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Am I insane to go on a birthing centre tour at 6 weeks?

(36 Posts)
bumbleumble Fri 20-Sep-13 20:12:57

Ok, please be gentle, as I'm worried about this!

I'm tocophobic and always planned to have an ELCS, maybe privately. Since getting my positive test I've started thinking about VB. A complete surprise to me. Basically I'm worrying about the negatives of several sections (planning 2-3 kids) and wondering if I'm foolish for letting my anxiety stop me from having an experience which many people describe as profound/ moving/ enjoyable/ emotional. I'm so worried about what to do that I wake up every night worrying. I know that's daft to worry about the delivery so early on. But if I want to have a private section it'd be better to book the surgeon by the time of my 1st scan, as some get booked up early, and if I want to seek an NHS section I should tell my midwife early on. So I feel like I need to make a decision about what I want in the next couple of months.

I worked on a hospital labour ward, and found it a really stressful environment, so I wanted to research midwife-led centres. I found a midwife-led centre nearby that sounds really calm and supportive. On the other hand I worried that it wasn't attached to a hospital if something goes wrong. They offer regular group tours, so I booked onto one to find out more. When I booked the tour the Receptionist cheerfully said that I was obviously keen to book a tour so early.

This tour is tomorrow, and this afternoon another Receptionist phones me, and says that I can't go on the tour, as you have to be 20 weeks first. I was upset, as I need to make an initial decision before then, and I think that this tour would help me decide. I panicked and was quite pushy, and I could hear a Midwife laughing in the background. The Receptionist reluctantly agreed that I can go on the tour anyway, but made it clear that she thought I was being unreasonable.

But now I'm really nervous about going. Will they think I'm insane? Will the other women on the tour think I'm odd, as I'm clearly not nearly as pregnant as them? I can be assertive over the phone but I'm shy in person, and I'm worried what to say if the midwife is rude to me for being pushy, or if they change their mind and turn me away. My partner said I should just go and not worry about what they think.

btw I know that pregnancies can commonly miscarry early, but we'd try to get pregnant again, so I still think it would be useful.

I just wanted to get some opinions about whether I'm being very crazy.

SirChenjin Fri 20-Sep-13 20:16:01

Honestly? Yes, I think you're being a bit bonkers grin But - it's your pregnancy and if you think it will help, then why not just go? How often do they run the tours? Could you leave it until your pregnancy is a bit further on?

Pascha Fri 20-Sep-13 20:17:03

Not crazy at all. Go, take a friend or your partner for moral support and remember that the staff will forget you very quickly so sod them.

Effjay Fri 20-Sep-13 20:20:27

Just a word of warning ... I miscarried at 11 weeks with my first, so I wouldn't get too carried away with the birth at this stage.

SirChenjin Fri 20-Sep-13 20:22:47

Me too Effjay sad

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:23:33

Effjay- was that necessary????? Really???. Go on the tour if you want. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

PistachioTruffle Fri 20-Sep-13 20:24:00

If you think it will make you feel better, then why not? You could always go again a bit later in your pregnancy for another look, and if you confide in your midwife about your anxieties when you have your appointment she might be able to suggest other ways to support you. Just wear a baggy jumper and ignore everyone else!

stargirl1701 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:24:55

I miscarried my first pregnancy at 11 weeks too. I would wait until 20 weeks OP.

DaleyBump Fri 20-Sep-13 20:30:28

I think it was necessary - it can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with a miscarriage and seeing the place where you would plan to give birth could make it even more difficult. It's something to think about.

SirChenjin Fri 20-Sep-13 20:35:52

Agree Daley.

lolablu Fri 20-Sep-13 21:13:13

it is a really difficult one. I am at 6 weeks and it seems like you need to be an expert in everything by your booking appointment. I have been given so many leaflets etc about different ways of giving birth its really overwhelming. However, I don't think I would actuslly go to a centre now, I want to have my scan first. Have you looked online for videos of generic ones and progs like one brn every minute and midwifes. you can get a feel for themt hat way to start with?

bumbleumble Fri 20-Sep-13 21:39:52

Thanks for the advice.... yes, reading my message back, it does sound bonkers! I would happily delay for a month or so, but I wouldn't want to wait till 20weeks, as I need to decide vb vs elcs and nhs vs private before then, and as they were so reluctant to let me on the tour I'm worried that they would refuse if I tried to re book it later. Yes good advice lolablu, I could have done more research online first about generic videos. I guess I just want to get a feel for the place and ask some questions.

Thank you for the points about the chance of a miscarriage, I don't think that this experience would make me feel worse about a miscarriage, but of course I can't predict how I'd feel, so thank you for bringing that up.

My partner says he'll come with me, he was surprised that birth centres don't put more information on their websites.

Ha ha yes maybe I should have kept quiet and worn a big baggy jumper! I might have had some explaining to do if I tried to book with them though!

LadyMedea Fri 20-Sep-13 22:03:05

I think if its part of your way of starting to deal with the phobia then go, screw what anyone else thinks.

But I think the most important thing is to get some treatment whether is something like CBT or hypnotherapy. Yes a c section is an option, but vaginal birth is generally lower risk and if you are planning multiple DCs It seems worth investing the time in yourself to try and get to grips with the phobia.

princesscupcakemummyb Fri 20-Sep-13 22:10:25

hi op i relise this is not the hospital you want but heres a virtual tour of a maternity services not sure if this helps www.uhs.nhs.uk/OurServices/Maternityservices/VirtualTourOfMaternityServices/Virtualtourofmaternityservices.aspx

i do think you should do whats best for you take care smile

NomDeClavier Fri 20-Sep-13 22:23:13

I can see why you'd want to decide NHS/private editor 20weeks but why CS/VB? I would work on trying for a VB in your shoes (and therefore go look round, get counselling) while simultaneously getting HCPs to accept that while you're making a concentrated effort to overcome your phobia an ELCS should remain open until the very last minute.

BlackberrySeason Fri 20-Sep-13 22:29:52

I think you sound like you are maybe finding the contemplating birth side of things less scary than you thought, which is great.

I went on a labour ward tour (two in fact) at 9 weeks - both of private units and then had a mmc. Don't think it made me feel any worse having been on the tour. In fact the info was very useful when I came to making choices in my second pg and had my lovely DS smile

I ended up finding a lovely NHS unit in the end and had a god experience of vb.

I'm not impressed by the laughing - bit juvenile.

Are you in London? one option might be to book with a private obstetrician now - then you have all the options open to you and don't even need to see them for a few weeks until your NHS scan confirms all ok with baby. They can then discuss all the choices with you. I did this and had two consultations before going back to the NHS to deliver.

BlackberrySeason Fri 20-Sep-13 22:30:22

Aahh not god, good blush

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Fri 20-Sep-13 22:36:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmandaPandtheNightmareMonsters Fri 20-Sep-13 22:38:22

I think the reason that they are laughing at you booking in and also putting you off is that, in a normal situation it would be bonkers to be doing this so early.

Sadly, so many miscarriages happen that our midwives won't see anyone before 8 weeks even for an appointment with them. That's about resources. And managing understanding about the precariousness of early pregnancy.

On another note, some women who discover that they are pregnant get so wrapped up in planning the perfect birth that they go into overdrive and become obsessed, probably then wanting multiple tours. Again, resources and relevance. I know I wouldn't retain most useful information or be able to think of sensible questions so early.

But your situation isn't normal. You are dealing with a phobia. I think in your situation you are totally sensible to go on the tour. However, in pregnancy generally, as in most things with the NHS, you will find that you tend to find it easier to agree special arrangements if you explain upfront why they are relevant and important to you.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and I hope whatever choices you make go smoothly for you smile

SirChenjin Fri 20-Sep-13 23:04:10

Do you know for certain that they were laughing at you? It could easily have been that something funny happened at the other end of the phone (at least, I would like to think that's what happened)

Smitten1981 Fri 20-Sep-13 23:09:14

I toured my birthing centre last night and I'm 35 weeks, they didn't let me book one until the month before I was due. I would wait, especially if you are unsure as you will probably change your mind a few times while you are pregnant.

bumbleumble Sat 21-Sep-13 09:34:11

Thanks for the advice. I haven't gone on the tour this morning because I had a panic attack in the night about it. I kept ruminating about having to explain myself, and ended up in tears, and couldn't get back to sleep for several hours. I'm really tired, and there is building work opposite so I can't get back to sleep now!

I know that it isn't logical to overreact so much, I guess that's why it's a phobia. I am having CBT for anxiety which was really helpful, but since finding out I'm pregnant my anxiety has come back with a vengeance. I do worry about the effect excessive anxiety will have on my developing baby.

My partner sensibly says I should go on the tour to confront my anxiety, but I'm so tired, and on reflection I think my anxiety wouldn't be compatible with a stand-alone midwife unit, as I may worry too much about having a complication away from the hospital.

I'm going to research if I can find a nice NHS midwife unit attached to a hospital in London. And look at hyponobirthing, doulas and independent midwives.

My partner says he'll happily pay for private care if it helps me feel calmer. Maybe I should take him up on that. I worry as it's a lot of money, esp if we have 2-3 kids, although perhaps by the 2nd I'd be more confident.

Do let me know if you have any other suggestions for dealing with anxiety.

TobyLerone Sat 21-Sep-13 10:10:56

You don't have to make your mind up about the birth for aaaaages yet. And certainly not by 20 weeks.

BlackberrySeason Sat 21-Sep-13 10:44:50

Bumble, sorry to hear you felt so anxious sad If you live in London there are so many options - Eugene oteng ntim is a very natural birth friendly private consultant eg and you can book in the private wing of st Thomas with him - very safe as you can have mw led with immediate guaranteed consultant backup. You also have access to all NHS facilities in the very unlikely event you or baby would need itu. You could have a one off meeting with him or any other private obstetrician now for around £250 iirc - might help set your mind at rest. I saw him before I went back to the NHS.

BlackberrySeason Sat 21-Sep-13 10:55:26

I'm also a anxious person btw and had anxiety in pg. DS is fine!! I found pg yoga a great help.

MummyJetsetter Sat 21-Sep-13 10:57:08

I say go for it!it might seem a bit nuts but if you've got this severe anxiety it will help. I had my ds at a birthing centre and found it really nice, it still hurt like hell but you just feel like you're in a nice environment so mentally in a better place. Once you've been there you'll be equipped with the knowledge of what will happen and if you don't like the idea of it then you book your c-section and don't have to worry about it for the rest of the time which is the whole point of what you're doing anyway. Who cares what people think!

Congratulations by the way! x

Julietee Sat 21-Sep-13 11:22:50

Bumble, I have anxiety and have also found it has come back with a vengeance too! The first trimester was REALLY hard for me - from someone who has been there, I'd avoid googling every little thing, it makes you crazy.

If you and your partner are lucky enough to afford private care, absolutely go for it, and good luck!

chocolatemartini Sat 21-Sep-13 11:23:59

Have you considered hypnotherapy? In your situation I'd get myself a very experienced and open minded independent midwife and book a personalised course of natal hypnotherapy. Remember that you can keep your options open re birth choices so if you explore the vb route and ultimately decide not to, then nothing's lost.

NomDeClavier Sat 21-Sep-13 12:35:39

I had horrific anxiety with DS, much better this time round.

Natal hypnotherapy is brilliant and although I didn't have DS in the UK an early appointment with a specialist MH midwife, finding the right consultant and knowing that my situation was being taken into account was massively reassuring. I've taken the same route this time - be upfront from the start, explain what accommodations in care you think you need and specifically ask to see the relevant people. Very few people IME actually ask for a referral to MH services so it's a bit of an eye opener for them that you take it seriously.

TarkaTheOtter Sat 21-Sep-13 13:20:38

I can't understand the advice you are getting here. If you think it would help you then go have a look. Whilst there is always the chance that things will go wrong with pregnancy, being prepared wont actually reduce its viability so what is the harm. Sounds like you think it will take you a bit longer to get your head round the birth and figure out what you can handle. If you think it will help make you feel less stressed (knowledge is power) then go and have a look. Yes the decision doesn't have to be made for ages but it sounds like you will be happier if you decide earlier and at the end of the day that's what's important.

ovenbun Sun 22-Sep-13 09:02:35

It must be really scary feeling like that. Waking every night in fear. Rather than going on a tour or paying for private care I think you may find some comfort in having a course of counselling or cbt. I wonder if you saw some very traumatic things on the Labour ward, or where this phobia came from. While you are feeling so very anxious and upset it would be a bit difficult for the other ladies on the tour if you become very distressed or have a panic attack. Your gp would definitely refer you for some help with this if you explain about waking every night. Alternatively you could see someone quicker privately. Going to the unit sadly will not solve this deep rooted and traumatic feeling, you really need to work through this with someone, and they will listen and help you. Thinking of you
Oven smile x x

quackojuliet Sun 22-Sep-13 09:55:02

Ahh sweetheart, you poor thing.

I'm also an anxious type and it has definitely gotten worse during pregnancy - most especially around the 7-13 week mark, so try and put it down to your hormones, and don't let yourself get too wound up about causing harm to your baby - this is highly unlikely. Pregnancy is full of risks (with a huge reward!), and you have to try and react in proportion to them, while keeping yourself mentally in control. Easier said than done, I know!!

When you go for booking, ask to be referred to perinatal mental health - they should be happy to do this. It's fast-tracked counselling for pregnant women (I think!). I have been doing CBT this pregnancy but resources are so stretched I've been dropped halfway through - hence the referral to PMH.

Don't forget, the birth is a loooooong way off now, and there are little milestones throughout pregnancy you could focus on first. positive things like seeing your baby for the first time in a scan, feeling the first flutters, hearing heartbeat, first proper kicks, etc.

Be kind to yourself in pregnancy - it sounds like you have a lovely supportive partner there. Lean on him and try and focus on getting through your current batch of hormones before making any big decisions - you are likely to change your mind regardless. Midwives will have seen it before and there IS a solution that'll work for you.

My advice - watch some crap mindless movies, go and do something fun, try and keep yourself mentally distracted while your body works hard xxxx

quackojuliet Sun 22-Sep-13 09:56:13

Oh and f**k what anyone else thinks about you going on the tour!

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Sun 22-Sep-13 12:54:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeaAndANatter Sun 22-Sep-13 14:32:48

Tarka, good point that it doesn't reduce the viability, but as another of those who had the sad misfortune to find that miscarriage can happen to any of us, I'd agree that the more planning you do around the baby, the harder and more triggers there seem to be for coping afterwards. Not criticising your point, just offering a perspective that you may not have seen in those mc posts. It's a really tricky line between being able to bond in whatever way you find best, and finding ways t make the whole process easier on you if, god forbid, you become one of those 1 in 4/5. I definitely didn't think it would happen to me. Bummer, hey?

OP, whatever floats your boat, I say. In my region you are strongly told forced to go on the local birth tour before your first MW appt so you can tell them where you are booking in for midwife care, as different MWs take women from different birth centres, so here, six weekers are very common on the tours.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 22-Sep-13 14:45:59

You're preaching to the converted about not taking (early) pregnancy for granted. But I don't think this is about bonding. It's about overcoming a phobia. The OP has said she wants 2-3 children, if she thinks visiting a birth centre will help with her tokophobia generally then I can't see it really matters if she even is pregnant. Ie it's not necessarily about preparing for labour in this pregnancy, but more generally.

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