" The best home birth for all the wrong reasons."

About: County Durham PCT Sunderland Royal Hospital

(as the patient),

I had extremely traumatic hospital birth where I was induced for medical reasons. The lack of care left me terrified of labouring in hospital again. In order to mitigate some of what I will say later, I will state now that the whole experience left me feeling raped. I felt like I was sausage meat sent through the grinder and spat out the other end. In my opinion, it was only when they happened to notice that my labour was going disastrously wrong that all hands were on deck so to speak to rescue me from the near disaster, which I feel the lack of care had brought me and my daughter.

When I told my MW (midwife) that I wanted a home birth for my second child, she put every possible negative 'what if' in my way to talk me out of it. I went home despondent but as the week went by I informed myself and became very angry at what she had done. I wrote the Head of midwifery and requested a different MW which I got but the team leader of my Community Midwife then put the usual obstacle, 'if we are busy you will have to come in' line to me and I lost all hope that I would be fairly treated. Unfortunately, all my trust in the NHS system of midwifery also went with it. The trauma I suffered the first time made me feel that my best interests were not at the centre of the care and this experience confirmed this view. I refused to take this 'no' for an answer and wrote to the Chief Executive of my Trust and to everyone else who I thought was accountable for my care. I got a qualified, faintly supportive response but at that point, I no longer cared what they said. I knew what my rights were and I meant everything in my letter.

Secretly, from this time onward, I hoped that I would give birth before the midwives arrived because I did not any longer want them to touch me or my baby. I knew that I could not, for my husband's peace of mind, have an unattended birth so this was as close as I could get to that. One incident at an antenatal appointment taught me that the lack of Home Births in my area, I believe that this makes the MWs very reluctant to attend them. So they discourage them so no one gets them so they get no experience in attending Home Births and the circle continues.

My entire labour was 1 hr 50 mins from first contraction to last. The midwives arrived 5 minutes after I gave birth to my daughter. Thanks partly to the taxi driver getting lost and my husband being too busy as birth partner / midwife to answer the phone when they rang for directions. I felt like I had won the National Lottery and was walking on a cushion of air for the next month. It was all up to me when they were allowed to touch my baby.

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