I’m just emerging after a brief break from the forum (was sick and then had guests). Am almost 18 weeks pregnant now, which is very early days to be thinking about childbirth options, I realise, but it’s a bit more complicated for us because we had our first baby in France and are pretty sure we don’t want to have the second here. It was a disastrous experience and DH and I are still traumatised by it. France is about 50 years behind the UK and the US in its thinking about childbirth—doctors here still strongly recommend x-ray pelvimetry to decide beforehand if your pelvis will be “large enough” for a vaginal birth, and many midwives still think your shoe size determines whether you have a C-section or not. I ended up having a C-section after a long labour, even though there was no emergency, DD was not in distress, and I was 8cm dilated. Just before I was wheeled into the OT, I was told I’d be able to start pushing soon, then the shift changed and the new team simply refused to let us wait longer. Etc. etc. etc., anyway, to cut a long story short, giving birth in the UK is a possibility for us this time because DH’s work is based in Cambridge, and his job is willing to rent a flat for us for a few months to have him on site.
Has anyone on this forum given birth in hospital in Cambridge or elsewhere in Cambridgeshire? Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts on hiring an independent midwife vs. trying to work with the hospital midwives. I have heard different things about the real chances of a VBAC with hospital midwives; my position (for now at least) is that I’d like to go into labour naturally and to *try* for a VBAC, but that if a C-section were really necessary, I would not be upset as long as we were treated like human beings and involved in the decision (barring a life-threatening emergency). But some people say that in a hospital, because of the continuous monitoring, not being able to use a birthing pool, etc. due to having had a previous C-section, one is unlikely to have a successful VBAC. The hospital at which I would probably give birth (unless I choose a home birth) is the Rosie Hospital, and they do have a birthing centre as well, but apparently I wouldn’t be allowed to use that because I had a C-section and am now “high-risk.”
If we did hire an independent midwife, we would then need to decide whether to do a full home birth or whether to labour with the independent midwife and then transfer to hospital for the actual birth. Most of the independent midwives whose websites I’ve been looking at say that they can attend hospital births, not in a professional capacity but just to advocate for the mother. I wonder, though, if there is any real point to this option? Or would the independent midwife be completely powerless, and would I be at the mercy of the hospital system and its protocol anyway?
I know that the decision of where to give birth is a personal one and that nobody else can make that decision for us, but I’m curious to hear your opinions. Do you think my best chances of having minimum intervention and a successful VBAC would be at home with an independent midwife? Or should I at least meet with the midwives at the Rosie Hospital, see what they say, and try to get some idea of their philosophy? It’s just that the doctor I had in France claimed to be fine with our birth plan when we talked about it, and then paid no attention whatsoever to it once I was in labour—so I am a bit wary of talking to hospital staff and then having faith that what they say is what they’ll do. It’s going to be difficult for me to trust hospital staff again, but maybe that’s not justified in the UK?