I don’t know what we would have done without the outstanding support we received from our independent midwife, Carrie McIntosh, during the pregnancy and birth of our baby daughter Callie.
This is a matter of choice for parents and midwives; without independent midwifery, parents lose choices, midwives lose livelihoods and choice, and there are very serious risks for women who choose to birth outwith the NHS, for them and their babies. Indeed – this really is a matter of life and death. NHS maternity care is overstretched and underfunded, and does not have the capacity to take into account the choices of parents and families. After a long labour in which she and her husband were repeatedly ignored, abandoned and left frightened and alone due to a lack of staff, my best friend’s healthy baby died – entirely needlessly – during delivery at The Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
When I became pregnant, my husband and I realised that the only way in which we could ensure that this did not happen to us as well was to employ an Independent Midwife – someone who would be with us throughout the pregnancy and birth, who would safeguard my health and that of the baby, and who would listen to us and respect us. I realise that this does not sound like much to ask – and indeed, this should be the basic level of care for any prospective parents. But the NHS simply cannot guarantee this. What the Government calls ‘Gold Standard care’ means 15 minute appointments during pregnancy with a different midwife every time. There is no continuity of care with a named midwife, through pregnancy and birth, and no assurance to support birth choices (such as home births, which are cheaper, less traumatic, and very often safer).
My husband and I no option but to employ an Independent midwife and opt out of the NHS. What this gave us was outstanding care. Carrie, our Independent Midwife, gave us continuity of care, and the chance to build a relationship with her during the most important, stressful, and critical period in our lives. We knew her focus was on the health and wellbeing of me and our baby throughout, that she would be with us whatever happened, not something that the NHS can offer or provide.
After a difficult pregnancy and birth, our precious daughter Callie would not be here, safe and well, without the extraordinary care that we received from our independent midwife.
Thank you Carrie – we will always be in your debt.