Freaking out … just a little

I attended my first-ever antenatal class on Monday night and what an eye-opener it was. However the biggest realisation for me was learning just how much I didn’t know thus rekindling my romance with Google and leaving me to try to resist the urge to buy every pregnancy/childbirth book on the face of the planet. I am also starting to freak out … just a little.

The group of expectant mothers meets weekly and is facilitated by members of the South West branch of the Australian Doulas. I found out about the group from one of the facilitators who is a friend of mine and a doula herself.

A doula is someone who supports the mother and her partner before, during and after childbirth. While a doula has no medical qualifications like a doctor or midwife they are trained and experienced in childbirth. Most are mothers themselves. They are the ones who will speak up for you during labour and make sure your birthing plan is followed through as best as it can. They are also handy to have around if your partner needs to step out for a moment. Think of a doula as your very own personal birthing cheer squad.

I am keen on having my doula friend at the birth – The Boy not so much. He doesn’t want anyone else in the room. *sigh* That’s a whole other blog post.

Prior to Monday evening my birth plan was simple – a natural birth with no drugs no matter what.

This still forms the basis of my plan however after talking to the other expectant mothers and the lovely course coordinators I am now aware of so many other things which are worth considering.

For example delayed cord clamping which up until 24 hours ago I’d never even heard about. Did you know by cutting the umbilical cord straight after birth your newborn misses out on about 32 per cent of its blood which is filled with all kinds of goodies? According to a 2005 study a two-minute delay in cord clamping increased the child’s iron reserve by 27 to 47 mg of iron, which is equivalent to one to two months of an infant’s iron requirements.

I also learned television has a lot to answer for. Birthing on your back is a no-no. It makes sense too when you think of where everything is positioned. How on earth is a baby meant to navigate itself up out of the womb – being in some kind of an upright or squatted position makes the most sense.

Hopping into the bath at the wrong time can also slow down labour – another thing I was unaware of. It’s also not a good idea to sit in a bath once your waters have broken, unless you’re at the hospital, as it may result in an infection.

There is so much to learn and I can’t wait for next week’s meeting.

Like I said despite this extra knowledge I am now starting to freak out about the birth. What concerns me is would my GP/obstetrician or midwife have told me about any of this? I certainly wouldn’t have thought to ask. When I visit my GP I bring with me a list of questions each time and he’s not entirely forthcoming with information. Am I purposefully being kept in the dark? I am now petrified of the birth being taken over by the ‘professionals’ and my birth plan going out the window. How do I prevent this from happening? I would love to hear from the other mothers out there. What are your birthing experiences? Do you have any advice for first-time mothers? Let me know by leaving a comment underneath.

Maternally yours, Nervous Nelly.

P.S. I strongly advise any first-time mothers to consider taking alternative antenatal classes as well as the ones put on by your chosen hospital. You’ll learn so much more and it’s always good to keep your options open. Not to mention the fabulous other first-time mothers you’ll get to meet.

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9 responses

  1. I guess the biggest issue with birthing in a hospital under a ob or GP is that their concern is the baby (moreso than what the mother ‘wants” and hospital procedure and protocol.
    I found forums to be an excellent source of information to back up and debate the points you have raised in this blog. Bubhub.com.au is the most comprehensive forum I have found with a lot of knowledgable mothers.

    I just told my GP what I wanted ( minimal internals/intervention, my waters left untouched, no painrelief). He agreed to them all unless I or the baby were in distress. I let the midwife know on admission what I was hoping for and she agreed as well providing no one was in distress. I did not ask for delayed clamping so I cannot help you. This all happened at SJOGH.

    I think you will find the first time is a big learning curve in regards to who you want in the room, how you like to manage your pain relief during active labour and what intervention you want. I think a doula is a lovely idea and maybe you can convince the boy that she is there an advocate for both of you and can ceartinly be asked to step back if you both want. A doula can help pass the time (can be a bit tedious in the start) and explain what is happening along the way. I ceartainly would not dismiss the fathers wishes in any case as I found my husband to be the best person in the delivery room. However, I would try very hard to address and accomdate his concerns and fears and reach a compromise (as I know you would). I found getting my hubby to read certain articles helped make clear the things I wanted and he genreally could see my point to it all.

    In the end, it is your body and you need to feel comfortable and relaxed as possible about your birthing process.

    Just my 2c worth.

  2. Plans are great! Just dont make a point by point plan, because anything can happen. And the last thing you need to be worried about is that you didnt get to use the bath, or you made friends with Mr Nitrous Oxide. My perfect plan of no drugs, baths, oils and all natural flew out the window when the baby didn’t want to do its part of engaging. I ended up being induced.

    Being induced meant I was booked in hospital the night before, a ‘balloon’ inserted to help dialate my cervix. Then after the worst nights sleep in history , I walked into the birthing suite where I had a drip hooked up and a hook inserted to break my waters. The plan of having The maternity ward on speed dial, bags packed in the car already and racing to the side door of SJOG in the middle of the night didn’t happen. But I didn’t care, I was having my baby.

    Being induced also meant that I was strapped up to the ‘machine that goes ping’ for the duration of the labour. No baths or walking around in the court yard for me. My Ob was a legend and he allowed be to come off the machine for an hour to shower as i didn’t want pain relief. It wasn’t until 12 hours of intense pain and I had only dialated 2cm that I went ‘excuse me I’ll have an epidural thanks.’ Because I knew I was in for a long haul. Turns out that was the best thing I did. I could relax, and I actually sat back and could hold a conversation. By 10pm that night I had only dialated to 3cm and the baby was getting a little upset. In an instant I was seen by another Ob and with my permission they were going I deliver by Caesarian section. I was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t then I was never going to have a baby. (This is where having the epidural came in handy) In all of the events that happened on that day, and in the lead up. I wouldnt change a thing because i had my beautiful healthy girl. My plan was a disaster, but I didn’t let it upset me. I guess what I am saying is, have a guide, know your options and don’t get upset if it doesn’t go to ‘plan’. The most important thing is that your baby is born healthy and that you are safe. Its natural to be scared, it’s the biggest thing you will ever do. But you will be great at it, and we are so lucky to live in a country which has the resources and professionals to step in when something doesn’t go to ‘plan’.

  3. Also re: delayed clamping. Suss it out for sure, if you’re having your baby at SJOG I know they have a lot of restrictions because of their ‘best practice’ crap. Like you can’t deliver in the bath and I think they don’t do a few other things. I can’t remember what they call it, but as soon as the baby is born, before anything is done the baby is put on your chest and finds its way to your nipple. Sounds amazing and something I really would have loved to have done. They don’t allow it.

  4. I think the best advice anyone can give you is “never say never”. The amount of pressure you put on yourself by saying “I will never have pain relief”, can set you up for a potential disappointment (in yourself) you just don’t need. A calm, in control Mother is a big bonus to your baby, and sometimes (and only sometimes) need some help with medication. As for the machine that goes ping, no-one wants to use it, but gee it’s reassuring sitting there in the corner of the room. Develop a relationship with your GP, he/she needs to be well qualified and calm, and have your full confidence. There are several excellent choices in Bunbury. Be kind to yourself, learn all you can, process all the information, be confident in your own ability to do it well. I am sure you’ll earn an elephant stamp!

  5. Talk to mums who have had a couple of kids and maybe different birthing experiences, they can compare and contrast options for you. But remember your critical analysis skills when asking for avice or surfing forums. Always ask what is the agenda here? Everyone is protecting an emotive position.
    That said, my advice (having had a Caesar) is have a flexible plan, work out what your priorities are i.e. you, baby, G etc and go from there. If it all pans out great and if it doesn’t, a flexible plan gets you in the ballpark of your ultimate wishes but doesn’t set you up for disappointment. By the way… Once you hold that baby OMG ! You wouldn’t care if they sawed off an arm, total bliss!!!

  6. Dont have a birthing plan, that way you won’t get disappointed. MJ wouldn’t no way in hell come out naturally and they only realised that 12 hours in to labour resulting in an emergency c section. Not at one point was I disappointed nor petrified about the operation as I knew it had to be done and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
    I also told myself no drugs, no matter what. Then about 8 hours in I cried EPI. And good job I did as I was set to go for my Caesar.
    A perfect birth is what everyone dreams of but it’s not always a reality. But in the end, it’s one day, and what you get at the end, is what matters most.

  7. I had a birth plan,I had a doula!!! (Tam) I had a easy pregnancy, I worked on the day I gave birth, I had a 3 and half hour labour, I had my doula TELL ME to go to the hospital, I was happy just to cruz around the house, if I had stayed I would of had her at home- like 15 mins after getting to hospital she was born!!! so I’m sorry if you were in emergency at 1am in july!!!!
    I had my baby standing up in the shower, I had no pain relief no stitches no intervention, I had delayed cord clamping untill it stoped pulsating, I had her feed within 3 mins of birth, I delivered the placentar minus needle,
    SO the reason I believed I had this sort of labour and birth (as my first) was because I was relaxed, informed and with it. I went to the regionals antenatal classes, I read up in books and google, and I spoke to my doula, My husband was all for it (mr squeemish BCB {before childbirth}) and therefore I believe thats why I have a placid, happy, fast!!!! 8 month old!!!! IT CAN BE DONE LADIES… just relax and let your body do its thing- if it decideds to give up on you, do whats best for your health and the babys health – be it gas or the other end of the spectrum a emergency c section!!! good luck “nervous Nelly”

  8. Pingback: A cloud hangs over | Newsroom to Nursery

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