(This was written by me shortly after the birth of my daughter Molly. I was very well informed about birthing choices and interventions however because I was in the hospital system and I went two weeks past my due date, I was bullied into an induction. Words in Italics have been added today)
Molly Grace Carr was born at 11pm on December 29th... she had a bit of a bumpy ride into the world starting with an induction which was (as it usually is) the beginning of a "cascade of intervention" which ended with her being born vaginally with the help of forceps (and episiotomy... eew). Molly got a bit stuck on the way out and needed help breathing when she was born, as I was pushing uphill (in styrrups!! (spelling??)) after having an epidural.....sooo... not the birth I planned but I was pretty much told I "had" to have an induction before new years as they don't do inductions on public holidays (what the??!!) and the baby might DIE if I go past 42 weeks....(note: Molly was born covered in vernix and the placenta was huge and healthy...) typical doctors who want to "manage" childbirth and get away on their holidays on time.
I know I could have said get stuffed, I know my baby will be fine (I truly felt that she was fine)- but I think they know that as soon as they mention stillbirth they have the power. I KNOW it would have been different if I had let her come when she was ready and I know I should have been more assertive- (however I felt so vulnerable and frightened by medical staff that I submitted to their wishes against my own well informed judgement) but... all that said- she is here now and is absolutely beautiful- the joy of my world. She spent the first day and night in special care for observation but behaved like a perfectly normal baby after stabilising really quickly and I was able to have her room in with me for a day and a night before we were discharged today. (There were punctures and bruises on the backs of her hands where the nurses in special care attempted to give her antibiotics for her high temperature and then realised the humidicrib was turned up too high. She was also given formula top ups with out my consent. We are lucky breastfeeding went so well!)
We just arrived home and are trying to navigate the joys of breastfeeding a baby who lost juuust more than 10% of body weight in the 1st 48hrs... like by a few grams (she was a little chubba anyway at 9lb 11oz (!!) so I figure she wont miss a couple of grams).. I think she probably lost the weight in special care while she was away from me being given "top up feeds" with formula (which she almost always threw back up)... she LOVES mummy's breastmilk (or colostrum as is was) and I think that if she had have been with me we may not now be having to answer to paediatritians who want us to wake her every 2 hours for a feed when she is tired and floppy instead of feeding her when she asks for it (and she clearly tells us when she's hungry)... (She and I had a sucessful breastfeeding relationship for the first 19 months of her life until she decided that she had had enough- thank the Lord!)
So that's a little about Molly's birth. I didn't write a very detailed story- I'm not sure why, maybe because it was very painful to recall and I was not ready to fully face what had happened to us so I skimmed over it. For me now, reading back over this, it saddens me so much that this was the start of Molly's life. She is growing up to be an amazing bright spark and doesn't seem effected by the experience. I had a conversation with her before she was two where she told me that she remembered "when she came out" and that she was in a dark tunnel and then there were lots of people and everyone was sad. This is not how I intended her life to begin. She can't remember her birth any more and I wonder how that will effect her later in life. Some hypnosis may be useful.
I am determined to create a different experience for the next birth. I am in the process of finding an independent midwife (if our government doesn't totally outlaw homebirth in the mean time!), I have a doula friend who I plan to have there and I am soaking up as much info on home birth, reading birth stories, making plans to have chiro work done and getting as fit, healthy and flexible as I can in preparation for conception. I can't believe how differently I am approaching this whole thing. Last time I got pregnant and said "now what?".
So once again, welcome to this very sacred place. Thank you for being here. As always, comments are very welcome.
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