A: A real mixture of reasons really. I wanted to be one since I knew what it was (age 8), I love the thought of looking after women and their families during such a special time in their lives. I knew I couldn’t care for really sick people so nursing was never for me. I am always in awe of what women’s bodies are capable of!
Q: How many babies have you delivered?
A: I really have no idea. When I qualified 8 years ago it was 40 and now? Maybe 500 hundred!
Q: What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
A: The on calls and unpredictably of the days/nights. Leaving my family at weekends to do visits and when things don’t go as well as you had hoped.
Q: Do you think being a mum and having gone through labour twice yourself helps you be a better midwife?
A: I don’t think it makes me a better midwife as only experience and skill can do that but it does give me a greater understanding and appreciation of what becoming a mother feels like. Those early days when you’re floating on a cloud of adrenaline and oxytocin and nothing can burst your bubble – those feelings and emotions are always so raw for me.
Q: How do you help a mother in labour who is clearly panicking about the pain?
A: My job enables me to get to know my women antenataly so I do a lot of prep work around coping mechanisms for labour. I highly recommend hypnobirthing which enables you to learn to breathe and relax and not fear contractions. Fear is the major problem for women in labour. I however will always support a women who wants any other pain relief such as gas and air or an epidural.
Q: Have you had any interesting experiences with birth partners?
A: Haha! Partners are great, sometimes they are so enthusiastic it’s great to have a cheering squad going for the pushing bit. I did have one guy who wanted to jump into the birthing pool with his wife. He was in such a rush he took all his clothes off but forgot his trunks. I saw a little too much!
Q: What advice would you give to expectant mums about their labour and delivery?
A: Prepare for it like your training for a marathon. Eat well, and by well I mean eat the right foods. Rest, take care of your body, do yoga, swimming, read lots but be realistic in your expectations. Work closely with your birthing partner. Consider all your choices, do your homework, find out what’s available in your area. Is a home birth an option? IS there birthing pools at your nearest hospital? Read positive birth stories and don’t listen to negative ones from friends/relatives.
Q: How do you feel after a baby's birth? How difficult is it to switch off afterwards?
A: Always euphoria. There’s nothing like the buzz after a birth but them I’m shattered. I always go home have breakfast and snuggle down under my duvet for the best sleep in the world.
Q: What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked? Is there any one question asked by mums-to-be more than any other?
A: Goodness lots! Is there wifi on the labour ward? Will my baby look like an alien? Will I die during childbirth? Most women ask about tearing and pooing.
Q: Are there any myths about pregnancy and childbirth that you would like to dispel? Or that you think are true?!
A: A midwife can’t tell the sex of the baby by the shape of your bump/rate of the heart beat/the way the baby is lying. Only a scan will do that! Oh and heart burn doesn’t make you have a hairy baby!
Q: If one birth has been quick, has a pattern been set? Will subsequent births also be quick?
A: Yes quite often, women who have had a very quick birth tend to have a quicker 2nd birth. It’s also always good to chat to your Mum and find out about her birth. I know women whose mother and sister have had super speedy births and they also did.
Q: How useful is a birth plan? Many new mums writes one, those with older children don't tend to.
A: If it’s useful for you and your partner then write one. It may not be beneficial to think of it as a plan, more a list of choices and preferences. Most midwives are used to reading them so know what to expect, unless you have very specific choices.
Q: How important is skin-to-skin contact post-birth?
A: REALLY important, the benefits are endless no matter what kind of birth you’ve had ie waterbirth or c section. We know that babies who have spent an hour in skin contact are significantly less stressed after the birth experience- this means that their breathing and heart rate are more stable, they cry less, and when they start to feed, they digest their food better. A mother’s chest area is significantly warmer than other parts of her body – ready to welcome her new baby and prevent him from cooling down – which is a significant risk. Your baby has been lovely and warm in your uterus – at around 37 degrees, whereas the labour room will be significantly cooler, and he is wet – its like getting out of the swimming baths, you need to get dry and warm quickly.
Q: What is the most unusual place a mum has given birth.
A: I saw a video of a women giving birth in the sea once. That’s pretty out there!
Q: Do you have a favourite birth story?
A: God there’s loads! This one is very special as it’s my birth written by my Mum!
Q: What advice would she give to anyone wanting to enter the profession?
A: Research is key. If you have children think about your child care, what will happen if you’re on call? Long shifts start at 7:15 and end at 20:00. It’s the most challenging but rewarding job in the world. I can’t imagine doing anything else!