Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Birth Choices

100 days to go - not that anyone is counting of course.

And I am going to do something I very, very rarely (never) do, and that is have a rant.

See, when I first got pregnant 10 years ago, I had no idea what to expect and what to do in terms of the whole bureaucracy of birth.

Heck, I didn't even have a GP. But I was in the State Capital, and therefore should have access to all options I could poke a stick at - shouldn't I?

Well, according to the doctor I went to see, not really. Mainly because we had "left it so late" (procrastination has a way of catching up with you) and partly because "she didn't believe in a few options" and so wouldn't discuss them with us - so she gave us two options.

  • Public - therefore a team of midwives, the obstetrician on call if we needed one and a few days at the local Mater hospital;
  • or Private, therefore one obstetrician the whole way through including birth at whatever local Private hospital the obstetrician was attached to.

Being the crunchy granola hippie I was, I really wanted the third option - home birth - but that was the option she didn't believe in, and all the calls to anyone who might have half an idea of what I was supposed to do that I made were not returned.

I also had a passing fancy to a fourth option - but I would have had to book in the day I ovulated to contemplate a Birthing Centre at the time.

As we had "left it so late" we were limited to our choice of obstetrician as well - but in the long run that was fine, as K was an amazing straight-talking lady who, had I known her manner I would have picked her anyway with a choice.

This time around, I wanted to have all my options available - only to be met with a rude shock (and no, I didn't leave it so late to tell the doctor this time).

My choice of obstetrician, were I to go private was 1. He is a lovely man with very reasonable prices - unfortunately there are about 3 times as many prices as there were last time around!!

My choice of hospital, whether I go private or not, is 1. The local Private Hospital no longer does Maternity. And the local Birthing Centre would be back in the State Capital.

If I were to even contemplate homebirth, the nearest midwife who offers such a service is over 200km away.

Still - I am very lucky - my cousins and SIL all have to travel at least 300km just to get to a hospital that will do maternity at all, without the consideration of obstetrician appointments and the headache of who is going to look after other children were there to be any issues. (I am doubly lucky because my Mum said yes to coming to look after 'Salina should the baby arrive before the school holidays - and she is only 200km away).

Wonder why induction rates are on the rise? I would say more to do with having to juggle childcare than women wanting to timetable their lives.

Anyhow, due to one very steep obstetrician bill coinciding with a few unpaid invoices from my business AND the fact that we made a considered decision that so long as the dugout team is supportive, it doesn't really matter who catches the baby - we will be in the same facility as the private obstetrician AND I am the most hale bloddy pregnant woman around, we are going the public option this time around - but I still have private cover up my sleeve should it be required.

However - it appears that even if I were to be so close to the centre of power as to have all birth options open to me, the bureaucrats in Canberra are moving so that no woman will have the choice to Homebirth come next year even if there were a qualified midwife.

The way it works is this - the government have finally allowed medical indemnity insurance to midwives - which should be met with a resounding cheer, should it not?

We-ell, it seems that they have tied this new legislation to a codicil that they are allowed to do so as long as they don't practice homebirthing - all join with me and say "what the"?

Oh yes, and if you are stupid enough to homebirth without a valid "but the ambulance didn't collect/I forgot to go to hospital/oh, is this a baby" excuse and you DO homebirth - you can be fined.

Now, I am pretty bemused that I will never get to have the full on home birth experience - but I have plenty of good excuses.

Not letting anyone in Australia have a Homebirth because of politics sort of pisses me off.

And you all know, very little does that for me.

Here is a YouTube of the one politician that has spoken out on it in parliament:

And yes, for all you furriners, that is the conservative side of politics telling the radicals to give more choice and get with the program - who'd a thunk?

In some things, I don't want Australia to lead the way...


Anonymous said...

It should be an available SAFE choice.
(You might also wish to send a copy of the form letter on this page to your local federal MP: http://www.homebirthaustralia.org/one-last-thing-mother-all-rallies)

Melody said...


I had 'shared care' when preggers with Monet - public of course. This meant I saw a GP every month and then I saw a Private Obs about 3 or 4 times during the course of my pregnancy. It worked out well and I had midwives deliver her in a Public hospital.

This time around, well, very different. Initally I was shit scared falling pregnant, as I found out only a month after arriving in this Arab country. Luckily for us, part of Lyndon's package included 'Gold Status' private health cover, so we never pay for a thing - including most medicines!

After a lot of piss farting around and turning up for inital appointments only not to have me listed was a nightmare but it ended up that I got to see a Head Ob at one of the cities main hospitals. I could not be happier with him either. He has an aura about him which I find relaxing and I know I am in terrific hands.

Roll on #2, due next week. *Yippee* (but still shit-scared!) :-)

Good luck with whatever route is taken. At the end of the day, all that should matter is having a healthy baby plonked into your arms. My two bob's worth anyway.

BB said...

As you know, I am not the home-birthin' type... however I would defend to the death another woman's right to have this option. Cannot BELIEVE that it is left to Laming to defend home-birthing. What an upside-down place we do live in!!!

PS If anyone thinks my lil sister doesn't get riled up by injustice regularly... well I have some prime beachside real estate for you!!

Debby said...

What I hate is that the evidence is so skewed...each time there is a 'problem birth', the beaurocrats cry 'This would not have happened in a hospital', but the fact is, it does.

I am a believer in home births. I am a believer in a woman's right to choose.

Jen at Semantically driven said...

Bloody bureaucrats! I had my son as a public patient and didn't seen an obstetrician until he was 6 weeks old. Well perhaps there was one during the birth but I don't remember. It was midwives all the way for me.

diane said...

wow we ARE due about the same time- i'm December 3rd! that's crazy about your aussie birth policies- i can't believe you can't home birth if you want to. i am just a silly american but i'm all for taking my happy ass to the hospital and getting an epidural!

ps- i don't have a habenero jelly recipe??- the baby must be giving you 'mom-nesia' ; )

MissyBoo said...

My initial plan was for a homebirth but I didn't like what I knew of the midwife I was allocated, so booked into the birth centre, my friendly private obstetrician met me in theatre for a c-section ;)

Hmmm - I don't think this message about home births from Canberra made it to WA???

Farmers Wifey said...

My first was as a public patient and the hospital had shared rooms but I was the only one in at the time so I was very lucky. I had all the attention. My next two were private and I loved that, my own room, facilities etc but I found that since I already had kids, the nurses basically left me to it.

katef - www.picklebums.com said...

Yay for your rant!
This issue is about a woman's right to choose the kind of care she wants. As you so rightly say our choices are already limited by where we live and a million other things...

For me my choices were all cancelled when I had prem babies. Stick a high risk sticker on my head and I am no longer allowed near the birth centre, nor any local/rural hospitals - despite the fact the only reason I had prem babies was because I had twins. So the choices I am left with is large city hospital an hours drive away or homebirth... or if this legislation goes though I have no choice at all.

Lets hope the pollies see sense and some real maternity reforms happen in this country which allows us all access to the birthing care we want or need.

Jayne said...

Absolute medieval BS that pollies in their high castles can dictate what choices us chicky-babes have for delivering our children.
My 2nd was born with just a midwife (and medical student) in a public hosp and I doubt there would have been much difference with this experienced professional if I'd delivered at home or hosp.
Oh, and I know plenty of women who've presented at hosp only to be told "go home, you won't deliver for hours yet" only to deliver in the car park, on the lounge room floor, in the car, one on the toilet floor, just outside the emergency doors that whoosh open, in the ambulance bay - and these decisions were made by qualified Obstetricians!

Lin said...

I went public and the midwives were fan-tas-tic. The obstetricians that were on call were horrendous though, but thank goodness they were only needed for the last 15 minutes or so.

I think the whole homebirthing thing is over the top too. Though I personally can't really understand why you would not want to be in the hospital when you give birth "just in case".

100 days, wow!