We chose to have an independent midwife because my Mum had had very bad experiences giving birth, and was keen for me to have a much easier experience. I heard that having an independent midwife is the best way to do to prepare for a straight-forward birth, as building a trusting relationship and feeling confident and empowered by a midwife allows you to be calm during the birth. That was certainly my experience with Kay. We had several interviews with different independent midwives, but chose Kay because of her kind and professional manner, her knowledge and her vast experience. I was also very impressed by the hypnosis offered from Melody, her colleague and back-up midwife. Melody helped me enormously in a way that was specifically tailored to my birth plan. The hypnobirthing made me feel empowered and positive very early on in my pregnancy, and helped me enormously during the birth itself, so I was delighted it was offered within the package of care.
I also chose Kay because I was very reassured that on the day of my birth, Kay would come to my home when I wanted and stay as long as needed. My husband and I always knew that we wanted a hospital birth, as that’s where we felt safest, and Kay was ready to support any decision we made. We were, however, concerned about knowing when to go to the hospital, because my mum hadn’t had regular contractions when she was giving birth, so it seemed likely that I also wouldn’t fit into the pattern of having contractions every 5 minutes, and having contractions which lasted 45-60 seconds. It was very reassuring knowing that Kay would be there to help us as early as we wanted, and would say when we should leave for the hospital.
During my pregnancy Kay came to my home regularly (very convenient!) and offered me a lot of support in advice and a lot of literature to make my own decisions with. I read a lot and watched a lot of internet links that she offered me, and when I talked to my NCT group, who were all under NHS care, it became obvious to me that I was way ahead of the game in terms of preparation. Kay consistently made me feel in control of my experience, and showed me how to critically analyse a lot of the medical tests offered, and decide how much I wanted my baby to be exposed to. For example, as I have a small (bicornate) uterus, I was offered a lot more scans than usual during my pregnancy. Kay gave me a lot of extra information about the pros and cons of having all the extra scans, but was always very clear that she was there to support any decision that I made. I decided to have one series of scans, but declined another set. Kay came with me to the hospital for these scans, every time I asked her to and liaised with the sonographers who explained fully a lot of the extra information I was given. As I was in a large teaching hospital (St. Thomas’), I was asked to take part a lot of clinical trials. Kay encouraged me how to carefully consider which of these I wanted my baby and I to be part of and I felt empowered to ask for literature on each trial and take time to discuss it with my husband. This is a valuable skill I’ll continue to use on any type of medical contact in the future. Kay always made herself very available to talk through any issues which came up and made sure I was knowledgeable and comfortable with all my decisions, and as empowered as possible.
On the day itself I was actually in the hospital earlier than expected, as I was bleeding before my contractions started. I had left my TENS machine at home, as I had expected to be at home during the early stages, and was infinitely grateful when Kay had a spare one in her bag. Kay worked really well with the hospital midwives, and I felt really well supported, and was given fantastic attention. She was so kind, and assertive when necessary to make sure everything was done according to my birth plan, but checking at every stage that I was still comfortable with what was happening. As I already had complete trust in Kay I was far more relaxed throughout the birth, and it was great to have her consistently there (just before our son was born the hospital midwives changed shifts, but it didn’t phase me at all because Kay was still there). During the middle and late stages of the birth of our son, I couldn’t have asked for more from another person than I got from Kay. She said and did everything I needed, even when I could hardly communicate. I feel very lucky to have had her with me then.
Kay’s after-care was also great, she gave us a lot more follow-up appointments than the NHS offer, and even when I had doubts or concerns on days when we didn’t have appointments, she made herself very available to answer my concerns over the phone, and through photos as necessary (I was sending her photos of our son’s jaundice and umbilical cord bleeding on Whatsapp, and she responded very quickly, which was ideal).
I’m enormously grateful to Kay and Melody for all their support throughout my pregnancy, and through our son’s birth. I would highly recommend them as first class professionals.