Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Healthy baby......... not the most important thing during labour?

I have been reading a few blogs and newspaper articles recently debating a mothers birth options and whether a healthy baby is the most important thing, and it has got me thinking. To be honest, it has got me a little bit angry too. Of course people can have very traumatic birth experiences, where they feel like they are not in charge of what happens to their body during labour, and that what is happening is not their choice. That must be horrible, and I totally get that, and I empathise with them. However whilst having a healthy baby may not be the only thing in labour, to me it IS the most important thing.

Whilst I get that birth trauma can have a terrible effect on the mother and potential post traumatic stress and post natal depression, that should be reduced as much as possible. To say that having a healthy baby after a traumatic labour does not in some way make up for that traumatic labour, that it was worth it,  or go as far as to say that having a healthy baby is not the most important thing. I would definitely argue that having a poorly baby or worse, due to a lack of medical care during the labour would have a much larger negative effect on them. I am not in anyway referring to the medical health of the mother, of course that is vital too, but a mothers wants for a perfect, unaided birth.

I think perhaps peoples life experiences can change their opinion on this matter. Having suffered a early miscarriage with my first pregnancy, I was worried the whole of my next pregnancy that something would go wrong, so for me a health baby was the most important thing, and if honest, the only thing for me. Of course I had a birth plan and things I wanted for my labour, but I would have done anything, for the sake of that precious baby, to keep them safe. I was more laid back with my next pregnancy  having done it before, however ultimately again a healthy baby was still the most important thing.

My third pregnancy was my most stressful, I suffered a heavy bleed at 11 weeks and was certain I had miscarried, it was a huge relief during the scan at the early pregnancy clinic to see a little baby with a heart beat. I continued to bleed on and off until 17 weeks, then we had another scare at 20 weeks when the anomaly scan showed a marker for Cystic Fibrosis and we went for extra scans and tests, which luckily were negative. My waters went at 32 weeks and I went into labour at 34 weeks. I would be incredibly surprised to see anyone having serious worries about their baby say that a healthy baby was not the most important thing. Of course I would never wish that stress on anyone, but I don't believe you can really be thinking of the consequences of saying a healthy baby isn't important during labour. In my eyes, nothing is more important than the health of your baby. I also don't think that I would have ever had gone against doctors advice with any of my pregnancies and labours and would have done anything advised for the sake of my baby.

 Whilst the hospital experience with my third wasn't entirely perfect, my labour, mostly thanks to the fabulous NHS midwife I had was relaxed, calm and as easy as possible, with just Gas and air. And whilst yes 'I hopped up on the bed' and had my baby as some people would look negatively at, the outcome was the best thing I could possibly dreamed of. I had a tiny but perfect little baby.

Yes there are things I wished had been different. I wished I could have held him for longer than the minute I had before he was taken away by the doctors, would I have changed it? Not in a million years he was in the best place for him. Was it terrible seeing him in an incubator with wires and tubes attached? In a way yes, but never as terrible as I had imagined it could be when my waters went at 32 weeks.

 I was so lucky, my baby bear was a super breastfeeder and put on weight and we only spent 10 days in hospital. And 'touch wood' as I still worry, he seems to be developing as he should be, in fact he is just a gorgeous bouncy baby. I am eternally grateful for the care my baby received, and fully believe there is a strong chance he might not be here, if it wasn't for that care.

It angers me that people can be so narrow minded to actually be of the opinion that the health of their baby is not the most important thing during their labour. I have friends who have lost babies, struggled to conceive, had miscarriages and have had special needs babies, and I honestly feel the health of the baby far outweighs the mothers wants of a perfect labour. Whilst of course a mothers wants for her labour should be met wherever possible, the health of the baby, and mother IS the most important thing. You would be very selfish to think otherwise.

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