Charlotte Jacob, a 35-year-old radio journalist from north London, had the midwife-led birth she wanted at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital.
“I had my first daughter, Bethan, at another hospital. Although the pregnancy was relatively straightforward I saw a different midwife at each appointment and for the birth which I did not enjoy.
For my second pregnancy, I wanted much more continuity of care. So the midwife-led service at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital appealed to me, even though the location was not particularly convenient as I live in north London. I thought it was worth it as, at the very least, I wanted to meet the midwife I would have for the birth before I went into labour.
The midwife-led service meant I would see the same two or three midwives throughout my pregnancy and birth. It also offered easy access to those midwives, so I could contact them if I had a concern or a question, and very flexible appointments around work.
“They were extremely helpful and reassuring and whenever I had any questions”
I was assigned two midwives who I saw regularly at appointments to monitor the pregnancy. I built up a very positive relationship with them. They were extremely helpful and reassuring and whenever I had any questions, I would text them and get a quick response rather than having to call a switchboard and be put through to someone I had never spoken to before, which had been my experience at a different hospital.
This easy access to the same midwife was especially reassuring for me because when I was 16 I had a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung). Doctors thought it may have been caused by increased levels of the hormone oestrogen, which also increases during pregnancy. It meant I had to be on blood thinners during my pregnancy and be closely monitored with more frequent midwife appointments. I didn’t feel particularly vulnerable during my pregnancy but having a midwife I knew on the end of the phone gave me real peace of mind.
The flexibility around these appointments was also important to me as I had a busy job as a journalist. I was able to have appointments at the end of my working day and I was usually seen straight away rather than having to wait around.
“It was a lovely experience, very calm and quiet”
I began feeling labour pains when I was at the cinema with my older. I felt twinges all the way through the film and when I got home I told my husband it was time to go to hospital.
Elin was born that night in the birthing pool at Queen Charlotte’s. Being in the birthing pool was my nicest memory of the whole pregnancy and birth. It was a lovely experience, very calm and quiet with the lights lowered. I listened to my music in the warm water and felt very relaxed and that everything was under control.
My midwife Kelly looked after me throughout the birth. She was very reassuring and made sure I had everything I needed and was as comfortable as possible. After my daughter was born, she took lovely pictures of us and the after-care was excellent. My husband and I were able to sleep in a very peaceful, quiet room with our new daughter and the next day I received all the advice I needed about looking after Elin before I was discharged. Overall it was a lovely experience and Kelly was the most amazing midwife.”