Thursday, September 19, 2013

touchy subjects

These aren't all technically touchy subjects, but some of them are controversial in the birthing and parenting communities. They've just been on my mind. Feel free to chime in!

- Cord blood. To bank it, or to let it pump into the baby after birth: That is the question. Assuming it's a possibility -- sometimes all plans go out the window with regard to the cord, depending on how the birth goes. Banking it costs a few thousand dollars, but listen to what I just learned from reading Expecting Better: "... your child cannot typically use his own cord blood if he gets sick. The value is in it being used by a sibling. If one of your children is sick, a sibling's cord blood could possibly be used." This was major news to me. I don't even know if I'm going to be physically capable of having another child. As for allowing the blood to pulse into the baby, there are various benefits, particularly if the baby is born prematurely. This includes improved iron levels in the baby, although for full-term babies it seems there's an increased risk of jaundice with delayed cord clamping. C-section birthers are purportedly able to do delayed cord clamping as well, but I'm not sure if that's hearsay.

- Everyone Poops. It cracks me up when expectant moms seem more concerned about pooping during delivery than the fact that their vaginas are going to crack wide open and issue forth children. And then there are the moms who say they didn't poop during delivery, followed closely by: At least, I don't think I did. Ya probably did. And that's OK! A nurse went ahead and wiped the offending poo away and you were none the wiser because who can tell what's going on down there when you're in the final stage of labor. It all feels like hell, wouldn't you say?

- Vaccines. I'm gonna get the kid vaccinated, but I'm strongly considering a delayed schedule. The Internet is rife with advice from the medical community practically shouting about what the CDC recommends and how there's no proof that vaccines harm kids, blah blah blah. (And why, exactly, we should trust any government agencies when they just prove over and over that they're not trustworthy when it comes to public health, I'm not sure.) And then there's the other side, shouting about autism (which has been disproved, I believe) and peanut allergies and other childhood illnesses. I sort of just want to go with my gut and vaccinate the kid, but not with as many vaccines and as quickly as many doctors would like. If it feels like too much, maybe it is.

- Pediatricians. I need a pediatrician. Ugh. One who's ok with delayed vaccinations.

- The C Word. Circumcision!! Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I want to go with my gut on this one again and say no one is going near my son's penis with a knife. But I don't know. Practically every man I know is circumcised. Benefits of circumcision appear to include a lower risk of infection of HIV and other STDs that can lead to penile cancer. But I'm not sure I'm sold on it being in my kid's best interest. I'll probably never tell you what I decide, but I'm definitely open to your thoughts!

- Shaving vs. Waxing vs. Au Naturel: I thought I would report back on what everyone thinks is a reasonable course of action pre-birth with regards to vaginal grooming. Three people said shave, one person said wax, and an astounding seven people said to go native. Maybe I should have clarified that I am 25% Mexican, and my vagina is definitely Mexican. Does that help? Anyway, I'm still mulling this one over.

36 comments:

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    \outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 I circumcised my son, but I don't vaccinate. To each their own. But after reading about GMOs and pesticides, I decided to make all of my son's food with organic fruits and vegetables. I also breastfed. Since I am so particular about what he consumes, it would only make sense for me to be concerned about what is injected into his tiny body. If you read the list of ingredients, some of which are known carcinogens, a mom wouldn't let her child near those chemicals. And I believe natural immunity is far superior. Recently I found my shot record from when I was a child and I received 8 shots total and my first one was when I was almost 2. They wanted to give my son that many in his first year of life. I am a super crunchy granola mom, but I don't really give my two cents unless asked. And you asked :) We all do what is best for our little ones and I certainly don't judge those who vaccinate. But I do encourage you to continue researching and delayed is the way to go if you do vaccinate. It's awesome you are thinking about all of these things now and doing your research!!!!

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    1. I'm definitely going to vaccinate, but I am concerned about the schedule. Dr. Sears has a book out with recommendations for a delayed schedule -- I may go with that.

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  2. 1. Cord blood is kind of a scam, in my opinion. You pay all this money for the off-chance that you a) have a second kid who b) gets sick enough to need and only then will they c) determine if it might work. That being said, I worked with a woman who's son got childhood leukemia and was able to use his younger sister's cord blood. He's in his mid twenties now. We chose not to do it because of all of those "ifs."
    2. On the other hand, modern medicine has proven that vaccinations DO work and there is no proven link between vaccinations and autism. Many doctors are now open to delayed vaccination schedule. We only chose to wave Hep B because neither of us were in high risk professions.
    3. Do whatever you normally do with your vag, yo.
    4. Fun fact, when you begin labor, your body releases a hormone to trigger you to poop. It's like your body's natural way of clearing the decks. While it's happening, you will worry that you're going to poop out your baby and end up on TLC.

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    1. I'm impressed that you actually know someone who's used cord blood! That's pretty rare. Still trying to figure out what to do on this one ...
      I think I will wave Hep B too -- good tip.
      I am beginning to care less and less about my vag, considering I am barely wipe myself on the toilet. Why in the world Americans don't use bidets is beyond my understanding.
      I've heard of this poo trigger and I look forward to it. ;)

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  3. I have three little boys, and I didn't circumcise any of them. My husband wanted to, and i was on board at first. At the hospital we chose, it needed to be done in the first twelve hours of life. I wasn't okay with that. I couldn't be there and they didn't use anesthetic. I just couldn't sign that consent form. My oldest is now 8, and we have never had an issue with hygiene or infections. As for increased risks later on in life, promote safe, sexual health (as you would any way).

    I do vaccinate. I have a great peds doctor who is willing to do a delayed schedule. We chose not to vaccinate for varicella, Hep B, and the flu. I would also look into giving your child single vaccines as opposed to the combos. This ensures that they're not getting more than what's needed simply because it's included in the combo.

    As for pooping, I was fortunate enough to give birth to all three of my kids in four or less pushes. Like greased footballs. I don't think I could have pooped. I really wish I had, because then my husband could have that image burned into his brain FOREVER. That would ensure I wouldn't get pregnant again.

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    1. I am going to need to look into hospital guidelines for circumcision. And not using anesthetic is out of the question.
      Good tip on the single vaccines rather than combos -- I'd much prefer that, too.
      Lucky you on the fast pushing!

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  4. LOL! My vagina is Italian, girlfriend and you saw it. I say go native - it's the most kick-ass thing. Or wax. :)

    My there a lot of hot topics here! I, of course, have lots to say about all of them. Since you said feel free to chime in...

    Cord blood - yes not for self, for sibling and even then, it's not a guarantee. The hope is someday they will have more science to use it. Kind of like cryogenics. Jaundice - the majority of babies get some jaundice. Serious jaundice is rare. They're kidneys have to take up a lot of slack after the placenta did the work for so long. Delayed clamping is possible during a c-section.

    Pooping is pretty common. I have not seen a lot of pooping as a doula (and nor would I care if I did). A lot of it depends on if your body instinctively "cleaned out" before hand. Mine did not. Oh god, I pooped so much the first time. It was horrible. But whatever, if you're pooping, you're doing it right. ;)

    Vaccines - as a parent of a child on the spectrum, I am very cautious about vaccines. I don't think my child being vaccinated caused his issues. But there is this: autism is generally "caused" by genetic factors with an environmental trigger. I personally suspect the flu vaccine that I received when I was pregnant. Also, what they don't acknowledge is that if you have a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine that causes encephalitis that can lead to autism. This is extremely rare. I also believe that the CDC and medical establishment like to try and fool all the stupid masses with "logic" about the necessity of vaccines that isn't accurate (like, you get vaccinated, you're immune for life, "herd immunity," etc.). But they assume most of us are too stupid to figure this out. Kind of like with childbirth - you're too stupid to know what's best for you and your baby. Just be quiet and do what we tell you. All this being said, I am, on the whole PRO VACCINE. Second time around, I opted for a slower schedule. A schedule that said - this is what is dangerous to my baby and would be wiser/less risky to vaccinate against than to not vaccinate. Even though - the odds on both sides are very very small. Does all this make sense? Our pediatrician at Kaiser is slow-vax friendly. She let's the parents lead. I don't think you'll do Kaiser, but if you do...

    Circumcision. Well, you know how I feel. As for STDs/HIV - I believe those studies are primarily among adult african males? Anyway, the best protection against those things is a condom. :) Penile cancer is incredibly rare.

    Just my two cents.

    I have lots of great resources on all these things if you're interested. :)

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    1. I think you must have waxed -- I don't recall any wild jungle action. ;)
      I need a T shirt that says "If you're pooping you're doing it right."
      I don't think you ever told me of your suspicion about the flu vaccine! But holy hell, that is enough to keep me from getting one. I'm a hermit anyway -- my chances of getting the flu are pretty low. I can't do kaiser but I have a lead on a pediatrician who is ok with delayed vaccines.
      Re: circumcision: This is the problem with "facts" and "studies" released to the public -- what are all the details of these studies? Ugh.

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    2. Holy crap you have to make that t-shirt. The AAP released a thing about circumcision last year that basically said "either way, it's cool, there are pros and cons for both", which sounds noncommittal but has details about why it made those decisions. That might help. Also, we banked cord blood, so now you know two people!

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    3. I did wax - but probably several weeks before Charlie was born. If you google circumcision HIV study - you'll find the actual study. :)

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  5. Haha. I've had two kids and I didn't poop either time. But even if I had, I'm sure it wouldn't have been the end of the world. I mean, why worry about something you really can't control?

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  6. Oh, and on the rest of your survey questions:

    1. Didn't collect cord blood.
    2. Didn't poop.
    3. Vaccinated on time, on schedule, with impunity.
    4. Just went with the pediatrician my ob-gyn recommended.
    5. Circumcised my boy.
    6. Shaved, but not the whole kit and kaboodle. Just kind of keep it neat and trim down there, yo.

    Gotta love the TMI on this thread. Whee!

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    1. Look at you, throwing caution to the wind! I think I'm going to need professional help with my nether bits.

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  7. So turned on by your Mexican vagina. When did you start trying to compete with my blog?

    And OMG, circumcision times twelve THOUSAND. This is not even a question.

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    1. I could never compete!

      So this brings up another concern about circumcision: 20 years from now are ladies going to be clamoring for circumcised dongs? How big a deal is this? And how creepy is it that I need to think about my kid's sex life before he's even born?

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    2. Erin, I'm glad you brought that up, because that's the reason I okayed circumcision. (I'm married to a Jew, so he was for it). It isn't creepy; our sons will be babies and children for a few years, but they will be sexually active adults for most of their lives. I wanted to make his life as easy as possible in that respect. I actually put it slightly more graphically to my husband, but this is a family blog.

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  8. I love how you ask everyone all the time. As if our opinions matter one whit! (Ok, I just wanted to type "whit" today.) I'll preface my answers with my standard disclaimer: "Do whatever YOU feel is right. There is no right or wrong answer in general, only what is right or wrong for you. Take the rest of this with the grain of salt it was given with."

    Cord blood: We didn't do it with either kid. I just couldn't justify the expense for the SLIGHT possibility of actually "needing" it vs. my kid needs diapers for at least the first 18 months of his/her life.

    Poop: I have no idea if I pooped. Nobody told me. And I really don't care either way. I was in labor for 18 hours with Sean before pushing for 3 hours. I could not have given a flying F*$# if I pooped on that table. I just wanted him out. Allie came flying out like she was stealing a base. I doubt I had the time to poop. But again? Ignorance is bliss. ;)

    Vaccines: I vaccinated on schedule with both kids, but my pediatrician is very cool and had a long discussion about it with us. Personally, she vaccinated her kids (and on schedule) and would do it that way again, but she also supports the delayed vaccines if parents are more comfortable with that.

    Circumcision: I let my husband make that call. Our pediatrician performed the procedure and she used anesthetic. Apparently Sean smiled and cooed at her the entire time and had minimal pain from it.

    Your Mexican vagina: Do what you're comfortable with. But I'm half Chinese, so what do I know? ;)

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    1. Nice to hear a good circumcision story ... they seem to run the gamut!

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  9. Vaccinations - Do it, but do it how you are comfortable doing it. I went by what my pediatrician said. The HELL I'm letting my defenseless baby get whopping cough. So I got it. My husband got it, my baby got it. It's emerging all over the place these days, it'd huge in my state, and my husband works in an office where germs are all about. I couldn't very well shove my baby into a bubble or refuse to let my husband near his own son. So I gave myself the peace of mind with vaccinations. I know there are risks, and I was ready for them. Luckily, we weren't the small, small number of people that do deal with the heavier risks. Minus a little bit of baby tylenol, everything was fine. The few people I know who refuse to vaccinate their kids, I have no words. Diseases long since thought gone are re-emerging. Small pox, ffs. SMALL POX. My sister recently had to get a second small pox vaccination, since she works in the medical field and they are worried about it coming back stronger than before.

    Circumcision - I left this one to my husband, as I have no penis and wouldn't know what the best option was. My husband wanted it done. For all the reasons you stated plus others. It's cleaner. It'll up your kids chances for future BJs (my husband's words, not mine, I die on the inside when he says these things). So on and so forth! So we did it! And I'm glad we did. HOWEVER! Let me warn you NOW! The nurses and doctor will say it doesn't hurt the kid after the fact? It's a LIE. A LIE! You change that baby's diaper every damned HOUR if you need to. My son would pee just enough to wet the gauze that was right on his penis, where he was circumcised. And he'd scream and scream. And since we had these diapers that had a wetness indicator line that wasn't showing, we assumed he wasn't wet so obviously he wasn't crying cause of that. The first night of that was BAD. Like REALLY BAD. He screamed and cried and NOTHING we could do would console him. He wasn't wet, I wasn't producing real milk yet, he didn't want to be held or put down and it was BAD. SO BAD. Finally, after HOURS of this I suggest we just change him, so we did and suddenly the crying was done. It was my husband who put two and two together. It took roughly a week, week and a half to heal completely. Only a few days of rampant diaper changes though. But do NOT let anyone tell you otherwise. Pee on the tip of his penis DID hurt. Once we figured that out, however, it was SO much better. I still feel awful for those hours my son was in pain and we had no idea what was wrong. But I'm glad to pass on the knowledge to another woman having a boy so she knows!

    Good luck, lady! I'm rooting for you hardcore! Can't wait to see pictures of your little man in a few more weeks/months!

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    1. Small pox is coming back? WTF?!

      Ok, good tip on the pee/circumcision issue. Poor kid!

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  10. I don't know if I've ever seen a woman not poop. I've been a doula for ten years. Even if you have almost nothing in your bowels, your baby is pushing whatever tiny bit is in there out ahead of him, because that head displaces a lot on the way down. Almost no one notices that they poop a little; labor and delivery nurses are mostly damn rock stars, and off it goes on a towel and it's is really and truly no big deal. I have only had one client poop enough for anyone to notice.

    I did a lotta research on vaccinations, because I was scared by all the crazy hype. There is no science at all that shows that vaccines cause anything except immunity to terrible diseases. It's a product of privilege to be in a situation where you have never seen what these diseases do first hand, which is why rich people in this country are pooh-poohing, while moms in the third world are literally walking for miles and standing in line for hours to get their children vaccinated against diseases that could cripple or kill them. Pertussis kills 1 in 100 kids; measles is about the same, unless the kid is frail, in which case it goes to 1 in 4. (Documented cases of adverse vaccine reactions are usually about 1 in 1,000,000, literally). Ask people over 70 about iron lungs and brain damage/hearing loss from these "harmless" diseases."Natural immunity" is an interesting idea when pertussis and measles are starting up again in countries where large groups are refusing to vaccinate. All anti-vax stuff comes from places like "Natural News", which will also recommend tin foil hats, use the word "carcinogen" a lot (even though I've never heard of one case of childhood vaccines causing cancer, and neither have they), and discount all scientific studies, whether they are government-funded or not, because of "big pharma". If you discount all hard science, you are left with anecdotes and conspiracy. I live in one of the places where these diseases are far more common than they should be, because of pseudoscience.
    Do you have cord blood donation where you live? You can donate it here, to people who need cord blood stem cells to cure diseases. That's an option. Lots of babies are a little jaundiced, until their liver can munch away at their bilirubin. I would avoid delaying the clamp forever, but it does take a while for the increased risk of jaundice to kick in.

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    1. Wow - thanks for your input. You really put things into perspective.

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    2. Thank you! This is what I'm thinking -- how can you NOT poo?

      Sarah's right that you've put things into perspective about vaccines. I hesitate to judge people who refuse to vaccinate their kids, but it really crazy that we are so privileged that we can choose whether or not to do this while people in other countries would kill for it.

      We do have cord blood donation, so that's another option.

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  11. ...a word on the foreskin. Sorry for Amber's experience, which sounded awful. My son was circumcised on day two. He slept through the procedure (his daddy was with him). We were advised to keep about a pound of Neosporin/Vaseline both on the peep and on the diaper in front of the peep. He never so much as squawked about it, and didn't seem uncomfortable in any way. Maybe it's all about the anaesthetic and Vaseline?

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    1. Nice! I'll keep it in mind if we go that route. :)

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  12. Sam slept through his circumcision. Swear to God!!!! Didn't make a peep. Greg said he grimaced once when they numbed it and then slept. No tears afterwards either. I pooped! But could have cared less...it all goes out the window.

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    1. Another good circumcision story! Good....

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  13. Ha, I pooped on my first delivery. I remember I told the nurse I think I am pooping and she said, oh that's just the baby's head. And I was thinking um okay I know this is my first time but I'm pre-tay sure that is not where the baby is coming out or god I hope not, ugh!

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    1. LOL ... she probably didn't want you to worry about it. :)

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  14. I know two grown-ass adult men who have both confided in me about being non-circumcized and neither one of them was happy about it. One was very self conscious and even considering getting it done as an adult because he was worried about what his new girlfriend was going to think. The other had discomfort issues with the skin not going back far enough and pain during intercourse. (I feel like a goon even typing that last one because I'm so out of touch with the correct terminology and shit.) Anyway, I'm Team Circumcision.

    With that said, we're totally in a renaissance of non-circumcized penii. All of my friends with little boys decided to skip.

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    1. Those are really interesting points. The guy with the pain issue actually needs to have his foreskin removed, I think... My understanding is this is a fairly common condition that doctors nowadays are able to diagnose while the kid's still a newborn in the hospital. And that's really interesting about the other dude being self-conscious. I need to survey a bunch of men!!

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  15. Ok, I gotta chime back in on circumcision. You are not supposed to retract a foreskin. Ever. It will retract on it's own and for some boys this doesn't happen until they are in their teens (puppetry). Forcing retraction can cause problems. Obviously there can be problems if it does not retract correctly when you are in adulthood and then a circumcision is required.

    If you son is feeling self conscious about his foreskin someday, why not let him be the one to decide to get a circumcision. Or he can move to any other place in the world and find women and men who will think nothing odd about him.

    Also, I wonder why is it ok to cut a baby boy's genitals but not ok to cut a female's genitals?

    Eek, I know this is a very personal issue. My brother in law also hates being intact. But my husband hates that he is cut. As I always say - his dad was intact, he was circumcised - no one cared. Our sons are intact. Also, out of the 5 sexual partners I've had in my life, my husband was the only one circumcised. They all look the same when they are erect. I just don't understand the american female's obsession with a circumcised penis. We are so stuck in our perceptions.

    And also, I think circumcised penises still have the edge. At least amongst "white middle class america." Our boys are the only intact boys in their peer group it seems.

    Sorry! I just had to get this out of my system.

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  16. Katie, I circumcised my son, but I totally get all of your points. I think the big difference between boys and girls is that girls are often unable to ever have an orgasm in their entire life if their clitoris is cut off. They are often sewn up with a septic knife and risk infection and certainly have incredible pain with intercourse. But boys have normal sex lives either way. I have a friend whose two sons got circumcised at 14 and 16, and they said it was incredibly, astronomically painful, so it does make a difference after puberty. Also, I worried about boys being unable/unwilling to clean themselves for those middle years, but I know those will pass. That said, I understand completely why people choose not to do this. I think you are right about circumcision having the edge, but my guess is that when our boys are old enough to shower in gym class, it's going to be about half and half.

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  17. Well. In case you didn't get enough opinions already, this is how I feel about vaccinations, pretty much: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jj-keith/vaccines_b_3829948.html

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    1. I like it! I'm mostly in the same ballpark.

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