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Birth plans and public hospitals (UCH)

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    Aquarian is offline Registered User
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    Birth plans and public hospitals (UCH)

    Hi, I've been reading a lot about the importance of having a birth plan but I'm wondering whether public hospitals (I'll be going to United Christian) will pay any attention to them. Specifically I'm thinking of things like music, dim lights, skin to skin contact, dh cutting the cord etc etc. Nothing too wacky. Can anyone share their experiences? How much control did you have?

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    carang's Avatar
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    write it.
    make many, many copies.
    present it to everyone. make sure it is in your records. make sure that one is presented to the nurses upon admittance. present one to the midwife/nurse whomever is in the delivery room.
    fight for it.
    be prepared that you will likely get some of it.

    but understand that some of the things you want (cutting the cord might be a problem) may not happen.

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    charade is offline Registered User
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    I delivered at UCH in 2010 (vaginal delivery, induced) and this year in Jan (emergency c-sec). Both times, I didn't have a birth plan written down. The first time because my wants were very simple - husband being with me at delivery, as natural as possible, choice of epidural - so felt silly writing it down and also because my sense was that they would not accommodate extra requests. For the second, my baby was in breech so all plans were up in the air.

    I think there is no harm in trying for the kind of birth you would ideally like to have but I would manage my expectations. So if I were you, I'd put down what I want and around 36 weeks, broach the subject with the midwife/doctor at your antenatal appointment and see if they accept it. However, even if they do, there is no guarantee that this is what will happen at your actual delivery. I think you have a shot at some things happening the way you'd like them if it's a vaginal delivery. If it's a c-section, I don't think they'd accept any of it.

    Here's roughly what happens when you go into labour at UCH:
    1. You go to the delivery suite to be admitted. You will meet a nurse for a brief interview to go over your medical records. If your appointments were at an MCH, you'll have an envelope of your history to give them. They will still ask you stuff about your blood tests etc. They generally ask if you want the father to be there, and take a copy of his ID card. This would be the point at which I would give refer to the birth plan and give them a copy again if not already in your file. For my second, I was advised that if I want an epidural (which didn't happen with my first) to clearly state that I want one at this point. They will then hook you up to a monitor to check fetal heart beat and a doctor may examine you to check dilation before they decide to admit you.
    2. You then get taken up to the ward if you're in the early labour stage where you basically wait around. You are free to walk around, eat, etc.
    3. When you're dilated to a certain degree or contractions coming at closely spaced intervals, they'll take you down to the delivery suite again and ask you to call your husband. At this point contractions would be pretty painful. You would be largely alone in the room with your husband and you might be able to play soft music (if you packed your own player, which runs on batteries) here to relax yourself.
    4. When they think you're ready to give birth, they'll take you another room and yeah, the lights are pretty bright. I have a feeling getting them to dim the lights and play music here would be tricky. The fact is that even if you mentioned it on your birth plan, they might not bother and while focussing on pushing you might not want to fighting about this stuff, frankly you might not have the energy and mindspace to.

    That's why I'm saying manage your expectations. Write a birth plan, discuss it, hope for the best, insist as much as you can without getting too stressed on the day itself and then just let go.
    carang and shwetakhanna like this.

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    charade is offline Registered User
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    PS: Skin-to-skin contact they did for me without me asking. They did a very brief check of the baby and then placed him on my chest while delivering the placenta - he still had a bit of blood on him so he was really placed there very quickly. They said I could hold him even while stitching if I'm not mistaken but I chose not to as I was literally collapsing from fatigue and I was scared I would drop him. Then they brought him back to me a few hours later to try breastfeeding in bed up in the ward.

    For my daughter, with the c-sec, they just showed her to me, I gave her a little **** and they whisked her away.
    carang likes this.

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    Aquarian is offline Registered User
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    Thanks ladies! Charade - that was really useful, can i ask, when you're in the room waiting for labour can you go and sit/pace wherever DH is? How long was your husband allowed to stay with you and the baby?

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    charade is offline Registered User
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    In early labour, you'll be in the maternity ward with other women so they won't let your husband in except for visiting hours - 12-1 pm and 6-8 pm. However, they're pretty lax about letting you out of the ward so some women hang out with their husbands in the elevator lobby area...there are seats there but not sure how long you'll want to sit there. Or you could go down to the canteen for a meal together. You'll be in your hospital garb so as long as you don't leave the hospital itself you can wander. Think it would be pretty tiring to do that for a long time though.

    Because husbands are not let into the ward during the early labour stage, some women hire a midwife who can come home and monitor them so they only have to go in to the hospital quite close to the time of delivery. Especially for first time mums this might be a good idea as you may not be sure when it's really time to go in.

    How labour progresses is different for every woman, but here's how it went for me: I started contractions at 4 am (always wondered how I would know I was in labour; it turned out to be like period cramps only very regular and increasingly stronger)...I also had had what is known as bloody show, where the mucous plug comes off, and been to hospital 3 days earlier... and because there was more show, decided to go in but I went only at about 10 am. When I went in and they were monitoring me, my waters broke. I then went up to the maternity ward where I basically hung about the entire day. The contractions were pretty strong by 8 pm but not regular enough and I wasn't dilated enough so they took me down to the delivery suite induce labour. At that point I was asked to call my husband. And then I gave at 4 am so that was eight hours of serious labour during which my husband was with me. From what I can tell, during the really painful part, your husband can be there because you'll be down in the delivery suite.

    He got to see the baby being born and then they kicked him out while stitching me up. He waited outside and could see and click photos (but not hold I think) the baby when they wheeled him out to take him to the nursery. Then he had to wait to visit us during visiting hours.

    Frankly, in terms of presence of husband after delivery, I thought it was okay. In the time I wasn't feeding the baby, I wanted to rest so no point him being around.

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    carang's Avatar
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    are these supposed to be plugs for "storing the cord blood"??? it seems that every new post about pregnancy contains this now?

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    Aquarian is offline Registered User
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    Thanks charade, I'll definitely look into the private midwife option or I'll end up running to the hospital at the first twinge! I wish my insurance could cover a private hospital so dh could spend more time with the baby (I get $100,000 which *should* be enough but you never know....)

    It seems sad that he gets relegated to nothing more than a visitor. Oh well - i'll just have to get strong and get home as soon as I can.

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