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A love letter to midwives everywhere

Julia Smith

Julia Smith

Julia is a Sydney born-and-raised mum of three girls. With over twenty years in the media industry, including four years with parenting publishers, she’s passionate about creating entertaining content that connects with parents. When she’s not working or parenting, you’ll find her binge watching TV and revenge-procrastinating about bedtime… or nerding out at gigs...
Created on May 03, 2024 · 5 mins read
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When I first found out that I was pregnant and began considering my options for delivery, my instinct was to book in with an Obstetrician of my choosing.

I knew midwives would be present at the birth of my child, wherever I delivered,  but I wanted the reassurance of having a trained medical specialist attending in case things didn’t ‘go to plan.’ 

 I then proceeded to binge-watch every episode of One Born Every Minute and Call the Midwife, and read every book and article I could find on childbirth. That’s when it began to click that things regularly don’t go to plan, and there is little you can do to influence how your child’s delivery will play-out in real life. 

I spoke to friends and discovered that often their carefully selected OBs wouldn’t even be present at the time of delivery. They were ‘stuck’ out on the golf course and wouldn’t make it back to the hospital on-time, leaving the delivery in the hands of the rostered-on midwives. 

Either that, or they’d waltz in at the last moment of a prolonged and tiring labour to catch the baby on the last push and claim the glory. One friend’s OB even tried to book a C-section so he could ‘get it done’ before his holiday! 

Fortunately, my obstetrician was very present for me throughout all three of my varied birthing experiences. But like many women, it was the incredible and hardworking midwives who were the heroes of the delivery suite and were there for me every step of the way; their presence both reassuring and comforting.

My first delivery

My first delivery was an induction, and I laboured with the baby in a posterior position for hours. The OB was convinced that I was going to end up with a C-Section as that’s usually were posterior labours lead. 

The midwives were there the whole time, monitoring the situation and looking after me. After a solid eight hours of increasing pain and fatigue, one incredible midwife came on duty and changed the entire outcome of my daughter’s birth. She changed my position, gave me heat packs, massaged my back, coached me through movements and breathing techniques, and miraculously turned that baby around. She was born 45 minutes later.

My OB, who had returned to the hospital early to avoid getting stuck in a storm, walked into the delivery room completely stunned to see that the baby had turned. They were just in time to help deliver my baby girl. 

I know that if it had not been for the hands-on care of that midwife, my daughter would have been born by c-section. While there is nothing wrong with having a c-section (my 3rd delivery was a cesarean,) the wonderful and personal care from the midwife meant that my daughter’s first moments within this world were incredibly personal and intimate. The midwife trusted that my body could do what it needed to do and allowed me to believe in myself too, using age-old birthing techniques to ensure the safe delivery of my baby. 

My second delivery

Baby number two was fast and furious (without the great soundtrack). 

At four days overdue I had another induction and started the delivery already 5cm dilated. With no time for pain relief, I very quickly proceeded to active labour and had to push. My husband still complains that he never got to eat his lunch that day, but that was nothing compared to my attending midwife who had been on duty and on her feet since the wee-small hours of the morning. 

She stayed with me well past the end of her shift to ensure I was looked after at my most vulnerable. She supported me the whole time, ensuring I was all settled in with my gorgeous second daughter before quietly congratulating me, wishing us well, and heading home for some well-earned sleep. 

To the midwives who work wonders

While my personal experience with midwives is burnt into my memory with eternal gratitude, I think that women (and their partners) all over the world feel the same way about the amazing midwives who assisted the deliveries of their babies. 

Midwife group practices are popular all over Australia and offer incredible care to women during delivery and throughout their pregnancies. They also provide postpartum care, tending to our stitched and swollen bodies, and helping us to navigate the stressful and sleep-deprived weeks post-birth.

These midwives work long hours at all times of the day and night on their tired feet, for often basic pay. They put their bodies on the line for their love of the job and for the women they tend to. They mop away our tears, clean-up our mess (and there’s lots of that in the delivery room), and bring our babies into this world with their incredible expertise and reassurance. 

They see the best and the worst of the delivery suite, carrying the emotional burden of trauma and stillbirths with them every day

It’s for this reason that midwives have been trusted by women all over the world for millennia. So on this International Day of the Midwife, we offer them our eternal gratitude. 

Thank you, midwives everywhere!

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