free birthing (please don't post if you don't like the idea)

(234 Posts)
workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 21:05:48

anyone done it, interested in it, read the books?
i'm only just pregnant for the 2nd time - had a totally drug free wonderful home birth first time around and now keep thinking i'd love to do it without a midwife this time. just interested to know if there is anyone else really.

sophable Mon 21-Jan-08 21:07:43

wow, on your own completely or with a birth partner of sorts...

think it is a great if brave thing to want to do...but what was it about the midwife that made you think you'd rather not have her this time around? was she independant and therefore is it the money? or do you just want privacy, control etc?

There are some interesting websites on this - google freebirthing - and some videos on youtube.

Is a happy medium to have the midwife in the next room within hollering distance?

ChasingSquirrels Mon 21-Jan-08 21:10:46

I did - but it wasn't planned so I don't think it counts.....

pooka Mon 21-Jan-08 21:12:35

Can't think of anything positive to post. <sits on hands>
Sorry, but why would you not have a midwife there? In what way would a midwife present at a homebirth be a bad thing.

pooka Mon 21-Jan-08 21:13:13

Yes, agree with whomovedmychocolate. A midwife present but not interfering?

specialmagiclady Mon 21-Jan-08 21:13:21

I accidentally freebirthed - had a doula tho'. She was amazing. My labour was terribly terribly quick so it was good to have someone there to support me, better than my husband who didn't understand that "that's really stinging" meant baby was crowning and get warm towels for him NOW! As a consequence my shit-smeared, bloody, marvellous baby was wrapped in my best bath-sheet1

I was quite panicky and the doula kept me calm. Maybe I was panicky because I was thinking "where the hell are the midwives!?!" tho'.

Also, midwives arrived in time to stitch me up!

FrannyandZooey Mon 21-Jan-08 21:13:30

good luck!

lulumama Mon 21-Jan-08 21:16:03

i am interested in the idea

but in practice, i don;t think i could do it, personally.

a good MW will be really hands off and respectful of your wishes to birth your baby yourself, but can help you should there be a problem with you or the baby

i read something once on a freebirth site, a couple of years ago, where parents had lifted their baby out of the birth pool in such a way the baby breathed in water , and was very unwell as a result. cannot remember exactly what happened, and i have never read about or heard about water birth causing an issue like this before, but i think if you are going to freebirth , you need to be so sure that the way you plan to give birth is safe for baby, who does not have a choice about being born without medical back up.

as a doula ,i have every faith in womens' ability to birth, but i am not totally comfortable with birth without someone qualified around, just in case

i think the idea of a midwife in the next room is a good one

what is it that attracts you to freebirthing? seeing as your experience last time was so positive.....

Yorky Mon 21-Jan-08 21:16:54

I also had a totally wonderful drug free home water birth with DS, don't know if I'm confident enough to go it totally alone next time, not that there was anything we couldn't have done ourselves. Maybe we hear too many horror stories but I think I'd keep the safety cushion there personally. Good luck if its what you want

isn't it illegal? i know you said no negatiove posts but why would you want to put yourself and your baby indanger like that?

lulumama Mon 21-Jan-08 21:19:54

i don;t believe it is illegal

someone else acting as a midwife or deliberately in place of a MW ,when they are not qualified is illegal

libEL Mon 21-Jan-08 21:20:52

I'd love to do it. I too had a wonderful homebirth with ds, and would love to have done it without the midwives there, one of whom just made me feel quite uncomfortable. My sister said all along with her dd she wanted to do it with just her and her dp, had a homebirth planned and midwife didnt quite get there in time - I often wonder if she did that on purpose hmm

sweetkitty Mon 21-Jan-08 21:20:59

I have had a homebirth myself but loved having the MWs there, they were so supportive when I was losing it.

Why not have a MW in the room but hands off just to watch and jump in if anything was going wrong?

sorry- i knew something was illegal.

so freebirthing-having your dh take the place of the midwife(which is what you would have to do-cord cutting etc, easing shoulders out) would then be illegal wouldb't it?

because this would be planned?
i just think you would be on very dodgy ground if {god forbid} something went wrong.

sophable Mon 21-Jan-08 21:29:07

argh but giving birth is NOT being ill and in normal circs it is a very safe process.

think that we are all conditioned to believe taht medical back up will save the day, in fact half the time it is allopathic: it harms rather than helps in terms of the birth process.

i think if you are psychologically comfortable with the idea, in striking distance of a hospital and have no reason to suspect any problems during the pregnancy, and this is a second birth, it is a great choice to feel free enough of scaremongering and a culture of medical intervention to make.

personally, I'd want a (wise and experienced) woman there, which is a tradition in most cultures. not for medical reasons, but to support me through the process, having said that, if you prefer not to have that, why should you?

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 21:33:43

thanks for respecting the 'no negative posts' request.
free birthing is not illegal. its illegal to have someone there who is not a midwife but who is claiming to perform the services of a midwife.

my midwife last time was great actually. i was lucky she showed on the day cos the others couldn't really have given a toss. i'd like to do it alone because it felt really natural (even easy) last time. Afterwards the midwives regularly forgot to come and check up on me, but i think thats because i was doing fine and they had other people who needed them more. so i suppose i'm wondering if i read enough and prepare enough myself, i could do it alone. they left me pretty much alone last time and i coped.

mainly i just love the idea of being alone giving birth to my child - just her/him and me doing it together. it would be such a powerful start to a new life. i'll never forget the gloriousness of being at home with dd and dh an hour after having her.

katepol Mon 21-Jan-08 21:33:52

I have had two babies where the midwife only got there as I was pushing.

I prefer to labour alone, but want the confidence of a midwife around just in case.

Neither time did the midwife do anything, she just sat back and observed.

What about asking for a midwife happy to do a hands off birth, all being well? Maybe an IM if you can afford it?

I personally think that going solo is a tad irresponsible, sorry.

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 21:37:37

also, if the midwife is next door 'just in case', you are already embracing the idea that something can go wrong, which in my (very humble) experience, is exactly when things do go wrong. so for that reason alone i wouldn't want one there

hatrick Mon 21-Jan-08 21:40:13

Sounds interesting, I have had 2 very straightforward births where the midwife was only really involved in catching the baby and cord cutting etc which was fab. However the other birth was not so straightforward and dd1 had shoulder dystocia which I feel sure I could never have dealt with alone. This would always hold me back from freebirthing tbh but can sort of see why it would appeal.

Good luck.

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 21:43:53

MMJ - noone eased dd's shoulders or any other part of her out, she just oozed out. dh is a lawyer so would not be on for breaking the law

i thinks thats a strange point of view worktostaysane.
a good midwife does stuff to help without you really realising surely?

say you do decide to go it alone, how will you know when to stop pushing to prevent tearing? what will you do if you do tear? what will you do if the baby gets stuck?

i do think you need to think of these possiibilites rather than th thinking that to think of them will amke them happen iyswim.

katepol Mon 21-Jan-08 21:47:44

WTSS - if things are going to go wrong, they will. The presence of a friendly m/w in the next room making a cup of tea isn't going to cause it.

Maybe you could work on some of your 'worry' feelings about the presence of health professionals?

I sort of get what you are saying - I have read Odent and know about how a physiological birth should be free from medical interventions and unwanted presences etc etc, but really, a m/w in the next room isn't a problem unless you make it into one, surely?

x posts.

each to their own but i would be very reuctant to go it completely alone( and i'm a labour in water, no drugs , etc etc person too! }

lulumama Mon 21-Jan-08 21:48:19

>>if the midwife is next door 'just in case', you are already embracing the idea that something can go wrong,>>

it is a tiny , tiny, tiny chance if you are low risk , normal pregnancy with one straightforward birth behind you

as i posted earlier, i am a doula, and have every confidence in womens' abilities to give birth , esepcially when they are not interfered with or disturbed during labour.

but midwives are experts in normal birth.. and should be on hand IMO

if you choose to give birth without a MW, then go for it, it is your choice and your birth, just don;t expect everyone to understand or condone your choice.

it is a shame that we do not have traditional MWs, women who have not neccesarily trained medically but have attended lots of births and are trained in the traditions of birth... who could attend as a mw without the issue of legality

think that would be an option a number of women would go for

anyway, those are my thoughts on it smile

certainly an interesting topic

VVVQV Mon 21-Jan-08 21:52:34

Sounds lovely. I'd like just a doula if I ever had another.

I cant see it happening though.

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 22:00:56

i realize that most would freak at the very idea, so i'm certainly not expecting anyone to condone/ approve of my doing it. i'm just asking if anyone has had experience of doing it or researched it. i may end up like libEL's sister and just not call the midwife till the very last minute.

but to be honest, i have actually thought about the fact that things might go wrong (i'm not foolhardy), but i don't dwell on that aspect.

thanks for your kind words VVQD and Fand Z.

sophable Mon 21-Jan-08 22:03:49

you MUST get ina may thingy's book. it is the bible of bible ness.

x

sophable Mon 21-Jan-08 22:03:51

you MUST get ina may thingy's book. it is the bible of bible ness.

x

sophable Mon 21-Jan-08 22:03:51

you MUST get ina may thingy's book. it is the bible of bible ness.

x

VVVQV Mon 21-Jan-08 22:05:33

Very insistent there sophable grin

LynetteScavo England Mon 21-Jan-08 22:07:44

I didn't call the midwife untill the last minute, as I'd had two long labours and expected the 3rd to be the same. Only one midwife made it in time for the birth,and she was very hands off. She was quite happy for the lights to be left off.

Could you try and find a really hands-off midwife?

hatrick Mon 21-Jan-08 22:07:54

Ahem i believe you missed my kind words there wink

Just out of interest what would you do about the chord?

lulumama Mon 21-Jan-08 22:12:47

thikn i was fairly nice too grin

ina may is not into no MWs, but into hands off , respectful care, that allows a woman to feel loved, nurtured, empowered and strong enough to birth her way..with trained and experienced hands supporting her where necessary

worktostaysane..all the best with what you decide smile

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 22:12:53

i did indeed hattrick

dunno about the cord, thats kind of why i was posting. wanted to know if anyone knew stuff like that. have just ordered 'unassisted childbirth' off amazon, which i'm hoping will have some tips.

and sophable, i have just come back from my childbirthing bookshelf next door, armed with ina may's 1st book. oh yes, i own both, and many more besides!

lulumama Mon 21-Jan-08 22:13:09

do you think you would have a lotus birth?

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 22:15:58

sorry lulumama you are quite right.
ina may is certainly not into no midwives, but i seem to remember she has a bit about what to do if you are alone.

no really, i appreciate all your thoughts. its helping me sort out in my own mind whether this is a ridiculous fantasy, or if its possible in some way

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 22:16:35

ooh, whats a lotus birth?

Loshad Mon 21-Jan-08 22:16:41

I'd go on the yahoo homebirth group and ask more there, certainly some years ago there were people on there who had done it. I had two great hands off midwifes for the two of mine who were born at home, didn't interfere at all.

would you continue to have ante natal care?[genuinely interested]

hatrick Mon 21-Jan-08 22:16:46

I find the idea quite intriguing, am keen to know more. I remember reading about a certain group of women [can't remember who] who go off alone to give birth and then return with the baby. Sure I read about it in "Birthing from within"

lulumama-have you read 'every birth is different' by pat thomas? very interesting book-think there is at least one example of freebirthing in that

NKF Mon 21-Jan-08 22:19:02

But who will make you your tea and toast?

lulumama Mon 21-Jan-08 22:19:15

lotus birth is where you do not cut the cord. the placenta is expelled and the baby , cord and placenta all stay attached to each other. there are ways to salt and to fragrance the placenta and advice on making a little bag for it..... there are many websites about it........it is great to make sure as few people as possible will want to hold the baby in the new born first few days.....grin

you see i don't understand how that works lulumama-isn't there an increased risk of maternal haemmorrage?

NKF Mon 21-Jan-08 22:20:31

Apparently lotus birthing is big at that French water birthing place. And you can buy baby caps for baby and placenta. Very chic non?

lulumama Mon 21-Jan-08 22:20:50
lulumama Mon 21-Jan-08 22:22:36

why would it increase the risk of heamorrhage?

don;t know about chic, but if michel odent rates it, then vive le difference !

Ellbell Mon 21-Jan-08 22:23:32

I've posted on a thread about this before. I wouldn't do it in practice (not least because dh is having the snip tomorrow, so no more babies for me sad), but love the idea. When I was in labour with dd2 I felt I went totally 'inside myself' and was not aware of anything happening in the 'real world'. Everything the midwives and dh did or said was an intrusion and I really wanted it to be just about me and my baby. I didn't want anyone to touch me, I didn't want anyone to encourage me... I just wanted to get on with it. I don't know if that makes sense, but it was, without doubt, the most intense and amazing experience of my life and I am feeling quite tearful now that I'll never get to repeat it [daft-as-a-brush emoticon]). I don't know whether, in my case, it was partly the contrast with the birth of dd1 (which was also an amazing experience, btw) which was an elective section for placenta praevia after 9 quite stressful weeks in hospital.

Anyway, I'd be too nervous (and after dd1 am too aware of what might go wrong) to actually go through with it, but if things had been different and I'd had a dc3 I'd certainly have asked to have been left alone as much as possible (and would have liked to have been at home if possible too).

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 22:24:16

wow. no lulumama, i have not heard of that but will research. wikipedia was a bit technical in its description.

hattrick - i think its the women of the iKung! tribe in Africa (Kenya perhaps) who go in to the jungle to give birth alone and come back with a baby.

tea and toast very important. will have to give that thought..

and yes i probably would continue with antenatal care because to not do so would aggravate, upset, alarm too many members of my family.

prettycupcake Mon 21-Jan-08 22:26:02

in some ways I really feel that we had the closest to free birth as I would feel comforatble with - midwife sat in the kitchen (at my request) writing notes and calling pregnant ladies whilst I was in the sitting room having contractions.
When I got into the birthing pool (I felt it was time) she sat next to the pool with me talking about Norah Jones and Katie Melua (sp?)
In my head there was no one there during contractions baby crowned and I leaned forward and lifted him to my chest I stayed in the pool until I had another contraction and the placenta was delivered (the midwife took it away) Dh cut the cord. (midwife clamped it first)
Dh helped me out of the pool and I sat in the corner of our sofa and breastfed, after she had written up notes and had a cup of tea and some embroidery on my fangola she left. The second midwife arrived just after delivery so she went away after checking that all was well.

I felt more like I had the support of a friend rather than a medical practitioner.

You make the choice that you are comfortable with. Good luck!

workstostaysane Mon 21-Jan-08 22:30:02

thank you so much for all your posts ladies.
ellbell thats kind of how i felt, although if anyone mentioned norah jones while i was in labour, i would have to kill them.
i think dh is going to make me turn off the computer now, but i will be back tomorrow. and if anyone has further thoughts i look forward to hearing them.
many thanks

duchesse Mon 21-Jan-08 22:35:10

re the cord- if you wait for the placenta comes out, the cord will have stopped pulsating and the blood flow through it stopped, and cutting it is not at all hazardous. I am not at all qualified in any way on these things, but have had two homebirths with unmanaged 3rd stages. Someone I know had a 7 hour 3 rd stage. Incidentally, the baby in question was not breathing evenly, but was otherwise fine, so the placenta kept supplying her with oxygenated blood for as long as she needed it. Just as nature intended.

katepol Mon 21-Jan-08 22:35:35

wtss - as I said before, I have had two hands off home births, with a midwife only present as I pushed the baby out. Two lovely, peaceful water births. No intervention, no coaching, just a quiet, confident presence in the room.

I can understand why you want it to be just you and your dp, but surely having a m/w in the house doesn't automatically preclude this?

I am also sure the risk of a problem is statistically small, but surely you can get over your disquiet with having a midwife just so you can feel comfortable that you have made the best provision for you and your baby's health?

I am assuming you are not responding to me because we are cross posting, or is is because you do not want to hear any potential negativity? I am not being negative, but trying to offer you an alternative...

I think the midwife is useful, even if it's just for pootling about and getting towels ready and what have you. Means your partner is free to just look after you.

I can see the advantages, sort of. I had a homebirth and as the baby came out, so did a huge, huge amount of meconium (she was 12 days late). If the meconium had come before she was born, then they would have been looking for me to transfer, which quite frankly would have resulted in a distressed mother and an ambulance covered in baby poo. My instinct would have been to stay put. Whether that's because with contractions coming that fast I don't think I'd have been able to climb out of the pool; I'm not sure!

The idea of labouring alone is appealing - nobody to speak to me. I'd like DH and midwife just to show up as the baby was crowning though.

sophable Mon 21-Jan-08 22:50:43

do you know (and this will just bring me soo DOWN in your esteem) the thing that tickles me the most about this thread, is that freebirthing sounds like freebasing or freeskating (does that only exist in my head?) and calls to mind a really subversive activity.

which i suppose, judging by some responses it is.

Slacker Mon 21-Jan-08 23:32:32

Most people don't 'get it' - if you can't see why someone wouldn't want a midwife there 'just in case' then freebirthing isn't for you, clearly.

I am interested in freebirthing although I'm not doing it this time for various reasons (having an IM instead). The nearest I got was a not-entirely-unplanned BBA with my 3rd baby. But I've done a lot of reading and apart from Laura Shanley's site/book which I expect you've found, there's this one which I like, particularly the Top Ten reasons for birthing without [a midwife]

There's a lady who still posts on the homebirthUK yahoo group who's had 2 or 3 planned UCs, her stories are on the homebirth site. The legalities are clearer now than they were a few years ago, there's some info on the AIMS site about that, basically *it is not illegal* but lots of ill informed people including midwives believe it is.

Good luck with your reading and research and join the cbirth yahoo group if you haven't already, it's called c-birth these days if you have trouble finding it.

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 08:08:17

thanks slacker, will look into those.

katepol, i wasn't deliberately not responding to you, but as slacker says, the point of free birthing is really to do it without a midwife there AT ALL. so that having her in the next room defeats the object.
don't know how to explain it really, if a midwife is there, so is a medical presence. if there is no medical presence there, the birth is just a totally different thing.
i don't know if thats good or not, it's just something that appeals to me and i'm interested to find out more.

Mintpurple Tue 22-Jan-08 08:51:20

If you have employed a midwife to be involved in your birth, she has a duty of care to at least keep an eye on the proceedings, and to sit in another room while you did your own thing is really putting her registration on the line, because if anything bad was to happen to you or baby, she would be (at least partly) professionally liable, at least in the eyes of the NMC.
However, if she were to sit quietly in the room, I suppose that would be a different matter, although as people have said, it defeats the whole object.

As many have said, the chance of anything going wrong is really quite small, and it is just a question of how much risk you are prepared to take, much the same as having a VBAC or an amnio etc.

I had a friend who had a freebirth (she was a student m/w at the time), and she thought it was a fantastic experience, and would do the same if she had another baby.

If you do decide to go for it, I would suggest getting a plastic clamp or some sterilised string for the babys end of the cord, as it can still ooze when cut (and for several hours after).

Good luck in whatever you decide.

lulumama -
'it is a shame that we do not have traditional MWs, women who have not neccesarily trained medically but have attended lots of births and are trained in the traditions of birth...'

In Australia, where homebirths are getting increasingly difficult to source due to the archaic attitudes of the Australian equivalent of the NMC in certain states, noteably Qld, where they persecute and hound out homebirth m/ws, there are a lot of 'lay' m/ws around, who are untrained but have assisted with and, I suppose doula'd (dont know if thats even a word) and because they cant be struck off etc, they do a lot of the homebirths that trained midwives used to do.

sophable - I like the thought of being subversive!

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-08 08:54:52

Slacker- I think it may be illegal in the US, which is where many of the unassisted birth sites are based, which may have fuelled misconceptions. Obviously it is not illegal to "accidentally" have an unassisted birth anywhere in the world (ie call midwife too late); I think it's the premeditation the US authorities object to.

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 08:57:25

i think subversive may be true.

to refuse to hand over responsibility for the process to someone else, you thereby defy the mainstream view that childbirth is scary, dangerous and not normal.

booge Tue 22-Jan-08 08:58:07

dd had shoulder dystocia at home which the midwives handled wonderfully. You can't predict something like that and if your baby died because you had decided to have a "free birth" on a whim could you ever forgive yourself. You say "please don't post if you don't like the idea", what do you want, everyone to say "great idea! Go for it"????? Madness.

juuule Tue 22-Jan-08 08:59:22

I'm envy Good look worktostaysane.

juuule Tue 22-Jan-08 09:00:06

Sorry Luckblush See how envy I am, I can't even spell right.

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-08 09:11:59

Can you tell that would have wanted to have an UB as well, had I ever got pregnant again... Despite the lovely NHS midwife who delivered my 2nd and 3rd children at home and in a lovely hands-off way, and let me labour and birth as I saw fit.

cupofteaforone Tue 22-Jan-08 09:13:30

WTSS, what you are suggesting is actually illegal. You have to have a doctor or midwife in attendance if you have anyone with you. This means that if you have just your husband or partner or a friend then they are acting as an unqualified doctor or midwife which is the problem and could lead to them being sued. In situations where babies are born before the mw arrives this is usually because the birth is fast and problem free which is why there is mostly a happy outcome and everyone enjoys telling the tale, it would be very different if there were complications.

Why don't you have a discussion with your mw and explain that you want to give birth on your own but would like her present in case any problems arise. Remember that she can't do anything to you without your agreement and so you would be able to have pretty much a freebirthing experience but with a safety net so to speak.

Anna8888 Tue 22-Jan-08 09:14:21

The day a woman gives birth is statistically the day of her life she is most likely to die or sustain serious injury. The day a baby is born is also, statistically, the most dangerous day of that baby's life.

That is why it is wise to have a medical practitioner available during labour and birth.

We are exceedingly fortunate in the Western world that the state covers all/most of the costs associated with medical care during pregnancy and labour and, as a result, the risk of death and serious injury of both mother and baby is hugely less great than in less developed countries.

cupofteaforone Tue 22-Jan-08 09:17:01

Just to clarify, it is not giving birth on your own that is illegal it's having the other person present when there is no mw or dr IYSWIM because that's the role they are taking. You can give birth up a tree (minus mw or dr) if you like, providing you do it alone.

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-08 09:18:01

cupoftea- there are so many misconceptions in your small post I don't even know where to start.

Anna- I believe you are adversely influenced in your thinking by the French medical system. You should try reading some Dutch literature for balance.

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-08 09:20:17

cupoftea- I meant the first one, not the second x posted one.

Mercy Tue 22-Jan-08 09:24:02

You need to think about your own health during and after giving birth, as well as the baby's.

nervousal Tue 22-Jan-08 09:26:01

cupoftea- is this in US?
Who is going to sue DH if he is there on his own with agreement of the woman? I wouldn't want to give birth without a MW being there - but if I did decide to have my baby with just me and DH there, then he would be there as DH - not as a midwife. He would not be acting in the capacity of a mw.

Blu Tue 22-Jan-08 09:27:04

Psychologically, this would have been very attractive to me. I thought I wanted my closest people with me during birth, but once it started, in my heart of hearts i wanted them to go away and leave me alone to do what me and my body could do. I had planned a home water birth - and saw the mw more as a resource that I could call on to support me on my terms - not as a 'just in case'. i.e i associated her presence with a positive force for me, not the casting of doubt on the birth process. I didn't let anyone talk much once I was past transition, I was in the pool and had no g&a etc.

Eventually, we did transfer, but I felt I had done everything I could do to do it alone, and was active in the decision to transfer, and felt much the better for all that.

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 09:28:18

with respect cup of tea, you are wrong. it is not illegal.

thanks for the stuff on the cord duchesse, and slacker that website looks great. can't wait to get stuck into it.
and thanks juule

Anna8888 Tue 22-Jan-08 09:39:26

duchesse - not at all, that is WHO information smile

FWIW I had a medically unassisted birth - but in a (NHS) hospital, with a midwife present. So - as natural as possible, but with all the medical security on site, just in case. You never know.

Pruners Tue 22-Jan-08 09:46:46

Message withdrawn

Pruners Tue 22-Jan-08 09:49:48

Message withdrawn

juuule Tue 22-Jan-08 10:24:25

I think the difficult bit can be being sure of the midwife being hands-off. I've had midwives who've been wonderful and practically left me to it. I've also had midwives who really just can't help themselves and can be quite bossy and intrusive. When you do start going into yourself you don't want to have to start arguing your point with the outside world. My last delivery was ruined by midwife interference.

LittleBottle Tue 22-Jan-08 11:25:15

This woman's website is worth a look - she had a UC just eleven months after an emergency c-section (sadly she lost that baby). A very inspiring story

There is also a gorgeous video somewhere on YouTube of a woman birthing her twins unassisted - don't have a link but should be easily searchable.

so you won't have a midwife present but will have someone videoing it so you can post it on the internet?hmm
crazy.

LittleBottle Tue 22-Jan-08 12:14:17

Found it! It's her husband with the camera, BTW ;)

i'm sorry but i think an unassisted birth of twins is dangerous and irresponsible.

Blu Tue 22-Jan-08 12:55:55

I'm not advocatinmg or argiung, but presumably a free-birthing woman uses her mobile pdq if problems develop?

maxbear Tue 22-Jan-08 13:11:44

As a midwife I reckon that you have a 95% chance of being absolutely fine if you do it on your own, but if something did go wrong, as well as the grief and regret I would have thought that you could be prosecuted for neglect. The fetus has no legal rights, but a newborn baby does. I am sorry to be negative, but you need to think about the legal aspect as well as every thing else. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

Anna8888 Tue 22-Jan-08 13:17:22

maxbear - indeed, a 5% risk of something serious happening to mother or baby is actually pretty damn high (given that you know you are due to give birth and that services are in place to assist you).

ib Tue 22-Jan-08 13:20:31

My sister did this for her second. She did, however, have a friendly midwife on call if she needed her. In the event, although the birth went perfectly, (water birth, with only her dh and two year old ds there) she had trouble getting the placenta out and did have to call her mw for help with the 3rd stage. She had a lotus birth btw.

I had a very hands off midwife, she just sat by the side of the pool whispering reassurance to dh (who was with me in the pool). Tbh I didn't even notice her until after the baby was born. I also found it hard to push out the placenta and was glad to have her there to help me.

The only thing my sister said was that it was difficult to get photos taken! (in the end her dh put the camera on timer and legged it back to the pool for the family photo)

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 17:53:10

littlebear - i can't access that video without joining youtube, which is a shame. i'd like to see it.

i can't find any info on peri natal (during childbirth) mortality rates for the !Kung San people. infant mortality is high, but that is after birth and up until 8 years old.

FWIW, the US has the most the medical birth process in the world. it also has the highest rate of perinatal mortality in the world, so i'm thinking all the ' be safe in the hospital with all the machines' are not really worth listening to.

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 17:53:10

littlebear - i can't access that video without joining youtube, which is a shame. i'd like to see it.

i can't find any info on peri natal (during childbirth) mortality rates for the !Kung San people. infant mortality is high, but that is after birth and up until 8 years old.

FWIW, the US has the most the medical birth process in the world. it also has the highest rate of perinatal mortality in the world, so i'm thinking all the ' be safe in the hospital with all the machines' are not really worth listening to.

"it also has the highest rate of perinatal mortality in the world,"

Are you sure about that? I thought it was merely the worst in the developed world. And they do have lots of other factors, like the highest rate of obesity and a lack of decent antenatal care for many poorer women, so it's not necessarily a simple connection.

(Not that I am advocating a US style of birthing in any way whatsoever!)

3andnomore Tue 22-Jan-08 18:19:53

works, an online friend decided to go for this, after her first birth ended up as E-CS because it was mismanaged.

It all went fabulously well for her. And she had no regrets.

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 18:34:21

3andnomore - is there any way of contacting her?

Kathy, will check back in the book i read about it,but even if its only the worst in the developed world, thats still reason to avoid the medical route, it seems to me.

but i digress, i'm only really interested in the practicalities of doing this, not home birth vs hospital

Here's a WHO thingy on mortality rates - US is definitely not the worst, in fact I was wrong about it being the worst in the developed world too.

I am not trying to persuade you of anything, just share results of my googling in case anyone's interested. FWIW, though, I think you would have a hard time proving that free birthing is as safe as birthing with a midwife available, but that's not necessarily the point - we don't have to always do the lowest-risk thing in life every time.

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 19:14:53

yes you're right Kathy, i checked back in my book. a very selective presentation of the figures, but enough to convince me of a homebirth next time.

anyway, still interested in getting in touch with anyone who has had a free birth

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 19:15:45

oops, i meant a home birth first time around...

appledumpling Tue 22-Jan-08 19:36:57

I had a homebirth with no pain relief. The midwife was great. She could see I was doing OK and just sat in the corner of the room and only came near me when she wanted to check dilation or monitor DS's heartbeat.

I could do it on my own next time but really don't think I should - it just wouldn't be worth the risk of something going wrong. Plus DH is not good in a crisis.

asur Tue 22-Jan-08 20:01:15

workstostaysane good luck if you go for it. I am aiming for a freebirth with my next child. I have had extremely bad birth experiences due to medical interference and don't want it to happen again.

In my first pregnancy, I had no end of hassle due to me thinking that pregnancy was 'natural' - mw was convinced that I must be mad! shock hmm

It does seem that birth/pregnancy is now looked at as an illness/ailment that needs to be treated and this is why so many people can't understand freebirthing. There have been a lot of posts on this thread worrying about the risk involved - it seems strage that you don't see so many people worrying when suggesting getting an amnio which IMO is a much bigger risk.

It is a personal choice though and if you're happy with your decision, then it will be a great experience.

maxbear Tue 22-Jan-08 20:10:29

I have had a very straightforward hospital birth and a fairly straightforward home birth. I was very happy to have a midwife there. I'm sure that if she hadn't been there ds and I would both still be here but at the time the shoulders were a bit tight and her reassurance was crucial. I also bled a fair bit afterwards which was a shock to me as I hadn't first time around. I did not need any interventions to control the bleeding but would have been horrified to see that much blood if I hadn't known that a midwife with the necessary drugs was present.

Sorry to post this when I know you only really want to contact someone who has done it, but I just can't help myself.

Also fwiw although I would never have one myself, and would never encourage anyone to have one, I can understand why someone would like to do it and I think it is great that you have such faith in your body. I also think that it is your own personal decision and it really annoys me when people criticise it, with a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of formula in the other, if that makes sense.

Mercy Tue 22-Jan-08 20:13:21

What is your back up plan just in case something goes wrong? (for you or the baby)

belgo Tue 22-Jan-08 20:18:04

worktostaysane - there is an independant midwife in Belgium (where I live) who encourages women to give birth on their own. I met a women who had a birth with him - or rather without him. The midwife and her husband stayed in another room whilst she laboured and gave birth to her baby in a birthing pool - she delivered the baby, unwrapped the cord from the baby's neck, and she describes it as the most wonderful experience.

Personally, I found giving birth a very scarey experience and was very glad to have two midwives present for my home water birth.

i do not like the idea of medical intervention in birth.
i had no testing in pregnancy apart from scans.
i gave birth naturally-labouring in water, had no drugs, and a physiological 3rd stage.
i then went on to breastfeed for 12 months.

so saying people are disagreeing with a fag in one hand and a bottle of formula in the other is wrong.hmm

we see birth now, as being a very safe process because it has become so with the good ante-natal care we get and the presence of trained midwives at birth.

in the old days when women went alone-huge numbers died!!!!!!

lulumama Tue 22-Jan-08 20:20:20

>>It does seem that birth/pregnancy is now looked at as an illness/ailment that needs to be treated and this is why so many people can't understand freebirthing. There have been a lot of posts on this thread worrying about the risk involved - it seems strage that you don't see so many people worrying when suggesting getting an amnio which IMO is a much bigger risk.>>

freebirthing is an extreme

when you dicuss something extreme, you tend to get a majority who do not understand, if everyone understood it, it would not be an extreme

not to say it is a bad thing per se

there are many middle ways to get a good birth experience

for me, freebirthing would be a no-no, simply that should anything happen to the baby, i would not forgive myself, I am sure the OP has considered that and her own and her DHs feelings on that.

people do worry about amnio, there are many threads on here that are a testament to that, they worry about epidural, episiotomy, too much intervention, not enough intervention, going pre dates , post dates etc.... they are all valid to the person worrying about them

you will never convince the majority that freebirthing is risk free or the best way

does not mean it is wrong, but throughout history, women do have caregivers during birth, on the whole

i hope everything works out for the OP and she is obviously putting a lot of work into preparing for it, and not going to be doing anything on a whim

belgo Tue 22-Jan-08 20:21:51

yes, tmmj, child birth can in fact be the most dangerous thing a women and the baby will ever go through. When nature gets it right it works wonderfully .....unfortunately when nature gets it wrong, and it does get it wrong in a significant number of cases...there can be disastrous results.

good luck whatever you decide worktostaysane.

maxbear Tue 22-Jan-08 20:25:36

themildmanneredjanitor, when I was comparing it to smoking and bottle feeding what I meant was that the risk to the baby is probably similar in these circumstances, I am just not always very good at expressing myself. I too have had very little intervention at my births but would not want to free birth. sorry to confuse, hope I haven't offended anyone blush

Slubberdegullion Tue 22-Jan-08 20:31:12

I have a question for any mws/doulas here. How little intervention can you get away with when you attend a birth that could not be viewed as negligence (if something went wrong)?

If a woman has stated in her birth plan that she wants to be left alone (no internals, no checking of foetal heart rate etc etc) are you allowed to do just that? Are you allowed just to be 'on stand by' in another room? Where does duty of care come in?

Slubberdegullion Tue 22-Jan-08 20:33:43

(additional question)

Is your duty of care to the laboring mother? Or to the unborn child, or the newly born child? Presumably to all three, but in equal measure?

Mercy Tue 22-Jan-08 20:35:00

Worktostaysane, are you planning to have no medically qualified people before, during or after the birth?

(am not expecting an acknowlegment btw)

marjean Tue 22-Jan-08 20:43:49

I've just had my second child at home. Both experiences were fantastic in their own way and resulted in happy, healthy mother and child. However, the second experience was completely different from the first. Whilst my first labour was long and slowly built up, my second escalated dramatically in the latter stages. I couldn't communicate how far along I thought I was and began to panick - it had seemed so 'natural' first time round but I began to doubt my instincts and felt completely out of control. It was only when the mw turned up (who was fantastic and incredibly respectful) that I felt secure enough to actively push and my baby was born a few minutes later.

Another thing to consider is the third stage - I think I can tell a healthy baby, but a healthy and intact placenta?

So, freebirthing - great in principle but I'd be cautious about 'planning' anything based on your previous experience and seriously consider all aspects of the birth process. Good luck with whatever you decide and be sure to post your experience on mn - it'd be really interesting to hear!

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 20:49:39

i don't see why you wouldn't have antenatal care as thats where much of the danger lies; the reason for much of the higher infant mortality rates of the past. but during and after not. my mws last time kept forgetting to come and see me, which frightened me at the time, but now i suspect i would just get on with it and take her for her 6 week check up at my GP's.

i live in london and i don't think the midwives here have the time or energy to really give much of a stuff about anyone in particular. they just seem to need to get through the day

i guess the backup plan is to dial 999 and haul ass to the hospital fast.

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 20:52:18

thanks marjean,
i have ordered books on how to do this. you'd need to know stuff like that obviously - whats right, whats not, signs that things are going wrong. but you have reminded me that there is a LOT to learn

maxbear Tue 22-Jan-08 21:02:41

As a midwife if I did something to a woman without her consent then it is assault. This means that if a woman requested my presence but did not allow me to do anything I would have to document it in the notes, contact a supervisor of midwives to inform them of the situation and just watch and wait (or listen and wait if not in the room!). If I were in her home I would be where ever she wanted me to be. My duty of care is to all three as you rightly suggested Slubberdegullion, although the fetus has no legal rights until it becomes a newborn. It would be a difficult situation for any midwife to be in, but I personally would respect the womans wishes and just be glad that she had called me.

LittleBottle Tue 22-Jan-08 21:05:01

From what I have read on various websites, the women who choose freebirthing are well aware of the risks etc, and do a huge amount of research and preparation before making such a decision. It's really not something anyone who had any degree of 'higher risk' to their pregnancy would choose.

worktostaysane, have you tried posting on the HomebirthUK Yahoo group? I know there was at least one woman on there who had a freebirth in the last few months - you should be able to search/contact her there.

I would not choose freebirthing myself, but as others have said, I believe it's a woman's choice to make.

camillathechicken Tue 22-Jan-08 21:08:33

women can refuse care for themselves antenatally, and intrapartum and postnatal care.

any women can make an informed choice to do so.

more women are more interested in hands off birth..... midwife there to catch the baby, rather than deliver... women do refuse things like VEs and SRM, i suppose freebirth is the ultimate isn't it?

Lulumama Tue 22-Jan-08 21:09:58

<<oops! removes last few stray feathers>>

3andnomore Tue 22-Jan-08 21:10:18

Works, I will see if I still have her contact details and will let you know...

workstostaysane Tue 22-Jan-08 21:21:25

thanks littlebottle and 3nomore

i haven't posted on homebirth uk but will do so.

3andnomore Tue 22-Jan-08 21:27:57

works...I haven't got her E-mail anymore...and haven't had any contact with her in a fair few years...
she might still be on Babycentre UK, so, might be worth asking there if anyone has any experience of free birth...she probably would come forward...
probably most likely to be found on Homebirth Board or Attachement Parenting Board...

Mintpurple Tue 22-Jan-08 21:29:02

Slubberdegullion - I dont think its ever been put to the test in a case like this (duty of care), but m/w are struck off or severely critisized at these tribunerals for fairly minor infringements, probably less than I have read on mn from some of the experiences that women here have had with their midwives.

I would imagine that the tribuneral would throw the book at any m/w who was sitting in the next room, after having been paid to care for the woman, as she bled to death, or the baby died due to undiagnosed fetal distress, or failed to act in case of shoulder dystocia. I really dont think that it would cut it, that the mother had asked the m/w to stay next door. Also by the time the shit hit the fan and the m/w was called away from her newspaper, she will be trying to retrieve a bad situation, rather than circumventing the potential problems, which is always much worse.

The duty of care would always be to save the mother first, but obviously, a single m/w is going to be really stretched if 2 things happen at once, eg flat baby and PPH. Thats why there are usually 2 m/ws at a hb.

I dont condemn or condone what she is trying to do, and I can understand why she wants this. As a m/w I always try to facilitate the requests of my patients, and as long as they are able to make an informed decision about their care, and I have documented this to cover myself, I am happy to go along with almost anything, as we are dealing with grown women who are empowered to make their own decisions. As a m/w, however, I would not be comfortable sitting in the next room, as I think it would expose me to an unacceptable risk of allegations of neglect. I would be happy sitting in the corner of the room, pretending to read the paper if you like, as even without looking at a woman, you can tell how they are doing just by the non verbal noises and the body language cues much of the time.

The worry I would have with no m/w present and the back up plan of 999, is that with all the books in the world, and all the knowledge, wtss will still probably not recognise a problem coming. By the time her dp calls an ambulance and it gets there, the problem will probably be resolved, one way or another.

Slubberdegullion, I hope this explains my opinion, sorry if its a bit long winded.

Pruners Tue 22-Jan-08 22:46:16

Message withdrawn

mom2latinoboys Wed 23-Jan-08 00:51:42

The idea sounds good to me, and although I think it would be a wonderful experience, I don't think I could do it.
But after seeing "this [http://www.childbirthsolutions.com/articles/pregnancy/unassistedbirth/index.php] page" I think I would want to.

Slubberdegullion Wed 23-Jan-08 08:26:05

Mintpurple and maxbear thank you for your posts. Interesting reading. I suppose the ideal (well in my eyes) is to have a good relationship with your (antenatal) midwife, one where you can explain (and have it acknowledged) that you want as little intervention as possible during your labour, and then for that midwife to attend your birth (in hosp or at home).

But this of course is dreamy dream land.

I nearly got this experience with my home birth, had dd2 arrived one day earlier or later my community midwife would have delivered her. There was some feeble excuse about being off duty ....sheesh I tell you...these NHS workers just have no dedication to the job these days wink

booge Wed 23-Jan-08 08:35:52

Why is no one as gob-smacked as me at the utter foolishness of this. shock I'm not pro-intervention and had a homebirth myself but this is a crazy and selfish plan. While the mother has choices the baby does not.

belgo Wed 23-Jan-08 09:11:04

I'm sure there are a few of us who are gobsmacked booge, and who will agree with you.

duchesse Wed 23-Jan-08 09:15:30

Actually, many many more women in childbirth related complications due to the after effects of malnutrition, exhaustion, and infection caused by interventions with unsterilised equipment.

I can't find the reference, and haven't time at the moment to track it down, but I once read that the more affluent classes in the 19th c were statistically far more likely to cark it in/ due to childbirth both in and out of maternity homes. Largely because of the above interventions.

Poorer women more likely to die during their 11th labour at 45 from sheer exhaustion and malnutrition.

The dangers of childbirth in a well-nourished, well, ideal weight woman who has already proved that her birth canal works by having one successful labour are minimal as per the Dutch system.

As for the dangers to the baby, well of course it is the most dangerous thing it will ideally ever do in its little life. All its systems are untested, and some babies' hearts will give out under the strain of all that adrenalin and stress whether you're in hospital or at home. This is assuming no undetected abnormalities.

Modern day 3rd world stats often include women or very underage GIRLS with teh problems of malnutrition and illness cited above. Furthermore, there are many birthing practices that may expose women and babies to infection (from a book I have whose name I can't remember but will track down later by a midwife who travelled all over the world taking notes) Comparing these women with 1st world healthy women is not a level comparison.

Lulumama Wed 23-Jan-08 09:15:57

I suppose i would be more shocked if this was the first time i had heard of it... the thing i keep coming back to is the what if scenario.....which is why freebirthing is not something i could personally contemplate

nor could i or would i attend one in my role as a doula as i would leave myself open to prosecution.

one of the major factors in this for me is that throughout the ages , women have tended to have someone support them in birth...a midwife, an elder of the community, someone experienced in birth. it dates back to biblical times..

so, for me, if women have historically had birth companions who are experienced, there is a good reason why that has survived the test of time

i am all for hands off midwifery, and letting labour flow without intervention, but for me personally, it is a step to far

duchesse Wed 23-Jan-08 09:19:16

Slubber- don't want to thumb my nose at you but both my daughters were delivered at home by the same community midwife, both times on her day off. The first time she'd just finished a shift at the hospital when I went into labour, but luckily was able to go home and get some sleep before the actual birth the following birth. She said that homebirthing was what midwifery was all about, and the home births that she attended made all the crap she endured in hospital worth staying. Even the midwives don't enjoy the hospital environment.

belgo Wed 23-Jan-08 09:25:38

duchesse - my midwife says the same things. She works in a hospital even though she doesn't really enjoy it, but she says she does get to see some very interesting things there. But she loves doing home births - that's where her heart lies.

My two midwives during my home birth had 40 years of experience between them - one had worked in Africa in a third world environment, and the other had a lot of hospital experience. I felt so reassured by their presence, and am very glad they were there, as the birth was not straightforward (despite having had a straightforward first birth,, my second birth was more complicated).

Flllightattendant Wed 23-Jan-08 09:25:57

I've only read the first 30 posts or so but just have one thing to add, that IMO birth is very much a question of 'luck' - no matter if you prepare to the hilt, things can and do go wrong.

I'm interested in the concept of freebirthing in the same sense as I'm interested in free rock climbing, I would love, love love to do it but I am just not sure that risking the baby's condition is something I would want to take credit for if something went wrong.

I had a great, if painful and sudden, birth last time - nothing was wrong and I laboured some of it 'alone' but right after he was born, I had a big bleed - nobody could predict it and I could have died without the right attention straight away. Therefore the baby would very likely have had no mother.

That's all I'm saying. Birth takes us all by storm, you can have a great birth or a crap birth and you have very little control over which, in some ways at least.

Good luck if you go for it smile

Mintpurple Wed 23-Jan-08 09:33:19

Duchesse - 'Even the midwives don't enjoy the hospital environment.'

Actually, the majority of midwives do like the hospital system, and thats why they stay there. On mn, we are much more exposed to people (m/w and mums) who have a more natural and sympathetic approach to birthing the way nature intended, but I can assure you that even by just being on mumsnet, we are not entirely mainstream

Even on the unit where I work in central London, I am usually allocated to work with mums who want waterbirths, natural labours or have doulas with them, because most of the other m/w on the labour ward are 'not into that kind of stuff'

As for being gobsmacked, well, while I would not be involved with the freebirth, nothing surprises me in midwifery any more

Slubberdegullion Wed 23-Jan-08 09:53:49

duchesse, my comm mw was absolutely gutted when she found out I'd had dd2 without her being there, but as she wasn't the mw on call she didn't have the "red"phone.

Her first words to me when she came round to see me 1 day pst delivery were "could you not have just hung on for one more day then?" said with grin.

fwiw I'm with lulumama with the 'what if' doubts. dd2's home birth was fantastic and 99.9% smooth going, however there was a small episode (during transition phase..think that's the right term) when I became crazed shouty and fraeking out lady. Poor Dh was sorely afraid. The midwife was just top notch, she just said a few calming, but with firm voice words and my sanity was restored.

In the spectrum of 'what ifs' during labour I'm sure a scared and irrational woman is very common occurance, but if it's the first time you have experienced such a thing then a calm word from someone you trust is priceless (said in barclaycard voice).

Anna8888 Wed 23-Jan-08 10:19:28

duchesse - you are obviously in admiration of the Dutch system where the percentage of midwife-led home births is the highest in the world.

However, for such a system to be viable it is critical to have a very dense and urbanised population that allows nearly all women to live within striking distance of a hospital, should things go wrong. The Netherlands is an unusally densely populated country.

duchesse Wed 23-Jan-08 10:24:50

Anna- the women who give birth at home in Holland are also screened very carefully. While it is true that some problems can develop unforeseen in any birth, many more are utterly predictable given the right screening in pregnancy, and taking a careful history. And should unforeseens develop in hospital, you are clearly in a much better place to have them dealt with BUT is is 100% hospital delivery really worth the risk of the inevitable unnecessary interventions?

Anna8888 Wed 23-Jan-08 10:31:54

I don't think that hospital delivery need involve unnecessary interventions at all. In fact, when I had a hospital delivery, I had absolutely no interventions at all and felt under no pressure whatsoever to have any - quite the contrary. But I was extremely glad to have a paedatrician on site - the birth was totally straightforward for me but not, unfortunately (and entirely unpredicatably) for my baby, who needed vital and immediate attention from doctors within 10 minutes of birth.

Home births are much cheaper (around £500) for the NHS than hospital births (around £900 for an uncomplicated delivery). If you are motivated by saving the taxpayer money, they are the best way to go.

belgo Wed 23-Jan-08 11:05:52

Anna - I got a payment from my insurance company when I had my home birth.

duchesse Wed 23-Jan-08 12:07:15

When I had my two home births in 1995 and 1997, my midwife told me that home births cost the hospital £700 despite the full-time presence of two midwives, whereas hospital births were each funded to the tune of £2000. The extra £1300 was set aside for law suits, which did not apply in home births as all the parents sign a disclaimer for home births. I was shocked.

Anna8888 Wed 23-Jan-08 12:11:48

Belgo - indeed, if you are motivated by saving the insurance company money - how very nice of them to give it back to the insured grin.

Anna8888 Wed 23-Jan-08 12:15:34

duchesse - I gave birth in Kent in 2004 and possibly the figures I was given (by my midwife) were figures for that trust.

But it is generally true that home births are cheaper for the taxpayer/insurance company than hospital births. I quite bought into the idea that it was both safer for me and my baby and cheaper for the taxpayer to avoid medical intervention in childbirth - hence I had no pain relief bar hot baths and gave birth in a position I would not like anyone bar the midwife (whom I would never have to see again) to have seen me in wink.

belgo Wed 23-Jan-08 12:21:04

money wasn't my motivation strangely enoughgrin but it was nice, a couple of hundred euros I think.

duchesse Wed 23-Jan-08 12:22:39

Mine were born in Surrey dontcha know. Much much more expensive than Kent probably. Bloody Surrey.

lisalisa Wed 23-Jan-08 12:37:55

Message withdrawn

Anna8888 Wed 23-Jan-08 12:46:09

Interesting, lisalisa, and sad.

My (excellent) antenatal classes didn't teach any breathing techniques - they were all about empowering the woman, managing pain without drugs, listening to your body and trusting the midwife to be listening to your body too, so that she could best help you.

lisalisa Wed 23-Jan-08 12:52:20

Message withdrawn

Anna8888 Wed 23-Jan-08 12:57:34

Yes, in 2004.

The NCT has done fabulous work in that interval lobbying the NHS to change its practices to empower women during childbirth.

Pruners Wed 23-Jan-08 15:00:29

Message withdrawn

Lulumama Wed 23-Jan-08 20:15:08

i don;t get the prescriptiveness of the breathing either

although hypnobirthing seems big on breathing the baby down, and i think that seems to work . i suppose it is more gentle than 'puuuuuuuuuuuuuuuush!'

i found G&A a godsend as it reminded me to breathe rather than hold my breath.

i think sheila kitzinger is quite big on breathing for labour and birth

i had a go at it, but after i had my DCs, so not that useful, but wanted to practice , in case anyone asked me about it.

WTSS.. have you talked about this in RL? what has the response of friends and family been?

workstostaysane Wed 23-Jan-08 20:47:05

lulumama interesting you should ask. dh just came home to find 'unassisted childbirth' delivered by amazon today and had 1 word -NO. but he said that when i suggested a home birth the first time round and now he is the strongest advocate. i'm pretty sure i could not tell anyone in RL that it was my intention - they would really freak. the only way i can currently see of doing it is just not to call the midwife until all done and dusted.

it still seems exteme to me but the more i think about it, the more i like it.

re the placenta lulumama, the last time round, my midwife kept asking me to push it out (so that they could go home and have a cup of tea as i recall),although when i asked did i really have to get it out so quick, she said it was dangerous if it took longer than 30 mins and that i would have to transfer to hospital if it didn't come soon. but i just read somewhere that a woman who had a UC waiting an hour before passing her placenta. and in fact, i pushed and pushed trying to get it out for her but eventually i got a contraction and it came out easily and i realised even then that there was nothing i could do to get it out - i just had to wait for my body to do it.
anyway, this is a long way of asking if it is dangerous to wait to deliver the placenta.

ChasingSquirrels Wed 23-Jan-08 20:50:33

re placenta - my mw didn't arrive until an hour after my unassisted birth, and I hadn't delivered the placenta, it was about another 30/50 minutes after she arrived as I recall - by which time I was getting a little stressed about it but she didn't seem at all bothered - but they she did say "well we normally give it an hour then think about whether we should do anything, so lets give it a little longer" - so maybe she didn't actually put 2 & 2 together re the baby actually being born an hour BEFORE she arrived.

workstostaysane Wed 23-Jan-08 20:54:51

thanks lisalisa for your post which i found really moving.
i haven't dismissed the idea of a medical presence, its just that i find the idea of doing it alone very attractive.

also, the more i look into it, the more i seem to find that high mortality rates in the developing world are more due to malnutrition and difficult circumstances during the first year of life rather than childbirth itself. also, simple hygeine standards are infinitely improved since the days of not even washing hands before surgery and that is a major factor in reducing maternal mortality - rather than the act of childbirth being a hugely dangerous activity in itself.
i'm not at all saying it is without risk, just that a risk of 5% of something going wrong is vastly less than general anxiety about the whole process would have me believe.

what do you think?

workstostaysane Wed 23-Jan-08 20:54:53

thanks lisalisa for your post which i found really moving.
i haven't dismissed the idea of a medical presence, its just that i find the idea of doing it alone very attractive.

also, the more i look into it, the more i seem to find that high mortality rates in the developing world are more due to malnutrition and difficult circumstances during the first year of life rather than childbirth itself. also, simple hygeine standards are infinitely improved since the days of not even washing hands before surgery and that is a major factor in reducing maternal mortality - rather than the act of childbirth being a hugely dangerous activity in itself.
i'm not at all saying it is without risk, just that a risk of 5% of something going wrong is vastly less than general anxiety about the whole process would have me believe.

what do you think?

workstostaysane Wed 23-Jan-08 20:56:40

wait! chasingsquirrels, did i miss something? did you plan that or was it by accident? and how did it go?

HappiesGlamore Wed 23-Jan-08 20:57:20

my last birth was a home birth. im v v lucky to have had super easy straight forward and quick births all 3 times and despite mw's and dp and my mother being there and abouts... i did it all on my own. it was a water birth and they cant touch you or the baby till hes out anyway so it really was me in the pool doing it on my own tbh.

didnt mind people being there to say/think how f'in marvellous i was tho grin
and to clean up afterwardsgrin
and get me lunch and run about after my 1 and 2yos for me so i could sit about with the new onegrin

i respect the choice to freebirth. if you have nice easy uncomplicated births like me, i dont see any reason why not. good luck smile

ChasingSquirrels Wed 23-Jan-08 20:59:34

I posted V early on (first few posts), I did have an unassisted birth (almost totally - at the point I gave birth dh was cutting some bubble wrap on the other side of the room) but I didn't plan it - I just had a very quick labour.
It went fantastically - BUT quick births are usually problem free I understand.

welliemum Wed 23-Jan-08 21:19:33

WTSS, just relating to your point about risk in developed countries, there's an interesting BBC article here, did you see it? It's about birth in Sweden.

Sweden is the safest place in the world to be born. The child mortality is half that of the UK. Almost 100% of Swedish babies are born in hospital.

Now, the author of that article assumes that the low mortality is a direct result of having lots of medical care available. I disagree with that - there are so many other factors that would contribute.

But on the other hand, delivering in hospital clearly isn't harming them either.

The description in the article was of a woman delivering in hospital with husband present and with the help of a midwife. The medical facilities were available close by, but played no part in the birth in question.

I know this is not what you want - am not suggesting this for you at all. I just think the article is food for thought, because it shows very clearly that a hospital birth as such isn't harmful - as I think a lot of freebirthers believe - it's more a question of appropriate vs inappropriate intervention. IMO anyway. I tlooks as if Sweden has somehow got this right, whereas the NHS hasn't.

(PS I dont' know about breathing, but am a big fan of Sheila Kitzinger wrt active birth - worked brilliantly for me)

Lulumama Wed 23-Jan-08 21:20:44

re the placenta

it can take a while to come away, sometimes a change of postion, something as simple as standing can help. putting baby to the breast encourages hormone release to detach the placenta

once the placenta is out , the MW would carefully examine the placenta to ensure that it is intact and whole and so are the membranes, anything that remains behind can cause heavy bleeding and infection

if your DH is not happy with the idea of freebirthing, do you propose to go ahead despite his reluctance?

workstostaysane Wed 23-Jan-08 21:46:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChasingSquirrels Wed 23-Jan-08 21:52:23

lol - I totally DID NOT have the birth I would have expected with ds1. Given the choice I would have opted for a section (not knowing that it was major surgery, but knowing that I DID NOT want to give birth). In the even it was a straight forward quick and easy birth (in so far as any birth is easy).
With ds2 I probably did I have the birth I visualised, but that was having already given birth once, and realising I was perfectly capable of it.

ladymariner Wed 23-Jan-08 21:55:37

I'm going to sound really dense here but what is a doula?
(runs off to bury head in shame at not knowing something that everyone else in the world does....)

the idea of free birthing is amazing i had never ehard of it till i just read this thread i really wanted drug free births and i ended up with two emergency c sections im in awe of anyone who does a home birtha nd to do it just you and your dh is fab xx good luck x

workstostaysane Wed 23-Jan-08 22:01:34

i'm sure someone has the correct defintition ladymariner, but AFAIK, a doula is someone who has attended lots of birth and is there solely to give support to the mother. she is not a medical practitioner, more like a sister or auntie who has 'seen it all before'. doula.org or doula uk will give you better info.

i dunno chasingsquirels, you seem pretty happy go lucky to me. no complaining about how it all took you by surprise , it was too fast (which i've heard people complain), what the hell was DH doing with the bubble wrap...
anyway, its just IME and i really can't think of anyone who has not had the birth you could have predicted

(please don't let this become a thread about how your birth experience was not/was exactly what you expected)

workstostaysane Wed 23-Jan-08 22:02:59

thanks 2specialgirls. nice to hear from you.
smile

ChasingSquirrels Wed 23-Jan-08 22:06:35

lol, sorry didn't mean to do that.
btw it was ds2 that was the unassisted, not ds1 - now that WOULD have freaked me out!

bubblewrap - well it is the shower curtain thing, something waterproof, but several people recommended bubblewrap as it is cheap, easy to use and a bit padded. Anyway, dh was despatched to cut some off the roll (my dad had got a roll when they were moving) to put on the bed, I got off the bed so he could just put it on to cut the right size, though I better just check the baby wasn't coming yet, put my hand down to check - and blow me there he was grin.

How are you feeling about the whole idea now - has this thread made you more determined or put you off?

ladymariner Wed 23-Jan-08 22:13:58

Thankyou, worktostaysane, didn't know whether to ask or not, glad I did,
xx

workstostaysane Thu 24-Jan-08 10:00:04

The thread has been really interesting chasingsquirrels, thanks for asking. at the moment the thing thats putting me off is the lack on information on how to do it.
thebook i bought, 'unassisted childbirth' was mainly a rant on how awful hospitals are which I found annoying.

so still don't know. anyway, i'm not due until september so i've plenty of time to work it out!

Slacker Thu 24-Jan-08 10:37:48

Thing is it's a bit of a minority pursuit in this country, whereas in the States it's more common as the 'free' midwife option isn't available. But there are some UK UC stories I remember from over the years, here for example, 4th and 5th stories down the list, and that woman had a 3rd UC too which you could google for. There's a couple on the Homebirth site too.

I think it's just easier in this country to have an 'oops' BBA and then the midwife deals with the paperwork, I wouldn't fancy turning up at a registry office to register a birth without the legal birth notification stuff, don't want to invite too many questions...

It's not illegal to plan to birth unassisted in this country (the Brian Radley case was a looong time ago and the law has been clarified since then, see AIMS site) but that doesn't mean that you wouldn't potentially have questions asked and possibly social services turning up on your doorstep, which is why if I was planning UC this time I would still have had a midwife on hand. Probably.

ib Thu 24-Jan-08 13:17:04

WTSS, what do you mean about information on how to do it? You gave birth before, you know what to expect, what more are you looking for?

That's a genuine question, I don't think I would have a problem doing it, and tbh if I had another and the midwife was not there I would not be at all stressed. But then I had a water birth so was doing it all myself, the midwife was only there to reassure dh!

Wrt the placenta, I know my sister only called the midwife about an hour after her ds was born as the placenta had not yet come out. She wasn't panicked about it but said the contractions were starting to really hurt and she wanted it out! Turns out she needed to push a little, and as she was lying back with her ds on her she wasn't quite managing it.

In my case, I thought I felt it come out and asked dh if it was out. He took a look and said 'er...I don't think so' so I started to happily push away. The mw ran over as she was seeing too much blood, and told me to lie back - I complained I could not lie back and push. Turns out the placenta had come out but got stuck in the vagina, so my pushing was only causing me to bleed. She tugged it gently and it came out no problem.

workstostaysane Thu 24-Jan-08 15:34:18

how to do it would include: when to cut the umbilical cord? how to clamp near the belly button so as not to create a ugly old mess of newborn's tummy.

what to do with the placenta afterwards - dont want to bury it or eat it!

i guess thats it really. and what to look for to tell if things are not going right - so stop pushing and pull out placenta instead for example

mom2latinoboys Thu 24-Jan-08 15:48:03

WTSS are you or your dh going to be in the frame of mind to do those things. Would you consider calling a midwife right after you give birth to help you the more technical side of things. All I know is that my dh would have no clue no matter how much he read up on it. (He sucks in pressure situations)

Pruners Thu 24-Jan-08 17:11:52

Message withdrawn

Spidermama Thu 24-Jan-08 17:47:00

I wanted an unassisted birth with DS3 but dh didn't. We argued discussed the issue throughout pregnancy. When I was in labour he called the midwife who arrived five minutes before the baby with no equipment. She sat in a chair and watched. She needn't have been there.

In the end dh and I went to Relate because we fell out quite badly over this.

workstostaysane Thu 24-Jan-08 20:08:23

slacker you are misleading us all with your nickname.
these sites are fab.

pruners i have come across the sarahjbckley one and have started to google lotus birth but will need to study that more.
i'm sad that my brain seems to have retained the information that the placenta needs to haul ass out of you PDQ or its bad news, anyway, time to reeducate i guess

mom2, i'm thinking that the only technical bit should be the cutting of the cord. i did that last time and it was pretty simple, but i just can't remember the sequence of events as i was so excited that everything had gone so well.

Slacker Thu 24-Jan-08 20:17:20

grin glad you liked them. I used to be really into the UC concept but have lost some confidence over the last few years and don't feel it's for me right now, but I still think it's the purest form of birth. I feel like a bit of a failure paying for midwife support this time.

workstostaysane Thu 24-Jan-08 20:38:56

why did you lose confidence - if thats not too personal a question? please don't reply if so.

spidermama, sorry to hear you and dh fell out. i'm not sure i could go through with this if dh opposed all the way, but i guess i'd just keep quiet as long as poss to fox him, although he'd probably guess.

workstostaysane Thu 24-Jan-08 20:42:45

also, slacker, and anyone else who's interested:
this woman's story is long and kind of odd, but the fact are listed below if you don't want to read the whole thing.
do you think she just got lucky. i'm amazed at her faith and honesty, especially as she had the emergency c-section before...

"It took 10 hours of 'pre-labor'.
I had 80 hours of active labor.
And 5 hours of pushing.
The placenta came out 35 hours after Tygo's birth."

mrsmalumbas Thu 24-Jan-08 21:05:22

I had a homebirth with just DH and two doulas present - technically my OB should have been there, but he couldn't make it as he was busy doing a cesarean in a hospital about half an hour from my home at the time I started feeling a bit pushy! He arrived just in time to help me deliver the placenta (which I found much more unpleasant than birthing the baby lol). I had already clamped and cut the cord myself!

However in fact I knew he wouldn't be there for the birth, it wasn't really premeditated, as such, but I was so happy and comfortable doing my own thing that I didn't actually get around to asking for him, it was my doula who saw that I was pushing and asked if I wanted him called. (We had discussed all this beforehand and this was a scenario we were all comfortable with). I felt really really calm and happy, and totally safe and comfortable. It was lovely. I should add though that I lived in a country where there are no midwives, and homebirth is quite rare, so that was not an option for me. I would not have liked the feeling that he was hanging about in the next room or whatever as then I would have felt under more pressure. However if midwives had been available I might have opted for that.

As a doula I attended homebirths where the OB was there and he was lovely, very hands off and respectful. But still there was a different atmosphere having a "medical" person there.

One client that I had (who also had a lotus birth) chose to freebirth - myself and another doula were on hand in case she needed us, but in the end she asked us to go and sit outside in the car as it was making her feel inhibited knowing we were downstairs! So this we did, and after her husband came out to tell us that the baby had been born we popped inside to make her some lunch and fold her washing!

Each to their own.

If I was having another baby in the UK, I think I would choose to have a homebirth with a private midwife, and I would ask her to be very hands off, and possibly not even in the room, I'd quite like it to be just me and DH and maybe my two DD's.

I'm pretty much with lulumama in that while I think most times birth is perfectly natural and safe, it is undeniable that there is some element of risk however small. Each of us will have a different view on what degree of risk we feel comfortable with. I think in my mind the "riskiest" part of birth is not the actual birth per se but the part immediately after, for example what if you had a PPH which is the most common cause of maternal mortality - although rare - would you have a birth kit with syntocinon etc? or at the very least a vial of shepherd's purse at hand? would you have an oxygen tank? Or would having even those basic things still be admitting an element of risk?

Anyway I'd be interested to hear how your thoughts evolve!

Spidermama Thu 24-Jan-08 21:08:04

35 hours after. shock

worktostaysane I did underplay my contractions. Indeed I sent him out on errands and as soon as he left the house, literally within five seconds of his shutting the door, full on labour kicked in. It was extra-ordinary.

Sadly he came back home and saw that I was at the wildebeast stage and having been through two previous births he knew it meant pushing was imminent so he slunk off and called the midwife.

Right. My kids are finally in bed so I can actually read this thread and some of the links now but I fear a loud majority may well have pitched in to call you a dangrous lunatic with no regard for your own or your baby's health for even considering it. It's not an easy subject to explain to others after all.

mrsmalumbas Thu 24-Jan-08 21:10:40

Just saw your questions about the cord etc.

The thing with the cord is actually don't clamp too close to the belly button, it's okay to leave a fair bit of cord between baby and clamp (but only clamp once it has stopped pulsing!). In fact I put the clamp a bit close and when the cord dried out it made it tight - had to take her to hospital to have it cut off with cord clamps as ordinary scissors don't work. I guess you could do it the old fashioned way with sterile string!

Placenta - my Dr. took mine to hospital in a yellow bag for clinical waste and they disposed of it. Could you get your local hospital to incinerate it for you? Mine was huge - I thought I was birthing another baby! Anyway it's meant to be great for warding off PND if you are at all susceptible - apparently it can be dried out and put in capsules. Also a piece of placenta put to the lips can supposedly stop PP bleeding as well.

Spidermama Thu 24-Jan-08 21:13:32

Wow mrsmalumbas. Well done!

I know what you mean about having a m/w around even if in a different room. In an ideal world dh would have guided ds3 out and placed him on my belly. What a lovely moment to remember.

Funnily enough with ds4 from about mid pregnancy I knew I wanted the M/Ws around this time. It was indeed a tricky birth and they did lots of manouvering around to help me get him round the bend. I was glad of their expertise when my ten pound ds4 came down and out OP. shock

Spidermama Thu 24-Jan-08 21:14:56

DH has dug holes in our gardens for the 4 placentas then he gets a tree or bush and plants it on top. They really thrive too.

mrsmalumbas Thu 24-Jan-08 21:15:50

Oh and by the way I know of one woman who gave birth in hospital and waited a full 24 HOURS for the placenta to come out. It did. (She was doing okay and her Dr. was happy to wait)

So the whole 2 hours and then transfer to hospital thing is really just a protocol. Of course I am not saying waiting 24 hours is ideal, I'm just saying that there might be a range of what could be considered within the bounds of normal.

mrsmalumbas Thu 24-Jan-08 21:18:25

Spidermama - ouchy! DD was born direct OP too but she was only about 7 pounds or so. We have some lovely photos of her little face appearing under the water - my doula was very surprised to see a face instead of the usual back of the baby's head!

ib Thu 24-Jan-08 21:21:42

Can't help re cutting the cord as we didn't - we had a lotus birth (although we did cut it about 36 hours later when it was totally dry, so never clamped it).

We wrapped it up in one of those bed protectors and duct tape (sorry not very romantic) and when we had cut it off we put it in the bin.

mrsmalumbas Thu 24-Jan-08 21:32:50

Spidermama - ouchy! DD was born direct OP too but she was only about 7 pounds or so. We have some lovely photos of her little face appearing under the water - my doula was very surprised to see a face instead of the usual back of the baby's head!

workstostaysane Thu 24-Jan-08 21:43:07

wow mrsmalumbas, inspiring stuff.
thanks for the stuff about the cord, thats really helpful.
where do you buy clamps by the way? i read somewhere that you could just boil some string or use shoelaces that have been unopened in their packet. true or no?

spidermama - its interesting i think, that you knew for quite a while that you wanted a mw there and that in the end, you did need her.
i think i will see how my feelings evolve over the next 8 months. it took me a little while to get to grips with a home birth 1st time round - i thought i would be a 'get me down the hospital quick' kind of girl and the responsibility involved with a home birth took some getting used to.

and no mrsmalumbas, i wouldn't even know where to get hold of those things to have them just in case, so i guess i would just have to be comfortable with the 5% risk factor...

mrsmalumbas Thu 24-Jan-08 22:12:58

I got all mine from my Dr. but as I said it was overseas so different system to here. I just got the tank myself from a supply company (like BOC here, but I had to specifically ask for a pediatric mask, lots of people have oxygen at home for medical reasons so not that tricky I think). Cord clamps - dunno, try e-bay?! Or yes I think string but would have to be boiled to make it sterile then stored somehow in a sterile container - tupperware? I think you'd have to make the knot very tight though. Shepherds Purse is a herb, you could probably get it from a herbalist, it's used to stop PPH. Or you could just eat a bit of placenta wink

MumtoBen Thu 24-Jan-08 22:27:31

There was an interview on LK Today with an american woman who had freebirthed. It was on TV about 6 months ago. I think she was also a trained midwife and doula. Everything went to plan for her.

daisybaby Fri 25-Jan-08 08:23:42

Very interesting thread. As an experienced community midwife who practises 'hands-off', and positively jumps for joy if i am lucky enough to be present at a birth where the mother embraces all things natural, i have to say my heart is in my mouth reading some of these comments.
It is one thing to be 'aware' of the potential risks, even though they are small in percentage. But actually, the reality of a severe shoulder dystocia, or haemorrage are terrifying, and i don't for one second think that enyone should pretend that they could cope with either of these alone at home.

TotalChaos Fri 25-Jan-08 08:54:33

I'm gobsmacked at the naivety of assuming you will get the birth you expect - the post about neurotic friend ending up with C-Section etc, and the certainty that if you expect a natural birth and think positively all will be straightforward enough to need no trained intervention.

totalchaos i was shock and hmm at that post too!! the drama queen got her section eh? lucky her!hmm

if only it were that easy!

belgo Fri 25-Jan-08 09:06:37

by Worktostaysane Wed 23-Jan-08 21:46:37:

'i find that every one of my friends have had the births one would expect of them. the neurotic had the c-section, as did the perpetual victim. the tough neurotic had drugs but pushed her way through, i had the hippy water birth, the outdoorsy engineer had hard work but safely at home, the faithful christians also at home.'

How incredibly insulting, and naïve. (I could use far stronger words but will restrain myself)

sarahsails Fri 25-Jan-08 09:12:07

Yeah Belgo.

I'm neurotic (and not the tough!) and had both mine at home so it's not even accurate!

yogimum Fri 25-Jan-08 09:14:02

Belgo i agree. I wanted the "hippy water birth" well being a yoga teacher who would have expected anything else. Unfortunately lifes not like that and had a c-section.

ruty Fri 25-Jan-08 09:36:54

Love the fact that you expect people not post negatively about freebirthing, and yet you can post comments about people having caesareans, as if it is their own fault because they are 'neurotic'. Foul.
My cousin and her partner read up extensively before having a freebirth in Ireland. Their daughter is severely brain damaged. And please don't tell me that would have happened anyway, it wouldn't have.

I agree that births are far too medicalised nowadays and that increases potential complications. I agree that if you want to have a free birth that is your personal choice. But your assumptions about why people have complications lead me to think that you are not very clear about the real potential risks to you and your child should you go down this route without any midwife at all.

Natality Fri 25-Jan-08 10:06:02

Sadly I think more women will end up having unassisted birth if the crisis around Independent Midwives isn't sorted out. I had a home water birth after 3 previous caesareans and luckily for me I was able to borrow the money to pay for an IM. Otherwise I would have considered going it alone as I couldn't trust an NHS midwife not to manufacture a reason why I should go into hospital.

Its really sad but some women's experience of birth is so poor that the mere presence of a midwife acts as a brake to their labour and I can understand why some women feel compelled to go it alone. Also when its just luck of the draw which stranger is going to come into your home I can also understand why someone who has needed very little care previously would resent that potential intrusion.

Having experienced "proper" midwifery care from someone I knew and trusted and had got to know over several months, someone who sat back so I could get on with it but was there if I needed her was just fantastic. However, I'm aware of how lucky I was to be able to achieve that level of care. It wasn't just having her as a safety net though there was a real feeling of tapping into female empathy, the room was just humming with it. I think DH needed that support too, he was anxious enough about homebirthing after our previous experiences, to do it alone would have been difficult for him.

I don't believe that women get the birth they
"deserve" but having watched hundreds of women over ten years I'd say that walking into a consultant led unit (like I did I hasten to add) and vaguely hoping that all will go swimmingly whilst firmly believing that birth is a hideous dangerous experience probably isn't a recipe for a straightforward birth. Anxious women, brought up to believe implicitly that birth is terribly dangerous and can only be done in the presence of lots of machinery, trying to do something so bodily intimate in the company of strangers (or with a stranger popping in and out at intervals) don't labour well. It's like asking a virgin to have public sex!

What we need though is to stop attacking each other for our choices and campaign to get better midwifery care and a higher rate of straightforward birth in this country.

evelynrose Fri 25-Jan-08 12:42:38

welliemum, the BBC Sweden article was very interesting. Statistics are used quite a lot here, but that seemed to prove (to me anyway) that hospitals are the safest place for a baby to be born, even if parents choose not to use the doctors/equipment.

workstostaysane Fri 25-Jan-08 12:45:08

I am really sorry to have offended anyone with the idea that 'everyone gets the birth they expect' idea. I did ask mumsnet to remove the post and after discussion with them, decided to leave it. noone at that point had taken offence, and MN advised that the sense of the thread might be lost if the posts were removed.

FWIW, i did not say that every woman gets the birth they deserve, just that IME, i could see how each of my friends had the birth they have had.

rebelmum1 Fri 25-Jan-08 12:56:55

Can you choose a midwife to be available or on standby? Or is it luck of the draw?

workstostaysane Fri 25-Jan-08 12:59:32

You can register with a midwife and have all the checks etc. just not call them till late one. I don't think a midwife would be prepared to be just on 'standby' if she is supposed to be taking care of you. That might be classed as neglect if something went wrong. but there are midwives on here who would know isuspect

rebelmum1 Fri 25-Jan-08 13:04:22

I paid to have a senior midwife attend my birth, he practiced accupunture but he couldn't practice the two together, he was there as a accupuncturist. He was incredible and really helped with breathing and massage. I think there are inbetween measures you can take that isn't completely unassisted. You want someone who will be calm if there is a problem of any kind, it might be nothing but you'd at least have that reassurance.

rebelmum1 Fri 25-Jan-08 13:08:40

You'd have to have a midwife that respected the wishes of the parents and understood. Perhaps that's why going it alone is the choice here. I didn't get on with my midwife at all and was relieved I'd paid to have the senior midwife their too. I think people should be able to exercise choice.

diplodocus Fri 25-Jan-08 13:12:09

Worktostaysane - while I realise you've apologised I'm afraid I do find your post offensive - not just for myself ( i had 2 emergency c-sections, and all friends would describe me as one of the least neurotic people they know). There are medical reasons why some people cannot give birth naturally - you just have to look at the fact that women in Sierra Leone have a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of dying in childbirth to realise that natural isn't always best (and no - it's not because they are malnourished or anything like that - they die from the same complications that are detected and treated in the UK). C- sections are a life-saving procedure for some, and while I fully agree that more could be done to promote natural birth I think your comments do little to appease the guilt and dissapointment that many feel after a section.

Lulumama Fri 25-Jan-08 13:20:53

WTSS- I had actually missed that comment about the different types getting the birth that they 'deserve'

I think it says a lot , that you are possibly too focused on the idea of freebirthing as the perfect pinnacle of childbirth. that if we just want something enough, it will happen. that if we read enough and educate ourselves enough , it will stop anything unexpected happening.

there is nothing wrong with knowing what you want,what you would love to achieve, but i think it needs to be tempered with some rationality and some looking outside the situation

i keep coming back to the point that throughout history and different traditons etc... women do not tend to birth alone as a rule. whether with a midwife or an experienced woman..

my mistake first time round was not considering the 'what ifs?'

I had an induced birth ending in an emergency c.section. My birth plan was very much focused on a natural birth, with few if any drugs and lots of movement and being able to work with my body.

In reality i ended up labouring in bed with diamorphine and an epidural, without understanding the ramifications of what was happening.

I had not for one moment considered that my natural birth would end in surgery and i was devastated for years afterwards.

Have you thought about the 'what ifs', and if your freebirth plans are scuppered for any reason?

Also the fact you are still willing to go against your DHs express wishes that you do not do this...this is his child too, and he needs to feel comfortable with how you intend to birth this baby... do you think your relationship could survive if you freebirth ,and god forbid, something goes wrong.. and he had been unhappy about you doing this?

Am trying really hard not to come across as lecturing or hectoring in my tone,so apologies if i have done

rebelmum1 Fri 25-Jan-08 13:33:07

Or cross disciplines like accupuncture and midwife combined. In germany consultants have to train in at least one alternative discipline. The consultant at my hospital was also a homeopath. their scared of being sued hence the legalities, also the insurance for a private midwife is makes it a terribly dear do.

ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 25-Jan-08 13:41:21

It doesn't matter how much you plan and study and "think yourself into" the birth you want, it just might not turn out how you expect.

Second labours are different from first ones (well all labours are different aren't they). My second labour was much quicker and I felt a lot more out of control. The midwife helped me not to panic (all she did was make eye contact and tell me to stay with her - that was all it took). My first labour was slower (12hrs) but I tore terribly and needed a spinal for repair work, having given birth with only G&A. Both times I needed some help.

If your DH is a lawyer then get him to speak to someone who deals with Clin neg, then decide whether HE is happy to have HIS child born without assistance, right in front of his eyes. It is not just your decision.

mom2latinoboys Fri 25-Jan-08 13:54:13

WTSS--I think you have a long time to decide this (although it seems as if your mind is made up).

I think you need to side with your dh on this. You are putting him in a terrible situation. If your free-birth goes well than that would be wonderful. But if there were to be problems with you or the baby, you are putting all the pressure on him (which if I were him I wouldn't want). Do you think he wants the responsibility of saving his wife and his baby should something go wrong?

You need to plan for the worst and expect the best, but your posts about not wanting a midwife nearby shows that you aren't. You are planning for the best and expecting the best.
Also think about how you are going to spend this pregnancy do you want your last few weeks to be spent focusing on emergency situations(which I know don't seem real now) or fighting with your dh about this choice , or do you want to focus on the beautiful birth that you want.

evelynrose Fri 25-Jan-08 14:03:20

I think Lulumama made some excellent points here especially re the input of your DH and the fact that "women do not tend to birth alone as a rule".
This is from "The Naked Ape", Desmond Morris's classic anthropological book;
"It is a universal practice today for the female to be accompanied and aided by other adults while she is giving birth. This is probably an extremely ancient procedure. The demands of vertical locomotion have not been kind to the female of our species; the penalty for this progressive step is a sentence of several hours' hard labour. It seems likely that co-operation from other individuals was needed right back at the stages while the hunting ape was evolving from its forest dwelling ancestors. Luckily the co-operative nature of the species was growing alongside his hunting development".

workstostaysane Fri 25-Jan-08 14:05:11

i did post earlier that i would not do this unless dh was in agreement.

and lulumama sorry you read the responses rather than my post but i did not say that everyone gets the birth they deserve, but that my mates gave birth in a way one could have predicted. you havent; come across as hectoring at all.

i don't think of unassisted childbirth as an 'ideal'. many people presumably want to be in hospitals like in sweden where there is every machine available should they be needed and that is their 'ideal'.
i like the idea of giving birth without anyone i don't know well present. i like the idea of doing it on my own with my child. thats why i am asking what the practicalities are rather than what anyone thinks of my feelings on the matter.

workstostaysane Fri 25-Jan-08 14:07:54

rebelmum, thats really interesting about the midwife who was not there as a midwife. i can see how that would be a good combination of person to have with you.
where did you find him?

mom2latinoboys Fri 25-Jan-08 14:22:30

WTSS-I'm a little jealous of your bravery.

workstostaysane Fri 25-Jan-08 14:27:50

thats a kind thing to say mom2latinoboys
although with reports on out today surely the brave thing is to set foot in a hospital in SE London (which is where i am)!

workstostaysane Fri 25-Jan-08 14:28:26

reports on midwifery out today...

Lulumama Fri 25-Jan-08 14:31:52

thanks for the clarification re your DH

i honestly do hope that whatever you decide, you have a happy and empowering experience and all is well for you and your baby

Klaw Fri 25-Jan-08 14:46:29

Dr Sarah Buckley. I have her book and love it! Her last birth was unassisted. Read her articles, they are in her book so you can get a flavour before you buy, so to speak.

I have just spend far too long going through this thread! grin

In theory, I would love a freebirth and allow the placenta to separate naturally...

BUT

having had an emCS, then a VBAC with forceps I don't know if I have the courage and conviction to do so.

I would plan to stay at home with a Doula and ask mw to keep the G&A in their car and to be as hands off as possible. I do NOT want the HCPs to cut me again! (unless in dire necessity)

As a doula I would not be supported by my fellow doulas if I knowingly supported a planned unassisted birth.

Will be following your story, stay strong grin

workstostaysane Fri 25-Jan-08 14:47:54

thanks lulumama, i appreciate that. and your other posts as well

workstostaysane Fri 25-Jan-08 14:51:12

heyklaw. i bought 'unassisted childbirth' by laura shanley which was a bit of a rant and mainly focused on how if you think it will be good it will be. she didn't really give any other reasons for choosing UC. is sarahj any different or pretty much the same kind of thing? not that i don't agree, but have already read a lot of that kind of stuff.

Sabire Fri 25-Jan-08 15:06:45

Re: desmond morris - I've remembered someone telling me that female apes birth their babies facing forwards - ours (usually) come out facing backwards. That's why it's easier for apes to reach down and help birth their own infants, where as humans often benefit from help from someone else in the last stages of labour.

Personally I think that the fact that historically mothers have traditionally not birthed alone in any culture (with a very tiny number of exceptions) suggests to me that having support and help during childbirth is a good idea......

I DO understand the logic of freebirthing, I really do. I wouldn't be surprised if birthing completely alone in a safe environment with no interference reduced a woman's chance of problems during childbirth. BUT, I wouldn't do it myself - I think weighing it all up it's more compassionate to the baby to have unobstrusive medical help at hand, in the rare event that it might be needed.

Klaw Fri 25-Jan-08 15:16:37

Ah, now I recall! Not only was it unassisted but it was breech grin Maia's birth

Read Sarah's articles, I found her very easy to read and considering that she is a GP, I'm sure you won't find her quite so militant as Laura Shanley (I've read LS online but not her books)

pooki23 Fri 25-Jan-08 16:11:05

There is a great mag out there that is full of positive stories including many 'free births' called 'The Mother'. It's positive views have helped me to have 3 completely drug/intervention free births, and i too would consider a free birth should i happen to have a fourth. My last was a home birth, where i had to ask the midwife to stop talking to my partner, i had to have internal exams and be moved to the sofa, all of which seem trivial to an onlooker, but when you are in the full throes of birthing all of them were very disturbing to my experience. Go with your instincts, and try the mag - it's great!

Pruners Fri 25-Jan-08 17:01:24

Message withdrawn

Sabire Fri 25-Jan-08 17:09:49

"Actually Odent's first book (Birth Reborn) is really inspiring, if you are looking for a read"

But for the full effect you have to read the best bits out in a French accent......!

Gawd - I lurve that man.

Pruners Fri 25-Jan-08 17:10:13

Message withdrawn

Pruners Fri 25-Jan-08 17:11:49

Message withdrawn

karewins Fri 25-Jan-08 17:15:19

Freebirthing? (shock)I can think of some sad stories that could of been avoided, thank god they're rare in the UK. Sorry to sound negative but what are you thinking?? I feel sad that things were so bad for you that you feel the need to go it alone. Yes, there are women doing just that all around the world - usually because they are poor, but some of those women suffer awful consequences because there was no help on hand when they needed it.What a shame and so sad.Have you thought fully about the consequences if things don't go ok? Please think about how important this little person is.And you.Something minor and easily sorted by a midwife can turn serious without professional knowledge on hand to recognise when things are deviating from the norm. We can sit in another room if you want! I would hope you had a better relationship with your midwife but recognise that it is harder and a harder due to short staffing and limited budgets that we are able to give continuity of care with the same midwife.(sad)

9 times out of 10 things are great and I am all for taking the fear out of childbirth but you have to think of safety too for both you and baby. Instead of going it alone why not exercise your rights?? No-one can do anything you are not happy with. You have choices, why not use them? Lobby the government for more midwives so we're not rushed,stressed and too few to attend your home birth! We do try our best but are not superhuman either.(wink)Lots of us leave the profession in the first 2 years of qualifying. We need to work together to get women what they need.

I am a mum of 3 children who didn't have a particularly good experience in local consultant unit before I became a midwife.I birthed naturally, I used gas and air, pushed when I wanted etc but unfortunately was on my back on the bed (really hurt my back) and had a room full of unwanted people. I certainly wasn't well informed. I do understand and empaphise with women who have had a bad experience or felt they were not supported but please don't feel the only alternative is to go it alone.

I am now a qualified midwife and reflexologist in a birth centre who regularly facilitates and empowers women during their labour and birth - in and out of water. At home or in the birth centre. Most of us midwives want to give women what they want.I have facilitated home births, hospital births,hypnobirths,waterbirths etc and so have many of my colleagues at the birth centre.

It frustrates me that women are choosing to birth at a local cons unit 'just in case' rather than use the fantastic facilities we have at the birth centre/have a home birth. Then we end up constantly fighting to keep our birth centre open. Why? and then the other extreme of freebirthing. A midwife is meant to be 'with woman' and supportive. A doula's role is to support the woman but not replace a midwife.I think it's unfair to put a doula in that position.

Please think of your choices and look on the internet for support groups.Midwives online,Association of Radical Midwives,NCT, Maternity Alliance Group etc who have local groups and forums.

Rather than go it alone you can:
1.Request a home birth - one midwife will be with you in labour and another will arrive shortly before the baby is born to be on hand to sort out any problems/resusitation/get help if needed.
2. You can request that the midwife is not in the room with you. 3.It is your responsibility to understand and accept any consequences in your decisions and as long as this is documented then you can exercise this right. 4.You can write a birth plan and put all your choices down. I don't know many midwives worth their salt who wouldn't accomodate your choices. It is your right. 5.If you don't feel happy with a certain midwife you can ask for another midwife (this would be subject to staffing though). 6.You can lift your baby onto your chest after your baby's born if you want to. 7.You or your partner can cut the cord. We respect your wishes. The only time we may need to cut the cord quickly is if the baby needs help/resusitating. 8.You can request that your midwife is 'hands off', 9.you can refuse to have vaginal examinations if you don't want them - it's your body and we need your consent. If a midwife asks to assess you by vaginal examination,you should get an explanantion of why the midwife may want to examine you ie is he/she concerned or unsure about the position of the baby. Is labour progressing normally or has it been long and slow or contractions coming to a stop. We should be the guardians of normal birth and there is usually a reason (we usually find out after!!) why labour is not progressing as well as it should.
10.You can have an independent midwife who will fully discuss your wishes.
11.If your wishes are outside of the usual Trust policies and/or you or your baby have additional medical needs, your midwife can discuss them with a Supervisor of Midwives to try and facilitate what you want.

Sorry to rant on but I am realistic and as a mum I know there are places up and down the country where women may not be getting the support/experience they need/want. Please use your birth centres, lobby government and make your voices heard as it's the only way women will get what they need in the future.(smile)

This is my personal opinion and I am not representing other Midwives or Hospital Trusts, just speaking from the heart!Sorry if i upset anyone, it's not intended to but I want you all to be safe and have a lovely birth.
Love and best wishes to you all and Good Luck, Karen x

ProfessorGrammaticus Fri 25-Jan-08 19:23:32

You didn't give the impression that he is really in agreement though, just that you will be able to get him to go along with you. Which isn't the same thing at all.

maxbear Fri 25-Jan-08 20:38:17

35 hours for a placenta shock shockshock Mine came out naturally after 9 minutes! I'm surprised she didn't get some kind of rip roaring infection.

belgo Sat 26-Jan-08 06:34:24

who knows Maxbear - you can type what the hell you like on the internet - there is absolutely no way of varifying Eugenie's story of Tygo's birth. I am very sceptical that there were no problems after a birth like that. I wonder what state her pelvic floor is in for example, after five hours of pushing?

What she did is nothing exceptional, unfortunately thousands if not millions of women go through births like that (and worse) in many parts of the world, and suffer huge phyiscal and emotional problems because of it. What they would give for some decent medical care!

workstostaysane Sat 26-Jan-08 20:12:47

hi professorGrammaticus

no dh is certainly not in agreement at the moment and if he remained that way then i'd have to rethink.
but he is listening to my reasons and having a think about it which i trust him to do. if after lots of thought and conversations about it, i still want to go ahead and he doesn't then there's no way i could do it.

and in fact, his attitude has softened already from his finding the book on the bed! especially after the poor reports of london maternity services.

and karewins, thanks for your comprehensive post. i have thought through those options and i know they are there. i am still attracted to UC though. and you are right about lobbying, but i don't think i feel strongly enough about it to wage war on behalf of labouring mothers as a whole.
breast feeding is another matter - i'm trying to get a cafe set up where i live, which involves training peer supporters and much aggro which i am happy to do, but childbirth does not move me on behalf of others so much. i just feel strongly moved to do it the way i feel comfortable with

karewins Sat 26-Jan-08 23:14:37

Hi worktostaysane, glad you've thought through all your options. I met Ina May whilst I was a student midwife, she was inspiring. I'm hands off unless (rarely) I need to be more hands on because there's a problem but I know some midwives are hands on because that's how they were trained and some feel you tear less if they slow down delivery of the head but i've found the opposite and most of the women I've helped rarely have more than labial grazes/skin only tears that don't need suturing. Thats a whole other midwife argument!!!! Ina Mays book called Spiritual Midwifery tells a lot of birth stories.

Sorry to whinge on about lobbying but I wish more women would as the powers that be just don't see childbirth and mums as important as other NHS services and yet our kids are the future :-) However, as a busy mum myself I never seem to get round to all the things I want to do so I understand that you aren't interested in waging war!!

Good luck with setting up a cafe for breastfeeding (another thing I feel strongly about ;-) We have set up one in the local Childrens centre. I wanted to help run it but the 'service' couldn't afford a midwife to go too often so a great Maternity Care Assistant goes who is really supportive on breastfeeding. The mums run it too and there is a peer support network, and now mums training to be breastfeeding support workers so hope you can do the same. Good luck in whatever you decide and have a lovely birth. Karen

cory Sat 26-Jan-08 23:51:12

To each their own. I'm glad though that it wasn't dh who got to do the stitching. Or I'd have looked a right mess down below.

funkyhan Sun 27-Jan-08 14:36:11

a good midwife would do those things - unfortunately not all of us get the privilige of having a good midwife attend our births - the one that attended my labour did not respect my privacy or my wishes - and i feel she contributed to my slow labour as i wasn't comfortable labouring with her around.

i say go for it - i would love to birth freely, and like pp has said - it's not illegal, and birth shouldn't be a medical event - we are just conditioned to think that way!

hannah x

woodyrocks Sun 27-Jan-08 19:21:49

My Cousin went into labour with her second so quickly that she didn't have any time to get to the hospital or to alert the midwife - she gave birth in the lift on the way to the car!

I quite like the idea myself as long as I can keep a cylinder of gas on hand. I could imagine I was in the Amazon forest doing it like a native

workstostaysane Sun 27-Jan-08 22:30:32

thanks karewins. i love ina may gaskin's books. i read them at least twice each last time. and already have Spiritual Midwifery by my bed again this time.

BTW, does anyone have a copy of the sarah j
buckley book that they would like to pass on? or Michel Odent for that matter..?

ouryve Sun 27-Jan-08 22:59:48

I've done it by accident! That was the cutest poo ever to be had!

I did end up being taken to hospital afterwards, though, as my placenta refused to shift. The irony was that I ended up having a spinal so it could be removed manually. I also ended up needing 3 pints of the good red stuff.

I'm all for a hands off birth where a midwife is there for support, but the idea of going it totally alone scares me, somewhat. I still have moments, almost 21 months later where I still think a bit too hard about the what ifs surrounding my own birth.

workstostaysane Tue 29-Jan-08 19:32:56

someone on this thread talked about a book that discussing childbirth practices around the world - can't find the post or remember the title.
does anyone know the book i mean?

Klaw Wed 30-Jan-08 17:56:30

<<waves to Funkyhan wink>>

Not sure which book you are referring to WTTS, but you might also be interested in Birth: A History by Tina Cassidy

I found it fascinating and helped a lot to understand why and how we've arrived at the maternity systems we have today.

workstostaysane Wed 30-Jan-08 18:27:59

Thanks Klaw,
Its a book I remember hearing about but looking back it was not on this thread.
Thanks for your recommendation though - it looks interesting. I've also just ordered the Sarah Bucklely book (as well as 'How to deliver your placenta' and 'Vitamin K and the newborn'!)

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