Alexander’s birth was a wonderful experience, way beyond our highest hopes and it was the expertise and incredible support of Riverside Midwives that made it possible. We have had such a calm and enjoyable start to life as a family of four, thanks to their care.
When I was pregnant for the second time, we were both worried about the upcoming birth, especially with our 5 year old Max to think about too. Aged 40, I was being labelled “high risk” with hospital protocols around induction putting on pressure to rethink my hopes for birth.
Emily had been an NHS community midwife in our first pregnancy and she went out of our way to help us postnatally with Max, so I reached out to her when I found out I was expecting again, to learn she had since gone independent.
We didn’t really know anything about Independent Midwives and it isn’t something we had thought was for ordinary people like us. However we knew Emily and knew what a difference her support had made on Max’s arrival, so we asked to meet with her to understand more. Choosing an Independent Midwife is an investment and with me going off work at that time, it was not a decision we took lightly but the more we learned, the more we knew it was the right choice for us.
The antenatal visits being conveniently at home meant we could include our son Max and he loved listening to his and his brothers heartbeat. Emily joined hospital consultant appointments when I wanted extra support, ensuring I was informed in my decision making.
The birth preparation sessions were invaluable, helping me have belief in my ability to birth my son, deepening the trust between us, and giving me the chance to share my hopes and fears, as well as discussing different birth scenarios and hypnobirthing techniques.
My waters broke 10 days early and Emily was ready to come over as soon as I called her. I wholeheartedly believe that the speed and way in which my labour progressed when she arrived is due to me trusting her and knowing I was safe.
It was soon clear to her that I was going to birth imminently and she arranged for Jo to also attend. She worked very discretely with Mark to prepare the bedroom for a homebirth yet was still with me through the contractions.
The space she’d created felt so calm, it was dimly lit with music playing, Emily and Jo quietly supporting me, checking on the baby and instinctively knowing what would help. At one point I started to worry and they knew exactly what to say to diffuse that fear. It was all very calm, they ensured I felt in control and whilst it was powerful, I don’t associate it with pain.
I remember as Alexander was born (just two hours after Emily arrived) saying that it felt beautiful and I felt so capable and joyful (and still do). The placenta was delivered naturally and I cut the cord once it had turned white. With Emily’s support, he fed well straight away and we were given space to bond with him.
It was so wonderful to be tucked up in bed at home enjoying our arrival. Alexander was calm and content from the outset and continues to be, having had such a gentle introduction to the world. It was a birth beyond our highest hopes and the Riverside team put all the ingredients together so we could experience that.
Despite amazing family and friends, it was the Riverside visits I looked forward to most in those first months. Newborn nights are long and I had to adapt my sleep pattern to my sons cluster feeding. Getting reassurance about his weight gain and health was so motivating. I was feeling really well but Emily encouraged me to rest and really enjoy this special time bonding with him. She helped me bathe Alexander for the first time and he loves the baby massage techniques she taught.
Emily’s skill, warmth and friendship, messages and humour all helped us through those intense early weeks and made it so positive for our family. We can’t recommend her and Jo highly enough.
Emily and Jo are exceptional midwives, clinically excellent and a great team who are both passionate about creating the very best experience for the women they care for. They encourage informed decision making and provide medical, emotional and practical support that develops self-belief as well as trust, so that birth can be as positive and safe as possible whatever your preferences and however it unfolds. They are also wonderful people and make you feel like you can do anything.