The power of each surge Flows through me Like water. Washing off my skin, Taking my breath away, Bringing forth life… And Opening me up. Stripping away the layers and layers Of holding back I leave my body Surrendering and merging with my baby’s soul Hovering around me. Come my love I say… It’s time. Let’s emerge together…
As birthworkers, we just cannot do this work without someone just there for us, waiting in the wings. Gayle is my mentor and friend and I have learnt so much from her. Here’s ten reasons why I am thankful to Gayle (I’m sure there are more than 10!):
1. JUST BEING THERE: I know that no matter what we have going on in our respective lives, I can count on Gayle to be there for me if I call her.
2. DEBRIEFING: In the caring profession we forget that we as birthworkers also need to debrief… And we talk and walk each other through birth stories, tough times and good times. My husband was grateful as he no longer needed to listen to my birth stories… Now he says; “just call Gayle!”
3. NOURISHMENT: I know that she would just show up with a flask of tea and something healthy to eat if I find myself at a long birth 😁
4. BACKUP: If two births take place simultaneously, which happens, but very rarely, we know we have reliable back up in each other and we match each other in skillsets and tricks!
5. LEARNING: They say you can’t teach and old dog new tricks… I disagree! We learn from each other constantly and live through each birth the other takes on and support each other through each birth too with tips or a fresh perspective.
6. LAUGHING: Let’s face it, as rewarding as this work can be, it is also a little stressful… Ok a lot (LOL😂) and I must admit sometimes after long birth, we are the only people (besides other birthworkers) who understand just what we’ve been through… And that’s where the 3am hysterical laughter comes in… 😁
7. SPACE-HOLDING: Just as we are highly skilled at holding the space for mothers, fathers and babies, we also hold the space for one another. Sometimes the doula also needs doulaing!
8. TIME IS JUST A NUMBER: No matter the time, we chat just about at any time, anywhere when we need to or want to. It helps to know that no time is off limits. We do know how important sleep is though!
9. SHARING OF IDEAS: Gayle and I are on the WOMBS committee and it helps to share ideas with each other and also apply them to our own partnership and businesses.
10. EARL GREY TEA: The sweet aroma of bergamot Earl Grey tea and chatting to my birth buddy.
The team is comprised of Glynnis Garrod, Susan Lees, Angela Wakeford and Bernice Jehring Down.
Birth Options Independent midwives can attend both home and hospital births at Vincent Pallotti and Melomed Tokai with gynae/ obstetrician backup at those allocated hospitals. Ayla Nowell of Birthing Naturally, another wonderful independent midwife, has back up support from Vincent Pallotti and Constantiaberg Mediclinic. So women have the option of birthing at home with the support of Independent Midwives (with gynae back up support in case of emergency) as well as to birth at these allocated hospitals under the care of an independent midwife (with gynae back up support in case of emergency). We also have traditional midwives in Cape Town, who use various government hospitals for back up support. It pays to know your options and that you have choices available to you!
It says a lot about these doctors at those hospitals (Vincent Pallotti and Melomed Tokai) and their view on promoting a natural approach to birth, where caesareans are only called for when necessary. This is a rare breed of doctor in South Africa and should be taken into account when choosing your care provider/back up gynae.
Independent midwives specialise in normal, low risk pregnancies and birth and will do all within their capacity to help you have the most positive birth experience, whether that is a natural, vaginal birth or a necessary Caesarean in the end.
Without an independent midwife, you will have hospital midwives attend to you in private hospitals. Hospital midwives change shift, so you might have multiple midwives for the duration of your labour and birth time. Hospital midwives are also not allowed to deliver babies, (but sometimes they do as a baby may come quickly!:-)) as that role falls to your obstetrician, who is called to come in when you are near being fully dilated. Many hospital midwives are underappreciated for their hard work and loving care of mothers in labour, and burn out can be a very real challenge facing all birth workers.
My wish is for women in South Africa to start seeing independent midwifery care and doula care for Pregnancy and birth to be the norm, so that we can also lower our exorbitant rate of 90% caesareans in the private sector… Of which most were likely not necessary… and, to choose their doctors and hospitals more carefully too. You only have your one birth, so make choices that will facilitate a good birth experience without regret in the end.
So, without much ado, here are the fabulous stats from Birth Options.
Birth Options Midwifery Team Statistics 01/01/17 – 31/12/17
Total number of clients: 147
Total no Caesarian Section 21/147 = 14%
Number of clients who labored with the Team = 136
Spontaneous Vaginal Birth 115/136 = 84.5%
Kiwi Ventuse Delivery 4/136 = 3%
Emergency Caesarian Section 16/136 = 12 %
VBAC 7/10 = 70 %
Primigravida (first birth) 55/136 = 40 %
Waterbirth 15/136 = 11% (many more labored in water)
PPH over 1000 ml 3/136 = 2 % (from a retained placenta)
Third degree Tear 1/136 = 0.7 %
Neonatal Unit Admission at Birth: 2/136 = 1.5 % (1x 34 weeks, 1x signs of sepsis)
Births @ Life Vincent Pallotti 73/136 = 53.5%
Births @ Melomed Tokai 29/136 = 21 %
Home Births 34/136 = 25 %
Transfer to hospital from home birth 3/34 = 9 %
7 births not with the team – care taken over by back up Obstetrician: X3 persistent Breech Position after 37 weeks for elective c/s, 1x 37week early labour with breech position, 1x 31week premature labour breech position, 1x previous Caesarian Section, Term, SROM with meconium, unfavorable cervix, baby weighed 4.6 kg, X1 transfer from homebirth in labour for c/s ( CPD) to Christian Barnard Hospital – care handed over to Gynae as we don’t have an SLA there ( prior arrangement )
So there you have it. In a world where unnecessareans are on the rise, it helps to know your options and who will support you in your preferences.
And remember, no matter what turn your birth takes, there are no unnatural births. ❤️
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