I’ve said time and time again that my aim for this birth and pregnancy is to make it as positive experience as possible. I actually want to make the day I go into labour one I really look forward to and I’ve been doing a lot of research that has helped me make some strong, concious and very informed decisions.
Being a high risk pregnancy due to high BMI and having a previous C-Section I knew I wanted to do all I could to avoid that kind of experience again. I have found reading the Better Births report, AIMS website, Am I Allowed? VBAC by Aims, Big Birthas, Tell Me A Good Birth Story, information provided by the NHS Hampshire Hospitals Trust, The Positive Birth Book and Why Home Birth Matters all incredibly insightful. I have also put through a request for freedom of information request to my hospital trust to gather as much information as possible so that I can make a clear and informed decision on how likely I think I am when it comes to intervention. This has all really helped my anxiety levels as I feel so positive and prepared with all this information.
I am also older and wiser this time around and I have learned a lot about exactly what it takes to give birth even if you’re high risk. I think it’s very easy to be lead by your health care team in your first pregnancy who sometimes might not make some options for you very clear or might guide you into what is routine rather than making a personalised pregnancy and birth plan with you. I do not believe my midwife has done this at all, in fact, she has been very understanding about some of my choices and decisions and has accepted them without question.
I will always say to women, first, third, fifth pregnancy to have a birth plan formed on positive, unbiased and informed consent. If you are high risk for whatever reason and you find something about your care hard to swallow then question it and get a second opinion. Just because you are pregnant does not been you have to give up your rights for a positive birth.
I will also say that birth is unpredictable and that midwives and consultant obstetricians can tell you about all the risks, however, this should never be at the expense of the positives. It is important to make a pregnancy and birth plan with your health care providers but to also understand that you are allowed to say no. It is also in your best interest to ask for facts and figures about some of the statistics you may be told for example “Your risk of still birth doubles the futher overdue you are, so we would suggest medical induction at 41+12 weeks gestation.” – that sounds terrifying. However, when you look at the facts, the risk is still very low. It is a risk, and a risk is worth talking about but not through scaremongering.
Absolute risk is the actual risk of something happening to you. For example, if the absolute risk of having a stillbirth at 41 weeks was 0.4 out of 1,000, then that means that 0.4 mothers out of 1,000 (or 4 out of 10,000) will experience a stillbirth.
Relative risk is the risk of something happening to you in comparison to somebody else. If someone said that the risk of having a stillbirth at 42 weeks compared to 41 weeks is 50% higher, then that sounds like a lot. But the actual (or absolute) risk would still be low—0.6 per 1,000 versus 0.4 per 1,000. – https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-on-inducing-labor-for-going-past-your-due-date/
With all my informed decisions made, discussions with my partner, doula and health care team I am feeling positive about my plans for birth, however that might happen. I intend to make the experience as positive as possible.
- Hiring a Doula has been the best decision I have made. She has been my Yes person when I’ve most needed it, my emotional support and advocate. She has helped me with research, planning my birth and making things easy for me in this pregnancy.
- Natural pain relief such as a TENS machine and the use of essential oils. I want to actively avoid another epidural with the risk of a further c-section increasing if I do. I am open to using gas and air as well as Pethidine if I were in hospital.
- Use of water. This is where things get tricky, at home, I can have a birth pool, in hospital by BMI is too high and goes against their policy despite water probably being so much more beneficial for women in labour with a high BMI due to helping get into more active, upright positions and buoyancy of the water offering a weightless feeling. Baths are also amazing to help us feel relaxed, calm and let oxytocin flow.
- Making a birth plan for best case home birth and best case c-section. This has helped me cover all my options and figure out exactly what kind of birth I want in any circumstance.
- Hypnobirthing has helped me to relax
- Positive Birth Affirmations have made me feel empowered
- Reading positive birth stories and connecting with other women to talk about their birth has made me feel “Why not me too?!”
- Making an early labour home kit full of things to focus on and get that oxytocin working through my body such as favourite oils, massage, a tennis ball, hot water bottle and cover, paracetamol, a list of my favourite food and drink, a spotify playlist of my favourite songs.
- Batch cooking and filling the freezer with wholesome meals to keep me busy and reduce stress
- Organising a home food shop for a few days post birth when contractions have started so we don’t have to worry about going out the house
- Getting excited about meeting my baby