I’ve written about my own births quite a few times throughout my blog posts, and most of you know I birthed with a midwife as my primary carer.
Although I’ve often reflected on how wonderful my experiences were, I’ve struggled to establish exactly WHY I felt that way – aside from knowing that I felt absolutely safe and supported, both times.
Yesterday, at work, a colleague of mine was sharing with our midwifery team some literature she had found, discussing the “three C’s” of pregnancy care and how satisfied mothers reported being with their care.
And there was my A-ha! moment.
All three C’s were major components of my pregnany care.
I KNEW my midwife (and her backup), and she knew me. I saw her at every appointment. She knew what I was up to, physically, mentally, and emotionally. She remembered things that we had discussed before. She got to know my husband. She was there when things were great, and she was there when things became challenging. She was my person.
There is nothing within a fragmented maternity care model that will ever measure up to this kind of familiarity and security. CONTINUITY of caregiver is just so crucial to good care.
Every single decision relating to my pregnancy care was MADE BY ME. I was given information, practical education and time to make the choices I needed to make around my care. I was informed fully about the risks and benefits around everything that was offered to me, and I was prompted to explore the evidence bases from which this information was taken. I was given statistics and percentages, and I was never handed generalised statements to try and sway my thoughts. I was encouraged to ask questions.
Every CHOICE I made was fully informed by evidence. And every choice I made, was one hundred percent made by me.
Thus, when it came to my pregnancies and births, I felt as those experiences really belonged to me. I was extremely well informed. I had a caregiver that I trusted. And when things became a bit more complicated during my second pregnancy, I drew upon those resources to help me to establish my sense of CONTROL.
Having control doesn’t mean having a “perfect” experience. Having control, to me, meant being the key stakeholder in the decision making that was going to affect me and my baby.
When the Girl Child was threatening to make an early arrival, I’m sure I drove people mad with my questions. But I wanted to know the paediatric team. I wanted an orientation to the special care nursery. I wanted to discuss how things might look if it all went pear shaped, what a transfer might mean, and what supports I would have. I wanted as much information as I could possibly be given, so that I could re-evaluate what choices were available to me in this potential scenario.
I was never left sitting in a bed, wondering “what if”. The communication and engagement from every professional involved was flawless. And it was led by my midwife, who only needed to look at my face to know that I was ruminating on something.
Control, for me, wasn’t about dictating a result. It was about being considered, and incorporated into decisions about my care. It was about honest conversations, and being informed of changes, and being spoken to, instead of being spoken about.
As it turned out, the Girl Child behaved herself and stayed in until 38 weeks. So, none of that planning was put into place in the end. But, during a really frightening time, I felt completely safe and supported.
Because of the three C’s.
They were there, lit up in neon, both times for me.
I wish, more than anything that more women had that experience (minus the threatened prem of course!), because, for me, it was literally life changing.
Would love to hear your experiences?