Having given birth three times in the last six years I am truly grateful for the fantastic midwives who have cared for me before, during and after giving birth. I am going to share with you a few of the more memorable moments with the midwives who have cared for me.
When I had my first baby I was induced. The process took three days, and three nights and I was cared for by a number of midwives but one stands out in my mind. I had been in established labour for 20 hours, and had just been given an epidural. My doula and husband took this opportunity to have a sleep and recuperate so they would be ready for the big event. It was the middle of the night and I was left to sleep. Unable to sleep I was incredibly grateful for the company of the young midwife who was caring for me.
She and I chatted about everything from marriage to our shared fear of spiders. She made me feel less alone, less scared and even made me laugh, incredible given how traumatic my labour had been. That midwife held my hand when I was told it would be a C-section and comforted my husband when the news freaked him out. She was a beacon of light at a difficult and frightening time.
After the birth of my second baby our community midwife’s attitude was amazing. I had little sleep the first week after his birth. He was an extremely hungry, high need baby who cried often and slept little. On the third day after the birth I became very upset. I rang the midwife who came to see me, to see if she could help. She rocked my baby and sent me upstairs for a bath. She helped me and my husband work out a schedule in which we would take shifts and both get some sleep. She did all this after her shift had ended in the middle of the night. She visited the next day to check on me and to ensure the plan had worked.
During the birth of my third baby, I was transferred from my peaceful home birth to the hospital because of medical need. I was allocated a male midwife and despite my initial misgivings he was amazing. He kept the room quiet and uncrowded by seeking medical advice outside the room and only bringing in doctors when absolutely necessary. He chatted when I needed conversation and remained quiet and unobtrusive when I needed peace. He helped me deliver my baby with as little intervention as possible and made my unplanned hospital birth as natural and relaxed as he could. I remember my labour fondly.
Midwives do amazing work. More babies were born in England in 2010 than any other year since 1972. The NHS is desperately short of midwives and the government need to take urgent action. Please go here to sign a petition calling the government to recruit the equivalent of 5000 more full time midwives. We have all needed midwife care at the start of our lives so please take this opportunity to ensure that the same standard of care continues.