Thursday, April 28, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Birthed in the UK

© Chloe Boulter 2011. Chloe shares her birth story from London. She provides perspective on how even an integrated midwife model of care can still result in interventions during birth:

“What I wanted our birth experience to be and what I actually got when giving birth to my son were two very different things. In the UK you are considered a bit strange if you don't want to have your child in hospital. Additionally, my birth was at a time when there were severe midwife shortages and MRSA scares by the dozen. All of which scared me witless - what 22year old wouldn't be?

I was felt fortunate, however, to have the experience of helping my own mother give birth to my little sister when I was seventeen. Seeing her go through something that momentous gave me courage.

What I was unprepared for was the lack of choice once I was in the hospital for an overnight stay due to elevated blood pressure. I was whisked into a labour suite, much to my naive confusion, hooked up to a drip and only told afterwards that it was synthetic oxytocin to start my contractions.

Everything snowballed after that. I wasn't allowed to decline medical procedures. For example, I didn't want my waters broken forcibly, but the third midwife did it quite painfully. To this day i can't tell you whom my midwife was- there were too many in and out to count. [Side note: midwives are a normal presence in UK hospitals as the midwife model is integrated into the hospital system.]

My induced contractions were fast and painful, but manageable with my TENS. After being in labour for nine hours and reaching 4 centimetres dilation I was told that I MUST have a caesarean to deliver my baby. I managed to squeak out to ask if it was necessary, as I’d rather deliver naturally, only to be told that I could think about it for an hour and then the choice would be taken out of my hands. And so it was.

I didn't look or feel ill or have unusual statistics. My baby had a 'slightly' elevated pulse. But off I was wheeled and cut open and that’s how my son arrived. To this day I feel as if I was robbed of the one thing that was mine to experience and to experience only once. I am thankful every day that it didn't impact our bonding. I achieved this through breastfeeding him until he self-weaned at ten months (too early!). The aftercare I received was awful too. Even now, EIGHT years on, it has me petrified of giving my son a sibling.”

1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear this story, but thank you for sharing. Too many women can relate to this exact story and the only way to change that is by informing mamas about hospital procedures, the cascade of interventions, and the choices they have. Your picture of you and your son is absolutely precious. What a joy! :)