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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
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julietk From: julietk Date: November 3rd, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
(just a v quick comment as this caught my eye; will prob come back & witter more later :) ):

I am worried about the practicalities, though, & whether our house is suitable (I know they do an assessment of it, but I'd sort of like to know what they assess so I know the answer beforehand, IYSWIM)

An assessment? Is this one of those things that varies with locality? I'm just surprised b/c my experience in Southampton has been that A said at the midwife appt (16-weeks-ish?) "home birth please", and they said "right you are" and ticked their ticky box, and that was pretty much it. There was certainly no mention of assessment then, & A hasn't mentioned it either. Maybe Southampton are just LAX.

FWIW, all my reading of home-birth stuff so far has suggested that if you've got enough space to wander around, some old sheets in case of oomskah, & the ability to heat the space*, you're good to go. (A quick check of the NCT stuff confirms this. Apparently also you need running water; fair enough.)

* there does seem to be a consensus that you'll want it fairly warm when giving birth. I think this is particularly relevant for water births, b/c the baby can chill easily when it first emerges from the warm water.

(On the water front: A's & my discussions have concluded that having the pool downstairs in the living room will be a better bet. I was concerned about the upstairs floor as well.)
j4 From: j4 Date: November 3rd, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
An assessment? Is this one of those things that varies with locality?

From what you've said here, it certainly looks that way... :-} Of course I don't know yet how much of a rigorous assessment is involved -- it may just be a question of "Let us check with our eyes that you don't live in a tent / at the top of a mountain".

At the next midwife appointment (c. 25 weeks? can't remember) I will probably have to make an actual decision so will probably find out then if I do decide to go that way.

Pool downstairs is a possibility, I suppose, but then presumably I'd either have to stay in it the whole time or be prepared to negotiate a staircase when I can't see straight for pain? Also to be honest there is really not much more room downstairs unless we get rid of all the furniture first...
julietk From: julietk Date: November 3rd, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
presumably I'd either have to stay in it the whole time or be prepared to negotiate a staircase when I can't see straight for pain?

Or be intending to continue labouring elsewhere in the downstairs? It depends whether you'd want to be (able to) labour in bed, I guess (or if there's other space in the upstairs that you'd be happy in). Quite a few of the birth stories I've read talk about setting up a particular room as a birthing space, & I can imagine that once settled, one might not want to leave that space, even if moving around within it felt like a good idea.

(I realised while writing that last sentence that I was making internal comparison with the experience of tripping, which for me has a whole bunch of stuff about set & setting & creating a safe space... Oh look, I am a big hippy. Also perhaps drug-addled experiences are not good comparison with business of Bringing New Life Into World Ekt. Although I have long maintained that acid would be *awesome* as a painkiller for giving birth! I am told however that this would be irresponsible. Dammit.)

A's house is very tiny; we're planning to move furniture around so there's (just) room for the pool & then have the sofa pretty much right next to it as an alternative location. Or anywhere else in the four square feet of house that's available & she fancies getting to :)

I think often with pools the plan is to stay out of it until well into labour (helps with effectiveness in pain management), & then stay put in it & do the actual birthing bit in there. Then the staircase-negotiation happens after it all, when one is knackered & achey but not actively experiencing contractions every couple of minutes.
jinty From: jinty Date: November 4th, 2010 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I ended up labouring in our sitting room, with a fair amount of wandering up and down the stairs to get things going. I wasn't at home for the pushing bit so dunno where I'd have done that, but probably also in the sitting room. The assessment, if it can be called such, is more of a glance round to check there's enough space round the edges of wherever you're planning to be, so that midwives can move around you and get to the bits they need to. People do have homebirths in narrowboats after all which is not quite "in a tent" but certainly is more out there than most...

It's true, getting in the bath is actually not bad at all as a basic form of pain relief. I didn't bother with a birthing pool because I had similar questions / problems to what you're mentioning here.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 4th, 2010 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I was sort of assuming I'd be in the bedroom, which is near the bathroom & has a bed & reasonable amounts of space besides (whereas the sitting room is small & dark & cluttered & not much fun, & the sofa is not very comfortable either as a sofa or as a bed, & obviously there's time to get a new one before next spring but argh argh expensive) ... but on the other hand we also had a plan to swap the sitting room and dining room over which would mean a bigger sitting room, which might be more plausible... BUT all that rearranging is also complicated/expensive & to be honest every time I think of all the logistics involved I just want to cry, I just don't have the energy to do that as well as doing a job & I'm not confident of having any more energy any time soon. All of which bodes VERY BADLY INDEED because if I can't even manage to move some furniture around when I'm a bit tired, there's no way I'm going to be any good at actually bringing up a child when I've had no sleep for months. :-( :-( Also see reply to julietk re now feeling guilty and selfish for not being willing to throw away all the stuff that's in the way of the Perfect Birth Experience (and to be honest I should probably be giving up my job too so that I have enough energy to do all this shit). :-(

Mind you I am probably going to have no choice about giving up my job because all the childcare in Oxford seems to have a 4-year waiting-list, AND there was an article in the Guardian recently saying that if you send your child to nursery before the age of 3 then it will grow up unhappy and badly-behaved and stupid, AND frankly it's not as if I'm any good at my job and the latest report on the cuts etc says they need to decimate (literally!) support/admin/IT/academic-related jobs anyway so I should probably just leave now rather than getting fired. :-(
jinty From: jinty Date: November 4th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I did some sitting down but no lying down during labour, apart from when I was trying to actually get some sleep, so not while I was actively labouring IYSWIM. The bed should probably be firm and something you can lean on rather than expecting to lie on, so a sofa you could lean on would be good enough I'd expect, but then it's down to a number of factors not just the sofa. (I wouldn't bother buying a new one in advance of labouring on it at any rate - there could be some mess, or at least it wouldn't be good to be inhibited by the thought of messing up yr nice new item!)

Get Owen to do the moving round of stuff, srsly. And friends too, as needed. I found it hard to give up doing things that needed energy - like cutting our massive hedge - but there are things you just need to hand over, honestly. Or don't bother - there are a bunch of things you'd want to do, before & after the birth, that just won't get done, and that's ok, honest.

I bet that Guardian article is by Oliver James (not the estate agent) and I plan to ignore hin entirely, wholly, and with malice aforethought. Stuff him.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 5th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have finally re-found the Guardian article, it's not Oliver James (though it does refer to him), it's this one: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/02/nurseries-childcare-pre-school-cortisol
jinty From: jinty Date: November 6th, 2010 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Have read that now, thanks for the link. What it says to me is:
* the effects are uncertain (raised cortisol levels? There's a whole bit in Bad Science about taking some measurable thing that is not itself the outcome you want to look for, and then reifying that easily-measurable thing into the thing you were first concerned about).
* the effects are small and quite possibly dissapear after some time
* better nurseries / childcare seem to be a valid answer to the concerns raised - admittedly, finding these may not be easy, but that's a question ahead of us in any case.

In sum, these scaremongering gits can fuck off.

OUP and my department is full of working parents, and by crikey i'll be one of them in a year's time. It's part of life and I'm just going to get on with it.
julietk From: julietk Date: November 4th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Bedroom sounds like a better bet, then, in those circs.

Moving furniture around is actually surprisingly stressful IME, unless one gets one of those sudden surges of I ACTIVELY WANT TO DO THIS RIGHT NOW at exactly the right time in exactly the right circumstances & manages to ride it for long enough to complete the job*. Thinking about doing it whilst also actively in the process of growing a whole new human being is even more alarming.

* cf dogrando & I having been talking for at least a year about "getting rid of some of the VHS tapes", which is really a very small job indeed, certainly in comparison to furniture-movement, but which nevertheless did not in fact occur until a random moment last weekend when we just felt like doing it. Obviously it took under 30 min & we should have gotten on with it months ago, but hey, w/ever, it's done now.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 4th, 2010 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I really just don't think there's anywhere with enough space to put a pool & still leave room nearby for anything else useful! Our house isn't tiny but it is crammed full of stuff, and while I suppose we could just put the in-the-way bits of furniture & stuff in storage for a month, it seems a bit... daft? :-} I mean for me part of the point of being at home would be being in familiar surroundings, & if I have to rearrange the entire house to make it possible then I'd probably be better off just going into the Birth Centre (which is supposed to be a 'homebirth experience in hospital' but, um, I am guessing this only works if your home looks and smells and sounds like a hospital).

But, argh, I am starting to feel horribly guilty and selfish about this, like I'm more concerned about keeping some shitty pieces of furniture or about "convenience" when I should be moving heaven and earth to give my baby the best possible start in life. :-( I am already BAD MOTHER. :-( :-(
julietk From: julietk Date: November 4th, 2010 10:44 am (UTC) (Link)
God no, not wanting to rearrange everything &/or to maximise convenience IME = v sensible attitude to parenting. Plus, y'know, water birth etc etc is more (IME) for *your* benefit than for the kid's. I don't think the baby cares particularly if it emerges underwater or whatever; do whatever is going to make *you* as comfortable as possible throughout the experience. Any benefit to the baby is going to be about how you feel afterwards than anything else. Skin contact is one of the few things that does seem to be actively beneficial to the baby as well, & you can do that after basically any variety of birth (including C-section).

Stick with your own comfort levels. Storage definitely sounds like WAY TOO MUCH HASSLE. I'm not even pregnant and it gives me the horrors contemplating it!
j4 From: j4 Date: November 5th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think the baby cares particularly if it emerges underwater or whatever

Hm, I have read things saying that it's more comforting for the baby because it doesn't go straight from "warm dark enclosed watery space" to "scary big cold dry brightness", it gets an intermediate stage where it's still in the water but has a bit more room & more brightness, & so can adjust gradually, that kind of thing. ... On the other hand, I suspect that most of the people I know now were not actually born underwater, & most of them don't seem noticeably scarred by the experience of being born.

But I fear that if it's all about how I feel then the baby is doomed to misery anyway. :-(
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