Birth regrets. It’s tough to admit that I do have some regrets about my first birthing experience. I thought I was pretty well prepared and yet flexible enough to meet challenges with an open mind and heart.
Looking back on the experience – which was on the whole still positive – these are some of the changes I would make should I give birth again:
Give my birth plan to care providers
This sounds like basic common sense doesn’t it? Well, I was pretty naïve and trusted that the care providers would ask me for one. There’s a back story here linked to my birth story which is still unwritten 2 years on but to sum it up, I had chosen a continuity of care model with the birthing center but due to having an induction my midwife was going to come in the morning, with no one expecting that I would go into labour before then. As fate would have it I went into labour quickly, surrounded by unfamiliar care providers. Point of the story – give that birth plan that you prepared to EVERYONE, especially if your circumstances change. You can not expect that your care providers will ask you for one, it won’t happen. Be firm, be proactive and make sure your care providers know what you want, before you reach a point where speaking is difficult.
Invest in a doula
I know when you are pregnant, having a doula can seem like a big investment. I thought I had everything covered. I was well informed, knew what I wanted and had done hypnobirthing classes. Well, I got bulldozed by the maternity health care system and was at their mercy. I know that if I’d had a doula I would have gotten some of the things I had wanted. There would have been someone reminding the midwives what was in my birth plan. Making sure that wireless monitoring was available to me. Getting me in the shower. Coaching me through the tough times. My husband was great, he was supportive and nailed the playlist but he didn’t know how to ask for the things he knew I wanted. So they didn’t happen.
Ask me about a payment plan or a tailored package to suit your specific needs. I also offer a 3 hour antenatal session to help prepare you and your birth support person for your experience. It is my hope that in offering this service it makes doula support more accessible to those who need it. You can find out more about the session here.
Invest in a birth photographer
I love photos. I love to take them. I love to look at them. They capture a beautiful moment in time that has already passed by the time the photo is taken. We have some talented birth photographers in Perth and I’m sad that I didn’t consider birth photography when I was pregnant. My husband took some photos which I treasure, but they don’t compare to the magic captured by professional birth photographers. When in labour and afterwards, your memory doesn’t capture all the details. I wanted to remember all the things afterwards. Every minute detail. But it was all a haze. What I would give to have that storyline captured, to pass on to my daughter. A story of love and strength to tell her about her birth.
Research preventative measures against tearing
Ok this one is something I just didn’t consider, at worst I thought 1st or 2nd degree tear. I ended up with a 3rd degree tear, so had to go up to theatre after birth. This is a pretty crappy thing to do when you have just birthed your baby and want to spend time with her, bonding and connecting. I had done some hypnobirthing classes, so was aware of ‘breathing’ your baby out ie. No purple pushing where you hold your breath. Again, a doula would have been amazing here to help coach me through the pushing phase. I was that relieved that I was able to birth vaginally and didn’t need a caesarean (which was very much on the cards for me) that I just went hell for leather and put a lot of force behind every push.
If I could do it again I would take my time with the pushing phase, have a doula to help coach me and would also ask that the midwife use a warm compress applied to the perineum during the pushing phase. You can read about the evidence on warm compress here.
This one comes back to my birth plan point, but being firm on having wireless monitoring is so necessary, if monitoring is at all required. The midwives hooked me up to monitoring after going into labour following induction, which is pretty stock standard. I don’t know why I thought there would be a possibility of changing to wireless at some point so that I could use the shower, but when you are in labour you aren’t reallyfocussed on the practical stuff. This meant that I was bound to the bed for the entire duration of labour, when I wanted to be moving around, using different positions and using the shower.
So there are my birth regrets. The things that I would change if I could go through my birth a second time. It might seem like a crazy thing to wish for, but birth can be such an beautiful and powerful experience – and not full of fear. If you would like to make your birth experience a positive one to remember, let’s talk.