We have chosen Neighbourhood Midwives because they were the only ‘institutionalised’ provider of pre, during and post pregnancy care consistent with the principles we deeply believe in: Ina May’s spiritual midwifery (including home birth) and attachment parenting principles.
After dropping my daughter to nursery at about 830 on Wednesday 15th July I phoned to arrange for a final scan to see the position of the baby. I got one for 11 o’clock that day. On my way to the scan I did feel some very very slight cramping low down at the front of my tummy but I persuaded myself that it was just general discomfort because the last few days of pregnancy had been quite uncomfortable. At the scan they confirmed that he was head down and when I mentioned that it hurt slightly on the right hand side when she prodded me there she did look surprised and said the baby might even be here “this weekend!”
Our first child Howard was born in the delivery suite of the local hospital and wasn’t tricky, it wasn’t a traumatic experience but it was far from the birth I desired. So when my husband suggested a private midwife for our second childbirth I was in immediate agreement, and when we met Rene I knew that she was my best chance of achieving my desired birth.
Going into our first labour was daunting to say the least. Cheryl was absolutely amazing from the moment we met her. I was particularly nervous as I knew that I couldn’t have my baby in the birthing centre and the thought of being in a labour ward with so many people coming in and out of the room and asking lots of personal questions terrified me and I just didn’t know what to expect. Cheryl immediately calmed my fears and really showed that she cared about my experience. We went through a detailed birthing plan together and by the time that was done my confidence shot up and I was ready to go on the day.
“I have a kind, brave, patient and beautiful little girl and I wish I could go back in time and treat her as such while I was pregnant. I just didn’t really make the connection from bump to tiny human. I made all the practical arrangements, I went to pregnancy yoga and I read my “first time parent” book. But I really wish I had done what my husband did and talked to her more, danced with her… treated her as the amazing person that she was about to become.
After having my first baby, 3 years ago, I knew what I was ‘in for’ second time around. I was naturally overjoyed and excited to be expecting another baby but I was all too familiar with how antenatal appointments and hospital birth went, and I knew from experience that those bits weren’t anything to get excited about.
In many ways, it was the antenatal appointments I dreaded most. I was always anxious that my blood pressure would be too high, my urine sample would show some dubious result, or that a midwife who I had met for all of 5 minutes would make a flippant remark about measuring too big or too small and it would send me into a spin. Memories of the hot, crowded, windowless corridors, regularly waiting an hour past the appointment time to see a different anonymous midwife for whom I was just another name on a list, were not fond ones.
The first few weeks with our newborn daughter could have been a very daunting time, however having Tina’s support and guidance along the way made it a truly enjoyable experience for us. I quickly gained confidence in how to care for our baby, while safe in the knowledge that we were both getting the best 1 to 1 post-natal care.
John & Kristine: Sharing our story of home birth supported by Neighbourhood midwives (Rae & Ines)
Halfway through pregnancy my husband and I have realised that we won’t be able to build a close relationship with NHS midwives who will be delivering our baby as every time we went for an appointment there was a different person to see us. We have enrolled in a hypnobirthing course and were keen to have a drug free calm natural home birth, however it made us worried that we would have not even met the midwife (nor would she know our birth plans) until the day of the labour. After hours of research and feedback stories we have decided to opt for an Independent midwives services from Neighbourhood Midwives.
Needless to say the journey was amazing! Rae (our primary independent midwife) was supportive the whole way through and each visit was never rushed, we could ask zillion of questions and take our time to build the relationship. It was great to have someone there for you re-assuring and building confidence ahead of the Big day.
Edie came to me in a dream before I knew I was pregnant. It was one of the most amazingly vivid dreams I have ever had. In the dream I was giving birth, completely consumed by powerful waves of energy and joy, I pushed hard and out emerged my dark haired daughter. I picked her up and held her close, she was warm and wet and slippery and I was ecstatically happy.
I woke from the dream in a sweat and disorientated. It was unsettling, as the previous few weeks I had been coming round to the idea that perhaps I wouldn’t have another child and had even started getting rid of baby things I thought I would no longer need. I had been thinking that after my first pregnancy and birth which had been difficult and traumatic, plus two subsequent miscarriages, that perhaps we shouldn’t push our luck any further. I felt we had been lucky with our son, who was born two months premature and had had a close call and that the miscarriages might be a sign that we should stop. I was losing my nerve and afraid to get pregnant again in case something went wrong,.. another miscarriage, or another difficult pregnancy or premature baby and all the stress that that had entailed. Little did I know that the dream was actually a premonition, and also a powerful symbol of an experience I yearned for.
I got in touch with Neighbourhood Midwives late in my pregnancy. By 32 weeks I’d seen no less than 17 different people during my care at hospital and I felt I really needed a constant in my care. I also wanted someone to help advocate for me that had experience of navigating the complexities of the NHS landscape and had clinical training, a doula didn’t appeal, I really wanted my own midwife. And with Neighbourhood midwives I got my own team of midwives!