Viv and Andy came highly recommended by a friend of mine when she heard I was pregnant. I wasn’t quite sure what the NHS process and approach was with regards to birth/midwifery but as my Mother is abroad, I wanted the comfort of knowing that I would have someone with me at the birth who would look after my best interests.
Little did I know how much more I would need them…
Pregnancy for me was easy, I was very lucky. I saw Andy and Viv once a month and things went very smoothly – I always felt I could give them a call if there was anything I wasn’t clear about and I soon stopped seeing the midwifes at UCH as I would see someone different every time and really wanted some continuity. They told me all about the various options I had, but I always knew I wanted a hospital birth and an epidural so they supported me with my choice.
I went into labour on a Friday but it was only on Saturday morning that the contractions became very painful and I called Andy very early that morning and she was there within half an hour. After an examination, Andy told me I had a while to go and by the time I was ready to go to the hospital it was late Saturday afternoon and as soon as Andy arrived, we soon left.
One of the huge benefits of having these lovely ladies is that they called the hospital ahead and informed them that I was in active labour so we bypassed the triage stage that I hear is pretty dreadful. As my contractions were pretty painful (understatement) when we arrived in hospital – I pretty much begged for an epidural and when it didn’’t work – I was in quite a bad way. But Andy was there every step of the way to reassure me and help me through the pain and if it wasn’t for her I would never have been able to deal with it for as long as I did. The epidural finally worked a few hours later and the hospital decided to take steps to speed up my labour process as it had slowed down. Andy explained exactly what they were doing and advised me throughout. I will always remember having such a laugh with Andy at about 2am once the epidural had worked and we were scoffing cookies and laughing at my boyfriend sleeping uncomfortably on the couch…
The part though that I will never forget is when I was told I could go to sleep for a few hours as we had lots of time but was woken up 20 minutes later with lots of doctors standing at the foot of the bed. You are going to have to push, one of them said, the baby is distressed and in hearing those words, I almost fainted with worry. I looked up at my boyfriend who looked more scared than I felt but then I looked at Andy who grabbed my hand and looked at me and said – it’s fine Jess, trust me, just push. So I did and a few minutes later I was holding my beautiful baby girl.
I will never quite forget how much that helped me to have someone I knew and trusted there with me at that point. Andy was the first person to hold Emma, even before Chris and I and their amazing help didn’t stop there.
Due to my complicated birth and surgery soon after, we had to stay in hospital for a few days after my baby was born and Andy and Viv came every day to help. All kinds of things that went wrong in hospital but they supported me and my boyfriend through every complication and finally helped us be discharged and take our little girl home.
I think we called Viv 20 minutes after we got home. Ok we’re home – this is great – but we have NO idea what to do! I was having a nightmare breastfeeding, it was so painful I wanted to cry every time my baby was hungry. Viv was there within half an hour and spent an hour with me and Emma helping us feed and during that session my milk finally came. I was so so happy and Viv was there of course at that important moment to tell me that the glugging I was hearing was my little girl swallowing milk – what a heavenly sound that was (and still is).
Viv and Andy came every day for one month after Emma was born, and sometimes even twice. I was struggling with breastfeeding and people around me were encouraging me to give up. But I was hell-bent on succeeding and Viv and Andy were with me every step of the way. They are the reason I managed to do it and I will be forever grateful as there is nothing I enjoy more than the bond I have with my daughter when I feed her and every time that I feed her now, she looks up at me with total love and I feel like the luckiest person in the world – I have Viv and Andy to thank for that.
I could go on and on – there are so many reasons why you should choose these ladies to be your midwives. They are kind, non-judgmental, caring, efficient, punctual and will put you at total ease even when the situation itself is super uncomfortable – they know the system inside out and that gave us a lot of confidence when it came to making decisions. I have laughed with them and I have cried with them – they were there during some of the most important moments of my whole life and I will never forget them.
It was worth every single penny and a whole lot more – thank you so much to you both from the bottom of our hearts. We will definitely be in touch if we are lucky enough to have another.