Thank you card

Kirsty and her student Sarah received a lovely card from a client this week. We absolutely love reading your kind words and feedback on our service. With your permission we love to share them On our social media accounts to help promote the team and normalise continuity and homebirth.

Did you know that most midwives keep the cards and letters they receive? We can use them feedback for our revalidation process which occurs every three years but most will collect and save all of the cards they get over the course of their careers.

Don’t have time to write a card or note? You can share feedback about your midwife and our maternity service via your Badgernet App! Friends and Family feedback can be accessed via the leaflets tab.

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A Positive Birth Experience

When my community midwife suggested home birth to me at my booking in appointment with my second pregnancy I politely declined, thinking absolutely no way did I want to have a home birth. I was terrified of labour after a traumatic hospital induction with my son and didn’t really want to even think about having to go through labour at all.

As my pregnancy progressed I realised I had to face up to it sometime and booked onto the Royal Surrey maternity ward tour as I had given birth at a different hospital before. Being on the labour ward had me in floods of tears and did nothing to dispel my fear.

I started a hypnobirthing course and the hypnobirthing teacher suggested homebirth again to me and after the emotional experience of the labour ward tour, the idea started to make a bit more sense. It was actually my husband who cemented the idea as he knew I would be a lot more relaxed at home.

The more I thought about it the more it made sense and I was desperate for a different experience of labour this time. I went to a homebirth forum to meet the team and had a lot of my fears put to rest. At 28 weeks pregnant I made the decision to switch to the homebirth team.

Having all my antenatal appointments at home was the first huge benefit, I already felt more relaxed especially knowing that I would know the midwife who would be there at the birth.

My named midwife (Tanya) was so reassuring throughout the pregnancy, was great with entertaining my son during appointments and it felt like a friend visiting rather than an antenatal appointment.

As my due date got closer I started to feel excited at the prospect of having a home birth and really hoped everything would go to plan. I set the living room up with the birth pool and positive affirmations so it was all ready to go.

When I was 40+6 Jodie came to do my appointment and asked me what my thoughts were if I got to 42 weeks. I decided to have a sweep there and then as thought it could do no harm and I was desperate to avoid induction. I was 2cm dilated so Jodie reassured me it was unlikely I’d get to 42 weeks which was a relief, and joked that she’d see me later as she was on call. 

Later that afternoon at 4.30pm I started to feel period pains. I timed them for half an hour and realised they were coming every 2 minutes and I might be in labour. I contacted Jodie to let her know and she said to keep monitoring and let her know when they intensified.

I put my tens machine on and carried on focusing on my breathing. My husband started to fill the birth pool as we were worried it might take a while because of our boiler.

I practiced my hypnobirthing and focused on breathing through my contractions. I spoke to Jodie again at about 7.15pm and she said I sounded too happy still but she was ready to come when things intensified.

At 7.45pm I asked my husband to phone Jodie and ask her to come. She got to us just after 8pm and immediately suggested I get in the pool. Shortly after that I felt the urge to push.

Having not experienced the feeling of pushing/crowning the first time around due to an epidural, this made me panic a bit and I asked for gas and air for the last bit of pushing.

At 8.42pm my daughter was born in the water! I felt immense joy and was so proud of myself for doing it. 

The whole experience was incredibly empowering and I felt so relaxed throughout. My husband even has a video of me straight after birth asking why my baby isn’t crying, she was just so relaxed too!

I stayed in the pool for a while after and then Jodie wrapped me up on the sofa to cuddle and feed my baby in the comfort of my living room. It was so lovely to be in our own surroundings getting to know our new baby rather than the loud and busy postnatal ward.

To have had such a positive birth experience made all the difference to the first few weeks with our new addition. After my son’s birth I swore I’d never do it again but this time I’m sad I can’t repeat it as it was so amazing!

I cannot recommend the Surrey Hills home birth team enough. They are so encouraging, incredibly skilled and have the most amazing ability to give reassurance when needed but to step back and let you and your body get on with labour your own way.

It felt like it was just my husband and me throughout the labour but I knew Jodie was there if I needed her (the second midwife arrived after my daughter had been born but I never felt it was an issue with it just being Jodie and a student midwife).

Jodie actually took photos of my daughter being born and sent them to me straight after. I never would have thought I’d want photos but I am so pleased she just went ahead and took them.

The team supported me to believe in myself and trust my body and baby. My only regret is I wish I’d made the decision to have a home birth sooner so I could have experienced their incredible care throughout my pregnancy.  

Surrey Hills Client February 2019

…the best day of my life…

A couple days before my due date I’d started to get anxious at the thought of going over due. The thought of wasted time at home waiting and then the idea of being induced filled me with dread. I was already on the dates, raspberry leaf tea and clary sage but I decided to ramp it up with a curry, a reflexology session, a pineapple and whole evening on my birthing ball.

This seemed to do the trick because at 4.30am at 40+1 I felt a little trickle and thought ‘hmm…that can’t be anything else’. Trying not to get excited I went to the loo to put a pad in and went back to bed. About 15 mins later the same amount leaked again and I got out of bed.

Not just wanting to lie there I went downstairs and had a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit. I decided that if this was it I wanted my husband Sam to get some good sleep in because this could be a long day or so.

However at 6.30am the period pains were enough for me to wake him with a ‘I think it’s all starting’. He was wide awake and ready to go. We had it all planned that we’d make the living room cosy, watch something light hearted and put on the mp3s, all to keep the oxytocin high.

However as the period type pains quickly ramped up and we’re quite painful I wondered are these full on surges not just period pains? I’d expected strong tightening across my belly but it was all low down period pain and it felt like there wasn’t much of a break in between. So at 7.30am I called the homebirth team and was told to just chill and see what happened.

It then ticked over passed 8am and I really thought these are strong so I called back and the next midwife on shift for the homebirth team answered (Laura) and reiterated that I was a first time mum and I could have a good 8-12 hours ahead of me and I just needed to relax and maybe I should get in the bath.

The surges were starting to make me be sick, and I asked Sam to call my mum who used to be a midwife to tell her what was going on and check I wasn’t harming the baby by being sick. I found out after that she told Sam this was all a good sign and my body was really in the process of labour.

Sam ran me a bath and I was in, but the surges were progressing so at 8.15am I called again, really starting to feel like I was a nuisance but I just knew my adrenaline was rising at the thought of delivering our baby without a midwife.

Laura suggested herself and the student midwife get over to my house to see me and take it from there. They arrived, and Sam tells me now that immediately I calmed down and my mindset changed from one of slight panic to ok its time to go!

I continued to be sick whilst having a bath and for every surge Sam counted with me, in for four and out for eight. I realised, after one particularly intense surge, that my body would give me a break and the next wouldn’t be so bad so I took them one by one realising I could get through them.

Suddenly the bath didn’t appeal anymore and I went to my bedroom but lying down was really uncomfortable, so the student midwife suggested I kneel over the bed and she rubbed my back.

This next chunk of time was a blur but I was asking for the gas and air. Laura said she’d prefer I used the gas and air only once in the birth pool (due to the amount they carry!) but before I got in the pool she’d prefer to examine me. I had absolutely no problem with being examined and when she said 7cm although I was really pleased I said out loud ‘so I’ve missed the chance of an epidural!’.

In planning the birth, in the back of my mind I thought I’d be transferred to hospital for pain relief but now I knew I was doing this at home.

I got in the pool and it really was as good as they say for pain relief. It felt warm and I had lots of space to get comfortable.

After some time I started on the gas and air and that was amazing, I loved it! I really felt the benefits and it just took away any apprehension about the surges.

I remember hearing Laura in the hall describing where we lived to the second midwife who joined for delivery and Sam saying ‘that’s because you’re close now’.

I don’t remember any transition stage but I remember a feeling of needing to push at the very end of a surge. And Laura just encouraged me to go with my body. She didn’t do any checks and I didn’t feel like she interfered at all.

At this point there was the strong feeling of ‘I need a poo’ so I went to the toilet, here I did my best pushing and felt in 100% the right position. Laura said afterwards that she thinks this was a really productive part of my labour and the baby moved really well, so much so they had to persuade me to get back in the pool as they wouldn’t be delivering the baby on the loo!

I got back in the pool and back in the squatting position but this time the pain was in my legs, I felt like an athlete pulling my muscles during the surges. I was worried to change position to lying on my back as I didn’t want to slow anything down but my midwife reassured me it wouldn’t in the pool. So there I was with Sam holding one leg and the student midwife the other both massaging my hamstrings as I pushed!!

I could feel the progress now with each push and my baby was crowning. I held him still as just the forehead was out following the midwives instructions but on the next surge his head and body all came together and I said to Sam ‘it’s a boy it’s a boy!’ I couldn’t believe I’d done it!! It really is the most unbelievable feeling in the world!

Without even asking, my midwife team did delayed cord clamping and suggested a natural delivery of the placenta whilst Sam had skin to skin.

I’d only decided on a home birth at 38 weeks but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. If anyone is considering it I’d strongly suggest you ask all your questions and scenarios as I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the safety of homebirth.  

I think back on my baby’s birthday as the best day of my life and would relive it over and over if I could. 

I cant thank the Surrey Hill Home Birth team enough for their support and care, and for giving me the most positive experience possible. 

 

Thank you!

H and baby B February 2019

Fish Cakes for Supper!

What can I say? How can I put into writing my incredible homebirth experience? 

Second time mum, my first experience was long but not at all traumatic (I practised HypoBirthing which helped so much) and ended with an epidural. I was disappointed not to feel the whole labour and pushing stage. 

3 years later, pregnant, I was chatting with a girl in the village and she shared her 2 homebirth experiences with me. From then I was hooked on the idea, especially when she said she had a Chinese takeaway on the sofa for dinner after! 

It was so easy to get in touch with the team and they were so friendly and accommodating when I first reached out.

All the prenatal appointments are done at home during which time I had to move out my house due to renovations and the girls were still able to come see me in my various locations! Every appointment was relaxed and reassuring, like an old time friend coming over for a cup of tea and a chat! 

Approaching my due date, anticipation on when baby would come was a natural reaction but again, the girls kept very chilled and reassured me that all was well and coming along nicely.

I was 1 week over due when I had a show and labour started. I contacted the girls who calmly told me to continue what felt comfortable and they arrived at the perfect time when I wanted to get into the pool. From then everything was swift and I had my baby boy in my arms!

Their guidance was amazing. I felt so reliant on them yet they let me be in control of the whole labour without me realising, how empowering! They kept encouraging me to ‘listen to your body’ and I did, feeling safe and with the best practitioners I could be with.

My dear husband by my side was moved by the whole experience and was blown away how it was all done at home, in our living room, with our dogs and fish cakes for supper!

I will never ever forget my experience and I will forever be grateful to the girl who suggested I gave it a go and the INCREDIBLE Surrey Hills Homebirth team for letting me experience the wonder of natural childbirth because it really is a magical thing, thank you. 

AC & FC born 16/04/2019 

Little Letter Writer

September 2018____________________________________To Jodie, Laura, Tanya, Heather and Caroline, (special thanks to Laura, Tanya and Alisha). My mummy and daddy wanted me to say thank you for delivering me safely in to the world. Mummy keeps telling me how wonderful you all were when I was in her tummy. When I was nearly out I could hear you saying nice things to mummy so I knew she was doing really well! Daddy doesn’t stop talking about how well you looked after me and Mummy. It was really nice being at home and Mummy, Daddy and I being able to get in to our own bed after I got out of the big swimming pool. I really liked that you kept coming to visit me after I was born to make sure I was ok (I’m sorry for having a wee on your scales- I didn’t realise my nappy was off!). I know that it’s a good thing that you don’t have to visit me any more but I will miss you all lots. I’m not old enough to eat chocolate yet but Mummy and Daddy day its really nice so I wanted to get you some to say thank you. Lots of love, E

Thank you for this lovely card baby E. We were very privileged support your parents and be present at you birth.

Lots of love,

Surrey Hills Team

Maternity Friends and Family Test Aug 2018

We feel so blessed to be showered in such wonderful feedback from our Friends and Family test questions. Thank you to all of our past clients who took time out of their busy lives to put pen to paper.

Click here to learn more about the NHS Friends and family Test https://surreyhillshomebirth.org/2016/06/24/what-is-the-friends-and-family-test/