I am blown away by technology on so many levels and the 4D scan yesterday was no exception – what an amazing experience! Some of you will have seen the video I posted, which is the perfect example of how 4D scans work. When it begins, the shadows make the image quite terrifying, but after a few seconds it shifts and you can clearly see her face emerge. How unbelievable is that?
We were blessed to have all four grandparents-to-be there and the response from them was worth every second of the scan. Although they have been seeing the clarity of the scans possible now from our scans up to this point, it really is nothing compared to watching her move around live and being able to make out clearly her miniature Brett nose & perfectly shaped smiling mouth, or watching her kick me and yawn and stroke her own face. For Brett’s parents it was a particularly special experience as Charly is their first grandchild and they will be back home in Thailand when she is born, so this was their opportunity to meet her.
For me, it was quite something. Although I have been bonding with her as she grows and moves around and seems to respond to my voice, there are no words that can truly express the feeling of seeing her face properly for the first time. I can definitely see why people would use it as a bonding experience with their babies, I feel differently today to what I have up to now. For mommies who have had a rough pregnancy or who are having anxiety or fear about who this little being inside you is – save up and go have the scan! It was by far the best part of my pregnancy so far.
We returned to antenatal classes last night. We watched a video of an old-school c-section which made everyone blanch a little and one daddy-to-be went a distinct grey-green colour and caused great concern for a while. The most terrifying parts for me were the insertion of the never-ending needle into the back (which apparently is the same as they use in an epidural – eesh) and the way the baby was removed and instantly taken away screaming from the mother as the doctors and nurses went about measurements and weigh ins and shots and clean up and I made my first absolute decision about my birth plan.
Barring something being terribly wrong, my baby girl will be dried and put directly onto my chest for between half an hour and an hour before any of the admin gets attended to. The midwife confirmed that there is absolutely no medical reason for the weight, height, bathing, wrapping, dressing etc to be done straight away. Not only is there no medical reason for it, but how traumatic for mother and baby to be separated so completely so fast and for so long! I felt quite ill and deeply disturbed by that section of the video and the rest was probably mostly lost on me because of it.
Another interesting titbit – in movies and books, as soon as the baby is delivered the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, usually by the dad if he is willing and still conscious at this point. The midwife actually recommends that the cord not be cut straight away. The reason for this is that apparently the umbilical cord continues to provide blood and oxygen to the newborn as it adjusts to being outside of the womb, until such time as the umbilical cord stops pulsating – and this is the ideal time to clamp and cut the cord. There were two convincing arguments for allowing this that resonated with both Brett and myself. Firstly, the blood that moves from the cord to the baby after it is born will mean that your baby is far less likely to develop anemia and need iron supplements in the following weeks if you are breastfeeding. And secondly, the oxygen provided by the placenta means the baby does not have to struggle as much to learn to breathe outside of the womb and gives them the extra few minutes to adjust to their new environment. This is the next thing added to my birth plan.
Also, did you know – your baby will be given a shot of Vitamin K as soon as they are born, usually in the muscle of the thigh. Vitamin K helps to clot blood. There were a number of babies that were born with a Vit K deficiency that caused internal hemorrhaging and death within hours or a week of birth and so it was decided that to be safe rather than sorry, all newborns would be given the shot. It appears the usual crazies have been spouting their doomsday prophecies all over the internet about this decision for years – personally, if there is any chance my baby might bleed out, give her the shot. If for any reason you are anti giving newborn babies injections, you can also get it orally, but whereas the injection happens once at birth; the oral medication has to be given three times – at birth, at one week and at 6 weeks (though I may have one of those dates wrong, but your doctor should know). The injection is absorbed directly into the body, so it will work straight away; whereas with anything ingested, there is a chance that your baby may throw it up or that the gut may not absorb it properly so they give it multiple times to be sure.
We also watched a video of newborns crawling up their mothers and finding the breast to start feeding all on their own within about 30 minutes of being born. I am unsure why, but it was equal parts moving and upsetting – though it could just have been the really bad 80s soundtrack that played throughout. Ok, if I look at my feelings a little closer it was probably this – although I found it incredible that a newborn has instincts strong enough to propel it to the breast and it makes sense that this means the baby is ready and is therefore more likely to latch naturally and properly, I felt a distinct “ulterior motive” behind the video. The writing that scrolled as you watched a couple of newborns successfully move towards and find the breast, and then a couple who didn’t seem to have the strength or direction to make it; was about whether these babies had been born “naturally” or with medication or c-section. It felt a little like a propaganda clip and that both unsettled and annoyed me, though I couldn’t identify it at the time. I am apparently as strongly against people trying to push their own opinions on me “subtly” as if they do it overtly to my face.
Anyway, other than the movies, I found the class very interesting and definitely useful. It focused a lot of breastfeeding and addressing the fears and misunderstandings people have about it that often leads to mommies feeling useless, guilty and giving up altogether. I will post the most valuable things I got from this tomorrow morning, so mommies who are hoping to breastfeed and have any concerns – keep an eye out.