I have touched on Mummy Hew’s labour with Gracie previously but never really told the full story…..today isn’t the day either. I will write a post about Mummy Hew’s labour and Gracie’s birth, I’m thinking I will do a ‘Now vs Then’ type post and document the differences between the two labours…but we’ll see. There’s nothing I’m keeping back BTW or anything that is partially secret or personal, other than telling a bunch of people I’ve never met about my wife’s vagina.
I don’t want to sound like a prick and patronise anyone but just in case your not familiar with the term VBAC it’s Vaginal Birth After Caesarean……I didn’t know it was a thing until we saw the midwife at our first appointment. Following the C-Sec one of the first things the midwife (who BTW was fucking excellent) said was that if we had another child there is no reason why Mummy Hew couldn’t have a vaginal birth. I have to try really hard not to refer to a vaginal birth as a normal birth because I recognise that there is no such thing as normal. But I also don’t want to spend the whole blog post saying vaginal, especially when its my wife’s vagina that’s being referred to…. but we all know how babies get here so maybe I should stop being silly….vaginal vaginal vaginal vaginal….OK I’m over it! I’ve said it so many blood times the word is meaningless…I had to google vaginal to make sure I was still referring to the right bloody thing!
Anyway I digress, we were told that the VBAC class was designed to help expecting Mothers who have previously had a C-Sec to understand their rights, what to expect, the risks, to give them peace of mind etc. I’m not sure if everyone who has had a C-sec is asked to go on this course or whether it was that we stipulated from the outset that we wanted a planned C-sec for Baby Hew No2, but we went….and we didn’t get a great deal from it. In my previous post Woahhhh, we’re half way there I detail our frustration with the consultant we went to see. We were frustrated because we felt that an expecting mother has no say on what happens to her body when she labours. We felt that the consultant didn’t really want to speak about our concerns and told us to attend the VBAC course as it will answer all of our questions, well it didn’t.
We left home with plenty of time to spare, we all know how us Brits can’t cope with a bit of snow. The hospital is 6 miles from home, it took us an hour and a half to get there. There was a accident on the M1 earlier in the day and the road was still closed, this had a direct impact on the other roads around town. We parked the car and crept into the back of the room where the class was taking place. We were like the naughty kids at school arriving to class late. The first thing that hit me was the smell of the room….jessssus christ, someone needed some Deo for their B.O. It was rank. Obviously I commented to Mummy Hew about it but was told to Shhh….pay attention!
The midwife that was leading the class didn’t appear to be very organised and was quite flustered. She opened the class telling us all that she was going to share some facts with us about Vaginal births and how its the best thing in the entire world and how every woman should have the opportunity to give birth via their vagina……there was a sense that if you have a C-sec you are not a real woman and have failed your labour. She talked through some of the pros and cons of a second C-sec and a VBAC birth. On balance there are clearly risks with both. She told us the the particular trust our hospital falls in has been told to reduce the number of C-secs they do because they are above the national average. Oh and that it could be better for you int he long run.
We talked about the risks within pre labour and how this can impact the scar. In essence no-one will know what will happen to the scar but 1 in 200 women will suffer from some form of tearing of their scar, which will will inevitably end up in either an emergency C-sec or surgery after birth. It didn’t fill us with a great deal of confidence, which is what we were hoping to get from the class.
The midwife had a model of a pelvis and showed us how the baby comes through the pelvis. She also talked us through back to back pre labour and how to avoid this…..this was quite useful for us but to be honest wasn’t anything that we couldn’t have googled or spoke with our midwife about.
Throughout the class we were told about the ‘choices’ that can be made but then confirmed that there is no ‘choice’ to have an elected C-sec under this trust. She did tell us ‘you can find another hospital if you like’ which I found really helpful! She told us that for anyone who wants to have an elected C-sec has to put their case to the trust who will then make a decision. She said that the trust will not approve an elected C-sec. which seems a bit of a pointless process.
Mummy Hew and I have talked about what we want. We originally stated that we wanted an elected C-sec….we then said that we wanted to look at the option of Hypnobirthing….we now are back to not really knowing what we want. It was confirmed that if you have had a C-sec previously and are overdue by 10 days you will not be forced to be induced and will have the option to have a C-sec, which was a bit more reassuring. It was also confirmed that if the pre labour was elongated, having a previous C-sec meant you would be able to go to the maternity ward earlier than we previously thought.
I’m back to being confused about what we want. I find it really frustrating that as a human being who is expecting to deliver another human being you have very little say over what you can and can’t do with your body or what support you will get with it. I hate the fact that it appears to be target driven rather than what is the right thing for the individual. I recognise that you can’t just say I want a C-sec and it will be given, but there doesn’t appear to be the option of a discussion about it. We have read the NICE guidelines which state that if a consultant is unhappy to perform a C-sec then they should refer to someone who is willing to…Its annoying that we can’t just have a conversation about all options available……rather than being told what you will do.
The jury is out at the moment on what our birth plan looks like….there is some comfort knowing that we can go to the hospital in the earlier stages of labour and that an induction does not have to take place at day 10. I feel like I have just rambled but I feel better for it!