This time last year I was in Queen Charlotte's, the maternity hospital next to the White City estate, listening to Persuasion, and cuddled up with my tiny little baby. Hattie was born on the 3rd by elective c-section, weighing in at 7lb 10, just 1 ounce heavier than her sister, and than me when I was born. Thanks to my gestational diabetes, she was whipped out two weeks early, so she probably would have been massive if I'd been able to have her naturally, as I'd desperately wanted to.
I've been reading a lot about childbirth and babies recently - maybe my body/someone is trying to tell me something - and a lot of it is making me as mad as a wet hen. The natural birth lobby are up in arms over c-sections, and there are lots of comments from people who didn't have them about how difficult they are to recover from. The home birth lobby are all in favour of a return to the days when women and babies died in childbirth at home with just the midwife for company - I am exaggerating but out of two people I've known who had home births, the outcomes were utterly gutwrenchingly awful for everyone concerned.
I've had two pregnancies and two births via c-section and while I didn't really want to be cut open and have my babies pulled out, my body wasn't having it any other way. I went into labour naturally with Lucy the first time and then, nothing. The obstetrician I saw when I was expecting Hattie told me bluntly that it wasn't likely that I'd have a natural birth the second time, and I should really consider my options. My choices were a c-section on that Friday or the following Friday, and at 37 weeks pregnant, massive, stressed, diabetic and chasing a fast-paced toddler, it wasn't a particularly hard decision. I wish I could have popped the babies out like peas, one after another, but it wasn't for me. One hundred years ago and I might not have made it through my first labour.
We have the right to choose where and how we give birth; however, we don't always get our own way, and sometimes our bodies do not work. We are not ill when we are pregnant, and yes, as a species we have been giving birth in the same way forever and a day, but the baby will only fit through the pelvis in one rotation, and sometimes that rotation doesn't happen naturally. Sometimes it is actually safer for you and for the baby for your pregnancy and birth to be closely monitored and for medical intervention/interference to take place. And the NCT telling us that the NHS want us to be well behaved and quiet during childbirth - fucking hell. Tinfoil hat time, chaps.
People to read for two opposing views: