Frances' story

For me being pregnant was a time of great excitement and joy coupled with anxiety and fear of the unknown - as such I found it a period of real personal discovery and growth. It opened up opportunities for me to explore views and feelings about things I had never considered before which I wanted to share and discuss with my loved ones but also with the person who was going to deliver my baby – this is what ultimately for me separates the NHS from a private midwife like Fiona.

I had what would probably be deemed a perfectly “normal” NHS experience first time round – my daughter was born healthy and I seemed to have had a much better labour than many of my friends who met up to compare horror stories. However, I didn’t feel things could have gone as well as they could have done and I would describe the care at best as perfunctory but at times as rather undermining and unpleasant. There were also some things that happened that went completely against my wishes such as being induced and administered with pethedine. What was one of my biggest issues was the inability to build up a relationship with the person who was going to see you at your most intimate and exposed – the midwife who was going to help you through labour. None of the midwives I saw through my pregnancy were at my birth and that makes a huge difference – you don’t really want to go through that experience with total strangers who have no idea of your wishes. For me it takes all the magic and wonder out of birth and makes it an institutionalised and medical affair.

It was with this in mind that led me to seek out a private midwife when I discovered I was pregnant for the second time. When I met Fiona I knew straight away that I wanted to go through the pregnancy and labour with her and my experience was everything I wanted it to be and more. On a practical level we had plenty of time with regular visits to not only carry out the routine physical checks, to ensure everything was developing normally, but also to talk and explore the preparations for the birth. The whole family could be included if I wished and this was lovely particularly when we had a fun evening making a belly cast!

I really felt Fiona was there for me emotionally too and that I could discuss all sorts of feelings and concerns with her. We were able to build the relationship I felt was so lacking in the NHS system and I knew my wishes would be honoured and respected. When the time came to give birth to Lily all that preparation paid off – I had a 4 hour labour at home with no drugs and delivered Lily in my own bed. She was vibrant, healthy and alert and I was relaxed and calm. My recovery was also far speedier and without any of the problems I experienced previously.

Fiona is a sensitive and respectful person who really gives you the power to have the pregnancy and birth you want - I really can’t recommend her highly enough.