Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things I learnt about birth

  1. Giving birth is not like a car crash. I encountered a woman at a party a week before I had Chet and she was at great pains to tell me her birth theory. "It's like a car crash" she repeated to me ad nauseum in the way that drunk people tell you the same thing over and over in the hope that it will get more interesting with repetition. My instant response to her was that a car crash is quick whereas giving birth generally takes a long time and is more of an endurance test. After giving birth you may feel as though you have been in a car crash but that is not the same as birth being like a car crash. Not the same at all. I encountered the same woman four weeks after Chet was born and she rushed up to me to repeat her theory. All I could do was smile weakly and look for an excuse to end the conversation.
  2. Midwives are quite different. During my 15 hour labour I encountered three midwives in the labour ward and they all had very different approaches. Then once I was in the maternity ward I encountered many more midwives and they also seemed to be quite different. I count myself lucky though in that they were all pretty good aside from the third midwife who assisted during my labour and the final midwife I dealt with before I left hospital. The labour midwife had an unfortunate manner and I didn't really like her - although at the end of labour I might not have liked anyone - and the midwife sorting out my discharge from hospital was really trying to rush me out the door. She also barged in on me when I was in the bathroom and wanted to argue with me when I repeated to her things that other midwives had told her. She also kept me waiting for half an hour with a screaming baby when all I needed was some formula. Still, other people have had horror stories so I can't really complain.
  3. A room to yourself in hospital is fantastic. Somehow I ended up with my own room which meant I had a lot of privacy and also that the K-man could stay over night and help out with Chet. He complained vociferously about the comfort (or lack thereof) of the fold-out bed but it made a big differenced to have him there.
  4. The public health system is actually pretty good (in the inner-west at least). I was booked into the Birth Centre and wasn't able to give birth there due to the fact that I had to be induced, however the room I had in the Labour Ward was large and comfortable and had a huge bathroom (like the Birth Centre). I felt pretty well looked after during the entire process.
  5. It is best not to have too many pre-conceived notions as to what kind of birth you might have. I didn't have a birth plan as I thought that it was all a bit unknown and I was right. I was disappointed not give birth in the Birth Centre and I really didn't want a caesarean but I had resigned myself to the fact that an induction could very well lead to one - which was indeed the case for me. I had my membranes broken at 8am, then one and a half hours later was induced via an oxytocin drip, then gas, then epidural, then caesar with Chet being delivered at 1.30am the next day. It really was a cascade of intervention which I believe is not uncommon. I realised that I didn't know that much about caesareans which was a little unfortunate. The books I read tended to gloss over the details, such as, with an epidural and a caesar they cut you open and physically push the baby out and although you can't feel pain you can feel the sensation of the cutting and the pushing. Still, giving birth vaginally can also be problematic - tears, episiotomies, forceps etc - so it is best to be prepared.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I've been waiting for you to start Leaps and Bounds. And it's been worth the wait - so looking forward to your take on the world on a regular basis. Yeehaa.


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