Your right to self determination for natural birthing
I have just come home from being with a woman in labour who had her birthing intentions fully respected by the staff at The Royal Women's Hospital. She gave birth naturally and without interventions (although I premise here that having to leave ones home to birth in a hospital is an intervention of a significant kind, it's one that I wont include here).
So as I drove home this morning I reflected on what has just happened and how I am feeling about it all now, what I have learned and how I can take this experience into my world in some positive way. And I wondered what the factors were that actually made her right to self determination be respected.
1. She was thorough in thinking through what was important to her about birthing her baby and she documented that in her birth plan.
2. She shared these intentions with the staff at the hospital, had discussions about it and assumed in the way she related with people that her birth plan was worthy of respect.
3. She invested time, energy and resources into setting up a support team that would help her stay true to these intentions during her pregnancy and then in labour and at the birth.
4. She did not waiver in her resolve to trust that her body and her baby would find their way to birth naturally. It took time. It took all her physical and mental effort. It took not going to a doc visit to avoid discussion about induction and just give it a few more days instead. It took her telling people during labour to read the birth plan.
5. She really lived her life with this kind of attitude about other important parts of herself.
6. Her life reflected the character traits that would help her. Some that come to mind were: staying power, willingness to deal with the issues, trust in her inner self, a careful balance of feeling in control and accepting surrender to the unknown, being fit and healthy.
7. She stayed home until night shift started, and she had reached a point where she felt safer going to hospital to have their type of support and care for birthing her baby.
8. The midwife on shift was the only one we had to work with and great rapport was developed. The midwife had skills and empathy to guide, respect and empower the birthing woman and her support team. She also advocated for the woman with other staff members. The birth space was calm, quiet, dim, undisturbed, reverent.