Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Birth Plan

This is not so much a birth plan, more how I've planned for the birth. I was in a (apparently unusually) fortunate position at the start of this pregnancy. I felt positive about birth, or at least I didn't feel negative about it, I've never done it before (obviously) so I have no pre-conceptions as to
how my body will deal with it, but it had always occurred to me that this is what we're made for; pro-creation, on a really basic level so it has to be manageable. And people have more than one. All the time. Yes, I'd heard a few negative birth stories, but I'd heard a lot of positive ones too. Here's a summary of everything that I've done throughout pregnancy to try to help make the baby's birthday fun for all the family!

For four weeks in September we spent our Friday nights in a small room with one other couple and a hypnobirthing teacher. Unfortunately, four classes does not maketh a hypnobirth, apparently, so since then, rarely have I shut my eyes in the evening without the MP3 playing. I can recite it word for word. If it doesn't work on the day, it won't be for lack of practice. I've also kept topped up with positive birth stories, read another hypo-birthing book (Hypnobirthing by Sophie Fletcher) and watched every positive birth/hypnobirth video on all of Youtube. I also watched the one where a lady has her baby in the car (passenger seat, I should add)...thanks YouTube and your 'suggested' videos. Although, even this one, although not ideal for her, I'm sure, it seemed like a pretty straightforward birth. I think the most useful thing in all of this was to prepare Tom for what to expect and how he can help me to breathe and relax.

I'm intending on an active labour, my birth plan actually says 'PLEASE DON'T ASK ME TO LIE ON MY BACK'. I haven't spent nine months wearing away my left hip each night only to lie down in the forbidden pregnancy sleep position the whole way through labour. The theory is that the main blood supply to the baby runs down the right side so it makes sense that lying on it slows down the supply of oxygen to the baby. I've been going to pregnancy yoga once a week with Kat King throughout my pregnancy. I'd only tried yoga a couple of times pre-pregnancy, once ending a pose in an accidental roly poly, so I wasn't expecting to love it but I've found it really calming, great for keeping my pelvis/hips happy, I've rarely missed a week. I've even bought a yoga mat for the hospital, although I'm totally convinced that I'll forget everything I've learnt the moment that I go into labour.

Micky Flanagan
Yes the comedian, and no, he's not had a change of career. I'm not sure I'd appreciate his quips during the 'breathing baby down' (pushing) stage anyway, but all of the hypnobirthing teachers that I've listened to praise comedy during early labour. Laughter gives the right muscles a good workout and releases all the happy hormones apparently which gives labour a better chance of really getting going.  I have been on a Micky drought during pregnancy to make sure that he tickles me when the time comes. Metaphorically speaking.

I've read a lot about creating a birth playlist, or using your wedding playlist to create happy memory vibes. I only found out that we had a wedding playlist when it popped up on our dormant Spotify account, Tom re-downloaded it for the birth. I don't remember what was on it, so I'm not sure about its power to ignite any happy candles but it's worth a try. I've downloaded the album that my yoga teacher plays during the class (Deva Primal, Dakshina) to keep me calm and hopefully remind me of some of the yoga positions/techniques.

Due to the midwife's uncertainty as to which was up the bambino was lounging, I have spent a lot of time in the bum-in-air position, cleaning the floor, anything to 'make a hammock for the baby'. I'm pretty sure it's too tight in there now to swing round to the back-to-back position but I'm taking no chances and continuing to sit on my fit ball, spend a bit of time each day cleaning the floor on hands and knees and sit up straight on chairs.

Other words of wisdom
Aside from ending up on some questionable forums after googling every fleeting thought/worry about pregnancy or birth, I've read a few other books to prepare. I have found Juju Sundin's Birth Skills really useful, there's a lot of cross-over between her teaching and yoga/hypnobirthing, it's based largely around knowing that it's a healthy pain, and finding some distraction techniques to keep your mind occupied during the labour. I've also listened to the Motherland preparing for birth podcast a few times during pregnancy which has some brilliant tips.

Food and drink
I've bought some raspberry leaf tea, and I have been drinking 1-2 cups per day, it's rumoured to bring on strong Braxton Hicks, but I can honestly say I've not felt anything, however it's supposed to tone up the uterus, to help the muscles have a more efficient labour. I am extremely sceptical about this theory but it doesn't taste bad-especially with a good glug of honey squirted in-so I'm persevering. I'm also eating eight dates per day (very specific) on the very unlikely theory that they help to make labour shorter and reduce the need for induction *raises eyebrows*.

I'll be sure to report back on what worked! What did you do to prepare for birth? I'd love to hear what worked for you?

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