I hate being unable to stop something I see as inevitable, not least in a week when I read that a third of
women don’t feel they were treated with respect whilst birthing their child.
I’m all for allowing people to control their own destiny but I hate that I can’t help them when I can see them moving down a path which could lead towards an inevitable conclusion.
A friend of mine has recently given birth to a bouncing baby boy.
We had chatted about births, I mentioned that I’d had two homebirths and had the usual ‘oh I’m not brave enough to try for a homebirth’.
And yet I’d been hard pushed not to say how I wasn’t brave enough to have a hospital birth knowing what I did.
Which is not to say that, given all of our issues with Babygirl we hadn’t been scheduled for a hospital birth, just one where we’d gone in fully informed, empowered and aware – information gave us the ability to question, to challenge and to change what we were told was inevitable.
Hospital births around where I live tend to follow an almost inevitable plan.
Too much monitoring forcing women to labour lying on their backs, little encouragement to use active labour positions, machines and partners replacing trusted one on one midwife care, over stretched dedicated midwives trying to work an unreasonable caseload
And then the inevitable stalling of labour, shroud waving and serious interventions.
Yes, amongst mums I know around here, there is a 50% emergency c-section rate, another 30% have serious interventions.
I am one of two women I know who have had simple, calm, births that went more or less according to plan.
And yet all of them tell me they were lucky to be in hospital so that they and their baby were ‘saved’ by medical science.
Would these things have happened at home, attended by a midwife who’d had the time to get to know both mother and unborn baby – to have a relationship built with both that is invaluable during labour?
I consider myself lucky to have been empowered – to not have been in hospital where the ‘routine’ rupture of membranes would have killed Toddlergirl, where our emergency would have been accompanied by panic and shouting rather than something dealt with efficiency and calmness.
I’m glad I knew enough with Babygirl’s horrid pregnancy to push back on induction plans when they might not be appropriate, to work with the hospital midwives to find a way to minimise the medicalisation of a hospital birth*
Sadly for my friends that weren’t ‘brave enough’ for a home birth, they had what seems to me like the inevitable outcome – a healthy baby, a healthy mother but an emergency c-section that may not have needed to happen if they had had trusted, known midwifery care in a non medical environment.
If you are interested in supporting one midwife for one mother, please have a look at this site – I just wish that we could find a way that all women are given a positive experience of giving birth, be it at home, birth centre or hospital.
*if you are planning a hospital birth and want a more ‘normal’ birth, your hospital is likely to have recently appointed a consultant midwife for normality who is there to help you achieve this