Welcome back to my recently launched “Love Your Labour” series. The aim of this series is to show that not every labour goes the same, and not everyone feels the same about their labour. It can be difficult to comes to terms with a traumatic birth, so hopefully by sharing their stories here, these ladies can prove that we can love our labour, even if they don’t go to plan.
This week our guest post is from Katy of Katy Kicker. Katy is a 29 year old Mother of one from Essex. Katy is married to Thomas, and they have been together for 10 years. Katy works from home full time as a blogger and freelancer. Katy blogs about money making, saving, recipes, parenting, lifestyle and more!
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)
Initially I wanted to have a homebirth. I had a One2One Midwife and they were fully supportive of me having a waterbirth, at home. However, as my pregnancy progressed I began to have more issues, in particular with high blood pressure. While I would still have been supported if I chose to stay home I was advised that I would need a hospital delivery. I ended up having a c-section anyway so any planning would have been for nothing!
I did have an idea of my birth plan, a loose idea. Basically I wanted my husband to cut the cord and my daughter to be handed to me for skin to skin. I prepared my hospital bag in advance and the night before my c-section I took out a number of items that I knew I wouldn’t need as I would be confined to bed for at least the first day, which I was.
2. Did you find reading labour stories helped you in the lead up to your labour in preparing yourself for birth?
The only stories I read were ones from people who were having a semi-urgent elective c-section. I say elective as it ended up being an emergency anyway so again it was all irrelevant as that is how my daughter needed to be born. The few stories that I read empowered me to convince my consultant that there was a problem. If he refused to listen I would have been demanding a c-section on anxiety grounds, however, he did listen, scanned me again and saw that my daughter wasn’t growing well at all. This was despite a scan just two weeks before.
3. What happened during your labour that meant it didn’t go to plan?
My daughter was born by an emergency c-section. We suffered placental abruption while waiting in the theatre and it was very fortunate that we were in the right place at the right time. I lost a couple of litres of blood. Also, my daughter was suffering from IUGR and was born at just 5lb 13oz, at 38+4. She managed to avoid SCBU but we did have to spend extra time in hospital to monitor blood sugar and ensure my blood pressure was being managed.
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?
I felt elated that I had done my job. My daughter was born safe. While her birth was a little traumatic for us both she had made it. At the time that was enough. Afterwards I did struggle to come to terms with it but I have made my peace with it now.
5. How do you feel about it now? Have your feelings towards your labour changed as time has gone on?
While it didn’t go to plan, any of it, I’m so happy that I was strong, confident and empowered to effectively save my daughter’s life. The placenta would have detached at home if I hadn’t have been at the hospital, and I was only there because I refused to leave without them checking me again.
6. Do you find talking about your labour helpful or have you struggled with this? (either in person or through writing about it)
Initially I felt like I shouldn’t say, when I gave birth, but then I come to realise that I did give birth. My daughter has her life because of me, and only me. She came from my body. Now I’m mostly happy to talk about it, although not often around my husband. He knew just how bad the situation in the theatre was and for him it brings back mostly bad memories. Besides our daughter being born of course.
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 didn’t. I should have done at the time but I feel that after 12+ months now I’ve already come to terms with it now and feel the best I’ll ever feel about it. Probably. At the beginning this would have helped but I did not know that such a service existed until a couple of months ago.
8. Have there been any long lasting impact due to your experience, e.g. has it affected your decision to have more children?
Yes. At present I don’t know if we will have another child. While watching our daughter grow is wonderful, and makes us want another one, I’ve got the implant now. We live in a small home anyway but that isn’t the reason for the decision. I’d like to hope that one day we have another child but for now, for a few years, it is a no!
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 would have a planned c-section next time. My only birth requests would be for my husband to cut the cord, as he did with our daughter. I’d also want to be able to have skin to skin in the theatre which I wasn’t able to this time because of the complications.
10. What advice would you give to someone who has been through a similar experience?
No matter what happens during labour being presented with a live baby at the end is an amazing privilege For so many parent they aren’t so lucky, even for all their efforts in the previous months. I’ve remembered that so many times in the last few months. It is so important for me that my daughter is here and we’ve both recovered now, mostly.
If you would like to join in this series, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org