happen, but it happens enough to be noteworthy. The medical patriarchy is shocking and horrifying.

I was raised that women and men were equal in the eyes of the God and under the law. I owe second wave and first wave feminists for that. After all of that, before my son was born, I asked if feminism was still necessary. I can see that it is.

Women deserve not to be undermined. They deserve to choose where and with whom they birth their babies. They deserve to be treated with respect and compassion while they are laboring, whether they want a natural birth, a medicated one or a cesarean section. No one needs to bully a laboring mom if an emergency arises. You can deal effectively and efficiently with an emergency while treating the mother with compassion. There is no excuse for anything less than that.

I am a feminist because women should not be robbed of confidence in their bodies or in their abilities as mothers. We have come far in achieving respect and autonomy for women, but we still have far to go.

For Your Consideration

I was pondering this morning on how everything follows the rules to which it was constructed. All animals act on instinct and never deviate from it. All inanimate objects behave in the way they are constructed, always. The only animals that don’t behave that way are humans. We can choose to act as we are designed or we can choose to act differently. We are built on a genetic template and we are further refined by the actions our parents choose, but we also have the option to break those molds and move forward in a way that we choose, independent of either of those things.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided on an unmedicated birth, mostly because my mom had had me that way. I felt like I would breastfeed for about a year because that was how long she nursed me. After a lot of research, I have actively chosen to birth my babies without medication and to nurse them as long as we are both comfortable, rather than putting a glass ceiling on at a year, but that was long after my son was born. I parented him based on my instincts, which came straight out of how I was raised. Our child-rearing choices can have far-reaching consequences for many generations because so many people do as their parents did without question. Makes me think much more carefully about the kind of parent I want to be.

Milkscreen, No Fooling: Shame on You

I don’t usually write this much about breastfeeding, but this last few weeks have just been like that.milkscreen

I read this statement, and as it was designed to do, I immediately felt guilty for being part of the movement to remove this product from shelves.

I do not feel guilty anymore.

Let’s start with the first paragraph:

We Heard You, and Are Discontinuing Sales of Milkscreen Assessment

As a mom owned and operated company our goal is to help women continue breastfeeding and Milkscreen Assessment was designed solely with this purpose in mind.  However, due to recent feedback and the misperceptions surrounding this product, we have decided to discontinue Milkscreen Assessment sales indefinitely and have told our retailers to also stop selling the product. While you may not agree with the testing collection method we hope you will take the opportunity to understand how and why the product was developed. We care that people who support breastfeeding as we do understand our intentions: to reduce the number of moms who quit breastfeeding  by providing encouragement and reassurance through this test. ”

Because I am magnanimous, I will give them the incorrect use of “due to,” and the missing commas.

“As a mom owned and operated company our goal is to help women continue breastfeeding and Milkscreen Assessment was designed solely with this purpose in mind.” Oh, really? It sounds to me like Milkscreen Assessment was designed for the purpose of making money; you saw a niche and you decided to take advantage of it. I don’t begrudge companies who make a profit by providing a service or product. I truly don’t. Ethical companies do this by seeing a lack and filling the gap. Unethical companies do this by creating a product or service with dubious usefulness and then trying to convince everyone that they need whatever is being sold. The problem I see here is that there are already effective ways of determining whether a mother is producing sufficient milk for her child and they never start with “pump milk so we can see how much we get.” Pretty much any health care professional can determine if your supply is adequate by asking you questions about your baby’s behavior and weight gain. You don’t even have to take your breast out.

At the end of the paragraph, they assert their intentions were good, “to reduce the number of moms who quit breastfeeding  by providing encouragement and reassurance through this test. ” Those sound like honorable intentions. As my dad would say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’m sure that when Nestle first created a formula in 1867 for a baby whose mother couldn’t breastfeed, his intentions were good too: to feed a baby that would otherwise starve. His intentions have morphed into a monster that is anything but honorable, but we’ll still give Milkscreen the benefit of the doubt for now.

On to the second paragraph:

Why Milkscreen Assessment was Created

According to the Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ article “Why Mothers Stop Breastfeeding: Mothers’ Self-reported Reasons for Stopping During the First Year,” the perception of inadequate breast milk supply was cited as 1 of the top 3 reasons mothers stop breastfeeding regardless of weaning age (43.5%–55.6%).  Milkscreen Assessment was designed to give mom a tool to better determine milk production and encourage continued breastfeeding. For most (~93%), the test reassures mom she is making enough milk and to keep up the good work.  If the test shows production is low, mom is reassured that production can be increased and is referred to a breastfeeding professional in hopes of preventing early weaning or unnecessary supplementation.”

Sounds great! They are absolutely right! The AAP has shown that inadequate milk supply is one of the top reasons mothers stop nursing. Then they claim that around 93% of mothers show producing adequate or an abundance of milk. Ok, then. Where did that number come from? 93% of nursing moms can pump enough milk into your bag and then answer your questions sufficiently that you’ll return the knowledge that she’s making enough milk? Really? Since even a Google search can’t return a percentage on how many women do not make enough milk or how many women who nurse can’t pump and a significant number of women who successfully breastfeed can’t pump anything, I’m going to leave it to your imagination where that number came from.

Now onto my favorite paragraph:

Technical Basis of Milkscreen Assessment

Developed by medical and breastfeeding experts, the test is based on a peer reviewed, published scientific study which uses pumping as the collection method.  Though breast milk volume generated from pumping can be different than that generated from feeding at the breast, this process provides a reasonable estimate of mom’s daily production.  In addition to milk collection, the test asks mom approximately 30 questions about her breastfeeding habits as well as baby’s weight gain.  All of this information is used to generate a personalized report, which identifies any breastfeeding issues and gives suggestions on overcoming them, which always includes a referral to a breastfeeding professional.   Our goal was to reassure mothers who have a normal or even high supply, and to provide encouragement, support, and direction to those who have low supply. ”

What study and who are your experts? You don’t get to make claims like this without the info to back them up. Do you have a link? Can you at least provide us with the name so we can verify your claims independently? This can be boiled down pretty concisely to “We’re sorry you’re too stupid to understand why this was a good method, but we’re not going to give you the pertinent details so you can figure it out yourself. Neener, neener.”

The next sentence infuriates me: “Though breast milk volume generated from pumping can be different than that generated from feeding at the breast, this process provides a reasonable estimate of mom’s daily production.”

No, no it doesn’t. Every reputable breastfeeding resource on the planet disagrees with this assessment. Milk Production La Leche League International Kellymom: Increasing Low Milk Supply The Leaky Boob: Help, my milk supply is low! Or is it? The only people this might be helpful for are moms who exclusively pump. (Mad props, by the way, to moms who EP. You guys are my heroes.)

“In addition to milk collection, the test asks mom approximately 30 questions about her breastfeeding habits as well as baby’s weight gain.”

Ok, so theoretically, I could just answer all of your questions, get no milk from the pump and I could still have the answer come back as “your baby is getting plenty of milk” at least 93% of the time? I have to wonder what the point of the collection bag was at all then. Oh, right. We’re basing this on a mythical study where the ability to pump equates with the ability to produce.

“All of this information is used to generate a personalized report, which identifies any breastfeeding issues and gives suggestions on overcoming them, which always includes a referral to a breastfeeding professional.”

Whoa! Your report always includes a referral to a breastfeeding professional? What do I need you for then? Why didn’t you just tell me that if I’m concerned, I should talk to an IBCLC? Not only have I wasted my money on a test that probably told me I’m not producing enough because the amount of milk in that bag after I pumped would be 0 oz, but now you’re just telling me to do what I should have done in the first place and talk to a professional?

“Our goal was to reassure mothers who have a normal or even high supply, and to provide encouragement, support, and direction to those who have low supply. ”

In the beginning I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt about your intentions, but now I’m not. This product definitely falls into the unethical category of products. Instead of seeing a void and filling it, you saw an opportunity to profit from moms’ self-doubt (and create even more self-doubt because you absolutely can’t pump as much as you produce) with every intention of telling them to do exactly what they should have done in the first place: talk to a professional.

You don’t get to make me feel guilty. Shame on you for taking advantage of nursing mothers. Shame, shame, shame.

Breast or Bottle: There is No Debate.

Today is the first day of World Breastfeeding Week, initiating yet again, another round of breastfeeding mothers trying desperately to educate and find public and legal support while formula feeding mothers feel judged and angry. It’s a tiring back and forth that breeds animosity. It’s sad. I personally advocate for nursing moms and try to educate those who don’t understand, and when I do, I get called names and I’m told that I’m judging others for their choices.

I want to put this out there: I don’t judge any mother for her choices. I’m not her. I can’t possibly make an informed decisions as to what I would do if I were her. I only know what I would do myself. I know that mothers who breastfeed need support. It’s not fair that they get discriminated against and sabotaged. So I support them. And I am more than willing to tell others what I learn about the magic that is breastmilk because it really is fantastic stuff. There is no other way to say it but that formula is an inferior product. It is. Breastmilk is to formula as fruits and vegetables are to breakfast cereal. Can someone survive on it? Yeah. Can they be reasonably healthy? Absolutely. Will they have the greatest chance at life-long health? No. Those are facts. Breakfast cereal, for all of it’s synthetic nutrients, does not get absorbed by the body the same way that fruits and vegetables do, and neither does formula compared with breastmilk.

When we’re talking about support for mothers, yes I believe that all mothers need support. I believe that nursing mothers particularly need support because bottle feeding mothers don’t get asked to “go somewhere else to do that” and they don’t get undermined by their friends or family “wanting to bond with the baby” or saying, “why don’t you bottle feed so you can get some sleep?” They may get some pressure to breastfeed. Sorry if you feel like that’s people assuming you’re uninformed. We honestly want you to know all of the benefits you miss out on and all of the risks you are taking because it’s hard for us to understand why someone would know all of those things and STILL make the choice to feed their baby something that isn’t real food. (Synthesized food, by definition, is not real.) If you make that choice anyway, more power to you. If you make that choice by default because you didn’t have the information or support you needed to succeed at breastfeeding, THAT is what we want to fix. We want to ensure that moms who formula feed are the ones who choose to and NO ONE ELSE. We don’t want mothers to have to formula feed because they were undermined. Let’s face it: mothers who want to formula feed aren’t going to have someone secretly try to get their baby to latch on to them while they sleep and they’re not going to succumb to the temptation to breastfeed because maybe everyone is right and it’s easier, so just this once… Mothers and babies are the victims of a culture that refuses to embrace breastfeeding. If our culture is going to believe that breast is best, we all need to support nursing mothers and mothers-to-be; we cannot stay quiet about the dangers of formula and we must stop undermining breastfeeding efforts. Formula isn’t the second best choice; it’s the 4th and some would argue the 5th. That ranking comes from the health benefits of the others. It comes from the facts that have come from the research. Don’t feel bad if you made this choice  or feel like you were pushed into this choice. Very few people judge moms who formula feed. (I can’t say none, because some do, but the number is really very small.) I don’t personally care what conclusion you came to. All I care about is ensuring that those who want to breastfeed can do so freely and easily without being undermined. Can you honestly say that you don’t feel the same?

Aiden’s Birth Story or But Babies are Born in the Hospital, Right?

Aiden is actually nine years old, but nevertheless, this is his birth story. I think positive birth stories are important to have anywhere and everywhere for pregnant women. Every mama with a horror story is just dying to tell it, but there need to be good stories out there too. Mamas-to-be need to know that birth doesn’t have to be long or awful and it can be extremely empowering: it is, after all, the last little bit of prep for her to become a mother. It’s wonderful when it really gives her the confidence that she can handle it.

At 39 weeks, I was so uncomfortable that I wanted to die. At my prenatal appointment, the midwife asked me if I wanted her to strip my membranes. I knew enough to ask what it was and she explained what she would do and that there was a chance that if my cervix was ripe, it would put me into labor. “Do you want to see if I have magic fingers today?” I was exhausted and hating pregnancy. I said yes. She mentioned that I might feel crampy and I should go home and rest. She also reminded me that “80% of first time mothers go past their due dates.”  I called her a killjoy and said, “yes, but 15% come before and 5% on. This one is not going to be late.”
 
About 10PM I was having irregular contractions and minor discomfort and thought there was a small chance this might be labor. We went to the hospital where the nurse put me in a horrid little room on my back with a monitor strapped to my belly and left me in that position for an hour. During that time, I felt a HUGE movement in my abdomen and suddenly you could no longer hear the heartbeat on the monitor. After the hour was over, the nurse checked my cervix again and told me that my options were to stay in the horrid room for another hour or to go home. I was having terrible back pain, wanted to take a bath and hated the horrid little room, so I went home.
 
I drew a bath, but I only stayed in for a few minutes. I laid on the floor, but that only lasted through one contraction. I laid on my side, my back and my other side on the bed, but that didn’t last long. I got on my hands and knees but that didn’t last. No position was bearable. I thought my back was going to break. Around 1:30, my husband was trying to comfort me as I laid on my side on the bed and whimpered. He recognized that Aiden’s back and butt weren’t where he had been feeling them for several weeks. He poked at my abdomen where he could feel the baby’s spine and the baby flipped over. Suddenly all of my pain vanished and I could relax. Several minutes passed when there were no contractions and then I started feeling like bearing down just a teeny tiny bit would feel good. I stood up. Just a Teeny, Tiny push and… “splash.” Um, I think my water just broke.
 
“Oh my gosh. The baby is going to be born in my bedroom.” Puts on sweat pants and shirt and waddles to the livingroom. Contraction. “Oh my gosh. The baby is going to be born in the livingroom.” Yells, “WE HAVE TO LEAVE NOW!” Thinks, because babies are born in hospitals. Waddles outside to the car. “Oh my gosh. The baby is going to be born on the sidewalk.” Not sure how, since I’m wearing pants. In theory, the baby would be born in my pants, and not technically on the sidewalk. Gets into the car. J drives, and thankfully, no red lights between our house and the hospital. “Oh my gosh. This baby is going to be born in the car.” Gets out of the car and waddles up to the door at the maternity wing screaming bloody murder. “Oh my gosh! This baby is going to be born outside the hospital!” Nurses flying everywhere summoning all of the people required to birth a baby and the lay me down on a guerney wheeling me to my room. And suddenly I have no pants again. Not sure how that happened. 
 
Nurses tell me, “don’t push. The midwife isn’t here yet.”
“Aaaaaaarrrggghhhhh!”
You need to stop screaming. You are too loud and you’re disturbing the other patients.
Husband glares at respiratory specialist, the only other male in the room. Respiratory specialist leaves.
Midwife arrives. She doesn’t even have time to don gloves before Aiden is crowning. 
“He’s coming now!” Two pushes later, Aiden is born. It’s 3:09 AM.
“I’m afraid of pushing out the placenta. I’ve heard it can be worse than the baby. Can you tug on the cord just a little to pull the placenta out?”
“No.”
I’m able to hold my little boy skin to… “J, hold the baby for a second.” *fumbles to get shirt off*…skin and breastfeed immediately. When the cord stops pulsing, the midwife cuts it and the placenta slides out on its own within 15 minutes of my son’s birth. The contractions never even come within driving distance of regular.
 
What I learned from the experience is this: If you hit transition, even if you are planning a hospital birth, just stay home. After the baby is born, you can always go to the hospital if you really feel you need to. I wouldn’t wish a car ride on anyone having transition or pushing contractions though. Much too uncomfortable.