Having had four babies I can safely say, people tell you ‘every birth is different’ and no truer words have been spoken about my experiences. I’ve had two low risk births through a public hospital, tried a private Obstetrician and private hospital, and this last time, I have had a private midwife who was able to admit me to hospital and provide my whole care for labour and birth. I can honestly say that this last experience has been so much more satisfying than any of the others.
I first fell pregnant at the ripe young age of 20 with my first daughter, and to say I was scared is an understatement. We didn’t have the access to private health care, not much money or knowledge, so, our options were limited to public hospital birth.
I didn’t have the courage to speak up for my wants/needs, and although thankfully having a healthy baby at the end of the day, it really was such a scary and new ordeal, with strange people and scary interactions with some, and an instillation of fear going forward, and emotional scars of not being heard or having any control.
I really believe my birth was tainted, by the lack of support. My second baby, in a different state, was much quicker and without fuss, but essentially I still really did not have much information, very little support was offered and I felt like I really just was part of a system, not an individual woman.
I did think that I would have more control going private, with a private obstetrician. Unfortunately I felt very much lead off track. My birth was quite interventionist compared to my others, and I did not feel I had any more choices than I had had with my previous public births.
When I now think back on my previous pregnancies and compare them with what I have now experienced with my own chosen, private midwife, I can only harp how wonderful and relaxed I have been throughout this last pregnancy. Finally, I have found and chosen an option that is compassionate and supportive of me.
From the beginning, I had an aversion to needles and blood tests, I had an urge to want to try water birth and I didn’t particularly want to share a room with anyone in hospital, or for that matter sleep in the hospital for very long if there was no need to. All of these wants/needs for me, had come about with the experiences I had had previously.
From the time I walked into the first initial consult, my mind was put at ease that my private midwife would be with me and that they would work with me and listen to my voice. I’ve never felt so calm during my pregnancy and this time, and I was so much more confident with the support crew around me. My experience was exactly as I hoped, in water, with my other children able to see their sibling born, with my midwife listening to all my concerns before during and after.
This structure of support and care is certainly one I would choose over all my previous experiences. If I could give that young 20 year old one piece of advice, it would be to listen to your wants/needs and speak up and find someone who also wants those ideals for you.
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