Thanks so much for your help in preparing us for the birth of our daughter Clover, who we got the pleasure of finally meeting on 20th April.
As you so rightly said in the classes – better to have birth preferences as opposed to a birth plan, as a birth is pretty hard to plan. In our case we didn’t even manage our birth preferences but that was actually okay, and we had the best experience we could have hoped for considering the circumstances.
My due date came and went and I tried not to let it bother me. I did laps of Hackney (the poor dog was exhausted) and every other suggestion under the sun but nothing. When I was 41 weeks and 6 days the home birth team told me that they aren’t really supposed to support home births past 42 weeks. *
I went up to Homerton so they could monitor the baby, she was incredibly active throughout the pregnancy (my belly looked like a lava lamp) and she was moving around so much that they couldn’t get a clear reading so I was strapped to the monitors for hours. Whilst we were there they explained that if I wanted to use the birth centre that I only had until the following day (42 weeks) to go into labour, so reluctantly I agreed to be induced so that I had a chance to be in the birth centre if a home birth was out the window. **
We had filled out the paperwork and were waiting to be sent for our induction when the doctor suggested she quickly scanned me before we went. Thank god for that woman. Turns out baby was breech and we were then scheduled for a C section the next day, which was strangely a relief – knowing exactly what was going to happen after weeks of ‘what ifs’ and worries. I felt this was the safest thing for me and my baby, I had avoided an induction which I was incredibly anxious about and knowing what was going to happen next was incredibly calming. It meant we could have a nice dinner at home, calmly pack and arrive at the hospital excited and calm the next morning.
It was clear from the snippets of conversation in theatre “can someone put that arm back in” “it’s really great for your training to see a breech birth like that” that the operation wasn’t straight forward. The staff were amazing, and explained everything to us incredibly clearly and calmly once baby was out safe. I was scanned before theatre to check her position but when they made the incision it turns out she had moved again and her arm shot out like superwoman, so they had to pop her arm back in and turn her body so that they could get her out safely. They did an incredible job and our care was brilliant.
It couldn’t have been more different from the pool at home that I was gunning for, but I look back on the birth fondly and i’m really pleased with how it went. Hypnobirthing definitely kept me calm and I felt I was so much more prepared for whatever direction the birth took. I feel incredibly fortunate to have access to such good medical care.
Thank you so much for all your help, we learnt so much and I was really pleased that the classes didn’t just focus on natural births so that I was prepared when we had to go to hospital.
Florence, James and Clover x
notes from Kat:
* you absolutely can birth at home beyond 42 weeks, if you want to. A woman’s decision is her own and the NHS have a duty of care to you, even if your choices are against medical advice.
** I hear this coercion tactic all too often and it drives me nuts. It’s true that hospitals don’t allow women in birthing centres post 42 weeks (let’s leave why that’s a nonsensical idea for another post right now) but to try and persuade a woman to induce labour before 42 weeks so she can be in the birth centre is an oxymoron. Inductions require closer monitoring and so begin or end up on labour wards anyway. Weigh up the benefits of a natural start to labour vs environment (which you can make your own pretty much wherever you are)…