I was lucky enough to benefit from Continuity of Carer in my first low-risk pregnancy in 2013 as my hospital then offered it to first time and home birth mums.
I hoped to be both. My lovely Midwife did my antenatal appointments at my home following my initial booking appointment and the whole experience seemed so well thought out and consistent. I soon built a good, trusting relationship with her and felt able to share any concerns I had easily.
As well as appointments I had her work mobile number to leave a voicemail when I had questions. I also felt I was well informed about my birth options and things such as when genetic testing was necessary following a blood anomaly it was great to be able to talk things through. My daughter was also breech and she carefully explained my options.
Very sadly and without warning however my daughter suddenly died at 36 weeks gestation. I woke one morning and knew she had gone.
From being an extremely active baby there was simply no movement. It was heartbreaking.
I rang my midwife who saw me at antenatal triage where the devastating news was confirmed. She stayed with me as 2 doctors and a sonographer went through the process and then also visited us at home the next day.
Her faith in me and my birth plan meant that while I now was unable to have the home birth I wished for I did give birth in the way in which I wanted to. I felt in control of my part of the birth at all times. Something which I am sure was invaluable to my recovery. To go through that harrowing experience with someone very much on our side, who knew us and our feelings and views cannot be underestimated. I had an uncomplicated vaginal breech induction and physically recovered quickly.
While she was not experienced in bereavement support she did her best and prepared us for what it would be like and gently encouraged us to meet and hold our darling firstborn. Those first precious moments as her Daddy and I held her are indelibly etched on my brain and heart. As unlikely as it sounds my birth was a good birth. I felt strong and understood what was happening to my body at each stage. I credit the communication between my midwife and I as being an instrumental factor in this.
I was lucky enough to have support from the same midwife in my second pregnancy, during my third trimester. My anxiety was off the chart as we had no explanation as to why my first baby died and was in constant fear. We had to see lots different consultants and she was a constant professional who knew our story. This really helped allay our fears as she knew me and understood my choices and why I made them and helped my partner and I avoid triggers.
I don't think my labour and the birth of my second daughter would have gone as well without this midwife. This really helped me survive my labour and the postnatal period and protected my mental health.
I went to a Sands pregnancy after loss group and a playgroup with my rainbow baby. It was so lovely to be in a group where you could talk about baby stuff, where everyone knew the context.