Thursday, November 29, 2007

To C or not to C, that is the question

One of the biggest questions a soon-to-be Mum has to face are those surrounding the birth. There are a million ways in which you can choose to have your child, especially in HK where you get what you pay for, and a similar number of books, articles and people happy to offer advice about what to do. The options start with where to give birth (although in HK it is pretty much illegal anywhere but a hospital so this choice is removed anyway), and then move through drugs, intervention, water (drinking and sitting in), to whale music and hypo-birthing.

Yesterday the Boy and I went to see Dr D to discuss what would happen at mine. This is something I have been thinking about a lot because the options are so numerous. The biggest one is whether to go for an elective C-section or the natural birth. There are pros and cons of both, so the choice has been especially hard for me to make and I have spent pretty much equal amounts of time subscribing to both viewpoints.

On the pro side is the ease and timing argument. When the Boy only gets 2 days paternity leave and we don’t have the support of family nearby, the whole idea of being able to plan for things appeals to the professional career girl in me. It also means that all the stuff "below" doesn't get too icky afterwards, and it is arguably safer and less stressful for the baby. However the cons involve six weeks of recovery after major abdominal surgery (although Posh Spice et al have pretended otherwise, it is pretty major surgery), and in a town where I only get 15 weeks of maternity leave taking six weeks to be in pain and not be able to lift my baby, nor be able to start rowing and jogging again to get back in shape, doesn't appeal.

I don’t really care about the whole "participating in the experience" side of things. I am much of the view that we have modern medicine so we don't have to go through the unpleasantness of the Dark Ages anymore. However, although the natural birth thing will be exhausting, painful, very icky, and more risky, on balance I think probably better suited to me and so, after much discussion with friends who have been through it and some reading, I decided that a natural birth with as many drugs as humanly possible would be my preferred option.

This is not a decision I have made lightly or easily. However, yesterday I got a bit of a shock that threw this all out of the window.

My blood pressure is rising again. All women's blood pressure rises near the end of pregnancy, I am after all putting a huge strain on my system at the moment. However, mine is rising more than Doc D would like and as both my Mum and I have a history of high blood pressure, it is something he wants to watch carefully from now on.

With modern science and close monitoring it is nothing to be worried about, but it does put me at a greater likelihood of having to have a c-section - either to get Bump out early or during the natural labour because high blood pressure does rather complicate things.

So, I find myself today feeling a bit miffed. Having spent all that time and effort planning for the type of birth I wanted, convincing myself it wouldn't be so bad to dilate to 10cms (ouch) and have all manner of nasty things "down below", I am now back where I was about 5 months ago with not really having any decision made and no way of making it.

As Dr D told me pretty much in my first ante-natal appointment, there is not much point having a birthing plan because everything always changes anyway.