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Natalie Clauss

The very unplanned birth of my child [Part 1].

Today is Roses Revolution Day against violence in obstetrics. Violence in obstetrics is unfortunately not a rarity, but happens much more often than we can imagine. On the occasion of this special day, I want to share with you a very detailed and, I think, moving birth story from Merle. She also writes about pregnancy and early postpartum. The report is divided into three parts, below you will get to the next part. (Natalie.)

I was pregnant with our first child so far and since I was born at home myself, I had the utmost confidence in out-of-hospital obstetrics and decided that our baby should be born here in the birth center (my husband quickly realized that he couldn't change my mind on that and then - fortunately - didn't even try). At first, nothing spoke against it, but we know: First, it comes differently and second, than you think.

The pregnancy went well, until a bladder infection in the 26th week, which I hadn't noticed, caused the cervix to shorten a bit and I had to take it down a notch. However, the situation relaxed again. Six weeks later, my gynecologist found that the growth between head circumference and upper body circumference was too far apart and sent me to Evangelisches Krankenhaus for a Doppler ultrasound. There I was told that our sweetheart was in the breech position, which unfortunately didn't surprise me much, since that had been baby's preferred position since week 20 and unchanged since week 25, and that the gynecologist was right and that the upper body was too small compared to the head. No need to worry, the placenta and umbilical cord looked good, I would just have to keep coming back every week for observation, i.e. for more Doppler ultrasounds. Attention, sarcasm: Great!

My midwife's interim attempt to persuade the worm to turn by Ayurvedic moxa therapy unfortunately failed and so I heard nothing surprising at either of the two further appointments at the PA: BEL and too small upper body. I tried not to let this and the hospital gynecologist's statement that it might be necessary to get the little heart earlier worry me, since both my husband and I had always been light and slender children. So far, so good. My last visit to the PA in the 35th week of pregnancy revealed preterm labor (which I didn't think was bad and thought was just cervical pain) and another shortened cervix. I was strongly advised to spend the night in the hospital on strict bed rest. I was not very fond of this, thinking that I might as well be at home in my own bed taking my allotted antibiotics. This time, however, my husband disagreed with me and I stayed, for his sake (I wasn't convinced). It was only supposed to be one night, after all.

Late in the afternoon of the next day, I was overcome with the realization that no doctor was likely to come and check on me that day, and so one night turned into two. Great! After two days I went to a doctor again, everything had improved a bit, but I should stay for the weekend to be on the safe side. Since I, as already two days before, was of the opinion that I could do nothing at home and take tablets (that's all they did with me in the PA), I discharged myself at my own risk and celebrated a wonderful early Christmas with my father on Sunday (a dysfunctional family makes Christmas a very extended celebration :) ). Monday, I went to my gyn again, who measured that the cervix was back to normal length and thus everything was fine again, bought the last very important things for the baby and attended the last appointment of the birth preparation course. Tuesday, I was at 35+1, I had another appointment for moxen with my dear midwife in the birth center.

As usual, we talked for a bit at first until I noticed that my pants were getting wet. I went to the toilet, completely irritated, while it blubbered out of me and thought to myself that I had probably heard that the pelvic floor would suffer from pregnancy, but no one had told me that a woman would completely lose control over her bladder emptying. She doesn't. My water had broken. I wouldn't have thought of it if my midwife hadn't told me (I would have been completely overwhelmed at home, but luckily I was in the birth center). Well, Goldkindchen wanted to celebrate the real, genuine Christmas outside the belly, while she was only planned for mid-January. The Protestant Hospital, which is one of the few maternity wards that allows natural births with a breech presentation, didn't want us, since we were six days too early for the clinic without a neo-natal ward. So we had to go by ambulance to the hospital, which I had neither introduced myself to nor even considered as a place for the birth of our child. That meant for me: cesarean section. Absolute contrast to what I had wanted! I took it in stride, because every time the breech presentation was reconfirmed, I mentally went through the options that were available at the time, and at that moment there was only one.

Click here for the second part of Merle's birth report.

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