I recently collaborated with Ellie, who lives on Guernsey, where the homebirth service has been indefinitely closed, to create a really positive package of care, when she couldn’t have her Plan A of a birth at home. I was able to care for her antenatally and postnatally, and be present for her hospital birth. This involved me getting to know her online, then travelling to Guernsey to stay, leading up to her due date. Head of Midwifery at Guernsey Hospital, Annabel, supported this plan, and she, Ellie, and I are happy to have a discussion with other Guernsey folks for whom an independent midwifery care package may be helpful.
The discussion about re-opening a local homebirth service (ideally), or the hospital agreeing to provide insurance cover for an IM like myself to attend homebirth while they themselves are not providing this option, continues. This is an alternative supported by Birthrights, who say everyone has a right to the choice of homebirth.
Get in touch if you live in Guernsey and would like to speak with us – or indeed if you live elsewhere and face a similar problem/possiblity! Any hospital can agree to give an independent midwife an honorary or bank contract with them, in order for the IM to be covered by the hospital’s own insurance to attend someone’s birth. This can happen because the independent midwife may be able to provide a service they do not (e.g. homebirth), may have expertise they do not (eg vaginal breech birth) , or may offer a level of continuity of carer the local NHS team is not able to. Excellent collaboration really is possible.
In Ellie’s own words:
“From the moment I first met with Sharyn online she was both personal and professional, extremely knowledgeable and caring. She moved mountains to be able to attend my birth and she provided me with invaluable information and documents in the build up.
Throughout my labour, Sharyn helped me make informed choices at every step and always made me feel like I was the one in control. Sharyn helped me navigate some difficult and unforeseen circumstances of my labour and I was still able to birth my son without intervention which was my wish. I am positive this would have been a different story without Sharyn. The aftercare and advice I received was also fantastic.
Any questions or concerns I threw at Sharyn- she could answer them and always put my mind at ease . She clearly has a combination of great experience, knowledge and passion for midwifery and for people in general.
Asking Sharyn to be my independent midwife was one of the best decisions I have ever made and she will also be a friend for life.”