The Power of Words: Birth Language and Self Advocacy

When it comes to making decisions about how and where you want to birth your baby, the information can often be overwhelming. Words like ‘private’, ‘public’ and ‘semi-private’ take on an entirely new meaning. In pre-pregnancy days, these terms were possibly not on your radar, at all. And then as soon as you get the positive result, pregnancy can appear as one long decision making process. Gathering all of the information that you can and trying to ensure that it is evidence-based and unbiased is an enormous task, in and of itself. One can forget that you are your own individual – with your own thoughts, feelings, history, personality and all the things that make you who you are.

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Episiotomy: Is it necessary?

 What is an episiotomy?

An episiotomy is the surgical procedure that enlarges the opening of the vagina through the cutting of the perineum, the skin and the muscles between the vulva and the anus. Continue reading

Part 2: Our Birthing Journey Life & Death…finally Joy – Fighting for respect; My right to choose how and where I birth my baby.

On Monday, 42 weeks shared a birth story of a VBAC mum who was able to negotiate DOMINO care with a midwife in an Irish maternity unit. Her story is a must-read and is very popular. This second story, from the same woman, explains their birth journey and how they were able to negotiate the DOMINO care option.

Our Birthing Journey
Life & Death
…finally Joy

Fighting for respect;
My right to choose how and where I birth my baby. Continue reading

Melanie’s first birth story

Cleo, my first baby, was born on 23rd February 2010. I really wanted to have a natural birth and used GentleBirth during my pregnancy from about 26 weeks, doing home study and attending the workshop. My main concerns were that I wanted to avoid an assisted delivery and what I saw as unnecessary perineal trauma that often accompanies epidural births. Also, the only person I had ever heard describe birth as a wonderful experience had had a home birth, obviously with no epidural. I’m also big into experiencing – travel, food etc. I felt that birth was something that I wanted to fully experience. My mother had described my birth as great – “like being at the hairdressers”. I didn’t want to feel like I was in the hairdressers, I wanted to experience birth in all it’s primal glory, if I could. I devoured Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and felt that, after all, I was born to birth, so I could do it. I had a great pregnancy and felt so well and energised as I approached my due date and then went over it. Continue reading

How and Where your baby is born – Who gets to decide?

Today, a landmark case will be heard in the Four Courts in Dublin.

Aja Teehan vs HSE is a High Court challenge against the HSE and the Department of Health seeking judicial review of the refusal to grant her a home birth. Aja is challenging the HSE’s denial of her right to self determination, to decide how and where she births, by refusing her the option of an informed decision. Continue reading

A gentle VBAC water birth at home

It was 2am on Tuesday morning, 5th March, and I woke up to cramps. They were very manageable, really just felt like period cramps. After timing them for about 40 minutes, it seemed they were 10 minutes apart. Shortly after that my 4 year-old little monkey woke up and wasn’t feeling the best, so I took him down to his Daddy to mind and got back to bed to rest and keep an eye on the cramps. I wasn’t due until the 8th March, so I still thought that it might have been just Braxton Hicks. Anyways at 6am, they were still going and so I knew I was on my way. I pottered downstairs and turned on the immersion so the water would be ready when it was time to fill the pool. I didn’t want to disturb anyone at this stage as I felt it was too early yet. But by 6.30, they had moved to 4/5 minutes apart so I gave my midwife a buzz and she was on her way. Next phone call was to my sister who we had asked to look after the kids. Continue reading