Friday, May 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
My waters broke on a Friday evening, and North was born in the wee hours of Sunday. My birth plan during my first pregnancy was very similar to the one below- to have a drug-free natural vaginal birth. Thirty hours into labour I mentally, physically, emotionally broke down and asked for an epidural at only 3 centimeters dilated. Two hours later, North was born healthy and happy. I found out after I had the epidural that North was sitting posterior on a funny angle, which is why labour hadn’t progressed for hours upon end. Posterior means that his spine was facing my spine and is apparently the most excruciating position for birthing. I hadn’t slept in 30 hours and because my waters broke initially there was a lot of pressure on my nerves, hips and pelvis over a long amount of time. If these sound like excuses, they are. When I asked for the epidural, I was devastated- I had so badly wanted to have a drug-free birth. I cried for the first time during the entire experience when I told Brad I thought I needed pain relief. I hadn’t so much as taken a panadol my entire pregnancy. However, as soon as the drugs kicked in, I relaxed and labour started to progress very quickly. In the end I was utterly happy, joyful and thankful that I had a healthy baby boy and that I had been "allowed" to birth naturally and vaginally without any interference after 32 hours from when my waters broke.
But, what does this mean for my second birth? Here is my birth plan, a plan that is still important to me, because it maps out my ideal birth and reminds me of my ideal birthing preferences, however this time I am not going to emotionally attach myself to the plan in the same way I did the first. If I learned anything from the first time around it is to expect nothing- anything goes. My own personal goal this time is to try and enjoy the experience more, relax and stay true to the moment. I think I had a lot of first-time nerves and anticipation pumping through my veins and hopefully I will stay a little more grounded the second time around. We’ll see what happens...
I’d like Brad, my husband, to be present at all stages of labour and delivery. Whenever possible I would like my son North to be present as well.
I’d also like the option of listening to my own music and wearing my own clothes during labour and delivery.
As long as the labour remains low-risk I would like to proceed in the following way:
I would like to stay home for as long as possible for the initial stages of labour. I plan on going for walks, cooking, drinking herbal tea, having a hot shower or sleeping if it is late at night.
Once I'm admitted to hospital, I'd like my partner, Brad, to be allowed to stay with me at all times.
I would like to eat if and when I wish to, as well as stay hydrated myself by drinking. clear fluids instead of having an IV.
If it is necessary to have an IV I would like a heparin or saline lock.
I would like to have the freedom to walk and move around as I choose.
As long as the baby and I are doing fine, I'd like to be allowed to progress free of stringent time limits. I do not want the labour to be artificially induced (ie. Amniotomy (breaking my waters), pitocin (inducing hormone), or cytotec) under any circumstance, unless the Doctor clearly explains why this is a necessary step and my partner and I give him/her verbal permission.
If they're available, I'd like to try a birthing stool, birthing chair or birthing bar.
When it's time to push, I'd like to listen to my instincts but to have a Doctor/midwife/nurse present to coach and to encourage me and to tell me how long I should be pushing for. I’d like to try whatever positions feel right at the time, however I am particularly interested in squatting and being on my hands and knees.
I'd like to use a hot bath or shower, have my partner massage me, use hot cold therapy and utilize learned breathing techniques and meditation, insofar as they are available as pain relief techniques.
Please don't offer me pain medication. I'll request it if I need it and understand that this may mean that I miss the opportunity to have a choice.
I do not want an episiotomy unless the Doctor thinks it is absolutely necessary, in which case, I would like him/her to explain the reason and ask permission with my verbal consent before any incision is made.
After the birth, I'd like to hold my baby right away, putting off any procedures that aren't urgent and to breastfeed as soon as possible. Please wait at least 5 minutes until the umbilical cord stops pulsating before it's clamped and cut.
I do not want a routine oxytocin (Pitocin) after or before I deliver the placenta.
Routine eye care is preferred after the initial bonding time.
If I have to have an emergency c-section, I'd like my partner present at all times during the operation.
I would like the baby to be given to my partner as soon as he/she's dried (as long as he/she is in good health). I insist on attempting to breastfeed my baby in the recovery room.
After delivery, I'd like all newborn procedures to take place in my presence.
I do not want any vaccinations administered without my consent.
I do not want the Hepatitis B vaccine administered after birth- I will wait to have my child vaccinated at a later date.
I’d prefer my partner to stay with the baby at all times if I can't be there.
I plan to breastfeed exclusively. Please don't offer formula, watered down juice or a pacifier to my baby at any point without my permission for that particular instant. I'd like my baby fed on demand as opposed to on a schedule.
If the birth is normal and the baby is healthy I would like to check out of the hospital within the first 12 hours of giving birth- when I am ready. I have a strong support system at home and would welcome visits from midwives, or can travel to our closest Maternal Health Center for any follow-up check-ups the baby may need.
"In labour call upon something bigger than you. If the idea of God is a challenge for you, call upon all the souls of women before you in all time to help bring your baby forth into this world. Realize the infinity in the collective strength of women"- from Gurmukh's 'Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful'.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
So what are the claimed benefits of wearing baltic amber? When amber touches the skin it acts as a natural remedy for teething. It is a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory, calming babies without resorting to drugs or gels (I loathe bonjela and think it is utterly useless). It is not meant to be chewed, bitten or sucked- just worn. The amber beads warm against the skin, releasing their therapeutic properties safely and naturally. If he were younger I would take his necklace off for sleep times in case he somehow managed to rip it off or get it caught on something, but he is old enough now that I can trust he won’t swallow the necklace whole. There are also secure knots between each bead so that even if the necklace were to break the beads would not scatter and become choking hazards. I highly recommend them to any baby or toddler who is suffering the symptoms of teething.
“Adam and Eve had many advantages but the principal one was, that they escaped teething”- Mark Twain