Nothing in this world compares to the feeling of holding your new-born baby for the very first time. Feeling their weight in your arms and gazing down on this little person in the disbelieve that they are from you, created inside your body. They may look tiny, but to the mum, that tiny baby feels bigger then the known universe.
Now, there wasn’t actually anything extraordinary about either of my boys birth- I was extremely lucky to have low-risk pregnancies, straightforward births, and big healthy babies; but to me, those two days are the most significant and joyful in my whole life on this little round rock so far.
Understandably as new parents, we can be so wrapped up in our new little babies, and in extreme awe of our bodies, that I suppose often it can be easy in that life changing moment, (despite our good intentions), to perhaps forget to give thanks to the midwife who helped you bring your baby into the world. Since a third of midwives admit to feeling undervalued and underappreciated, this post is dedicated to my two midwives. We may not know each other, and it is very likely we will never meet again, but I will be eternally thankful for you, and forever in your debt for bringing my babies safely into this world. I just want to say thank you.
When I gave birth to my first son Grayson, I had the loveliest male midwife, and I’ll never forget how he made me feel. He had the calmest bedside manner, held my hand through the tough parts, he was the first person to ever hold my baby, he helped me breastfeed, and I felt totally comfortable with him. I remember him cradling my brand new baby in his arms with such a loving look on his face, almost as if Grayson was his own, like he was proud, and he should have been, he did an amazing job coaching me through it all. In fact, I actually remember crying when he’d finished his shift and saying ‘please don’t leave’. I felt like he was the one giving me the confidence to take care of my new son in the very first few hours of his life, and that is absolutely priceless to a first time mother.
In the blur of having our first baby, like classic first-time parents, we totally forgot his name. I was so annoyed at myself for because I felt I owed him so much, wanted to send him a card to thank him. To this day I still wish I knew his name so that I could send him that card and tell him what a difference he made to me and my husband that day. I know it’s a long shot because I don’t even have a photo of him, but if anyone out there knows of a male midwife working the morning of the 4th of January in Uclh hospital central London, please do let me know!
My second birth, with our next son, little Rufus was another incredible experience, even more so than the first I’d say. I chose to birth him at home, and so when I felt that familiar ‘pop’ in my pelvis that hot August evening, we knew my labour was about to begin, so my husband called the midwife straight away.
When the midwife arrived she was so friendly and warm, she kept me calm and kept everything normal and relaxed- she had a great sense of humor too! I found her whole presence extremely comforting, and she made me feel so confident about my choice for a home birth. I love the fact that I was made to feel completely safe even outside of a hospital setting.
We were having a lovely chat whilst she was doing my check-ups at the beginning of my labour, but she somehow just knew to stop talking to me whenever I had a contraction- even if we were mid-conversation, she knew when to encourage me and get involved and when to leave me. Let me tell you now, that is quite a skill in itself with a labouring woman! As things progressed she was very respectful of the fact that I wanted to just let my body do it’s job- and she did everything in her power to make sure that my birth was calm, gentle, natural and safe, everything I’d hoped for the past 9 months. She made me feel like I was doing it all alone, when actually she played such a huge part in delivering Rufus safely and monitoring us both for those first hours after birth.
It’s the littlest things that mean so much in those hours; she comforted me when I was nervous to deliver the placenta, helped me get dressed when I was feeling sore and fragile, helped me up the stairs, she made sure she left me comfortable in my bed and didn’t leave until she knew I was okay. She was the rock in the room, the person that made everything feel safe and secure and totally invaluable to me at the time. So, midwife number two, you were absolutely incredible at coaching me through, you had such a positive presence & I’m so thankful you were there for the birth of my precious rainbow baby. Again, such an amazing, gentle bedside manner, yet again I hadn’t learned my lesson and have forgotten her name, but by any chance you are reading this, thank you.
I can’t possibly put into words how grateful I am that I had such a positive experience and to was left feeling totally empowered by my births, both times around.
So here’s to all the midwives, the real life superheroes of every day. Their jobs are incredibly emotionally and physically draining, they get up early, come home late, work extra-long, miss weekends, share in beautiful moments but also grief-stricken ones. Then they get up the next day and do it all over again. Midwives- you are all appreciated, probably more than you will ever be told.
That is why I am thrilled to be partnering with Pampers, who is committed to the long-term support of every one of the UK’s midwives because they are critical to every baby’s development and safe delivery. Pampers is rallying the nation to say thank you to our 40,000 midwives, and I’m totally on board with this! Please join me and the Pampers team to say #ThankYouMidwife. For every post shared with #ThankYouMidwife on Facebook (PampersUKIre) or on Twitter (Pampers_UK), Pampers will be donating £1 to the Royal College of Midwives.
I’d love to know some of your birth stories and your experience with your midwives, please do share them in the comments below.