I know, you're probably, possibly groaning thinking that this is the longest pregnancy in Christendom. To be fair, most pregnant women think that their pregnancy was/is the longest one.
I love birth and so I'm not feeling over saturated with royal baby information. I've read some interesting articles such as Is Kate being bulied about her birth? by Milli HIll and her follow up article Has Kate's birth plan inspired a new kind of birth talk? I've also read the wonderful Sheena Byrom OBE's blog post Catching Babies: A gift for the Duchess of Cambridge. There are other articles out there. Some talking about the cost of refurbishing the new baby quarters, others talking about her severe morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum and endless 'what will the Royal baby be called?' speculations.
Despite the plethora of articles and blog posts, here I am adding in my two penneth worth. I think that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, needs a doula. I do. I truly do. Of course I would love to have my phone ring and 'get the call', but that's not likely. With my doula clients I like to spend at least two antenatal sessions with them talking about their birth hopes and preferences. Sometimes people get caught up in the whole birth plan thing but I never have a problem with people wanting to plan. I suggest that they have a couple of other plans in their bags.
Much has been made of Kate's plans to use birth hypnotherapy. Not all of it is positive. We live in a world where the media view of natural birth is that it is la la land. Of course Kate, as the Royal Bride, soon to be mother of the third in line to the throne, has been given the best team to support her as she births her baby. The fact that the perceived best are two 'surgeon-gynaecologists' rather than two midwives experienced in normal birth caused my eyebrows to rise. I know, you want to know why I feel like that (well, maybe you do). I feel like that because the lovely Kate is reported to want a natural birth. I happen to know that doctors have less and less experience in natural or indeed normal birth. They train to sort out the problems, and thank goodness for them, but how, with that training, can they know what normal looks like? How long is labour? Well, it's not what it says in the medical books. Okay, I confess, I haven't read many medical books. I do know, however, that birth is measured in terms of progress. 1cm an hour from established labour, though for some it's 1cm per hour from the moment of first assessment. With a royal baby waiting to enter the world, will the two surgeons want their moment in the sun? 'I delivered the heir to the throne'. Will they err on the side of extreme caution and worry for her 'tired cervix' a few hours into labour? Will Kate be 'allowed' to labour at home for as long as possible? So many questions and each spawning more. Do I think that these doctors are good at what they do? Yes. They are undoubtably good at what they do. Are they the best for Kate? Perhaps not, unless there is a medical emergency within her birth, and I am yet to be convinced that birth itself is a medical emergency.
So why does Kate need a doula? This is her first time on this journey. First time babies have a reputation for being 'late'. Does Kate know her options about expectant management, the risks of induction or caesarean? Will Kate be able to use informed consent? I hope so. I really hope that I am completely wrong about the two doctors charged with supporting the Duchess of Cambridge when she births her child, for make no mistake, pizzas and parcels are delivered. Babies are born and mothers created. I wish, for Kate, a perfectly normal birth. A birth where she can use water (bring in your own pool Kate, I don't think they'd say no to you... or would they?) if she wishes, plug in her hypnotherapy cd, move freely and hold on to her man as her baby, yes her baby, makes its way into her arms.