Sunday, April 7, 2013
Thursday, October 13, 2011
In any case, bringing Robby into this world has been an amazing, scarey, painful, joyous experience. Through the nine months (41 weeks and two days, but who's counting) until today, his 19th as an ex-utero being, I've learned a lot. Here are some of the highlights:
Our health care system stinks. I've written about this before, but here it is again in a nutshell: Insurance companies have painted doctors into a corner so that they are forced to play medical defense as opposed to really caring for patients. The result is that most of us patients are left with competent, but less than compassionate care. What a bummer.
Too much of having a baby is political. Do you use a pacifier or not? Do you have your son circumcised or not? Do you breastfeed or not? Every professional involved with helping you have a baby clearly has an opinion on these topics, but they've been brow-beaten by the PC club so much that they feel obligated to play it completely neutral, giving you the pros and cons of every little decision. The result is that no one with a degree experience in childbirth actually tells you their honest advice. They give you both sides of every debate and allow you, the one with absolutely no experience, to make ill informed decisions. I wish we could live in a world where a doctor or a nurse could just say, "In my opinion, you should do X, and this is why..." Wouldn't that be nice?
No matter how prepared you are for delivery, you'll never be prepared. I'd like to think I had some sense of what I was in for, but boy was I wrong. And my guess is that every delivery is so different that it's virtually impossible to be prepared for what faces you once the labor process begins. My labor came on a lot faster than I expected. And that delivery playlist that I slaved over creating? Well, it never got used. The only thing you can count on is that the baby will come out, one way or another.
Nurses rock. I was blown away by the nurses at Windham Hospital. I wish I could have visited them once a month for my prenatal checkups rather than my doctor's office. They actually took the time to educate me and my husband about this new life form that was now our responsibility. The labor and delivery nurse who coached me through active labor was amazing. I don't know how she does that job day in and day out. It's like going to war every day. Truly incredible. The doctor arrived for the last two pushes and got to collect her fat paycheck without even breaking sweat. Meanwhile the nurse coached me through delivery like a pro and stuck around to help me afterward.
Babies smell good. I could sniff my son's head all day long.
iPhones make 4 a.m. feedings bearable. I don't know how parents of newborns survived pre-iPhones. I have an app that tells me when to feed my son and I can keep myself entertained (as long as my eyes are open) at all hours of the day while I'm nursing. God bless the iPhone.
Hormones are crazy. I have never felt the level of emotion that I felt in the days following the birth of my son. It was pretty wild. I've since come back down to earth, but boy, hormones sure are powerful.
I have the world's greatest husband and my son has the world's greatest dad. All throughout my pregnancy I was struck by how special it was to share the experience with my husband, Bobby. But I wasn't prepared for the joy I felt in caring for our newborn son as a couple. I'm lucky to have someone like Bobby to be by my side through this journey and Robby's lucky to have him for a dad.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The premise of the NPR show was that willpower and self control are important traits that help people succeed in life. In theory it makes perfect sense. People who act irrationally or with no regard for the future are likely to get themselves into trouble. People who can exert a little self control are more likely to be level headed and make sacrifices in the near term for the promise of spoils in the long term.
And I’d put myself in the category of having great willpower. As long as a box of cider doughnuts aren’t within reach.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Of course, as everything with pregnancy, this story immediately made me think, "Oh, crap. Here's another thing I need to worry about. I don't have a playlist. Do I need a playlist?" Then, I thought, "What kind of moron would want 'Push it' played while they were giving birth? That's just gross."
So here's my take on the top 10 worst songs for the delivery room ever:
1. Push it, Salt & Pepa
2. Waterfalls, TLC
3. One, Metallica
4. I'll make love to you, Boyz II Men
5. Anything by Barry White
6. That Dawson's Creek song by Paula Cole
7. Bridge over troubled water, Simon & Garfunkel
8. Janie's got a gun, Aerosmith
9. Jeremy, Pearl Jam
10. Mother, Danzig
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time in doctors' offices lately. Luckily, it’s for a good reason, but my monthly visits to the OBGYN to get my blood pressure checked and weight documented has brought to the foreground my seething distaste for the health care system. So here’s my rant about it:
Why do doctors' offices refuse to act like normal businesses? Why is it okay for a doctor’s office to say, “Sorry. You can’t call us between noon and 1. That’s our lunch break.” What other business does that? None. Because any business that did that would be closed after a week when their customers stopped showing up and paying money.
And why do they all have to take lunch together anyway? Can’t one person cover the phones while the rest go eat? Aren’t they all getting free meals from pharmaceutical reps anyway? It’s not that hard to have a staggered lunch schedule people. Give me 15 minutes and I’ll have it all plotted out.
But the lunch break isn’t the only thing that gets on my nerves. There’s the whole appointment scheduling thing. I have yet to find a doctor or dentist’s office that actually offers reasonable hours. God forbid anyone with letters after their name work past 4:15 or before 9 a.m. Why is it that offices that treat our pets have better hours than offices that treat humans?
Oh and don’t get me started about doctors cancelling appointments. In my line of work if I called someone five minutes before an appointment to cancel it, I’d be in big trouble. If I did it more than once, I’d likely be out of a job. But for some reason, doctors pull that charming maneuver all the time. And they don’t have the nerve to call you themselves. No, sir. They make their dim-witted front desk person call you and do their bidding. And then they offer you the least convenient time to reschedule.
I ask all these questions even though I know the answer. The problem with doctors’ offices is that they are built around serving the insurance companies and the bureaucracy of the system and the needs of the doctors/staff. They aren’t built around the patient.
I’ve written about health care and I’ve read enough hospital mission statements to know that they all claim to be “delivering patient-centered health care.” But in reality there’s nothing patient-centered about the majority of our health care system.
And I really think this feeds into our society’s general avoidance of preventative health care. I am loathe to make a routine physical appointment because it’s such a giant hassle, even though I have health insurance. I bet there are plenty of people just like me. And that’s bad. Because I get intellectually that annual physicals are where you find problems when they are small and before they get big. But emotionally I can’t get over the hurdle that I’m going to have to settle for a 1:15 appointment on a Tuesday when I have a big project at work and then I’ll have to thumb through a six-month-old issue of Car & Driver in an uncomfortable waiting-room chair for 30 minutes and then sit in the boring exam room just to get five minutes with a nurse practitioner who has the bedside manner of a household mop.
What’s the solution? First, doctors offices need to start behaving like businesses. And to get them to do that, I think you have to rework how doctors are paid. The whole insurance/Medicaid/Medicare system really incentivizes doctors to put their focus in the wrong direction – away from patients – and towards paperwork and red tape. In some ways you can’t blame them. The system grew into an angry beast and it’s hard to fight it. But it’s time to take our health care system back. And that process starts with the patients and the docs.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
And here's some perspective on my growing belly:
It would have been a lovely easy hike except for the mosquitos that swarmed us on the way up. Luckily they left us alone on the way down.
Here's one last photo for the road: