Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Pregnancy Horror Stories

on November 12, 2013

I am almost 39 weeks into my pregnancy. In simple terms, this means that I could potentially have the baby today (although Shroomi seems rather comfortable in there, so probably not). In practical terms this means that, unless something changes, my plans are set and all systems should be good to go.

We have planned to have a home birth. To do this as safely as possible, we have done a lot of reading on things that help and hinder a birthing mother. We have hired an independent midwife to come to our home, and she will bring with her a student midwife who has years of experience as a doula. We have practiced relaxation techniques, and have discussed every possibility we could think of to ensure we are on the same page before something comes up. Our backup plan is fairly solid, and we have a backup plan for the backup plan. Even our birth plan is less like a list of preferences and more like a flowchart that my partner and I can follow if we need to.

Yes, it is possible I have OCD. I would have made a great boy scout with all of this preparation.

In a social sense, we are also at the point of pregnancy where people are realising that I’m fairly serious about this home birth nonsense. We’ve bought a birth pool, we’ve stocked up on supplies. Our money has been put where our mouths are.

Loved ones are falling into two categories: those who are willing to support our decision because it is well researched and thoroughly planned, and those who are horrified that I am wilfully choosing to suicide while inadvertently murdering my unborn baby.

The supportive group are fantastic. My parents fall into this group, and I’ve been able to share with them cool birth videos that I have found online. Dad has found interesting studies on the benefits and drawbacks of home birth to share with me. Mum has started sharing stories from other women about their home birth experiences. Random strangers in the community have told me how much they wish they’d had the option to do what I am doing. With this group, I anticipate a beautiful experience where our baby is gently welcomed with love and kindness.

Then there is the second group. A few people who are close to us fall into this category. They are so terrified of birth – and equally terrified by our lack of fear – that they have launched a crusade to show us how dangerous birthing can be. Every conversation involves a new way for the baby or I to die in excruciatingly unnecessary agony. The stories are new and interesting each time, but they can be collated into the following metastory:

A pregnant woman arrives at the hospital. She labours for hours before exhaustion overcomes her. Medical dramas occur, and the doctors work valiantly to save her. The only option is an emergency caesarean section, where she bleeds so heavily that the only way to stop the flow is a hysterectomy. Despite the best efforts of the doctors, the baby has terrible complications and doesn’t survive.

For my partner and I, there is an interesting link between all of these horror stories: a pregnant woman arrives at the hospital. To the irritation of some and the amusement of others, I now add in the phrase “where the baby promptly catches leprosy”.

Hospitals are fabulous places for people who need them. The only home birth horror stories I have come across are ones where the mother refused to transfer or there were underlying health problems that had not been disclosed to her medical support team. Having spent months listening to traumatic stories about hospital errors and hospital policies killing mothers and babies, I am finally able to understand why women are refusing to go. Hospitals are also utterly terrifying.

In my rational moments, I appreciate that I am told these horror stories because they are so unusual that they draw attention. In my emotional, primitive moments, I am simply a mother who wants to protect her baby, and going to a place where babies die because hospital staff aren’t using simple midwifery solutions fires my adrenal response. Shroomi is precious to me, and each horror story from a hospital setting simply convinces me that the hospital system is not always to be trusted with these tiny jazz hands.

We aren’t sure how to tell the horror story mongers that they are creating that which they fear. They see these stories from a perspective of “imagine how bad it would have been if the mother had been at home”. We see these stories from a perspective of “imagine how much better it would have been if this chain of poor decisions hadn’t been made”. There is a conceptual gap between us that we will not be able to bridge during this pregnancy, and probably not for the ones that follow.

I would be happy to finish my pregnancy without another horror story designed to manipulate me, but unless I give birth soon I don’t fancy my chances. There are just too many stories and too little trust in Shroomi and I to do what women were able to do for millions of years without a hospital nearby. Ultimately, the stories will be irrelevant; either I will birth Shroomi at home without issues, or I will transfer to a hospital in spite of – not because of – those stories. Regardless of the outcome, I am going into the labour with the confidence that I have genuinely done as much as I can to ensure the safety of my baby, and that will always mean more to me than the fears of other people.


One response to “Pregnancy Horror Stories

  1. My relatives all the time say that I am killing my time here at web,
    but I know I am getting know-how all the time
    by reading thes nice content.

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