Birth Options

We had another midwife appointment last week. Another visit to talk about Mummy Hew’s choices. When we had our first midwife appointment at around 8 weeks we were told that as this is our second child we will have a significantly less number of appointments. We were then told that we will be under consultant care which meant we would have a few more appointments. We then challenged the care we were receiving and we were given even more appointments. We then asked some questions about how Mummy Hew can deliver Baby Hew No2 and were given even more appointments. So for a second pregnancy which we were expecting minimal appointments…..we’ve had shit loads!

Our most recent appointment was really positive. For the first time we felt like Mummy Hew actually had some choice in how she births our child. Due to the rules under our hospital trust Mummy Hew was not able to elect a C-section. We overcame this barrier quite quickly and started to put ourselves in a positive position about how Mummy Hew will birth Baby Hew No2. We enrolled in an online Hypnobirthing course…..we have found this really valuable and I highly recommend it!

The most recent appointment was with the Senior Consultant Midwife to review Mummy Hew’s birth choices. Ideally Mummy Hew would like to use water as pain relief and birth in the birthing pool. Unfortuantely under our hospital trust there is not a birthing pool in the consultant led ward, only the Midwife led unit (MLU). The trust do not allow you to use the MLU if you have had a previous C-section. During our appointment we talked though the options open to Mummy Hew, we advised that in an ideal world we would not want Mummy Hew to be strapped to a bed unable to move. We talked through our desire to use the birthing pool and that Mummy Hew would feel least anxious in the pool. The Consultant Midwife advised that in normal circumstances the MLU in not available for someone who has had a previous C-section. She understood our concerns and advised that although the hospital trust do not recommend using the MLU, assuming there were no complications with Mummy Hew’s pregnancy we could use the MLU and have the option of using the birthing pool……with a small condition. The condition being that we sign to say we were going against the hospital trusts advice. Which we did. We balanced the positives of using the MLU against being stuck on the consultant led ward, we took into account the Consultant Midwife’s comments and used our BRAIN (a tool we learnt through the Hypnobirthing class). Our decision to use the MLU, in our opinion is the best option for Mummy Hew and Baby Hew No2. And the Consultant Midwife agreed with us…..even though she made us sign the stupid form!

So all seams to be in order to use the MLU – Oh except Baby Hew No2 is now breech! This  isn’t anything to worry about at the moment, but having done our research, it is less likely that Baby Hew No2 will turn of its own accord, noting Mummy Hew’s C-section scar. The stretching of the uterus can be impacted due to the scar tissue of the C-section. We have a follow up appointment with the midwife in a few weeks and will talk through the options available to ‘help’ turn Baby Hew No2……our current preference is to leave Baby Hew No2 alone and see what nature does.

Over the next few weeks we need to complete the Hypnobirthing course – I think we only have a small amount left. We also need to complete a birth plan. We didn’t do this with Gracie. Our view was that we would decide at the time what we wanted, in hindsight we were quite naive, we just did what was asked of us – rather than questioning what was happening to Mummy Hew and Gracie. We felt like we were prepared but this time round we have learnt so much more. Not only about the effects of child birth on the body but the mind too. Looking back I feel a bit silly that we didn’t fully research the options available to us.

So what are we are considering:

The use of the MLU

As noted above, our preference is use the MLU. In our view this is the best place for Mummy Hew to be to feel most relaxed. There is the option to use the birthing pools, have the lights dimmed, have mood lighting in the room and be in a private room with a private shower. The MLU feels a lot nicer than the consultant ward, its much more homely.  If there is an emergency the MLU is linked to the main hospital, the consultant led ward is down the corridor…..not exactly far to go is it?!

The NCT state the advantages of having your baby at a birth centre or MLU include:

  • Being in surroundings where you may feel more relaxed and able to cope with labour.
  • You’re more likely to be looked after by a midwife that you have got to know during your pregnancy.
  • You will usually be able to be in the same room for your whole stay, with you partner.
  • You are more likely to have a straightforward birth without medical interventions.

This option for us is currently our preferred option…..I think!

Delayed Cord Clamping 

As Gracie was born via emergency C-Section we didn’t have the opportunity to delay the cord being clammed. I hadn’t really thought about it either. What we now know is that when the Baby Hew No2 is born it will only have 2/3 of its blood. The other 1/3 remains in the placenta. Studies have shown that delaying clamping the cord for 1 to 5 minutes can have a positive effect of your baby. Tommy’s state that cord clamping can have the following benefits :

  • increased iron levels in the baby even up until they are six months old which helps with growth and both physical and emotional development.
  • increased amount of stem cells, which helps with your baby’s growth and helps with their immune system.

Babies who have immediate cord clamping (particularly boys) have also been shown to be more likely to:

  • be anaemic at four months of age
  • have decreased fine motor skills (coordinating small muscles, such as hands and fingers) at the age of four years
  • have decreased social skills at the age of four years.

Gentle C-Section 

Whilst our preference is no longer to have a C-secion, should there be a medical reason for us to we would prefer that the c-section is a gentle C-section. A gentle C-section allows certain changes to the delivery to help you feel more in control of the situation and the birth of your baby. If you have a gentle C-section you have the ability to ask for the screen to be lowered, so you can watch the birth of your child. I wasn’t brave enough to ask to look behind the screen when Gracie was being born – if we end up having a gentle C-section I want to film it, I think it will be amazing to be able to watch it back – you never know I might even instagram it!

Other benefits of a gentle C-section mean that Baby Hew No2 would be delivered slower. This would allow their chest to be squeezed though childbirth, mimicking a more natural labour. This will help clear their chest of any fluid and has long term benefits to their respiratory system.

There is also the option to have the Baby Hew No2 placed on Mummy Hew’s chest and to allow them to start to feed straight away….skin to skin contact is so important for bonding. I used to love cuddling up to Gracie after she had a bath and sitting her on my chest with a towel over the two of us. We didn’t have this option with Gracie so it will be nice to consider this time round, should we need to.

Vaginal Seeding 

This is another option that is potentially available if Baby Hew No2 has to be born via C-section….although I have to be honest, I’m not sure this is for us, the research shows a number of cons alongside the pros.

In essence, the idea is that you are mimicking a natural birth. When a baby is born vaginally it is exposed to microbiota, a beneficial bacteria found in the birth canal. This is meant to help the new born baby digest their first meal.  A baby born via C-section doesn’t get this bacteria. So a swab is taken from the vagina and wiped over the baby’s face after birth.

I’ll leave that one there, like I said, I’m not sure this is one for us…..but keeping all options open.

Donating stem cells 

This is something I was quite passionate about when Gracie was born. Unfortunately due to the emergency C-secsion the hospital did not have the ability to collect the stem cells from the umbilical cord to allow us to donate. My Nan suffered with Leukaemia before she passed away in 2012. The umbilical cord contains stem cells which can be used to help treat Leukaemia and other immune deficiencies.

To me it is a no brainier and if the option is there for Baby Hew No2 to donate the stem cells, we will. I think everyone who is able to should.

Cutting the cord

I’ll put this out there now, I find this really weird. I was given the opportunity to cut Gracie’s umbilical cord but I declined. It doesn’t do anything for me. I’ve read other Dad’s stories about how they felt it made them feel involved or that it made them feel closer to the baby by cutting the cord. I found it really odd, my view was very much that the Dr or Midwife is highly trained to do a job and it felt like it should be their job. I do not feel I missed out on anything not cutting Gracie’s cord.

That said, I might feel totally different on the day. at the moment my view is that the Dr or Midwife can cut the cord…or even Mummy Hew. I’ve read that more and more Mums are wanting to cut their baby’s cord and why shouldn’t they be given the option.

Did you cut your babies cord? Did it make you feel closer to your child? Or did you feel you missed out by not cutting your babies cord? Let me know what your view is, it might even change mine.

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4 thoughts on “Birth Options

  1. We didn’t have a choice the twins were born at 33 weeks so it was c-section great read Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

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  2. if i ever had another baby i would plan a water birth, with my daugher my husband was ment to cut the cord but they must have forgot because we didnt get a say in it (NHS) good luck to mummy hew on the birth of baby, cant wait to read about how it went.

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