Mum admits she lost sight of what really mattered after blowing thousands on luxuries before her sons birth.
Aoife writes in The Sun, “I’d planned a drug-free water birth and pictured myself meditating serenely in a hospital birthing pool, surrounded by euphoric wave sounds as I calmly ‘breathed out’ my baby. ”
“My birth plan laid out my wishes for a natural delivery with as little medical intervention as possible, and detailed the oils to infuse during labour and how many minutes I wanted the umbilical cord to pulse before it was cut (preferably five). And now I was going to do it all in fancy swimwear.”
“I was seeing an acupuncturist once a week for £40 ($74 au) an hour to de-stress and prime my body for labour, plus a reflexologist at £50 ($93 au)a pop to help stimulate contractions.
I was also attending a hypnobirthing course costing £200 ($372 au) for 10 hours over five weeks. This was all on top of free antenatal classes and a water-birth workshop at the hospital, plus the countless natural childbirth books, relaxation tapes, herbal teas and tinctures to induce labour naturally. In total, I spent the best part of £3,000. ($5500 au)”
“I became so obsessed with the idea of an all-natural water birth, it didn’t register how much I was spending on classes and treatments.
My mum Bernie, 62, a civil servant, warned me that labour can be unpredictable. ‘Don’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t go according to plan,’ she advised. But what did she know? She’d only had six babies. Doctors at Ulster Hospital Maternity Unit also tried to manage my expectations. ‘You may have to be induced,’ said one when my due date of October 20 came and went.
When my son Charlie finally arrived on October 31, the reality was very different from my serene plan. My waters broke at home around 10am the previous day, but the greenish colour signalled meconium in the water, meaning the baby had passed a bowel movement – a possible sign of distress. A water birth was ruled out as soon as we arrived at the hospital.
Disappointment was quickly replaced by fear. Within minutes of being examined, I was given a hormone drip to speed things up. The contractions came horrendously thick and fast. Twelve hours in, the buzz of the pethidine I’d been given was wearing off and I was crying out for an epidural. My meditation CD lay untouched in my bag next to the oils and tankini.
By 5am the following day, I was only 7cm dilated and exhausted. Doctors advised an emergency Caesarean, and Charlie was born at 5.56am weighing 9lb 7oz. But he didn’t cry, and I was gripped by panic.
Doctors told me he had a lung condition called transient tachypnea, also known as wet lungs, but not to worry. He was kept in an incubator and monitored for four days. Seeing his tiny body struggling put my birth plan into perspective – the only thing that mattered was that Charlie was OK.
Five months on, I regret spending so much time and money chasing the ‘perfect’ birth.
While the breathing techniques I learned helped me stay calm during labour, if I had the chance to do it all again, I’d sooner save it all to cover the expense of nappies and wet wipes! Failing that, I’d splurge on a sun-soaked babymoon. Maybe then I could finally give that tankini an airing…”
Did you spend up before the birth of your child? Any regrets?
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