9

Home Birth versus Hospital Birth

So this video was aired tonight on a current affairs project
Video link to home birth v hospital birth story
While normally I wouldn’t make a posting as controversial as this as on the outset I would like to say I’m a very pro-choice individual and believe that people have the right to choose how they live their lives and raise their children…..but something about this story has ignited a fire in me where I feel like I need my opinion stated.

I believe that some of the statements in the story are true on both sides….firstly the pro home birth side that a woman has the right to choose her own birthing journey and again then on the pro hospital birth side that a child’s rights should also be considered. However things on the pro home birth side made my blood boil, particularly that the decision is purely the mothers choice as its her journey! What a complete load of cods wallop!!! A baby is made by two people and when those 2 people make a decision together to raise this child then the birthing decision should also be made by BOTH of those two people. Yes granted, a female is the one who endures the physical pain and torment of pregnancy and birth but they also get to experience the wonders that a male doesn’t get to experience like those early flutters in your tummy, those precious kicks and punches that come from within so my point is females don’t only experience the negative throughout it all. But back to my point about it being purely the females decision – what an utter load of crap….if a child has been created in love and in to be raised in the same loving environment of these 2 people then as far as I’m concerned all decisions should be equally made between both parties, why should the fathers opinion be discounted because he’s not doing the physical screaming and pushing because at the end of the day that precious baby would not exist without the fathers involvement.

Now back to the original question of home birth v hospital birth? My opinion is you do what is best for your child….that is the simple answer!

Evidence based research shows a higher risk of newborn mortality for those who opt for a home birth when having a high risk pregnancy, so should you have a high risk pregnancy; multiple births, placenta concerns, gestational diabetes, breech or posterior babies etc why would you risk something to go wrong for the mothers own personal preference? Wouldn’t the overall mothers personal preference to have a living baby instead of living with a lifetime of regret and remorse that if conventional birthing with complete medical guidance was chosen its highly likely that the outcomes would have been different.

As a mother I can honestly say that…
There is nothing more important to me than Lachlan.
There is nothing more important to me than protecting him from harm.
There is nothing more important to me than putting him and his needs before any of my own needs and preferences!
So given that this is the primary drive of a mother’s love I can not understand why the selfish choice is made to fulfil a personal gratification choice of having a home birth in a high risk pregnancy! I myself had to have an emergency c-section and had of I not been in the hospital surrounded by the medical and nursing team that I was under constant watch and had the aids of all modern technology of monitors etc I highly likely would have been a statistic myself and left hospital without the most precious gift I’ve ever received.

Don’t get me wrong – i acknowledge that woman have been having babies out of hospitals for centuries with babies that I have survived and some mothers does their research and believe that they are making the right decision and that is their right to do so

….but my personal opinion why why why would not uses the advances in modern medicine and modern technology to ensure that both yourself and most importantly your baby is delivered to the world as safely as possible. My life without Lachlan would be no life that I want to even imagine.

0

My 2.30am Nightly Mini Adventure

I remember a time, realistically over 2 years ago when I would go to bed at whatever time and sleep through until my alarm went off without even barely moving….ahhhh what a fond fond memory that is!!!

These days, 2.30am (nearly like clockwork every morning) is wake up time being SOOOO busting for the loo I’m terrified I’m going to explode. Post-baby my bladder has never recovered despite doing all the pelvic floors and all that business, post-baby when you got to pee – you got to pee NOW!!

So at my 2.30am interlude, I do the mild frantic dash to the bathroom predominately in the dark an without my glasses to get there.
Along the way it’s like an unusual toddler obstacle course…..sliding along plastic plates on the floor like a skateboard without wheels, stubbing your toe of that bloody ‘vroom vroom’ car that continues to get under your feet, dodging the random pieces of toilet paper on the floor (as unravelling toilet paper is one of squirts current massive amusements) so they don’t get stuck on my feet and lastly walk about 47km around the gigantic pile of washing that is patiently waiting for me to find some spare time to do it! Hooray I finally make it to the loo in time – talk about relief!!

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Made my way back to bed and hello middle of the night insomnia – my old ‘friend’ I appreciate that you visited me during pregnancy to prepare me for life with a newborn. However, body my darling little boy is now 18 months and sleeps 12-13 hours a night without a peep so I no longer need this middle of the night bout of insomnia.
So as I sit in bed pissed off that once again I’m wide awake.
Listening to the heavy breathing and farting of my other half.
Listening to the nursery rhymes coming through the baby monitor.
Sit on my iPhone and have all my outstanding turns on my addiction games, run out of lives of candy crush saga and yup still wide awake!
Check out my emails and my WordPress reader to see what the people I follow are up to and yup still wide awake!
Resorting myself to lay down and watch whatever crappy episode of Star Trek is on TV (despite the fact that I hate the show its the only channel we get in our bedroom) I will hopefully drop off to sleep anywhere between 30-60 minutes. If its a shitty night I will even see the end of Star Trek and see the start of Charmed (like tonight!)
On the occasional night I’m still awake at the end of charmed and resort to a cuppa tea and toast – let’s hope I’m not heading that way tonight as Charmed has just started!

Oh to remember life pre-baby when night time was for sleeping and not these little middle of the night adventures!

On the plus side it means I get to peak at my little one sleeping which always melts my heart and makes the exhaustion worth it!

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4

A New Years Eve / New Years to Forget

So we had been home from a week and Lachlan, Jamie and I were loving spending time together as our new little family. I was still expressing 3 hourly during the day and 5 hourly overnight. Lachlan was being bottle fed EBM and then being topped up with formula as still at 2 weeks old I did not even have close to a constant milk flow. I was feeling very tired and off – which I just put down to being exhausted from sleep deprivation between a new born and constantly expressing, feeding, sterilizing etc….new years eve came around and I couldn’t possible bear to be around people who were drunk, happy and not exhausted so Jamie went to his mates house around the corner and I stayed at home and basically cried all night out of what I thought was pure exhaustion.

New Years day I had me follow up visit from the home nurse to review how Lachlan was going and to review my c-section wound to see how that was healing. I found out later that she could see from the moment she saw my face and Lachlan’s face that something wasn’t right. She carried on with her appointment and when she was pressing on my c-section wound to see how it was healing I felt like she was attempting to push her hand through my entire mid section and I screamed and just about jumped through the roof! She was very concerned about how it was healing and suggested I needed to see a doctor straight away and since it was a public holiday that it would be best if I head back to WCH where I had birthed to see a doctor there and that until I had seen the doctor I was to stop giving Lachlan any breast milk and continue with only formula….I didn’t at the time know the severity of what was yet to come, however I thought maybe just maybe I should pack a bag for both Lachlan and myself just in case I needed to stay overnight to observations. Well when I got to the emergency department they said we have been expecting you and I was rushed straight through to a single room to see a doctor to be told within 10 minutes that I was going to be readmitted for further post natal care and that I had a c-section break down and a severe infection. Needless to say the tears started to flow! I was lucky that my sister was there with me to not only drive me there but to keep me composed (as Jamie was home with Lachlan). So we were transferred to the post natal ward once again into a special quarantine room with warning labels and all protective garments everywhere in the vacuum sealed foyer of my room.

To say this all was beyond daunting doesn’t even begin to cover it as at this stage I still was not aware of what was going on, all I knew is that I was back in hospital and my baby wasn’t with me! After me making a bit of a scene it was clearly by the Shift Coordinator for Lachlan to come into hospital in my room with my as a “boarder” as opposed to a admitted patient which means that I was to be the carer as opposed to the midwives on the ward. So Jamie bought in Lachlan and his bag that I had packed – so despite feeling like crap I was relieved to have my little man back with me!

That night (well technically the next morning) at about 2am I woke up screaming and crying in chronic pain buzzers were going off everywhere and before you know it I had about 5 people run into my room prodding and pushing my belly – which incidentally made me cry and scream even more. They managed to calm both me and the pain down with a serious amount of pain killers and sleeping tablets and I was scheduled for an ultrasound review at 8.30am as soon as the radiologist was in. The midwives look Lachlan to the nursery for the night because I was in no condition (all drugged up) to be caring for a new born. I rang Jamie at about 3.30am and left a message for him to come into the hospital as early as possible as I needed him here to look after Lachlan.

After my drugged up coma sleep I was woken by the doctors who told me that they expected that I had an haematoma that ruptured overnight and they wanted to do an ultrasound on my belly to see what was happening internally. I was rushed to ultrasound where the sonographer was making a lot of unusual facial expressions and odd noises – I knew when she disappeared to go and get the radiologist to look directly that something wasn’t right. With 2 very worried people looking at my ultrasound it’s safe to say I was “shit scared” about what was going on. They send me back to the ward with a sealed report and I was going back to the ward my doctor was urgently paged to my room. The doctor explained that I had a HUGE abyss caused by the infection in my c-section wound break down and that I needed emergency surgery to drain the fluid out of the abyss, a normal abyss is between 2cm-5cm cube – my abyss was measuring in at 20cm x 10cm x 6cm. Within 2 hours I was back on the theatre table having to have my entire c-section wound re-opened and this damn abyss drained.

Waiting up from surgery I was back in my little quarantine jail cell with my baby, Jamie and my mum all waiting for me to come around. I still had a wound drain (and catheter) hanging out of me on one side that would be there for the next 24 hours to get any residual fluid and the other side I have an IV drip in. I was very groggy and sore but all I was worried about was how was I going to be able to look after a new born when I couldn’t even get out of bed on my own thanks to all these monitors and cords coming out of me at all angles. That point it was organised that Jamie and mum would constantly stay with me to help look after Lachlan, as I wanted him with me. Jamie did the day shifts from 7am to 7pm and my mum stayed in with me overnight from 7pm until Jamie got in the next morning at 7am. I was so lucky to have such love and support around me as it is the only thing that kept me sane.

The surgeon came back to check my wound post-surgery, he explained that the abyss that was drained was abnormally large and that they drained over 800ml of fluid as opposed to the standard 300ml. Furthermore because of the abnormal size that the fluid had been sent of for an awry of testing – the results had come back to determine that yes it was an infection but it was a very severe infection of anti-biotic resistant bacteria (known commonly as superbugs) and the quarantine ramped up and everyone who came near me had to have a full gown, gloves, face mask and shower nap on and then do a full scrub down as they left my solitary little room.

The doctor explained that it was critical that I stopped breast feeding as my infection was in the breast milk and I was putting Lachlan at risk giving him infected milk, from this point on Lachlan was only ever going to be a formula baby, I admitted breast feeding defeat that my body just wasn’t built to do it. This is what my milk was doing to Lachlan (red blotchy face and rash all over his body)

blotchy face

At this point the doctor also explained how luck I was to still be alive – because of the severity of the infection if the haematoma that burst had of ruptured the abyss I would not be here to write my story and Jamie would be a widowed single father….needless to say when I was told his I prompted lost my shit and cried for about 3 hours non stop.

Once I pulled myself together and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I realised that I need to get over myself and concentrate on Lachlan, he needed me fit and healthy so I would let myself heel by doing everything I was told to do, take all the medication I needed to take (which at one stage was 6 different types of oral and IV antibiotics due to the different strains of bacteria in my infection). After 5 days the wound drain was removed, it was supposed to only be 24 hours but because of the constant amount of fluid still coming out it stayed in for longer, I started to feel a bit better as I was more free to move and able to take more of an active role in caring for Lachlan.

Ten long days after I was admitted, another surgery, a copious amount of antibiotics and pain killers, a lot of tears, I was ready to be discharged as we were able to go home as family…ROUND TWO. Over the next 4 months I had daily, twice weekly, weekly to fortnightly appointments for infection swabs, dressing changes, antibiotics script and pain killer refills and to check that this time it was healing properly. And it wasn’t until May 2012 I was discharged from the WCH post natal service – by this time Lachlan was 5 months old!!

While I endured a very trauma c-section recovery – wound break down – and recovery. I would not change anything that I went through in a heartbeat because to change what I went through meant that I would not have my gorgeous little boy.

I am so very grateful still to this day for the constant love, support, dedication and help from Jamie, my mum and my sister Kim during this time to help me through my healing process by being there to take the lead in caring for Lachlan. One of my friends only asked me a week ago how I didn’t end up with Post Natal Depression with everything that I went through – the breast feeding nightmare and the near fatal c-section wound break down. Well that answer was simple – firstly I was too sick and exhausted to feel sorry for myself and secondly it was hard to feel sorry for myself was I was surrounded by such amazing love and support.

0

Heading home to start our new family life together

 

We were finally heading home on Christmas Eve 2011. I was so excited to be going home and not having to spend Christmas day in hospital.  Once all the paperwork and final checks were completed we were finally discharged from the hospital at 3.30pm.
Well let me just say it was a mad mad rush home, given that it was Christmas eve and I was expecting to be breast feeding on the way home from hospital before the shops shut at 5pm for Christmas and having to deal with the Christmas mayhem I had to find a place to buy bottles and formula from – luckily my sister let me borrow her breast pump and steriliser so that was 2 less things that I needed to worry about.
Regardless of all the stress and drama my gorgeous little man adapted so well to his new car seat in daddy’s car 

Car ride home

And then he slept the whole way home and then transferred to his bassinet where he just kept on sleeping!

Basinnet

And the next day we enjoyed our first Christmas as a family

first xmas

12

Breastfeeding….the most stressful thing I have ever attempted!

So my pregnancy was now complete, my little miracle was FINALLY here and after spending the first 24 hours in special care my gorgeous little man was transferred back into the post natal ward to be with me.  Now the next chapter of my motherhood journey was about to embark, having no idea at what I was doing with this tiny little person and wishing it came with an instruction manual, I figured with my maternal instincts that we would bumble our way through it until we figured it out. Some would say “fake it until you make it”.

The main thing I wanted to share in these early days is in regards to breast feeding.  I did all of the courses and training before Lachlan was born and with the way that is it depicted in modern TV, movies and even the books that I had read that it was going to be the most beautiful amazing experience of my life and that everything would just come naturally to me and to Lachlan and he would be a great feeder and I would be a great producers because that is what the boy was designed to do. Well by George, I couldn’t have possibly been more wrong!! I can honestly say breast feeding was one of the most hideous, ridiculous, stressful and uncomfortable things that I’ve ever done in my life.  In the first 24 hours that Lachlan was in the post natal ward he spent about 20 hours on my breast trying to get some form of nutrition. By the end of this period, going through 4 different midwives, 2 lactation consultants and about 2 boxes of tissues from crying so much, I ended up with cracked and bleeding nipples, a screaming starving baby who was vomiting blood from my nipples.

I did everything that I was told to do, attempted to feed 3 hourly, and because of my lack of supply I was on Matillion (to encourage my supply) and I was expressing 2 hourly (complete over the 24 hours day period ) to try and encourage my milk supply to come in.

After 3 days of a starving baby screaming, my nipples in excruciating pain, completed exhausted from no sleep from 2 hourly expressing/3hourly feeding over the 24 hour period, I decided that I needed a break and I needed to sleep that I asked for some formula to subside his hunger so that I could actually get a break! Well you would think that I had asked for one of his arms or legs to be chopped off with the reaction that I got. I was given pamphlet after pamphlet and lecture after lecture that by giving my son formula I was not doing the best nutritional thing for my child and I had to sign a disclaimer saying I was aware that I wasn’t doing the best thing for my….TALK ABOUT GUILT!!!  He drank over 60ml (which is a lot for a 3 day old baby) and he slept for 4 consecutive hours as opposed to the 15 minute cat naps he had been doing.

I persisted with the expressing and I gave him EBM and then topped him up with formula to ensure he was getting enough of a feed after this point. However each time I asked for a EBM top up I had to sign a disclaimer.  After signing about 15 of them, I was starting to feel really guilty and awful that I was a failure as a mother that I couldn’t do what was naturally supposed to come so easily and naturally and that I was a failure as I couldn’t produce the milk he needed….then that night I had an epiphany thanks to the lovely starving baby shrill coming from the room next to me. …my ephiphany was this….

“Screw the disclaimer, I am in fact doing the best thing for my child by giving him formula. I am a better mother by providing him with the nutrition he needs through formula as opposed to starving him with my non existent milk”

If it wasn’t for this realisation, I seriously think that I could have potentially started to head down the track of post natal depression due to the guilt and pressure I received over the whole breast feeding issue….Little did I know what was yet to come that should have sent me down the PND pathway.

In essence I agree that breast is best, I’m not denying that in any way but I am saying that it’s not as easy as you think it will be, it’s hard hard work to get the baby to latch and for you both to learn what and how to do it – not to mention those women, like me, who have supply issues.  Formula is a great alternative for those who do not have the supply.

2

My Birthing Story – Welcome to the World Beautiful Baby Lachlan

I had my first lot of gels on the Sunday night I was admitted and had a reasonably decent slept on the brick hard delivery bed and then had a second lot of gels on the Monday morning at about 6am when I was approximately 2cm dilated. Contractions were sitting at about 20 minutes apart and I was thinking what is everyone talking about this isn’t that bad or that horrible.
At about 11am on the morning on Monday 18 December 2011 my waters broke (and while I was expecting a waterfall to gush between my legs again like in the movies) it’s not what happened, given my low fluid it was kind of just a wee. Well that is when contractions decided to go stupid, from the moment my waters broke contractions went from about 20 minutes apart less than 5 minutes apart and the intensity of them increase by about seven hundred percent. This is when I started using the gas….lets just say the gas made me VERY loopy and apparently according my partner slightly hilarious at the same time, After 3 hours of contractions I had only moved to about 6cm dilation much to my disappointment, so I called in for the epidural, I wanted the “drug man”. Once the Anaesthetist arrived much to my disgust it was a female who I demanded leave because I wanted the “drug man” not her (lol did I mention I was loopy on gas) anyway I made friends with her and she gave me the epidural. The epidural started to kick in and my pain started to mellow. At this stage they told my partner I would probably try to have a bit of a sleep so now was his change to make some phone calls, get something to eat or drink etc. Well within 10 minutes of him leaving the room my mellow state had turned into chronically bad contractions and an intense desire for me to start pushing. At this stage I was about 6.5cm and clearly this wasn’t going to happen yet!! My heart rate sky rocketed through the roof and the baby’s plummeted and before you know it alarms were going on people were rushing in and out of my delivery room and I was being told that it was time for an emergency c-section because of the babies low heart rate. My partner was being paged throughout the hospital to immediately return to delivery suites, however because he was outside on the phone (ringing the grandies) he didn’t hear the page. After one very abrupt phone call from me he came hot footing it down the hallway as I was being wheeled down the corridor heading towards the theatre. My partner had a pair of scrubs launched at him and before I knew it he was right there by my side as I was being wheeled off to the unknown. I don’t remember much at this point except my crying and just repeating over and over again how I was really scared.

Once we were in the theatre and I was on the operating bed it suddenly went from about 2 staff to 20 before I knew it and there was a sheet up my nose so I couldn’t see what was happening down at the business end, my partner was there the whole time holding my hand and wiping my tears away and reassuring me it was going to be fine and I was in the best possible care. After feeling like Gumby (or a hunk of plasticine being moulded) while they did the C-section at 3.02pm a little baby boy was held up over the sheet with everything dangling downward. Bless my partner at this stage he announces to the entire theatre “shit look how big his balls are” to which everyone had a little chuckle…clearly he missed the memo about all the swelling J

I know a lot of people who feel disempowered or like a failure not having a natural birth and having to have a C-section. I can honestly say I was not one of these people! My birth plans from word go was simple
“Healthy baby and healthy mum, whatever it takes it’s coming out”
So having this mentality I was not disappointed, because I had a beautiful little baby in my arms! The one thing I was disappointed about by having a C-section was that I was sooooo looking forward to seeing the look on my partners face for the first time he held that beautiful little bundle of love we created in his arms and I didn’t get to see this. However one of the midwives captured of photo of the moment so I have to settle for that being better than nothing – and it’s really is a photo to treasure!

born 2

Because he was a little slow to respond with his breathing he was taken to the Special Care Unit straight away for monitoring and I was taken through to recovery. It wasn’t until about 9pm that night that I was wheeled down to the SCU that I really got to hold and cuddle my baby for the first time, and from that moment on I knew that I had found the piece of me what I never knew was missing and that this little miracle in my arms was going to consume a massive piece of my heart and that I would do anything to protect and care for him. I feel content and complete now he was here.

born 1