I never thought that the birth of my children would be controversial – to be honest I never realised that Elliotts had been the source of conversation until I was pregnant with Sam, when everyone suddenly felt as though their opinion on the mater should not only be heard but also be the ONLY opinion I should hold.
If you are wondering why their births were so controversial then here goes……”my name is Alice and I had an independent midwife”!!!! SHOCK HORROR, alert the press we went OUTSIDE of the NHS!
For anyone who is unsure, an independent midwife is effectively a private midwife employed directly by us and who looks after every aspect of our care from pregnancy up to 4 weeks after birth. If you are seeing a hospital consultant or going for scans etc your midwife can come along with you, if you wish. She is always on the end if the phone 24/7 and if you opt for a homebirth, as we did, she will deliver your baby and if you choose to give birth in a hospital she will be right by your side – This is very simplified so for more info check out http://www.independentmidwives.org.uk/
The first thing I should point out is that we are not wealthy, stepping outside the NHS for us wasn’t a case of being “too good” for the NHS and in fact with my first pregnancy I didn’t even know that independent midwives existed until I was 28 weeks pregnant and had reached breaking point!
From my very first appointment with my NHS midwife the simple homebirth I had hoped for seemed a unrealistic dream. I was asked which hospital I would like to give birth in, I replied that I would like to try to have a homebirth and was met with the reply “yes but lets be realistic, which hospital are you going to go to?” Things from this point seemed to spiral from my control, I was passed to consultant led care for being “high risk” and to this day I don’t know really why. I was seen by a consultant, an anesthetist, 3 midwives and when I was diagnosed with SPD a physio and all of these people had differing opinions on my care during the birth but none of them were talking to each other and no-one was actually telling me what was the plan if things continued to go as they were – I was told everything from being high risk of a section and needing to have an epidural as soon as I went into labour like it or not to needing to be induced early – every time I asked a question I was told they would wait and see, which for an anxiety sufferer is NOT something I can cope with.
By the time I was 22 weeks we were looking at private hospitals, which we just couldn’t afford and then at 28 weeks someone told me about independent midwives and I contacted Sally.
From that first conversation with her my stress elevated and we decided that she was the direction we wanted to go in and from the moment we made that decision we knew it had been the right one for US. By the time Elliott was born I felt relaxed, safe and secure and I got my homebirth! 7 hours 40 minutes, gas and air no hospital required!