Joanna's Birth Stories from Craig's eyes.
I will try to keep this story as short as possible, but sometimes I do start to ramble on, so apologies in advance..
We first contacted Virginia before the birth of our first child Maksymilian in May 2013. My wife Joanna seems to like carrying our children longer than the NHS wants her to. So when Maks went past due date, we were getting pressure put on us from them. Inductions / complications / risk factors etc etc were pushed at us from every direction. At (about) seven days past due date we then were told we "had" to visit the hospital on a dialy basisfor tests / scans, they were pushing us to have an induction at 40 weeks, and we must have one by 12 days past due date.
This is the point we first contacted Kent Midwifery Practice, and myself and Joanna spoke to Virginia on the phone. We were on the phone for probably about an hour, Virginia gave us a lot of information and talked us through lots of stuff. We weren't even her clients, but we could tell how this was not just a job for her. At no point did we feel we were taking up her time. We then decided that Joanna would not be induced and would wait for things to happen when nature intended. Joanna and I had decided early on that we wanted the birth to be as natural as possible.
Joannas waters broke on the evening that the NHS wanted to induce her. We waited at home for the contractons to get going, laid in bed relaxing between them. Once they were 4 minutes apart, we departed for hospital. The contractions then stopped once we arrived hospital. We gave someone our carefully thought out "Birth Plan" which was bascially a natural active birth. I dont believe this was ever read by any staff at hospital. What followed was intervention after intervention (what our pre-natal classes had warned us about), my wonderful wife was told to lay on the bed because they needed to put a sensor on the babies scalp to monitor him. After about a day and a half in labour we were told by the hospital midwife"You are 9.5cm dilated, you can start pushing soon as you are almost there", then a doctor came in, had a look at the baby heart rate charts and said "Your baby is in distress, you are having a ceaserian", and that was that. Joanna didnt see Maksy until at least 6 hours after he was "delivered", not a good start for bonding at all. We decided that I would go with Maksy, as Joanna didnt want him left with strangers. Its times like this you literally wish you could split in half to be in two places at once, I still feel guilty to this day for not being at my wifes side after what she had been through, and also for not putting my foot down right at the start and saying no the the "Lie on the bed" command and not following the advice from Virginia. I think you get caught up in the belief that they must know what they are doing, and you just go along with what you are told to do. We then spent six unpleasent days in hospital where many more things were badly done, advice about feeding, doctors wanting to feed our baby through a tube, staff who spoke down to us for refusing more interventions, this list could go on and on, so I will stop now. I am sure the NHS do on the whole give a good service, but I believe the maternity system needs to be completely reassesed.
Joanna had a very tough first year or so as a mother, but on the positive side, things have improved massively, Maksy is a fantastic boy, Joanna is an amazing Mum, and all turned out good in the end. Its just the memories of the vital first few days that will always be in the back of our minds.
In June 2015 Joanna and I found out we were expecting our second child. We decided we wanted to try another way of giving birth, and after the information and advice from Virginia we had for Maksy's birth there was only ever going to be one choice. We contacted Virginia for an appointment to discuss her helping with this baby. As before, she was so helpful. Explaining what she could offer, talking us through the whole homebirth idea. We also spoke at some length about Maksy's birth and the after effects. This was a great help to Joanna.
Virginia was hired that day, we didnt need to spend ages thinking of the pros and cons as there were no cons!
Virginia made regular visits through the pregnancy, she fills you with confidence. We were again given lots of information. What risks could possibly be involved and what the benefits were. With the information we recieved we could make informed decisions about what we wanted. It really helped to be able to be able to build up a relationship with our midwife, being able to trust and feel comfortable with your midwife should not be underestimated in the whole birth story.
Ella came into the world on the 8th March this year.
She was born in our own home, in a birthing pool after just over4 hours of active labour. Joanna had no medical pain relief at all (in my view she is the most amazing person in the world). Virginia was there when she was needed, and basically made Joanna believe she could do it, she is very reassuring.
In my eyes, the pain of labour seemed so much less intense than the drug induced labour she experienced last time in hospital. Sure, it was painful, but it seemed so much less extreme.
Since the birth, Virgina had been so helpful.
Joanna had a bad day when the baby blues kicked in on day four, Ella didn't seem to be feeding well, and Joanna was starting to talk about formula milk and bottles. I sent a text to Virginia (on the quiet) and she phoned us out of the blue to see how things were going. Now, this was on Christmas eve (in March, she does like to do things differently, you can ask her about this if you need to) and Virginia was mid preperations, but she came to our house straight away. Again she worked her magic, explained why Ella was acting how she was, and she left about an hour later. The breastfeedinghas continued brilliantly. Our nearly three year old Maksymilian always had trouble with pronouncing "Virginia" and always calls her "The Genius". I texted the following message to Virgina after her impromptu visit, after Ella had latched on and had a good feed.
"Maks got your name right (the genius) I think, The wisdom of children huh. Ella is still asleep, Joanna is having a kip upstairs. Thank you so much for everything you have done for my family!"
We are now getting towards the stage where we will be discharged from her care. This will be a very sad day for us all. But I feel sure that she is only ever a phone call / text away from some words of wisdom.
If only I could go back in time and hire Virginia for Joanna's pregnancy with Maksy.