Having had two past miscarriages and some complications at the beginning of this pregnancy I was consultant led until I was 23 weeks. There were worries that my cervix was too short and I may need a stitch and that my placenta was very low possibly needing C-section.
I moved to Leeds form York and the first question I was asked was which hospital I wanted to give birth in, which I felt unprepared for.
I also had a number of other issues e.g. always being rushed and not being given the full information on what was available in Leeds. I found out about One to One through my local yoga class.
As soon as I’d been switched back to midwife led care I decided to refer myself. I was contacted by Rebecca within a few days of doing so and saw her the following week. Within 5 minutes I knew that the referral had been the single most important thing I’d done in this pregnancy.
Being given information on all the choices I had and all the decisions that needed to be made was immediately empowering and very important for me. Being able to make my own decisions and have control over my own body and healthcare were very important to me. I don’t think I would have been able to feel that way had I continued seeing the community midwife.
When Rebecca asked if I had considered a home birth I realised no one else had put that question to me and that we hadn’t even thought it would be possible. Over the following few weeks I spoke with my husband about it, read up on the available research and mulled it over. I had a feeling of calmness as I realised that it was the right choice for us. My second midwife Amanda was the one who attended the birth of Grace and having met her a few times before the day I knew I could completely trust her. What’s more, being someone who doesn’t like to show vulnerability I felt I could ask her questions and be unsure as I knew that wouldn’t mean control would be taken away from me (which is what I fear would happen in a hospital setting or with individuals who don’t know me).
My experience of the birth was utterly amazing, overwhelmingly positive and very empowering for me. Knowing I could trust Amanda and she trusted in my ability to birth my baby meant that at no point did I panic or feel I couldn’t do it. Amanda listened to baby’s heartbeat 3 times during the labour but apart from that I managed to labour without any interventions or drugs, which was so important to me. Both my mum and husband were at the birth and both had met Amanda before. I know this was really important, especially for my husband, who had previously felt excluded from the whole experience (which mirrored how he was treated when we lost our previous pregnancies). Being in my own home, supported by someone I knew, trusted and liked (not a given) meant I experienced the birth as beautiful, positive and I felt in control throughout the whole labour.
Little Grace was born after just 5 hours and despite having to go into hospital for stitches I still feel the experience, as a whole was amazing.
Being in hospital, being seen by a number of different midwives, consultants and nurses confirmed to me how stressful I found that. Crucially, because Grace didn’t feed straight away I felt a lot of pressure, which was alleviated by Amanda. Having the support of one midwife for 6 weeks following the birth meant I felt comfortable asking for support breast feeding as soon as I needed it.
I can’t thank One to One enough for supporting me through this amazing time in my life, making it one I’ll never forget. My husband, mum, myself and crucially Grace have benefitted so much from this service. Grace is a chilled content little lady, and I’m convinced that had I continued with the standard pathway I would not be looking back on the labour and surrounding time with such pride, joy and fondness!
Elizabeth, Paul and Grace.
PS Grace was born at 41+1 and again I feel I would have felt pressure to be induced had I not had the support from One to One to feel comfortable to wait until our baby was ready. I’m amazed how many women think they don’t have a choice in this matter, but I may have felt the same had I not been empowered to make my own decisions!