Day 380. The story of my hospital labour after the regulation of home birth (my son Attila’s birth)
I had my first three children at home with the assistance of a midwife and Ági Geréb. I have excellent memories of all: calm and peaceful, and everything happened as it should. Laci, my husband helped me a lot (massaged me, held me during delivery, offered some lunch to the midwives after the labour.)
It was the autumn of 2010 when the fourth little life conceived in me. Soon (dr) Ágnes Geréb was sentenced to prison.
I felt extremely indignant about it and I went to demonstrate for Ági’s release with my two-year-old on my back, and later for the legalisation of home birth in Hungary. I really looked forward to this latter, and happily read in the news that they were going to regulate the issue by the spring, when I was due. Finally! I can give birth at home without worrying that the baby’s birth certificate would be issued, which paediatrician would certify the birth or if the authorities would summon me as a witness in the midwives’ misdemeanour case. In March I read the Official Journal being worried if I fulfilled the requirements of eligible women who could deliver a baby at home. And yes, I did. I was under 40 and over 18, I hadn’t had a caesarean, and I wasn’t expecting twins. I hoped I wouldn’t have an infection of Streptococcus, and for the baby to be under 4000 gr, and my hopes fulfilled in the end. I was also forced to relinquish my right to take the government grant for pregnant women (though it was a higher amount than the normal childcare allowance), because I didn’t want to develop any complications – even if only in writing. Of course, I was as healthy as a horse.
I felt very happy when I went to the Meeting of Home born Children to discuss with the midwives how to give birth at home by the book. I calculated that if they had applied for a permit to provide care during birth at home, I could hand in my application in time to deliver my baby at home. But one of them told me that they hadn’t yet made their request. To my question ‘Why?’, she answered that they still lacked a great deal of things needed.
Then I spoke to Spronz Juli, the lawyer, who informed me about what they didn’t have: a suitable course in revivification, the liability insurance and the paediatrician-neonatologist to have a contract with. The insurance seemed to be the hardest task, and as I wasn’t willing to accept that I couldn’t deliver my baby at home, I helped them look for an insurance company and then a paediatrician. Meanwhile the Ministry said that it was enough to make my announcement right before the birth, so I received a four-week delay.
At the same time I was working on plan B, too: I started seeing a doctor, but he also missed the proper permit (he still does). Then I found a midwife in St Imre Hospital (the fourth one I talked to said yes to me), to whom I told about my plans of home birth, which wasn’t allowed yet. Luckily she had a positive attitude toward it, and she showed me the delivery room, but somehow I didn’t start feeling the urge to have my baby there. It was all fine, and according to her the labour there was peaceful and uninterrupted if everything was all right, but I couldn’t feel the same trust towards her and the doctor on duty that I felt when I was with Ági and her team. Well, they had already proved their abilities! (An obstetrician told me during an antenatal care session: “That would be stupid of you to go to hospital! You have already proved at home!”) I also felt discouraged by the labour bed, which was like a table – tall and broad. How was I going to climb upon it?! By the way, there was a so called alternative, mother- and baby-friendly room, but what if that would be occupied?
As time was passing by, it seemed I had no chance of giving birth at home properly. I had only little time left, and it was unlikely that the midwives would have been granted the permission by that time. Then I started to make calls to Spronz Juli about my possible alternatives and their legal consequences. My husband didn’t want to risk anything, neither wanted us to defy the authorities. But I didn’t mean to get hospitalised attended by an unknown midwife and obstetrician, and spend three days in a strange place.
Eventually we arrived at a compromise: I was going to start the labour at home and call one of the familiar midwives. Then, with her, I was going to go to the hospital when the pushing phase started. Then, when the baby was born I was going to come home. It took me several days and sleepless nights and discussions with a lawyer to reach this compromise over the matter.
The midwife also agreed to it, but unfortunately the hospital had objections. First of all, to ensure me outpatient services they asked for a statement from the paediatrician about carrying out the BCG vaccination within six weeks of the baby’s birth. However, the paediatrician couldn’t issue that statement as he gets ten doses of vaccine at the same time and he couldn’t be sure that within six weeks he would have ten newborns in his area. Oh, wait a minute! I could understand the points of both parties, but then how would I get home after birth? Anyhow, it would work out! Well, first things first.
I asked the hospital midwife if my helper could come with me to the hospital. She said she had to discuss it with the obstetrician. Well, after a week he said no. He is said to have had a personal conflict with this midwife, but what did it have to do with me!? All I wanted was to have somebody around who had been with me during my previous births and whom I could trust! All this happened about one week before my due date. So, where on earth would I give birth?
June had arrived, when a new rule came out in connection with the registration of newborns. It stated that if the birth wasn’t a planned home birth the certification from the paediatrician wasn’t enough but there was a need for a certificate from an obstetrician. I imagined myself seeing the local obstetrician (who is a very kind person and wasn’t against my home birth) and asking him: “Doctor, if – by any chance – I happened to give birth at home, would you visit me and sign a paper that I hadn’t planned that, but it just happened this way?” Well, I didn’t dare to do that, so my secret dream of accidental birth at home (and scamming my husband) vanished. I wasn’t so much afraid of the legal consequences, but it was important to me to have the birth certificate issued without any problems.
Finally my midwife and I agreed on going to St István Hospital, because she had been let in there several times before, and making no inquires beforehand so that they didn’t have the chance to forbid anything.
An interlude: I met an acquaintance who told me about her hospital births, which hadn’t been bad at all, but could have been better. Previously I hadn’t cared about stories like these, saying that things like that couldn’t happen at home birth. But what would happen now, that I would have to go to hospital too?
The contractions started at a quarter to 5, and everyone was asleep. I tried to wake Laci at 5, but in vain. I tried again at a quarter past 5, a bit more fiercely, because the contractions had become harder and harder. Laci timed it: they were five minutes apart. I rang my parents to come and look after the elder ones, then the midwife to hurry up, because I could feel the push at my back, too. “Well, you will have to put up with a stinky midwife then, because there’s no time for washing.” said the second midwife, because the first one I had called was busy. That’s all about planning ahead…
While I was in labour my son Máté came over to me and silently watched the waves of contractions hit. From time to time he had questions. After a while I asked him: “What are you going to become when you grow up? An obstetrician?” “No, Mum, I’ve told you, I’m going to become a policeman!”
And when I was shouting because of the pain, and he must have got bored watching me, he asked: “Mum, tell me the story of Kukori and Kotkoda!”
Before the midwife arrived I had been to the toilet many times: pooped and vomited, too. I’m glad these things happened while still at home and not at the hospital.
My parents arrived, and then the midwife, too. She examined me (it was also her who had examined me on week 36, not my midwife.), and then she said that if we were to go to hospital, it was the time. So Laci removed the child car seats out of the car, put my hospital staff into (I needed a big bag, my backpack wasn’t big enough) and between two waves I was helped into the car. My mother shouted after me: “Darling, this is going to be your last labour, isn’t it?” I nodded fiercely, because I had a terrible pain.
The midwife sat behind me, and massaged my lower back. It was a Sunday morning, so the roads were empty, but even so there seemed to be too many red lights. As we entered the parking place with a bump it hurt a lot and when I got out of the car the water broke. The midwife and Laci helped me into the elevator and then towards the delivery room. There was a voice coming from the medical room telling me to go there for an examination but the midwife said that the baby was about to be born any time. I was seen to the delivery room, and told to lie upon the labour bed. I said I couldn’t do that. Finally Laci and the midwife lifted me on it and the hospital midwife put the CTG device on me. Meanwhile I had to sign the papers about giving my consents to the caesarean and other things. What else? I don’t know as between two contractions I didn’t have time to read what I was signing.
The CTG showed that the heartbeat was too slow, so I was asked to lie on my back instead of being on all fours. On my back? For the delivery? But then how would the baby come out? In the end I turned on my back and it wasn’t as bad as I had thought first. The baby’s heartbeat became normal. I even asked the doctor his name, and he said Árpád. And I said that the baby would be Attila.
From that point there wasn’t too much time until finally I had my baby, but meanwhile I had some quarrels with the obstetrician and the midwife. “Push!” they said several times. “I can push in vain, he will come when it’s time.” I thought to myself. “Open your legs!” was I told. “But then I can’t push.” said I. “But then I can’t see the baby.” they said. “You don’t have to!” I thought rebelling, but at the same time I felt that we all were working for the baby. Anyway, finally there he came, first his head and then the rest.
He was immediately put on my belly and we rested together, but he didn’t suck. Neither did he later, for quite a while. The midwife and the doctor left the room leaving me alone with Laci and my midwife. Then she left, too, and the three of us stayed there: Laci, Attila, and me. We were chatting silently, Laci informed everyone (kids, grandparents, his brother’s family) about the great news.
The baby was born at a quarter past 7, the whole labour was 2.5 hours long, out of which we spent 15 minutes in the delivery room.
Later, the medical staff came back, and asked if I wanted the baby to be given a bath. I said yes, as he had pooped himself. We had forgotten to put a diaper on him – just like with Máté.
Finally I spent two days in the postnatal ward: I had some peace, the blood was taken from him and the BCG vaccination got arranged, too.
Szabi > > >
Máté > > >
Lackó > > >
Véletlenül kiválasztott mesék.
This post is also available in: Hungarian