Thursday 24 May 2007

pas de panique

Beanie's name guesses have been moved to the left pane, and I'm pleased to say that her real name hasn't been guessed yet. Either we're really clever, or people have come across the name and thought "There's no way in hell they'd give a name like that to a poor defenseless baby." Oh, the suspense!

My midwife visit went very well yesterday. My blood pressure is exactly the same as it has been since week 9, there's nothing evil in my wee, I've avoided the dreaded Hobbit feet and Doughboy fingers so far, the baby's heart rate is good and strong, and she's even managed to wriggle herself into a better position for her and I both. She's now more back to front (usually she's got her back to my right hand side) and I've noticed a lot less pain and discomfort recently. Hopefully she'll stay that way as it's a good position for the birth. She's still free floating, which isn't at all surprising. Jack's head didn't start to engage until 38 weeks, and it's not uncommon for 2nd (or more) babies to only start engaging in labour. And frankly, if it means not feeling like there's a bowling ball bouncing up and down on my bladder, I'm in no rush for her to engage.

A few people have remarked how "brave" I am for going for a home birth. The thing is, I'm not doing this out of bravery at all. I'm actually doing this out of fear: I loathe being in hospital and even just going there for scans makes me break into a cold sweat. I don't feel safe there and there's no satellite television or Internet access. What kind of barbaric institution is that?! After a week of being cooped up in a tiny ward with five other mothers and their newborns (and let's not forget the woman next to me who had a special oversized bed and chair due to her weight that literally forced one curtained "wall" a couple of inches from the side of my bed - and her baby screamed 24/7), having to share two showers and four toilets with both the postnatal and antenatal wards, eating white starchy unsalted/oversugared foods three meals a day (and having to toast your own bread using the one shared toaster), coping with harsh florescent lights being switched on every day at 7:00 sharp (even though most of us had only been asleep for about 10 minutes by that point), a midwife who pulled all of our dividing/privacy curtains open as soon as the lights came on, the clear plastic cots that are too high for c-section mums who can't sit up yet, the metal beds that aren't wide enough to breastfeed comfortably, the unbearable heat, and the routine. Oh gods, the routine. Breakfast at 8, visiting hours begin at 9, tea lady does a round, newspaper guy asks if you'd like to buy a paper, lunch at 12, "quiet time" (i.e. when visitors/partners had to leave) from 1-2:30, another tea round, supper at 5, visiting hours end at 8, then the last tea round (by which point the tea lady knows exactly how you and your husband take your tea) and a drugs trolley pays you a visit. Lights out, futile attempt to sleep. Midwives spend the entire night shouting down the corridors at one another, while the persistent "ding ding ding ding" sound of the midwife call bell thingy rings non-stop. One baby starts crying, which has a domino effect and suddenly everyone's baby is screaming at the top of their lungs.

So no, I'm not brave. I'm terrified of ending up back at that place.

Birthing at home with an independent midwife just made sense to me, especially as I tend to deal with pain by distraction. I want to be able to watch a silly movie or TV show, cuddle my dog, go online and keep my mind occupied. I want to know that I will be able to use the pool (our hospital has two but it's first come, first served) and most importantly, I want to know and trust the midwife who will help me give birth to this baby. And afterwards, I want to be able to use my own shower, snuggle up in our big lovely bed with Beanie, and eat my own food. Which reminds me, I've informed Paul that I would like an entire wheel of brie placed in a low oven as soon as I go into labour.

I can transfer to hospital quite easily and quickly, whether it's an emergency or I scream for an epidural. All I really want is a peaceful birth and a shower I can use without wearing flipflops. Not much to ask, is it?

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