This is a short blog about a few conversations with several women regarding the choices they made for the birth of their babies....I was in a shopping center promoting midwifery and chatted to some pregnant women..... I’m sharing some of these conversations for two reasons; because the choices these women made blew me away and in light of the vigorous homebirth debates after the release of the SA coroner’s report where he suggested that women who have a high risk factors should possibly consider a caesarean section rather than a homebirth or words to that effect...... (which will be my next blog).
I have to note that the women concerned all had private health insurance and wanted to birth in a private hospital. First two women were 35 and 36 weeks respectively, they were having repeat caesarean sections. When I asked how they felt about their impending c/section Mary said “look I have accepted that is my reality”, I asked was she happy to discuss her decision and she said she was happy to share and talk about it.... she went on to say “my first section was an emergency.... when I was pregnant again we saw the same obstetrician and we were told the risk of the scar tearing was high and its best to have another section. I then said I would get another opinion..... You know, I could not find another obstetrician that serviced the private hospital that would do a VBAC.....and besides my husband did not want to take the risk and I have to consider his wishes,” I asked “did she know the risk was really low...as in 0.04%” and she said “yes, but my husband did not want to take that chance, I wanted to have my baby in a private hospital and did not want to go to a public hospital, so I accepted the second section, now its baby number 3 and that’s the choice I’ve made, it would of been nice to birth normally, but that’s the choice I made, I wanted to have my baby in a private hospital”.
Janie who was her friend had a similar story.... except this was her second section...she also knew about the risks involved regarding a VBAC but really did not mind having a section, again her main reason was she wanted to birth in a private hospital as opposed to a public one....
Sally was an older professional woman, 39yrs old first baby and elected to have a caesarean section, currently she was 34 weeks and was not interested in a vaginal birth, she said ‘I never wanted to give birth naturally, I want to protect my pelvic floor and besides it took me longer to get pregnant than I thought, don’t think I could deal with all that unexpected stuff, now I know the date my baby will be born.....’ her mind was made up – we did go to talk about breast-feeding to which she was not interested in, however we did manage to talk about skin to skin at birth for bonding and the possibility of expressing for the first few weeks and bottle feeding with breast milk as an option.... I asked had she ever spoken with a midwife, her response was ‘I have private health insurance therefore I have a very good obstetrician.... and he does have a midwife I see from time to time....but he makes all the decisions....”
The last woman was 35 weeks booked for her repeat section at a private hospital – first section was an emergency, no VBAC offered and she elected for a section because her husband is a fly –in-fly-out and she wanted to plan his time off for the birth and this was the easiest way....she also did not want to birth in a public hospital....”on no I only go to private hospitals, that’s why I pay for private health insurance...”
Out of the 10 women I spoke to 5 were having elective sections, 3 were booked in secondary hospitals and another two for private hospitals and hoped for a vaginal birth but all knew about the chance of a caesarean section.... “if all goes well, I will have a vaginal birth..... we have discussed if the need arises we might have a section”.....
I must say the aspect that surprised me most was the desire to birth in a private hospital even if it meant having a c/section as opposed to birthing in a public hospital.....that puts a different perspective on some of the issues.....what is it that the majority of women want and is this the expected norm of place of birth?
Again I come back to the point of education and informed choice..... these women wanted to birth in a private hospital and how that happened did not matter, their main issue was the place of birth.....food for thought.