We got to our appointment early and just our luck- we were informed by a notice on the whiteboard that the clinic was running 30-40 minutes late. I asked if I could look through my previous notes while we waited, but was told that they are confidential and I would have to put in my request in writing to the Records office of the hospital. Is it just me who finds this quite outrageous? …they are records about me. (I didn’t make a fuss, but put in a reminder to follow up over the next week or so.)
Anyway, we were finally seen an hour and a half late and to top it all off I was seen by a trainee consultant, whereas my midwife had specifically requested a particular consultant. Not a good start!
With the trainee consultant we went through my previous pregnancy and labour history- two 13 hour labours, two home births; first labour we transferred in to hospital after 4 hours in second stage labour, with my baby back to back and me too exhausted and in agonising pain to feel able to push any longer, ending with epidural, contractions having to be restarted, forceps assisted delivery and loss of a pint and half of blood; second labour beautiful homebirth after which I was rushed into hospital (partly due to a midwife out of her comfort zone making some rash decisions and not having her eye on the ball) as I developed a heavy bleed (post partum haemorrhage), loosing a lot of blood. (A bit more about this in a previous post.). I had big babies both times- a 9 pounder and another near 11 pounds.
The consultant already knew from my referral that I want to explore the options for a home water birth. We covered two issues: first, my big babies and my high BMI (body mass index) and second the previous bleeds.
For my sins of having big babies previously and being on the heavy side I have been referred for Glucose tolerance testing (which detects any tendency for gestational diabetes- a possible cause for having big babies) and have been booked for a 36 week growth scan. I welcomed these extra checks being booked and didn’t think much of it till I read up in more detail on the condition, the effects on baby if I do have gestational diabetes, etc… but that’s a whole different post. 😉
The big discussion was around my previous bleeds. Having done my research, talked to a number of midwives (some alternative, some mainstream) in theory I have a minimum 20% chance of developing another bleed after delivery. Add in another couple of factors around my and Sticky Bean’s likely weight and we can put that up a couple of notches.
A game of ping pong started: the consultant put forward an argument for hospital birth, a canula in throughout labour, no waterbirth, managed third stage labour, so on and I’d counter based on my research. It was a long drawn out match. Unfortunately, she could not give me facts, research-based evidence to counter my arguments. I was going to this appointment with hopes to get a full picture to be able to weigh up the pros and cons. I am a scientist- I need my numbers countered with numbers, emotions with emotions and not the other way around! Instead I felt that scare tactics were being applied, none of my questions got concrete answers. I am very disillusioned!
The final conclusion of the ping-pong match- I am booked to see a senior/ consultant midwife who will discuss the matter further with me. I came away with no answers, further uncertainty about my birth options and more fear of hospitals as a place where choices are taken away from me. (Like my first labour- you can have an epidural, or no pain relief -“which we know you won’t be able to choose because of the unbearable agony you are in and we really want you to opt for an epidural, so we can actually prep you for an emergency c section if needed”- went unsaid-, there are no other options… this all came flooding back to me!)
On the bright side- the Sticky Bean is one active baby, but one with definite rest patterns. This little Bean rests an hour to 90 minutes, then does somersaults and big kicks in all different directions. Oh-so-lovely-Daddy has felt Sticky Bean kick this week too. In fact, this foetus has such a kick that I actually saw it through my tummy (though I’m not sure whether that is actually just due to the lack of muscle tone in my flabby tummy.)
Reading up on Sticky Bean’s development I’ve learnt that along with the sense of touch, the taste buds are developing. I should be conscious of that and eat more healthy food now- less carbs, more veg and definitely less salt. I will try. It should be a good distraction from all things birth related!
Did you opt for a home birth against medical advice- how do you make such a decision? What are the real factors to weigh up in case of a post partum haemorrhage?
(We live 10 minutes from the hospital … in rush hour by car.)