Thursday, 17 December 2009

Another footballer?

Well I am now 23 and a bit weeks. I have got past the difficult bit where you stop feeling tired and sick but can't feel the baby move yet. You have to trust and be patient. Unfortunately at this time a dear friend who was due on the same day as me lost her baby (17 weeks). It is so hard to see anyone go through this - especially as she had an another interuterine death at 18 weeks last year as well. My heart breaks for her. I am worried how it will be for her as my bump gets bigger and bigger.

Some people are buying sonic aid/dopplers to use at home to listen for baby's heart beat. This worries me because they often get them in early pregnancy when it is too early for a trained midwife to find the heart beat with one. I think it will give more anxiety than the reassurance they are looking for. Later on, I wonder if it stops women tuning in to their baby and its movements, as they trust the machine more than their own body. My other concern is that there is no research into the long term affects of frequent use of these. Sonic aids/dopplers use ultra sound technology. With hospitals all sonic aids and ultrasound machines have to be checked yearly. Research has shown that repeated ultrasounds are linked to lower weight babies and an increased risk of premature birth. See 'Ultrasound/Unsound'.

Now I am getting big kicks and movements so I am reassured that bubba is growing strong and healthy. I told my seven year old son that I thought it might be a footballer like him as it is kicking so much. He asked if that meant it was a boy - he already has two brothers but they are not football mad like him and he is the only one who would like baby to be a boy - the others want to even it out. I would like to give my daughter a sister. I know they will be 14 years apart but I am 10 years older than my sister and though we were not close growing up (I left home when she was 8)we are extremely close now and I am so grateful to have a sister, especially since our mum died. We can be mum to each other.

Saturday, 24 October 2009


Well, here I am pregnant again! A bit of a surprise but a lovely surprise. After getting over the 'I can't believe it' and the shocked reactions of other people, I have started to really look forward to the joy of another child. I am also relishing the thought of feeling a baby moving around inside me and of breastfeeding - which I enjoyed so much. I am also looking forward to the amazing experience of giving birth again (with a little trepidation to be truly honest - it is a powerful and extremely physical experience and each one is different).

I am now 16 weeks and have just been in touch with a midwife for the first time. You do get more laid back, after all what is the hurry? I am not having any routine scans nor blood tests so there is no deadline. I am relatively healthy and not in poverty; I don't smoke and don't have premature or low birth weight babies; I do not have a history of complications. All of which means the chance of needing any help is minute.

I have not seen a gp either. There is no need to see a doctor - you can go straight to a midwife. (UK government made that very clear in 2004 - giving all trusts the obligation of publicising contact details for women to make direct contact with a midwife.) All they do is write a letter to the midwife anyway. Some do a few general health checks. The worst they can do is use their ignorance and prejudice to put the frighteners up you. It is not unknown for gps to advise against home births in often graphic persuasive language even though the national advisory body, NICE, recommends all women having straightforward pregnancies should be told that having a home birth reduces their chance of having a caesarean.

To me it seems a waste of a gp appointment - let someone else who needs the appointment more have it. I did not see a gp last time. My community midwife who was ignorant of the situation, wouldn't take a direct referral from me, so I wrote to my gp and he referred me on.

This time I wrote to the head of midwifery at the local hospital and asked for a midwife to be assigned to me as I did not want any care from my local community midwife (not the same as last time). some of my friends had complained about her in the past and I had heard some less than favourable reports, so I have no faith or trust in her. This was sorted out within days and I have been given a named midwife who will do all my antenatal check ups at home.

So now it is all steam ahead towards baby number 5! At least I don't have to hold my stomach in anymore!!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

I know some secrets - will you listen?

I was at an NCT home birth group meeting a couple of days ago. It was very exciting to be with a couple who were planning to birth their first baby at home. They had done lots of reading and research. Why, asked the expectant woman, why is home birth not the default option? Why indeed!

I have been to many birth and home birth conferences, listened to many learned midwives (and a few obstetricians), read many books, conference reports, government guidelines, and journal articles, and I have supported women and listened to their stories. This couple and myself have come to the same conclusion - we are not medically trained, but everything we have learnt about birth points to home as the best place for birth to go well. It doesn't seem to be rocket science - just hormones, physics and an understanding of birth as what a woman's body does. Yet so often our learned physicians (and sometimes our dear midwives) set up things to get in the way of the birthing body.

The simple knowledge of birth and the power of being at home to do it have become great secrets in our society. They have become so secret that no one believes you when you tell them.

That is how I feel most of the time. "Let me tell you the secrets of birth", I want to tell everyone. Some listen; many don't. Then, occasionally, I meet someone, like this woman, who has discovered the secret herself - and it feels so wonderful. Our home birth groups can buzz with this feeling.

I know secrets - about birth - will you listen?