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Showing posts from July, 2011

Birth Story Special: Every Woman Deserves a Positive Birth

This past week on the blog has been a Birth Story Special, and I've been thrilled to introduce five wonderful birth stories in five days.  We've heard about an emergency caesarian, a freebirth, a home birth with a doula, and two very different stories of induction, one that felt unnecessary, and one that saved a baby's life.  First and foremost I'd like to say a big thank you to the women who shared these stories, not just for the time they took to write them so beautifully, but also for allowing us to look in on moments in their lives that were intimate, special, or even difficult and traumatic.

My aim in all of this was to build a picture of birth in the UK today, of what is being got right, and what might need to change.  From reading these powerful stories, and your comments on each post and on the facebook page for this blog, I have really enjoyed the chance to chew over this very difficult question, and although this has only lead me to further questions as oppo…

Birth Story Special: A Doula's Tale

This week I'm running a Birth Story Special via this blog. So far I hope you've enjoyed the wonderful stories shared: Michelle's tale of her emergency section, my own first birth by reluctant induction, Sarah's freebirth, and yesterday's moving account of a hospital birth in which intervention was not only helpful but necessary to save a life.

There are many thoughts, feelings and questions raised by these stories, which I hope to address in a final post over the weekend. Do feel free to discuss your reactions via the comments at the bottom of each post, or on the facebook page for this blog. I will do my best to consider and address all of the points that you make.

In the meantime I'd like to introduce tonight's story, written by a trainee Doula about her first experience of witnessing birth. One of the big questions about birth in the UK today for me is - how can we maximise our chances of a natural, positive and empowering experience within the curre…

Birth Story Special: When Intervention Saves Lives

This week I'm running a Birth Story Special. So far we have heard a dramatic story of a planned home birth that ended in an emergency caesarian, my own story of being induced, and yesterday an incredible tale of 'freebirth'.

All of these stories have to one degree or another been what you might describe as 'anti-intervention'. Often women feel that the doctors or midwives involved in their care are too quick to resort to drugs, instruments or even surgery, and that there should be more faith placed in a woman's natural ability to birth well and successfully.

Whilst this may be true, there are occasions in which our gratitude for medical help goes beyond words. In the following story, there are no grey areas, no question marks, and no doubts: modern obstetrics saved a life.

Anna's Story

This is without doubt the hardest thing I have had to write.

I walked in to to my local hospital feeling, sick, nervous and most of all excited. I was due to be induced wi…

Birth Story Special: Freebirth

All this week I'm running a Birth Story Special.  On Monday we heard Michelle's story of a planned home birth that ended in an emergency section.  Yesterday I shared my own story of a hospital induction.  Both of these stories have already raised some interesting questions and generated great debate, both in the comments and via the facebook page for this blog.  I hope to summarise and address some of the points raised in a final post later in the week.

In the meantime, I'd like to introduce Sarah's story. In fact, this is two birth stories in one; firstly, of her traumatic second birth in hospital, in which she felt completely violated, and 'birth raped'. The website Birth Trauma Truths
defines birth rape in this way: 

"A vulnerable woman, who is powerless to leave the situation, is at times held down against her will, has strangers looking & touching at private parts of her body, perhaps without appropriate measures being taken to acknowledge her owne…

Birth Story Special: Induction

This week on the blog I'm running a Birth Story Special.  Yesterday I published Michelle's story, of a planned home birth that ended in an emergency caesarian. Today I have decided to share the story of my own first birth, also a planned home birth, that evolved into a hospital induction and forceps delivery.  
NICE guidelines state that induction is likely to lead to a labour that is more painful, and more likely to end in epidural, instrumental delivery or caesarian. And yet in the UK today around 20% of births are induced.  Many women find that they are coming under pressure to accept induction from around 40 weeks, and often there are confusing messages regarding the safety of continuing the pregnancy beyond their due date.  Of course, there is not a great deal of hard evidence about what happens if women are left to go into labour spontaneously beyond 
41 or even 42 weeks, as most women are not 'allowed' or encouraged to get this far.

Many women do not realise that …

Birth Story Special: Emergency Caesarian

This week on the blog, I'm running a Birth Story Special. Every day I plan to publish a different birth story, with the hope that by gathering together the threads of different women's experiences, we might be able to weave a picture of what it is like to give birth in the UK today; of what is being got right, and what might need to change.

So today I faced a difficult choice, which story first? A Caesarian might seem an unlikely place to start, but in fact this honest and gripping tale speaks volumes about having a baby in the UK today. For so many women, the dream and hope of a natural experience or even a birth at home, ends in a difficult, painful or traumatic way that they were not hoping for. Approximately 15% of births end in an Emergency Caesarean, and less than half of all births proceed 'normally' ie with no medical intervention.
These traumatic experiences leave us with questions; most particularly, was there anything I or anyone else could have done to b…

Pre-School: Demons and Ghosts

It's the three year old's first day to be left at Pre-School. She's never been to Nursery, or the child-minder: we've hardly ever been apart. As we cross the big playground together the sounds of school transport me back to my own childhood. Teachers' voices and the occasional scrape of chairs carry through the humidity of the July morning, my daughter grips tightly to my hand, and I can sense her taking in the loaded atmosphere of this strange new world.

We play together for a while, and I chat to the teachers. They all seem lovely and the atmosphere is warm, caring, and a bit chaotic. I tell my daughter I'm leaving and she confidently informs me that she is fine. But then there's a muddle as I'm told I have to put her shoes back on, and in the resulting faff she seems to lose a bit of confidence. She tells me she doesn't know what or who to play with.  A teacher moves in and distracts, and I slip away quick.

Back home, I make a coffee and sit on …