Testimonial from Alison

IMG_0685In 2008 whilst pregnant with my 3rd baby I wanted to have a home water birth within the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. I was told by my local hospital that I could have a home birth but that it probably would not be possible to have a water birth. The reason being that the community midwives did not feel comfortable or had been trained in water birth. Being a student midwife myself I knew the politics involved. I was pregnant and vulnerable and did not have the energy to fight the system. I also did not want midwives attending me in labour who did not feel comfortable with the situation. This would have had massive psychological effects on me and my birthing. I was left with no option but to hire
an Independent midwife. This turned out to be the best decision I ever made. I had continuity of care with someone I trusted completely and someone whom I felt absolutely at ease with. I went on to have a beautiful home water birth. When pregnant with my 4th baby I opted for the same and once again had a beautiful birth.

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Testimonial from Rebecca

Becpic1My first daughters birth was very traumatic and left me with postnatal depression and post traumatic stress syndrome. As a result I approached my second pregnancy very differently, and after much research I chose an independent midwife. This choice was not taken lightly, but we felt the cost far outweighed the benefit to both mine and baby’s wellbeing. Not because there was anything particularly wrong with the NHS care I received the first time around, but because this time I felt I needed continuity of care. I needed my care provider to know my past birth history, to have developed my trust, and to have the time available to me to help me be comfortable facing birth again – mentally and physically prepared. I needed to know that no matter what happened I had the same person by my side helping me through both the birth and postpartum period.

On Thursday, 18th April 2013 I gave birth to another beautiful daughter. I did so in the comfort of my own home, without any pain relief, and with my midwife by my side – encouraging and supporting me the whole way. Her knowledge of my past, and the relationship she’d developed with me helped maintain my confidence and I am sure I couldn’t have had such a positive birth experience without her care. I will continue to rely on her support over the next few weeks post birth.

It would be terrible if other women in my situation were no longer able to reach to independant midwives for help. I hope that a solution can be found so that my daughters have access to this wonderful service in future.

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Testimonial from Nikki

NikkipicI am an expat living in Uganda was put in touch with the most wonderful Independent Midwife who came to meet me at home when I arrived back in the UK at 34 weeks. My baby arrived one week early which meant that my husband did not make it back from Uganda in time for the birth. I am so grateful that my Independent Midwife was there with me; it was a huge relief having somebody there who knew me and what I wanted. Independent midwives are extremely professional and are an invaluable support for mothers across the UK; I can’t thank Carrie enough for the wonderful and positive experience I had during pregnancy and childbirth.

Testimonial from Andrea

SONY DSC“…experiences have clearly shown that an approach which ‘de-medicalizes’ birth, restores dignity and humanity to the process of childbirth, and returns control to the mother is also the safest approach.” –Michel Odent, MD

I am very grateful to have been able to choose a natural birth experience with an independent midwife for both of my children. Giving birth in my own home, safely guided by an experienced practitioner while listening to and following my own body, was one of the most valuable experiences for me as a woman and a doctor. Luckily I never felt alone or afraid. Continually being visited, examined and supported by the same midwife, from pregnancy care all the way through birth and post-partum was a true blessing.

I realize, this is not an experience for every woman, but it is a choice, a choice for continuity of care, safety at homebirth and invaluable support at breastfeeding.

Michel Odent, the researcher, who founded the Primal Health Research Centre in London, suggests the way we are born has long term consequences in terms of sociability, aggressiveness and the capacity to love.

His research clearly indicates that our health is shaped during the time between conception and first birthday.

In the light of current scientific knowledge it is hard to believe, that women who are consciously preparing for birth and motherhood will have no safe choices anymore.

It makes me sad for the future generation of women, who will mostly say about their birth experience “It was terrible and I hope to forget it soon”.

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Testimonial from Alison

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI came across Carrie McIntosh, Independent Midwife via the internet and employing her as my midwife for the birth of my second baby will always be one of the best decisions I have made in my life, for both myself and my family.

I gave birth to my first baby in the hospital very close to my home but it ended up a traumatic birth and left me feeling inadequate and subsequently suffering from birth trauma. I had very little consistency of care throughout the pregnancy journey and a fairly inexperienced/’clinical’ midwife at the birth and surrounded by overstretched theatre and ward staff. On returning home, I had to get to know yet more midwives and a health visitor.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I was very scared of what might happen and took Carrie on board about half way through my pregnancy. From then on I felt much more confident and we planned for a home water birth. In the late stages of pregnancy I became pretty ill and Carrie advised me late at night to go to hospital for a check-up. I was then kept in and subsequently diagnosed with pneumonia. A week or so later, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter in hospital but managed the full water birth I had so very much hoped for.

Despite very short notice, Carrie arrived in time to reassure me during my short labour and be an active member of the birthing team. With hindsight, both my husband and I felt safer having our baby in hospital but with Carrie beside us for reassurance along with the hospital midwife. Despite being ill my birth experience felt pretty amazing and I felt very safe.

Her follow-up care was brilliant. My daughter and I came home shortly after and I was given nurturing, confidence-boosting care and advice at her home-visits, but also knew she was just a phone call away if I should need to talk to her. My daughter was the most placid baby I had ever come across and I am convinced it was connected to the calm birth and safe atmosphere for me throughout.

I would recommend Carrie and independent midwifery care to any pregnant woman and also very much believe that this service should definitely be an option for my daughter if she so chooses, when she decides to have a baby. It is every woman’s need to feel safe, nurtured and cared for throughout each pregnancy and birth experience.

Testimonial from Julia

JuliapicI employed an independent midwife as I had no support from the NHS for my birth choice. I had a Caesarean section for my first birth and wanted to have a natural water birth at home for the second birth. However, my community midwife and a consultant were very negative about it. I did not want them to spoil my pregnancy and had enough of fighting with NHS over my birth choice. Thus, I decided to birth on my own without any midwifes until I found out about service provided by independent midwifes. My independent midwife gave me all support I needed, spent lots of time with me and gave me reassurance I needed. It was also great to have all my antenatal visits at home in the evenings so my husband could attend. It was the best care I had ever received by any midwife and had an amazing birth experience.

Testimonial from Lynoa

Every mother deserves the choice, peace and respect independent midwifery
offers. I have given birth to 3 children but only the last was attended by
an independent midwife. The birth ended in a c-section after a lengthy
labour and a transfer to hospital but the most memorable thing was not the
birth itself on this occasion but the excellent service both my independent
midwife and the NHS staff were able to offer me…TOGETHER WORKING AS A
TEAM. And it was by far my most memorable, peaceful and stress free birth
because EVERYONE, including the midwives could relax. Support, mothers,
children and midwives in both the public and private sector. It is a duty
of care.

Testimonial from Maeve

MaevepicI gave birth to my first child, Nuala, in Edinburgh. I currently work in the United States but travelled home to Scotland for the birth, specifically to employ the services of an Independent Scottish Midwife, Carrie McIntosh. Carrie had attended the birth of my sister a few months before, and I hoped my birth could be as natural, relaxed, confidently and reliably supported.

In New York where I work, the approach to birth has become medicated and surgical, where ‘birth is an emergency waiting to happen’. Due to the revenue-generating American medical insurance system, there is almost no midwifery, but drugs, surgical practitioners and procedures prevail. There is an unnatural culture of fear surrounding birth, which has dis-empowered my generation of women about their capabilities to birth naturally, whilst providing a lucrative growing industry to the medical insurance system. Cesarean rates are so high in Manhattan (about 60%), that many women miss out on what I had – a magical, natural birth; life-changing, triumphant and joyful. Of course, my birth came with its own unpredicted circumstances, but under Carrie’s expert guidance I remained calm and confident, and went on to birth my 9lb 9.5oz baby girl safely and naturally.

Scotland itself is on the brink of great change, with the potential to shine on the world stage like never in history. As an international businesswoman, I believe in an independent Scotland with world-class industry leaders in each field, who lead the world by example and help others look to Scotland as a progressive, entrepreneurial society. Carrie McIntosh is without question a world-class industry leader in her field – exemplifying excellence, reliability, knowledge, support, experience, attention to detail, and a level of personal care and encouragement that is nothing short of inspirational. Independent midwives should be free to contribute their excellence for the health of our future generations, without the complex motivations of corporate insurers clouding their path, and Scotland should stop at nothing to support them.

SUPPORT INDEPENDENT MIDWIVES!

Testimonial from Shauna

Shauna's GirlsIndependent midwifery gave me the continuity of care I so badly needed when my husband was away working. I felt safe and supported through out my pregnancy and birth because I had time to build up a trusting relationship with Carrie. I feel that it’s a woman’s right to choose her caregiver during what can be a very scary part of her life- giving birth.

Fergus – 19th June 2013

FergusI got pregnant with Fergus when Adam was about 17 months old. We had just finished breastfeeding, and life had settled back down into some sort of semi-predictable pattern. My husband and I spoke about adding to our family, and agreed it was “now or never” as we both knew that the easier the boys became, the less willing we would be to countenance a return to nappies and sleepless nights! So we decided to adopt the “not not trying” approach again, and 13 days later we were staring in slight shock at a positive pregnancy test.

This time, there was absolutely no question about our plans for care – it was going to be with Carrie and it was going to be at home. The difference that the correct care and a good birth had made to us as a whole family was massive, and both Angus and I had come to a strong conviction that home births were the right (only) choice for us.

Unexpectedly, I went past my “guess date” by over a week. Having been induced with Lewis at exactly 40 weeks, and gone into labour with Adam at just over 38 weeks, this came as a bit of a surprise – my first experience of going post-dates! However, I was enjoying what I knew would be my last pregnancy, and was feeling a lot more comfortable than I remember feeling with either of the previous two, so it wasn’t too stressful. I did think, however, that this third baby was likely to be bigger than either of the other two, as I was bigger myself and had been pregnant longer than ever before. My money was on over 7 pounds.

Very helpfully, I started to go into labour on the Tuesday that I turned 41 weeks – this was great news as our cleaner comes on a Tuesday morning, so the house was lovely and clean! All that day I was having pretty strong surges, and knew that it would happen soon. The kids spent the day with their grandparents, who very kindly gave them their dinner and brought them back home at bedtime so that I could relax without having to worry about them; they even brought me a fish supper which I scoffed completely, despite having had no room in my baby-filled torso for weeks now. Things were definitely happening…

I went to bed, determined to do the sensible thing for once, after pacing the floors for hours in early labour with Lewis to absolutely no effect. I slept reasonably well despite the contractions, which were coming pretty regularly every few minutes, until at about 2am I woke up properly and decided I couldn’t lie down through them any more. I nipped off to the bathroom had a massive contraction and lost what looked like a huge blob of show down the loo, so decided it was time to ask Angus to fill the birth pool.

We sneaked downstairs, hoping not to wake Lewis and Adam, and I rang Carrie to tell her things were happening. I was hoping she’d say she would come straight away, but when I described my contractions to her, she told me to give it an hour and ring back if I needed her. After another ten or fifteen minutes of increasingly strong labour, I told Angus to ring back and ask her to come now – of course Carrie’s midwife spidey-sense had already kicked in and I was relieved to be told she was on her way already.

I was still pacing the floors in the kitchen, leaning over the work surfaces and breathing heavily. This was SO much easier than my previous labours – with Lewis I had been hampered by monitors and then an epidural, with Adam I had been mostly paralysed by the Gullain-Barre Syndrome. Active birth was definitely the way forward, I decided. Carrie arrived, and I decided I wanted the patio doors open, as I was starting to get very hot. I’ll never forget hanging off the patio door frame watching the midsummer dawn starting to lighten the sky, it was quite magical!

Things were obviously moving very fast, and just as I started to think I wanted to get into the pool (which was nearly ready, Gus had been working hard to get it full quickly) I felt an unmistakeable pop and knew that my waters had broken. Confusingly, instead of an immediate gush and a spreading pool of liquid on the floor like I had with the other two, there was nothing there – it must have been because Fergus’ head was already so far down, and I was upright; he plugged me immediately! The next contraction felt a bit “pushy” towards the end, and I got the giggles. I nipped to the loo to check the colour of any fluid, and what little I could see was nice and clear, which was good news.

By this time, I was really keen to get into the pool, which – thankfully – was now ready. I sank into the warm water and relaxed instantly; bliss! The contractions slowed down quite a bit, and I had a good rest, enjoying the pool and the change of pace – then suddenly another huge contraction came. I was starting to find it a bit much, and after a few more like that, I found myself saying “Oh I don’t know how many more of those I can handle…” – aha, that would be transition!

Second stage was hard this time. Transition had been a lot less painful than I remember the last two times, but once my body started pushing I really struggled. Adam and Lewis had both been fairly petite for boy babies; neither of them over 7 pounds. Fergus felt enormous, and with this being my first birth without gas and air, I was feeling everything properly for the first time. I really felt like my body was going to break, and when Angus reminded me that we had canisters of Entonox available, I was gasping “Yes please!!” Carrie told me that we didn’t have time to set it up, this baby was coming now, and with that my body gave a couple of huge pushes, and I felt Fergus’ head come out. Even his body coming out felt harder than the last two, and it all seemed to take an awful lot more effort, but out he came finally, and I scooped him up out of the water and cuddled him on to my chest. Amazing!

He took a wee minute to start breathing by himself, and Carrie had to give him a bit of a rub down – I think he was a bit stunned by the speed of his exit, it was only just after 4am so just two hours of labour altogether, of which I’m pretty sure I was only pushing for 15 minutes or so. Once he got going, though, he started screeching and didn’t stop for about half an hour when I finally managed to get him latched on to my breast – by this time I had delivered the placenta with virtually no bleeding, and had cuddled up on the couch with my new baby. I had a good cuddle, a good feed, then Angus cut the cord a good hour after it had stopped pulsing. I handed Fergus over for some Daddy cuddles, and got into the fresh jammies that I had packed into my postnatal bag – all of us were absolutely buzzing. Carrie had weighed him, and it turned out he was all of 8.5 pounds – by far my biggest baby!

Eventually, I got settled back down on the couch in the living room, and got Fergus (now sleeping) back from Angus. We heard stirrings from upstairs, and the two bigger boys came downstairs to meet their new baby brother. As Lewis and Adam walked into the room, and our wee family was all together, I felt a funny click and the thought “we’re all here now” went through my head. We all had huge cuddles, then bacon sandwiches, banana bread, cups of tea and glasses of Prosecco (not the kids, obvs). So that was how we completed our family, and how baby Fergus entered the world. It was an amazing experienced, so relaxed and comfortable despite its intensity, and I am so glad that Carrie was there to look after us again.