Excuse my slight europhic tone in this post, but I am on a bit of a high, a natural one before any of you call Social Services!
Yesterday I was doing what I love most, supporting a woman in labour and helping her achieve the birth she wanted, a beautiful water birth at home. It was also extra special as she is a friend of mine and our fairly new friendship has now bonded us so tightly since I became her midwife. This was her second baby and second home birth and I am so privileged to work in a small team of NHS midwives who can support and facilitate this type of care to a group of women of South East London. We provide one-to-one care for these women, throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. Did you know that you are entitled to 28 days of midwifery care once you have had your baby? How many of you can honestly say you saw your midwife past day 14? I discharged a woman of mine who was day 23 last week. Why? Because she really needed all that extra breastfeeding help having struggled so much at the beginning. I know she would have given up feeding if she didn’t have the right support but she is now a confident breastfeeding Mama! And I’m so proud that I was part of all of that.
It seems something was in the waters (!) yesterday as ITV showed the documentary ‘Home Delivery‘ following independent midwife Virginia Howes as she assisted with the births of three babies, all of them in the home. Having spent the day at a home birth you would have thought I would be ‘all birthed out’ but this documentary fascinated me. Not only did it finally put an end to all the highly charged, dramatic, medicalised births shown on Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute, it showed viewers how birth should be; evidence based, women centred and well supported by a midwife the women know. Mr Cameron’s infamous ‘Gold Standard Care’.
Now of course choosing an independent midwife comes at as cost, a hefty one at around £2750 which is more than most peoples monthly salary. But women are choosing to pay this as case loading midwifery isn’t available in all areas on the UK. And some midwives are choosing to become independent midwives due to the frustrations in the UK’s midwifery services to women, and the choices they have.
I feel very privileged to be working in a way I truly believe in, to care for women the way they deserve (even when the pager goes off at 3am) and I support all midwives, NHS employed and independent. Lets hope programmes like Home Delivery might make people wonder why more women don’t give birth at home.
Don’t forget to check out the fabulous work the people at The Birth I Want are doing to campaign for one-to-one midwifery care for all women.