When you first think of becoming pregnant, you automatically think of the risks. Luckily, in this day and age, we have access to many fertility clinics, such as Fertility Plus, which can help provide advice and support in all aspects of fertility.
During our meetings with the fertility consultant, at the start of 2015, it came to light that my thyroid function was a little on the low side. It has always been within ‘normal’ levels and my consultant explained that I don’t appear to have any serious issues with my thyroid but if I want to conceive then she would like to see my results reading a little higher. I was immediately put on a small dosage, which has increased over time, of Thyroxine. It’s incredible the effect it has had on me, but that’s a story for another post. What I didn’t realise was that taking regular medication almost automatically places you as a ‘high risk pregnancy’ under consultant-led care during pregnancy. My heart sank when I found this out.
My labour with Logan was hard. Don’t get me wrong, I know it was easy compared to many women’s labours. It was just 14 hours long and I used only Entinox for pain relief. It was an unassisted delivery although some stitches were required. Logan arrived at a healthy and happy 7lb 9.5oz. My experience of hospital led care during the labour was what I really disliked. I felt like a piece of meat. Midwives, doctors, people in all different types of uniforms coming into my room at all hours checking blood pressure, looking between my legs, a monitor strapped to my tummy which kept moving and Dad was sent packing at 9pm….it just wasn’t how I imagined or wanted my birth to be. I didn’t realise that until I’d given birth to Florence in a midwife led unit (MLU).
The MLU is strictly for low risk births. Women with no complications. My experience of the MLU was like being in a hotel. The room we delivered the baby in was huge with a birth couch – no horrid hospital bed, a birthing pool, double sofa bed, en-suite bathroom with shower and bath and plenty of small electric candles and sensory type mood lighting. Once we entered the room we never saw another soul except for a couple of midwives. We were left to labour in peace. We arrived at around 4pm and my first examination was just before 8pm as I felt I was progressing and wanted to get in the pool. Lo and behold I had reached 7cm and I didn’t even know. We were so relaxed it felt like the easiest birth in the world. The midwives were really only present for the last hour of pushing. It was amazing.
To think I might not be allowed to birth in an MLU this time around because of my medication kind of caused me to panic. I panicked I’d be strapped to a hospital bed again and have the intrusive sort of labour that I really did not want. The more I thought about it the more irate I got. It seemed wrong that someone else might get to decide how and where I labour. I’d resigned myself to thinking that if I was told I was high risk and had to give birth under a consultant then I’d just have a homebirth, I’d set myself up a pool and just do it in the kitchen!
I had an appointment on Monday 30th November with a consultant in the ante-natal clinic to assess my latest blood test results. I was so nervous that she’d tell me I had to see her every few weeks and have extra blood tests and worst of all give birth in a hospital, maternity unit. I arrived and was made to wait for about 20 minutes before the consultant came and sat with me. She was literally in the room for 3 minutes before I was packed off on my way. She’d said my thyroid dosage and results were fine and to carry on as I am. She asked the weights of my previous two babies and then said, providing that nothing changes, she is happy for me to give birth in the MLU. I couldn’t believe it! All that worrying for the last 9 weeks to be told exactly what I wanted to hear within a few minutes. I could have skipped out of that hospital, but I didn’t as that wouldn’t have been very graceful.