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Birth Plan Vs Reality

Our Newest Member Of The Cramond Clan!

We are over the moon (poor pun) to announce that our little chicken has arrived safely and almost to plan.

A birth plan must be used as a guideline, not a bible. Births are uncontrollable and unpredictable so you must approach with an open mind.

I had a plan in place to ensure my labour was as quick and easy as possible. Or at least I was going to do what was in my hand to accomplish this. On my post 6 Tips & Tricks To Help Labour I go into detail about this.

Birth Plan

Regarding the first stage, I was looking to have a water birth at the birthing centre with minimal intervention. This includes little to no pain relief, freedom of movement, minimal cervical examinations, no constant monitoring and no artificial oxytocin. I requested dim lights and minimal conversation during labour.

For the second stage I was happy to be encouraged and guided to push. Asked to avoid an episiotomy and an assisted delivery (from forceps or vacuum). It was very important for me to have skin on skin as soon as possible and to have a full hour with my baby before any checks.

The third stage plan was to start breastfeeding as soon as possible, delayed cord clamping and to allow the placenta to be delivered naturally.

Reality

Thursday the 31st of May was my estimated due date. I started the day with my bloody show and mild period-like cramping. At roughly 1am contractions started. They were irregular but got to about 1 and a half minutes long every 3-4 minutes by 3 am. I phoned triage and was advised to take some paracetamol and call back later if they continued. I took 500 milligrams of paracetamol and at 4 am decided it was time to book a taxi.

We were at the birthing centre by 4:30. On arrival the midwife asked to examine me, I was 2-3 cm and my cervix was quite far back. I thought she would ask me to leave, but them my waters started to trickle and the contractions started quick and strong.

The midwife read through my birth plan and “discussed” it with me. By this I mean she talked about what the norm in the birth centre is while I twisted and turned in pain. I decided to go on all fours leaning against a giant beanbag. I was offered an essence oil to help relax, this was mixed with a carrier oil so my husband could rub my lower back. The lights were dimmed, the pool was filled and I was left to do what I felt right.

Just after 6am I decided I was ready to get in the pool. The midwife would listen to baby’s heart after each contraction to ensure he was still happy and guided me to breath through these. At 6:45 baby’s head was out and I was encouraged to give the last couple of pushes to get him out. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck so she was unable to put him straight onto my chest. At this point she realised I was bleeding heavily so asked my husband to take off his shirt as baby was going to be given to him for skin to skin.

As soon as I was out of the water she explained that due to the heavy bleeding it was not safe for me to deliver the placenta naturally, and I was given a shot in the leg to help deliver it. I was asked if I wanted to see or keep my placenta. No thanks.

Turn of Events

Now this is where my birth plan took a slight turn. The midwife was unable to stop the bleeding as she could not find the source. I was placed on a bed with stirrups and treated by 3 midwifes, 3 doctors and an uncertain number of stitches. 2 hours and 1 litre of blood lose later they were happy to send me to ward.

I dreamt of going home the same day I gave birth. I even played with the idea of a home birth. Instead, I spent 2 days in the hospital. On the bright side, my husband had a full 2 hours with our son before he was measured and checked. On the down side, I was not able to offer my son the breast during these 2 hours and do not know how this will affect our breastfeeding journey.

Conclusion

We are now home, adapting to our new life as parents. In general, I am happy with how my labour went. I did take gas and air for the stitches, but I managed to deliver my son naturally in a pool with no pain relief.

The real journey starts now. Healing physically from childbirth is painful but won’t last forever. Reasons I want to breastfeed is a completely different chapter. Getting my little chicken to sleep in his cot at night is a challenge. We will work our way through it.

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