Wednesday, 17 August 2011

But I wanted a home birth...

I'm a natural kind of a girl - much as I love aesthetic form and function (well, handbags, shoes and Space NK) my philosophy is more trees and skies than pounds, dollars and conformity. When I was pregnant with the Pickle I had visions of a hypnobirthing home birth - and then I got pre-eclampsia and my body started to pack up and my choices became limited and to secure the health of me and the Pickle I had to have an emergency Cesarean.

This time around I was hoping to avoid the medical interventions. I was healthy and avoided stress and everything seemed to be going so well. The consultant gave me a reprieve and rather than the Cesarean at 40 weeks as threatened she was happy for me to try for a natural birth up to 42 weeks.

I am really aware that I have free will and can challenge the medical opinions and have a say in my treatment. I have spent much time unpacking some of their statements that initially could have cowed me into submission "Beyond the age of 40 the statistics of having a stillborn child are hugely increased if you go beyond term" or "After 42 weeks the risk of still birth is doubled". These quotes will send a chill down the spine of any Mum - but analyse the data and you can read that general in the UK, the risk of stillbirth is about 1 per 3000 pregnancies at 39 weeks, 4 per 3000 at 42 weeks and 8 per 3000 at 43 weeks - which while significant is the figures are not paranoia inducing.

However, despite my long held wish for a natural birth I am preparing for an elective Cesarean tomorrow. I have analysed the statistics, I am aware of my age, my history of pre-eclampsia and the fact I now have issues with rising blood pressure and the fact that it took us 5 years to conceive and then only with the assistance of clomed and a hormone jab. Already I have a miracle baby living in my womb, I am his Mum and I think that on balance at 41 weeks and 6 days that Cesarean is our collective best option for a positive outcome.

Rationally I know that I am doing the right thing, but I still have emotional reservations. I feel a failure that despite two attempts I can not deliver in the way that evolution intended; does that make me less of a woman - a failure. Will my milk come in and will we bond? Cesarean Mums are much more likely to suffer from post natal depression. After five years of focused attention suddenly the Pickle will not only have to share me with a brother but I will be sleep deprived and recovering from a major operation that will have cut through many layers of fundamental muscles. You see, I have a few issues over this course of action. I could refute each of my problems one by one - I know that they are not rational or I have put in place wonderful remedies, but I need to acknowledge these things so that I can move on.

I have also had many angels! I went into my final ECG monitoring today and had a long chat with the midwife. She did a final attempt at a Stretch and Sweep but my cervix was not just closed but almost welded close - unlikely that without the section we would have any movement fast. Forget the sweep though, this midwife was everything you could hope for. She, herself, had ended up having a Cesarean for each of her two children, and talked of the emotional impact, saying how rarely it is acknowledged. She talked about giving myself time to grieve for the changing course of my delivery and methods for dealing with post natal depression.

As I was wondering out of the hospital and I saw the head of the unit going into work, still off duty, and I stopped to say how amazing I found her team; regardless of being off duty we stopped and chatted and she gave me loads of advice on how to benefit from the Hubster's private health insurance (despite being firmly in the NHS, and yes I do love the NHS).

My second angel was, naturally, the Pickle. When I got back from the hospital she had made me a card. "To Mummy and Beanie Love Pickle. I hope when Beanie is born it does not hurt. ...I am am a little fairy I like to sing." That got the tears going! We then went upstairs and packed my hospital bags together, spending an hour or so just chatting and packing and calming each others anxieties with questions and reassurance.

When I was packed I had just the time to pick up an old friend from the station. This really was an angel - it was a friend who I knew from when I lived in Paris twenty years ago and she was in the country for a few days, on route to Portugal from her native San Fransisco. We all headed out for a chilled out afternoon of Ethiopian food and long chats. Just what you need the day before an operation!

Then Twitter has also been amazing. T-J from Bras for Mums sent me the most amazing link from You Tube about Natural Cesareans Okay I could not watch it in full, but it was great to have an alternative perspective. In in her 'Simpley Hayley' blog Hayley wrote so eruditely about The Planned C Section - which was amazing to read, an honest blow by blow account of the whole procedure.

So at 10.30am tomorrow I go under the surgeons knife - think of me. I am the lucky person with the angels looking out for me. Thank you! xx

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