15 Weeks – Birth Choices

You don’t realise before you embark on this journey how many choices and decisions are going to be involved.  It can get somewhat overwhelming at times!!  One of – if not THE – most important of which, of course, being – how are you going to give birth?

Andre Jordan

 Australia is very daunting and complicated in this respect.  As I came to grips with the system over here, I learned one thing – I don’t like it!!  In New Zealand, having a midwife is part of your normal pregnancy care and you certainly don’t have to pay for it!!  Over here, you are either a number in a heavily loaded hosital system where you are seen by a “team” (i.e. group of doctors and midwives) or you get into a hosiptal-based midwife program in which you are still seen by a “team” of midwives (not building a relationship with just one)… OR, if these options don’t seem appealing – you fork out thousands of dollars to hire an independant midwife.

I was drawn to the idea of a homebirth quite early on in my pregnancy, but dismissed it because of my history of prior pelvic fracture.  However, a tour of a regional Melbourne hospital put the thought right back in the forefront of my mind.  Sure there were private labour rooms… but the place only had two baths and if they were busy – too bad.  And if the midwife on duty wasn’t certified for waterbirth then – too bad.  And then you are carted to a bigger shared ward for about 36 hours afterwards, where you partner is ushered out at 8 pm.  I hated the idea of relinquishing so much of my control over my birth experience.  The idea of having my baby safe at home, and being able to curl up in my own bed with my baby and my partner afterward, feels empowering and just.. right.

Today I had my first hospital clinic appointment at the Royal Women’s Hospital, and the whole experience only served to increase my desire for a homebirth.  The clinicians were lovely but it feels so clinical and impersonal.  They won’t officially okay shared care (which means seeing my GP for some visits rather than having to go to the hospital all the time) until they have details from my NZ hospital about my pelvic fracture.  Fair enough I guess, but I just felt so trapped, I wanted to either cry or run out yelling “I don’t want to be here!!”  My partner is of course concerned for my safety – but ironically enough, I feel a million times safer at the thought of a homebirth with a qualified and caring midwife.  In hospital, I am afraid of my power and my ability to have the labour and birth I want being taken away.

I have done my research, and it should be perfectly possible and safe for me to have a normal vaginal birth with the background of my prior injury – which, after all, was 8 years ago.

I am having an initial appointment with an independant midwife this Friday.  She seemed lovely on the phone and the service she operates under has been recommended to me by someone who is also with them, so I am looking forward to meeting with her.  Hopefully I feel the right click and I can start feeling excited about this birth, rather than apprehensive and to be honest, mildly terrified.  Well, of course, there will always be some aspect of these feelings, but I would like to at least feel comfortable with my choice of birth and feel like I have some power and say in things.

I’m sure that in every woman’s first pregnancy, there comes a certain moment – a moment that I experienced today following my hospital clinic appointment.  That is the moment in which it really, truly hits you – in this little growing belly is a baby, and that baby is going to have to come out somehow!  And it’s got a whole lotta growin to do before that happens!  Of course you “knew” that before, but all of a sudden you *realise* it, the reality of it hits you.  This baby has to come OUT of me somehow!  And not only that… once it’s out – you’re going to have a baby!  A real live human baby that will need you 24/7.  An actual baby.

This moment can threaten to overwhelm you.  It’s like something has been set in place that has a terrifying finish line that you both want and fear, but there’s no going back now, there’s no leaving the race – that finish line is going to get there whether you like it or not – and probably quicker than you’re ready for.

I am so happy to be pregnant and I can’t wait to meet little bub.  But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t, a little bit, a wee bit, a tiny bit – utterly terrified.

I guess the best way I know of dealing with that, is to take back as much power as I can by making an informed (by both knowledge and instinct) choice around how I want to give birth.

14 week belly – You want PIE??

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