Giving birth alone

(19 Posts)
Godalmightynotagain Mon 03-Dec-12 20:27:05

Just wondering if anyone has any experience of not having a birth partner for a hospital birth- i.e. what happens if you turn up at the labour ward in a taxi on your own. My DH and I are trying to work out what (the F!) to do about caring for our 2 year old DD when I go into labour and after wracking our brains we've come with nothing. Our only source of childcare is nursery and I can't guarantee to deliver before 6pm grin. DH is not keen to miss the birth of DC the 2nd and LAST, but isn't really upset at the prospect of missing it either. We really can't afford a Doula at the moment. I'm sure I can't be the only woman in the country with this problem but not sure how usual this is. Anyone with any advice gratefully received!

golemmings Mon 03-Dec-12 21:03:43

We had this dilemma last year. We have no family locally and nursery was happy to take dd on any day at all if we needed them to but it was the over night/weekends which were a problem.

We asked three different friends if they would be prepared to have dd to stay or come here and look after her. They were actually flattered that we'd asked them - and knowing that they were a team of 3, and they all knew each other, took the pressure off them somewhat.

I know some people have got around this with a home birth but there was no way on earth we were having one of those.

Is there not anyone that you know from antenatal classes lkast time around, or toddler groups etc who might be able to help? We made our selection on who would we most go out of our way to help and just hoped that they felt the same. We've got some much closer friends out of it too!

Good luck!

Ladylike1 Mon 03-Dec-12 22:05:53

I'm currently in the exact same position, only I don't have a partner. I have got child care sorted for other dc, but the only way I can get to the hospital is in a taxi, and the only "birthing partner" I may have can only be there I she's not working hmm I guess what will be, will be smile hope you sort something out x

NAR4 Tue 04-Dec-12 10:23:12

I'm debating being alone for this birth (5th child). My youngest will only be 22 months old and is VERY mummy orientated. Only family available are in-laws who won't stay at my house and will only have the children if they stay at theirs. Not really practical to ship 4 children to their house, as they don't have the room. I don't do quick labours either and took 2 days, last time to give birth. Can't see that the youngest will settle for them and go to bed at night, especially because it isn't even in her own bed. They have never looked after her before either (not even for the odd hour). Would really like hubby with me but can't see that it will work. Thinking I might have to brave it and be alone.

How long have you got left? I have 11 more weeks but think the decision will be made when I go into labour. Discussed with hubby that maybe he could be with me during the day and go home at night, possibly leaving the youngest asleep in the care of my oldest (who will be a couple of months off 17), if I phone up saying I am ready to push. It took me hours to push all my others out, so in theory this should be fine.

Hope it works out for you.

reikizen Tue 04-Dec-12 10:25:44

Sorry if I have misunderstood but do you have no friends at all who could help? Are you a suitable candidate for a home birth? Otherwise, it is simply a case of manning/womanning up and picking the least worst option isn't it?

NAR4 Tue 04-Dec-12 11:54:09

I know I don't have any friends without their own children, who would be in the position of being able to stay at mine for a few days and care for 4 children. It is a big ask. My youngest would also be rather unwilling.

Personally I am not able to have home births for various reasons, but it is also something that not everyone feels comfortable with.

I know doulas are pricey but have you thought about looking around for a Doula-in-training who will charge little or nothing?
Qualified doulas in our area charge $1,100 and our 'Doula in Training' is charging us $200 because she's not got her certification yet. We interviewed her and loved her and can't believe we've been so lucky.

I don't mean to suggest that you've got even $200 lying around (we've been saving) but just in case you hadn't had that avenue open to explore, I thought I'd mention it.

We are expats so no family here - we ended up asking a couple who we've become close to, with children 2 and 4 (DS, 2, loves going to their house for playdates), if they would do it. They were very sweet and welcoming about the idea, and he's done some playing time there without me (a couple of hours a morning) two or three times, to get him used to the idea. It does set my mind at ease having them nearby - do you think there's anyone like that you could ask?
That's our 'daytime' scenario. We have a younger friend (no DCs yet) who is willing to come here in the middle of the night if needed, while DS is asleep, and then sleep on our sofa, get DS up, and feed him cereal and play with him until DH can come back from the birth - if we have a 2am sprint to the hospital. I've no idea how it will pan out but that's what we ended up going with, not ideal, but possible.

Hope some of this helps, good luck searching!

piprabbit Tue 04-Dec-12 14:49:09

Could you quietly ask the nursery staff if one of them would be prepared to look after your DD overnight on a private basis. Or ask the manager if she can recommend anyone?
I know some nursery staff who do extra babysitting and childcare to make ends meet. That way you would also know the person and so would your DD.

MyLastDuchess Tue 04-Dec-12 14:53:53

We had a similar situation - in-laws are 1.5 hours away and so there was no guarantee that they could be here in time (esp. as I had a medical indication that meant I needed to give birth in hospital, and to go there fairly soon after the onset of labour).

Would you believe, after all my worrying, my waters broke at 8am on a Monday morning, the day care could take my DS for an extra day, baby was born in early afternoon and there was plenty of time to pick up DS?

However, I had arranged a doula so that was the backup option, that DP could stay with DS if needed.

I feel the same as blackcurrants. I know you say that money is tight (I can relate!), but I would really, really recommend a doula. Many work on a sliding scale. Having a doula was the main thing that helped my labour to go so smoothly. I felt so safe with her and it really helped me to get my oxytocin going, making the whole thing much easier. It is honestly some of the best money I have ever spent, especially after having had a traumatic first birth. If your DH ends up being able to be present at the birth, it will be even better.

A friend of mine is a doula-in-training and it can be hard for them to find people who will be happy to have them at the birth. Many young families are not rolling in cash so doulas are used to the money issue coming up - don't be afraid to mention it. The worst they can say is no, and you will hopefully get a recommendation for someone else.

Oooh yes ask at your nursery if they do overnight babysitting on a private basis. That was another avenue we were willing to take, and I know DS would be DELIGHTED to wake up to find his favourite carer in our house!

Godalmightynotagain Tue 04-Dec-12 17:03:03

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I'm really glad I'm not the only one in this boat! nursery might be an option- I can ask at least, the worst they can say is no. We have few friends here- maybe because we're sad people! I find it very hard to make friends - I have the social skills of a warthog- and my work doesn't bring me into contact with many people - but is full time enough that I don't have much time for making/keeping friends outside it. My family are in the US so no help there and DH's parents are both old and unwell so we can't rely on them. A home birth is a definite option for me, but if it ends with a transfer to hospital then its all a horrible drama and we have the same problem - except we haven't allowed for it and potentially DD is confronted with the sight of her mother being rushed away screaming in an ambulance which I'd not like. A doula, even a cheap one is a kind of a stretch for us, especially as last time I was 14 days overdue and as doulas only accept bookings for 14 days +/- your due date I think that would then be more pressure for me to accept an induction I don't want (had this last time and swore never again).

God I sound negative don't I? I guess the only option that's going to guarantee that everything is ok is that DH stays in charge of DD but I don't know how the midwives are going to react to me being on my own- let alone how practical it is to labour alone in hospital. Last time DH went out to get a sandwich confused when I was in labour and the midwife reacted rather badly to this grin

piprabbit Tue 04-Dec-12 17:17:19

Don't worry about the MWs, they will understand and you won't be the only woman they have looked after without a birth partner.

If push comes to absolute shove, then your DH can take your DD with him to the hospital. He may prefer to waiting in a waiting area - but at least he will be nearby.

PurpleTinsel Tue 04-Dec-12 17:17:19

I was alone for most of my labour (first baby, in hospital).

I went into labour at 34 weeks, while DH was hours and hours away on a business trip. My mum dropped me off at the hospital at about 11pm, but the midwives sent her home to get some rest because they didn't expect anything exciting to happen for hours. They were wrong about this.

But, the midwives didn't seem at all bothered by me being alone, so I'm guessing it's not normally a major problem from their point of view.

PurpleTinsel Tue 04-Dec-12 17:18:27

Should point out, for the bit of labour where I wasn't alone, the only other people in the room were midwives and doctors.

Godalmightynotagain Tue 04-Dec-12 17:30:28

Thanks Pip and Purple, that's good to hear- though obviously not that you were on your own at 34 weeks purple- I hope it all turned out ok, it must've been terrifying! Piprabbit- Lol at 'if push comes to shove'. Man I hope there won't be shoving!!! :-)

PurpleTinsel Tue 04-Dec-12 18:15:50

Yes, all worked out okay, DS is a fit and healthy 16 month old toddler now smile

Obviously not ideal, but I was too focused on being in labour to find it terrifying, and the staff were all great.

greenbananas Wed 05-Dec-12 07:17:15

I was in hospital on my own two weeks ago and, while I wouldn't exactly recommend it, it was not too bad at all. DH stayed at home to look after 4 year old DS.

I had planned a home birth (mostly to get around the childcare issue) but was diagnosed with an infection which meant I had to have intravenous antibiotics during labour. DS has medical needs which make it difficult for us to leave him with people who don't know him extremely well and, in any case, I felt it would be less disruptive for him to have DH staying at home with him.

I arrived at hospital by taxi at one o'clock in the morning, and the maternity department was very, very busy. For an awful couple of hours, I was left completely on my own, with just a buzzer to call the midwives if I needed them. That was the hardest part, and I found it rather frightening. I didn't know whether or not to press the buzzer... The midwives obviously felt that I still had some hours to go, and was okay to be left, but I suspected that things were speeding up quite quickly. If you have somebody who can support you through this stage, it would be better than having to be thinking about your own care and making decisions when you are in labour.

If you do go on your own, don't be afraid to ask for help from the midwives. When I finally reached the delivery ward, I gave birth within 40 minutes - so should have called them sooner! I felt totally safe and able to cope as soon as I was with a midwife - and the midwife was amazing! so reassuring and competent and matter-of-fact. At that point, it didn't matter a bit that I had no birth partner, because I had total trust in the midwife and she was all I needed.

Various of my friends said they would come to the hospital with me, but I didn't feel I could call them at one o'clock in the morning. They have since all said that this was very silly of me, and of course they would have come smile If you have anybody at all who has offered to help you out, do take them up on it.

Like I say, I really wouldn't recommend being completely on your own - but it is manageable, particularly if you really have no other option. My baby is gorgeous, healthy and now two weeks old. I would do it all again this way if I had to.

CocoE Wed 05-Dec-12 20:21:45

I think you should ask the doulas in training on Doula UK if they would do it for free. It's great training for them, I wouldn't be surprised if one of them volunteered.

nananaps Wed 05-Dec-12 20:30:55

In the same boat here too.

Only bit of control i have is that i am booked for first on the list for a c section, so if there are no emergenices in before me, DH can be at the birth, providing its in school hours.
Otherwise he will have to leave to collect ds from school and look after him.

I have had 7 miscarriages in hospital alone because of no one to help us with our ds, so its no biggy.

DH wants to be there for the birth of this desperately loved and wanted baby. So feel really bad for him. sad

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