I should first make the point that I was fortunate in that both of my pregnancies were considered low risk and it is for this reason that Midwife care was appropriate. I absolutely appreciate that no two women or pregnancies are the same and so this is simply my experience- it’s all I can write about on such a personal level. Anyway, I didn’t require the expertise of an Obstetrician for such straight forward non-medical pregnancies and births- Midwives are the experts when it comes to this!
There are a few women I will never forget. For them it might have been another shift in the life of a busy medical professional, but for me they were the two most important days of my life.
Pregnant with my first baby at Royal North Shore Public hospital and part of the Group Care Midwifery program, I recall speaking to a friendly voice on the phone before meeting my allocated Midwife face to face and she sounded so young! I actually asked her age, she was twenty eight, two years younger than me. I’d always pictured a more mature motherly type figure providing my care and I’m ashamed to say that I was disappointed that I wouldn’t have an older woman there with me, perhaps one who’d birthed her own children. I was so wrong about Steph!
Steph’s competency and belief in a woman’s ability to birth was very pure and obvious from the beginning. Her gentle skill made it feel like I was the ONLY woman she was caring for and that Paddy was the first and only baby she’d ever been with at birth. It takes huge energy and skill to create that experience for a woman. I feel so incredibly lucky to have had her with me throughout my first pregnancy and birth and perhaps her relative youth was her biggest advantage?!
More recently I experienced the true dedication, warmth and experience that Barb from Albury Wodonga Midwifery Services offers as this region’s only private Midwife. When I realised we were expecting another baby, I tracked Barbie down and booked in quickly. I think I was about 13 minutes pregnant. From the very first appointment we had a great rapport and I knew that I was again going to experience the kind of care that I wish ALL women had access to.
The beauty of my experience with this care model was that by the time I birthed, the level of trust and confidence I had in Barb as both my care provider and friend meant that I was able to relax, maintain my focus and again enjoy my pregnancy and birth experience. I was really respected in my choices and safe in the knowledge that Barb was ‘on my side’ during pregnancy and birth. Barb was completely supportive of the Hypnobirthing techniques that we used- doing her own research to better understand how she could best support a Hypnobirthing woman.
The postnatal care after the birth of Myles took place in our home for 6 weeks and our little family deeply benefited from the continuity and familiarity we had with Barb. It gave me so much confidence knowing that I had a dedicated Midwife on ‘speed dial’ any time of the day or night- during bouts of mastitis and worse. Barb was on the other end of the phone or in my kitchen drinking tea and offering advice, support and writing scripts while I sat in my PJ’s! When breastfeeding was difficult in the early weeks, her support and belief was unwavering. I truly believe that this continuity sets women up for the best possible long term outcomes. Barb isn’t just any Midwife, her intuition, sensitivity and nurturing style make her someone very special. She’s like your mother, dearest friend and midwife all rolled in to one, just as it should be!
The Midwives that I encountered on the ward at my local (Wodonga) hospital were equally beautiful. During an extremely busy Spring period when every bed on the ward was quickly replaced by another new Mum and babe, the team, run off their feet, were all so caring, encouraging and kind. In particular, I’ll never forget the beautiful Midwife who took my unsettled baby on the second night and gave me 4 hours solid sleep before I went home the following morning. She won’t remember me but I will always remember her. Sleep becomes more valuable than gold in those early weeks doesn’t it?!
So, wonderful midwives are all that I know when it comes to pregnancy and birth which is why I hold them in such high esteem… “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
Do you have a favourite Midwife or a story to tell?