Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night bugged by something, and my thoughts swirl all around and make it hard to fall back asleep. Writing down the thoughts can help, and granted, publishing such thoughts isn't necessary, but I figured in this case it might be helpful to others. So here are my insomniac-producing musings:
I ate--a lot--while in labor with that Lo. I think without food, my body would have never had the strength to press on through the two+ days active labor spanned. Yes, I vomited during transition. But I wasn't worried about it at the time, since I had read that experts don't really know why women sometimes vomit in labor and it happens with equal frequency for women who eat in labor and those who do not eat in labor. Vomiting at transition is suspected by some to be a way of preparing the diaphragm for the pushing phase. I recalled that factoid at the time I threw up and actually felt thrilled to be throwing up. I did not throw up due to pain, btw, because I certainly would not describe transition as painful. It was intense rushing, swirling, shuddering feelings all over in my blood stream, kind of like every cell had a mind of its own all of a sudden. A good loopy feeling, now that I think about it. Closest thing this happy Mormon girl will ever feel to being high? =) But I digress.
Back to the food issue. My friend Chelsea is being induced in a matter of hours. Not sure if she'll read this blog entry before then. But at any rate, I'm not writing for her, just mentioning her since her situation is relevant to my insomnia thoughts. She seems like the kind of person who would just let the doctors and nurses do their thing anyway, regardless of anything I put on this blog.
I learned yesterday afternoon that Chelsea is looking forward to having that dreaded intrapartum diet of nothing but ice chips. I truly believe it might take a decade or two to see change, but eventually that policy will be viewed as laughably archaic by the whole world. For a few years now already, the official stance in the United States has been to let laboring women at least have clear liquids like chicken broth, fruit juice, etc. And in other countries the position is more and more to allow laboring women to have simple foods like yogurt, bread, and so forth. Most interesting to me was this article I just came across that discusses the psychological effects of women eating while in labor.
Remembering my own experience, I totally agree that food boosted my mood a lot during a basically wonderful birth that nonetheless had some difficult moments. For example, one of my fondest memories of Lo's birth is being dilated to 8 cm. while lounging in a hot tub, licking ice cream, and surrounded by beaming nurses, my doula, and husband who I think were all also eating ice cream. And somewhere in the background was a scowling midwife, but we won't dwell on her for now. lol. I recall this as such a regal moment--and the vanilla ice cream was an important part of why I felt so celebratory. Then, later in the birth I used food to bring comfort. I ordered beef stew from the hospital cafeteria, and though it tasted nasty and bland per hospital food standards, just the thought of getting to eat it conjured a psychological warmth that combated the emotional struggle I'd been having with my midwife. Lastly, during the pushing phase, when I felt a bit sad at how the midwife had rather rudely taken the reins and had me pushing in the lithotomy position, I used my food choices to once again restore some emotional health. I told Jerry "I want cranberry juice now," and then, a few minutes later asked him to switch to water, and kept alternating between the two beverages thereby retaining some element of my own autonomy.
To sum it up, I am a big fan of evidence-based health care. Hospitals and doctors evidently have some delay in implementing the most updated policies. And that is unfortunate. Because laboring women and their babies benefit from having more options.