Pregnancy Diary Week 33: Home Birth
Brace yourselves for a Theresa May style U turn. I have decided that a homebirth would be the best option for me this time. Cough. Yes, yes, I know this is a little surprising based on previous expressions of opinion. After my week 16 midwife appointment I got all arsey about having a big pink sticker on my notes saying: “You are recommended to have a homebirth”. When discussing this with my midwife at earlier appointments, I had pretty adamantly stated that I did not want a homebirth and felt much more comfortable about being in hospital. As a result, said sticker felt like a dismissal of my wishes, which pissed me off a bit if I’m honest, making me even more set on a hospital birth. As outlined in that week’s diary entry: “…the thought of having to incinerate our living room carpet following an uncontrollable spillage of bodily fluids isn’t that appealing.” Blah, blah, blah... So what changed? I don’t know precisely. Carpet incineration still isn’t high on my fun list, but having thought more about how fast my first labour was and realising that this one could be even quicker, being able to stay put and have midwives come to us feels like a reassuring and also quite sensible choice. I still have a few reservations, but I think that’s part of the nature of preparing for birth. Writing your birth plan (or birth wish list as it should really be called due to the number of possibilities and the likelihood that things won’t stay on script) doesn’t exactly feel like penning a Christmas list. It’s natural to feel apprehensive and a little uncertain about the process, and of course many women actually dread giving birth. There are also many fabled tales of very positive births, a few recent ones from my real life friends who actually exist, so I know they aren’t a myth. Despite that, it is easy to focus on all the things that can go wrong, particularly if you have had a difficult or stressful experience previously. Of course it’s important to consider all the possibilities and actually really helpful to be informed, to be realistic and to have some idea of the choices you might make in a number of different eventualities. However, I am feeling more confident about planning for a positive experience, which maybe I didn’t feel was possible before. After thinking about the birth much more, I really feel that a homebirth could give me that positive experience. And if I decide on the day that a homebirth doesn’t feel right for whatever reason, or if things don’t go to plan, then I am very open to going in to hospital. For me, that flexibility is one of the main attractions. In Brighton and Hove it is possible to opt for a homebirth up until 34 weeks of pregnancy if you are eligible (i.e., if you’ve had a low risk pregnancy), and you can opt out at any point. However, you can’t plan for a hospital birth but decide on the day that you want a homebirth. Well, you can but it would be more DIY (think freebirth rather than B&Q) than midwife assisted, and after having a very fast first labour, that’s exactly what I want to avoid. A homebirth might enable me to stay calmer, not having the need to get to the hospital. This for me will involve getting down two flights of stairs, enduring a fifteen minute plus taxi ride and getting up to the labour ward. This is all very doable and was OK first time but is highly likely to result in some overexertion, some stress, and some discomfort. Instead I can stay put, focus on my breathing, have space to move around and do the yoga positions I have been practicing at LushTums pregnancy yoga classes, hire and use a birth pool if I want to, and hopefully have the focused attention of two dedicated community midwives who can advise on a transfer if anything that needs hospital care should happen. I’m still a bit surprised by how much my feelings about this have changed but just feel lucky to have so many options where we live and really happy that I was able to get all the information about these options to be able to change my mind.