A tale of two births

When Sally (not her real name) became pregnant, she asked her friends for advice.  "Who is the best obstetrician?"  "What is the best hospital to go to?"  Various recommendations came back and Sally was a bit confused but eventually met an obstetrician who was available to see her and who delivered at the hospital that most of her friends had recommended.  Her appointments went smoothly.  She liked her obstetrician and really valued his advice and opinions.  When he made recommendations, she knew that he had the very best intentions for her and she took his advice every time.  All of her blood tests and scans were perfect.  There were no complications in her pregnancy.  Baby was healthy, she was healthy. Being a first pregnancy, it was expected that Sally's baby would engage well before labour started.  Sally's doctor believed the baby should engage by about 37-38 weeks.  As the weeks went past and her baby's head did not engage, her doctor recommended she have a caesarean on her due date, if not a few days before.  He warned that an induced labour may be long and painful, and perhaps result in a caesarean, and advised that an elective caesarean was a safe choice with minimal risks.  He was also concerned that Sally's baby was not engaging because it may be a big baby, too large to fit into Sally's pelvis.  Although Sally had wanted to have a natural birth, she was keen to meet her baby and so her caesarean was scheduled.  Although labour started a few hours before her scheduled caesarean, her doctor suggested that a caesarean was now the safest choice.  Her baby weighed 3.3Kg and was well and Sally recovered well from her caesarean.

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By the time Louise (not her real name) became pregnant, she had already read two books on pregnancy and birth that had inspired her enormously.  She was excited by what she had read and was hungry for more information.  She had some understanding of the differences between the public and private health systems, and was aware that the private system offered her the opportunity to choose her own care provider, being an obstetrician or midwife, as well as choosing her place of birth.  While Louise had heard about home births and read about them, she felt that for her first baby, she would prefer to birth in hospital with a private midwife.

Louise made initial enquiries with a midwife and after meeting her, booked in for ongoing care.  Through her pregnancy, she attended childbirth education and birth preparation courses, read widely, spoke at length with her midwife during lengthy appointments, and became an equal partner in her care.  Her appointments went smoothly.  She liked her midwife and really valued her advice and opinions.  When the midwife made recommendations, Louise knew that she had the very best intentions for her and she took her advice (almost) every time.  All of her blood tests and scans were perfect.  There were no complications in her pregnancy.  Baby was healthy, she was healthy.

Being a first pregnancy, it was thought that Louise's baby may engage well before labour started.  Louise's midwife knew that while many first babies engage before labour, it is quite normal that some babies won't engage until much later - even in labour.  As the weeks went past and her baby's head did not engage and labour did not start, Louise's midwife discussed her options with her.  Louise opted to wait for labour to start - she felt that this would be a sure sign that her baby was ready to be born, and she knew that labours that started on their own were more likely to progress well.  Louise had been very keen to have a natural birth, and when labour started - ten days after her due date - she was delighted to birth her baby in an active, drug-free water birth.  Her baby weighed 3.6Kg and both Louise and her baby were well.

Learn more about private midwifery care and antenatal shared care