Thursday, 17 September 2009

When to call the Midwife

Last week started with a bang - at 2.30 on Monday afternoon I got a call from the mother of a young woman I was filming who was planning on a homebirth. She told me that Amy’s contractions were coming every 3 to 5 minutes so I dropped everything, jumped in the car and drove like a bat out of hell to get to Ashford in time.

When I got there all was peaceful and calm, Amy’s Mum opened the door and I went in to find Amy in the pool, everything seemed under control and I set about getting my camera ready. I asked if Virginia her midwife had been called and they told me that she was at home, so I relaxed as Virginia lives no more than five minutes away. After 15 minutes had passed I felt that Amy was moving on in her labour and suggested that they call Virginia, both Kate (Amy’s Mum ) and Amy seemed surprised that I thought it was time to call a midwife but I felt she was closer to giving birth than they realised. Amy had been practicing her Hypnobirthing technique and I do believe that it can help in blocking some of those messages of pain. Hypnobirthing and Natal Hypnotherapy practitioners do not talk about pain and contractions, but powerful surges instead, pain, being negative and powerful surge being a positive word, so Amy was dealing very well with her surges.

Anyway, back to the story; Virginia was surprised to hear that Amy had got in the pool and was having regular contractions, but somewhere in the communications between midwife and mother the wires were crossed and Virginia was not at home but visiting a client for an ante natal appointment, she left her client immediately and set off back to Ashford.

Virginia called whilst on her way back to Ashford to see if I was already there and so she asked to speak to me, I told her that I thought Amy was close to giving birth and Virginia told me to get her on the floor with her bottom in the air, and for Amy to start panting if she felt like pushing. It was really difficult to get Amy out of the pool as she was comfortable there but I knew I had to do what Virginia asked. At some point Hannah who had covered for me on my trip to Los Angeles had arrived as she had grown close to Amy and didn’t want to miss the birth, so I handed her the camera and I got on with trying to get Amy out of the pool. Another contraction went by and then Amy managed to get out and on to the floor. By this stage it was obvious that the baby wasn’t going to wait and all the will in the world wasn’t going to stop it- about half an hour had passed by since Kate had called Virginia and I asked Hannah to call an ambulance and Virginia too. Hannah called Virginia first and she told us she was only two minutes away, an ambulance would have taken longer than that two minutes so I was glad she was so close. The baby’s head appeared and with the next contraction I caught the baby’s body and put her through Amy’s legs and placed all 8lb 9oz Honey Sofia on Amy’s chest as Virginia rushed through the door.

It had all happened so quickly that it was only afterwards and now as I write it that the shock of what happened hits me. Virginia was disappointed to miss the birth but I’m just so glad that she got there immediately after. Honey Sofia was in perfect condition, she cried immediately as she was born (Apgar 9) and looked very healthy.

So the lesson of this tale is, If in doubt call the midwife sooner rather than later, better to waste their time than for them to miss the event.

Amy’s birth story should be on the site by the beginning of October. You can view Nancy's hypnobirth here.

1 comment:

lewis_gourdie said...

Sounds like a lovely birth! Congratulations to Amy...and also to Bernie, who didn't drop the baby ;-) Look forward to seeing the birth on

My second also arrived a lot faster than anticipated...luckily dad had steady hands :-)