Making Birth Choices - Shyami Sathiaseelan
Ten years ago, just around this time, I was nearly full term pregnant with my first born. I thought I had done a lot of reading up but the truth was far from that. My birth choices were limited. I wasn’t ready to go to my parent’s place because of the high rate of C-section that I kept hearing about where they lived. My husband and family were scared to choose a home birth option and where I lived I did not have a choice of midwife-led birth center. My only option was to choose from the three big maternity hospitals the city had. I chose the one that was close to work as that would make all the regular hospital visits easy.
I had heard about birth plans and I wrote one down for myself. It was more like a positive affirmation. I wanted a vaginal birth and a C-section was acceptable only if it was really needed. I did not want an epidural. I wanted to breastfeed and didn’t want even a drop of formula given to the baby. I wanted my husband to be with me in the labor room throughout labor. I wanted photographs taken of my baby as soon as he or she was born. Not too fancy and demanding, very basic but still I had it all written down. Once I had my birth plan written down, making a birth choice was as easy as talking to the doctors to see who will help me with sticking to the birth plan as much as possible. Thankfully the hospital I chose was good and asked me not to worry.
I did not go into labor on or before time, it was an overdue baby and my hospital chose to wait. This gave me the confidence I needed. Thankfully everything went according to plan and even though I was induced I had a vaginal delivery twenty-four hours after my water was broken, I had my baby with me right away and he breastfed like a champion.
For my second baby, things were slightly better. The scared partner and family were still the same, but I was slightly more informed. I still lived in the same city. My doctors for the first delivery were ready to wait till 42 weeks before they even thought of inducing me for the first, so I decided to go to the same hospital for the second.
I had a slightly bigger birth plan though. To whatever birth plan I had already made, I wanted my first born with me as much as possible before labor and he was allowed to stay with me, fortunately. This time too, I was induced at 42 weeks but I had a better midwife this time. I was really glad I stuck to the same hospital and knew better this time. I was induced and told to walk around and climb steps rather than stay in bed all the time. They let me eat and drink when I wanted. I had a wonderful midwife in the hospital who let me sleep through the contractions when I was tired. I had the baby given to me even before the cord was cut, my husband got to cut the cord, she was wiped (not bathed) and weighed in my presence and she was left nappy free for an hour atleast. My daughter too latched on and fed well and I couldn't have asked for more. Everything was just perfectly the way I wanted it to be.
Today there are so many options available and parents-to-be are not scared of trying home birth or a midwife-led birthing center. Depending on where one lives, there are plenty of choices available. From having two babies and seeing so many other family members have babies after me I have realised one thing. Being informed is the most important thing. You need to know about the choices that you have and an understanding of how you want to go about with it. Enlisting and prioritising your choices gives you a clearer perspective of how you want your birthing experience to be. It does not matter what decision we make as long as it is an informed choice. Know your options, understand your preferences and choose what you feel is the best for you. Because, an informed choice plays a key role in leaving you with a positive birth experience.
Editor’s note: Birth choices play a significant role in enabling you to have the birth that you want. It helps you feel confident and prepared. Here are a few tips that will help you be more informed and assist you in making the best choices for yourself - http://bangalorebirth.org/index.php/your-birth/birth-choices