Sunday, 14 December 2014

Prince George and Breastfeeding.

How could I not meme the little prince?
Who knew he was such an advocate of breastfeeding?
Oh my word!  What a guy!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thoughts on Exclusively Pumping

Elisabeth Petrucelli puts forward her insights into exclusively pumping in this excellent blog post.

I can only add but a shred more.

The fact that the data does not exist to show that BF is 'better' than EP shows how our culture has become obsessed that the biological norm needs to prove itself against the many interventions put upon breastfeeding.  BF is the biological norm and as such, there is no need to provide evidence that it is 'superior'.  It is just the norm.  Not better, not superior.  Evidence to show how it differs from EP is a nice scientific extra for people to be all academic about but it isn't necessary to prove that the way mammals are designed to eat is the normal way to eat and all other methods are not quite equal to the norm.

For me EPing has nothing to prove either.  In the absence of breastfeeding, mothers own milk, expressed, is the next logical option.  Breastfeeding is worth fighting for just like learning to walk without a crutch is worth fighting for.  The medical and wider community provide multiple means of support to get people walking unaided but they don't provide multiple systems of support for breastfeeding when it isn't going well.  Put another way, no one would dream of telling someone that she doesn't have time to help you to learn to walk so here is a crutch.  It is just as good.  Likewise, why is it ok to tell a mum that we don't have the time to teach her to breastfeed; here is a pump. Mothers and their babies lose out.  Mothers are trying to source robust breastfeeding support when they are at their most vulnerable.  The lottery of support available leads to much disappointment for many and a source of much grief and emotional pain.

My last point comes to the widely held misconception mentioned in the original article that exclusively pumping mothers cannot benefit from breastfeeding support!  What a travesty!  They are using their breasts to feed their babies!!! Hello?

Lactation consultants who are turning EP mothers away from lactation support really must reflect on the WHO Code and the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative as well as their own education and workplace practice.  This is a whole new post on its own and unfortunately, real life is calling at the moment.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Tweeting about a baby eating

Some people find t that a baby breastfeeds to be an uncomfortable thing to happen near them.

The more we breastfeed in public the more people see breastfeeding the longer babies will breastfeed and the healthier we will all be for it.

So I Storify-ed one such encounter.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Hats off to World Breastfeeding Week 2014

In honour of World Breastfeeding Week 2014 and for all the amazing mothers who have 1001 tasks during your days, here is a chance for a little thank you for all the things you do, many without even being asked.

Here is a chance to win one of two baby beanies in the size of your choice from 0-12 months:

Step 1:   Please go to the Facebook page for the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers and 'like' then 'share' the page.

Step 2: Go back to the status update on Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths' Facebook page and post under the update in order to record your name as an entrant.

The competition is open for 48 hrs after the status appears on Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths and thereafter, two winners will be chosen at random from the names under the post.

The baby beanie will be made in the style of a pumpkin, similar to the one in this photo below, so your pumpkin will be ready for autumn.

Disclaimer: Image is for demonstration purpose only.  Yarn will be 100% cotton/bamboo and different shades from above and made with an adapted pattern. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Unassisted birth in water

You may have read earlier that I did not get much antenatal support from the midwifery team in my community.  The Trust's consultant/obstetrician did not interfere with my plans but did not provide much support either.  He did suggest I come into hospital and discharge myself in 6 hours but did not obstruct my home birthing plans either.

I woke up on Sat at 2.30 am with a very strong contraction and thought I'll lie here as long as possible as this has happened twice before, two weeks apart.  Being 10 days past my due date, it somehow didn't occur to me that actually this was real.  The second contraction 15 minutes later kicked my butt out of bed and to the toilet for a poo.  Yes,  'this is it', I thought as I listened to my 3.5 year old laughing in her sleep and wishing her to stay asleep. I had a 3 contraction on the toilet and another at 3.05 which brought me to my knees on the floor and woke my husband who I was hoping would stay asleep for longer.  As someone who treats 7 am wakings as a divine right, he was out of bed and in his shorts in a flash. He must have carried me downstairs as I am sure I did not get downstairs on my own.  I went to the downstairs loo and had several powerful contractions while he went to inflate the birth pool.  I still somehow had the presence of mind to think 'Fool, the baby won't be here for ages yet.'  It didn't occur to me yet that with contractions now 3 minutes or less apart, that birth was pretty close. I was kneeling on the bathroom floor, bellowing through powerful contractions as my pain relief. Of course, I had no ability to measure them anymore and he said that they were 3 minutes apart.  I do remember him asking to phone the midwife once but he says that he asked twice and I declined the first time.  I chose to phone Fay first and felt pretty desperate when I asked that she 'please come soon'.  I then phoned the midwives after pausing for another contraction and felt dread when they said they'd be with me in an hour.

By now I can't stand so I crawl to the living room.  It is approximately 3:25 am, just under an hour since the first contraction.  As I crawled I felt that this was a 'horse' race to birth my baby before the midwives arrived.  I  slowly made my way over to the corner of the room and kneeled over the birthing ball, being incredibly loud and humming loudly for pain relief.  The imagery I practiced in natal hypnotherapy just wasn't happening probably due to the rapid onset of active labour.  This was a storm of contractions and I could only shut my eyes and hold pain's hand and walk with it, making it my friend.  I walked into the distance with pain and each contraction subsided.

Between contractions my mind was completely lucid and rational.  I shouted instructions out to my husband who is a marvelous team player and did it all with military precision.  He set up the TENS machine but I believed it was of no use as my contractions were already too strong for it to have the desired effect.  I no longer thought him a fool for getting straight on with filling the pool which as I glanced over between contractions was 1/4 filled.  I wondered if it will be filled in time to birth in.  It was my dream from I was 12 years old when I first saw a video clip of a water birth.  I also had hydrotherapy for pelvic girdle pain I had developed and loved the relief it had provided to the discomfort.   I figured that I may end up delivering on land now.  I asked for the TENS to be turned up but I felt no relief.  I just kept flowing with storm of contractions, accepting that this was the only way.  Finally I thought, 'I can't do this anymore.'

I completely relaxed over the birthing ball and I descended into a deep sleep as quickly as if I was anesthetized.

I woke up, maybe ten minutes later and I felt my baby take a big flip or rather turn and begin her descent.  It was all so smooth and painless. And there was no more pain.

I shouted, 'You have to get me in the pool now!'  My husband comes over from where ever he was and asked me if I could use the TENS in the pool.  I could not believe a civil engineer said that.  I growled like something from The Omen, 'It is electricity...'.

He hoisted me from under my arms and dumped into the pool, clothes and all. I struggle out of my clothes as at this point our three year old wanders downstairs asking 'what's this?' and 'why are you in there?'  I tell her baby sister is coming now and brace for the next contraction but which again was painless and got the intense urge to push for but a half a second.

 My husband phoned my daughter's godmother who had promised to babysit.  Unfortunately it was her husband's annual work's party and he had come in half an hour before, drunk.  And she doesn't drive.  Oh well, our daughter settles on my husband's lap beside the pool and they watch me.

I decided not to push with the contractions as I knew babies will come with or without pushing due to the maternal-fetal ejection reflex.  I could feel the amniotic sac bulge, and I was thinking that it had not gone yet and then it broke soon after. I leant, kneeling, over the side of the birthing pool, and I feel my daughter turn in the opposite direction with the next descent.

Now the phone rings for the second time.  The first time it was ignored because my husband was busy unsticking the TENS machine from his hands as he had forgotten to switch off first.  Then maneuvering   me into the pool and dealing with our three year old.

My husband decides not to answer it as my baby is starting to crown.   It turns out that the taxi with the midwives is lost somewhere in the area and they are asking over the speaker phone to turn some lights on.

 I feel her crowning but there was no ring of fire as I had heard and read about many times before.  I put my hand down and touch her head. I tell my husband that her head is coming so he looks in and cradles her little head telling me what he can see her eyes, her nose, her mouth. I am relieved to know that she is head first and settle in for the final contraction.  I had no more than 3 painless contractions in the pool in no more than 5 minutes as I remember.

The shoulders and her body came with the next contraction and I shout with excitement to my husband to pick her up and bring her up face first. He says he can't because she was under me so I squat on my haunches and see this tiny body, like an upside down frog with little arms and legs up towards me and I scooped her up. It is no later than 4.20 am and Fay arrived as I am about to pick her up.  I hold her close, looking at her suspended between between the womb and this world and whispered in my mind, 'Breathe, breathe.' and she takes her first breath.  Three minutes later the midwives arrive.

After much skin to skin and her first feed in the pool twenty minutes after birth, she weighed at 8lb 6oz and I had an intact perineum.  When she was weighed at 5 days old she was at her birth weight, a very special milestone for me.

further reading about the fetal ejection reflex

Monday, 7 April 2014

Woolly Buf in Regimental Colours.

A snood is not a snood when it is made for a man.  It becomes a buff or a buf (short for 'bufanda', Spanish for scarf, I suspect.)  So here is the buf I made for my husband in his regimental colours.  This year is 350th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Marines and this is my little effort to commemorate their historic beginning.

The Pattern is the same as the Warm and Woolly Snood except that it uses 75 chains to start out with. Materials are King Cole Merino Blend Aran in Navy, Mustard, Fern, and Scarlet in 100% Super wash wool which is soft, warm and itch free.  There are 8 rounds of navy, 2 rounds of mustard, 2 rounds of fern, 4 rounds of scarlet and 8 more rounds of navy which is the colour ratios of the regimental standard.  The finished dimensions are 29cm diameter and 23 cms height.  It could be upscaled easily with 12 rounds of nave, 3 rounds of mustard, 3 rounds of fern, 6 rounds of scarlet and 12 rounds of navy once more to make a longer buf.

Feel free to use this pattern for personal use or for sale but please give credit back to this blog.  

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

UPDATE: Breastfeeding and the Louisa Centre, Stanley.

Yesterday evening the manager at the Louisa Centre sent her response to our complaint.  It seems like they have had a rethink with the input of several people which I believe included Maternity Action and Durham County Council.  Here is the text of the email which I gratefully received:

Thank you for your recent comments regarding breast feeding at The Louisa Centre Pool.  We have been working closely with our partners , to make sure that we can continue to actively promote breast-feeding within all Leisureworks venues.

Following consultation, we are happy to comply with all legislation regarding breast-feeding. However, guidance received from Durham County Council's Public Health Portfolio Lead (Commissioner for Breast-feeding) is that for the well-being of the child, a mother should consider whether to breast-feed in chlorinated water.

We have taken down any previous signage and are continuing to work through our processes and will be taking up the opportunity to enhance staff awareness surrounding this issue. Your comments have been useful in helping us to improve our services and we apologise for any upset this may have caused.

***** *******
Facilities Manager

The Louisa Centre

Thank you to all who were involved especially to the mother who called the sign into question and then created a greater awareness of the discrimination when she was not listened to.  Women speaking up for other women and their babies is creating a safer and gentler world for our future mothers and children.  

Friday, 28 March 2014

Breastmilk and the Pool, again.

Once more a swimming pool is infringing on a woman's right to mother as she thinks is appropriate. 
photo shared with permission
To whom it may concern:

I have with interest been following the incident which Mrs ******** ******** and her partner have raised with the sign in the attached photograph.  I was very pleased to hear that the Louisa Centre has removed the sign after reviewing the appropriate guidance from Maternity Action.

However, I am less than pleased with the lack of support the Centre's management has shown for the spirit and the letter of the guidance and the legislation (Equality Act of 2010) where breastfeeding is specifically protected.  It is quite worrying that you are misusing the element of health and safety under the Equality Act to bar women from breastfeeding poolside or in the water.  This argument is only valid if there is actually a risk present, which I will outline below is a very questionable position to hold.

Your response to Mrs ******** cited enforcement of your position based on health and safety grounds, that a.  a child may vomit in the pool and b. vomit on the poolside creates a risk to slipping.

Point a.  You will be aware that toddlers and babies will urinate quite frequently in the pool and that swim nappies only hold the solid content of excrement.  Using your logic, I fail to understand how a small amount of breastmilk which may be regurgitated is of any risk in comparison to what toddlers and babies already do in the pool.   

A lactating woman in the pool may leak and in addition to the urine and faecal matter already mentioned, there is also the possibility of phlegm from congested sinuses, sweat, dead skin cells, and menses, to name a few excretions which may also already be in the pool.  If your pool cleaning system is efficient then there is no problem with it removing breastmilk from the water.  You may be unaware so far that while all the other bodily secretions mentioned above have potential health and safety risks, breastmilk is the only one which kills bacteria and viruses including norovirus.

Point b.  While vomit on the poolside may be a risk for slippage, the average spit up of a breastfed baby is between a teaspoon and table spoon's worth or 5 - 15ml.  This is in no way comparable to the vomit which an adult or medium sized child may do on the side of a pool. Using your logic once more that a breastfed baby's vomit is a danger, all pools must be shut forthwith as there is typically wet foot prints from the end of the first swimming lesson till the pool closes in the evening.

In addition, babies sometimes suck on life vests, ducklings swimming lessons encourage putting babies' faces in the water so that they can blow bubbles and get water in their faces.  In addition, a calculation made by the Canadian Red Cross (1) suggests that babies in some baby swimming programmes where babies are dunked underwater show that babies may drink up to 50 ml or 2 oz of pool water in a session.  On the other hand, when a baby breastfeeds, the baby's mouth forms a vacuum seal over the breast preventing air or water, in this case, from entering the baby's mouth.  

Breastfeeding has significant benefits to a small baby or child. It is not just food to the child.  It is security in an environment which can be noisy and intimidating.  Breastfeeding allows a frightened, tired, or cold child to feel warm and secure without a mother potentially slipping while leaving the water to feed a child in a cubicle, a journey which will allow the child to grow colder and more distressed.  If there are any accompanying siblings, it may also mean dragging two or more children to a cubicle and removing the pleasure of the experience for all.  

Co. Durham including Stanley is an area of high social and economic deprivation and besides being economical, breastfeeding is one activity which improves the health outcomes for poorer children throughout their lives and also it is shown to increase their confidence and academic performance in childhood and beyond.  By supporting mothers with mothering, the council facilities help mothers to breastfeed for longer and she becomes a model for other women who see breastfeeding as a normal and feasible option for her children.

I ask the facility to reconsider its position once more and I await your response on this matter.

the Rabbit in the Moon

This comprehensive report by the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton deals with just about any question or eventuality in discussions with leisure facilities management when this issue arises.  It is evidence based and provides a multitude of references for further information.

1 In an unpublished study done for the Canadian Red Cross, in which babies were intentionally submerged during a water experience program, 31 of 80 test weights done afterwards showed an average gain of about 50 ml, or 1/4 of a cup of water, with no ill effects.  Not only do swimming pools not exclude young children from the water, they actively encourage them to participate. Thus a double standard seems to exist at some pools regarding breastfeeding babies who might ingest pool water and other babies enjoying the  water who might do the same. 
 Breastfeeding at Municipal Pools in Canada:
A Report from the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton
August 16, 2002

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Third Stage - Birth of a Placenta

As I recounted in my last post, the midwives arrived about 5 minutes after my daughter birthed in a planned unassisted birth.  She was cradled in my arms and I was still in the pool.  I wanted to stay there as I had only just gotten in!

The arrival of the midwives changed the atmosphere to one of  a busy bus stop.  Two arrived with a student midwife as I had said was ok in my birth notes.  The more experienced midwife, going by her age and demeanor, began to be busy herself with asking me questions and make notes regarding the birth.  I remember being asked what time labour started, when did my water break and in retrospect, my living room now took on the atmosphere of a busy room.  Not helped by having the main lights blazing, lighting it up like a supermarket.

Then we were waiting for the placenta.  I did not want to get out of the pool.  At first partly because I only in for 10 minutes now but also because I did not want to be touched by the midwives.  I didn't want anyone prodding and poking me and I was wary that seeing I was not the most compliant of antenatal mothers that they may be suspecting that I deliberately waited to call them.

I had a two or three strong contractions but then they died down.  I realised that really warm water could cause this to happen but I still did not want to get out.  The main midwife was sitting next to the pool, hovering, with the longest rubber gloves on, waiting for something it seemed.  I found the gloves a little ludicrous as I recalled the gloves vets used on farm animalsl, and she didn't touch the water and asked me to fish out the blood clot that was in the water which disappointingly for me was not a placenta!

My baby stayed in my arms quiet, peaceful sleeping or feeding.  It seems farcical now but this is what my husband calls a 'Mexican Standoff'.  They wary of me.  Me wary of them.  At some point someone had the good sense to turn down the lights.  The student midwife took advantage of the situation and fell asleep in a chair.  My friend, Fay, stayed quiet in the background.  She recalls sweating like crazy because the pool turned the living room into a sauna but for me the water was perfect.

Finally, I could feel the water temperature dropping and I had to make up my mind to come out of the pool.  I asked by husband to come from upstairs where he had gone to put my older child to sleep to come and cut the cord and then I asked Fay to hold my new baby so that I could climb out the pool.  This was my decision as being in the place I was, I was insistent that this 'bossy' midwife was not going to be the first person outside my family to touch my baby.

After 2 hours with no placenta.  The midwife announced stated quite firmly that if they don't use syntometrin and traction to remove the placenta then I would 'have to' go to hospital.  For me that was it.  The old hospital trigger made me acquiesce to what I think was a bullying way of getting me to concede to their policy.  I hated being touched by her to do this.  It is the one event that I would change.  I would at that point told them to leave and I would have waited at home, alone in the quiet of my time.   But also getting it over and done with won out and I endured traction and prodding by blocking my emotions.

Velamentous Cord Insertion
She looked my placenta over and then stated that it was very interesting and called the student over to look at it.  Of course this my curiousity piqued and I wanted to know why.  It turns out that it was a velamentous cord insertion placenta and she said that she had not seen one in years and that it was the best example she'd seen of one, even better than text books.  So naturally I asked to keep it.  Which I duly smelled, touched, and photographed as this wondrous thing with such power.

But it was good to get her out of my house.  They left at 8 am, handing me over to the community midwife, the team leader who told me that 'if they were busy I would have to come in'. She now praised me for having a 'fantastic' birth.

In retrospect, I feel like the arrival of the midwives brought the hospital to my home.  They wanted things done their way once they got there and it is hard to say 'no'.  A year later, chatting to Fay who by then had a newborn of her own, asked my opinion of the midwives.  I said one was very bossy.  It was now that Fay told me that, sotto voce, she had said to her, "I can see who is in charge here."  I do not know what or how I would have reacted at the time if I had heard that.

For me ultimately I had a hands off second stage which was important to me.  For days I felt like I was walking on a cushion of air.  It was like winning Olympic Gold.

Someone asked recently how do I feel about having an attended birth now, considering that I have had a healing birth and therapy for post traumatic stress disorder.  Despite everything I have said, I am a powerful advocate of births attended by midwives as that is how most women relax for childbirth and how they feel safe for birth.  For me, I have crossed the Rubicon.  I don't know if I can ever go back to the other side.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Warm and Woolly Snood

1 100g skein yarn (5mm – 6mm weight)
The yarn here is Araucania Milodon Blue/grey 1456
5mm crochet needle

1.      Foundation round: Crochet a chain of approx. 80 stitches (52 cm long) and join with a slip stitch (ss) taking care to keep the chain from twisting.  If the circle is joined properly you will be forced to work into the ‘rear’ of the chain stitches in the firist round. 

2.     1st Round:   Chain 2 and turn.  Half double crochet (Hdc) (or half treble UK) into the first stitch (same as joining loop) and into each stitch to the end, taking care to work into the top edge only of each stitch to prevent the loop from twisting. Skip last stitch and join with a ss.  Chain 2 turn. 

3.      Once the first row is finished it is all v. simple.   Repeat step two till the skein is finished.  I ended up with a snood that is 26cm diameter and 26 cm long.  Enough to cover my nose and neck in a bitter wind.

This pattern is free.  Please respect the ownership of this pattern and give credit back to this blog if you share it on.  I have no problem with it if you decide to make items for others for free or for payment.  Just give credit where it is due.  Happy Hooking.  

Thursday, 13 February 2014

They told me...

by Lora Willshaw

“Be careful, take care, pay heed. Your baby’s in danger. Your body may bleed.”

They told me…,”Sadness in your past could happen again, Use our machines, your body’s no friend. Sit straight, lay back, don’t comfortably bend.”

They told me…,”We’ll scan you and touch you, just to make sure, your body can’t do it, it didn't before.”

“The baby’s too big… the baby’s too small..there’s too much fluid or there’s none at all.”

“36 weeks is too early 42 is too late. This os policy –  there is no debate”

“The baby's at risk. Your putting it there. Having a homebirth is not really fair.”

They guilt me and challenged me and made me so mad. Is wanting the best for my baby so bad?

I told them:  No. I will take no more. The attitudes towards me have been very poor.

So I challenged and questioned, and asked them right back.

Their answers were meagre…their speeches were mild. They talked to me as though I was a child.

So I found faith in my body to do it alone. To be comfortable and calm and be at my home.

I found groups and ladies in an on-line land. Where we share and chat and virtual hold-hands.

I learned that my body of course can be strong. I learned what my body knew all along. To follow my instincts, a womanly intuition. I hope that others manage to listen.  Sometimes birth doesn’t happen at home, but the choice is a mother’s and it’s hers alone.

My births were wonderful. Not scary or bad – that’s why I love these groups to say ‘we’re not mad’. I hate that we fight to get something normal and natural.

Spread the word  -

Choosing our birth isn't fantasy it’s something that’s actual!

Empowering stuff Lora, thank you for the privilege to share it on.
And if you agree, please share it on.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The part where I decided to birth alone.

For my second birth I planned a home water birth.  My mother had a home birth with me and the midwife who attended my birth lived in my street when I was growing up.  I always got fuzzy feelings when my mum would tell me how my dad was the first person to hold me and he wrapped me in one of his old shirts.  Then the first thing he said was, 'She looks like a baby rat.'  (Thanks, Dad.)   My aunt who I always wished was my mum when I wasn't seeing eye to eye with my mum was a midwife for many years.  So I had strong views that home birth with a midwife was the ideal for me.

My first pregnancy was complicated with acute pre-eclampsia and a hospital was at the time the safest place to birth.  The trauma from that experience assured me that as long as my pregnancy remained fit and healthy, I was staying home.

The community midwives who provided my antenatal care however, did not agree.  
At first there was the lie: 
MW Our midwifery team doesn't do home births so you will have to transfer to another team.
Me:  Ok, transfer me.

and obstruction: 
MW But you have SPD.
Me:  A water birth is easier on a woman with SPD.

and the shroud waving: 
MW: What if you have pre-eclampsia again?
Me: As long as I remain fit and healthy, I am staying home.

MW: "What if you need to transfer?"
Me: I will get a transfer.  But as long as I am fit and healthy, I am staying home.
MW: "What if you hemorrhage?"
Me: Midwives carry kit and have skills to intervene and I can transfer in.  But as long as I am fit and healthy, I am staying at home.

and the emotional blackmail:  
MW: What does your husband think of this.
Me:  (laughing inside, Not that I have to discuss it with him anyway but...) If my husband can't talk me out of a home birth, neither can you.

I went home depressed after that meeting but read up on my rights and then I got angry.

So a letter using the AIMS template meant I had a different midwife and all would be warned not to be messing with my plans.  Or so I thought.

My next antenatal appointment with the team leader of the community midwives, in brief, went like this:
She preached, nay, evangelized that I could birth anywhere I wanted and that I had their undying fealty. At first I felt relief then suspicion because like they say, if it is too good to be true...

Yes, there it was, the change in expression, and tone as she looked me in the face and said, "But, if we are too busy on the ward you will have to come in."  

There it was.  There is the cheap deception, the cheap blackmail which takes away so many women's choice.  Instill the fear.  Make her responsible for the safety of other women.  Guilt her with having two midwives when 16 other women shared 4.

I argued with her for several minutes, repeating I would never go into hospital again unless for a medically necessary caesarean section, citing my previous trauma which made me terrified of birthing suites. And there she sat, undermining me, telling me 'but that won't happen again', and how could I want a midwife to come to me when other women were in labour, and at one point, disputing actual events from my previous birth experience because 'that never happens'.  

So I went home again, disappointed, again but angry again.  And I wrote another letter, this time to the Head of Midwifery, the Head of Obstetrics, and the Chief Executive, that I would not be not coming in due to their staff shortage.

But quietly inside, all trust in the midwives was gone.  I did not share that with anyone.  I no longer wanted them with me at my birth despite knowing that all my requests were reasonable.

My friend said one day, 'sometimes women wait to call the midwives so that by the time they arrive the baby is nearly there.'  And then I saw my path.

I was already doing natal hypnotherapy in preparation for my birth.  I could never visualise a midwife at my birth.  I was always alone.  I told no one, not even my husband because I did not want anyone to feel responsible for my choice.  I trusted me and my mammalian body. I didn't need anyone injecting fear and doubt and I was tired of fighting so I settled into myself and into an inner space of calm. And it was fear that these midwives were bringing.  To me they were fearful of home births for many reasons I am not privy to.

I had a couple uneventful antenatal appointments with a new midwife and then another one, at about 37 weeks with the head of the community midwives.  She did a palpation and determined that my baby's shoulder was presenting, though previous palpation by the other midwife had said the baby was head down. She looked scared, and sent me off for a scan. My gut reaction was, 'you are scared to have to attend a home birth'. As I expected, the consultant felt, then scanned, confirming that the baby was head down.  

I was now terrified that these midwives would turn up! 

I felt safer birthing alone.  I knew that it was me and no one else who could birth this baby.  I only wanted someone there to guide me.  Someone with knowledge and confidence of previous normal births to keep my company.  I knew that I would now do it on my own.  I come from a long line of home birthing Mayan women.  I would just go and do the work like Mayan women have done for several thousand years.

I eventually went into labour at 41 weeks.  Labour was fast.  I turned down my husband's first request to phone the midwife.  I phoned my friend first.  The second time my husband asked, I rang the birthing suite, planning to hang up immediately if they told me to 'come in because they were too busy'.   But they said they would be here in an hour.

A quick wave of fear rushed over me that the baby would not yet be born before the midwives arrived. Then 'the race was on', as I envisioned it. 
 And I got my wishes.   Thanks to living in a new house, the midwives had a little trouble finding the address and the baby was sitting quietly in my arms for 5 minutes, where she had taken her first breath.

Do I regret being 'pushed' into a solo birth?  
No in fact I learned something timeless and instinctual through experience because I was pushed.
I trusted my body before I was pushed.  I had do not fear the birthing process.
The midwives' behaviour made me eliminate them from my plans.
I regret the absence of a positive relationship with a midwife, a role that is supposed to be 'with woman'.