Well, 34 weeks pregnant today and only a week until I finish work.
I had my midwife appointment today and all was fine – baby is still breech though so I need to get bouncing on my birthing ball, or, as midwife suggests: “going on all fours with your bum in the air”!! I go back at 36 weeks, and if little Madame is still breech I’ll be referred for a scan at Warrington. Hopefully she can “turn it around” before then, anyway.
I’m also thinking about starting on the raspberry leaf tea. Last time I didn’t start drinking it until about a week overdue – then I decided to guzzle it by the gallon load. Don’t know if it helped or not, but labour did start two days later. I’ve read a study which says that if you have one cup a day from 32 weeks it makes the second stage of labour shorter, which can surely be no bad thing. I wasn’t brave enough to try it as early as that, but now I’m 34 weeks I think I might give it a go.
I’ve also made the call to the hospital about seeing a Supervisor of Midwives re my VBAC plans. I spoke to somebody on the labour ward just now, and get the impression that, unless I’m a bit pushy, I might get fobbed off a bit. Being pushy isn’t really in my nature so I need to pull it out of myself a bit, I think.
In order to arm myself with everything I want to know, everything I want so say and what I want them to help me with, I’ve just been looking over my VBAC research, my draft birth plan and also re-reading Lilly’s birth story to work out what it is I do and don’t want this time.
(In a nutshell – last time there was an awful lot of intervention – waters broken without warning, blood taken from baby’s head, numerous attempts to put monitors on baby’s head, continuous monitoring and not much mobility because of suspected fetal distress, failure to progress, need to have c-section, failed epidural, general anaesthetic. Phew)
So, in order to get my head straight for when and if I finally get to talk to somebody who will help me agree a birth plan that I’m comfortable with, one which might actually lead me to have as good a chance as any to achieve a VBAC, here are the outpourings of my mind…
Things I did not like about last time:
- Continous monitoring meaning I wasn’t very mobile, leading to failure to progress (which is what they are helpfully proposing for this time too)
- Waters being broken early, and with no warning that they were going to be broken (scary, unpleasant, no need)
- Gas & air not helping – perhaps I wasn’t doing it right? (Please god let it help this time!)
- Monitor being put on baby’s head – three failed attempts!! (painful, awful)
- All the checks for fetal distress (water’s clear, blood test from baby) came back clear, yet fetal distress was still assumed from the off. Why?
- Having an epidural put in – didn’t like the big needle – grumpy anaesthetist didn’t help – and he carried on even though I was having a contraction – which made me cry – and might have been one of the reasons why the epidural eventually failed
- Side effects of epidural – shivering, being sick. Will this happen again? What is the alternative, pain relief wise? Pethedine?
- Epidural not being able to be topped up when it came to c-section – leading to general anaesthetic instead. What are the alternatives? Spinal block?
- Being told that, once bloods have been taken from the baby’s head to check for distress, this has to be done every half an hour? (felt like a threat to make me agree to a section)
As a result of all the above, my birth plan so far reads as follows:
Birth plan for Baby No.2
- My last labour resulted in an emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic – something I am very keen to avoid this time.
- I want to be kept informed of what is happening at every stage, and why it is happening
- I understand that labour is unpredictable but I would like as little intervention as possible in order to allow my labour to progress naturally. My aim is to achieve a VBAC and to avoid an emergency caesarean.
- If possible, I would like to wait until at least 7cm dilated before my waters are broken. If it is thought necessary for my waters to be broken, I want to be told about this IN ADVANCE and be told the reasons for it.
- I am open minded about having an epidural, if possible I want to wait until after 5cms dilation so as not to increase the risk of an emergency c-section
- I understand that fetal monitoring will need to be carried out, but I wish to remain as mobile as possible throughout labour, so would like this monitoring to be done intermittently, not continuously. I would like to avoid having a monitor attached to the baby’s head unless this is deemed a necessity for medial reasons.
I feel a bit like this birth plan is all negatives – basically DON’T ANYBODY TOUCH ME!!! LEAVE ME ALONE AND I’LL HAVE THIS BABY IF YOU DON’T MIND!!! But that’s the way I feel, a little bit.
My last birth plan reads like a fantasists list to Santa. The only things on there that happened was my request for Lilly to be given vitamin K by mouth (which was hospital policy anyway) and for Tony to be given the baby in the event of my needing a section under general anaesthetic. Whoop de Whoop.
Anyway, all this could be scuppered if Little Miss stays breech. And I know Tony is secretly hoping she does, because he thinks a planned section would be easier and less stressful. He does support me but I know he can’t really understand why I want to put myself through childbirth when I don’t really “have” to.
It feels good to write it all down. I just hope I can be as clear about what I want when this Supervisor of Midwives person calls me back. I don’t really want to be fighting these battles on the day I’m in labour.