When Your Third Trimester, Labor and Delivery Do Not Go As Planned - Pre-Eclampsia : Chosen Path Doula Blog
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When Your Third Trimester, Labor and Delivery Do Not Go As Planned - Pre-Eclampsia

by Rachel Layman on 10/20/16

As new mothers to be, we all have visualized how we would like to feel in our last few months of pregnancy and we have set up expectations about our ideal labor and delivery.  It is a process in which we spend months planning and hoping for and so many nights we spend dreaming of.

What happens when you get to that time when all ideals are halted in a moments notice?  What happens next, what do you do with those plans and hopes and dreams?  

When your doctor tells you that you have pre-eclampsia and must spend your next four weeks in the hospital you experience a life changing event.  In an instant your goals change, your focus becomes more clearly defined and you must make new plans, set your mind on new hopes and begin to dream and visualize your labor and delivery in a new light.

The Pre-Eclampsia Foundation says this:

Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms. 

Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy) and up to six weeks postpartum (after delivery), though in rare cases it can occur earlier than 20 weeks. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and toxemia are outdated terms for preeclampsiaHELLP syndrome and eclampsia (seizures) are other variants of preeclampsia. 

Globally, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year!

The answer to the question, "What Happens When" comes in a single moment.  You wait patiently for your inducement, which may be weeks away, all the while you read everything you can get your hands on.  Your goals, plans and dreams are ultimately unchanged regarding your baby's safe arrival, however you come to understand that you are facing an early delivery of your child and that the reality of an ever more painful labor and greatly increased chance of cesarean section are what you WILL plan for.  

Sometimes we must make choices that we simply did not ever dream of. It is important to surround yourself with a caring team to nurture you through this change of events and during your labor and delivery.  It is okay to seek support beyond your doctor and family. 

Adding a Doula to your care team may bring you the greatest level of support because she will be there for you and focused on you and your comfort and for moral support.  

With the myriad outcomes possible for having a baby, we can never stand in judgement of another women who must deviate from her original plan for a "natural birth."  Every woman will choose her path to deliver her baby based on the facts about her condition or based on her own sense of well being. 

Back to the ultimate goal, plan and dream; To bring forth a healthy baby and a healthy mother through the process of childbirth.  

My goal as your Birth Doula is to nurture you through this process.

However your goals,plans and dreams become a reality, it is your Chosen Path.  

Rachel Layman, BD
Chosen Path Doula Services

Comments (1)

1. Becky said on 1/3/17 - 11:14PM
This is beautifully written. I believe this story is about me. I was told at week 32 I had preeclampsia and was admitted to the hospital until delivery, to be induced at week 37. It gets lonely and depressing. Thankfully I had Rachel as my doula. She visited me weekly (more than what our contract stated). She even brought me goodies from the outside world including soup, bagals, and even essential oils. I remember crying and telling her how depressed and disappointed I was that I couldn't do my birth plan. She was there for me, encouraging and supporting me to be able to do as much as I could according to plan regardless of my circumstances. An example, Rachel was sweet and brought me an exercise ball because it was in my birth plan to exercise my hips and prepare for labor on the ball. My doctor told me I could use the ball if my blood pressure cooperated. I tried one day, but could actually feel my blood pressure rise. Just moving around my room increased my blood pressure too high. So, no ball for me. Rachel supported me, held my hand, and encouraged me through this. Another example: since I was admitted immediately without prior knowledge, so I didn't have maternity photos. No, it wasn't part of my "birth plan", but it was important to me since I'm 35 and this may be my only pregnancy to have pictures to document the occasion. Rachel encouraged me to get the pictures done at the hospital. She not only offered to take the pictures, but she went shopping and brought me maternity outfits for the photo shoot. She also took the time to hand make me earrings; earrings that I can pass on to my daughter with special meaning. The most important example was after my induction. I was induced at midnight. Rachel offered to come stay with me, but since the doctors said that it'd be at least 24 hours I told her to wait, but keep her phone handy. My water broke at 8pm. I was told I was only 4 cm so when she asked again if I wanted her to be by my side, I encouraged her to get some sleep and I'd call her. About 11 pm my labour pains got worse. I called her crying, letting her know I was scared. She came straight there. She held my hand, comforted me, told me stories, watched a movie with me, anything to support me during the labour. At 10 pm they told me I could not have the baby naturally without severe complications to the baby. I faced the one thing I didn't want, a cesarean. Rachel came in with me, held my hand talked me through the procedure, took the most beautiful pictures (including when the baby was removed and her first breath), and Rachel even cut the cord. Afterwards, she encouraged me during the first breastfeed. She stayed with me over 24 hrs that day. She heard me whine, cry, curse, and apologize. Yet, none of it diminished her perfect patience. I could never express into words how much Rachel means to me. She was my angel sent by God to help me through the toughest time. Not everything goes according to plan, it's called life. Thankfully, there's Rachel. Whether you're birth plan goes perfect or not, I recommend Rachel wholeheartedly and if I have another baby, I'm calling Rachel after I call my mom. :-) I want her there :-)

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