I have a few requests that I would appreciate you cooperation with during the delivery of my baby. I understand that things don’t always work out as planned and am willing to discuss them if there turns out to be a need to change plans.

  • Please do not offer me any pain relief during labour. This is my 4th baby, I have never had any kind of pain medication during labour and know that I am able to ask for it if I feel it is necessary.
  • When my baby is born, please just hand him over to me for a cuddle and do whatever routine checks from there. Please don’t cut the cord until it has completely stopped pulsing and my baby has all of his cord blood.
  • I have delivered the placenta without syntocinon and without a problem in all of my previous births. I intend to do the same this time.
  • Please do not give my baby the vitamin K injection, he will have it orally. Also, please do not give the hepatitis B vaccination, he will get it sometime later down the track.

With many thanks and kind regards,

Julie

This is the letter I am about to drop off at the hospital where I am due to have baby number 4 in just a couple of weeks.

I felt the need to do so because I have been moved from the midwives clinic to the doctors clinic due to some niggling concerns the obstetrics team have about my health. I tried to talk to one of the nicest obstitiricans about my plans and wants for the birth yesterday and she looked kind of dumbstruck and said that she can’t really make any promises and it depends on how the midwife attending me at the time feels and that I should discuss it with her. As for the newborn care requests- well, that’s up to the pediatricans, apparently (pfft!).  Given that I am a public patient, I don’t know which midwives will be with me during the delivery of my baby and I don’t feel that I should have to justify my position or argue the point with anyone while in labour.

My first birth turned out a bit differently than anticipated because I had dangerously high blood pressure and my baby went into respiratory distress, was resuscitated and whisked off to special care for 3 days before I got to hold him.

My second birth was perfect but the midwife in charge cut his cord immediately and took him to be ‘pinked up’ (ie. rubbed vigorously with a towel) and wrapped in a blanket instead of the skin to skin cuddles I had requested. When I asked “What are you doing? Give him to me!”, she said “Whoops, sorry habit” and continued to do whatever she usually does.

The third was a great birth, quick but beautifully calm and I was so, so present and in perfect harmony with my body and my baby. As soon as I walked into the hospital room, the midwife in charge said ‘I’ve read your file and see that you want an unmanaged third stage. I don’t do that”. I told her we would see how it goes and she could argue her point if  for some reason I don’t manage to deliver the placenta on my own. Surprise, surprise- I did and she got to witness her first placenta delivered without artificial hormones.  Unfortunately, when my waters broke, there was  meconium staining, midwives called for resus equipment and a paediatrician and my third little boy also required resuscitation and some time in the special care unit while they weaned him off the oxygen. Post birth skin to skin experience alluded me once again and I spent hours in the special care unit sitting in front of my baby in a plastic box in tears.

So, here I am getting ready to give birth for the very last time. I want my holy grail of birthing experiences. I want a healthy baby, I want immediate skin to skin and immediate breastfeeding if baby is willing. I don’t want to have to justify my choices for a natural birthing experience and gentle start to life for my baby. I don’t want to discuss it, I just want them to follow my requests.

This letter will go in my file and I will take another with me when I am in labour. I have just included the points that I am uncompromising about. Everything else, I’m willing to discuss during the birth if I need to.

And yes, I am grateful that I have had 3 perfect babies all born at no financial cost to me in a public hospital without major obstetric complications. I am one lucky mummy.

What do you think about my letter? What do you think about the need for such letters? Please leave me a comment, they fuel my fire like nothing else can.