Sunday, 12 January 2014

21 Days Later

When I discovered I was expecting our third baby I started to think about how and where the wee tot would be delivered. I had my first daughter at Lewisham Hospital which had been such a traumatising experience that I vowed never to set foot in their labour ward again. Our second daughter shot out in St. Thomas' 'home from home' after a hair raising drive through SE London during which the labour moved swiftly from first to second stage. After that I thought it might be safer to have this one at home.

My only concern was that there wouldn't be enough midwives available to support the home birth; I was supremely confident that as this would be my third labour it would be quick and she would be born at home in the bosom of our family. I knew my dates exactly so when her due date arrived I was secretly disappointed that she hadn't (my second daughter was born, very conveniently, on her due date). The days passed slowly, one week went by and I was faced with that dreaded 41 week appointment.

I decided not to go...after all, the baby would probably turn up in the next couple of days...with a little struggle the midwives agreed to an appointment at 41+3, the days went by and the nights and despite being desperate to go into labour I had a sickening feeling that it wasn't going to happen. Finally at 43 weeks I gave in and went to Lewisham Hospital's Day Assessment Unit. I had a scan which showed a monster baby lurking inside. So, at 21 days late I found myself in the same room in which I had given birth 5.5 years before, I had the CTG (belt monitor) strapped to my tummy and had my waters broken: everything I had desperately wanted to avoid.

But this time was different; this time my midwife supported me wholeheartedly, she got mats for me to use, a birth ball and encouraged me through the contractions without staring constantly at the CTG. I was in control and as a result had the birth I had wanted all along: three hours from start to finish, totally natural and a lovely, beautiful, rather large baby at the end of it. It just wasn't where I had wanted it to be!

Thank you to the community midwives at Lewisham hospital particularly Shirley Peterson, the former Head of Community Midwifery, and thanks to Bola, Nicola and James who supported me during the labour. You made everything wonderful!