Is fear really the way to get pregnant mums to agree to hospital decisions? What happens when that same fear that hospitals breeds cause pregnant women to hide away with their unborn babies? What happens to those babies that actually need a doctor to help with their birth? Scaremongering? Me? Well surely it is the new language of birth? I've watched bits and pieces of One Born Every Minute and then I had the misfortune to tune in to The Midwives (which is another birth reality programme) and I hate them. I really and truly hate them. Fear on the screen. The air turned blue as I watched an experienced midwife, who in her own words had attended 1000s of births, tell a young woman that she felt that this would be a quick labour and then offered diamorphine. Now when women talk through their pain management options, they are told that pethidine or diamorphine shouldn't be given in the final 4 hours of birth because it can compromise the baby. Sure enough, the baby is whisked to the resuscitaire because of the affect of the drug. I'm not a midwife (and frankly this wouldn't encourage me to become one) but even I know that there are other ways to help a woman manage her pain when the baby is coming fast!
So back to my twin mum. Despite all threats of dying babies, she remained strong and waited until she went into spontaneous labour at 39 weeks and 2 days. And man did she labour beautifully. Not a sound. Barely raised the level of her breathing. At one point a consultant came in and said 'Ooh I hear you are 3cm. I'll pop back later and get some synto up. We don't want you still hanging about at this stage tomorrow'. My lady declined. No indication for rush, babies and mum perfectly happy. Despite getting to 10cm, the birth ended with a double forceps. Twin 1 was in an awkward position and not pressing down enough on the cervix for her to push him out, plus there was some meconium. I do wonder if the midwife breaking her waters at 9cm had anything to do with that. So having survived weeks of bullying, one might imagine it was plain sailing from there. I regret to say.. nope! There was another level of bullying to come. There's something about a smaller twin isn't there? Just causes panic and protocol driven measures. Blood sugars galore. He was born under 6lbs (wonder what he would have weighed if the hospital had its way at 37 weeks) and his brother was over 7lbs. She was told that she would have to supplement as there wasn't enough breastmilk to get his sugars up. Mum wanted to express but was told by the midwife that it was too early to express and not worth it. Despite all of mum's efforts to exclusively breastfeed, the pressure was on to give formula and it was constant. When mum and dad said that they wanted to discharge themselves they were told that the police and social services would be called. They were sufficiently frightened enough to do as the doctors wanted in order to get home. Dad told me that he was afraid he'd never be able to bring his family home (and in fact didn't believe it until they had shut the front door behind them).
So, where is the victory I mentioned in the title? Little twin, twin 1, struggled with breastfeeding. Mum was breastfeeding twin 2 and feeding twin 1 expressed breastmilk in a bottle. The victory was the first breastfeed, since birth, by twin 1. It's not all sorted yet, but he's getting there and both boys are gaining weight. My client has told me that she will never go to that hospital again should she become pregnant again. I don't blame her. They fought her till she broke. The best time was during labour with the most gorgeous of midwives who wasn't worried that there were two babies. Strange to think that that was the most peaceful time.
|My crazy pair|