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Deaf in labour

(17 Posts)
notcitrus Thu 24-Jul-08 12:52:25

I'm 33 weeks with my first baby, and getting rather nervous about labour (of course!). I'm deaf, don't sign, usually cope with lipreading, hearing aids and having stuff written.

However when I'm tired or preoccupied (like, say, in labour or afterwards...) my ability to understand strangers plummets to around nil, especially if they have any kind of foreign accent (like many NHS staff).

What I want is for one of MrNC and two other close friends who I can understand easily to be with me at all times, because I'm terrified of being left alone or not knowing what is going on (not just being deaf; I'm scared of people walking up to me while I'm asleep, too). Hospital policy is for partners to be kicked out outside of 10am-8pm 'except in exceptional circs' when 'partners wishing to visit may negotiate with the midwife in charge' Do you think it'll be OK to keep someone with me?

I'm less worried about labour and a lot more worried about the post-natal bit.

So far the midwives and everyone giving me antenatal care have been excellent with deaf awareness, arranging appts by email, happy to deal with Typetalk, ensuring I can read computer screens, etc. Only one unpleasant woman who takes blood pressure and tests urine samples, but her main problem is not having enough English to understand 'face me' or 'lipread' The last midwife I saw said she would Have Words with her...

Any other advice on deaf parenting? I've got enough hearing at certain high pitches that I'll be able to tell the baby's crying, even if I miss out on the full effect. grin But wouldn't hear quieter fussing, etc.

nightshade Thu 24-Jul-08 19:30:29

not sure about your first query, but re. parenting, buy a good sling, read up on baby wearing and breastfeeding.

if baby is with you, and breastfeeding you will soon learn to see and feel the cues quickly.

good luck.

notcitrus Fri 25-Jul-08 15:08:41

Thanks nightshade - was planning on breastfeeding and babywearing anyway (I'm totally cack-handed and not dropping Squirmy sounds like a plan!), but makes sense I'd learn more about his cues that way too.

catrin Fri 01-Aug-08 13:51:35

A Deaf friend of mine who has had a baby recently keeps the baby close to her at night and wears 1 hearing aid so she can still hear the baby. More generally, children are very good as they get older at knowing how to adapt, so eg your dc will tap you or turn your head once he/she is old enough to get your attention. My dd is Deaf and is able to change the pitch of the sounds she makes to indicate differetn needs.

TBH you will have the baby with you nearly all the time in the early days, so you will be able to figure out as easily as anyone else what he/she wants.

mum2niamh Fri 01-Aug-08 14:42:06

hi hun, I'm deaf with a 5 month old. I don't sign, but I lip read too and use hearing aids.

At the hospital, they insisted only my dh stayed with me. My mother flat out refused to leave and explained my hearing problem. I would only have a maximum of 2 birth partners though and tell them to be stubborn too. Your deafness is an 'exceptional circumnstance'.

Get your birth partners to make sure everyone in the post labour ward knows you are deaf. Tell the other mums to alert you if your baby needs you. Alternatively, do what I did and ask the midwives to watch the baby for a few hours so you can sleep at night. Only do it for part of the night though or they will get annoyed! Or if you feel okay, you could leave the same day!

Get a tour of the labour suite and post labour ward and make sure you know 100% where everything is, such as kitchen, formula etc. This is very important. And it gives you a chance to find out what the staff are like and explain your difficulties.

I found the labour ward staff horrible (but thank goodness I had my mum and DH) and the post labour staff lovely! But I still stayed awake nearly all the time cos I was so nervous!

As for back at home, I had a moses basket downstairs and a crib upstairs so that I was always near the baby if she was napping/playing. Now she is more mobile, I have a travel cot downstairs for naps and a cot upstairs. She is never out of my sight unless with a trusted family member.

You can get vibrating baby alarms etc from the rnid but to be honest they are really expensive. I bought the tomy platinum walkabout baby monitor which has a vibrating setting and it's fantastic!

My DH is with me at night and he either gets up or nudges me (which he does most of the time, typical man!) and if he isn't around at night, my mum stays over.

my dd seems to know I'm deaf cos she's very very loud lol

Hope this helps you, you can email me if you want, not too sure how you can get my email address...maybe you click on my name?

notcitrus Fri 01-Aug-08 15:13:51

Hi mum2niamh! Good to hear other people have been allowed to keep people with them. I only need one person - the other two are backup in case MrNC is so exhausted he just needs sleep!

Good idea to talk to other people on the postnatal ward, mums and staff. Given I can hear crying in the same room, assuming Squirmy is healthy I'm not so worried about that.

RNID in expensive shocker?! I've only ever bought stuff from them when Access to Work have paid for it and they're the easiest supplier for anything Connevans don't sell. Luckily I've seen a great AtW adviser twice who made sure I got all sorts of stuff just in case I ever needed it for work! Shame about the numpties who work for AtW directly... and the crap advisers, like the one whose only suggestion was to learn BSL. I gave up level 2 as my hands hurt too much (RSI), and what was I supposed to do for the intervening 10 years before I learnt enough to understant European Directives in BSL?

RedHead81 Fri 01-Aug-08 15:25:15

maybe you could bed share? the risks for cot death when someone chooses to be share is significantly lower as opposed to people who accidentally fall asleep in inappropriate places, such as on the sofa or when they smoke or drink alcohol. people who bed share get a bad press because the accidents that tend to happen are those that do not choose to bed share, but are just completly knackered and fall asleep. this way you will feel your baby fussing. I don't bed share - we inherited our bed (it was my DH's when he lived with his mother and its only a three quarter so too small for three of us - but if it was bigger i would bed share.

is a home birth out of the question? at least you won't have to worry about people being around you without you knowing. And I can personally recommend home births - they are amazingly calm and natural.

notcitrus Fri 01-Aug-08 17:43:49

redhead - was thinking of having the Moses basket next to the bed. I know co-sleeping is safe (except when in those risky situations) but having been kicked in the night for six months I'm looking forward to a few inches of separation when I try to sleep!

I could have a home birth if I wanted one, and if the hospital get arsy about someone staying with me I will go for that, but just don't really want one. I'm very used to hospitals and relaxed in them, whereas home is cluttered and currently swarming with builders who at the rate they're going will still be there when I give birth.

While I'm hoping for a vaguely active (have SPD and can't walk) and low-intervention birth, my body doesn't have a great history of doing things the natural way. I worry every time someone says 'just listen to your body' as my body never tells me anything - it's never created a menstrual cycle and didn't even hint I was pregnant until I was four months! I found out via a letter from my GP!

The hospital is only 5 min drive away so the vague plan is to stay home as long as possible and then go to hospital as short a time as possible. We'll see.

notcitrus Thu 07-Aug-08 18:44:33

Just to update - MrNC talked to a midwife and PALS have coordinated with various teams, and confirmed there should be no problem with MrNC staying with me after birth.

They will try to put me in a side room if available but do warn that accommodation for him is 'basic' and meals will not be provided!
We've been given the name and phone number of the head of post-natal care, just in case.

Much happier now.

edam Thu 07-Aug-08 18:49:06

Good, I'm glad that's sorted. Hope it all goes very well indeed! smile

unfitmother Thu 07-Aug-08 18:57:18

Brilliant!
Really pleased to hear you got things sorted. That must be a load of your mind. grin

notcitrus Thu 07-Aug-08 19:05:56

Definitely a load off my mind! Fortunately I'm not too worried about the builders - but will be if we don't have a roof back by September!

Have just had a nappy bucket turn up. I guess we're really having a baby... grin

RubyRioja Thu 07-Aug-08 19:09:01

How exciting!

Good luck

I would also say that crying is the last of the useful baby cues grin

mum2niamh Fri 26-Sep-08 19:12:39

how are you getting on? popped yet? :D

notcitrus Mon 29-Sep-08 14:07:12

Squirmy was born on 12th.
Care up to delivery+ recovery was excellent, everyone (about 50 people in the end, as was in hosp for 29 hours, in mlu, del suite, had docs discuss options lots, ventouse in theatre, recovery, and quick trip to scbu for sqirmy) was quoting my birth plan and was ensuring i could lipread or getting one of my 3 partners to revoice.

Postnatal - noone had read much of anything but having a partner with me made it bearable. Hearing wasn't a problem but my SPD spread and I was unable to sit up, so I needed a lot of help being manipulated and passed the baby etc. The night staff ranged from saints to some bonkers cow, all overworked - my partner that night was left wondering what special needs she could claim to have so as to be allowed someone with her!

No probs having someone with me even staying in for 3 days - was a bit crowded in labour with two partners (one on mattress, one on a recliner) and with a mattress in the postnatal room, and it made things so much easier given my mobility being almost non-existent. Next time if I have SPD I'll make sure I tell them I'll likely be in a wheelchair again and need extra assistance for that, but it was a surprise to everyone that it suddenly got so much worse (at least we already had the wheelchair on hire).

16 days on, I can walk near-normally, although tailbone still a bit bruised. Squirmy and I walked to Sainsburys on Friday - first time I'd got there in 4 months!

We're co-sleeping (started that on his first night seeing as I couldn't reach the cot, so the lovely cleaners helped arrange me and him with about 15 pillows so I was less in pain and he wasn't going to fall out), and I can hear his high-pitched squeaks which mean 'I'm about to have a strop'. Can't hear pooing noises but he's pooing regularly so if in doubt, change him - only met one clean nappy so far...

Lucifera Thu 09-Oct-08 14:56:59

Bit late for this NC but just wanted to say congratulations on your ds and hope all is going very well!

notcitrus Fri 17-Oct-08 11:52:54

thanks lucifera

he's 5 weeks today and doing very well, and i can hear his 'serious' cry fine. Unfortunately i can also hear lots of his other noises so have to learn to sleep through them like everyone else!

my walking is getting better and physio is pleased with progress, but gp reminded me that it was only 5 weeks ago i couldn't leave the house without a wheelchair. i'm trying to have a friend round every early evening for cuddling/burping duty as i start aching then and squirmy wantslots of attention. luckily people tend to be up for an hour of baby-holding!

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