Fear Factor! Supported a beautiful birth yesterday but it is always interesting to observe the Fear Factor within the system and it’s workers! Kate was 41wks pregnant so very ready to meet baby. She presented at the Birth Centre in the morning, as she felt very unwell, with hot/cold shivers and back ache and stomach pains. Midwife informed her this was pre-labour and sent her home. After many conversations it seemed that she was unwell, ? food poisoning, and it certainly did not seem like labour. By the afternoon she was feeling really sick so presented again to hospital, and with a very high temperature and raised heart rate of baby, was admitted to Delivery Suite and given intravenous antibiotics. She improved quite quickly and around 1a.m. spontaneously began labour, with membranes releasing. Unfortunately there was some meconium present. Immediately the staff suggested emergency caesarean, even though her temperature had settled to normal and baby had calmed. We negotiated, based on safety of Mum and baby, who by this stage were both O.K. Then more suggestions of ‘speeding up the labour’ with syntocinon, because they feared the worst. The ‘fear based’ language that was used by the staff was astonishing. There was absolutely no regard for the couples wishes (all based on safety), and no regard for her strong belief that she and baby could birth without interference. We negotiated.
The amazing part of this story is that as the staff observed Kate very calmly moving through her labour, using hypnosis techniques to keep her baby’s heart rate safe and using the power of her mind to visualise progressing quickly (to avoid any more mention of intervention), they became a little more relaxed. There was constant ‘talk’ of intervention throughout this labour, especially toward the end, as they believed she could not ‘give birth’ without ‘medical help’. We negotiated. She was ‘in the zone’, safely protected by her support team, and it wasn’t until after baby was born, that there was some concession about how amazing she was. They were almost unbelieving of how this woman, who felt awfully sick, had managed to put that aside and still focus and connect with her baby.
This was not Kate’s plan. She wanted a waterbirth in the Birth Centre. No-one could predict her getting so sick. So with continuous monitoring, intravenous antibiotics, numerous suggestions of medical intervention, fear based language, disbelief in her abilities as a birthing woman, as well as feeling unwell, she rose above all of this to magnificently birth, receiving her baby, only her hands touched baby, bringing him up onto her for skin to skin. He was a very well, baby, calm and alert, thanks to the wonderful job his Mum had done. What a great start in life she has given her baby.
I have been in this business for nearly 40yrs. and am still in awe of birthing women who understand and tap into their innate birthing power.