So I was a bit bad last month and didn’t post a Love Your Labour post! My brain has been like a sieve recently, so I’ve been terrible at doing things when I should. So I’m going to post two this month to keep on track 🙂 the first one is from the lovely Vicki of Tippytupps, who talks about the birth of both her children below.
Hi !! I’m Vicki from over at Tippytupps: a parenting and lifestyle blog following me, my amazing daughter, gorgeous son, put upon husband and crazy cat. It follows our lives as we try and juggle everything that makes up the world of us!
Abi has very kindly lent me her blog to talk all about childbirth as part of her Love Your Labour series.
I have two children. A daughter born in 2014: a result of a failed induction which ultimately ended in an emergency caesarean. Then a son in 2016 who decided to turn breech mid-labour and needed a little assistance first be turned and then make his way into the world.
1. How did you prepare for your labour? Did you have a birth plan or an idea of what you wanted to happen? (eg water birth, drugs, home birth, hospital birth)
I purposefully kept my birth plans simple as I knew how quickly things could change. Both times I wanted a ‘natural’ birth (though I HATE that term) and I knew I wanted them both delivered in hospital. I did originally want water births with them both but with my second I knew in advance that it wouldn’t happen as I was classed as high risk and therefore couldn’t go into the water.
2. Did you find reading labour stories helped you in the lead up to your labour in preparing yourself for birth?
Yes – every single one was so different but I noticed that 9 out of 10 of them didn’t get up going to plan. This convinced me to be flexible with my own ‘plan’ and just keep what I would get at the end in sight: a healthy baby.
3. What happened during your labour that meant it didn’t go to plan?
With Darcie, she just wouldn’t come out! 9 days’ overdue we kept losing movement so they decided to induce me. With hindsight, I wish I had the confidence to say no and give her time to come on her own but at the time I was worried that the loss of movement was a bigger concern and that it was the right decision. Unfortunately, though neither her or I were ready which ended up in a very long and painful induction process which placed her in distress. With the baby at risk we had to move in for an emergency caesarean as quickly as possible. If you’re interested in the details then you can read my full birth story here.
With Henry, it was a little different. I had a natural labour and things were going well until he just stopped moving down. An examination showed that he had moved breech during labour and therefore had to be turned around in my birth canal before he could make his way into the world. No amount of pushing was going to get him out with his head in my hip! Again, if you’re curious you can find the full story here.
4. How did you feel immediately after the birth? Did you struggle to come to terms with the labour or did you accept that it had happened?
Second time around it was easy to come to terms with as I was just happy that he was here and he was healthy. Darcie took a little longer before I could look back without getting upset, I think because we came close to losing her – closer than even I knew at the time – so emotionally it felt extremely traumatic.
5. How do you feel about it now? Have your feelings towards your labour changed as time has gone on?
Yes. Not only am I more accepting over what happened but I am also so thankful for our NHS staff and they amazing job that they do every day. We are still in a day and age where hundreds of women die from childbirth every day and in the Western world I think we often forget that,
6. Do you find talking about your labour helpful or have you struggled with this? (either in person or through writing about it)
When I went to the VBAC clinic when pregnant with Henry to discuss my first labour, I did not count on how emotional the entire process would be. I did not realise that I still held on to so much emotion over it all and it felt good to go over the details with a medical professional and fill it some of the blanks in my memory. Getting the answers and filling in the gaps was extremely cathartic and helped me to close the door on the whole experience. I can now look back on it objectively and factually rather than with emotion.
7. Did you seek any professional help to guide you through your experience, either by speaking to your midwife or doctor, or an organisation such as Birth Reflections? If so, did you find this helped? If not, do you think this would have helped?
I did not seek it but it came up as part of the process for my second child when building my birth plan. I wouldn’t have thought it would but I found the experience extremely beneficial and would recommend anyone who had a traumatic labour and delivery to do the same, whether you think you need to or not.
8. Have there been any long lasting impact due to your experience, e.g. has it affected your decision to have more children?
Not my decision to have more children, but I was adamant second time around that I would not have an induction under any circumstances due to my experience when having Darcie. Even when faced with Gestational Diabetes and being told I would need to be induced, I refused and instead opted for an elective caesarean in the event that I did not go naturally. This was booked for my due date, but as it happens I went on my own a week early.
9. Would you change your approach for future births eg by not having a birth plan or by doing more research into types of births and options if things don’t go as planned.
I think my relaxed approach to my birth plan is what helped me to come to terms with the fact that things didn’t go to plan. I had no fixed idea of what I desperately wanted it to be other than having healthy children at the end which is exactly what I got.
10. What advice would you give to someone who has been through a similar experience?
Make an appointment at the hospital to go through your notes. If you have gaps in your memory or if you are struggling to understand why certain decisions were made then discussing these with a professional can really bring clarity to the entire situation and bring a little closure.
Other than that? Well, focusing on the end result and how lucky you are to have your children I find always helps too!