Molly's Birth, by Jennifer S

Jennifer's first baby was born by c-section for breech presentation. Her second baby was born at home, with the help of an independent midwife.

Molly was born at home with my husband Mark, midwife Marguerite, and my friend, in Autumn 2004.

My history is pertinent as I had a previous C-section for Dylan 20 months previously, for breech presentation. Dylan's birth affected me as I had to change my way of thinking of how it was 'going to be ' to the reality of what I was presented with. In many ways this was positive as I had become focused on the 'how he was to be born' (at home naturally) rather than my new stage of being a mother.

However I was not prepared for the ramifications of a previous c section and I really think that this was not explained to me at the hospital. I am unsure whether I would have tried to birth vaginally but the point being I was not given the option and it was not explained how this would effect my next pregnancy.

Having found I was pregnant again we went to see our midwife, only to be told 'you will have to see your obstetrician as you are a high risk pregnancy now'. This was complete news to us, and having decided to try again for a home birth, confusing. It was only when we saw the Obs that the implications and risks were explained. I was devastated to say the least, and if honest felt resentment towards Dylan. Luckily through finding this and other websites I began to see there were alternatives, and the term 'trial by scar' became laughable instead of a sentence to hospitalization and subsequent c-sections.

My husband and I returned to the Obs with a plan to try for a home birth using someone proficient, and having her over seeing my care just in case I had to be transferred as an emergency. This was met with total disapproval and refusal to have anything to do with my care. Indeed the threat of the death of my unborn child for ever on my conscience if my scar should "dehisce without warning' with the most dire of consequences. As you can imagine, she was trying to intimidate and possible make me a nervous wreck. Luckily we had both decided that the 'risks' were worth it, but felt very much alone.

Into our lives came Marguerite. She is an independent midwife and having talked on the phone, she said she felt that the safest place a mother could give birth is where she felt safest. She spoke honestly and without reservation, pointing out the risks but without judgement or scaremongering. At last we had someone on our side willing to help.

I too felt that I would be most relaxed at home, not strapped to monitors with the overstretched staff all waiting for signs that I was about to explode. I felt that my best chance of avoiding any of these situations was to be at home.

So on to Molly's birth.... My waters broke the previous evening just as we were about to go to bed. No real contractions until about 6ish the next morning. I was so excited that I spent most of the morning on a kind of high, being so pleased that I was coping so well with the contractions. It was only when Marguerite quite matter of flatly told me that I hadn't even really begun labor that I was a little disheartened. "1 cm and hard as anything - I'll come back about lunch time" she said. As the day wore on I began to worry that I would have to go in to hospital as my waters had broken the previous night and there was still no real pattern to my labor. I took blue cohosh and rescue remedy as I knew getting uptight wasn't going to help anyone.

I kept walking as it was the only active thing I could think of doing. It was nice and rhythmical as I went once twice ..10 times round the block. Mark and Dylan would sometimes come with me and we would just chat about day-to-day stuff.

About 5 pm I thought a hot bath would be nice, but once I had got in to it I really didn't like the water and felt irritable and 'funny'. I wanted to return to the bedroom and not see Dylan (he had been bumbling around all day). I would say labor really started then, as the contractions took all my concentration. We called our neighbor to help with Dylan, and Marguerite was on her way. From then on it all happened so fast, 6pm Marguerite arrived she suggested a massage but I didn't feel like being touched. She did just one internal (which I am grateful for) and because Molly was back-to-back, got me doing some rather groovy Elvis impressions to help her manouvre.

Mark looked in to my eyes as the contractions peaked, helping me through this amazing rush of energy. The atmosphere was light and I was amazed that we were talking and joking in between contractions - it was not what I was expecting. As Molly began to turn there was a great pressure on my bottom and I thought I would poo her out rather than a vaginal delivery! Marguerite assured me that this had never happened, and just to go with the flow and move with the contractions. The tens machine really helped, as at one point it fell off and the back pain was intense.

8.40 Marguerite moved me to the bed and I started pushing I was on all-fours, which I liked, but as the head stared to descend she felt there was a lot more room if I laid on my left side. This was bliss. Mark was still looking me in the eyes to help and this was a great source of energy for me. I had read this technique in 'spiritual midwifery' and it really worked for me.

9.10 Molly was born. As it was so untraumatic we didn't give Vit K and we waited another 1/2 hr until the placenta was delivered.

10pm I was feeding her and myself (baked beans on toast and champagne)

Marguerite and Mark tidied up what little mess there was, and we were all alone by 10.30

I feel so grateful to those who are willing to listen to a mother and let her choose where she feels safest. It was reading stories like this on these websites that gave me the strength to 'defy' my obstetrician and go with my gut feeling. I am now 33 weeks pregnant and about to do the same thing again. I know I have taken that leap of faith and trusted my body to do what it knows to do. I'll let you know how it goes.

Jennifer S

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