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Old 11-27-2009, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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* Sorry this is incoherent - I just need to write it all down.

Ok, so I've just tested pregnant. We were kind of sort of TTC so I'm happy-ish about having another baby, but totally petrified of going through another pregnancy and birth like last time.

We were abroad, I wanted a homebirth, did loads of research, got bullied mercilessly by a number of OBs, found the one and only under-the-radar-midwife who spoke English, went 3 weeks over EDD holding out against all pressure, then had a really difficult labour, midwife was totally useless and very unsupportive, forced me to transfer to hospital where she abandoned me, and I suffered birth-rape at the hands of OBs who were extremely angry at my choice and wanted to punish me.

I've spent the last almost 2 years dealing with the resultant PTSD and trying to heal and thought I was doing a reasonable job. But now that I'm confronted with the reality of having to go through pregnancy and birth again, well, I'm plain terrified.

I've been reading up on the homebirth.org.uk website and it seems that while technically you're supposed to be able to request a homebirth through the NHS often that's not really the case at all. Most GPs seem very anti-HB, midwives will say they have staff-shortages and can't come out after all, etc. I absolutely do not want to set foot inside a hospital unless it is a true life-or-death emergency, but I also don't want to spend my entire pregnancy arguing with these people, and I certainly don't want to be negotiating with them when I'm in labour about whether or not they'll come out.

I can't find any information about which GPs/midwife groups are homebirth-friendly in my area (*********) though I did discover that the ********* homebirth rate is only about half that of the national average, which doesn't sound too good.

I also don't want to force a midwife to come out to me at home in labour and then have to deal with a hostile MW for the birth and after.

I've looked into private MWs and they sound good, but are far too expensive. DH makes about £16,000 a year after tax and a private MW is about £2,500-£3000. It's just not really an option. Plus DH doesn't see why on earth we should even consider paying money like that for a service we're supposed to get free on NHS.

I'm also thinking about Doulas - I might be able to afford a Doula and could swing it with DH by talking up the fact that she could help out with childcare etc. But would having a Doula offset having a POed MW?

I'm also thinking about UC - apparently not illegal here - good to know, and something I toyed with first time around too. But I think I'll need some womanly support - DH was worse than useless last time around, and this time we'll have a toddler to look after too. I want someone to offer me drinks, rub my back, keep DD out of mischief, and give me support if I need it. It would be lovely if I could count on DH for that, but after last time I'm really hesitant to put my eggs all in that basket, IYKWIM.

Help!! Anyone with BTDT experience - can you chime in and calm me down please! And thank you for making it to the end.

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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Old 11-27-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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Congratulations!

Every pregnancy and labour is different. There is no reason to suppose that the same things will recur.

You have a right to a home birth. End of story. You tell them at your booking in appointment that that is what you want, and they then need to make sure that the staff are in place to help you at that time. They may say they have no staff or that it will leave other areas short - but that is NOT your problem.

I have heard many good things about doulas. I say go for it. Also consider booking an appointment with a midwife who you find supportive, to go through your notes (if available) of your previous pregnancy and labour. I have heard many women (and their partners) say that this has been very helpful.

I had a friend who was assisted by the NHS in seeing a therapist for her hospital phobia with one of her pregnancies.

I say, don't combative, book in through the community midwife route (not the hospital) and really, I would be surprised if you had that much opposition. Really. Good luck.

(If you go that "late" again you may well have a fight on your hands. You may need to be vague about dates although scans may give you away).
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Old 11-27-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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Hi Autumn Air

I had my on on the NHS last year, I'm in Bracknell, Berkshire which also has a shockingly low homebirth rate. I found my midwife to be not particularly encouraging of homebirth in the beginning, but I think it was more that she was making sure that it was what I really wanted. I don't think she realised how strongly I felt about it and how much research I did. I did get the whole 'If we are understaffed you'll just have to go to hospital' line. I handled it by just agreeing at the time, and intending to NOT just go to hospital. We would have called, said I would come in at the last minute and called again when I was pushing to say I couldn't come.

I know a lady in my area who had an unplanned homebirth, almost a UC because baby came too fast. They sent a midwife out and an ambulance crew. She was taken care of by the midwife at home, didn't get transferred to hospital. I believe that in the NICE guidlines it states that the NHS is obligated to bring in outside midwives (i.e. independants) when there aren't enough staff to go around. It's a long while since I read the guidance though - I may be misremembering.

I'm not pregnant, but we are planning to TTC early next year, and I am feeling more and more that I will be going for the 'Oops' plan, that is, get all of the normal midwife care, book homebirth again (booking is such a stupid term for it!), and wait until the very last minute to call the midwife or get hubby to call when I am pushing.

My reasons for this are: 1) I am likely to get the same midwife again, and I didn't particularly like her.

2) One of the 'conditions' of me having a homebirth was doppler, blood pressure and temperature monitoring every fifteen minutes and I found it really distracting. I put the distraction down to why the labour took so long (4am Wednesday to 8pm Thursday, regular timeable contractions the whole time. 2 hours pushing)

3) I ended up being transferred to hospital because of the length of the labour (which as I said above - I put down to the prescence of the midwives distracting me). To be honest, when they suggested to me the transfer I was starting to get nervous about what was happening (he was posterior and my water's hadn't broken). My water's broke when I got out of the ambulance at the hospital and I went straight into pushing. So if I had hung it out for a little longer at home I would have been fine. I do think the midwives made the right call in the circumstances, but I may have felt differently had I been pushed into an instrumental birth/ceasarean.

4) I totally understand your dread of hospital, my birth was fine (thank god!) but afterwards wasn't so great. The midwife that came with me from home left minutes after baby was born, and the on duty staff at the hospital forgot I was there. For four hours. Which would have been nice had I had food, clean sheets etc, but I didn't. Not particularly pleasant. And they 'lost' my notes the next day and I had to basically fight to be discharged. I was ready to just take the tags off of baby and walk out, I seriously don't think they would have known.

Anyway, sorry for writing such an essay! Basically my advice to you is: unless you think your GP is homebirth friendly or you have a good relationship with them, don't even bother telling them about it. Just call up your surgery and ask for an appointment with the community midwife. Tell them about your past experiences, and why you NEED a homebirth, if they aren't friendly to the idea, then write to the community supervisor and ask to be transferred to a group who is homebirth friendly.

Stay healthy, look after yourself and be confident. Pick your battles. I had to go and have an appointment with a consultant anethetist to confirm if I would be able to have an epidural (Just in case) because I told the midwife I had mild scoliosis as a teenager. In my upper back. The anethetist basically laughed, and said I was fine. Read your notes CAREFULLY. The midwife wrote down I had a family history of hypertension, when I told her hypotension (and I specifically said 'low blood pressure'). The anethetist was the one who picked it up.

UC is legal, but IMO you are much less likely to have hassles registering baby if you treat it as an 'Oops'. I had 'Unassisted Childbirth' on my bookshelf right next to where the midwives were sitting and we even talked about the 'Outlaw Births' prgoram (Channel 4 doco about UC that aired days before I gave birth).

Don't stress too much if you want to talk, feel free to message me. I'm on here nearly every day, but I lurk a whole lot more than I write!

Chantelle

Perpetually distracted mama to Matthew and Micah
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:49 AM
 
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OK. I love the homebirth UK board, I love Angela, but IME that site is now about 10 years out of date. Your right to give birth at home is legally protected under a document called "Maternity Matters," and if a hospital tries to deny you one just because (rather than, for instance, you having had a history of pre-eclampsia and being pregnant with triplets and a suspected placental abruption) the Department of Health ARE getting involved, on a woman's side.
My last one was an oops in Swindon, which has a 1% homebirth rate (long story). My one before that was midwife attended in Colchester, which had around a 2-3% HB rate at the time, and my first two were with a team of midwives in Colchester who had an 12% HB rate.
I am having absolutely no hassles whatsoever about a homebirth, despite being under consultant led care with a trust that has a 1% HB rate. I got a very small amount of hassle over declining a GTT, and that's it. I know that there are bad trusts out there, but there are a lot more teams of CMs who are very committed to providing the best possible care for their women. Seriously. It'll all be OK.

Ilovesunshine, you know you have the right to refuse to see that midwife, yes? I do find that midwives actually LIKE seeing their mums on second babies, though, and tend to be warmer second time around.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:44 AM
 
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Hi Flapjack

Yes, I know I don't have to see the same midwife again, it was more a personality clash with her than anything else. I guess I was expecting someone more along the lines of Ina May Gaskin Just first time mum naivete. I do agree that the homebirth website seems to be a bit out of date, I read it all before I went to my first midwife appointment and was all geared up for a fight. Like I said, I had a bit of hoop jumping to do, but I'm not sure that the average, non MDC mum would find it hoop jumping. Maybe if I had expected it to all go smoothly it would have?

Chantelle

Perpetually distracted mama to Matthew and Micah
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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Every time, I've geared up for a fight, and every time I've been disappointed

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone, you've managed to calm me down really well! It's great to hear your personal experiences. I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about being able to sort things out now that I've had a bit more time to let it all sink in. I think I just got a bit blind-sided since we weren't expecting to get pregnant so quickly, and I thought I'd have more time to do some research beforehand, but hey, with my history I still have a good 9 months left! (Oh, and dalerose, yes, I'm planning to be 'elastic' with my dates and I definitely won't be getting a dating scan done!)

Thanks again everyone, and anyone else with more BTDT experience, please feel free to chime in.

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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I didn't have a homebirth but did consider it. If I do ever have another child I think I'd probably go for one. Just so you know where I'm coming from.

You don't need to see your GP, you can just contact the midwives directly (I think you are supposed to write to the head of midwifery at the hospital) and tell them you will be having a homebirth. However, I think it can be of benefit to find a GP you feel comfortable with and also to visit a birth centre in case you do need additional support/to transfer.

Doula wise, some Sure Start schemes runs a volunteer doula programme so that might be an option if you can't afford to pay one? If you haven't already used Sure Start I'd recommend going along. Most of them offer things like baby massage, signing classes, breastfeeding support, playgroups etc either free or charge or for a nominal fee.
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that extra info tessie - there's a Sure Start centre pretty close by, but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. That's going on my to-do list!

On a related note, does anyone know if I can get hold of the Hypnobabies home study course in the UK? It's not on amazon.co.uk and when I went to the official site they seem to suggest that they only ship within the US. I've heard lots of good things about it, particularly about it helping to keep you calm and focused during pregnancy, which clearly I need some help with!!!

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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Old 11-28-2009, 11:41 PM
 
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Do you mean hypnobirthing? Is that like hypnobaies or not? I don't know.

One of my dh's old friends who he has found on facebook is using this with his wife. I think they go to a group locally.

I was injecting anti-clotting medication during my last pregnancy and was under a high risk team here in Oxford. They weren't happy abotu me birthing at home but after a discussion of the risks we satisfied that I wasn't just bonkers and obtuse but well read and well aware of the risks and benefits.

Ultimately no-one can say "You cannot and will not have a home birth". When I was pregnant with ds2 they did say that but they can't nowadays. They can however advise you against it and in some cases that would be good advice and should be taken as such.

If you are at home and you need a midwife you call the midwifery team and they must send someone to you. This may not be a midwife you have met before but will be one (or two) of the on-call midwives of your local team.

I'm not sure what our homebirth rate is locally but I know of a good dozen women in my social circle who have had one, if not more, home births here.

I ended up not birthing at home due to malposition and prolonged rupture of membranes which combined with no progress I wasn't comfortable with after 36 hours. Dd was brow presenting and that was why she wasn't descending. I was gutted on the way to hospital but it was the right thing for us.

Cheking out the hospital and going on a tour of the delivery suite might not be popular advice but at least it means that the place is a little bit familiar and you know which door to go to if you end up transferring without the assistance of an ambulance!
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Old 11-29-2009, 08:03 AM
 
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i agree, the homebirth uk site & that homebirth yahoo group made me feel like i was going to have a fight for a homebirth. not the case at all where i live.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post
Cheking out the hospital and going on a tour of the delivery suite might not be popular advice but at least it means that the place is a little bit familiar and you know which door to go to if you end up transferring without the assistance of an ambulance!
i agree with this. we transferred in the end, & it was much less of a "threat" having at least seen the place beforehand.
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post

Cheking out the hospital and going on a tour of the delivery suite might not be popular advice but at least it means that the place is a little bit familiar and you know which door to go to if you end up transferring without the assistance of an ambulance!
I totally agree! I didn't do this, and wished I had. And also packing a bag just in case. I didn't do this, which was in hindsight a really dumb idea! Trying to shout directions up the stairs to DH inbetween contractions, was a real pain. And I ended up without things like hairbrush, shower gel, toothbrush and clean socks. And my waters broke into my shoes when the ambulance arrived at the hospital, which I then had to wear the next day when I was discharged. I'm not making that mistake again next time

Perpetually distracted mama to Matthew and Micah
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Old 12-23-2009, 05:40 AM
 
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OK, I'm taking back my words here. DS4 was born 4.30am yesterday morning after what can only be described as an almight : on the part of the local community team managers. They had nobody in delivery suite that night, three women labouring at home and two CMs on. Of the three at home, they got to me 45 minutes after baby was born and an hour and a half after we rang the maternity bleepholder and asked for them to come back- the subsequent messages that my waters had broken and I was feeling pushy and that baby was out weren't passed on, and I wasn't offered an ambulance, though in retrospect we should have just called one ourselves. My understanding is that the reason the midwife took so long to get back to me is because lady 3 was freaking out (rightly) at being told that she may have to go to hospital due to lack of midwives on that night, and having the information that baby was here and safe would have helped them care for her. And lady 2 was looking like a necessary transfer. Total farce.

Therefore, I can't in good conscience again advise anyone in Swindon to have an NHS homebirth, and if I were planning more kids, it would only be with an independent midwife. I know that it's unusual to have that many women in labour at once, but the resources should have been distributed better and the management needed to be stronger. And this stinks.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:03 AM
 
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So sorry you had to go through that Flapjack.

Saamy Student mama to  superhero.gifand hearts.gifand babyf.gif

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Old 12-23-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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I'm gobsmacked. I think the caveat would be, if you're comfortable with the idea of UC, go with the NHS option- but if you value the services of a midwife, it's probably worth paying for them.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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Hello Lisa,

I'm Kathryn an American by birth but living in the UK for the last 12 years. I would highly recommend getting an independent midwife. I am an independent midwife but live too far from you unfortunately. It is so worth the money as I'm sure you know the far reaching consequences of a poor birth (as you describe). Many IMs will accept payment plans (I have several clients paying £100/month by direct debit) or barter (if your husband is a builder I'll come to *********!! lol) With your permission I could put your post on the IM UK yahoo group to see if anyone can help? I personally wouldn't recommend unassisted but can see why women do it. A doula is great but not the same as having a supportive midwife. If you'd like to chat on the phone about all of this I'd be more than happy to.

Kind regards,

KAthryn
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