Books and covers

The other day I attended a birth of a first time mum. She was, for me not necessary a ‘home birth’ type if there is one but she was very decided on her birth choice. She had come to us a bit late in her pregnancy after her first initial meeting. This was because at 30 weeks she decided to get married and go on a honeymoon and holiday all in one. Needless to say we did not see or hear from her for the following 5 weeks so when we did meet her again for the second time we had not really had a chance to build a midwife mother relationship.

Being and independent midwife really allows us to do this with our clients and I think we all feel that a mother will birth better if she has a consistent and good relationship with her midwife/s. But of course that’s not written in stone although research has been done concerning this. And in this instance it seems that a relationship built up over time was not needed for this woman to feel well supported.

With this said, for my part I did make efforts in the short time that we did have before the birth to create some kind of deeper relationship between the two of us by giving her a massage. In all honesty, I never felt a connection with this women and felt as if she was only entertaining my presence out of necessity. She was always polite but there was no point in our conversation where I felt she warmed to me or I to her. This did worry me a bit but there was no more I could do but my best.

I could not understand with clarity her need for a home birth. She kept saying that she needed to birth in peace. She had heard so many birth horror stories from her work colleagues  she had decided early on in her life that she would have a home birth. I have to say I really could not see how it would work with her. I was judging a book by its cover 100%. She worked in the beauty business and was very much of that world. I could have not have been more wrong in my judgement.

At 39weeks and two days our her labour began. It was in the morning and she was very relaxed at home with her husband. She stayed this way for about 5 hours with in coordinate contractions.  At 5pm her husband rang and asked me to go round. She was feeling the need to know if she was dilating. I arrived at 5:30 to find her contracting well. At her request I preformed an exam and found her cervix soft, at mid point and 2cm dilated. I explained this to her and told her how well she was doing. She wanted to rest so I left her alone. About 30 minutes later my colleague arrived. Our client just wanted to be on her own, so for the following 4 hours we checked baby hourly and left her to herself. She was most comfortable in the bathroom in complete darkness. She would allow us to enter and listen to baby and then ask us to leave.

At 9:30 I was called to her room. She said she was worried about her dilatation  She had a strong contraction that brought her to her knees and I saw her anus was totally dilated and on closer inspection vertex was visible. Baby was born with in 15 min of pushing and mum only had a 1rst degree tear.

This woman knew from the start absolutely what she wanted and needed to birth. In peace and on her own she went from 2cm to fully in a mater of just over 4 hours. She did not want light, she did not want to be touched or spoken too. She had a classic animal (mammal)birth. She was instinctive, powerful and confident and I was, yet again left awe struck by the power of women to birth. I dont know how many times I have to experience this before I cast my judgements aside but this women and her birth will go far to remind me to do just that.

(midwife mother relationship, Mavis Kirkham