Some things you may not know about me – I am 35 weeks pregnant (tomorrow) and am considered high risk because I have a heart condition called Focal Ventricular Fibrillation!
Today, I am going to share my new, revised birth plan after consulting with my anaesthesiologist, obstetrician and midwife over the best and safest way for me to give birth considering the risks involved. This is completely personalised for myself, and won’t necessarily be what anyone else would want, choose or be advised to do in their pregnancies.
As a preface, I just want to say that I live in the UK and the NHS has been fantastic at not only saving my life in 2019 but taking me and my pregnancy with possible complications very, very seriously. I am forever grateful to them and to the universal healthcare we have in this country, especially during a time of great strain on the NHS such as Covid-19.
That being said, I want to be as honest as possible about my pregnancy and journey by the time I give birth and will be doing a full run down of not only my pregnancy, but the many, many appointments I had, and the birth plan versus the actual birth story which will all come along as blog posts in the future.
The Original Plan
Me being me, I had a plan all set up in my mind of what I would like when it came to my labour. I read and reread others birth plans, watched a ton of ‘One Born Every Minute’ on 4oD (old as it may be!) and read so many natural, epidural, forceps, vacuous, and caesarean birth stories as I could.
I even took the time to make an A4 birth plan sheet, complete with pictures and cool fonts, to take with me when I went into labour. Little did I know, this plan would have to be altered somewhat.
My main concerns were avoiding an epidural so I can stay active and let gravity help me in labour, as well as not being forced to lay down on a bed in order to push, as I feel this to be uncomfortable and the hardest position in which to birth. Everything else was negotiable (and let’s be honest, it all is negotiable when it becomes a risky situation).
A Birth Plan for a Mum with a Heart Condition
After speaking to the anaesthesiologist and my obstetrician for a follow up recently, then *very basic* plan is as follows;
If I get to 10 days over my due date (3rd July!) I may be induced, and I’m okay with that.
This will consist of a stretch and sweep, and then if nothing happens for a day or two, I’ll get the medicated pessary to kickstart labour.
The Latent Phase 🌙
- At home, but let the hospital know.
- Don’t take Clexane (enoxiparin sodium) blood thinner now as if I bleed in labour it would make it worse.
- Monitor contractions, keep stress down.
- If palpitations occur, go straight into hospital.
Active Labour 😮💨
- Bypass the Maternity Ward and get a private room for 1-to-1 care.
- Possibly hooked to an ECG monitor for my heart.
- J can be with me in a private room, the whole time!
- Mobile Epidural as soon as possible, allowing movement but keeping stress due to pain to a minimum.
- My stress must be low to reduce stress on the heart.
- Keep moving – gravity helps!
- Epidural can be topped up to allow for caesarean if needed.
- An epidural of any kind makes it more likely that forceps or vacuous will be required.
- Delayed cord clamping if possible.
- Injection to release the placenta quicker is fine.
- Skin to skin for at least an hour after birth.
- Breastfeeding as soon as possible.
- Kept in hospital a day longer to ensure no adverse heart problems occur.
Will any of this work how I hope it will? Will my heart play ball and allow a vaginal birth like I want?
35 weeks and counting…