Friday, 30 November 2012

Rebecca's Birthing Story (And Amazing Pictures)

This is Rebecca's story - an outspoken and well informed Mama from New Zealand who delivered twins via caesarean. We've also got some absolutely incredible photo's of the birth. There are valuable lessons that expectant mothers can glean from this story. 

Ask questions. 
Make well informed decisions. 
Be prepared to advocate your choices.

Rebecca's Birthing Story
I had a c-section with twins. My story is one about struggling to do what is best for mama and babies within the confines of hospital setting.It is also a story about not being afraid to advocate for what you want in spite of a medical system designed to protect doctors and nurses at the expense of mamas and babies. 

I put on 80 pounds during my pregnancy but walked at least 2 miles every day up until the day of the delivery. The doctors kept saying i should stop being active-but I felt this would be a sentence to high blood pressure, diabetes, and bed rest for sure. 

They heavily monitored my pregnancy, having me in weekly for scans and constantly threatened early delivery and bed rest, which did not make me want to show up for the scheduled appointments at all.

Torn between wanting to be sure everything was going well, and wanting to be left alone completely, I always showed up. At my 30 week appointment, they did not let me leave, and admitted me for delivery. I was very angry and felt it was unfounded (it was based on one doctor's impression that a doppler reading was too high). 

None of the nurses on the floor could understand why I was there once I told them the doctor was threatening to deliver my babies so early based on one doppler reading. (Doppler readings display the blood flow from baby to placenta, and can vary day to day. 


I had offered to come back the following day for another test, and i t was then he said I could not leave). Though I was admitted and stayed overnight, the next day the supervising doctor came in and apologized for having kept me there against my will based on the other doctor's assessment and released me home. 


That doctor was taken off my birthing team and I was given a new one. All the nurses stopped in before I left to congratulate my on my successful avoidance of such an early delivery.


I had always wanted a home birth, but once we found out it was twins I knew that most likely I was doomed to a hospital setting. The scheduled me for a c-section at 36 weeks, and this was a battle I was not willing to fight.

One thing I knew I wouldn't compromise on was breastfeeding my babies, no matter what. I considered myself lucky because we were in New Zealand, where there are midwives AND nurses on staff. Once they were delivered, eyes wide open, one still in the cull, I was able to give skin to skin. They were not put in NICU at all, thanks to the midwives advocating for us (and my stubborn disposition), and we went straight to our room together. There was an incubator to keep them warm since they were only 4 and 5 pounds each.


Once the morphine wore off I realized the nurses were coming in and force feeding formula to my babies through nose tubes. I explained I was only going to breastfeed my babies, and that at the hospital's request, I had pumped a lot of colostrum that was in the fridge in case the nurses needed it. I was told what they were doing was standard practice and that I could breastfeed after they formula fed.

I was livid, knowing that I would lose my supply if the babies weren't allowed to nurse on demand. The midwives were keen to my concerns and let me breastfeed instead of formula feed when the nurses were not on shift. When the night nurse realized what was happening, she got very angry and ordered an emergency glucose test on both babies, telling me my milk could not support their needs and I was hurting them by allowing them to nurse for longer than 20 minutes at a time, because if I had enough milk, they would not need to nurse for longer than that.

The tests, done at 3 am, came back fine. She left my room crying, so upset that she had caused me such stress and because I made her feel extremely bad for questioning such a natural process by explaining that though the hospital may have protocols to follow, I was not so sure that everyone would thrive under their protocols. 

Her supervisor came in for a visit and I successfully lobbied to have the nurses who wanted to formula feed through nose tubes banned from my room, the nose tubes removed, and was able to breastfeed my babies on demand, undisturbed. The midwives were thrilled, and many of them stopped in to thank me for being such a vocal advocate for breastfeeding. 

Instead of being made to feel bad for being so argumentative, they told me they wished more mamas would be firm in their desires for skin to skin and for nursing. We left the hospital 4 days later with the babies in tow. We took a train from the hospital to town and walked home. This too, of course, was against the hospital's best advice. I am glad I trusted my body and my intuition- because the pregnancy was trouble free and the babies healthy, despite an early delivery at 36 weeks. 

I understand that the medical community is there to ensure everyone survives, but I also think they assume there are problems when there may not be. My babies came out alert and healthy, rooting for the breast. 

I think it is a sad myth that babies born by c-section cannot breastfeed, or that the mama won't have milk. I hope that women everywhere can feel empowered enough to advocate for what they want for them and their babies. 

Please don't be afraid to argue and speak up for yourself and your babies!

This is AMAZING!! Sitting Indian style after having a caesarean! Phew, that Mama has guts! 
  
Amazing birthing photo of Rebecca's newborn twin still inside the caul. 

Rebecca has some skin on skin time.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
How you feel about Rebecca's story? Could you have spoken up the way she did? 

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