Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Childbirth - What I will do differently the 2nd time around

I did a lot of research on childbirth, starting before I was ever even pregnant. A peaceful homebirth rang true for me, felt right in my bones, was everything I dreamed of for my sweet little newborn. I'd already found our midwife before we got that positive pregnancy test and called to set up our first appointment when I was just 6 weeks along.

The way things ended up, I think was probably unavoidable. I did everything possible to not get preeclampsia, but still ended up with a BP of 167/117 lying on my left side when I checked into the hospital. Not the worst I've heard, but bad enough for me that I was going into kidney failure and Gray was growth restricted (though we didn't know it until after he was delivered). Once I got pre-e, it was all over, I think. No matter what happened, I would've been sick about his birth. I don't like drugs and I especially don't like the idea of my baby being on drugs. I didn't get any pain medication until just before my Cesarean (a spinal block). I only took a total of 6 pain meds after my Cesarean, 1 every 6 hours. I hated that he was doped up with Pitocin and Magnesium Sulfate for hours and hours before his birth. So I think even if I'd been able to deliver vaginally, I would still be sick about his birth.

There were some things I could've changed, though. I wish I hadn't been so trusting of my midwives. I wish I'd had an OB throughout my pregnancy who would've been on-board with my desires for Gray. I wish I would've planned for a Cesarean just to have had those details ironed out, because I am a detail person. I like to make lists. I like to be prepared. I did have a birth plan, but no one at the hospital cared, especially not the OB. I should've had an OB I'd talked to long before and had sign off on my birth plan.

The thing I wanted for Gray was a natural birth. That chance was shot as soon as we got to the hospital, there is nothing natural about what goes on behind those L&D doors. I wanted no drugs, but within 30 minutes of checking in, I was on an IV of Mag Sulfate. By nights end, I had pitocin, too. Every nurse that came in the door wanted to give me an epidural, though I never gave in and specifically requested that they stop asking. (I knew enough to avoid the whole pitocin-epidural downward spiral of fetal heart rate). The thing is, I HAD done my research and that's the whole reason I wanted a home birth. I wanted no immunizations for Gray, no poking, no prodding, no blood tests, no removing him from me and Dale. The biggest thing, though? I wanted his umbilical cord to remain intact. It was very important to me that Gray get all of his own blood, that the cord not be cut until it stopped pulsing. That is the issue on which I feel like my midwives failed me the most. It's a very simple gauge of a doctor, to ask their stance on immediate cord clamping. When I brought it up with the OB, she said "I never delay cord clamping because once the baby is born, blood flows backwards out of the baby into the cord and out of your placenta." That OB was really that big of a moron and I was completely powerless to do anything about it, because I was already checked into the hospital under her care, to leave I would have to get off of IV's, remove a catheter (that I shouldn't have had in the first place), get my clothes and check out AMA. (If you don't know anything about cord clamping, please educate yourself, for the sake of your children).

So the next time around, I'll have a dual plan of attack. I'll have a midwife, in case I don't have pre-eclampsia again and I can have a homebirth, but I will also have a progressive OB who understands and agrees with my desires for my child. If I have to have a repeat Cesarean, I will have a lotus birth (where the umbilical cord and placenta remain intact). (One of the other things we wanted for Gray was to plant a Placenta Tree - but we weren't able to because the hospital incinerated his placenta, even though we specifically requested it be given back to us). I will not allow for my baby to leave me, even if I have a Cesarean. There's no reason for the baby to leave my room or my side. It just came out of my body - how could it possibly cause an infection or anything else? I will plan, next time, for a Cesarean, and hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised and not need one at all. But I will be prepared, and I won't trust that someone else cares enough about me to ask the right questions. I will do that myself.

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