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Minimizing the *Appearance* of blood at HB

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Illusion artists line up here ...

This is my first, and we're doing a home water birth. Daddy is an ex and now a best friend, he's been quite a trooper - supportive, humors me, and got over his resistance to being the birth coach when I insisted only he would do.

He's being so awesome, but confessed he's concerned about seeing a lot of blood. He's tough and will deal with whatever happens, but he's also sensitive and his first son's (induced, hospital horror) birth was so traumatic, I'd like to see what we can do about this bit.

The plan already is that he'll mostly be on "my" end, in my face, not catching the baby or cutting the cord and so on. I'm planning to wear a spaghetti strap chemise so it's easy to be bare chested when baby comes but I'm also slightly covered. We're not shy or modest with each other, I just want a little coverage (we'll have other family around too).

We'll possibly also have *his* dad come in and cut the cord after baby comes, so I additionally don't mind reducing the distraction of visual blood around. His dad has seen lots of animals being born, but both get a little catch in their throats over the blood of someone they love.

Some other thoughts I had, and I'd be happy to hear yours:

-- I wanted to drape a sheet on the inside of the tub anyway, so it looks less industrial. If it were colored, slight changes in the color of the water would be less noticeable.

-- Don't use white towels and linens

-- The lights will be low anyway

-- I already kind of planned to, once the cord is cut, hand baby off to Daddy, let him snuggle with him on his warm chest, and deliver the placenta more privately, just because I'd like them to have the alone moment. Since we're coparenting separately I want him to know right away that I trust him, that it's his baby as much as mine, and to give them moments to bond without me in the middle.

When surprises arise he'll deal, but again I want to make a few attempts to plan ways for the bloody parts to be less in his face.
post #2 of 24
You might have a fairly bloodless birth and placenta delivery time....or a fairly bloody one, and there is no way to know now. Especially in the water, I think it will be hard to disguise even the 'normal blood loss' of 1 pint.

That said, I have seen people at birth who did fine, regardless of the blood loss amount, even when we went into it knowing that they were concerned about their ability to handle the sight of blood. This is because birth is so awesome that they were entirely swept up in the awe--blood did not actually get noticed in the context of the spiritual high they experienced.

Still--can't give you any illusion ideas (yours sounded good). I can only say--you ought to probably have a back up plan, backup people to help manage if your ex and/or his dad actually can't deal. Because some people do faint, or come near to it, at the sight of blood....and that is no fun during birth!
post #3 of 24
My DH is the same way as your ex (he had to leave the room when they hooked up the pitocin to my already-inserted IV with my first birth ) but he surprisingly had little issue with the homebirth of our second. He even went and inspected the placenta with the midwife! I was amazed! I think what you have planned will really help, get him distracted by the baby when it starts to get "messy".
post #4 of 24
One of the Henci Goer stories touched upon the fact that while we women all understand the properties of blood and water, men don't. We know from having our periods and using toilets that a little blood fills up the water and makes it look like a lot. Men haven't experienced this. I think if it were me I would simply warn my male family members ahead of time that even a little blood spreads very evenly in water and can look like a lot even if it isn't, and not to worry unless there's another reason to worry (like you are feely woozy or passing out).

I can't think of any way to hide blood in water other than to make it very dark in the room.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
One of the Henci Goer stories touched upon the fact that while we women all understand the properties of blood and water, men don't. We know from having our periods and using toilets that a little blood fills up the water and makes it look like a lot. Men haven't experienced this. I think if it were me I would simply warn my male family members ahead of time that even a little blood spreads very evenly in water and can look like a lot even if it isn't, and not to worry unless there's another reason to worry (like you are feely woozy or passing out).

I can't think of any way to hide blood in water other than to make it very dark in the room.
This is an interesting point. I mean, really, you could make a mixture of really red food coloring in water and then dump it in a bathtub full of water so they can see how much it really spreads out...

I didn't have much (any?) blood in the water. There was a teeny bit of blood on a chucks pad that I was squatting over for a while, and a tiny bit of bloody show in my pad in my underwear.
The placenta came out with clots - it took over an hour for mine to come out, so there wasn't much bloody looking blood, just big clots stuck to it.

I think you'll wanna have *him* leave the room, rather than you when you deliver the placenta, because immediately after giving birth it's not overly easy to walk very far. Just a point.

I just didn't lose much blood at my home births - my hospital birth was a different story, but it was pitocin induced which tends to increase the bleeding from what I understand. That said, I wasn't even bleeding much (at all? I don't remember any) until after the baby was born, but I was bleeding fairly heavy (but not hemorrhaging or anything) after. I remember coming back from the bathroom and there being a trail of blood behind me, even though I was wearing a pad.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaydieBugs View Post
hand baby off to Daddy, let him snuggle with him on his warm chest, and deliver the placenta more privately, just because I'd like them to have the alone moment.
Kind of OT, but this is what we ended up doing - not planned, it just turned out I needed a little more attention to get the placenta out. But it was really nice for DH to have a moment to bond skin-to-skin with DS. They were just so close and cuddly there and it was wonderful. It made me really feel like we were partners in this whole thing.

I think the water does a decent job of dispersing a lot of the mess. IMO it looked more icky and murky than bluddy. But I hardly bled at all. We did use colored towels just b/c that's what we had.
post #7 of 24
There is blood when a baby is born. I can't really comprehend trying to hide it. Maybe some sympathy for the mother, who is the one bleeding? For me, there are so many other things to think of, like getting the baby here safely, than to worry about making a mess or the feelings of some one who is supposed to be there to support me.

I must be an anomaly, because even my midwife was insistent of cleaning up every speck of blood before letting my family in to see the new baby. I could have cared less.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by aloneinid View Post
There is blood when a baby is born. I can't really comprehend trying to hide it. Maybe some sympathy for the mother, who is the one bleeding? For me, there are so many other things to think of, like getting the baby here safely, than to worry about making a mess or the feelings of some one who is supposed to be there to support me.

I must be an anomaly, because even my midwife was insistent of cleaning up every speck of blood before letting my family in to see the new baby. I could have cared less.
No, I think most of us agree blood is part of birth and not a horror or something to hide.

But it seems that for whatever reason, many very well-meaning people seem to have trouble coping with the sight of blood. We have the stereotype of mom bravely pushing out the kiddo and dad passing out on the floor. It's hard to know where to draw the line between "buck up, guys" and "he really can't help it." I think the OP is just trying to figure out what easy things she might do to help her DH through it, not that she'll jump through hoops for it.

Anyway, it just sounds from your post like you're talking more about a guy who might just go "ew" or "ugh" or "can't you clean that up?" Which, yeah, I'm with you - that doesn't fly. But a guy who is saying "I am here to support you sweetie... oh god, I hope I don't throw up!!" is a little different than that.

My husband, midwife, assistant, and mom all did the cleanup. I didn't lift a finger And nobody freaked about the blood or mess (I don't think there WAS a mess except for the pool - even though I spent 3 hours birthing the placenta, moving from room to room to toilet, across carpet, onto the bed, onto the birthing stool, up and down the stairs - lol) but anyway nobody made a big deal out of it here.
post #9 of 24
My DH also doesn't 'do' blood... for our three births he was up by my head or in back of me, so no view of the action for him.

He also did not cut the cord, and just generally looked away when we were dealing with the placenta, etc. and focused on the baby once he was out.
post #10 of 24
The darker you can make the tub look, the less obvious any blood in the water will look. What about getting one of those non slip mats for the bottom of the tub, in a navy or other dark color?

Outside of the tub, I would just keep any sheets, towels, etc., as dark as possible.

If you haven't already, I would sit down with dad and watch some videos of home/water births, so he gets an idea of what to expect. I did this with my then 6 year old to prepare her to see her sister be born (at the hospital), and she ended up being really surprised at how *little* blood there ended up being, and actually commented about it quite a few times. I think with children and adults alike, the best strategy is to prepare them to know what to expect ahead of time-therefore normalizing it, rather than try to hide any of the reality of the situation.
post #11 of 24
My midwife actually asked that the tub have a light colored mat in it so they could see if there were issues (meconium, etc), I wonder if you should maybe discuss all this w/your midwife?
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
My midwife actually asked that the tub have a light colored mat in it so they could see if there were issues (meconium, etc), I wonder if you should maybe discuss all this w/your midwife?


You're going to want to monitor blood loss. If you put a dark colored sheet in the bottom of the tub to hide the blood, then no one will know how much you are losing. It is more important to know if you are losing too much blood than to protect the Dad from feeling woozy. He can step out and get some air if he feels woozy.
post #13 of 24
We didn't have a HB, but we did have a birth center drug/ intervention free birth. My DH was also a little nervous about the blood (it ended up not bothering him too much) but I bled.... a tremendous amount and had very large blood clots. I agree with Jennica that monitoring your well being (and the well being of your LO) is more important than protecting the father from feeling woozy.
post #14 of 24
FWIW, we didn't really have any blood to hide. I gave birth in the tub and there was no blood. I stayed in the tub for over an hour after the birth while I nursed the baby and there was no blood in the water at all the entire time. I didn't birth the placenta until about an hour and half after he was born and after that finally came out is the only time there was any blood. I was already out of the pool and I was on the bed over chux pads. Not much blood to speak of until I walked to go the bathroom but I was holding chux between my legs. After using the bathroom and cleaning up, there was only a small amount of very light flow which was easy to contain with pads. My previous two births(hospital) were very bloody so this was quite different.
post #15 of 24
don't know about hiding blood but just wanted to say- nice to hear of a split couple getting along so well and co-parenting from the beginning. You are quite the woman to pass your baby off to ex so he gets snuggle time and knows you trust him and that he's part of it all!
post #16 of 24
Yeah, I agree with the others about warning them about the blood - if you try to hide it your midwife may have trouble monitoring blood loss. But did you know there's often poop too? The only reason I mention it is that birth is really no time to be worried about bodily excretions and you likely won't even give it a second thought.
post #17 of 24
There usually is minimal blood before the placenta. I'd shoo him to the other side of the room, with or without the baby, when you start cramping up after the birth. Cramping is a good sign the placenta is nearly ready to detach and come out.
Other than that, colored towels and, especially, colored or patterned receiving blankets. Babies often have a little blood on their skin and it rubs off on the first two blankets put around them.
Really, he's gonna do fine. Being at a birth adrenalizes the people attending. Usually adrenaline is a great counter to passing out. Get a chair under his butt in case that isn't true for him.
post #18 of 24
My DH gets woozy just walking into a hospital. He hates the smell, the feel of the rooms, everything. But he was great at my homebirth. I didn't birth in a pool, and most blood landed on the chux pads, so the midwifes were able to whisk it away pretty quickly. I remember the gush of blood when baby came out. I think in water, it would be pretty impressive. Maybe suggest that he focus on you and baby, not on the blood? Overall, he might just find the homebirth setting calming enough that the blood doesn't bother him too much.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
We have the stereotype of mom bravely pushing out the kiddo and dad passing out on the floor.
My dad did that five times, FWIW.

I agree with PPs that for safety reasons, the blood actually needs to be visible. At the very least, the midwife might want to turn the dimmed lights all the way up occasionally to check (while the dad closes his eyes or leaves the room, if he feels the need).

I know a woman whose water birth left the birth pool sparkling clear with nary a drop of blood, but I guess that's unusual! I had plenty of gore at mine (not a waterbirth), but was surprised by how un-squicked I was. I found it faintly hilarious to be covered in blood, actually.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
My dad did that five times, FWIW.

I agree with PPs that for safety reasons, the blood actually needs to be visible. At the very least, the midwife might want to turn the dimmed lights all the way up occasionally to check (while the dad closes his eyes or leaves the room, if he feels the need).

I know a woman whose water birth left the birth pool sparkling clear with nary a drop of blood, but I guess that's unusual! I had plenty of gore at mine (not a waterbirth), but was surprised by how un-squicked I was. I found it faintly hilarious to be covered in blood, actually.
Me! Me! My waterbirth had no blood (well, maybe a drop or two of bloody show, but definitely some poop that they scooped out immediately and lots of vernix floating around)... and b/c it took so long before my placenta made an appearance (over an hour) I had gotten out to birth the placenta so the water was still nice and clear after. I was shocked at the lack of blood!
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