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Kitty’s Birth

The birth of Kitty Barbara Diane Harrison

This birth story can’t begin without first talking about the birth of my son Jasper in July 2007.

I was booked through the Midwifery Group Practice with my exceedingly normal pregnancy. The only problems I had were some back and hip pain and terrible carpal tunnel. I was well-read and researched and thought I had armed myself with excellent knowledge, a strong sense of what I wanted and a great birth plan….

Jasper took a long time to come into the world. Pre-labour went for 6 days and contractions were strong enough that I had very little sleep. By the time I was 2cm dilated on Wednesday evening I was exhausted. We arrived at the hospital around 8:30am on Thursday and my midwife wasn’t on and wouldn’t be until the next day. I was examined and was told I was“still only 2cms dilated”. What followed of course was the dreaded cascade of intervention. At some stage my waters were broken without my permission (and without my partner there) and Jasper dropped suddenly causing excruciating back pain that only ended with an epidural.

I was beyond exhausted and very upset, but I was determined to birth him vaginally so I hung in there. At one point during what was a very long night I woke from a doze with a temp of early 40 and I had momentarily forgotten I was having a baby – I thought that I had been in a car accident. They pumped me (and Jasper) with antibiotics. It was awful.

I was 7cms at 10am Friday morning and was waiting to see Dr Brian Peat whom I was told by my midwife was the most likely to ‘let’ me keep going. In he walked, telling me that he was very sorry but that it really was taking too long and that he thought a c-section was my best bet. Jasper’s heart rate had elevated but the biggest issue was me – I was sick by this stage. Sick and exhausted – I had gone into the hospital healthy and strong but now I was the perfect person to be there. I cried and felt like I had failed but I was also just desperate to have the whole ordeal over with. What a way to feel about the birth of my first child. It makes me so sad to think about it.

So what followed was my c-section. Bright light, a radio playing in the background, my lovely partner Craig dressed like an extra from Grey’s Anatomy, too many people in the room and my Mum (who I had wanted at the birth) outside in the corridor. Jasper was born with AGPARs of 8 and 9. He was 9 pounds 8 ounces, healthy, strong and beautiful. He was passed over my head for a quick look before being whisked away. Next thing he was placed on my chest wrapped up so tight all I could see was his little face. I was shaking so hard my partner had to hold him on my chest for me. I went to recovery and my midwife and partner fought for him to not be filled with antibiotics. I had a haemorrhage and felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Jasper was brought back to recovery and my midwife stripped him for some belated skin to skin. He had a small feed and then we headed to the postnatal ward. We were so desperate to go home and escape the contradictory advice and often terrible care we received by many of the midwives on the ward (taking him for blood tests without our permission, trying to push us to feed him formula, actively trying to get him dressed and into a cot instead of encouraging skin to skin contact) so we signed ourselves out of hospital 2 nights after he was born. Not without the midwives on duty basically telling us we were putting our son at huge risk.

Once home we properly started our journey as new parents and it was lovely. But always in my mind was that I had failed. I hadn’t fought hard enough for what I wanted, what was best for us… Well-meaning family and friends kept reminding me that we were both healthy and how lucky I was. I had no breast feeding issues, no trouble bonding, but what I did have was a massive scar on my abdomen to remind me of Jasper’s less then happy entrance into the world.

Jump to 2008 and the discovery of my second pregnancy. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I knew what I had to do. I had gone over Jasper’s birth so many times… I knew that I wanted a natural birth and I knew that the most likely place I could achieve it was at home with an independent midwife. I knew that to succeed I needed continuity of care, someone who would be with me the whole time whether the labour went for 1 hour or 65 hours! Craig supported me wholeheartedly.

I had been reading Lisa’s blog for a while and I loved her approach to birth and especially her approach to VBAC. I rang the WCH and asked to speak with Dr Peat – I had a conversation with him about VBAC and homebirth and while he didn’t actively encourage homebirth, he felt that it could be possible for me and that I was a great c sndidate for VBAC. He recommended Lisa as the midwife of choice (remember this, it’s important to the story later on!).

imgp2624So began my journey with Lisa and with her wonderful friend and trainee midwife Honey. I felt at ease with Lisa immediately. Her treatment of my pregnancy as absolutely so normal regardless of my previous c-section was exactly what I needed. We talked about uterine rupture and any other risks but it was never from a place of fear. She helped me regain trust in my body. It didn’t take long to count Lisa and Honey as friends. I loved that the relationship between us was like this. The conversation swinging from the impending birth to Lisa’s children to music we liked, helped me greatly in making the pregnancy boringly normal. I loved the way my son Jasper was included – I still have drawings he and Honey drew and he still loves listening to my belly!
At one appointment Lisa brought all of her diagrams, her plastic pelvis and her baby doll to show Craig and me exactly how a baby descends and is birthed. Even though we’d read every book under the sun, this made it so much clearer. Craig liked that a lot and he also liked that he and Lisa shared a love of gory horror films (I HATE them and had a recurring nightmare of hiding behind the couch in labour while Craig and Lisa watched reruns of Nightmare on Elm Street).

At 36ish weeks I had a false labour. For two days and two nights, it had us all fooled. The whole team mobilised including my Mum. Lisa stayed and we waited for the labour to progress*. I kept telling Lisa, “It’s not getting more painful”. By the next day it became evident that not only was I not dilated but the baby was probably breeched. Lisa and I talked about what this would mean. What we decided was that I would stick to my plan. I fully believe like Lisa that breech is a variation of normal. Apparently breech babies can cause false labours. Very frustrating!

* On a side note, when my false labour started Honey was 10 hours into a drive back to Townsville – she offered to turn around and come back. I’m so glad she didn’t! What followed was weeks of irritating pain. Unlike Braxton hicks these ‘niggles’ would keep me well awake at night and often leave me short of breath. At about 39 weeks I was woken at 1am to a phenomenal lurching pain in my belly. The baby had turned – head down, bum up. We were all ready to go. There was only one problem. I was due just before the Homebirth Retreat weekend. I would have liked to have had the baby then because I liked the idea of birthing at the retreat with GLORIA LEMAY (I joked that Lisa could still be my backup) but really I didn’t want to ruin her or Honey’s weekend. Luckily baby stayed in (I loved the text from Lisa – ‘You are a legend for not birthing this weekend!’) but now I was under pressure to go into labour before Honey went back to Townsville for good. I really wanted her to be at my birth.

imgp2627But this baby had a plan of its own. I had been having lots of niggly pre-labour again and it was very frustrating. I was getting tired and fearful that I would be exhausted if the labour was long like Jasper’s. I decided to have some acupuncture to attempt to move things along. Off I addled to Aaron Slape. He told Craig I would be over an hour so Craig nipped off to work to finish a few things off. After 40 minutes Aaron had to call Craig because I was having quite reasonable contractions about 3 minutes apart and he thought I should head home. This was 2pm. He said he was 99% sure I’d be in active labour within 24 hours. Even though I knew this was the early stage of labour I really wanted Lisa and my Mum close by. Unfortunately Honey had left to go back to Townsville. I was sad she wasn’t there. Lovely Lisa turned up that evening. It was quite a jolly affair… Lisa, Mum, Craig, Jasper and me. A birth pool set up but not filled. Some nice food, Love Actually on DVD (no slasher flicks thank goodness!). At about 11pm Craig and Mum tottered off to bed. I was happy on one couch and Lisa curled up on the other. We attempted to watch Pride and Prejudice but both fell asleep. At that point the contractions were still a little irregular but enough to wake me. My memory of that night sleeping on the couch was the smell of Lisa (very pleasant patchouli type smell) mixing with the scent of clary sage and the fact that every time I moved or got up she checked on me. I felt very safe and quietly very excited.

At about five in the morning the contractions were closer together and I had a bloody show.

Now it started to seem very real. My recollections of that morning are not that clear but at some point we urged Lisa to go do her postnatal appointments. I have a pathological problem with holding people up/being a nuisance so felt very bad that Lisa was stuck with me when other people needed her! Besides, my labour with Jasper was very slow so I thought this would be too. So Lisa went off, Mum played with Jasper and Craig pottered with me. At about 12pm Mum went off for an hour or two to see a hand specialist. She had been waiting for this appointment for ages so I urged her to go also. At 1pm I was hit with a new wave of contractions. They were quite full-on so I hopped into the shower. Pretty much at the same time Jasper woke up. The contractions were very painful and Craig stood outside the shower and reminded me to breathe. During each contraction I literally hung from the showerhead and in between them sat on a stool that Craig had put into the shower for me. I recall Jasper pulling faces and smiling and laughing through the glass. I recall Craig thinking out loud that he could rig up some kind of bar for me to hang off of so I wouldn’t break the shower head. I recall being quite loud and worrying about the neighbours. I recall urging Craig to organise the birth pool. I definitely recall a rising feeling of panic. It hurt so much! And I recall needing to wee but just not being able to. Bless Craig! He managed to organise the pool, play with our son and run back into the bathroom for each contraction. He was great. Craig called Lisa to let her know what was going on and she headed back as soon as she could. When she walked in I immediately felt better, but when she asked me to sit on the toilet I thought she was bloody mad. But I did what she said. I sat and Lisa sat on the floor in front of me. And when each contraction hit she held fast to my hands, breathed with me and I honestly felt like a little boat in a terrible storm and Lisa was my anchor keeping me steady and safe. I realised that there was a pattern to it all and that I could ride this out. Occasionally Lisa would leave to help Craig with the pool. By that stage my Mum was back. When a contraction hit I would yell and someone would come running to hold me steady.

My recollection is that not being able to wee was a bit of a problem. I think we tried a catheter at some point but couldn’t get it in because I couldn’t lie still. Eventually I’m sure I managed it. I think about 5pm I asked to get in the pool. It was all ready and I waddled my way out of the bathroom to the most beautiful sight. The pool was set up in our beautiful family room. The candles were lit and my photos set up where I could see them. Photos of Jasper, Craig and my Mum, Dad and sister Christie. And my favourite photo of my Grandma standing amongst the glory vines. I remember wishing she was alive to be a part of her great grandchild’s birth. Into the birth pool I went. And it was good! I think in my head I hoped it would take away all the pain, which it didn’t, but it was still great. I took a little while to get comfy but I eventually found the position I wanted to be in.

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I only have a few memories of the next five or so hours. The first was being so happy my body was warm but so annoyed that my head was so hot! Craig, Mum and Lisa fixed it with ice-cold washers and a fan. I also remember Jasper so desperately wanting to get in for a swim. It was lovely between contractions seeing my gorgeous boy playing about but not so great during! At one point he threw a toy in the pool in a “whoops! I’d better jump in and get that out” kind of way. I remember that it made me laugh. Me birthing was just another day for him albeit one with a bit of a party atmosphere and a SWIMMING POOL INSIDE! I remember vomiting a bit and apologising (there I go again with the apologising) that I got some on Lisa. I remember someone always being right there, soothing my brow or holding my hand. But most of all I remember my waters breaking. I had told Lisa during one of our prenatal visits that I just wanted my waters to break on their own. I wanted to experience the feeling. It was quite amazing. Jasper had gone to bed and we were all floating/sitting quietly. According to Craig there was an audible pop. I remember thinking only I had heard it in my head. It was quite wonderful and strange to feel the gush in the birth pool. I think there may have been a little meconium but there wasn’t any panic. So on it went… Lolling, contracting, occasionally chucking!

A little later, I’m not sure when, I felt a bit ‘pushy’. Lisa told me to go with my body so I started to push. It’s hard to explain this, but suddenly my body just sort of took over. With each contraction my body would push quite hard and the pain changed. At first I thought it might just be what was meant to be happening but then on each push I started to bleed. Lisa had her torch and was checking but I was feeling a little panicked. The pain was building and was quite sharp and with each involuntary ‘push’ I could feel blood spurting out (apparently it wasn’t a huge amount each time but it felt like it). Lisa asked me to get out so she could check what was happening. Getting out was awful. The internal wasn’t great but I couldn’t complain as it was the first internal I’d had and Lisa was brilliant at dodging the awful pushy contractions. 7cms dilated.

Lisa wasn’t sure what was causing the pushing so we tried to get me into a few positions to take the pressure off my cervix, such as head down bum up but I couldn’t cope with the pain. We tried breathing and lying on my side. Nothing helped. I felt like I’d gone from internal moaning to wild banshee shrieking (apparently I hadn’t – I just kept saying “oh no oh no it’s happening again!” and then moaning very loudly). It was quite strange not having any control over these awful pushes. In between contractions we talked options. Lisa talked about the fact that there was no evidence to say that you couldn’t push on an undilated cervix for an extended period of time but I think we were all feeling quite concerned about the blood loss and pain. We made the decision to transfer.

We called an ambulance (BIG MISTAKE). They treated it like an emergency, which it wasn’t. Two ambulances arrived – we have no idea why. One horrible officer tried to make me get on the stretcher in the driveway (I wanted to walk to the ambulance) while I was having a contraction. When I climbed on I half lay on my side in a position that was marginally better then on my back and he strapped me in trapping my arms! I panicked a bit and the nicer officer helped me get my arms out. They then bumped me over the brick driveway which was very painful. They had a trainee so Lisa couldn’t fit in the ambulance and Craig had to ride in the front. I was alone with the awful officer who pulled my arm off the rail I was hanging on to for dear life during a contraction to take my blood pressure. He couldn’t bloody wait. Poor Craig was in the front calling out to help me through contractions whilst the awful officer and trainee talked about how much they liked donuts. I kid you not. Poor Mum was left at home to stay with Jasper and clean up all the blood before he woke in the morning. She was very worried but knew I was in good hands with Craig and Lisa. On arrival at the hospital, the nicer officer who drove unstrapped me so I could get on my knees for the trip to the labour ward. Then it was all systems go. Lisa was there explaining what was going on. They were doing all their checks and jamming needles and then tubes into the back of my hand. I just wanted the pushing and agonising pain to stop. They gave me gas and a sedative which did nothing for my pain but made me feel monumentally stoned. Finally a decision was made that they would give me an epidural to attempt to stop the pushing and give me (much wanted by now) pain relief.

The epidural was uneventful really except for the excruciating pain of trying to bend forward and stay still during contractions and strangely, for the sheer comedy of the anaesthetist. Beyond the fact that she repeatedly told me that I wasn’t to touch my back (at this point I wasso in so much pain I couldn’t have even guessed what my back was let alone reach around for it) she looked bloody hysterical. Apparently they only order the sterile paper gowns that they use in extra large because most anaesthetists are tall men. This woman would have been lucky to have been 5 foot. The midwife had to roll up her sleeves and bundle her into it. She honestly looked like a 12 year old playing hospital dress ups. A 12 year old was about to put a massive needle in my back. All I could do was giggle and cry a little.

So epidural in, pain and pushing relieved… let the games begin. We knew the score. My previous child was a c-section. We knew that they would push for another but I felt strong with my team. Lisa advised me well and I asked to not have another internal for 4 hours. At one point I let them do an ultrasound to see if baby’s position was ok. It all seemed good so we rode it out. The night became a lesson in bedside manner. One Obstetrician came right out and said he didn’t think I’d have a vaginal birth and that he advised a c-section. I told him respectfully that I disagreed. My overnight midwife on the face of it seemed kind but quietly attempted to undermine me with her own take on risks. Little comments about my temp rising (it went to 38 and came down with panadol) and that my baby was tachycardic (baby wasn’t, even I could tell that and I said so). One Obstetric Registrar had a quirky bedside manner that put me a little on edge but actually was quite supportive and at one point when I hit 8cms told me it was great progress. It’s funny how the way a sentence is said can make all the difference. The crucial thing was having my support team of Lisa and Craig and the knowledge that they couldn’t do anything to me without my permission. However, it still became a tactical game. I allowed certain things to be done like the ultrasound so I wouldn’t be seen as too difficult. I guess you could say we were hoping by letting them do that that they would respect choices I made such as 4 hourly internals rather than hourly. The night dragged on. Lisa and Craig attempted to sleep on the floor and in chairs (I’m sure I apologised for that also!) and during the night we had a few discussions about the state of things and how we would handle different scenarios. We knew as it dragged out that certain medical practitioners would probably put more pressure on. Our one major hope was that Dr Peat was on in the morning and we felt hopeful that he would support us.

I was so sure that it would be all right that I discussed with Craig my sister looking after Jasper from when he woke so Mum could come to the hospital for the birth. In the morning we had a wonderful stroke of luck in the form of Mary Mills our new hospital midwife. By that stage I think Lisa and I were a bit suspicious of anyone who came into the room. We were talking at one point about the state of my birth and Mary was listening in. I’m pretty sure we asked her (possibly a little rudely) what she wanted and she answered in her lovely English accent that she wanted to be on the same page as us. Turns out she birthed her two children at home in England. My Mum turned up and I was so glad to see her. It’s funny how in difficult moments I always want my Mum. Now we were just waiting for Dr Peat. I’m not sure what time it was but during the morning he appeared. He walked in, said a brief hello to Lisa and without even blinking (or examining me) told me that he thought a c- section was the way to go but I had a reprieve because he had a surgery to do but he’d be back later. Bloody hell, such excellent bedside manner! Another obstetric registrar who we had seen a few times came in and did another internal. I was 9cms with a cervical lip. I felt more confident.

Lisa, Craig and I had another chat about what our next move would be. I was quite sure that I could push but we talked about the worst case scenario just to prepare. I got quite tearful when discussing Jasper’s c-section and we talked about what I wanted to be different if it came to having surgery. We talked about listening respectfully to Dr Peat’s opinion before making choices. There is so much irony in us talking about being respectful. Sometime after 10am Dr Peat again graced us with his presence. In writing this next part of our story I have to say that I cannot convey the aggression, bullying and appallingly disrespectful manner in which Dr Peat talked to me and my support team. I think everyone who was there still feels shocked and affronted by his treatment of me (and all of us). He stormed in. Literally stormed and pretty much began with a raised voice saying that enough was enough, that it had gone on for too long and that he had taken the liberty of scheduling me in for surgery. I said no, I didn’t want surgery and he made some patronising statement about how he doesn’t want surgery either but sometimes we have to (honestly, what the fuck!? He’s not the one being told he has to have surgery!). I asked him to do an examination (he hadn’t done one) because the last registrar had found me 9cms. He basically inferred that she didn’t know what she was doing and REFUSED to examine me. I had begun to cry, which annoyed me no end because I didn’t want to seem weak but I was so shocked by his yelling at me. I asked him why he wanted to section me and he did the usual bullying scare tactics “such high risk… uterine rupture risk is so high blah blah blah”. I again asked him to examine me and he refused. Lisa got involved whilst hanging onto my hand to keep me calm. He kept yelling but eventually agreed to do an examination saying that it wouldn’t change his opinion. Amazingly because I wouldn’t have put it past him to lie he told me I was 10cms but that baby was at spines so he still wanted to do a section. Lisa told him we wanted to try pushing so he yelled a little more and then presented his only other option – to take me to surgery, try forceps and then proceed to a c-section if that didn’t work. Needless to say I said no. At that point he yelled, “I don’t care what you do! I wash my hands of you!” and stormed out. I’m pretty sure there was a stunned silence while we all picked our jaws up off the floor. Then Mary piped up with, “well I guess the good thing is that he’s not likely to come back”. Unbeknownst to me (because I was bawling and Craig was trying to console me) my wonderful Mum had shot out of the room after him. She basically told him that the way he had spoken to me was appalling. She told him that we had been told that as long as I was ok and baby was ok that I should be able to birth this baby vaginally and she couldn’t understand why I couldn’t have the opportunity to try. His charming response was, “well if you’re the expert, do what you like!”.

Back in the room Lisa suggested we all take a breather to calm down and have a cup of tea. When we were all back together again I recall Lisa looking at Mary and then saying, “well we’d better push this baby out!”And so began the final and most amazing hour and a bit of my life so far! Mary bumped off the epidural and at first Lisa had to tell me when to push. I got the hang of it quite quickly but also very quickly got a terrible pain in my back. Mary gave me a little epidural boost and we went for it. It got very painful again very fast but by now I was well into pushing as absolutely hard as I can. I managed to roll onto my hands and knees but strangely baby wasn’t descending as well as when I was on my back sitting up. It was all a little Hollywood. Lots of yelling, grunting and sweating… a bit melodramatic really but we were under the gun knowing that the pressure was on so to get this baby out before we were hassled again. There was no ‘breathing the baby out’ it was full eye-popping pushing! Craig and Mum ran back and forth with cold face washers and took the full force of me gripping their hands and yelling. They also copped my narkiness – I would go from wanting them to hold me and wipe my face and talk to me to me yelling at them to, “Stop touching me” and, “Shut up! Don’t talk!” Lisa and Mary on the other hand were treated very kindly! Bloody hell it was hard! I remember saying out loud at one point that I couldn’t do it but inside I knew I could. I looked outside and it was raining stormily… a perfect time to birth a baby. Lisa called out that baby was crowning. She told me to reach down and feel. Before I put my hand down I expected from the absolute stretching and pain that I was feeling that my baby’s head must be almost completely out. What a bloody shock when all I felt was a tiny patch on the top of its head. It makes me laugh in hindsight that I said something appropriate like, “oh that’s wonderful,” when inside I was thinking, “That’s IT? You’ve got to be kidding! All that pushing for a tiny patch of head! FUCK!” But hey, I’ve always been very polite.

If I recall correctly different people came into the room at different times including the registrar obstetrician who I think was worried something might go wrong and her head would be on Dr Peat’s chopping block. She did make the funniest comment of the morning when I was yelling at Craig “Don’t touch me!” she piped up that she says that to her boyfriend all the time and she’s not even in labour! So more pushing, yelling and encouragement. Just when I thought that I couldn’t go much further something shifted. Lisa encouraged just a bit more of a push from me and out shot my baby’s head complete with posterior arm. And then a second later, out shot her body and she was scooped up and rushed up onto my chest!

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I couldn’t believe it. Literally couldn’t believe it. My Mum and Craig were laughing and bawling with me. It felt so surreal and triumphant. After all the stress I had done it! Here was my baby all squishy and resplendent and charmingly covered in her own poo (she christened herself and me as she came out) staring at me and me at her. At some point I checked her gender and could not believe I’d birthed a girl, I was so sure I was having another boy! In fact I was so sure she was a boy about an hour after she was born I made someone check again! The laughing and crying seemed to go on for a long time. It struck me how wonderful it was for my mother to be sharing the birth of the third generation of women in our family. I was so ecstatic that she could share it with me. Craig and I kept looking at each other in shock… Amazing. Just a normal birth. In a video taken straight after she was born all you can hear is me repeating “I can’t believe I just did that” and Lisa telling me that “yes, you did and you were fabulous!” Bless Lisa!

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At some point we birthed the placenta and Craig cut the cord. Because of the way Lisa is holding the cord up between my legs for Craig to cut, and because of the cheesy smile on Craig’s face it looks like he’s cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of my vagina. It’s a hysterical photo which I’d love to share but it’s seriously graphic! Eventually I got up to have a shower as I was literally covered in baby poo! Craig got his first beautiful skin to skin cuddle. He was glowing. I remember Lisa gently washing my back in the shower and feeling so thankful that she was in my life… My sister and brother in law arrived with Jasper who was not at all interested in the baby, more in the bath in the corner. I couldn’t believe how huge Jasper was! I was so pleased to see them all and so pleased to share such an immediate moment with my sister. My sister took Jasper home for a sleep and my Dad turned up. We all basked in the newest addition’s beauty. It may not have been at home but it was wonderful. A few hours after she was born, I walked out of the hospital carrying my baby and took her home to start our life as a family of four.

Welcome earthside – Kitty Barbara Diane Harrison (or Rufus to Lisa)
Born 15/5/09 at 12:15pm
AGPARs of 9 and 9
9 pounds 6 ounces

As a side note: Lisa wondered whether the uncontrollable pushing came about because of Kitty’s posterior arm. It’s possible her hand was against my bowel causing me to push…

27 responses to “Kitty’s Birth”

  1. Anonymous

    Congratulations!!!! And good on you for sticking it up them. It's about time they realised it's about the womans choices and NOT theirs. You should be so proud of yourself! (and your support team)

  2. Jo Baulderstone

    Far Out! Thanks so very much for sharing that story.

  3. Emma Someone

    Bawling my eyes out here – it is SUCH an amazing story, even having heard it in person, and such a gorgeous woman and baby and family :) . Congratulations!!!

  4. Claire Hall

    Wow – I was captivated. You are a legend – how awsome. And well done to the support team for supporting your choices in the face of such bullying.

  5. Kel

    yay you. Incredible. Just amazing. And yay team. Whose baby was it, whose body was it, oh thats right, opps, forgot, it was his, wasnt it? Well done.

  6. Goose

    Absolutely Amazing, well done!

  7. Laura Jane

    Crikey – what a triumph!

    I would havce loved to be a fly on the wall…we've got a doc somewhat like that at our place too.

    COngratulations!

  8. Tara Lucia Zaicz

    Thanks so much for sharing….. just goes to show what is possible when a women trusts herself and her baby and also has the wonderful support and encouragement of family and an incredible midwife. This story is so special – we are planning a homebirth for our first child and it was wonderful to hear the reality of hospital transfers that are sometimes forgotten….. So inspiring!

  9. TheFeministBreeder

    Oh my goodness! First off all, congratulations to you! Second of all, boy, do I know EXACTLY what you were feeling through all that. We're a world away from each other but our birth experiences were almost identical! My doula saw your post and forwarded this to me. Unreal. My son was born exactly a year before yours, and was only 4 ounces bigger. I had the doctor scare tactics, the cervical lip, and all!

    Here's my story – I feel like we're long lost sisters of sorts now! http://thefeministbreeder.typepad.com/the_feminist_breeder/2008/05/jules-michael-birth-story.html

  10. sue cookson

    I have just read your story and say ho to you and your partner, mother and Lisa.
    I want to comment particularly on the posterior arm bit – every woman I have ever been with who feels that incredible pain in her sacrum at pushing, has a posterior arm or hand up. It obviously pushes on nerves in the sacrum.

    Good on you all for pushing through the stuff from the obstetrician. He was once a true advocate but somewhere along the way he has succumbed to his ego.

    Good on Rufus/Kitty for pushing through all the dramas of her birth!

    Sue Cookson

  11. Judy

    What a woman! So strong and what a wonderful team you had. It is sooo hard to stand up to the bullying.

  12. Lisa Barrett

    AS the story says. I was totally taken aback. This Ob has always been supportive to me and my clients, before I have in the past had a great relationship which has helped me lots.

    The opinion was that he was stressed.
    There is NO excuse for treating another human being let alone a labouring one in this way. I was particularly gutted because I now have no Ob that I would trust.
    There is no amount of description that can convey the amount of aggression he showed. Boy it must have been a bad day!!!

  13. Rebecca

    What a wonderful story – thanks SO much for sharing!! As I read it, I felt my heart soar, then tumble then 'awwww' then gasp….. :) and finally finish with tears!

    lol – Lisa, you have some large expectations to live up to now……………… :P

  14. Anonymous

    What an incredible story – what a triumph in the face of such disrespect! Congratulations to you all, your amazing support team, and amazing mother and baby.

    I'm so disappointed to hear this account of Brian – I had thought we had one or two good obstetricians here in Adelaide, obviously not!

  15. Emsi

    Hi everyone.

    This is my story and I've been overwhelmed by all your comments! Thank you for reading and writing! I honestly hadn't expected such a response!

    This story is testament to the need for women (especially having VBAC's) to access homebirth with an independent midwife. I could not have done it without Lisa. Her knowledge and unwaivering support made me strong. We will be marching in Canberra for all women and midwives but especially for Lisa, my future births and my daughter's possible births…

    It makes me so sad to hear some of you say that this sort of treatment is happening elsewhere…

    I'm still in the process of formal complaints… I've been offered a formal apology but think more needs to happen then that. This situation NEVER should have happened.

    Thank you again, you have warmed my heart!

    xxx Emma

  16. Anna

    Wow. What a riveting read. Well done on birthing your baby the way you knew was best. So sad you had to put up with that abuse. If more women and support teams were as confident and knowledgable as you lot the obs would get away with far less scare-mongering than at present. That was so great of your mum to go and tell him what she thought, the mama bear comes out!

    YOur story moves me so much. So glad you got to feel exhilirated from birth!

  17. Allison E

    What a fantastic story. I am sitting with a goofy smile on my face at the sheer joy and triumph portrayed in it. Congratulations to you all.

  18. Katie

    Wow just reading that sotry made me cry. I am so proud of you.

  19. Aurora Everwinter

    much love to you, what a journey. and what a horrible way to be treated in labour, or even when you're not in labour! but like the nice midwife said, 'he's not likely to come back now' so you had the space to yourself!

    congratulations xx Aurora

    p.s. THIS is evelynn, not the katie poster above!! :P i can see how it fooled you tho :P

  20. Marie-Andree

    ohhhh, what a story…well done to persevere! I am also in admiration as to how you can remember everything and write it all down..Thank you for that. I had tears in my eyes throughout the whole of your experience.
    Dr. Peat must have known he was going to 'loose' and must have had lots of different emotions about it. Did you ever try to talk things through later together..?
    After all it is about cooperation. He should have known about the arm and the pain it can cause and therefore could have reassured you. Everybody has to cooperate, and to offer the best they individually can. Everybody from their own profession. I am a Cranio Sacral Therapist and hope to be able to be present at the birth of a client of mine who is a midwife. She has asked me to join the birth, it will be my first in this profession, although I have been present at births as a nurse and as a birth nurse at home births. I had my own daughters at home in spite of my age (39 and 41)…
    Do you Lisa have experience with CS therapy during or after pregnancy or birth?
    Wishing you all lots of love and happiness so that the oxytocine can flow and flow to cope with the
    extraordinary lifehappenings!
    Marie-Andree Brands from the Netherlands

  21. LacyJ

    Amazing! Thanks for writing this story. I wish my transfer had been so successful. I’ll take your courage and that of your support team to my next birth which I hope will be a HBAC or at least a VBAC.

  22. Kylie

    What an amazing story and all I can say is well done for sticking to your guns…I had to do the same to get what I wanted with Dr Brian Peat. After having lots of problems with my first birth I chose to have a c-section the second time around and was booked in with Dr McCormick on the 31st July 2009 but went into labor on the 24th July. After a 2 hour drive from the country to give birth at the WCH, I was left to wait for hours in womens assessment because the receptionist decided that “I didn’t look like I was about to have a baby!”. I actually had next to no pain the whole time just a backache and what I thought at the time were braxton hicks. By the time they saw me and took me to the labor ward I was 8cm dilated. The whole time I kept saying that I wanted the c-section that I had planned and they all tried to talk me out of it. Next thing I knew, Brian Peat was standing at the end of my bed yelling at me “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?” and I explained that after my last child I couldnt walk for 12 months so I’m not taking the chance of that happening again with 2 kids to look after. He continued to yell at me and my husband and then eventually threw his arms up in the air and walked out the door calling me a f@#*ing idiot on the way out! I’ve since heard that he is known for doing that kind of thing often and can’t understand how he still has a job???

  23. Kylie

    I just read your comment about you being offered an apology…I wrote a 4 page letter explaining what happened to me and how it ruined the whole experience for my husband and I (as I was still crying in theatre, scared that he was going to come in) and sent it to the complaints department and the heads of just about every department in the place and all I got was a letter saying that they were bringing in someone independant to investigate him. After about 9 months I got a letter saying the investigation was over but they could not inform me as to the outcome. So I’m supposed to just forget about it now? Not likely!

  24. Michelle Wallis

    Thanks for sharing your story. I had a very traumatic birth with my first child and reading your words has been very healing for me. Thank you.
    xx

  25. Isa

    It was a lovely story, I am glad things worked out well for all concerned in the end (though maybe not the Doc!) I have had a c-section for a breech baby, vbac in hocpital and am considering the proand cons for homebirth for the third, at least I’ll be able to tell people what worked best for me (and no it definetly wasn’t the c-section.) My thoughts on your article were What if it had gone wrong, if you had an adverse outcome? you were in undeniably a long abour and medical staff contrary to many beliefs are not out to ‘get’ you. the issue I have is that how do you balance empowerment and safe birthing?
    Thankyou for sharing your story it was very brave.

  26. Emsijane

    How did I balance empowerment and safe birthing? Safe birthing was always first. I made all my decisions (including transferring) based on the clinical facts at hand in discussion with Lisa and later hospital staff. I think all women who homebirth choose safe birthing first. Being in control of your birth and making decisions based on fact is what empowers you. I based ALL my decisions on fact.

    I had my midwife and a hospital midwife, I had another registrar obstetricians who was supportive of me birthing vaginally. I was also on continuous fetal monitoring and at NO POINT was my baby (or me) at any risk of major harm or death. Dr Brian Peat’s issues had nothing to do with the clinical situation at hand. There was no evidence to say that I couldn’t push my baby out and there was no evidence to show that there would even be a problem.

    And if it had gone wrong then I would have dealt with it. I made the decisions based on the facts. The facts told me that it was safer to push my baby out then have a repeat Csection. That’s not brave, it’s knowledge and trust in a brilliant care provider.

  27. Shae

    Hi just read your story & feel your very biased in your opinions of doctors & hospitals. You say your first birth sad as didn’t get to hold your child straight after birth only saw him wrapped & little head seen. AND? I have read alot of articles from women who say their birth traumatic (?!) as had c-section. Really you all need to get perspective on it. So what if you had a ceaserean! You got pregnant to have a baby not a birth. I have been pregnant 5 times my first child died I didn’t get to hold him until he was given to me to hold while we said our goodbyes. He was born via csection. I have had two c-sections & a vbac. It doesn’t matter if you birth naturally or surgically. Doctors undergo enormous amounts of stress & truly want best outcome for both mum & baby. I would have a c-section any day & get to take my baby home. Instead of leaving the hospital with empty arms. Not about the birth it’s about the family. Shae mother of 3 two i can hold in my arms & one i hold in my heart.