The midwife I forgot to thank, but whom I will never forget.

Friday 13th December, 2013. 

I will never forget that day, for it was the day my son was born. 

(You can find my birth story, as featured in Mother & Baby magazine here should you wish to read about my experience of childbirth and what it was like to give birth without a partner by my side.)

One thing's for sure; it was unforgettable, and I am sure that every woman who's ever given birth will agree- it's not a memory you will ever misplace (whether you remember it as the most painful, testing day of your life, or as the most magical - or both!) It is well and truly lodged in my brain forevermore.

Even if I go on to have more babies at some point in my life, I will never forget the first time I became a mother. The moment that changed my life and determined my entire future. Sometimes, I can still see the room exactly as it was laid out when I gave birth, I can still smell the hospital and above all, I can still picture the lady who helped me to bring my baby into the world. The lady who kept me calm and safe. 

That lady was my midwife.

Her name was Amy and she was absolutely brilliant in every way. 

Throughout my pregnancy I had been somewhat skeptical about what the midwifery staff would be like at my local hospital; I hadn't had a great experience with the midwives I'd seen throughout pregnancy so I became a little anxious about whether I would 'click' with the midwife who would be delivering my baby when the big day arrived. What if we didn't get along? What if she made me feel uncomfortable? Will I be able to cope with childbirth if my midwife is not someone I wholly trust and feel respected by?

I remember a particular moment during the early stages of labour, when Amy introduced herself to me , and then to my birthing partners; my mum and sister. She was young, friendly and full of life. She asked a few questions and quickly, she learnt that a partner would not be joining me.
She learnt in that moment that I was a single soon-to-be-parent.

 And she thought it was awesome.

She said she'd never delivered a baby among a room full of women and that there was something quite empowering and comforting about it. 

Amy was with me from the moment I reached "established labour" right up until I gave birth and, of course, she helped me more than words could ever say. When complications arose and things became too much and I felt like giving up, she was everything a midwife should be. But she was also so much more than that. 

This incredible midwife didn't just help me for the obvious reasons or in the obvious ways, she helped me because she was the first (and probably the only) person who has ever responded to my "actually, the father isn't going to be involved in raising the baby" news with positivity rather than pity. 

She was not shocked or sorry to hear that I was a single mum. Her face did not reveal that all-too-familiar-expression which says "oh you poor thing." Because, actually, she didn't feel sorry for me. She didn't see my situation as worse-off or unlucky or hopeless. 

 In fact, quite the opposite. 

She saw a young girl ready to become a new mother; she saw bravery.

Thinking about it, I have a lot to thank her for. 

Besides being a 10/10 midwife, she filled me with courage at a time which could've easily been filled with fear. Her comments and her pleasant attitude towards my decision to bring this baby into my non-conventional family was encouraging and motivating. 

She she set me on that first step of my path towards strength and courage, she helped me to see my situation differently. I felt empowered by her view of the situation. She enabled me to see my situation as something other than unfortunate or sad. And it was exactly what I needed to feel during those long, painful hours of childbirth.Her lack of judgement and her genuine interest in my story encouraged me to feel strong from the very start and in that moment, when Etienne graced us with his beautiful presence, I knew I could do this.

 I knew I didn't need anyone else to help me to raise this baby.

After he was born and everything had calmed down and once I'd  eventually stopped being sick (shock, I think- gross) she came back into the room to bid farewell and to wish us good luck as her shift had come to an end and she was off home to her family.

Upon leaving, she thanked us all for what was, in her words:

a lovely, heart warming delivery- one she would never forget.

She told us that she had absolutely loved witnessing the solidarity and the "girl power" which filled the delivery room throughout those crucial hours, and that she had witnessed the special family bond between myself, my sister and my mum.

She knew how much we would all love Etienne and she was right.

I am sure she thanks every patient and their families for allowing her to be a part of their magical, life changing moment but- something felt  special about those words that she had shared with us.

 It was almost like she knew what the future had in store for myself and my son; she had anticipated this incredible bond.

When I was able to take my squishy newborn home, I spent a couple of days settling into motherhood and adjusting to the fact that there was now a tiny human in the world who needed me.

A few days later, I bought Amy a Thank You card. It was at the top of my list of things to do post birth and yet I never sent it to her. I never even wrote it and, if I'm honest, I forgot where I'd even put it. (One of those "I'm going to put this in a really safe place because it's important" moments where you hide something so well that you never manage to find it again.)

I'm going to put most of the blame on the devil that is 'Baby Brain' because, believe it or not, it's a real thing. Either that, or I was just too busy getting to know my tiny new baby.  But regardless of how or why- I forgot. And it still bothers me to this day that I never shared my appreciation with her. She needed to be told that she was wonderful at her job and that she had filled me with pride and confidence to become the best mum I can be.

I came across the card  not long ago, whilst rummaging through a mountain of paperwork which should've been sorted ages ago. Had I sorted it ages ago, I probably would've sent Amy's card, but oh well- that's a typical 'me' thing to have done.

I feel its a little too late seeing as Etienne has had two birthdays since Amy delivered him but when I saw the card sat there,still sealed in it's plastic film, I relived the moment Etienne was born  all over again and it had me feeling thankful all over again.

Card, or no card; I hope she knew how grateful I was. I can't possibly thank her enough- even if it is 2.5 years late.

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