Birthstory: The gift of a good midwife

This story tells the world why we need professional independent midwves who are with woman and not with the medical systems. Read and be inspired! Then go to to find out what you can do to save them.

“Having Michelle there gave me confidence and she did that through allowing me to birth my own way, to be the expert on my own body and not taking that body and not taking that power away from me. “

Birth Story – Owen Conor

Ok, some back story to my choices. My first son was a planned homebirth. He had been three weeks late and I had a real battle with the NHS. I had a really positive 1st stage but a difficult second stage due to him being back to back with the cord wrapped twice around him. I went into hospital afterwards as his apgars were low and it was the most horrendous experience and made me vow to never go in again!

This time round I decided to take no chances with the NHS and booked an independent midwife. Michelle is the most amazing woman, experienced, knowledgeable, calm, confident and utterly convinced that women will labour instinctively and positively if allowed to do so.

Michelle visited the day before Owen was born and we joked that I had decided to labour the next day, after breakfast, and be done before Niall’s bedtime so he could meet his baby brother.
The next morning was a beautiful sunny Saturday. We all got up, had breakfast together and began to potter. At around 10am I had a brief achy feeling in my lower back which made me stand up. I got a few more of these before starting to experience some random tightenings with mild cramps. This made me really hopeful, but I tried not to get too excited. Just after noon we went for a walk to the local shop and they became more frequent, between 5-7 minutes apart but not very intense. I phoned Michelle to let her know that things were starting and agreed to ring when they were more regular. Dermot began assembling and filling the pool and I put the TENS on.

I then started reorganising my kitchen in between contractions! My friend Debbie popped over and joined in with me. Niall went over to a neighbour’s house to play. By 2pm the surges were becoming more intense and regular – every 5 minutes and by 3pm I was making low noises and concentrating with each one. I rang Michelle who said she’d be straight over and then put on some music. At this point I just started dancing. I had a playlist with lots of stuff like Faithless, Basement Jaxx, Chicane, Moby etc. It felt so right just to be dancing round the kitchen, swaying my hips. I had my clary sage oil burning on the work top and bent over that rotating my hips to each contraction, then carried on dancing. I would recommend this to anyone especially as I was later told that belly dancing was originally a birth dance! My system was flooded with endorphins and I felt so high. Both Debbie and Michelle had a dance with me before Debbie went home.

At around 6pm the surges started to be felt more in my lower back and I was asking Michelle and Dermot to put counter pressure to the base of my spine – heaven! At 6.25pm I decided to get in the pool. The warm water was lovely and I got on all 4 fours swinging my hips and lowing with the surges. Both Michelle and Dermot continued with the counter pressure, putting their full weight into it. I’m surprised I’m not bruised back there! Derm told me at one point he released pressure to change position and I growled at him ‘BACK!’ It was the voice of command apparently.

I soon began to feel mounting pressure as Owen began to descend, I stayed very relaxed and made positive noises, saying ‘yes’ and other words of encouragement. My waters eventually went in the pool at 6:55 and were clear. Over the next 15 minutes I could feel Owen’s head moving down and at 7:10 I could feel the top of his head with my hand. The contractions were now very strong expulsive ones and I knew with some help from me I could birth him quickly, however, I was conscious of not wanting to tear and took it very slowly. I talked to him all the way through, telling him what a good boy he was and how well he was doing and what I was doing. I went easy on the next few contractions, easing him out slowly and holding the top of his head. I pushed the sides of my labia over his head and felt him crown. I remember telling him over and over ‘it’s ok’ and I was also telling myself, reminding myself not to panic but to stay calm and relaxed. Two minutes later the next contraction moved his head out and with the next one he was born. He did a bit of a corkscrew and shot out. Michelle pushed him back between my legs and I lifted him out of the water for his first cuddle! Michelle and I blew on his face and talked to him as he cried and gasped a couple of times before breathing and pinking up.

10 minutes later Niall came home and met his little brother for the first time. He seemed quite impressed! Owen and I stayed in the pool together for another hour. Owen latched onto my breast like a pro and had a good half hour feed. At around 8:30 I had still not birthed the placenta and was having lots of cramps. Dermot cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating and had his first skin to skin cuddle with his new son. I eventually turned onto my back and manually removed the placenta. It slid free with a little pressure on the cord. I then got out of the pool to be checked over by Michelle. Owen was weighed and surprised us all by being 9lb 6oz! We’d all guessed lower. Niall’s grandparents took him to theirs for the night and Dermot and Michelle emptied the pool whilst I had a well earned glass of fizz! We were then tucked up in bed together with our little treasure to spend the first of many sleepless nights.

All in all I could not have wished for a better birth experience. I had one small 2nd degree tear but it’s healing nicely on its own. I felt happy and relaxed throughout and this is what made it so manageable. Having Michelle there gave me confidence and she did that through allowing me to birth my own way, to be the expert on my own body and not taking that power away from me. She checked Owen’s heart rate periodically but that was the extent of her intervention (besides the counter pressure).

I would advise anyone wanting a natural birth to look at hiring an independent midwife, they are fantastic. I had great care from the team at Yorkshire Storks throughout my pregnancy, a wonderful birth experience and the post natal care has been outstanding. Michelle made me stay in bed for a week after the birth, and despite my initial reluctance I am so glad I listened. 3 Cheers for babymoons!


Michelle can be contacted via Yorkshire Storks Midwifery Practice or telephone 01423 360 460

Have your say! (Again)

This is another consultation that the Government has put out about ‘nursing and midwfery’. Don’t fret, mothers, just put in your workbasket, get some needles and some brightly coloured wool and knit your response. We have until 10th Augst (and beyond) – so hit the link and say what you think! Love to you all!


Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery
Core Script – June

The Prime Minister launched the Commission on March 10, 2009. It will report by March 2010. It covers England, and considers midwifery and all branches of nursing, in all settings, services and sectors. Partly in recognition of her previous experience in nursing practice, management and leadership, Ann Keen MP was asked to chair the Commission in her current role as Health Minister. The Commission is made up of 20 leaders in nursing and midwifery practice, management, education and research.

Lord Darzi in High Quality Care for All rightly identified nurses and midwives as key to providing quality care. The Commission has been set up to ensure that frontline nurses and midwives have the support, skills, and competencies that they will need to design and deliver 21st century quality services for those that are in need of health and social care and to promote health and well-being.

The Commission has been asked by the Prime Minister to:

· identify the competencies, skills and support that frontline nurses and midwives need to take a central role in the design and delivery of 21st century services for those that are sick and to promote health and well-being. In particular, to identify any barriers that impede the pivotal role that wards sisters/charge nurses/community team leaders provide.
· identify the potential and benefits for nurses and midwives, particularly in primary and community care, of leading and managing their own services.
· engage with the professions, patients and the public in an interactive and robust dialogue which will identify challenges and opportunities for nurses and midwives.

Commissioners will also receive advice from expert advisors in relation to specific aspects of their work including independent sector, workforce planning, regulation and international perspectives on human resources issues.

The Commission met for the first time on the 28th April and considered how the NHS Constitution linked to the role of nurses and midwives, identified their priorities for the coming months and agreed that the first phase of their work would be to kickstart a process of listening to the views of the NHS, patients, public and wider stakeholders.

The Commission met for the second time on 2nd June and discussed patients’ views of nursing and degree-level nursing registration.

Commissioners agreed to form five workstreams to take their discussions forward. Workstreams, which will be led by Commissioners will focus on: quality and innovation, the vision and image of nursing and midwifery, the socioeconomic case for nursing and midwifery, helping and hindering forces, and workforce and leadership issues. (The attached table shows which Commissioner will be leading and working on each workstream.)

The first phase of the Commission’s work is to engage with the public, patients, professions and organisations to hear their views on the what the challenges and opportunities will be for nurses and midwives in the 21st Century.

The Commission will work with an external agency (Opinion Leader Research) to shape the engagement process, which will include national events, events hosted by the NHS/organisations, to engage patients, the public and voices from seldom heard groups.
As a first strand of this engagement the Commission has launched a call for the views of patients, the public, staff and organisations.

Questions centre on:
1. What are the knowledge, skills and attributes that nurses / midwives require to take a central role in the design and delivery of 21st century services?
2. What would you like to see nurses and midwives doing more of and/or doing differently in the future – whether in people’s own homes, in the community or in hospital?
3. What might be preventing nurses and midwives from doing this now?
4. How can these barriers be overcome?
Members of the multidisciplinary team or those who have particular expertise are also being asked their views on:
5. What is the potential for, and benefits of, nurses and midwives leading and managing their own services and the framework and support that would be needed to for this in the context of the multi-disciplinary team?
People are encouraged to submit their views via the website at: although views can also be submitted via email to or by post to the Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery, Room 159, Department of Health, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2 NS. Views are sought by the 10th August.

This date will not be the end of dialogue, however. All responses will be studied and will inform the Commission’s key messages. We will check these messages back through the website, public events and the media to see whether we have got them right, which in turn will shape our final recommendations to the Prime Minister.

Composition of Workstream Groups

Lead Comm
Other Comm
1 Quality and Innovation

Janice Sigsworth
Peter Carter, Claire Rayner, Tamar Thompson

2 Vision & image

Eileen Sills
Dawn Chapman, Anne-Marie Rafferty, Laura Serrant-Green

3 Socio-economic case

Ray Walker
Judith Griffin, Heather Lawrence, Kathy Warwick
4 Helping and hindering forces

Gail Adams
Liz Fradd, Donna Kinnair, Jo Pritchard
5 Workforce and Leadership
Audrey Emerton
Chris Beasley, Sue Bernhauser, Kuldip Bharj

Lines to take written by the sender not by me:

We’ve just had High Quality Care for All, why do we need another review?
Lord Darzi rightly identified nurses and midwives as being key to providing quality care, and the Commission has a timely opportunity to take a longer-term view on how we can ensure that the nurses and midwives of the future will be trained, and supported by the whole healthcare system to continue to provide quality care in the future.

How can I get involved?
We want to hear your experiences of nursing and midwifery. We want to hear your views on what makes a good nurse/midwife. We want to hear your thoughts about how the role or nurses and midwives should change in the future. Please go to today to get involved.

What will it achieve/what difference will it make to nurses?
The Commission will ensure that frontline nurses and midwives in the future continue to have the support, skills, and competencies that they will need to design and deliver 21st century services for those that are sick and to promote health and well-being.
What difference will it make to patients?
As set out in the new NHS Constitution, patients have a right to be treated with a professional standard of care, by appropriately qualified and experienced staff, in a properly approved or registered organisation that meets required levels of safety and quality. The Commission will look to the future to ensure that in the future the NHS fulfils this right to patients by ensuring nurses continue to have the support, skills, and competencies that they will need to design and deliver 21st century services for those that are sick and to promote health and well-being.

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