After becoming pregnant with my first child and speaking with my doctor I decided to go through my pregnancy via “shared care” which meant I would be looked after both a hospital and a midwife. It was important to me to have consistency and know who was going to be with me on the day. I embarked on the daunting task of finding a midwife familiar with “shared care” who could help guide me on the nerve wrecking and exciting road ahead.
After coming across the Mamatoto website and an initial chat on the phone, my husband and I went to meet Juliana. I immediately felt at ease with Juliana and was also impressed with how qualified she was. It certainly made me very comfortable as I was now wading in unfamiliar waters.
I had a very good pregnancy with both the baby and I in excellent health. However, towards the end of my pregnancy I probably did what a lot of first time mothers do and realised that I was going to have to give birth! I hadn’t had the best of luck with the hospital and was beginning to get very nervous about having to put my trust in them and allow them to deliver my baby. Even though I knew Juliana would be with me and would be my voice on the day, as I was a “shared care” patient this meant the hospital would be running the show.
My husband and I also attended a calm birth weekend where we learnt about the birthing process, various relaxation techniques, and met other prospective parents.
One thing that surprised me at the weekend was the number of parents that were having a home birth. I had always been the type of person that thought that if I ever had a baby I wanted it to be in a state of the art hospital with a medical team and plenty of drugs on standby. A home birth never entered my head.
When Juliana stopped by about four weeks before my due date for my final visit where we would create a “birth plan” I mentioned that I was very nervous about going to the hospital and was now considering a home birth. Much to my relief Juliana was very supportive of the idea and said it could be done. My husband on the other hand didn’t quite share my excitement! He was of the mindset that it wasn’t normal or safe to have a home birth – what would people think! Juliana was great in putting him at ease and letting him know that how he felt was just as important as me and that he had to be comfortable with the birth choices as well. Fortunately for me I have a very supportive husband and after a long chat about the pros and cons and endless hours of internet research, we decided to go for it!
Juliana spent a lot of time explaining how a home birth worked and what back up plans were in place in case I needed a little extra help on the day. This definitely helped a lot and reinforced that we were making the right choice.
The big day arrived a week after my due date. We kept in contact with Juliana by text and we knew at what stage we needed to call her in. With this being my first pregnancy I had no idea what to expect but once my contractions started (and I realised that yes, they were contractions, this was really happening) I felt extremely calm and in control (mixed with excitement). I am not sure exactly what it was, but I do think that being at home in my own surroundings and not having strangers around telling me what to do definitely helped me cope.
After what felt like no time at all it was time to call Juliana! She arrived very calmly and with a big smile and hug. Things slowed down a little initially but soon sped up – especially since Juliana made me walk around the block a couple of times and do figure 8’s on the swiss ball – not easy or comfortable!
Our beautiful daughter Ava was born after 8 hours of labour in a very calm and quiet living room. I believe that my confidence in Juliana’s experience and her calm approach during the labour (as well as the entire pregnancy), along with the breathing and calming techniques that I learnt in class helped me keep calm and relaxed and believe in myself and my body that I could do it. I hardly remember anyone else being in the room when it was time to push as I was allowed to just zone out and let my body do its thing.
Ava is now 9 months old and people always say how relaxed and happy she is. It probably helps that I am fairly laid back and had a good pregnancy but I also believe that the fact that she had a very calm birth also helps. Which of course comes from the care received before, during and after birth.
If I ever have more children I will definitely be wanting a home birth again as it was just the most positive experience for us. I would highly recommend having a private midwife – whether it is sole care, as part of “shared care” or for a home birth, I think if you find the right midwife for you then you have struck gold.
My only regret is that we didn’t get a photo of Juliana with our daughter!