Dear Ruth, my Community Midwife
I’ve been meaning to write this letter to you since Little Mister H was born. Yet there never seems to be the time. But today is International Day of the Midwife. So today is the right time to write a proper thank you letter to you.
Because I’m so thankful and truly grateful for everything you did for me during my pregnancy with Little Mister H. I honestly don’t think I would have got through those nine months without your support.
From the moment, I discovered that I was pregnant with Little Mister H I was terrified and filled with anxiety. I could only envision the pregnancy ending in another loss. That is what recurrent miscarriage does to you. It takes away your hope. And it fills you with an anxiety that is fuelled by heartbreak and loss.
This anxiety was all consuming. My booking in appointment involved tears, as I spoke about my fears of losing another baby. And I was terrified about what the pregnancy was going to do to my mental health. But you understood. Once we had been through my history and talked about my depression and the recurrent miscarriages, you immediately understood all my fears and worries.
You asked me if I wanted an early scan to put my mind at ease. But I couldn’t decide. I knew that there was a possibility that the scan could reveal that the baby had died. But if that was the way the pregnancy was going to end, I didn’t want to know until I had to know. I also knew that seeing a heartbeat would be reassuring. So I asked you to make the decision for me. And you did. You arranged a scan when I was 10 and a half weeks pregnant. This was past my critical phase as the four babies we had lost died at 8 weeks.
I’m so grateful to you for arranging this scan. As the scan showed that our baby was developing as he should have been. And for a while, I knew that our baby was healthy and he had got further than our last three babies.
You continued to help me in similar ways throughout the pregnancy. You were there whenever I needed you and you never judged me for crying on your shoulder or for uttering the same worries over and over again. Instead, you listened and you took control when I needed you to.
When I was 6 months pregnant, my depression and anxiety were becoming unbearable. I just wanted to spend most days in tears. But I couldn’t as I had a three-year-old daughter to look after. You immediately referred me to the local Maternal Mental Health Unit. And offered to be there for me, whenever I needed you.
My due date grew nearer and I became increasingly worried that I wouldn’t bond with the baby when they were born. To cope during the pregnancy I’d shut myself off emotionally and I’d distanced myself from the baby. So, as the birth approached, I became scared that I wouldn’t be able to love the baby when he was born. You listened to these irrational fears without judgement and you reassured me that wouldn’t happen. You told me that I was a loving person and that I’d only shut myself off as a form of protection. And once the baby was born I would look into his eyes and it would all be okay.
When I expressed the guilt that I was failing Little Miss H, you reassured me that I was a good mother. You showed me that it was okay and natural to be feeling the way I did. That I wasn’t abnormal or mad. That I wasn’t failing miserably. But that I was a mother with mental ill health who was pregnant after baby loss. You even told me that I needed to be kinder to myself.
As my due date grew closer, my anxiety became worse. I was terrified that something was wrong with the baby. And I could not imagine giving birth to a healthy baby boy. The most terrible and heartbreaking scenarios played on a loop in my head. And once again, you helped me get through the anxiety and you reassured me that the baby was healthy.
You also made the decision that you wouldn’t discharge me 10 days after the birth. But you would only discharge me when you felt completely happy that I was going to be okay. This was a huge weight off my mind, as I worried how I was going to cope once Little Mister H was born.
In the end, Little Mister H arrived 11 days early. Our miracle and our second rainbow baby. I held him in my arms and I couldn’t believe he was there. He was safe and sound. And I was so grateful. I was grateful for so much.
The day after Little Mister H was born, you came to visit me in the hospital to meet our little boy. Seeing you was like seeing an old friend. And I knew that I couldn’t have got through the pregnancy without you.
You cuddled our new baby boy and I admitted that the night before he was born I’d had an emotional breakdown. I was unable to cope without our baby in my arms and I couldn’t go through another day of uncertainty. I was terrified that we would never be blessed with our baby boy. And so, I told Mr H that I was going to ask you to give me a sweep because I needed our baby to be born.
In the end, Little Mister H decided to make an early entrance and the sweep wasn’t needed. (He must have known that Mummy needed to hold him in her arms). He was born 11 days early after only 2 hours of labour.
When I told you that I’d planned to ask you for a sweep, you weren’t at all phased by what I’d said. You simply said that you’d planned to give me a sweep anyway as you were becoming worried that my anxiety was worsening.
That is why I’m so grateful to you. For you understood me. And you pre-empted many of my worries and anxieties about the baby. You treated me as an individual and you didn’t see me as just a statistic or a box to tick. You put my needs, the needs of my baby and the needs of my baby first. And I will never be able to thank you enough.
Being pregnant after recurrent baby loss, was one of the toughest experiences I’ve ever been through. I’m so grateful that I had you by my side during that time. Thank you for being the most wonderful midwife. And for holding my hand, caring and supporting me when I needed it most.
I only hope that other women going through similar experiences are lucky enough to have such an amazing midwife.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And just to prove that my midwife wasn’t a one-off, you should head over to the blog SophElla and read Laura’s wonderful thank you letter to her midwife.