I’m three months into baby number three. Lucas. He’s divine. And we are tired. They say write what you know and as having a newborn is all-encompassing, this is about the only thing I know at the moment. It’s not a bad topic for this forum as the UK does seem to differ greatly from the US in regards to childbirth.
More and more American woman are electing to have cesarean sections over normal births these days for no medical reason. They just don’t want go through the whole labor ordeal. This is what many UK woman refer to as ‘Too Posh Too Push’. I don’t think this would register as an insult to an America woman, as being called ‘posh’ is quite exciting, but it’s not a terribly respected choice over here. I never thought of it as a problem until I found myself pregnant five years ago, not in the US but in the UK. I have since had quite the education.
My husband and I attended ante-natal classes the first time around, as you do. We had to miss one class in the six week course but I wasn’t worried. That was to be the class on homebirths and I wasn’t remotely interested in that. I’m American. We don’t really believe in such things useless you are uninsured, a hippie, involved in some religious cult, or any of the above. I was shocked to find on our return the next week that more than half the class seemed to be considering said lunacy. I jokingly mentioned they could have fun but I was headed out to the hospital for some drugs. I was particularly looking forward to the gas and air they give you here. We stayed after that night for a chat with the instructor. In that hour I became completely convinced that a home birth was exactly what I wanted. Brainwashed? Maybe. But I’ve have other friends who have had a similar epiphany after educating themselves in just the smallest degree.
I don’t know what homebirth statistics are like in the US but over here they have a very high success rate. Part of the brilliancy of the way it all works is how it’s all seen as an extension of the hospital. Once you go into labor your home effectively becomes an offsite delivery room. You get two midwives at your service whose only focus is you AND they bring gas and air. Brilliant. If there are any problems they are seen early on and you are brought in to the hospital to a well informed staff that is completely ready for you. If it’s a c-section that’s needed the time it takes to get to the hospital is what it takes to prep the theater for surgery so there really isn’t much of a difference there. Admittedly, being transferred to hospital by ambulance does sound terribly dramatic. However, I know a woman who had it happen to her and she barely remembers it. What she does remember is the time she had at home and is grateful for it. I was a believer.
While I still feel a homebirth is a great option, I’m totally full of it because I’ve never actually had one. I had my third c-section on the 15th of February this year. I was advised in my first pregnancy that due to the monster size of my baby and his inconvenient position, that I should go to the hospital as chances were I was going to need a c-section in the end anyway. I did stay at home as long as possible, which was lovely, and eventually ended up with an emergency c-section 18 hours in. Oh well. It’s rare these things happen according to plan anyhow.
The first c-section was unplanned but the last two were scheduled. I’m certainly not too posh to push but there are perks to c-sections. Scheduling a birth is great. I set the alarm, took a leisurely shower and arrived at the hospital in plenty of time. By mid morning you have a baby. Magic. The recovery sucks but nothing for me is worse than the final stages of pregnancy. I have huge babies. We now have our newest addition and the way he got here is a distant memory.
What both countries have in common is the emphasis that is put on the birth, something that is over in moments. Once that’s all out of the way your troubles, combined with moments of absolute bliss, really begin…