about a birth
I haven't given birth yet, don't panic. Just wanted to talk about my birth plan for those who are curious (and to respond to some queries in my comments.)
I haven't really talked about my midwife, which is silly because she's the best thing since Nutella. I am using an independent midwife called Laura Abbott, who is employed by us (as opposed to the NHS) and we pay for her services (the going rate for most IMs these days is around £3,000, and can be paid in various installments or whatever works for you.) She has exactly the same qualifications as a regular midwife and I am entitled to exactly the same services on the NHS (scans, blood tests, etc.), but she is the only midwife I will have until one month postnatally. It was vitally important to me to have a midwife I know and trust, particularly for the birth. Otherwise, I could have had a home birth on the NHS but either I would get someone I've never met or might be told no one was available so I would need to go to hospital. Laura is fantastic and having her as my midwife has made a world of difference. I can ring/email her anytime, she comes to see me at home at my convenience (normally you would see the midwife whenever you can get an appointment at her weekly clinic at the local surgery/doctor's office), and is happy to make extra visits if I need them. So that's all about my midwife. She rocks.
For the birth, the plan is to get in the water at around 5cm dilation (i.e. the halfway point) as getting in the water too soon can slow labour down. As Laura explained it, I will probably want to get in the pool when it gets to the point that I feel I really, really, really, really need pain relief RIGHT NOW, GODAMMIT (I'm paraphrasing slightly.) I am using a TENS machine in early labour, as well as reflexology (got a little chart for Paul to rub my hands in the right places), homeopathy, gas and air (Entonox/"laughing gas"), and I've been listening to Natal Hypnotherapy CDs (VBAC specific) since the first trimester. That's right, I'm using everything I can get my hands on.
As for Jack, I don't like the idea of carting him off somewhere in the middle of the night if I'm in labour. He's a very sound sleeper (just like his mummy) and small children often sleep through even the noisiest labours. I'm happy to leave him in his bed in this scenario. Should I go into labour during the day when he's at home (i.e. Fri-Mon), we will send him over to stay with friends because we simply won't be able to mind him ourselves. These same friends have also very generously offered to take care of Jack if I need to transfer to hospital, even if it's during the middle of the night (thankyouthankyouthankyou!) They will also drop off/pick Jack up from nursery if we can't do it during the other weekdays. I really don't mind if he sees the birth of his sister and in fact, he's watched birth programmes with me and seen pictures in my pregnancy books. He really doesn't seem fazed by it, and I think that's because he's not old enough to have the same sort of fears as an older child. To him, it's "Baby coming out of the mummy!" and nothing scary.
And...well...apart from that, the plan is to have a healthy baby without too much trauma. Now we wait.