With my first pregnancy I felt I had no choices. I was told that I was 'high-risk' therefore I would only be allowed to give birth in hospital and I would be monitored all the way through labour. I was made to feel like I had failed before I had started and was met by brick walls at every turn. My midwife told me that I'd almost definitely end up having a Caesarian section and I'd probably end up having medical complications. Instead of enjoying my pregnancy I worried and worried. As it turned out my labour was totally straight forward and I gave birth naturally to a healthy baby. No interventions and no drugs involved. I had been made to feel like I was a danger to my unborn child when in reality my body knew exactly what to do when it came down to giving birth.
In my second pregnancy my midwife came to visit me at home. I was prepared this time. I was resigned to having no control over my own pregnancy but I was wrong. This time my midwife was Sarah March. When I told her what had happened previously she was determined to give me back some choices. I was interested in giving birth either at home or at a midwife-led unit. She spoke to the midwife led birthing centre and I was accepted despite my supposed 'high risk' NHS status. She even said of course I could have a home birth or a water birth if that's what I wanted. I couldn't believe it. I had been told point blank by my consultant that this would never happen and I had accepted it. He looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested that it was my choice where I had my baby. But now I had options and a midwife who was prepared to fight my corner. Sarah was incredible, she gave me back control and confidence my own body. She even managed to overrule my fairly terrifying consultant!! She reminded me that it was my own choice to go to the consultant appointments and I didn't have to go at all if I felt I didn't need them.
She was also amazing in my home check-ups. My older child was understandably very interested in the pregnancy. Having three children of her own Sarah knew that it was important to include him in this pregnancy. I have pictures of him 'helping' her with the instruments to listen to the baby's heartbeat and holding the blood pressure arm cuff. He was totally fascinated and we had no trouble welcoming the new baby when he arrived. My older child was really good with the baby from the first moment and I think some of this was thanks to Sarah making him feel part of it.
After having been completely undermined with my first pregnancy. My second couldn't have been more different. That was down to Sarah. If I were to have another child I would want her there with me again. The NHS is too ready to pigeon-hole mothers rather than treating them as individuals. I was terrified first time around and I was totally surprised to end up with a healthy baby after being told horror stories. Now I think it's so sad that mothers go through that all over the country. Some midwives have lost faith in natural birth because the whole process has become so over-medicalised. In reality it is a natural thing and (all being well) our bodies know exactly what to do when the time comes. What women need is a midwife who is confident enough in her own abilities to enable the mother do what she is naturally able to do. I unreservedly recommend Sarah March and I think she is the type of midwife women need to have around them at the most precious time in their lives. This is the type of person we should be investing in to bring our children into the world.