After a difficult and disappointing week for the team and our caseload it has been absolutely wonderful to receive these morale boosting birth announcements and messages of support from our clients.
As a small team it is not possible for us to provide 24/7 cover for births in the maternity unit but from the 1st of April Caroline, Kirsty, Emily and Lucy will be working shifts at the Royal Surrey’s delivery suite with the aim of supporting as many of you as possible when you have your babies, and supporting our wonderful colleagues to continue to provide safe and positive care during the pandemic.
Anna will be taking over the management and coordination of your antenatal and postnatal care via telephone and arrange appropriate appointments and checks.
Plans will likely change and evolve over the coming days and weeks but we will endeavour to support and care for you as a team in what ever capacity we can.
We will continue to invite clients who’s due dates fall outside the estimated twelve week suspension, so please do continue to get in touch via our email address so that we can talk through your options individually.
Massive congratulations and love to this family who had to change their birth plan at short notice, due to the knock of effects of #Covid19 , and birth with our wonderful @RSCH_Maternity colleagues. #waterbirth
We will continue to offer to post your birth announcements during this unprecedented time to offer our congratulations and our virtual love and support. #BirthIsAmazingWhereverItHappens
For the attention of all women currently booked for care with Surrey Hills Homebirth team.
In light of the current Global pandemic Covid 19 and national guidance from NHS England, it is with deepest regret that I have taken the decision to temporarily suspend our ability to offer women the choice to birth at home.
This decision has never been taken in the nine years that the Surrey Hills Homebirth team has been operational and clearly demonstrates the unprecedented events we are currently living through.
This decision has been taken with careful consideration of all options and potential risks to mothers and their babies. Two key considerations that affected this decision were;
• Support for the ambulance service to ensure that all of their resources can be directed to those most in need at this time
• Our ability to maintain safe midwifery staffing, which may not be possible within the smaller homebirth team if a midwife needs to self-isolate
I understand that this will be a great disappointment for you. Please be assured that a safe birth for you and your baby is at the centre of every decision made throughout this period of readjustment of the maternity service.
All antenatal and postnatal care will continue to be provided by your midwives from the Surrey Hills team and they will be contacting you all by phone to make arrangements for this. It is possible that they will also be able to support your birth within the maternity unit. We are following all national guidance and can assure you that giving birth within the maternity unit is a very safe option.
If you have any questions, please contact your midwife in the first instance who will refer to myself or a member of the senior midwifery team for further guidance if required. Please be advised that this suspension is in place with immediate effect, and will be reviewed when the national lock-down restrictions, freedom of movement and normal staffing levels are restored.
Please accept my sincere apologies for this course of events.
Deputy Director of Midwifery & Divisional Head of Nursing, Women & Children
Although his big brothers weren’t around to witness his arrival they left some friends behind to supervise! A gorgeous way to spend Mother’s Day 💐 #BrotheringSunday #Continuity #HomebirthJustHappened #HomeWaterBirth
We decided to plan for a homebirth for our second baby after a very fast labour following a induction (which I found out I was having the day before!) at 36wks with my daughter in May 2018.
We had fantastic midwifes at the rsch and overall, despite the circumstances it was an incredibly positive birthing experience.
Due to the fast labour and me wanting to try and use water in labour this time around we opted to transfer to the homebirth team at around 16weeks.
Having all the appointments in the comfort of our own home was amazing, our daughter was always so interested in everything that was going on and she always got very excited when I told her Emily was coming to see us and listen to her baby sister!
My pregnancy went by so fast and after a few extra growth scans due to the condition I had in my previous pregnancy (not enough amniotic fluid) 37 weeks came and I was still pregnant, fluid levels were fine,I had collected the birth pool and most things on the list (including lots of biscuits!) so a homebirth was officially on the cards.
Saturday 22nd Feb came, 37weeks and 4 days pregnant and while on a dog walk I had to keep stopping and breathing while holding onto trees! These Braxton hicks are strong… and becoming quite regular.
When we got home I realised that I was in fact in labour! My
husband assembled the crib while I sat on the bed watching peppa pig with my daughter, it suddenly dawned on me this was the end of our time as just the three of us, which made me very emotional!
I called the team around 8pm and while on the phone to Lucy I noticed my waters were leaking, she said she would come over. My husband took the dogs and our daughter to my parents house while I bounced on the ball and tried to stay calm and breathe through the contractions.
Lucy arrived and checked baby’s heart rate which was all fine, then she checked my blood pressure.
My blood pressure had been a little bit raised at points during my pregnancy, only when I was in the hospital. It was put down as white coat syndrome and nothing to worry about. However this time at home it was incredibly high, all three times it was taken it was high. Lucy advised that I should transfer to rsch as I may need medicine to lower my blood pressure. I already had a ‘birth bag’ packed for myself and the baby so my husband for some bits together, I packed the 5 packs of biscuits I’d bought and we all agreed and as we live so close to the hospital an ambulance would take longer so we got in the car and drove, Lucy followed.
In the car my husband asked me if I was disappointed we wouldn’t be having the baby at home, and I can honestly say I wasn’t. I felt so supported and I knew throughout my pregnancy that things could change which would be out of my control and ultimately my aim was to birth my baby safely and calmly – if that was in my dining room or at the hospital.
Caroline was at the hospital already and had got the room ready. As I would need continuous monitoring a water birth was off the cards, but I wanted to try and be as mobile as possible so we got the birth ball and a mat and I set myself up on the floor with some gas and air. My husband put some music on and I sprayed some of my room spray I’d bought from home. I was examined shortly after Lucy handed me over to a lovely midwife at the hospital called Denise, and was surprised to find out I was 5/6cm dilated. However we discovered that baby had decided to turn the other way and had gone back to back, My contractions continued to ramp up and around midnight I felt the urge to push. I was examined again and was still 5/6cm. I felt a little disheartened at this point, Denise explained to me that due to the shape of a baby’s head and her being back to back, that her pressing down on my cervix was making me feel like I needed to push- but I couldn’t. Once she explained this to me, I knew we still had a while to go so got myself back in the zone and we agreed to start me on the hormone drip.
A couple of hours later Denise went on her break, she joked and said ‘make sure I don’t miss it’ and I began vomiting. Andrea who took over from Denise went to get me some anti sickness medicine.
As soon as she left I felt the intense urge to push, I put my hand down and felt the baby’s head coming out! My husband pulled the emergency cord and the midwife came rushing back with a student midwife and got the delivery pack and got on the floor. She held baby’s head until my next contraction when I pushed and our second daughter was born! I couldn’t believe she was here, we had immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping while I was still laying on a mat on the floor! My husband was sat on the hospital bed in tears (of relief as well as happiness I think!) I opted for the injection to help deliver the placenta, which came around 5 minutes later.
After an hour or so I got onto the bed and baby was rooting so I put her to the breast and she started to feed immediately. Denise then came back from her break! She couldn’t believe she’d missed all the action!
Baby was born at 3am and we went down to the postnatal ward at about 5am, had some breakfast and were discharged home at lunch time! I was pleased I remembered to bring all the biscuits that we’d bought for the homebirth into hospital so I tucked into them!
Lucy came round the following day and it was so lovely to see a familiar face. Emily came on day 5 and again, having someone who knew me and my family was so lovely. Especially postnatally, when hormones are all over the place. I would recommend the homebirth team to anyone. Although I didn’t meet the whole team, those I did meet were so lovely and friendly. I felt completely and utterly supported throughout my pregnancy, my labour and postnatally. The whole experience has been so so positive I can’t thank them all enough!
In this time of doom and gloom, I wanted to share my birth story as my baby is coming up to a week old!!
Wednesday 11th March 2020
My homebirth story began at 35 weeks. I was fortunate to meet Emily at my local GP practice as she was covering for the community midwife. One of the questions Emily asked me was “Where are you planning on giving birth?” At first I was a bit taken aback by this question and so my automatic response was “The Royal Surrey of course”.
Emily followed by telling us all about the Homebirth Team and the benefits of a homebirth. Both myself and my husband left our appointment with mixed emotions about the prospect as this was our first child. After a long conversation we decided to go ahead but made the decision not to tell any of our families or friends of our last-minute plan to have a home birth.
As we only had five weeks to go before our due date, Emily arranged it so that my remaining appointments would be with a different member of the homebirth team so I could get to know them all before the ‘big day’. It was an added benefit having all my appointments at home and to meet the lovely ladies in the team. Despite this being my first, I was very much excited at the prospect of giving birth at home but if it meant going to hospital then so be it.
The big day came, 3 days overdue and as this was my first, I had no idea what to expect. I have absolutely loved sharing my birth story and it will definitely be one that both my husband and I will never forget.
As my contractions started to develop, I called the team and the first midwife on call was Lucy. Half an hour later she arrived and it was clear that I was in well established labour. Kirsty joined shortly after and before we knew it I was in the pool and only hours away from delivering a beautiful baby boy.
Lucy and Kirsty were the most amazing and supportive midwives and I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience of child birth. They were so calm and reassuring and made us feel at ease which most definitely had a huge part to play in the smooth delivery of our little boy. All I can hope is that we will be able to have another home birth for our next!
The ladies on the team are absolute legends. I cannot thank every single one for the part they played in the lead up and delivery of our baby. I cannot stop talking about the birth and how wonderful the two ladies were who helped us with our first few hours of parenthood. It still seems very surreal that we had our baby at home, well away from any hospital and the best part….not a single soul knew!! The look on our families faces when we FaceTimed a few hours after giving birth from our very own sofa…priceless!