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Wessex

Independent

Midwives

Natalie and Ben O'Brien

I can't wait for the next one!

I first decided that I would like an independent midwife after going through a long and draining process of trying for a baby and a horrific missed miscarriage that had left me scared and sceptical as to whether my body was strong enough for pregnancy. We found out at around 9 weeks that the pregnancy had failed but that my body had not terminated the pregnancy as it usually does. We waited till 12 weeks for things to happen naturally but after several scans we found that nothing had changed, so decided to go for the pessary insertion to move things along. I have never been so terrified or in so much intense pain in my life. The pessary had given me strong contraction-like pains with no gaps in between that lasted for 4 excruciating hours with a miserable outcome.

When we fell pregnant again we were over joyed but cautious. At 7 weeks we were at the hospital again having scans after the doctor was concerned that the pregnancy was ectopic. Luckily enough there was our little bean happily growing well in exactly the right place.

From here on I felt very fragile and anxious about my pregnancy. We had another scan at 10 weeks and even though the service and support from the staff was lovely, I began to feel very nervous whenever we had an appointment and began to become quite fearful of the prospects of having my baby in such medical and clinical environment, especially after hearing the stories of those close to me and their not so successful births in my eyes.From here on I felt very fragile and anxious about my pregnancy. We had another scan at 10 weeks and even though the service and support from the staff was lovely, I began to feel very nervous whenever we had an appointment and began to become quite fearful of the prospects of having my baby in such medical and clinical environment, especially after hearing the stories of those close to me and their not so successful births in my eyes.

I began to research into it independent midwives a little further as I had not known anyone myself who had not been through the usually nhs/ hospital birth route. I came across Wessex Independent Midwives online and found the service they offered exactly what I was hoping for and found the clients birth stories inspiring- births like that do exist! I spoke with the wonderful Erika and felt instantly calmed from our conversation. We planned a meet where we could discuss further and I could hopefully convince my partner that it was worth the money.

I fell in love with Erika straight away - she was a sunny, positive, smiley lady who seemed very passionate about her work and had no doubt in my ability to grow and deliver our baby the way I hoped to. Once I discussed with Ben, my partner, that even though the cost can seem quite daunting at first, what we get from this is more than just a midwife's services; we get all our appointments at our home and to our schedule, so that if he wanted to be there our appointments could be made in the evening (plus they were never set to a time, we could talk for hours), any hospital appointments would be made through her, she would come to our scans and any appointments we wanted, she was always available through texts and calls, would be on call for us 24 hours a day around our due date, be there for the entire length of our labour and not leave until we were all tucked up comfortably and then be there for us for an entire month after the birth. It just seemed like a no brainier to me - where better to invest our money for our baby - a calm and beautiful entrance into the world or a top quality buggy and nursery!!

Our pregnancy was pretty smooth running, we had the usual dramas - morning sickness till week 14, bleeds, iron deficiency worries from the doctors, anti-d injection decisions, unusual placenta pockets/bands that stumped us, breach worries, but nothing that was out of our control. At every event we were well informed of all our decisions and choices and was given a wealth of information to help us make them.

Erika was a fantastic support and gave me the confidence to trust in my own instincts. She helped me to trust in myself and gave me the strength to have the natural, calm home birth that I always dreamed off.

Our labour started off very gently; when I noticed a rhythm to my twinges I contacted Erika who made her way over to us when the contractions had became more intense with her second midwife Rachel who would support us through our labour. Ben had already prepared the the blow up pool and turned our living room to a cosy birthing environment. Being at home I was completely comfortable, I could eat when I wanted, drink when I wanted, sit, stand, lean and squat wherever I felt comfortable, walk around totally naked, get in and out of the pool when I choose and relax with a nice massage when needed. Our labour slowed in intensity twice and we tried a number of tricks to get it back on pace and rested when I felt it best to. I choose not to have any internal checks as I didn't feel knowing my progress was necessary in the progression of my birth. Erika checked my blood pressure and baby's heart rate at regular intervals and at no point did I feel scared or that things were out of my control. The support from ben and the midwives was incredible, they were always there for me and gave me that extra eumph I needed when my strength was waining - I couldn't of done it without them.

Our beautiful little boy was born at 12:53am by a completely natural birth in the pool and without any pain relief. He was still in his waters and came out with his hand against his face. If we were having a hospital birth the staff would of intervened at least on three occasions which could of changed our story completely. My labour was 32 hours long but completely magical - so calm and relaxed and where I wasn't drugged out I remember every second. We decided to do delayed cord clamping and keep baby to me for the duration. I delivered the placenta naturally and had even had a refreshing smoothie made from it. Oscar was weighed and checked over as was I..

We snuggled up together skin to skin and stayed there till morning, where I felt like I had a chance to really bond with him - he never left my arms from then on. Our midwives stayed till gone 4 o'clock in the morning and Erika was back round the following day. She helped me with my latch and made sure Oscar was feeding well. Her care and support carried on from daily in the first week, then to every other day for a couple of checks until at 4 weeks when she signed me off. I never felt that distress I hear so many women go through or had that fear that I was alone. I completely trust erika and know that she always had my best interests at heart - she has become a dear friend and our babies fairy godmother. At no point would I ever have my babies in any other way and would always highly recommend.

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