Iv’e recently got back into watching ‘One Born Every Minute’ (and more recently 5 star babies at the Portland Hospital, which is so good). For a while I was wondering if it was the best choice? Whilst I LOVE reality TV and shows like these, I have avoided a once loved programme and anything relating to birth for about 2 years now since my 3rd pregnancy and birth experience suddenly became a truly sad affair. For that period of time, I couldn’t watch the joy of others bringing life into the world or to see anything relating to babies and birth…it was just too upsetting and reminded me of all that I had lost and how very different a stillbirth is to a regular delivery.
Whilst I do still feel somewhat uncomfortable with the jolliness of it all at times and often find myself thinking of what could go wrong, the very fact I am enjoying these type of programmes again shows how far I have come on my journey and speaks volumes on my ever increasing comfort around baby things and birth.
I think what I find most fascinating about them now at this stage, is how vastly different people are in labour and how relationships are in that situation. I enjoy the arrivals and reactions yes, and also the banter and just seeing how it pans out for people, but I think I am most interested in their birth options, reactions and reasons, and whether or not it does go to plan, because rarely have my birth plans gone how I would hope.
These things were again on my mind as I watched it last week, and I came to the realisation there are so many birth options and that for the 1st time ever I do not know which is the best path to take and best thing to do under the circumstances. I actually do not know or have any idea really as to what my plan should be. I find that on some days I feel certain I want a home birth and to be far away from a hospital and any reminders of our loss and Poppy’s delivery, and then on others it just makes a whole lot of sense to have a planned section a little before my due date so that I don’t have to deal with the emotions leading up to the time frame of when we found out she has passed away, and therefore feel like this one can be out quickly and safely. Both are extremely different and then there is everything in between, so perhaps with this post we are headed to it being me dumping my thoughts on each option and seeing if it that gives any direction as to what is best.
Elective Section – Ethan was born by emergency c-section in 2010, and up until that point in my life it had to be the most traumatic thing to have gone through. I honestly would never thought I would find myself considering it again as a mode of delivery for future pregnancies….The rushing, the exhaustion and pain of recovery from major surgery and the confusion of it all that left me emotional and resentful for months afterwards. But I have come to recognise that that was hugely down to the fact that it was a race against time to save him and that the actual delivery and experience of theatre was both peaceful and lovely and to see him so quickly was amazing. I found it hard when people asked how he was born.. the phrase “normally or section” often grated on me and made me feel abnormal for not being able to bring him into the world “naturally”, but as I look back, safely is the best option and how that was ensured is irrelevant now.
The idea of a safe arrival following a still birth is music to my ears, and a section pretty much guarantees such an outcome. The fact I have had a previous section does make me able to have another, however the choice of major abdominal surgery again cannot be taken lightly and the thought of the recovery time of several weeks definitely puts me off (though women who have had planned sections do assure me it was way better and feels less exhausting?). Whilst I would have to still be in hospital, a place that holds those reminders, I would miss out the delivery suite and also would feel more controlled in it all. I just really like the idea of knowing she will be hear quickly and safely with out hours of labour and worries of heart rate changes, infections, interventions and who knows what else.
Hospital (Natural) – Megan was a Vbac in 2012 which I am really proud of. I spent a lot of time leading up to it and also whilst in labour, worrying that my scar might rupture and we would have an emergency on our hands again. I think that was fuelled mostly by the fear Drs put into me at each appointment with the risks of VBAC, But alas I took my chances and delivered her naturally with only some gas and air (though I asked for more). The whole experience was pretty mad and I did loose it on several occasions, screaming and moaning and according to Mr Smith “a possessed woman”. I laugh at myself when I think of it now, but the reality was that it was pretty mental and awfully painful, like nothing I was ever prepared for. What added to the craziness was that then her heart rate dropped requiring a ventouse delivery requiring an episiotomy and leaving me with a 3rd degree tear. It has since crossed my mind if I do struggle to birth naturally or what I am doing seriously wrong to need 2 consecutive interventions?
Although my VBAC did lead to me needing stitches, I did like how well I felt afterwards. Yes the tear caused me to be in pain for a week or so, but I admit that I felt fresher and more in control following it than I did with my section. I do believe that bonding was easier too.
I think what puts me off delivering again in hospital naturally is the lack of control I felt, the lack of contact from midwives until the end, the fact the Drs come in as I am “a previous section”, and the possibility of intervention leading to increased worry and panic and with all of that, just not being able to relax in that environment. Nathan has suggested a water birth, but again as that is not always guaranteed, I cannot decide if its worth the risk to go to hospital in a vulnerable state and then find out I can’t have it and have to endure labour with little relief whilst feeling anxious in that hospital setting. It would be a let down to have to deal with.
Hospital (Epidural) – This was Poppy’s birth experience in 2014. Whilst I had another vaginal delivery which was pretty straight forward (given that she was so small) it was very different to Megsies on so many levels, circumstances aside and talking purely physical, I found the epidural was heavenly. I liked being able to relax despite being emotionally troubled and I liked that once it was removed I felt fab physically. I had no tears, no grazes or anything and so was left in a great state, able to shower, walk and get on with what I needed to. I left the hospital the same day and I can certainly see why women pay for it, push for it and take it ASAP… the relief is wonderful.
What appeals to me about this option is not just that it takes away all of the nasty pains, but that it helped me to not rush pushing and therefore avoid tearing, it helped me have one less thing to be stressed and consumed by (physical pain) and whilst it holds risks, once removed it feels good and recovery is straight forward.
When I think of delivering this baby, I worry that when I am in labour I will relive the emotions and anxieties of stillbirth and panic a bit. I really do not want this to affect my delivery, make me tense and therefore out of control again. I don’t want to emotionally and physically loose it, and the epidural certainly helps to gain physical control thus leaving me able to deal with the emotions that i’m sure are bound to erupt. I just always feel a bit of a lightweight when I ask for it and what it would mean is that I am on delivery suite basically having the same birth experience as my last…
Home Birth – This option appeals to me a lot this time round and I think it is because home is a safe place and it loses the association of hospital, stillbirth trauma and all the emotions related to them. It takes me away from an environment I have lost trust in and into a setting where I can relax. My friends and family members rate them highly and had very positive experiences at home, so when I think of a home birth, I cant help thinking it would be lovely; far more relaxed generally and therefore a faster 1st stage and hopefully a great experience to have this baby in our home, get into my own bed, have my own things around me and not be exposed to Drs or hospital things that remind me of what we had to go through before. It seems a fresh experience and choice.
The downsides I worry about though are if something went wrong or it turned into an emergency situation would I ever be able to forgive myself for risking that. Not to mention that being aware that I do go nuts in labour is also a worry that I will lose control and it just be a mad situation!! I then also worry if I did, would the baby be safe or panicked? Of course the Gas and air is available and so very much appealing, but I just don’t know if its a good idea.
Birth Centre – To be honest I do not know where our nearest one is and it is something I would have to do more research on. My sister in law mentioned it a few weeks ago and said it might make a nice in between option to have midwife led care in a fairly relaxed setting, with the assurance of hospital support close should it be needed. I don’t particularly have an opinion on it as I haven’t looked into it enough or spoken to people who have had this as their plan. I guess it would be similar worries to a natural delivery only without the hospital associations.
I think on these things, feel this baby move and wriggle and whilst so grateful for that and my oh so many options, I am at a stage where I just wonder how an earth we choose the right thing for her and that is all a little overwhelming.
Here I am on the fence and never felt so grateful for the NHS and resources at our fingertips to have babies, but I know now that I am scared of the hospitals too because of the lack of support with Poppy and then the memories of having a stillbirth in their delivery suite. On the other hand I just desperately want this baby out safe and well without too much trauma for me either and know they have the power to that too! I really wish I knew what was best for us all, what would be a positive experience and what would help me to look forward to welcoming her into this world.
Next week I see my midwife for my 28 week check, and I am certain the discussion of birth options will play a huge part! Watch this space… for now though I would love to hear of your birth experiences and choices and the whys?!
I am so sorry for your loss, My auntie has had two still births, but as then gone on to have two healhty babies. My first two babies where born in hospital, I didn’t really like it there. My third was born in a birth centre wish was much more relaxing and the care throughout the labour and after was brilliant. The midwifes have the time to give you lot’s of one on one. But for you I say just do whatever you feel most relaxed with. The more relaxed you are the better your birth experience will be #bestandworst
I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I’ve never believed in a birth plan as you never know how a labour will go. I’ve now had two premature babies so there was little time to prepare. I really wanted to have Poppy in the birth centre but don’t get to as she was born early and therefore higher risk so it was just a normal delivery suite. #bestandworst
I’ve never actually gone into labour so I can only say from my own experience…
I’ve had one natural birth (well induced and forceps), one emergency section after failed forceps, and then 2 elective sections. Elective sections are so much nicer than an emergency! It’s all very civilised, you walk in to the operating theatre feeling normal, then you have your baby within 20mins! The biggest problem isn’t really the pain, it’s the lack of mobility and the recovery time after, not being able to drive for a few weeks, and it’s more difficult when you’ve got little ones bounding around wanting you to pick them up and play with them and day to day housework with a bigger family is more demanding etc. It helps if you’ve got good support at home. With my last one Ed had just started a new job so only took 2 days off and then the weekend then back to work. School run was a bit of a juggle for a little while, but you just get on with it, because you have to, and eventually things get easier! Pray about it, and follow the path which makes you feel most comfortable, but be prepared and don’t stress if the plans need to change.x
Thanks Charlotte for sharing this and taking the time to comment. I had no idea that you had sections and it does sound far more manageable planned than not. I will pray and ponder more on this decision as its such a biggy x
Oh sweetie I can’t imagine how anxious you must be feeling and like the girls above, I’m sorry for your loss.
Have you thought about organising a visit to the hospital pre-baby? See how the sights and sounds make you feel? That could help with your decision.
I feel sick watching one born because I gave birth in the Liverpool Womens and I recognise the curtains.
Whatever you decide, I’m sure you little baby will choose another. So just go with the flow, it will all work out in the end. Big hugs X #bestandworst Renee@peonieandme
I think thats a really good idea. I will ask my midwife if thats an option and hopefully chat to some of the midwives there. Perhaps they have delivered babies after loss and have advice. Thanks Renee x
I completely relate to your worries, I felt very much the same with my eldest daughter, the first following Josephs stillbirth. I ended up having an emergency induction due to a massive bleed and didn’t really have any other option. It was particularly horrific as I was then forced to labour in the same room that I had lost Joseph in, the memory of it all made the experience extremely difficult and I was so desperate to get out of there, only to be taken downstairs to the room facing the bereavement suite. It was all just a badly handled birth and I still feel very bitter about it all four years later. With Megan and Harry I had wanted to go to the midwife led unit that I had my eldest at, a lovely experience that I was keen to re-visit, only to be told that due to being consultant led I would have to be at the hospital, ironically in the same room all over again. I’m not sure what my advice to you would be other than do what is right for you, and of course, for your baby. I wish I had spoken up more about it all, voiced my concerns and made it clear I wasn’t happy to have to face the same people, the same room, the same hospital even. Hindsight is amazing though isn’t it? Good luck lovely, whatever you do I’m sure will be the right thing for you all. #bestandworst
Oh no. Reading this gave me that sick feeling in my stomach. How very inconsiderate and of course you have every reason to feel bitter to think of how it panned out. I worry for this, being in labour and vulnerable, going to hospital and suddenly realising where i am in location to Poppy’s birth and then emotions! Not many would know the bereavement suite exists let alone where it is and its a worry to be near it all again.
I have some big decisions and maybe something as simple as changing hospitals or stating my plan is just to go with the flow away from the bereavement suite, I don’t know ;( I am going to start with sharing these things with my midwife and see what her advice is x
I hope you didn’t mind me sharing my experience, I just don’t want the same thing happening for you. It’s a good idea to discuss it all before hand, I wish I had. With hindsight I wish I had gone to a different hospital, that would have been a lot easier I imagine. Good luck with whatever you decide, not long now. Keep going. Xxx
Not at all, I am always grateful for your honesty and sharing the things that you went through to guide me in all of this. You know what its like, how I feel and get the irrational fears and stuff at times. I am glad you said what you did as perhaps that is the answer here. I will deffs talk to my midwife and ask her if she has had other women in a similar situation and how they can help x
I’m so glad, I would hate to add to your worries but I also know how utterly cruel it would be to have this baby in the same room or even ward. I’m glad you have his time to discuss your worries with your midwife, I hope that she can suggest some alternatives that will make the experience a little easier. It’s going to be difficult either way I suppose, there will be comparisons and flashbacks, those are to be expected, and the first time I heard Eva cry it broke my heart as I had not heard Josephs cries. But honestly, it healed my heart in a way I had never expected. This baby won’t replace Poppy or even take away the pain of losing her, but she will bring so much love and happiness to your family and that is something to focus on and look forward to. As always, much love. Xxx
Oh isn’t it tricky. I love OBEM too but I don’t like the way they don’t show much of the side when things go wrong, it kind of sugarcoats things. After my traumatic birth with Alfie I decided to have a very minimal birthplan with Elarna which I was pleased about, it was very different to Alfie! I say go with your instincts and you will be ok 🙂 Thanks for linking up #bestandworst
I have 2 thought strains-! Typically these come from patient (parent) and health professional viewpoint!
Oscar was late- and I imagine will always be late to everything in life. Just like his father. I had an extremely long 1st stage- opted for the birth pool- then had an epidural- and laboured fully- to find after an hour of pushing he was stuck and we needed to be rushed to theatre for emergency c- section! All scary and unplanned and not what I imagined-! They then whisked him away to Scbu overnight and I met him about 7 hours later. Ended up in hospital for 2 nights- had a difficult recovery physically – but he was 9lb 1oz so I was big too! My wound got infected and my mobility reduced significantly.
Josslyn was going to be a vbac- but every time I saw the consultant I was put off due to scar rupture etc and you will have another big baby so think about elective! I chose vbac. That said I had growth scans and it was decided for me to have an elective section 3 weeks early. She was a little over 5lbs as had stopped growing. My recovery very different. Able to mobilise sooner- little infection which cleared in days- rather than weeks- less pain and the biggest thing- NO extra tiredness! It was the tiredness from the labour that made the emergency so tough- this time I was wall rested and able to physically and emotionally deal with everything!
If Im lucky enough to get pregnant and have more babies I would opt for elective c
Good luck with your choices!!!
I didn’t realise that she was early for those reasons, it must have been a worrying time? I am glad the birth went well though and you feel positive about it.
I like the idea of asking for another scan to see the situation and maybe go back to my consultant to see what she says. x
Having had just the one baby, with a birth that didn’t go to plan, I can’t offer you much more advice than to follow your heart. Do what feels right for you and your baby, because I think the more comfortable you are the better things will go. Sending you lots of love, and I hope everything goes smoothly from here onwards xx