I had my first baby in 2020. I went into labour and only then did a midwife in hospital realise that my daughter was breech. My worst case scenario became reality when my only option was an emergency C section straight away. My baby and I coped well but emotionally it was a tough recovery for me. I was determined to have a better experience next time. During processing the trauma and researching everything I could about VBAC and physiological birth I came across Private Midwives.
When I found out I was pregnant again in 2022 I immediately booked in with PMI. My care with Brenda started at 24 weeks and from the first appointment on I felt understood, supported and respected. I was supported in planning a HBAC while also being informed about the risks that come with it professionally (compared to the scaremongering from the hospital when mentioning a home birth for myself). During the antenatal care we went through different scenarios for transfer to hospital but the main message was that I had a very good chance of achieving the birth I was hoping for.
At every appointment Brenda took a lot of time to listen to my concerns and answer all my questions. She helped me to believe in my body and abilities to give birth. It was nice that my partner and 2 year old daughter were involved at the appointments too and everyone got to know each other over time. We talked about how to manage labour and how to prepare our home for birth. My pregnancy was very straight forward and one of my biggest concerns - baby being breech again - had not happened. Brenda checked the positioning very thoroughly at every appointment and I had a late scan with the hospital to confirm this. The care was weekly from 37 weeks on and on the evening after the 39 week appointment I went into labour. In hindsight I would say that at that stage all my concerns were gone and I felt like I was ready to do this!
The contractions started at 10pm and although I went to bed hoping for some rest they were only getting stronger. They were about 7 minutes apart to begin with and by 3am they had gotten a lot stronger and more frequent. Until then I had used a peanut ball in bed changing sides, listening to positive affirmations and breathing through contractions . My partner and 2 year old were asleep while I looked at what I had prepared for labour. I put the TENS machine on which worked great for me until about 5am. The contractions were about 3 minutes apart then and quite strong so I woke my partner and went downstairs. I was kneeling in front of my gymnastic ball when my waters went. My partner came downstairs and started setting up the birth pool. I had moved to the toilet and my contractions were now very intense.
My partner rang Brenda at around 6am who lives an hour away. While she was still on her way we rang her to see could I get into the pool already but she wasn't far and suggested to not get in before an initial assessment. So I lay down on my yoga mat with the peanut ball instead. She arrived and said I wasn't getting into the pool anymore because she could already see baby's head. Brenda got the gas and air ready and I was using it for a few contractions. Not long after that she encouraged me to push and my second daughter was born in our kitchen with my partner and daughter by my side. I got to hold my new baby immediately while we were waiting for the physiological third stage.
Our second midwife Emily arrived just minutes after my baby and it was a lovely peaceful atmosphere while the sun had just risen. My baby and I got to sit in the pool for a while after the cord was cut and moved to the couch afterwards. Everything was so different from my first birth. I felt like I have gained all my power and autonomy back that were taken from me the first time around. Brenda and Emily were so calm and supportive the whole time. There was no rush to get baby weighed or washed and dressed which was done eventually anyway, of course. Just after midday I got to lie in my own bed which was such a good feeling. It was great to see Brenda for the postnatal visits and be assured that all was going well. I'm still sad that our journey is over now but should there be any more children we could never go back to hospital care. I honestly couldn't be happier with the whole experience for myself and our family.
Leonie, Co Wicklow