Last week, I was delighted to receive a birth announcement text message from a couple I had finished teaching the HpnoBirthing course in a group class to only the week before. They were thrilled to let me know that Libby's birth had been, in her mum's words "the most amazing, blissful experience of my life". What was particularly heartwarming about this news was that I knew that between our classes this couple had been striving for the birth they wanted. Having had a very traumatic experience the first time around they decided that they wanted to feel completely in control and planned to give birth in their own home this time around. This choice was almost prevented when they discovered that intravenous antibiotics needed to protect their baby from the Strep B infection had to be administered during labour at the hospital. The hospital advice was that they should therefore birth in hospital for ease of logistics/organisation rather than medical need. My clients were not happy with this and had to repeatedly vocalise their desire to plan to return home post- antibiotics to complete labour and the birthing of their baby at home. Ultimately, they secured the support of both the hospital and community midwifery team at Rotherham hospital. The outcome was that they got the birth experience that they so desired and deserved - a gentle, calm, drug-free waterbirth at home.
So often, as humans conditioned from an early age to believe that saying "No" to what we are asked to do is wrong - do you recall being scolded as a child for saying "No"?- we find it difficult to stand up for what we believe in and so often can ultimately end up feeling so dissappointed that we didn't speak up for what we really wanted at the time. But if, like this couple, we think of it not as saying "No" to what we don't want but as saying "Yes" to what we do believe in and feel is inately right for us, it becomes easier to make ourselves heard.
It is so important that mums feel safe and comfortable with their choice of planned birth place. This is an essential element in our preparation for a calm birth. For my husband and I, our choice was to birth in hospital. For this couple their choice to birth at home was complicated by the need for early medical intervention once labour started. Ultimately they got their wish and the outcome was everything they had hoped and planned for themselves and their baby daughter. Welcome to the world, Libby Bliss.