Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Plans for my second birth

There was funny moment during the birth of our daughter. At one point, still inside me, she was showing some signs of distress. (That wasn't the funny bit). The medical staff asked permission to carry out a test, which involves going inside you to take a sample of blood from the baby's head. (If the results had been bad, which they weren't, I would then have had an emergency c-section). I gave consent of course, and the staff looked relieved. "Doesn't everyone consent?" I asked, and they said no, that women like me (I think they meant middle class women) are sometimes reluctant and ask the staff to wait half an hour to see how things progress before carrying out the test. "NCT women" I cried out. For that is what we had been told in our NCT antenatal classes - that where an intervention was suggested we should ask for it to be put on hold for a while to make sure it is absolutely necessary.

Yet of all the women I know who have taken NCT classes, in my group and in others, only a small minority had the natural complication-free births that you are led to expect in these classes, with problems ranging from breech babies to waters breaking without contractions to forceps to excessive bleeding to emergency c-sections to severe tearing. And for many of us, this was a shock, because the kind of birth that the NCT tries to promote, the type where women have as little pain relief as possible and as few medical interventions as they can and sit mewing on a bouncy ball throughout dilation, exists for very few women. Yet the emphasis on this kind of birth sets up the majority of women who don't experience this, to feel like failures.

We're expecting number two towards the end of the year, and I've been thinking about my last birth and my next one. In some ways, my approach will be no different. I took all medical interventions last time - from an epidural to all the monitoring offered, and I would do the same again. But this time there will be one main difference - I will feel no guilt for doing so. 


With my journalist hat on I am running a course on how to get ideas for It's 6.00pm-9.00pm at Friends House in Euston. London. It's £95 which means if you sell just one article off the back of it then it will more than pay for itself. Book here...

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