Amanda gave me information I couldn’t find in books

“Amanda’s support throughout my pregnancies and birth was one of the best things I ever did. She entered my house a midwife and left a friend. After starting my pregnancy with NHS midwives I found myself lacking individual support. What a joy to have Amanda joining me in my home, sharing a cup of tea and cake, at a time that fit around work and no eye on the clock. It was fantastic being able to not mess work around with awkwardly timed appointments.

Amanda gave me the information I couldn’t find in the books I read, she answered my endless list of questions in an intelligent and intuitive way not only providing me with the facts I needed but efficiently unpicking my fears. In the space of a couple of weeks of meeting her, I realised that it was my birth experience and I had choices. With my first pregnancy I decided to try for a home birth, Amanda empowered me to labour comfortably at home knowing when to ignore me and give me space and when I needed her support and encouragement. My home birth unfortunately didn’t work out, I moved to hospital but having Amanda for the start with her vast professional experience made a potentially unsettling experience calm. Through Amanda’s support and care in my second pregnancy, I felt confident to try for a home birth for a second time this time finding myself with a perfect baby boy after a 40 minute completely drug-free labour. I thought that being in a hospital would offer me support, my two experiences couldn’t be more different. In hospital I found myself very much alone with a long walk to the loo, a newborn who I couldn’t leave and only the things we had guessed to pack in my bag (which my husband had left behind in the rush!). The professionals that I originally wanted to be around changed shifts so I didn’t see the same person more than once, the lack of continuity of care meant having to explain my situation every time I saw someone new. What I found with this kind of care was I couldn’t control my experience, I had to wait until it was convenient for someone to discard me. With my second birth three hours after starting my labour I was sat on my own sofa, with my baby in my arms eating a jacket potato my husband made me, being able to curl up in my own bed with my own shower and loo next door and my husband with me. I thought I would feel alone at home, far from it, Amanda round the corner but most essentially offering the continuity of care. Being able to text Amanda with a quick query, ‘is this ok, should I be worried?’, five minutes later fears allayed, cracking on as opposed several hours waiting round in hospital. Amanda’s breadth of professional knowledge and experience genuinely far outstripped anyone’s I met in hospital. I always knew the advice she gave me was the very best, she sees the whole picture from start to finish as opposed to NHS staff who see a snapshot of the whole experience. Amanda knew me and respected me, she was with me through the whole journey so we never had to waste time filling in facts. To have the same person supporting me before and after the birth was absolutely fantastic, I’ll never forget sitting with Amanda with my two children in a heat wave with our feet in a paddling pool!

In one of the books Amanda lent me, it said if you go into a nursing home and asked old ladies about their birth experience they remember it with clarity. The birth of your child is pretty much the most incredible thing that will happen to you, Amanda allowed me to own my experience replacing fear with control and joy. When I am an old lady I will remember my birth experience in a positive way and I will most definitely remember Amanda.”

Lucinda Warnes