The Pregnancy Diaries: 30 Weeks (On Planning a Home Birth)
Because I'm now very, very much a pregnant lady with people touching my bump, guessing the sex (genuinely don't mind either) and being asked if I'm 'ready' (I'm not) I thought it was time to switch up my pregnancy diaries to a slightly different format. So for each week until the birth I'm now going to be focusing on one aspect of my pregnancy. It'll be relevant-ish to the week in question, but hopefully a little easier for me to write and for you to read.
The Big Birth Plan
Officially you really don't need to worry about a birth plan until week 34 which is when my notes tell me I'm supposed to firm it up with my midwife. But I've actually known what I wanted to do from day one -- I just haven't told anyone until now. Which might seem a little weird as I'm announcing it to all of you on the blog, but whatever -- most of my family don't actually read the blog so it's no big deal ;) Also, it's not really something you are asked, or particularly want to talk about over a brew you know? It's just not that simple a topic to mull over biscuits, so it hasn't really come up too much. But when it has, I haven't received a universally positive response (which I was warned might happen).
Because Oli and I are planning a home birth. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I knew innately that's what I wanted to do, and I sought out information and birth stories from others who'd done the same. Luckily for me, a very close friend has had two home births so gave me stacks of advice and guidance. But I still decided to keep it fairly quiet.
Home vs. Hospital Birth
Although my decision to plan a home birth (it might not happen this way, so there's no point being too precious or rigid) was intuitive, I have read up on it since and spoken to people who've had home birth experiences -- whether it worked out or not. And after the reading, and chatting to Oli (who was not initially keen at all!) I still want to plan for a home birth.
But the reaction from other people has been a little strange, to say the least, and I've found myself having to defend my choice or concede it "probably won't work out." Although I don't actually feel I need to justify my choice to anyone, it is quite a nice f@@ck you to share some of the reasons why I've chosen something seemingly unconventional and dispel a few myths, even if it's just for my own ego.
Home births aren't dangerous
That's the first statement I want to make. I'm really lucky in that my hospital actively promotes and supports home births, and because of that I've had a 1-1 midwife who works as part of the community team, and comes to see me at my flat. On the day of, that also means I'll get two dedicated midwives from the community team as well (hopefully the two I know, but nothing is guaranteed).
Before you start reeling off a list of things that could go wrong, and how having a home birth is foolhardy -- I want to tell you that the NHS only promote home births for those women with low-rish, healthy pregnancies. Which is me, at the moment. If there was any medical reason why I might need to have extra care -- I would be advised not to have a home birth and, of course, I wouldn't.
Home births aren't messy
This was Oli's main concern! And, to be honest, we are just about to have a new carpet fitted so I also started to worry a little about my impending mess-fest. Because surely, it would be super messy right? It always is on Call the Midwife! But when I spoke to my midwife, she emphatically told me (before I'd asked) that home births are NOT messy. She's pretty straight talking, so I trust her implicitly when she says it's a ridiculous myth.
Either way, I don't really care as long as the baby comes out healthy and happy. And hopefully without staining my new fluffy carpets too.....
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I'm not a midwife, so I can't talk to the science of which birth is best. In fact, obviously, the best birth is one where the baby is born healthy, right? So however it gets out -- and it will come out -- is fine. BUT, we all have a choice, and it's nice that we are able to state a preference as to how we push our babies out. And my preference is to do it at home, but why?
I don't know many people who feel happier, and calmer when they're in hospital. Some do, especially when it comes to the great unknown that is pregnancy and labour. But you get what I'm trying to say right? And one of the most important things in labour, is oxytocin. Did you know that, because I didn't?! The worst thing, is adrenaline.
Basically, adrenaline will slow the labour down, and oxytocin will progress it. So whatever you can do to stay as calm and happy as possible (it will hurt regardless, let's be real here) will benefit you. For me, that's being at home, in my own environment where I can binge watch Girls, drink endless cups of tea (and probably gin towards the end!) and have a bath if I want. For you, that might be the birthing centre in a pool, or on the labour ward. Everyone's different right?
Anyway, at this stage we have no idea what will happen -- the baby could be breach, in which case a home birth would be out anyway (although in France it's totally different - have learned a lot from my French midwife Agnés).
So, there you have it. Get the hot water and some towels and pass me some gin.
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