I had a second obstetrician appointment recently to decide whether to try for a VBAC or have another c-section. I decided that I would go for a vaginal birth unless I go very overdue as I’m really not keen to be induced. I had a very prolonged first labour that never really got going. I had two sweeps, and eventually went into labour naturally but had to have my waters broken and a drip to try and get my contractions going, neither of which helped me progress more than 7cms. Herbie was back to back and never really turned and eventually got stuck, his oxygen levels plummeted and they had to perform a Category 1 c-section and get him out within about 10 minutes. By this point, I had had gas and air, pethedine and an epidural so they were able to top up the epidural and not have to knock me out, which was something at least. But my husband couldn’t come in as it was so quick, and I remember being covered up like a corpse and then haemorrhaging after Herbie was delivered so I don’t have fond memories of my last experience, plus the aftercare at the hospital was pretty dire.
I think a lot of this experience was tied up in fear. When you have experienced losses, it’s very difficult to remain calm and relaxed about birth and I also think it makes you feel less able to let go as you are trying to hold onto a successful pregnancy after feeling your body has let you down.
So I’m reading Ina May Gaskill’s Guide to Childbirth at the moment, which was recommend by a few people. She is a midwife in America who helped set up a natural childbirth centre called The Farm. Whether or not you plan to have a hospital birth, it is a useful read to help you get into a more positive headspace and learn how to trust your body during labour and birth. What is also clear is that creating a strong and trusting relationship with midwives and doctors encourages much better outcomes, which is something we have sadly lost a lot of in modern times, with very limited contact with a midwife for the most part and then a host of, essentially, strangers looking after you once you are in hospital. They are all doing a great job but there’s no real relationship there, which as shame and we are all the poorer for it.
Whatever choices we decide on during pregnancy, women deserve to be supported and properly understood.