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Home birth

Preparing for a Home Birth Against Medical Advice

It sounds pretty scary when you say it like that, but that is precisely what it comes under. I should start from the beginning really. When I was pregnant with Ivy, I was diagnosed with GDM (although it was just GD 4 years ago).

The first gestational diabetes specialist after the initial diagnosis scared the living daylights out of me. Terms like Stillbirth and Sugar Crash were thrown out quick and fast – no time to catch my breath. I exited the room, got to the carpark and burst into tears.

My consultant the following week offered an induction on the exact due date, because ‘anything after that the risk of stillbirth is much higher’. I agreed without question. This is something I still regret. I wasn’t equipped with more information, and I was reeling from the verbal tsunami of the initial contact. I felt like any other option than induction was going to be detrimental.

Then what?

I had the induction, but on the morning of her due date I woke up crampy anyway. It was a fast birth, one I haven’t mentally dealt with yet. There were minimal checks from the attending midwife, I had a floating monitor, and she arrived like a shooting star 30 minutes after membrane rupture. It was far from what I had started out hoping for but was a very positive experience overall.

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In The Now.

Two weeks after the positive test, after the initial excitement, the Hyperemesis hit so, so hard. From morning till night I was clamped to a bowl. Hidden away from people, because each person has a smell and in pregnancy, it is heightened.

Even in my shakey state, at booking in, I said homebirth. If my GTT was clear, and everything else was clear the preliminary answer was a ‘yes’.

I was swept off my feet. My hope was to avoid hospital for as long as possible. I stayed as hydrated as one can, while nothing (literally nothing) stayed down. But, this is not my risk factor, my risk factor is a high BMI. Once the sickness finally subsided a bit, after months of medication – I could think clearly.

It was assumed I would have GDM, which I do not – I am all clear. In fact in each blood test, in each urine test and in each of the extra scans – everything has been clear. If it weren’t for my round arse, this would be textbook.

However, when you’re outside of the standard lines, you are medically advised that hospital is the safest place for you and your baby.

But, you still have choices. You always have a choice. The midwives I have seen have been supportive and informative – from the start. Each appointment, we discuss the risks and positives (of which there are many) involved with home birth, both standard and unique to higher BMI.

Yet, I have still had to mentally get myself into a positive space because consultant appointments can be brutal. We are preparing for a home birth against medical advice, but, I am confident in my decision, and my midwives are so supportive (they’re actually a dream team).

With three smooth, relatively quick and uncomplicated births previously. One of which was at home, and a single risk factor – we are excited for weeks to come.

Preparation

So we have:

  • A resuscitation station space (as we did with the first home birth, and they have in most delivery rooms), which is a high flat surface that can be used if the baby has any breathing difficulties
  • A place that has easy access should an emergency arise
  • Agreed to membrane rupture if it is needed to move things along while in the ‘safe’ time zone. Safe being the guideline stated amount of time before hospital transfer
  • Managed third stage – a risk factor for high BMI is heavy bleeding, a managed third stage might give more control over this
  • People on call should they be needed for the kiddos
  • Hypnobirthing – I have been using The Positive Birth Company’s digital pack for a while now
  • We are about to pack a hospital bag – just in case we need it
  • Plenty of tea bags, coffee and snacks for the community midwife & accompanying midwives!
  • Knowing that even if it doesn’t go as planned, it’s all okay.

Final note: You must make the decisions that you feel are right for you and your baby, ask for more information, explore all of your options talk to the midwives plenty – and at the end of the day, the birth plan isn’t concrete.

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