The One to One Midwives only recently arrived in Essex, and have caused quite a stir in both negative and positive ways. Concerns have been raised regarding the drop in women using other local midwifery services and the impact that may have. Sadly I have even heard first hand of One to One pregnancy notes being disregarded as they are different to the standard issued ones. But of course there has also been a (huge) wave of positivity from mothers using the service too.
When I first learnt of this new service I will be honest, I thought it seemed way too good to be true! The same Midwife through your pregnancy carrying out all your ante natal checks, inc blood tests from the comfort of your sofa, private scans at a time that suits you, accompanying you to all hospital and consultant appoints, supporting your choices, even if that is sometimes going against the grain and then attending your birth (if homebirth or supporting you until time to go to local maternity unit if that is your choice)…..ALL FOR FREE! No this can’t be true, surely not! But it is and I have firsthand experience of how phenomenal this service really is!
I recently had the privilege to support first time parents in my capacity as both a Wise Hippo teacher and then a doula, as they birthed their little one, serenely and calmly at home. I consider every birth I attend magical, because I get to witness families being created first hand, but I am choosing to share this birth with you today as this was the first birth I have attended where the One to One midwives (Jenny and Cher) were present. Jenny was simply amazing! She was everything you would hope for in a midwife! She was quiet, gentle, in the background, yet very much there reassuring all the way when the moment was needed. She was discreet in her monitoring and checks on baby and mum, who was deep in labour land and not wanting to be disturbed. And most importantly she was respectful of the birthing space and Mum and Dad’s need and want for privacy at this very intimate and precious time. She was the cheerleader in every sense of the word without the need to shout, she was truly with woman!
As baby made its slow decent into this world, Jenny was completely hands off, allowing Mum to truly follow her birthing instincts and gently breath and nudge her baby down. The only time her hands made contact with baby was to gently assist her into her mother arms as she was birthing on all fours. During this time Cher also arrived as the second Midwife, and again she placed herself just outside the room, not wanting to intrude, just quietly listening and observing and only making her presence known once baby was earth side. It was an empowered birth where we all worked as a team, Mum, Dad, Baby, Midwife and Doula. Everyone played their part and a mutual respect was shown to each other. We all shed a few tears of joy at some point during this beautiful birth.
This service is making a huge difference to local women and I think we should be embracing, not resisting it! But I also know that this level of continuity of care can be tough and making yourself available 24/7 is no mean feat, so it is not for everyone!
As a Birth worker I believe in women being treated as individuals and having choices. The service the One to One midwives offer is another option to women birthing in Essex, which to me can only be a good thing! It is not for everyone and that is ok too, because one size does not fit all, women do not fit into one of two boxes (low or high risk) , they are unique individuals and deserve to be treated that way. There are many amazing midwives in my local area, just like Jenny and Cher that I have had the privilege to share the birthing space with. Some are working in our wonderful maternity units, be it stand alone or attached to local hospitals, and many are working in our communities and I admire and applaud them all.
Change can sometimes be frightening and it may cause us to revaluate our situation, but ultimately we can either choose to stay standing still, not moving forwards and left feeling frustrated or we can embrace it, raise our game and evolve in a positive way.
‘The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance’