rachel, mike and baby arthur
Rachel and Mike chose to use My Independent Midwife because they wanted to guarantee that they would have good support and continuity of care from their midwife. Arthur is their second baby and arrived at home in the birth pool.
Rachel's labour was induced for her first birth, she felt unsupported and alone when she went into labour and was really keen to avoid this from happening again. Rachel and Mike hadn't quite decided where they wanted Arthur to be born when they first met Jenny, but as they all got to know each other and discussed what was really important to Rachel, it became obvious that a homebirth would best meet their needs.
Rachel had previously had a post partum haemorrhage (PPH) and we discussed the risks of this happening again. Rachel also discussed these risks with her consultant. It was decided by Rachel and Mike that the risks were low and acceptable to them, feeling confident that should this emergency occur Jenny and Sarah would be on hand to manage it effectively.
Rachel also tested positive for group B strep (GBS) at 37 weeks. We explored several ways to manage this. Rachel's preference was to have IV antibiotics at home. Jenny and Sarah were happy to facilitate this, however, the local NHS hospital and GPs would not prescribe the antibiotics. Rachel was really disappointed. However, a new plan was formed. Rachel read all of the GBS research and determined that waterbirth would be a very effective barrier to GBS infection of the newborn. Therefore Rachel and Mike decided that if the labour was quick and the membranes remained intact until the birth was close she would stay at home. If the membranes released before her labour began then she would birth on a midwifery led unit and have IV antibiotics there.
8 days after her due date Rachel noticed that she was having regular tightenings, every 10 minutes, as she was putting her little boy to bed. With George safely tucked up, Rachel took the opportunity to have a bath using her aromatherapy oils. The tightenings gradually increased in frequency, length and strength as the evening progressed. At 01:20am Rachel felt that things were getting more intense and asked Jenny, her lead midwife, to join her.
When Jenny arrived Rachel was coping brilliantly. Rachel had found a comfortable position; kneeling and leaning over the birthing ball and was breathing through the surges when they came. Everyone was keen to avoid any vaginal examinations (because of the GBS) so it was agreed that this would only be done if there was a clinical concern/reason.
Mike started to fill up the birthing pool and things progressed perfectly. At 3:15am Rachel got into the pool, as her surges were getting more intense and immediately felt her discomfort eased.
At 3:55am the membranes released and Rachel felt urges to push, baby Arthur was born at 4:12am in the pool. He was gently brought to the surface and was really calm and happy to have cuddles with his mummy.
Rachel was undecided about how she wanted to deliver her placenta. She settled on a wait and see approach as she felt really comfortable resting in the pool with little Arthur. After 45 minutes the placenta was delivered without any intervention and then the cord was cut. The bleeding after the birth remained normal. Rachel felt ready to get out of the pool and once she was settled comfortably on the couch Arthur had his first breastfeed.
The risk that Arthur could be effected by GBS was highest in the first 12 hours after his birth. Sarah and Jenny therefore, took it in turns to stay with Arthur during this time and monitor him for signs of infection. Arthur remained well and Rachel and Mike felt like they had made the best decision for all of them.
Later that day big brother George celebrated the arrival of his little brother by taking his first steps (well you can't let your little brother get all the attention, can you?). Mike's eldest daughter, Emily, was surprised to be picked up from school by her 2 little brothers and proudly showed them off to all of her friends.
A message from Rachel .......
I really struggled after the birth of my first, not only did I feel completely ignored and lost during the birth but my mental health plummeted for weeks afterwards; so much so that, when I found out I was pregnant again, I refused to talk about the birth and had a complete mental block. When at my 28 weeks NHS appointment I was told my notes had been lost and despite showing symptoms of a severe water infection I couldn't be seen again until I was 36 weeks, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands - in stepped Jenny and Sarah. Two days later I was sat at home with Jenny and finally felt listened to and like someone understood. Over the next few appointments I went from dreading the birth to genuinely feeling excited and empowered. Even when things became more complex with my GBS positive result, Jenny and Sarah jumped into action to give me every possible option and to make sure the birth was going to be exactly on my terms and how I wanted. I felt informed, supported and listened to throughout. When it finally came to it, Arthur's birth was incredible. Everything I could have hoped for and more, it was such an amazing experience and that is wholly down to Jenny and Sarah. I just wish I had found them when I was pregnant with George. I'm sat here three days post-partum feeling the happiest I've ever felt with a lovely settled baby and haven't had to set foot in a hospital. Even Mike turned to me this morning and said "ahh so this is what it is supposed to be like?" You can't put a price on your mental health, but these guys have done so much more than that they've given me a confidence in my instincts and I've made good friends along the way. Both Mike and I feel Arthur has completed our family, but should that ever change and we get pregnant again, Jenny is the first person I am calling.