In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.

Less and less is done.
Until non-action is achieved.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

The world is ruled by letting things take their course.
It cannot be ruled by interfering.

Tao Te Ching

Friday, April 1, 2011

Waterbirth Story & The Neo-Natal Ward

Hi Everybody,

In today's post I want to share with you my experience of my daughter Freida's waterbirth followed by her time in the Neo-Natal ward of our local hospital.

During my pregnancy with our youngest daughter, Freida I experienced a lot of sickness. I had low blood pressure and felt lightheaded a lot of the time, and vomited several times a day right up until the six month stage of pregnancy.

I accepted this as part of being pregnant, and assumed I was having another girl as I felt similar to the way I did when carrying my elder daughter, Alexandra.

Things went along smoothly apart from this, so when I felt those first twinges to say that she was on her way I was really excited. We had planned for a natural waterbirth like we had for our last child, and I had been practising meditation and visualisation exercises in the lead up to this time, so I felt confident and relaxed.

We called the midwife and went to the birth centre once the contractions became closer together.
After labouring in the birthing pool for several hours, our beautiful baby girl arrived and I settled onto the bed with her.

Our midwife noticed that Freida's breathing was a little shallow and suggested that I offer her to feed to see if she would latch on. I now realise that she was making every effort for Freida to start feeding and progress naturally into breathing independently without alarming me.
Freida showed no interest in latching on and continued to breathe irregularly and we were told that the neo-natal unit would need to take a look at her.

This was not what I expected but I thought it would be five minutes until we would be back snuggled together in the birthing unit's bed. This didn't happen as Freida needed an x-ray which showed congestion on her lungs which was causing her problems breathing.

She was put into a humidicrib and the only contact we could have with our beautiful newborn was by resting a hand on her head through a hole in the crib.
This was definitely not what we had expected or wished for and I just cried because I couldn't stop this whole experience from happening.

I believe that a newborn needs skin to skin contact and that she would respond to this as much as all the poking and prodding, but I also knew that her breathing is crucial and who knows if she would have survived without intervention.

Luckily this was my third baby and I felt confident in insisting on feeding her (and persisting until it
did work) that evening and as this was successful, we avoided nasal tube feeding and heel prick blood tests every six hours.

Thank goodness, Freida's breathing cleared after a short time and she could be held outside of the humidicrib in periods. I was told that I needed to go home and leave Freida at the hospital after two days but as that wasn't an option for me, I was given a bed and stayed with her until her release after five days when the x-ray showed her lungs were clearing.

This is not a scenario I would ever have wished for and I also know that I was fortunate that Freida's illness was shortlived and not as traumatic as some of those around her. I am sharing my experience to demonstrate that while birth can at times be unpredictable and even heart wrenching, it is what it is and things usually work out for the best.

I would also like to say trust yourself as a mother, you really do know what's best for your child and if you would like to breastfeed, co-sleep, whatever, you do have the right to ask for what you feel you and your baby need.

My girl is now 2 1/2 years old and smiley, cuddly and I'm sure feels absolutely loved. I worried about the impact of her first week on the planet for a while but now can see that she is fully up to the challenge and the love and affection she has received since have more than compensated for a bit of a rocky beginning.

Talk Soon, Cynthia x