I don't often tell the story of Lollita's birth. I find it too painful and I become distressed. But after what I have been through in the last few days it has just flowed out of me like poison running out of my veins. I have let go at last, with tears of joy that she is here and what happened during her birth wasn't my fault.
I am a mother of two beautiful girls. When I became pregnant with my first little miracle I wished for a home birth. Unfortunately, due to a very concerned husband and also mother (who is a former midwife from the 1970's) I was talked out of my home birth. I bent to their wishes and had a hospital birth. Although that went well, it did not go to the plan that I wished for. I feel that if I had been in my home, my nest and my comfort, her birth would have gone as I planned.
When miracle number two decided to fill my baby-hungry womb, again I wanted to home birth. But again I conformed to others' wishes and had her in hospital. This birth was a disaster. Nothing I wanted happened. I was forced to consent to a c-section and to this day I truly believe I could have birthed her vaginally if I had been at home.
I felt completely robbed of my calm relaxed birth. I felt like I was forced into poor choices for my body and my baby because I wasn't quite "text book" by hospital standards. As a result I chose to end my family at two children, rather than the three or four we had always wanted.
I have always known I could birth naturally. I did it with my first with some help from the doctor. My second ended with doctors cutting me open because of a brow presentation and foetal distress. I do not blame the hospital staff completely for the c-section, they ultimately wanted the same as I did: for my child to arrive safely. But I do feel that if I had have been allowed to birth as I had wished, it would have been a different story.
I wanted to stand, to sit, to squat, even get in a bath. But none of this was allowed. I was forced onto a bed into stirrups and I hated them. For me it is not natural. I wanted to be free, to allow my body to move how it wished to. But instead I was confined and felt harnessed to this cold hard thing they call a birthing bed. I went from 3 centimetres to fully dilated in 45 minutes with coupling contractions and a monitor strapped to my tummy that hurt.
I was given countless internal inspections, one of which the doctor did not ask my consent for or give me any warning. She just shoved her hand in and resulted in so much pain that I, strapped to the stirrup. pushed my leg free with so much force that the bolt that holds the stirrup up literally snapped in half. The entire stirrup missed the doctors head by centremeters, she had to duck to miss it! The two midwives assisting me near on tore her head off for giving me no warning. (I want to make it REALLY clear that the midwives I had for the labour were wonderful, caring women. They wanted to let me get in the bath and have a water birth. But because I hadn't mentioned it while I was pregnant, I hadn't signed any forms. The rules of hospitals restrict so many things. Sadly I had to learn the hard way.)
After the doctor's brutal examination she announces that baby's head was too far up and not coming down and I was ordered not to push anymore. Really. Don't push? Have you ever been fully dilated and told not to push? I questioned how I could do this as I couldn't control it and was told to suck on the gas and I would be given an epidural to numb me so I wouldn't feel the urge to push any longer. To this day I still sit here wondering how on earth she was ever meant to move down without me pushing? And as my memory serves, she only went into distress after I was told not to push.
Then they gave me some kind of drug to speed up my contractions. So here I was 'chained' to a bed, fully dilated, ordered not to push, being given drugs to speed up my contractions and an effing needle in my back, to be told after two hours: the baby hasn't moved down, her heart rate keeps dropping, we are cutting her out. I was awash with fear and extreme disappointment. I felt a complete failure and utterly ashamed of my body and its sudden inability to birth this baby.
Before I had time to process this information I was given a run through of what was about to happen and the risks associated with it and a consent form was shoved in my face to sign. I remember saying "I will sign on the condition that I be given one more chance to birth her vaginally once in theatre", to which the doctor agreed.
Once in this cold sterile room. The doctor again shoved her arm into me and even though I didn't want one, I was very thankful for the epidural at this point, because she didn't say a word before doing so. She then said the baby hadn't moved down yet so a c-section it was. I feel as though I could have been more forceful and said no, said anything. But by this stage I was overcome by fear that my baby was in trouble. And that there was no other option.
Years later I read a blog post about preparing to homebirth and watched countless videos online. I honestly felt reborn: cleansed of my bad experiences. And suddenly it dawned on me. I want to bring another child into our family. I long for it. But this time I am doing it MY way. No more will I be told what or how or be forced to birth a certain way. I believe in the power of my body. I believe in the journey of labour. But most of all I believe that this is how it was always meant to be. My husband is over them moon. Reading that blog post has changed my life, my family's life and the belief in my body's abilities more than you can ever imagine.
I honestly would never have changed my mind about having another child if I had not of read that blog post. I'm so excited to add a new addition to my family with renewed faith in birth.