An Open Letter to my Midwife.
An open letter to my midwife, Julie.
My husband and I have survived the car journey that we thought we would make four months later and we have accepted the certainty that my Son is no longer kicking around inside of me and that his dainty heart has stopped beating.
We walk up to the hospital entrance and I take a moment and a deep breath before going in as I know that once I've stepped in that door I will never be the same. We made what was supposed to be an exciting route up to the third floor towards the delivery suite.
I am carrying bags and bags of things, I have no idea what I need. I have never given birth before, let alone in this situation. My bag is full of snacks, energy drinks, writing, medication and most importantly a knitted hat and blanket for our little one.
Just days before, I had been sat in this exact same room and next to me sat an empty crib with a baby blue blanket. I had looked at disbelief that it would not need to be in the room when I returned as I didn't want him to be anywhere else except in our arms. I stared at ocean themes on the wall, they had been kind enough to remove everything that related to the happiness of your newborn arriving.
I sat on the bed, my husband sat on a firm chair and we prayed, we thanked God for our blessing, we read, we spoke, we laugh, we cried and I'm pretty sure that in those moments waiting to be seen that we had felt every emotion under the sun.
I am greeted by two women, both midwives and both had a heartwarming and beautiful presence. They spoke to me about the induction and how it would happen. I am terrified, absolutely terrified of what is about to come. In the bathroom, I change on my own into a nightgown, tie up my hair, remove makeup from my face and accept my reality again.
My labour progressed quite quickly and I was in heaps of pain. I did not want a lot of pain relief, I don't know why I really don't but deep down in my heart, I felt as though I didn't deserve it. After all, there were women around me giving birth to full-term babies that were kicking and crying away and I was waiting for the stark silence that would follow.
The first time I knew Julie was heaven sent was when she said to me "Michaela, you have all the pain relief you need. You don't need to be a hero, you are not wasting our time, you are going through enough and it's okay". At that moment, I knew that I was in safe hands. I don't know why, but I felt like she understood my pain.
So many things happened in the space of four hours but something incredibly special happened when my other incredible midwife went to get morphine. Julie held my hand, she looked into my eyes and she lingered with me for a moment, her eyes told a story. That sounds creepy, I know but I knew she was with me and she was feeling my pain too.
Just fifteen minutes later, at the foot of my bed while I was screaming in pain she said words to me that I will never forget, ever. She said, "I have lost babies, I am so sorry." My heart ached, but it also healed, just slightly. I knew that she was with me at that moment, I knew that she felt my pain, I knew that what I was getting was not just sympathy, it was empathy, she knew. She felt.
A deafening silence overtook the room as with one final push, I delivered my son. She held my hand and we spent time studying his perfect little features and admiring him together. There was silence, but so much was said in that silence.
This woman may never know the impact that she had on me, or how she changed my life in one of the hardest seasons I've ever faced. She may never know that she went above and beyond her job description that day. She may never know that I felt empathy. She may never know that when she held my hand, she held my shattered heart. To her, I may just be another woman in a tragic situation, but to me, she is one of my heroes.
This post is to all the medical professionals that went above and beyond their job descriptions with their words, actions and empathy. To the ones who treated us as individuals and not just another statistic.
So, to my midwives: Clare, Angela and Julie. My screening midwife, Janet. My consultant, John. You made the worst situation a little lighter.