I had an uneventful first pregnancy with River. My dates were slightly out from the ultrasound, but my midwives and doctor didn't adjust them, and at 42 weeks I was induced. My obstetrician would not "allow" me to go further with my pregnancy (although I was only 40+3 weeks by u/s).
Note from Angela:
The 'normal' length of pregnancy is 265 days from the date of conception. The human ovum lives only 12-24 hours so we know that conception must occur within 24 hours of ovulation. Because most women do not know when they ovulate, the standard approach is to date pregnancy instead as 280 days from the last menstrual period, assuming an average 28-day cycle where ovulation occurs around day 14. This is fine if you did actually ovulate on day 14, and have a 28-day cycle, but for many women this is just not the case. A woman who has a 35-day cycle would normally ovulate around day 21, so standard dating based on her last period date would make her due date a week earlier than dating based on the actual date of conception. And some cycles are even longer than this - my second baby was conceived on a 45-day cycle!
If you have been observing your fertility signs and know the date you ovulated, then this is your most accurate way of determining the due date of your baby. If you have an early ultrasound scan, before around 12 weeks, this is also fairly accurate for dating pregnancy. However, ultrasound scans become less accurate for dating purposes as pregnancy progresses.
In Hatty's case, her long cycles meant that ultrasound dating was more accurate than standard calendar dating based on the date of her last period. Unfortunately her caregivers did not take this into account. As Hatty later found out, though, it is entirely up to the mother whether she accepts an offer of induction or not. Nobody can force you to be induced, nor is it up to anybody to presume to "allow" you to carry your baby beyond a certain gestation!
For more information on fertility awareness, see www.fertilityuk.org and Fertility FAQs (www.pinelandpress.com/toc.html)
Back to Hatty:
I was scared stiff. I had not eaten before going into hospital and they would not allow me out to buy something. I ordered food for the next day, but this never turned up.
I had 2 doses of pessary, one at 6pm and one at 5am. My waters were broken at 10 am and I was put on a drip at 10.30am as my contractions were not strong enough. I tried getting off the bed and was told by a midwife that I wasn't helping by moving about. By 3pm I was out of my mind and I had an epidural.
I reached full dilation at 7pm; they left me until 8pm and tailed off the epidural. I was told to put one leg on my husband and the other on a male student nurse who had never seen a birth before (I wasn't asked if I minded him there). For one and a half hours I was ordered to push, not to shout - if I didn't I would have a caesarean or forceps. The obstetricians came in and had a brief chat over me and told me I had 30 minutes to give birth or they would intervene. They them cut me without warning and he was born at 9.45pm. He was 9lbs 5 1/2ozs; little wonder that it was so difficult! I was badly stitched without any pain relief. I vowed I would never go through that again.
When I was expecting again I planned a home birth and my midwife was great. Unfortunately I miscarried at 13 weeks. I fell pregnant with Eden 6 months later and again my midwife was great. I moved in the 8th month and the new GP had all the scare tactics at the ready. The midwife was very supportive and said "well, we don't need him, do we?". I was induced at 12 days post-dates at the insistence of the hospital, for no other reason than I was post-dates. I was petrified - I thought "here we go again". After 2 lots of pessary labour started. The midwives on the ward weren't having it though, and said I was kicking up for nothing. I went to delivery suite at 12pm and I was 7cm dilated. I was very tired and didn't progress much so I wanted an epidural. When they placed the needle in I had to push. I screamed at them to get off me and I leaned back, lifted my leg and caught my daughter in her caul. No-one was ready for her!
When I fell pregnant again I booked again for a home birth, but with another GP at my surgery. She was and is fantastic. I was due on 26th December; I was told on 18th December that if I went into labour over the new year I could not have a home birth as all midwives were not allowed out in the community because of millennium bug fears. I contacted Beverley Beech from AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services), who was brilliant - I can't thank her enough.
They started off saying I would have to deliver in hospital, I said no, I'd do it unassisted if I had to. They said they would prosecute me, I said I would get an independent midwife, they said they wouldn't allow it (?????) - in the end I quoted stuff Beverley Beech had said, and the head of the midwives said she would be responsible for my labour, if it happened over new year. It didn't!
Note from Angela: In fact, women in the UK cannot be prosecuted for deliberately giving birth unattended, ie without a midwife present. This is entirely legal. However, anyone apart from a doctor or midwife who 'attends' her during her labour, except in an emergency, is liable for prosecution. For more details, see Home Birth and the Law.
There is no way, to my knowledge, that community midwives or the Supervisor of Midwives can refuse to "allow" a woman to book with an independent midwife. Independent midwives are answerable to the local Supervisor of Midwives, who ensures that they comply with the midwives' regulations, but the supervisor cannot stop an independent midwife taking on a particular client.
I had my 41 weeks appointment, and at the mention of AIMS they were not keen for induction, so I had a 42 week+ appointment. I went into labour late on 8th Jan, 13 days post dates. I had taken some castor oil which started to work at about 11pm. I walked around a bit, spent 15 minutes trying to wake my husband, phoned the midwife at midnight, she said call when I was finding contractions harder. I got my husband to put on the TENS, walked around the garden for a bit, warned my neighbour who was on stand-by in case I was transferred. I decided I wanted a bath and my husband rang my midwife again just after 1am. She arrived 1.20am and stood in the bathroom with us for 3 contractions in 5 mins. We decided this was definitely it!
The midwife went to her car as I decided to stand - I shouted at her to hurry. As she got back my waters went, in the bath. With 3 contractions my beautiful daughter, Chase, was born - half in the bath, half out, as was my husband, who was holding me up. We had another bath and waited for the cord to go flat before we were separated, and the placenta was quick to follow. There must have been baby vibes going around because my neighbour's sister also went in labour that night. Chase weighed in at 9lbs 8 ozs and was plastered in vernix.
I am planning another home birth with no 4 due in 9 weeks. In fact, I am really looking forward to it.
I was told River was small for dates, was induced at 42 weeks after a difficult and he weighed 9lbs 5oz. Eden was estimated to be the same-ish, she was induced at 41+5 and was 8lbs 1oz. I was told that Chase would not be as large as either of the others. She was born at home at 42 weeks, 9lbs 8ozs. I don't think they are very good at this sizing thing, or is it just me???????
Hatty's fourth baby, Seren, was born at home too.
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