Paralysis and Pregnancy: Birth plan

Now that I am in the third trimester, I’m really happy to finally have worked out a birth plan with the help of my gynecologist and midwives! I have an incomplete spinal cord injury at the t10 level (around the belly button). For me that means that I cannot move my legs, but still have feeling below my level of injury. 

While the pregnancy and baby is healthy and not really affected by my injury, there are/were concerns about what I can feel, whether things will go differently than in an able bodied person, and what I can move/control, especially regarding the delivery of the baby.

Paralysis and Pregnancy: birth plan by Welcome to Mommyhood #paralysis, #paraplegic, #pregnancy

I live in the Netherlands, where home births are common. Unless you have a high risk pregnancy, your baby will also be delivered by midwife rather than a gynecologist. You can have a home birth with your midwife, hospital birth with your midwife, a hospital birth with the hospital midwives, or a hospital birth with a gynecologist. For all hospital births, the gynecologist on call would be aware of/make final decisions regarding emergency situations. 

Because of my injury, a home birth or using a midwife from a birthing center was immediately out of the question. As soon as we found out that I was pregnant, we got in touch with the OB office at our local hospital and we have been discussing the birthing options since then. Actually, my doctor has been very calm and reassuring about it, but I’ve kind of been my obsessive self and needing to plan every detail out. 

Paralysis and pregnancy: Birth plan

Initially, we were told that I may need to be hospitalized from 36 weeks in order to make sure I didn’t go into labour at home. This advice was given by ‘experts’ from the larger hospital prior to us even conceiving. Their concern was that I wouldn’t be able to tell when labour starts and would deliver at home. 

Within the second trimester, I last talked with my doctor about this and my husband and I really expressed that we are vehemently against this. The idea of spending 4 weeks in the hospital just waiting seems honestly quite ridiculous. Thank goodness our doctor agreed and said that was ridiculous. 

The thing is, I can feel the baby move and have feeling all throughout my body, even my legs, so we are all confident that I will be able to tell when labour starts. I’m also so relieved because the last time I was in the hospital for so long was when I was first injured and I have zero desire to traumatize Y like this again. We told him already that I would need to go to the hospital to deliver the baby, but that we would go home shortly thereafter, but weeks on end would be very uprooting for him. Again, we are very happy about this! 

So, what is the plan? 

Paralysis and Pregnancy: birth plan by Welcome to Mommyhood #paralysis, #paraplegic, #pregnancy

My doctors are very optimistic that we will be able to have a more or less natural, vaginal delivery assisted by hospital midwives! Again, I am so, so happy about this! There are however, a few precautions we will need to be taking. 

The first is that I will possibly/likely be induced. We will be avoiding simply having me stay in the hospital from 36 weeks, however, the doctors still want to have the labour and delivery be more controlled. What we discussed is that from 38 weeks, they will be checking to see if I am starting to dilate. Once there are signs that labour is starting (dilation), we will schedule an induction to help speed up the process and maintain control. 
This is not jut due to the injury though – I also had a bladder infection recently, and the doctors will be giving me antibiotics during labour to make sure that baby doesn’t get sick. Basically, it’s a complication from the infection, but should not be a terribly big deal. It does however mean that we will need to stay at least 1-2 days in the hospital instead of being able to leave the same day. That was actually something that I was already expecting simply due to my injury, but now, they will want to make sure that baby is also doing well.
As for the rest of the birth plan, there really isn’t anything too special or different than another delivery. I hope to avoid pain medication, and especially will not be getting an epidural. They also offer IV medications here though, but I absolutely detest needles and the thought of something else going in my back simply freaks me out. With Y, I also did not have an epidural.
Of course, there is a possibility that an emergency situation would come up and baby would need help getting out. If that is the case, the gynecologist on call would need to assist, whether that would be by using forceps or conducting an emergency c-section. 
All in all, everyone is confident that my muscles are strong enough to help baby come out. That is something that I am so fortunate for because my level of injury is much higher than the region where I can no longer move body. During one of our appointments, the doctor actually conducted an ultrasound and we could see that I could contract and move the parts of my body necessary for labour and delivery, which really helps to relax me. 
While we can’t plan for everything, I am much happier in having all of this figured out. I am also so relieved that my doctors and midwives are so supportive about giving us a natural (well, with induction if necessary) birth experience! 
Now, we just need for baby to make her arrival! We’re all so excited, but I think Y most of all! He keeps telling us that it’s his baby, she’ll be sleeping with him, he’ll read her books, and she can even play with his cars. It’s absolutely adorable and we can’t wait for him to meet baby girl! 

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Today, I am linking up at:  A little bird told me, Preschool and kindergarten communityTot school Gathering PlaceThe Thoughtful SpotLove to Learn LinkyThe Mommy Club Resources and SolutionsLink and LearnTGIFHip Homeschool Moms,  

By | 2017-03-31T13:33:04+00:00 October 31st, 2016|Paralysis, Parenting, Pregnancy|0 Comments

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