With all the drama planning for the what ifs around my mental health when Liberty arrives and whether my meds would cause issues when it came to breastfeeding, I haven’t actually been asked what kind of birth I would like. Before I was pregnant I would joke saying that I was too posh to push and have my labour booked in and plan my labour around my life. I would want the baby to come ‘out of the sunroof’ if you know what I mean as no way I would want to it to come out of my V. The thought terrified me! So it was time to ask myself what kind of birth I actually wanted.
Having no clue, a colleague at work suggested a book which was the ‘NO BS’ book to pregnancy, birth and the early days which would cover everything I wanted to know and all the things I hadn’t even thought of! The book was called ‘The Positive Birth Book’ by Milli Hill.
According to her bio in the book, she is a mother of 3 ( she knows what she is talking about TICK) she set up the Positive Birth Movement which is a global network of antenatal discussion groups, with the aim of improving childbirth and giving women better access to support and information and spread the positive messages about birth. (encouraging conversations to share experiences and knowledge TICK). I have to admit that this book was a god send to me and I can safely say that some of the advice in this book has changed my life by changing my thought pattern and be excited instead of being fearful.
On the second page of the induction (page 11), Milli states ‘ Positive birth is about having freedom of choice, access to accurate information, and feeling in control, powerful and respected’. She then goes on to use the example that if you wanted to have an epidural or elective cesarean, then this book would help you to make that choices with confidence. But if for any reason that you were unable to have the birth you wanted, the book would help equip you to deal with such wildcards and stay in control of your choices whatever happens.
Right so lets start! Birth – are you afraid?
The answer to this question is a BIG FAT YES! I have realised that when you are pregnant, you become public property and have to endure the countless stories of child birth from friends, family, work colleagues and even strangers. Everyone has a story and it is always eventful and just tops up my fears of child birth. I try hard to smile, show empathy and thank them for sharing but inside I am screaming for them to stop telling me as I feel sick with nerves and it really isn’t helping. (I don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone who reads this and had shared their story with me). Thoughts race through my mind about what it is going to be like for me?! How am I going to push a watermelon out the hole that is the size of a bagel?! Liberty is measuring big of the bump chart so I am panicking! I need to plan a birth which will make me feel the most comfortable, confident and in control.
I was sat in one of the antenatal classes which was focusing on pain relief, this was the first place where I had thought about the possibility of a water birth. I hadn’t really considered a water birth as always thought that water births were for people who wanted to have births at home and this wasn’t an option for me. The reason being I would panic that something would go wrong and wouldn’t have the equipment requirement at home plus I would never want to move if Liberty was born in the house as the house would become a sacred place. So I then decided to research water births to see if this was an option for me. My initial thought, I do love baths (37 degrees is the perfect temperature for me) and the water helps relax me and is one of my methods of pain relief. But on the opposite of that, I have a fear of water. There were a number of questions/thoughts which I needed answers to (I know some of them sound ridiculous):
- What happens if it is in use? What is the turnaround to get it ready?
- When can I get in?
- Can my husband get in with me?
- I feel that I would feel like I wouldn’t feel as supported as I would be on my own in the pool
- Is there a time where it would be too late to get out? Or can I get out anytime? (or this just related to when drugs are limited such as too late for an epidural?)
- STUPID QUESTION ALERT: Can Liberty drown?
- Are you less likely to tear?
- When do I get out once Liberty is born?
- STUPID QUESTION ALERT: Would I be scared to go near a hot tub forever if had a bad labour?
I decided to ask the social media world so asked Instagram and Facebook Harrogate Mumbler pages for advice and guidance RE: Water birth and got an overwhelming response that water births were the way forward and reassured me that Liberty won’t drown, less likely to tear, can speed up labour and Dave could get it with me but not advisable due to what may be in the water. There were only a couple of negative comments related to getting in too early and getting frustrated and other being that they were too relaxed that it stopped the contractions.
I did some more research online and looked in Milli’s book where she covered this option on pages 157-161, adding to the opinions from social media, I decided that I would focus my birth plan around the idea of a water birth as felt this was the right option for me. However I know I have to be realistic so I would also plan for the wild cards that could happen as nothing is ever certain apart from in this occasion, the only certainty is that she has to come out!
The next steps were to write out my plan, I know it’s not as easy as writing ‘ I want a water birth please’ on my green notes under birth preference. I didn’t realise that there were some many more decisions to be made when creating a birth plan. These decisions ranged from pain relief options, who would you want involved to do what, certain medical equipment and procedures you would allow and plans for meeting her and the first hour. In Milli’s book, she introduces what is called a ‘Visual Birth Plan’ (VBP) which would help me understand and select from the choices that were available to me. The VBP uses a serials of icons to create the visual aspect of the birth! The VBP can then be given to my midwives and health professionals to help them be clear on my choice! #perfect
PART 2 – My Visual Birth Plan – to follow