Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birth Preferences (not demands, this is not a hostage situation)

We labeled our birth plan 'birth preferences' because we wanted to show respect to our care providers and nurses that would be assisting in the birth of our baby.  I worded ours very carefully, and highlighted the most important parts.  (We highlighted no pain medication and no pitocin, because pitocin a lot of time is standard procedure after delivery.)  We wished to avoid demanding things that were against hospital policy.  For example, I knew that I would have to have constant fetal monitoring and a heparin lock while laboring in the hospital.  (That is unless you show up pushing, whoops!)  Our hospital also stated they required an ultrasound upon admittance, and we were going to decline the information.  (You can decline knowing your own weight if you want to.)  I have had someone argue with me that going along with policies like this is not informed consent.  She was mistaken.  I have been informed, and am consenting.

I WANTED a hospital birth.  I trust the professionals in an emergency, and feel most comfortable at the hospital.  I am not going to go into the hospital demanding a home birth.  I think everyone should know their hospital policies, their providers policies, and standard protocol before choosing where to birth whether they are having a VBAC or not.  

Other things to keep in mind while writing your 'birth preferences'.  
  • Try to keep it to one page
  • Go over your preferences with your care provider and make sure they have a copy
  • Highlight the preferences MOST important to you 

At the end of the page, we also said "If changes need to be made, we prefer to give verbal consent."  I wanted the hospital staff to know that we weren't opposed to changing the birth plan, if a true emergency did arise, but that we just wanted to be a part of that decision.

Here is a google document link of the outline we used to write our birth preferences that you can also just print out and check what you want.  Birth Options and Preferences

Our Birth Preferences
  • I would like to wear my own clothes
  • Access to fluids and snacks
  • Free mobility
  • Access to birth tub/shower
  • Access to birth ball
  • Dim lighting and music allowed
  • Heparin Lock okay
  • Limited vaginal checks
  • No IV Fluids
  • No pain medications and please do not offer them
  • Mother directed pushing
  • Pictures and video allowed
  • We do not wish to know estimated fetal weight
  • No AROM

Requests for after baby is born
  • Husband to cut cord
  • Baby placed on mothers chest
  • Parents to hold baby for first hour
  • No Pitocin
  • Save placenta
  • Delayed cord clamping

Newborn Care
  • No formula
  • No pacifiers
  • Delayed eye treatment, vitamin K shot, and vaccinations
  • Parents to give first bath

Cesarean Preferences
  • Pictures/video allowed
  • Husband present
  • Wear my glasses to be able to see
  • Lower curtain to see baby
  • Husband to hold baby
  • Skin to skin (husband will hold baby there)
  • Baby to come to recovery room

If changes need to be made, we prefer to give verbal consent


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Healing after a VBAC

As of writing this, I am 3 weeks post-partum.  I am feeling really good.  2 weeks ago, I was still super sore.  Everywhere.  Childbirth is the craziest workout I have had since I took my black belt test when I was 16.  My arms, neck, legs, everything was sore.  And of course my vagina.  During pushing, I developed a hematoma on my labia and tore pretty bad, but my perineum is 100% intact!  While being stitched up, my midwife said it would never look the same.  (she was right)  There goes my playboy career.

1 week PP with my first on the left, 1 week PP with #2 on right
We came home about 30 hours after Hattie was born.  We were given the option to come home earlier, but was also reminded that if I did come home, I would have a toddler all over me that didn't understand why mom couldn't hold her.  And I was still using ice packs on my crotch every 4 hours.  I was nearly as slow to get up and down as I was right after my cesarean.  Going pee was a challenge as well.  (Took 3 tries before I was actually able to go)  Going poop was way more of a challenge.  (Took 4 attempts, and felt like I re-injured some muscles in the process)  I am also using numbing spray a few times a day, and ibuprofen every 8 hours to keep swelling down.  So I can't say that the physical healing after my VBAC has been easy.  I am already back to my pre-pregnancy weight though.  A HUGE difference from my first pregnancy.  Yet another benefit of not gaining a ton of weight!

Emotionally, it has been MUCH better.  I keep thinking to myself "so this is what its like to take care of a newborn without being terribly depressed."  The first few days I felt a little numb.  Not it a bad way, just like everything that happened was so surreal.  Our wedding day took a few days to sink in too.  I keep waiting for it to hit me!  Even at 3 weeks post-partum, it still hasn't hit me.  I relive her birth several times a day, and am obsessed with looking at the birth photos.  The NSFW ones.  I am very proud of myself, but also haven't given myself all the credit I deserve.  I think once the birth seems real, that part will come with it too.  Nursing is going great.  Its amazing how much confidence you have in breastfeeding the second time around.

I feel so much more confident in my body in general.  I have been at such peace with birth even before I went into labor.  Our bodies are amazing.  I cannot tell you how exciting it was to have my body go into labor, without any form of induction.  To labor and birth without any interventions.  This entire experience just reaffirmed the trust I have in my body.

Little Miss Hattie
Can I say it was a completely healing experience?  No.  The depression caused by my cesarean forced me to find a way to heal.  The support from my family and friends made it possible for me to heal.  Making the right decisions for me and my family helped me heal.  Birthing from within classes gave me the tools I needed to work through the birth of my first daughter.  For me, it was all about feeling empowered with my decisions, no matter what the outcome.