The Birth Centre: 4 cm or you’re out !

June 15, 2010

We arrived at 2 am at the Birth Centre. Apparently you were supposed to phone just before coming in..oh well…there we were…I wasn’t going back over a million speeds humps just to say: “I am coming in now.”

The midwife examined me and declared my 2 cm dilated. Apparently you need to be 4 cm dilated before you were allowed to stay. That was that.

I felt absolutely terrible. My problem was that it is very difficult to stay calm, breathe through contractions AND argue your way into staying in the birth centre.

There I lay knowing everything I knew: I knew of women who had refused to go home and were admitted at 2 cm. I also knew that I was only 2 cm away from an arbitrary hurdle AND I knew (because one had told me so herself) that midwives can only estimate the centimeters so I could have been 1 cm or 3 cm dilated for all I knew. I knew it all but all I could articulate was: “Can I please stay.”

Had I had a bath ? – No

I was doing fine. I was breathing and coping well. I should just go home and come back later.

This was the second it dawned on me…I was too much in control. I bet you…a woman who is kicking and screaming and makes a real fuss is allowed to stay at 2 cm. Someone who keeps breathing and just says it’s time for her to come in is sent back. For a split second I contemplated if I should not simply let the desperation I was feeling overwhelm me but then I decided that I should try and remain calm and breathing at any price – even despite the awful prospect of going back home and not knowing how I would ever manage to get back to the hospital again.

In fairness I was offered to stay in the ante-natal ward. But the midwife painted a very dark picture of the ward. It was clear what she wanted me to do: Go home and take a bath.

So I did. But I felt terrible about it. It really felt that I was out there on my own, the midwife wasn’t prepared to help me and that I simply wasn’t taken seriously.

By the time I had gone back over a million painful speed humps and got home my contractions had virtually stopped. Talk about adrenalin getting rid of contractions….

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