Friday, February 8, 2008

Contented Mother... (3)

A few paras from chapter two, on birth. This chapter is called How do they do it in Africa?

Home birth
It was Sheila who made me realise I did not have to have a hospital birth. I do not feel strongly about where a baby is born in principle, this is a personal choice. For me home birth was by far the most attractive option. The thought of wandering around labour wards for hours on end, with other women’s wails reminding me of more pain yet to come was less than appealing. At home I could walk around our house, feel free to be as naked, loud or silent as I liked, and James would be able to make toast and tea to keep us going, between contractions. The neighbours would just have to get over it. I imagine it could be rather traumatic for the two teenaged boys,but I was feeling rather traumatised by them right then. I was not sure what to worry about most - these kids’ welfare or the fact that their expletives were likely to be among my baby’s first words. But one thing I didn’t care about was making them endure a few hours of agonised screams. Besides, I was not planning to scream…

While writing this I have just heard that a friend of a friend has given birth at home. Two hours after the baby was born the midwife went home, the dad got a takeaway and they are now sipping champagne on the sofa with their new babe in their arms. I’m so jealous (my ‘home birth’ didn’t quite go according to plan, but more on that later). Compare this to being left alone on the post-natal ward, woken by other babies’ cries, and eating hospital food. Not to mention the humiliation of being watched on your way to the loo. I am not joking - this takes an age. I staggered so slowly, protectively clutching my very sore undercarriage, convinced it would fall to the ground if I let go, that it took me at least five minutes to pass my neighbour’s bed. Enough time to say “hi”, listen to her conversation with some twenty relatives also watching me pass, say “bye” and still not have made it past her bed. And then I had to go through it all over again on my way back to bed half an hour later. Cringe.

Comforts aside, Sheila reassured me that a home birth would be safe and was increasingly common. Importantly for me, I could also change my mind at any time before or during labour. We lived five minutes from the hospital which helped! I decided to go with the flow, do as much as I could at home and see what felt right at the time. And, as community midwife, Sheila would attend the birth if I were lucky enough to go into labour on the right day.

Before I go on I recommend anyone planning a home birth to think carefully whom they decide to tell. My decision was greeted with many a horrified silence followed by cautions, warnings and even pleas that I might change my mind. I was not to be dissuaded. I’d had a fairly straightforward pregnancy and felt very relaxed and active until the last minute.

As is customary with home births, a week before the due date Sheila came to leave her bag of goodies behind. A word of advice:


Medical equipment can resemble torture instruments to the untrained eye. I mean I’m all for forward planning and preparedness and all that, but couldn’t she have hidden it in the shed or something?
Read on - a snippet from Chapter 3


Tori said...

LOVE your blog!
so jolly, warm and interesting.. you totally should get your book out, I can just see tube carriages full of people reading it and smiling!

Claire said...

I got to your blog via the group via a friend being a member. Just wanted to say, your blog is fab and I am really keen to hear when the book will be published.

My little boy loves baby led weaning by the way. I hope Bella has as much of a ball as he has :o)