Remember, even before your baby is born,
In this ongoing series, Sheri Castello, ChairMom and Co-Founder of Daycare.com, shares her experiences as a mom. This first installment focuses on the importance of being an advocate for your child. This sometimes means disagreeing with the experts if your instincts tell you otherwise.
On August 11th, 1992, my husband Michael and I became the proud parents of a 6 pound 8 ounce baby boy. Nothing that had happened in our lives before could have prepared us for the adventures that lay ahead. Family, friends and strangers told us that having a baby would change our lives forever. And it did, it truly did! I'm somewhat of a health nut, so of course I wanted this to be the perfect pregnancy. I wanted to be as healthy as possible for my baby, so I gave up all foods that I deemed unhealthy. And yes, it was quite difficult but I only broke down once during the last month of my pregnancy, when I devoured a hot fudge sundae topped off with buffalo chicken wings. Already my life was changing and I was becoming an advocate for my unborn child (except for that one hot fudge sundae). I was thinking of the baby first as I weighed my own actions and, as you'll read next, I was also learning how to speak up to ensure others did the right thing for my child as well.
Doctors, nurses and other experts are great, but they too can sometimes be wrong. We know our bodies better than anyone. We just need to "pay attention" and of course educate ourselves on a vast array of health related subjects. I don't like relying solely on others for my own well-being. I feel it should be a team effort. Just before my son's birth I was in the doctor's office for my regular check up. I told the nurse that I thought my water had broken. Without even examining me, she told me that I was wrong and that I should come in for my routine visit the following week. Nonetheless, I insisted on an examination at that moment. I knew something wasn't right. During the exam, she told me with a sense of urgency in her voice, that my water had indeed broken and that I had to get to the hospital right away. "Do not make any stops along the way!" she insisted.
Upon arriving at the hospital, another examination determined that I had not even begun to dilate, so I was given a drug called Petocin to induce labor. At that point, no one was sure just how long my water had been broken. Getting the baby safely and quickly into the world was the primary concern. Once the Petocin kicked in and labor began, the intense pain required an epidural, which they graciously gave me. Ahhhh! Now I could converse rationally with my many visitors (doctors, nurses and family members). Soon the hard work began and it was time to push. Although Jonathan wasn't a big baby at birth, he had a large head and the umbilical cord had wrapped around his neck. Eventually, all the pushing succeeded, and I gave birth to Jonathan, a healthy and beautiful baby boy with an extremely well developed set of vocal cords. Jonathan cried furiously from the moment he was born. Then, as the nurses were examining and bathing our wailing son, Michael, still in awe, stepped up to Jonathan and put his finger in his tiny little hand. Jonathan immediately stopped crying and his eyes tried to focus on his dad, whose voice we knew he recognized. Michael was so touched. He was truly a miracle and we were so very blessed. And I know that my advocacy for Jonathan-my resolution to stick to a healthy diet during my pregnancy and, most importantly, my willingness to stand up to medical "authority figures" when what they told me didn't make sense to me was an important contributor to our successful pregnancy and our healthy baby boy.
So ends the first chapter. My advocacy for Jonathan began even before he was born and has never stopped since. In subsequent installments I'll share more of my own development and experiences as a mom, which I hope you'll find interesting and useful. We all know that a parent's job is not an easy one and finding others with similar situations is always comforting. >>>>> More
Tells Her Story - Part One