Wednesday 5 August 2020

Ettie's Birth Story: A Bit of Background

I haven’t written anything here for a long time. Blogging while heavily pregnant during lockdown wasn’t an option. Firstly, I had nothing to say because we were at home all of the time and secondly, I had no opportunity because the kids were with me All The Time. There was no headspace for writing inspiration, at all. I let the pregnancy updates fall by the wayside because each week blended into the next and the only change seemed to be that I got bigger and more heavily pregnant. This would not make for very interesting reading.  

The pregnancy was fine, albeit long, so there wasn’t much of interest to report. I had a cold for four whole weeks and that was probably the most exciting thing to happen. Things did start to get more complicated towards the end, however, and I feel like I need to include all of that in my birth story so that it is the complete unabridged version. It’s going to be long, sorry, but the birth was short so that might make up for it (did that hook you in?). 

I was hoping to have a home birth. That sounds casual. I was not. I had my heart set (like concrete) on one. I had Ebony at home, in 2012, and it was wonderful. It was calm and private and I was left feeling empowered and invincible. I didn’t shut up about it for years. Then, almost four years ago, I had Ember in hospital and, without wanting to sound dramatic, the experience left me feeling emotionally raw. It was not private or calm, and I did not feel empowered when it was over. I felt like I had survived something terrible, which is definitely dramatic but I cannot help the melodrama. 

This time, I was desperate to give birth in the safety of my own home. I wanted the baby to be born in a birth pool in our front room (of our mid-terraced house which is arguably less private than a delivery suite) under twinkling lights. I wanted Ebony and Ember to be at the birth, I wanted them to be able to meet their new sibling straight away. I wanted to be able to eat my own food, move around my own house, and, basically, feel like the boss during my labour. I wanted to be in control of the space and to feel safe and relaxed. I wanted to be tucked up in my own bed a couple of hours later. But, the best-laid plans, and all that. 

First of all, Coronavirus arrived to scupper my plans. Home births were being cancelled across the country as soon a Coronavirus became a thing. Every day, it seemed more and more trusts were cancelling home births and telling women they needed to give birth in hospitals instead. I asked my midwife about it early on (in the days before masks, remember those glorious days when everyone had mouths?) and she said she thought Stockport would keep offering home births because they have a dedicated home birth team and they had plenty of midwives. I wanted to feel reassured but I mostly still felt really anxious about it. The thought of not getting a home birth again was awful. 

Other trusts kept pulling their home birth services, I was watching them drop like flies as women shared their frustrations on Facebook home birth groups. All of Stockport’s neighbouring trusts suspended their services and I was convinced Stockport was likely to go the same way. My regular midwife was on leave at my next appointment, but I told her stand-in about my concerns and she was really reassuring and told me she’d had all her babies at home. A few days later, however, Stockport NHS Trust announced that they were suspending the home birth service with immediate effect. I may have ugly cried. For a long time. 

It was late April and I wasn’t due until June, but everything about Coronavirus was so uncertain at that point and I was worried home births wouldn’t be reinstated in time. I emailed a few Independent Midwives to enquire about availability and costs. They cost a lot, it turns out, but I was seriously considering it just so I could stay home. If you’ve had a home birth, you’ll understand why. It’s nice staying home. It’s completely different from a hospital setting. I messaged the stand-in midwife to ask if she thought the service would be reinstated before June (high maintenance, me? Maybe). She replied and told me that ambulance delays were to blame for the suspension but that if women still wanted to birth at home, and they had enough midwives on call, then those births could go ahead. I may have ugly cried again, but this time with relief (that I didn’t have to empty the bank account to pay for an Independent Midwife).

At my next appointment, I told my regular midwife that I would still like to go ahead with the home birth. When I was 36+6, she dropped off the home birth box and I signed some forms to confirm I understood the ambulance service couldn’t guarantee a fast response. With the home birth box in the corner of the living room, it started to feel real. We got the house in order, practised setting up the hot tub, and bought all the extra bits we needed for the birth (hose pipe, tap connector etc). We got into the habit of making sure the house was spotless before bed every night (we really aren’t usually those people) just in case. I felt ready for this home birth.

To be continued...

fb com


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...