Penelope and Christoph's story

Penelope's story.

Simeon's birth was the most miraculous moment of my life, apart from the birth of my first child Josephine. He was born after twelve hours at home.

Fiona was a part of our process from about the second trimester of the pregnancy. I still had not chosen my midwife, I had met the team who was to be working with me, but rarely saw the same person twice, and was feeling quite ambivalent about things. I knew I wanted someone who could accompany us through the birth, but had no idea who. At my previous birth I had had no midwife at all present, partly through choice, because I had trouble trusting anyone at the time and partly because Josephine had been so quick, for this reason I knew I needed a woman who could travel the journey with me, alongside, without unnecessary intervention, but there when I needed help and support, which I knew I needed desperately. Then, one day I was shopping in my local health food shop, felt faint and needed to sit down. I heard someone's voice, asking me if I was okay, if I needed anything. When I looked up it was the face of a woman who understood woman, caring yet unsentimental, open yet practical not afraid to meet my eyes with steady reassurance. It was a face I knew I could trust. We started talking and she told me she was a lay'midwife and had just moved to the area. She was called Fiona. I knew there and then I wanted her at my birth.

From that moment on she was miraculous-a real support, more than that - more of a healer; bringing both myself and Christoph into a state of focus and equilibrium in preparation for a life change ahead. We were both very scared of having another child, having both had failed partnerships involving children before. She was always there for us, helping us to look at these issues, find a way of working it through, there to help me find an expression for the tears, anger, fear, so that we could be there for one another and for the baby.

Sometimes the two of us would talk, sometimes she would encourage Christoph and I to experience the baby, through touching my body to be actively involved which was beautiful, because he had felt alienated by the previous midwives. All this preparation was consistently bringing us into focus of the now, the baby, the truth of our unique situation. There were no stereotypes, no clich's, no pretence, only us.

When the time came for the birth, I felt confident and very held. Christoph I felt was with me, through Fiona's support, and we were ready to meet our wonderful child.

All the way through the labour, Fiona was there, supporting me, talking me through it, guiding me through any emotional blockages, rubbing me, giving me healing remedies: encouraging Christoph to help when I needed it '.enabling. She was never pushy, never invasive. She allowed me to be the Queen, sometimes honouring me, sometimes firm, but always meeting me, and where the process needed to go.

I shall never forget that moment when I really needed to push, as I have never had to before. I was looking right into Fiona's eyes, and she was showing me what I needed to do, how I needed to pit myself against this incredible resistance, put my chin down and push with all my might.

I will also never forget her words of wisdom when I was going through the insecurities of transition-how this was the time when we learn what we need to find in ourselves for our particular child-in my case my deep roots, which I was in that moment trying to run away from. Most of all, I shall never forget our feeling of incredible closeness during Simeon's birth, and the tears when he was born, the joy . Total empathy and compassion.

It was the only time in my life when I felt really honoured as a woman, as a Goddess, about to share the greatest creation to the world.

Thank-you so much Fiona.

And Christoph's story...

It was a first. I was excited, living with this thought and experience of a growing baby to be, and thrilled to be there and maybe even catch my child. I felt empowered having ours at home and had read all the Tennessee book 'Spiritual Midwifery. I was also massively nervous, but have forgotten that part having now my five year old son Simeon.

Remembering however Fiona's support in those months leading up to the birth, could bring tears to my eyes. She visited maybe seven times affirming our intentions and through her love and her experience (I think forty some thing births at that time) giving me confidence and a sense of the sacred. A home birth! How glorious that felt! To be among people not institutions! Fiona made it possible and carried me into the great mystery. I can't imagine it really without her presence, even if in the end we did call in an nhs midwife as well. She seemed to feel it was an honour to be involved with our birth. And we needed that feeling from her in such an intimate situation. Fiona was the LOVE itself come to care for us in the most exciting, most terrifying moment of our married life.

Thank-you sweetheart.

N.B. At the time of this story Fiona had not officially trained as a midwife, but had been working as a lay-midwife for over 6 years and had been attending births. Hence the necessity to call an NHS midwife to attend.