Setting boundaries for birth

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a set of birth preferences for medical intervention during my labour and delivery. My husband and I also have set some boundaries with family and friends.

During labour, we really don’t want anyone with us except our doula. I’ve also decided that I may not let anyone know when I’ve gone into labour or headed to the hospital. My family can be quite overwhelming when there is excitement happening (translation: my dad will send 20 text messages in 5 minutes). I don’t want family distracting us and nagging for updates.

My MIL mentioned that she was willing to come and sit in the waiting room in Labour and Delivery to provide support to my husband. She didn’t realize we have a doula (which is a whole other topic), but my husband declined her offer.

I’ve always wanted my labour experience to be a special moment between my husband and I. Even before we started trying to conceive, I never envisioned having a friend or even my own mother there.

As for visitation after birth, we aren’t sure if we will allow visitors at the hospital. If all goes well, we hope to be discharged within 24 hours. We’ d like to take that time as a family to bond with our son, get started comfortably with breastfeeding and prepare for coming home.

Right now, we’ve told local family and friends that we will let them know when they can come meet the baby, but that it may not be until we are settled at home. My husband is a bit worried that a few people may just show up. I agree with him that if we aren’t allowing his parents to see the baby right away that we shouldn’t allow anyone else to either. I just hope that people respect our wishes and we will be communicating them to the nursing staff.

If we change our minds, we change our minds. If baby is doing well and I’m feeling comfortable breastfeeding, we may call up family to come by for a quick visit. But for now, we’d like our privacy to enjoy the first day of our son’s life with him.

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Prenatal class fail

We took hypnobirthing classes back before the summer, but we also registered for a prenatal class that our local health region puts on. I originally just wanted to take their breastfeeding class, but they had recently combined it into one program. Another perk was that your partner would be able to get the Tdap vaccine at the class.

Our class was scheduled to run from 6:30-8:30pm tonight and 10:00 am – 4:00 pm tomorrow.

Let’s just say…. we won’t be going back tomorrow. :/

Tonight we focused on how to know when you are in labour and labour coping techniques. A lot of the course content contradicted what we learned in hypnobirthing (i.e. hold your breath to push vs. using your breath to move the baby down). There were also inconsistencies between what the instructor said, what the book said and what was shown in the videos. I was also surprised that the course manual was borrowed from another province!

I feel like the Western medicine’s (or maybe it’s just my old school province) approach to birthing is definitely fear-based. The word “pain” was used quite frequently.

The instructor also made one comment that completely shocked me. She was taking about pre-term labour and how some infants would need a shot to help their lungs develop if they are born too soon. She said the majority of infants will do fine, but some could die. SAY WHAT!?!?!  She could have at least backed this up with the reassurance that the survival rate is between 90-95% for babies that arrive between 28-34 weeks. But nope, she didn’t.

I will give the instructor credit for being inclusive. All of tonight’s course participants were male-female couples, but she used the term “birth coach” instead of “Daddy”. She also did encourage women to trust that their bodies know what to do.

We also discovered that they recently (as in sometime in the past month) stopped giving the birth partner their vaccinations at the course. This contradicted the registration form that we received which asked for my husband’s health card number and whether or not he would be receiving the vaccine. Now, we have to call the Health Region to schedule another appointment.

Tomorrow’s topics are pain management, breastfeeding and taking baby home. Since we already have our birth preferences defined and took a taking baby home class through hypnobirthing, we’ve opted to ditch the course. I have a good friend who is a nurse. She has offered to give me additional breast feeding support if it’s needed beyond our hospital stay. Or else, I’ll go to a breastfeeding clinic or call a Lactation Consultant.

Overall, that prenatal class was an epic fail. If we hadn’t taken hypnobirthing and had very minimal knowledge of birthing practises, it would have offered some value. We were just beyond it and the material didn’t align with our values.

In the end, I would have been better off scheduling my husband in for his immunization and spending my 2 hours at home tonight continuing my nesting.

Facing fears during pregnancy after loss

Before we took our hypnobirthing classes, I was struggling with a lot of fear – about the upcoming anatomy scan, reaching viability, etc. Hitting 20 weeks was a huge milestone for me. This timing perfectly coincided with a hypnobirthing class on releasing fears. My husband and I both wrote down a list of anything that was bothering us and released each item through a visualization exercise.

On Monday night, we met with our doula to discuss our birth preferences. I prefer the term preferences because we all know that you can’t plan exactly how your labour and delivery will go.

I told her that my biggest outstanding fear is the potential for going overdue and resulting in a stillborn. I thought this fear might impact some of my birth preferences (i.e natural labour onset versus induction), but that I want to dig deeper into it and try to release it before I make a definite choice.

My doula was very reassuring that fears are a normal process of the journey. She reminded me of the statistics around gestational periods and how we can always use more natural ways to induce labour before seeking medical intervention.

My best friend is due to have her baby next week. She visited her OB this morning to discuss the possibility of induction.  She’s having regular monitoring to ensure that everything is ok.

I reminded her that she needs to trust her intuition. If she feels like anything is wrong, then she should go directly to the hospital. Then I realized, I need to listen to my own advice.

I am a highly intuitive Momma.

I believe that everything will be fine.

I believe that I can have the natural birth I desire if it’s my preference to do so.

I am grateful for every kick my little boy gives me as it reassures me that he’s alive in there.

I am excited to welcome him into our world.

So, I’ll continue facing my fears during this pregnancy after loss, trusting in the process and continually growing as the journey moves on.

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What are your biggest fears? How are you dealing with them?