jack-birthday-1Thank you to MoorDad Sean and MoorMum Vicki from Yeadon for sharing their stories.

A Father’s Perspective by Sean

We opted for an independent midwife for the birth of our second child – Debbie Rhodes from Wharfedale Independent Midwifery Practice. Whilst we could have no complaints about the delivery and care of our first child, we wanted to ensure a more natural experience, without intervention from various medical professionals, i.e. a Midwifery led experience.

When we met Debbie, we immediately knew employing her was the correct decision. She visited us on several occasions before and after the birth. She was extremely professional and very friendly.

During the delivery Debbie was a constant source of reassurance; important for me biting my nails in the corner of the room! Her experience and knowledge were obvious.

We opted for a water birth.  Debbie supported me to help Vicki through the delivery, she also enabled me to have the most amazing experience of my life: when Jack was born I caught him in the water, brought him to the surface and handed him to his mother.

Having the baby at home was the best decision, as I found that being at home was much more relaxing.  Shortly after Jack was born Vicki could have a hot bath in her own bathroom and go to bed that night in her own bed. For me, an hour after my son was born he was lying on my chest while I watched the 6 nations, awesome!

A Mother’s perspective by Vicki

I am just sorry that we only booked with Debs when I was 35 weeks pregnant and had been ‘rejected’ by an NHS Birth Centre as an ‘unsuitable candidate’, followed by the Community Midwives being unable to guarantee that I would be ‘allowed’ to have a water birth. MMMmmm it didn’t bode well! After a desperate rather last minute internet search, we happened upon Wharfedale Independent Midwifery Practice and the rest is history!

From the first time I met Debbie, her warmth and friendliness, yet unfailing professionalism set me at ease. I had already hired a Doula, Jill, because I felt very unsupported staying in hospital after the birth of my daughter. She was able to meet with Debbie as well and we all discussed how we could work as a team, later with my husband Sean as well.

We didn’t have a huge amount of time to get to know each other as Baby No. 2  decided to put in an early appearance at 37 ½ weeks! I knew Debs was due to have the Saturday off when I went into labour on the Friday evening – typical! I’d met Chris, my 2nd Midwife who would be covering for Debs on her day off, but I was anxious for Debs to be there as I’d come to feel really comfortable with her.

I was in early labour from Friday tea time with the contractions becoming more regular late in the evening. She supported me throughout the night with us texting each other and said she would come as soon as I needed her; luckily she is only 20 minutes down the road. By the time she arrived at about 7am I was already in the pool, where I stayed until the placenta was delivered over 12 hours later! I had a very tough labour as I had a fall a few days earlier and hurt my back (I found out a while later that I had fractured my back in two places). Debs respected my wishes and didn’t examine me vaginally as I found it so invasive during my previous labour. She was fully aware of my birth plan.

I was quite literally screaming the place down (good move to send our daughter to Nana’s!), which only added to Sean’s unease. Between Debs and Jill they managed to keep him calm and convince me I could keep going. Unfortunately when baby descended the back pain was excruciating and masked any urge to push. I’ll never forget looking at Debs in between contractions and her telling me that I needed to keep all the noise inside and use that energy to push the baby out. So I focused and actively pushed for about an hour – exhausting! But I knew I had to either push the baby out or get out of the pool and into an ambulance (not an option as far as I was concerned). The second lot of gas and air took an AGE to be delivered, which meant it ran out in the meantime – not recommended! When it eventually came I managed to use it in between contractions to rest as it had ceased to have much of an effect during them.

Eventually with me in the ‘all fours’ position (which is amazing for me as I have had my leg amputated above the knee and would never have achieved this position out of the pool) I managed to push baby out and Sean lifted him – yes we had a son, Jack David – to the surface. What an amazing experience. After a few rubs he opened his big eyes and looked at us for the first time. I fed him within the first few minutes; he latched on easily which was fantastic. We waited for at least 20 minutes for the cord to stop pulsating, so Jack could have the best start with all his own blood back and then Sean cut the cord.  I opted for a natural 3rd stage (i.e. no injection to dispel the placenta). No one could have predicted how tough it would be though, lasting nearly 2 hours with full blown contractions – thanks goodness for the gas and air – still the agonising back pain. It wasn’t until Debs very calmly persuaded me to get out of the pool that, as I stood up, that the placenta was delivered. Baby Jack had in the mean time had some skin to skin contact with Sean whilst watching the rugby international! A bit of father-son bonding!

I cannot tell you what a different experience Jack’s birth was from the last one in hospital and despite the pain I had he came into the world in a very calm way. I am a huge believer in the effect the birth experience can have on the temperament of the child. He is a laid-back, contented and a lovely little boy – we feel extremely blessed with our two beautiful children.

We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Wharfedale Independent Midwifery Practice to anyone who wants to experience the birth of their choice in a supportive environment, nor would we hesitate in engaging Debs’ services again should we decide to have another child. The service is second to none; in particular the extended post natal care is absolutely invaluable.

If you would like to contact Sean or Vicki to discuss their story or ask any questions, please contact us.