Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Birth Plan

What with a strong urge to hibernate, even though I'm sleeping better at night now, and an increase in period-like twinges I think Alicia may make an appearance before the weekend.

I can't wait to meet her!

Once she's here (and I'm compos mentis enough to write a post) I thought it would be interesting to compare my hopes for the birth with the reality. So, here's my birth plan:


I have SPD (Pelvic Girdle Pain), and cannot open my legs wider than hip width without discomfort.
Ideally, I plan to have a water birth at home with either no or minimal pain relief e.g. gas and air.
I have been preparing for birth with the Natal Hypnotherapy CD and ask that you use the term ‘surges’ instead of contractions and refrain from discussing pain, hurt or time predictions (ie how long I will take) as I would prefer to listen to my body and not feel under pressure to perform.
Please don’t offer medication or labour enhancing procedures unless requested or there is a danger to myself or the baby. If you think intervention is necessary, please give us half an hour to ourselves to make a decision. Please explain: How it will be helpful. What the risks are. Why you think it must be done now. What might happen if we wait another hour. What the advantages and disadvantages are. This may be a routine procedure, but please explain what other approaches there are.

No artificial rupture of membranes. Minimal vaginal examinations – avoiding lithotomy position due to SPD.
Labour to be allowed to take its natural course without reference to ‘moving things along’ or ‘augmenting labour’. In the event of a slow/resting labour I prefer to use natural oxytocinon stimulation and to have the privacy to do so.
Encouragement to drink regularly and go to the toilet.
Please keep conversation to a minimum and where possible direct questions to my husband (especially in the more serious parts of labour) so I can focus on maintaining a calm, relaxed state. I would prefer no trivial conversation so that I can focus on birthing.
My birthing environment to have dimmed lighting, soft music and hypnobirthing CDs playing.
Minimal, intermittent hand monitoring. Help me avoid feeling observed, keeping my birthing environment calm and private with minimal people, talking and monitoring.
Encourage me to breathe quietly and rhythmically through each surge (contraction), with a long exhalation through the mouth.
Slowly say the words ‘3..2..1..relax Anna’ I have heard this so many times on the natal
hypnotherapy CD and it will trigger me to relax and breathe deeply, facilitating an easier birth.
If I request pain relief, initially please take this as a request for more emotional support and encourage me instead e.g. ‘you’re doing really well’, ‘the surge will be over soon and then you can rest’, ‘you’re strong, you can do this’ etc. If I continue to ask for pain relief despite your emotional support and encouragement, I would prefer to have gas and air and for you and/or my husband to help coach me with breathing (slow and rhythmic breathing, longer outbreaths) and massage. If I
request stronger pain relief then a minimal dose of pethidine to be administered.
I would like the freedom to have the pool temperature regulated to my own comfort, and for you to encourage me to leave and re-enter the pool in the first stage of labour as and when I wish. However, I am happy for you to check both the temperature of the water and my temperature, to make sure that I remain comfortable.

Again, during transition I would appreciate any additional encouragement and emotional support you can give me – reassurance that the baby’s nearly here, I’m doing well etc.
I would like to remain in the pool for waterbirthing. Please do not coach me to push as I will be using mother-directed breathing to allow the natural expulsive pulsations of the body to help the baby descend. I think I will prefer to give birth in a supported kneeling position or on all fours.
Please encourage me to reach down to feel my baby’s head when crowning.
I welcome any help/coaching you can give to ensure my perineum remains intact. Episiotomy only if necessary and use of anaesthetic for this procedure.

Immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby placed on my stomach or chest. No wrapping of baby.
Father to place his hand on baby’s back under warming blanket. Baby to remain with me in the pool for an hour before weighing etc. Encourage me to get baby to suckle a few times to assist with natural placenta delivery.
Cord to be clamped only after pulsation has stopped. Father to cut cord.
Allow vernix to be absorbed into baby’s skin – delay ‘cleaning or rubbing’.
No vitamin K orally or by injection.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Elephant Feet

My feet and ankles have really puffed up in the last few days. On Friday, when it was really hot, I looked as if I had elephantitis! Thank god for my Bite flip flops - they have adjustable uppers which have saved me from being completely housebound. There's no way I could cram my feet into anything else at the moment.

I've been having insomnia at night and craving naps in the day. Now that half term is over I fully intend to embrace my new nocturnalism when necessary. Bless her, Ella was a star yesterday. She had an Inset day so was at home with me. I had hardly slept the previous night and was dead on my feet.

She plonked herself in front of the TV and said she didn't mind have a relaxing day, let me snooze on the sofa and even brought me a drink. Such a sweetie! It was only when her dad came to collect her after 3pm I realised that all we'd had for lunch was a bowl each of natural yoghurt and blueberries (made by Ella). Oops! I'm sure he'd have given her a hearty dinner.

Only a few days to go until my due date. I look fit to burst, although I think Alicia may make her grand appearance closer to father's day (20th) than her due date (10th). For the moment, I'm content to potter round the house, enjoy the sunshine and calmly wait. I would love it if she proves me wrong though!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Bella May

I have a new niece!

Bella Mae Holford finally popped out two weeks after her due date on 31st May. I am so proud of Jules because she managed to avoid intervention and stuck with just gas and air despite a fairly long labour and some complications such as meconium in the water. She stuck to her guns and insisted on being left to it as much as possible, and finally got the natural birth she deserves.

Here's Bella with big sister Sulis:

and with Granny (my sister, Jules, in the background):

snoozing in the garden:

having a cuddle with mum:

Like me, Jules' first birthing experience was fairly medicalised and scary. I have faith that I can have a similarly satisfying experience second time around. I'm much better prepared this time, having done a hypnobirthing course with John and diligently listening to the hypnobirthing and natal hypnotherapy CD which prepares you mentally for being able to cope well with birth - Jules listened to it too and really thinks it helped.

I prefer the natal hypnotherapy CD as the affirmations make sense to me, it encourages me to practice my breathing (long outbreath, in through the nose and out through the mouth) and the guided beach meditation is so relaxing that I usually end up snoozing through it (luckily it still works if you're asleep!).

I've also read a few books which have convinced me that childbirth doesn't have to be an ordeal:
Childbirth without Fear,

Birthing from Within

These books have also equipped me with the confidence to recognise when certain medical interventions are unnecessary and how to refuse procedures when appropriate to avoid the
'cycle of intervention' (when one medical procedure leads to another and another..increasing the risk of forceps or caesaraean delivery which could have been avoided). They aren't dogmatic though, and I realise that certain procedures in specificn situations may well be helpful. So I will go into boirth with an open mind...

I'm crossing my fingers that Alicia Lily is more punctual than her cousin. I'm due in a week and I'm so keen to meet her. To avoid Jules' agonising, frustrating wait for her new baby I'm telling myself and others that "My due date is 10th June so I'm expecting to drop any time from 10th to 24th June". Or when I'm feeling particularly laissez-faire "I'm due sometime this month".

I'm so keen to meet Bella but unsure about making the 3-4 hour roundtrip when so heavily pregnant. I popped into Reading today, a 20 minute drive away, got measured for a nursing bra, went into H&M for some cute (and brilliantly cheap) baby clothes, stopped for a drink at a cafe and then drove back home. I was completely knackered after that. My SPD/Pelvic Girdle Pain really kicked in during my gentle waddle through the Oracle - despite wearing my tubigrip - so I'm now staggering about the house like an old granny.

Luckily, my lovely sister has told me to stay put this weekend and that they'll come and visit me in a few weeks' time to show off Bella and meet Alicia.