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Please tell me about freebirthing

(87 Posts)
Beesandbutterflies Wed 16-Oct-13 21:07:12

Okay, so after my first birth I now am unfortunately dealing with PTSD and a massive phobia of midwives. So considering freebirth.

Could anyone be brave enough to share their experiences with me? And legalities, how did it work afterwards?

I have no interest in being controversial so please no one get upset with me

gamerchick Wed 16-Oct-13 21:53:14

Freebirthing isn't legal. I don't know if you could get into trouble if something went wrong. What would be the point if a midwife next door . to a locked room?

Are you pregnant? You need to address this beforehand.

I read the born free sight a lot during pregnancy and found the story's soothing. But you need to talk to somebody about this seriously.

gamerchick Wed 16-Oct-13 21:53:36


Gileswithachainsaw Wed 16-Oct-13 21:54:04

You are able to refuse any intervention etc. They cannot touch you withit your consent. However after such a traumatic birth first time round, you don't know what a normal uncomplicated birth should feel like. How would you know if something was wrong. Free birthing means you take FULL responsibility for your birth and baby. Not your husband or your friend who try to help. But YOU.

I can understand not wanting them near you. I have a lot of resentment as to how my birth was handled and I blame hospital fully for the circumstances during and after.

But without some help with the potential PTSD can you be sure that this is something you are mentally and physically ready for. thanks

Beesandbutterflies Wed 16-Oct-13 21:56:17

There was an issue with consent last time so that doesn't help. I think I'm asking in the wrong place.

This might sound odd in response to your question, but have you considered elcs? I'm just thinking it would mean you could discuss/agree details in advance, consultant rather than midwife led, etc.

stargirl1701 Wed 16-Oct-13 22:05:51

Have you asked for debrief about your previous labour? An independent midwife could come with you to it. It may help.

pinktransit Wed 16-Oct-13 22:06:18

I also unintentionally freebirthed my second baby.
From the initial 'I think I'm in labour' to 'I want to push' was 45 minutes. The ambulance turned up 10 minutes after dd2 did.

I wouldn't recommend it, from my experience. It was scary, possibly because it was unplanned, but knowing that I was giving birth with no pain relief available (other than half an aspirin somewhere at the bottom of the first aid box, maybe), and nobody who knew what to do if something did go wrong.

I went to hospital afterwards, and they spent quite some time listing all the things that could have gone wrong. angry I think that they thought I'd done it deliberately as I had originally said that I wanted a home birth.

For you, I'd probably think about a home birth. You are on your own territory which automatically gives you more control. You can discuss what you want (minimal/no intervention unless you ask for it) but still have the safety net of someone who knows what to do if you need help.

Beesandbutterflies Wed 16-Oct-13 22:08:49

Cs not an option. Home birth is the only way forward and I'm really not fussed about pain relief.

That prev thread is very helpful.

Chacha23 Wed 16-Oct-13 22:18:20

I cannot even begin to comprehend how traumatized you must have been by your previous experience, if you are willing to risk your own life and that of your baby in order to avoid midwives. I'm very sorry this happened to you, and I'm not judging, honest. It just blows my mind.

My best and limited advice would be that it may really help you to choose your own independent midwife and build a relationship with them, so they become a real person whom you know and trust, as opposed to "a midwife".

Littleredtree Wed 16-Oct-13 22:19:13

Here's another resource on freebirthing - it is legal.

emsyj Wed 16-Oct-13 22:24:32

I don't know what area you're in OP but may be worth enquiring to see if One to One Midwives are available in your area. One to One

You would meet your midwife as soon as you find out that you're pregnant. The same person would see you for all your appointments and would be able to deliver your baby at home. This is a very different prospect from the 'standard' situation where you first meet the midwife who is to assist you when you're actually in labour. I had a fairly unpleasant first birth (although nowhere near as traumatic as your experience) but a very calm, positive home birth with my second. My midwife was fantastic and I had no internal examinations, no directed pushing - she was just sort of 'there' but not.

SaggyIsHavingAPinkKitten Wed 16-Oct-13 22:32:00

The thing is, if something goes wrong, you are alone. obviously.
I can completely understand that you have serious issues, but if it comes to a life or death situation, and as someone else asked, how would you even necessarily know, a midwife has got to be a better option than someone dying.
Lock the door, and let them sit there until you need them.
Find a lovely IM and build up a relationship and trust with her, and more importantly, speak to a counsellor. I don't think that shaking at the thought of MWs is the best situation for TTC.

Waferthinmint Wed 16-Oct-13 22:37:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReallyTired Wed 16-Oct-13 22:39:09

I'm sorry that you had such a hellish birth experience.

Please consider a homebirth with a midwife. Childbirth can be really dangerous for both mother and child. It is easy to forget how perilous childbirth is in a developed country.

I had a homebirth with an NHS midwife who was very hands off. A homebirth is nothing like a hospital birth. I was lucky enough to have the same community midwife who did my ante natal care deliver my baby. It felt more like having a friend with me than a health professional.

I am scared of doctors so I do sympathize. I think that independent midwife would be ideal for you.

OhBabyLilyMunster Wed 16-Oct-13 22:45:36

Homebirth with IM.... A magic experience.

I have to say that i have read online experiences of freebirthing where new mothers have had social services at the door. Not what you want, however unwarranted. Plus you just have to think of all the possibilities. Shoulder dystocia, cord prolapse, bleeding after delivery. You cannot treat YOURSELF if these things happen.

Btw ive homebirthed. Im not averse to risk.... But you have to balance it.

Beamur Wed 16-Oct-13 22:49:26

Where I live homebirth is an option and the MW are very supportive. Best of luck whatever path you take.

ShoeWhore Wed 16-Oct-13 22:49:38

OP would it help to try and focus your feelings on the mw who was present at your previous birth?

Not all midwives are like that. I had my babies in a wonderful mw-led unit and the last one at home and the mws were brilliant. Very respectful of me and my body and they knew exactly what to do to naturally help me have the best labour possible.

Have you discussed your feelings with your GP?

Please don't try and have your baby alone. It could be so dangerous for you and your baby.

RedToothBrush Wed 16-Oct-13 23:10:54

Where abouts are you in the UK?

Support for someone in your position who has a severe lack of trust in the medical profession is few and far between but there are a few places that seem to 'get it'. I have my own issues with it, to the point that I have had to seek advice over it and its a problem for me prior to getting pregnant.

If you intend to go down this route, please consider the possibility that if it doesn't go to plan that you might end up in a situation where your mental health or whether you are putting your child at risk might be an issue.

To me the issue is very much about you feeling the need to be in control and to be able to make your own decisions rather than be treated in a certain way. ELCS are usually talked about as the solution to this; I don't think this is the case for a second, but you need to be given an alternative that works for you and until you find that, I can understand why this option looks an attractive one.

In terms of legality, there are issues if you deliberately and knowingly avoid medical advice during pregnancy for example if you deny you are pregnant. In terms of consent this could potentially be used against you. You have a right to refuse treatment if you wish, as long as you are considered competent, but to actively avoid any medical involvement, it may identify you in some way as 'at risk' by assessing you as not competent. The point is 'they' (and I think you understand why I have phrased it like that) need to feel reassured that you fully understand the risks to you and yourself and are not acting in a way that is not in your best interests and put you at extreme risk perhaps due to your inability to assess that risk properly due to your fears. (Eg in exactly the same way that some one who was expressing suicidal tendencies might be assessed as a risk to themselves).

On a personal level, one of the things that has been said to me was that that my fears did necessarily just impact on the birth. If you have issues with the medical profession then how does this affect your child? Does this mean you would avoid seeking medical attention for them under certain circumstances. In which case are you putting yourself in a position where you might be considered as posing a threat to your child? Tough question, but be honest with yourself over it, and not anyone on this forum.

I don't mean to sound alarmist. Far from it. What I'm trying to say is you need to do your research and fully understand the implications of what you are thinking about, and you need to fully explore other options that may be an alternative to you.

The key part is you need you address what is the very core of your fear and how you feel you can cope with that under your terms. I'm not entirely sure you are doing that, as you are adopting a coping strategy of 'avoidance', which is rarely a productive response.

My advice. Find somewhere prepared to listen and proactively response to your demands no matter how 'nuts' they might consider them. If they think you are really seriously considering this and therefore have considerable concerns about you, it might surprise you how far they may bend over backwards to help you under your own terms. Not everywhere will be like this but there are a tiny number that are. Thats your problem, finding the right place where you can discuss your concerns - not counselling - so they can put in a plan that works for you. (I refuse to go down counselling route fwiw due my concerns over that too).

Good luck whichever approach you take ultimately.

Beesandbutterflies Thu 17-Oct-13 10:18:46

Redtoothbrush, did you have a plan agreed before getting pregnant? I feel like it's all hanging over me a bit

Beesandbutterflies Thu 17-Oct-13 10:21:33

I think I'll have to find the money for an IM and hope I can find one I trust, unfortunately I only have this one experience and therefore can not say of course it was just one bad mw, anyone could show up on the day and they could be just as awful or even worsehmmhmmhmm

OhBabyLilyMunster Thu 17-Oct-13 11:38:40

Start with

Read every single birth story, i believe it will resonate a lot with you. It will empower you and give you the resources to do it your own way.

fuckwittery Thu 17-Oct-13 11:46:07

Independent midwives are not illegal! There is new EU law that was due to come in on 26 Oct which would make it illegal for an independent midwife to practice without insurance. For some years it has been unaffordable for IMs to get indemnity insurance. However a product has been found and should be able to be put in place, however the latest is that the UK government has delayed the coming into force in this country of the EU law, and the law won't likely change here til Feb 2014. I am due to give birth in the next few weeks with an IM and also have a phobia of hospitals and healthcare providers generally, would highly recommend looking into an IM. Ring a few, try and get a personal recommendation. I was still unsure after booking, but I've had around 10 antenatal appts that usually last an hour and a half each in my own home, still v anxious about my birth but complete faith in my midwife, I've had plenty of time to build up a trusting relationship.

MiaowTheCat Thu 17-Oct-13 12:53:55

I don't know how much it'll help, and I won't write the full thing because I don't want to terrify people - but the birth of DD1 was a life shattering experience because of how appallingly I was treated, consent issues like you mentioned, and the triple whammy of the fuckers ringing social services on me for not immediately consenting to forceps. I still have flashbacks and nightmares now, am on antidepressants for the anxiety disorder it left me with (they won't label it as PTSD because then it kind of indicates the NHS traumatised me and they won't do that - but basically it's what it is).

Fell pregnant again almost straight away and was absolutely pant-shittingly terrified (I struggle to even drive past the hospital in question who did all that to me). My community midwife had been utterly livid at what had gone on before (had said as much as - and possibly a bit more than - professionalism allowed) and she pulled every single string she could to make things as easy as possible... booked me in at a different hospital, chased up their specialist birth trauma/phobia midwife to try to make sure I was marked as high a priority as possible to NOT be sent to the other hospital if things were busy in the unit I wanted to go to, roped in perinatal mental health to support me on the phone (they were based in the hospital I can't deal with going to) and again, they tried to flag up not sending me to the other place under any circumstances that were avoidable.

I put at the top of my birth plan something like "I am very scared of you. I had a horrific experience last time and if I'm frightened, irrational or defensive - please accept my apologies in advance" - there was only one member of staff (on the post-natal ward and a woman with the general sensitivity of a house brick) took it on board and went absolutely above and beyond to help me out, understood when things triggered me off (a couple of pieces of medical equipment lying around the place that featured prominently in my flashbacks) and they were absolutely and totally fantastic.

Not for everyone - and ideally I wouldn't have had back-to-back pregnancies (but again, I think if I'd had time to think about it all - I possibly wouldn't have been brave enough to risk it again at all - and I'd never swap DD2 now she's here cos she's fab)... but if you get a good community midwife backing you you can get a decent amount in place to try to minimise any possibility of events repeating themselves again (I also had my health visitor chipping away behind the scenes as well).

Beesandbutterflies Thu 17-Oct-13 14:39:16

Miaow I'm so sorry to hear of your experience but I'm glad it was better for you second time around

RedToothBrush Thu 17-Oct-13 18:03:02

Beesandbutterflies my position is slightly different in that I would like to go down the ELCS route, but this has meant seeking help before getting pregnant all the same.

I have found it difficult to get referred because I don't fit into a normal care pathway, but I did manage to in the end, and had a talk through my options and what was concerning me most.

To do that, I had to research all the local hospitals within a reasonable distance and found out what their attitudes were to treatment and whether they had a particular bias or interest in a certain approach to supporting women in the way they need and not the way they demand.

And yes, I have effectively got a plan in place which is 'abnormal' and would break some of their normal 'rules' because of what my special needs are. And this is something that will be worked through and expanding on in more detail as time goes on.

So this IS possible. I'm sure a plan could be tailored to your needs and around your fears.

The consultant I saw isn't pro - anything apart from getting the right plan in place for women who have additional needs and anxieties and he is supportive of natural birth as much as a more medical birth (in fact if anything he aims to support women asking for an ELCS to be able to have a VB on their own terms by simply building the trust and confidence up with their team of HCPs to enable them to feel able to do this).

I genuinely didn't think I would feel as reassured as I did given my trust issues, but its made a real difference as its been affecting other aspects of my life and my relationship with my husband.

For me, the biggest thing in the end was I didn't want to spend the whole time being pregnant worrying about what was going to happen and if you did want to go down the free birth route you would be in that position. Far better to at least try and see if you can find some reassurance before you start.

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