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Personal choices for Birth and afterwards

(37 Posts)
steakchipsandfriedeggs Thu 25-Apr-13 15:09:38

I have posted here before, explaining my fears and concerns regarding breastfeeding/birth etc. I'm having my next midwife appt next week and I'm 100% certain that she will want to discuss birth plan and whether I have attended any of the breastfeeding classes that she suggested to me earlier in my pregnancy.

Due to really difficult personal reasons, I have decided that it will be emotionally impossible for me to breastfeed. I have really tried to fight this, and have also done hours and hours of research into breast and formula feeding but I keep coming back to the same point, where I'm so distressed that I won't want to go anywhere near my baby in case he will want feeding. I know this may cause some raised eyebrows here, even people telling me that I'm selfish to not provide for my baby to save my own discomfort. This couldn't be further from the truth though. I know I have issues that need to be addressed, but I can't do this right now, I need more time.

Anyway, my question is to anyone who has ever had similar issues, how have you approached this with your midwife, and how have you managed to stand your ground if they disagree with you? I know that a midwife's responsibility is to ensure the safe arrival and welfare of the baby, but I'm hoping that there will be some understanding without me having to divulge history/issues. I see a new midwife most appointments so can't really gauge a possible reaction.

Please, if you have any advice, please be gentle. I'm so done with feeling like the worst mother in the world already, and he's not even here yet sad

Thank you x

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Thu 25-Apr-13 20:42:33

Please find a way to describe your situation to one of your midwives. There are lots of possible ways if you can't say it all out loud. You could send your DH or a friend into an appointment in front of you to explain, so that it is all 'known' when you go in. You could write a letter and ask them to read it.

There are all sorts of things that can be done in terms of birth plans and arrangements (including things like planned sections, or strongly planning a water birth if at all medically possible so that everyone is very hands off and you are cocooned) to help you cope with the birth itself. You just need people around you, including your DH, who can help you ensure that that plan follows through. But they need to know your issues to help you.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Sat 04-May-13 17:59:38

Well thank you to everyone who offered kind words and advice. I went to my midwife appointment last week with DH, and nothing was mentioned about breast feeding at all. I have the full support of DH to FF and he has even suggested us having a home birth so I would feel more comfortable in my own home. However I don't think this will be ideal as we have a little dog who would freak out plus its not really fair on the neighbours (walls are fairly thin) but the main reason is if anything went wrong, I would want to be in a hospital ASAP.

So I was wondering if anyone had any advice as to ways of giving birth that would perhaps not be quite so hands on/exposing to others? I would prefer to be as active as possible and really want to keep internals to a minimum. I really can't bear the thought of being on my back for all to see, plus I want to avoid tearing as much as possible to avoid any possible follow up exams after the birth. Am I going to be told to lie down and get on with it? I'm getting quite anxious now sad

Thank you

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Sat 04-May-13 21:01:21

If you want to talk more about homebirth I'm happy to, as I've had one. If you are close to a hospital (as I was in London) they can often have you into theatre basically as quickly in an emergency (though obviously not a crash) as they can from a ward. Basically, the time they spend prepping theatre, etc is also your travel time. Mine was just because of a nasty first birth though, not anything deeper.

Fair enough if homebirth isn't for you. Have you thought about an MLU if there is one close enough?

Please also bear in mind that you can refuse all internals. My birth plan with DD2 said that I did not consent to any routine internals and would only consent if it was believed that either mine or my baby's health was at risk. As it happened, things progressed is a slightly stop/start way and the issue never came up because the end was fast, but I was fully prepared to stand by my guns. An internal is one way to ascertain progress, not the only way. An experienced midwife can manage perfectly well without as long as everything seems normal.

In terms of privacy, water birth is the way to go. It is physically impossible to either get you on your back or touch you much! You are also sort of hidden, and can wear things like bikini tops, little swim skirts, big t-shirts etc if you want to cover up. However, bear in mind some hosiptals have a policy of checking you are 5cm or more dilated before letting you in the water. Which probably means an internal. I'd check your local policy beforehand as it would be horrid to have that sprung on you in labour. Also check out how many pools there are and how often they are full when someone wants them. Also if enough midwives are trained on them - MLUs tend to do better on all that stuff. One of the biggest reasons I had a homebirth was to get in the water when I wanted, not based on some number. Turns out I was right, my contractions were irregular and no one thought I was in established labour even though I was in intense pain, got in the water, every muscle relaxed and she was out in half an hour.

Tearing? Honestly, there is a very good chance you will tear. The majority of people have at least grazing and it needs looking at to see if it needs stitching. The best way to reduce it is assistance with crowning (assuming you aren't in the water) but that means them getting quite up close and personal. There are things like perineal massage you can do beforehand. And things like gas and air and local aneastethic to make it less horrid. For me, with gas and air I was high as a kite, so that worked for me.

Please think about talking to your midwife. A little note in your medical notes about why you feel strongly about some of this stuff makes it less likely some jobsworth tries to push internals on you or whatever. Otherwise, your DH is going to have to be super-ready to take on that burden.

Good luck. You sound like you have a great husband.

BlackholesAndRevelations Sun 05-May-13 07:20:23

Bless you. You absolutely do not have to attend any classes against your will, and I'm pleased to see in your latest update that it hasn't been mentioned again. Re: internals, you can also decline those as well. I also agree that if you can bear it at all, it's probably a good idea to let your midwives know something about your past and the issues that mean they have to tread a bit more carefully in some situations.

Sorry I can't be as aformstive as pp but I just wanted to show my support.

worsestershiresauce Sun 05-May-13 07:35:04

I was never under any pressure to bf. I chose to in the end but I was undecided beforehand and no one pushed me in either direction. I'm currently considering transitioning onto the bottle at about 3 months, and the health visitor has been very helpful and supportive.

One thing though, if you could bear it to give the baby the colostrum that would be wonderful. Your milk doesn't come in until approx day 3, prior to that you produce tiny quantities of colostrum which is full of antibodies and great for your baby's immunity. Again no pressure, just a thought.

steakchipsandfriedeggs Mon 06-May-13 16:59:02

Thank you Amanda for your insight into HB. I live in London so am never far away from a hospital, but i would be so conscious of the noise that my poor neighbours would have to endure. One of my (many) issues is I'm completely aware of myself at all times. I'm hoping that for some of the birth I will be able to relax this self awareness a bit and just get through it. I'm terrified that I'll be super conscious of feeling exposed, as well as other things such as male doctors/midwives being in the room and what might happen to me during labour that I won't have any control over but will be fully aware of sad

I'm so very sick of feeling this way, I know I have to go through labour and I so desperately want my little boy, but I wish I could just move past these massive fears of mine sad

Thank you everyone for your support xxx

Teaandflapjacks Mon 06-May-13 17:42:07

steak - just a thought, but you can certainly ask for an elective c section if you feel strongly enough about it, and have a good reason, as it is clear to me you do. I would not normally suggest it - but it is something i think you should explore in more detail. The water birth is also something to look into - but of course it often doesn't work out how you want, and as far as I can see, the most controlled way for you to manage that might be a c section. I have a friend who had two, for different personal reasons, and it was fine for her, exactly as she wanted.

As my mother said to a family member who stressed about this ff/bf thing once. 'ok tell me from all these people in the street who was ff or bf' - obviously you cant tell! it really doesn't matter a jot - what matters is you are happy and then baby will be too.


AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Mon 06-May-13 18:04:47

I totally agree with Tea. I mentioned planned section upthread. Is it something you have considered?

Also, I am not some mad homebirth zealot and feel free to tell me to shut up about it, but if the noise is what is putting you off please try and analyse it very rationally if you can. I was loud and my neighbours heard nothing. It was night, they were upstairs asleep, I was downstairs with a big wall between us and I wasn't loud enough to wake them. Likewise in the day people are often out. I know someone who planned a homebirth if she laboured in the daytime but a MLU at night, because she lived in a flat with thin walls. Also, not everyone is loud. Some are very quiet indeed.

You can request no male midwives. You can request no male doctors (although depending on who is on shift that might not be possible, especially if you need help fast). You can request that anyone who doesn't need to be in the room doesn't hang about, that they introduce themselves by name, that no one touches you without giving a running commentary throughout on exactly what they are doing. If you are an abuse survivor, for exmaple, many hospitals have a greater understanding than you might expect and could suggest other things to help you.


AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Mon 06-May-13 18:09:30

One final thing, have you considered a doula? If finances are an issue, many have payment plans and there is a hardship fund too. Would it help to have one person with you throughout who you know, and whose whole job is to make sure you feel safe? It would free up your DH to support you emotionally rather than also being policeman?

Just a thought.

Pusspuss1 Mon 06-May-13 19:54:25

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is expressing - if you'd like the baby to have your milk but it's the process of him physically drinking from you that would be horribly uncomfortable, what about getting an expressing machine? That way you'd be in complete control of it and no one would need to come near you; it would just be you running the machine.

Hope it all goes really well for you and you find a way through.

TheYamiOfYawn Mon 06-May-13 20:11:15

Amanda has already said much of what I
was going to say, but it might well be worth making an appointment to talk your birth plan through with the supervisor of midwives. She will have experience of working with women with all sorts of problems including PTSD, survivors if abuse, women who gave had traumatic births, women with physical or mental health issues that make the standard hospital procedures inappropriate. I know several women who have done this and have ended up with very good care throughout, and the red one from the boss on your birth notes tends to be pretty powerful.

TheYamiOfYawn Mon 06-May-13 20:11:40

red pen, not one.

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