I went into hospital on the Monday evening after contracting all day. There wasn’t room for me on the maternity ward so I was moved from pillar to post whilst listening to the nurses arguing that I shouldn’t be on their wards. I won’t go into detail of what I went through over those few days, just the end of my labour when I was struggling to push and I asked my husband, “how do I do it?”.
I’d been given an epidural so couldn’t feel anything. I felt desperate and kept watching the 3rd midwife I’d been assigned stand at the door looking out not in. I was told I’d have to have surgery and I nervously waited not knowing what was happening. My next memory is focusing on the anaesthetist as I couldn’t cope with all the people in the room, the fear of what was happening with my baby, and the fact that my legs – that didn’t feel like mine – were being held somewhere in the air. I can’t explain how I felt. I want to say humiliated but I’m not sure that’s right. I was completely terrified and out of control.
When it was all over, they briefly showed me Darcie but I didn’t get to hold her for ages. I sat and watched my husband give her a bottle, wondering why my hands were so big and swollen. I felt completely out of it. Then I was on my own whilst Darcie slept in a cot next to me. A lady asked me if I’d like to hold her, I said yes, and it wasn’t really until that point that I felt that I’d had her. I wouldn’t let go of her until my sister came in and couldn’t rest unless she was in her arms.
Following the birth, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I searched for support as the hospital brushed it under the carpet and ended up learning about the ‘tapping technique’. I worked with an amazing woman who helped me with this.
I wanted to have another child and thought if I just got pregnant, I’d deal with it, but I came across a host of problems. I found it hard to look at myself in the mirror and I couldn’t cope with other pregnant people in waiting rooms. I was put under a consultant who advised me to have a home birth. I looked into this and was told constantly it was likely not to happen.
I decided to take back control and researched independent midwives. I feel like I was so lucky that day because I found Amanda. I gave her a call and knew immediately that I’d do anything for her to take me on. I was at least halfway through my pregnancy when she became my midwife.
From this moment, Amanda supported me right up until my 2nd daughter was born – the whole experience changed my life. It was amazing! I was set free from all the systems with a caring, supportive midwife who took me step by step through the rest of my pregnancy and birth. Amanda listened to my previous birth and understood. She made me feel like I had choices and that I was strong. If I wanted to give birth to my daughter at home where I felt safe, I could. She advised me to do hypnobirthing, so my husband and I learned all about it.
The day I went into labour, I woke up during the night contracting. I called Amanda around 4:30am and she was there within an hour. She was calm and confident which made me happy. I felt anxious about having my 20-month-old daughter there, but luckily a friend looked after her from around 6am.
That’s when the contractions really started to kick in. My husband kept me on track with my breathing and doing the hypnobirthing. I was panicking it would go on for days, but Amanda kept reassuring me it was OK and suggested we started to fill the water pool. I still wasn’t convinced about a water birth but once I got in there, no one was getting me out.
I controlled my contractions so well with the hypnobirthing, I don’t know where the time went. Amanda asked me to ride one out so she could work out what stage I was at. It’d felt like forever and then suddenly I was ready to push – it was only lunchtime! I was struggling because my waters were still bulging and wouldn’t break. Amanda asked me what I wanted to do, and I asked her to help me. She barely touched them and they broke. Moments later I was pushing and the head was crowning.
My sister and husband were with me through every step, and I clung onto them as Maisie’s head came out. One more push and she was here. I held her immediately and it was one of the most precious moments of my life. I couldn’t thank Amanda enough for making that happen.
I knew my placenta wouldn’t come easily as it hadn’t with Darcie. Amanda stayed calm and helped me deliver it. Finally, it was delivered and she helped me upstairs to use the toilet. Once I got up there, I felt quite dizzy and was worried about fainting. So, they settled me in my bed and brought Maisie up to me. I felt euphoric, the experience was amazing! I was so happy and relaxed. I felt safe and healed. I was so well after the birth I didn’t even have a tear to recover from.
My daughters are now 5 and 7. When I think of this experience, I still feel overwhelmed with thanks and admiration to Amanda for making it happen. The experience did so much for my mental health and the recovery from my first labour. I am lucky and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend an independent midwife to anyone.