December 11, 2014
I wanted to guarantee continuity of care
Our daughter was born in Switzerland where we received continuity of care with the same doctor and midwife for both antenatal and postnatal check-ups as well as during labour, so we were rather concerned when I fell pregnant again having moved back to the UK.
I started having my scheduled check-ups with the local community midwife but after seeing three different midwives in in as many appointments and there never being enough time to discuss anything in detail I started to feel really nervous about having a baby in the UK which was preventing me from enjoying my pregnancy. I really felt that having a baby in the UK was like being put on a conveyor belt where you were made to go through the motions, turn up, have a baby and be sent on your way. As a pregnant woman I did not feel valued or even as though any one cared about me as an individual and this made me very sad. At this point my husband and I decided to explore alternative avenues – we even considered moving back to Switzerland to have the baby – that’s when we contacted Liz.
From her very first visit we knew that Liz was the perfect midwife for us. I was looking for someone who would support my desire to hypnobirth my baby and allow me to get on with things but was there if I needed her and my husband wanted someone who was experienced and would adopt a no nonsense approach if things didn’t quite go according to plan: in Liz we had the best of both worlds.
Although Liz mainly attends home births we spoke from the very first meeting about me opting to have a birthing centre delivery as I was Group B Strep positive in my previous pregnancy and, as a precaution, I was opting to take intravenous antibiotics to protect the baby during this delivery. Liz explained that under these circumstances she would be able to provide antenatal and postnatal midwifery care and birthing support during labour – we were thrilled.
After a couple of false alarms the big day finally arrived. I woke at 5am with some cramps and thought this could be it so tried to get some more sleep. At 6:30am the surges were starting to form more of a pattern so my parents came and collected my daughter and we called Liz. Liz arrived after 8am and sat crocheting some beautiful hearts while I continued using my practiced hypnobirthing techniques to work through the surges. By 10.30am the surges were forming a more regular pattern and coming every 5 minutes – it was time to transfer to the birthing centre at the RBH.
I was a little bit concerned that the transfer to the birthing centre would slow my progress so in the car I tried to stay focused and concentrate on my breathing. I only had one surge while in the car but they soon became re-established as soon as we got to the centre and even more so when we settled into the beautiful Summer Room.
During my antenatal care I had expressed an interest in having a water birth so we were delighted to find out the birthing pool was available that day. However, we were even more delighted to discover that due to her connection to the birthing centre at the RBH, Liz had been given permission to continue as our midwife and actually deliver the baby! I felt so relax and happy and it was all falling into place – it was time to start bringing our baby into the world.
Once the IV was connected to administer the antibiotics I stayed on my knees on the floor resting on a birthing ball. I used my breathing, visualisations and birthing affirmations (which my husband had stuck all around the room) to work through the surges to try and remain as relaxed as possible. Thirty minutes later when the drip had finished it was disconnected and I moved into the pool – it was bliss. With every surge I leant forward and my husband put a hot towel over my back. As the surges became more powerful I tried to go deeper inside myself and in the quiet times in between surges I sat back and was very still.
By 4:30pm I was starting to get really tired and it was getting harder to stay focused but the baby had moved into a central position and with Liz’s calm reassurance I knew that it wouldn’t be that much longer until we met our new baby.
At about 5pm I was really tired and kept saying that I couldn’t do it anymore. Apparently my husband and Liz looked at each other with that understanding that I was probably going through transition. This was it.
Just before 5:15pm my waters broke and my breathing changed automatically. Instead of breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth I started breathing in and out of my nose; I was starting to breath my baby down. As my baby moved down through the birth canal my whole body felt so open as though it was working at fully capacity to make this amazing event happen. The sensation was so strong that I started to find it increasingly difficult to focus on breathing my baby down and in the end I had to listen to my body which was telling me to push. Three or four pushes working with my body and 15 minutes later I felt the head birth, two more pushes and there was an incredible stillness, both in my body and in the room: our baby had arrived. At 5:31pm Liz told me to look down and there swimming up towards me was our baby. I helped him come up to the surface and there he was, our beautiful baby boy born in peace and calm in a room full of love. I sat back on my knees and all I could say was “my baby, my baby” and “ I did it, I really did it!”
The minutes that followed were pure magic. I stayed in the pool next to my husband holding baby Albie. I was totally exhausted but the only thing I felt was an overwhelming sense of love for my new baby, my husband and my daughter. After 20 minutes I got out of the pool to birth the placenta which needed a few coughs along with some pretty powerful after pains. The next couple of hours where spent snuggling and feeding this beautiful new life that had just entered the world – the whole experience still gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.
When I look back and think about my anxiety at the beginning of my pregnancy I definitely smile because if someone had told me that I was going to have a better experience than when I had my daughter I would not have believed them. Liz worked with us every step of the way to help us achieve the care, support and birth we wanted and that day everything just came together perfectly. Under Liz’s care I felt valued, cared for, respected and empowered. There couldn’t have been a better way to bring new life into the world. Finally our family is complete
Our daughter was born in Switzerland where we received continuity of care with the same doctor and midwife for both antenatal and postnatal check-ups as well as during labour, so we were rather concerned when I fell pregnant again having moved back to the UK. I started having my scheduled check-ups with the local community […]