Nurture Article | The Portland Hospital Parenting Magazine
Spring/Summer Issue 2014 | Me and My Pregnancy
For the birth of their second child, Sarah Barrett, 35, and her businessman husband Martin, 40, opted for a midwife-led delivery rather than one overseen by a consultant. Their daughter Beatrix, born October 3, was one of 60 such births at The Portland Hospital last year. They also have Elodie, 2.
“My first pregnancy and birth were relatively straightforward. The consultant leading my care had seen me during my ante-natal check-ups but had only come in for the final hour of my labour.
Second time around, as I was expected to have a straightforward pregnancy and birth again, I discovered I could have midwife-led care at The Portland Hospital. I didn’t need the reassurance of seeing the consultant regularly this time, and it seemed to make sense to develop a relationship with the midwives who would be there for the majority of my labour.
I was told one of four midwives would deliver my baby and I got a chance to meet them all during my ante-natal visits, which were once a month from 12 weeks and once a week from 37 weeks. They were all lovely and I can honestly say I would have been happy with any of them being present for the birth of my baby.
I felt they really listened to me when I discussed my birth plan. They were also brilliant at reassuring me about any concerns I had. For example, pain worried me and, as we live in Surrey and the labour with second babies can be so much quicker than with the first (my first labour was 12 hours), I was worried I wouldn’t get to hospital in time. So the midwives developed a contingency plan. They made plans to check me every week from 37 weeks so that they could try to give me an idea of when the birth might be getting close.
I went into labour at 39 weeks. My husband and I had developed such a close relationship with one of the midwives, Linda, that when she heard my baby was coming, she drove the hour’s journey into the hospital to deliver Beatrix even though it was her night off.
Linda was so reassuring. She told me: ‘Don’t worry, I am going to tell you what to do, listen to me and it will be all fine.’ As I knew her, I felt more than happy to trust her.
When I was 10 cm dilated, I started to worry that I might have to go through two hours of pushing like I had done with my first baby. Linda had other plans! She said to me: ‘We are going to get this baby out in less than ten minutes, and with six contractions and five pushes.’
I followed her instructions to the letter and, sure enough, after eight minutes, six contractions and five pushes, Beatrix was born.
As the birth was so easy, a few hours later I was back home with my new family. I’m not sure if we will have any more children but, if I do, there is no doubt I would go for midwife-led care again.”
As told to Lucy Elkins