Natalie asked, "What would you do if your labour began with a premature rupture of membranes and the labour took longer than the usual advised 24hrs? - after which they say that there is a greater risk of infection of the baby with GBS (if present in the birth canal). These were conditions from my first labour and I am wondering what I could have done differently to have a homebirth. They do not routinely check for GBS in a swab sample prior to labour locally, they treat everyone as if they potentially have a GBS infection - and hence I laboured under pressure of the deadline and was given pit to speed up labour - Not a happy time."
- About 2 weeks before the GBS test at 36 weeks, I would start a regimen to limit the growth of bacteria in my body. There are herbal rinses/douches specifically for reducing GBS positives. I would increase my intake of garlic and other natural antibiotics. I actually might go to the effort of putting garlic in my vagina to kill off bacteria- but remember to tie the garlic clove to a string like a tampon or else it might get lost. Haha! As an anecdote, a friend of mine said that putting garlic in her vagina made the back of her throat taste like garlic. Our bodies are weird.
- If I tested positive at 36 weeks, I would continue with an antibacterial regimen. When I was pregnant with Margaret, Rixa posted at link to a regimen that includes lots of stuff I have around the house: garlic, echinacea, grapefruit seed extract, etc. Even if you have to go out to a health food store and pay to get all that stuff, I'm guessing it would cost less than the hospital bill of antibiotics in your IV.
- If I tested positive, I would ask again for a test at 39 weeks or closer to the birth. Results come in 24-48 hours, so there's a chance to find out you're negative before labor starts. It may mean that particular visit costs more, but again, it would likely be cheaper than receiving antibiotics in labor.
- For broken water: there are varying degrees of broken water. If it's just a trickle, it could be just a small leak, which can even close on their own. I'd increase the amount of water I drink by a lot- maybe even half gallon to a gallon an hour (make sure you get some electrolytes, too). Your amniotic fluid will replenish itself as long as you are giving it water to use for that purpose.
- You would probably be offered antibiotics through an IV if you've tested positive for GBS. Natalie, you didn't mention whether or not you were receiving antibiotics through an IV during your labor. If you were, I wonder why the emphasis on a time limit. If you weren't, I wonder why they didn't offer it to you. For your reading pleasure, here's a Mothering.com article on treating GBS with antibiotics.
- If we feel like we need a hospital birth in the future I would first stay home as long as possible. Second, I would bring a doula who is familiar with my birth plan. Then when the nurse/doctor says, "We need to do X," I will be able to say, "Can you give us 10 minutes to discuss that?" A good doula would be able to say, "Well, I know you wanted to try Y before doing X. How about we try that?" or "I know some women who have done Z before X and it helped," and even, "You know, I think we have exhausted our options and X might be the best thing to do right now." Having that extra opinion is a good idea. In fact, you can always ask for a second opinion from a different OB, especially if the suggestion is major surgery.
- Remember you can always ask for a new nurse. If you feel like the nurse is giving off a "hurry up and birth that baby" vibe or whatever vibe you're not comfortable with, ask for another. It can make a big difference. Don't worry about offending the nurse- it's likely that s/he can feel the strain in your relationship and would probably welcome a change.
- I wouldn't wear a hospital gown. You could bring your own or even nothing at all. I've seen lots of custom hospital maternity gowns on etsy. As I've mentioned in my birth nudity post, being naked helps me feel less restrained. For me, a hospital gown would symbolically represent me giving up my body and autonomy and I would feel more powerful and in control without it. That might be something to help you get into a "I'm in charge" mindset: forgo the hospital's gown and bring your own or just go nude. Birth is very involved mentally so if you can feel more powerful, a time limit will have less impact on your birth.
- Speaking of time, I'm not sure if L&D rooms have lots of clocks in them, but I would hide/cover them and not watch TV. We even hid all the clocks in our house for our homebirth. In the line of feeling powerful- I would probably close the door in the room to give myself an area that is specifically and physically "mine" where nurses and doctors can't just enter my space without warning.