The Independent Midwife

A day in the life of an Independent Midwife…

By Susan Stephenson


I wake up to the alarm – hoping it will not wake the baby. – He will be one in a couple of weeks, so it’s all fun and games at the moment. He’s full of energy, and never seems to stop investigating! He has been snuggled in with me, feeding on and off during the night, but I did drag myself awake enough to put him back in his cot – probably about four, so that I could creep out and leave him without the danger of him falling out of bed, either now as I get up to sort the other children out for school, or if I was called to a labour. It’s great to know he’s getting plenty of milk, as he’s fending off a cold at the moment, and his appetite for anything else is not brilliant. – It would be awful to be on call, to have to be up at 6.30am for the other children and their school run, and to be up half the night with an unsettled baby! – He’s getting fluid, nutrition, valuable antibodies to fight off his cold – and he and I hardly stir!

 He wakes. The others gradually come bounding in, and everyone’s equally excited to see one another. The start of another day. I check my mobile. – I couldn’t possibly have missed a call – but I always have to check! – the children all know I might disappear at short notice. They find it all very exciting. – Although there have been a run of baby boys recently, so they’d like to wake to find I’ve caught a baby girl one of these nights!

 Everyone off to school safely. Baby and I call in at the mobile phone shop. Something needs fixing, and it takes about 45minutes! Baby’s interested in the pigeons outside, and the credit card machine. – Not the rattle, the lego man or the soft toy. I keep explaining that I need to ‘keep the same number – and have uninterrupted service!’ Baby settles in for a feed. The shop guy passes me the phone and I negotiate with the contract company. Sorted.

 Baby well-played and well-fed, I bundle him out of the sling and into the car seat to visit the first client of the day. He naps on the journey and I clear my head, and focus on what my client might need of me. – He stays asleep in the car, so I park on her drive, and we take it in turns to peep out the window at him. – The toddler takes his turn too. She’s looking forward to the birth. She feels ready now. She has organised a pool, but is not putting it up until the first twinge (‘It’ll give my partner something to do – and besides, the toddler will want to play in it!’). She feels the baby’s head is moving down. – She’s needing to use the bathroom more often. Baby’s moving plenty. Blood pressure’s fine. We talk a bit about how labour might be. – We’ve talked at length already about the third stage, and how she plans to let the placenta be born normally, without intervention, and whether or not she would want her baby to be given Vitamin K.. She’s been feeling a few tightenings – In fact she nearly called me last week. Could be anytime now! We note the imminent full moon… we’ll see!

 Next stop – a friend’s house for some lunch. – Baby has woken, so pop him in the sling and we nip into the shop for some goodies. The babies dip lumps of chunky bread in soup – and so do we, and then it’s off to the next small town for another visit.

 This client is expecting her first baby. – It’s still early in the pregnancy, but she’s keen to talk and learn as much as she can about what is, and will be happening during pregnancy, birth and beyond. She has been reading Ina May Gaskin, and looking into joining La Leche League, so is feeling very positive. She moves some of her ornaments, jokes about how their lives will change, and seems to enjoy the fact that my baby has a soft spot for her boyfriend! Baby feeds on and off, and we chat about ultrasound scanning, whether loud concerts are too loud for babies in-utero, and what constitutes a good diet. We talk about maybe keeping a food diary for a few days, to see if we can make any easy improvements – and we talk about whether an important diary date she has is likely to make her labour early – or late! I reassure her and her partner that we will talk more next time! She’s feeling something that she thinks may be baby. How exciting! I feel her abdomen. Growing nicely. Blood pressure fine. Blood results all look normal. We’ll see each other again in a few weeks.

 Baby and I are back in the car. He has a good sleep, all the way home – and we are back in time to meet the others on their way up the hill from school. It’s raining and they’re glad of the lift!

 Fun and games, teatime, homework, trumpet practice and then a big bath that everyone hops in one after another. Baby enjoys a big quiet feed before tucking in at about 7. The others read books, chat, and settle. I think about how I should get an early night, and then spend an hour looking at some interesting research that has just come through the post. Chat to my sister in law in America for a hour – and then hurry myself to bed, lest this baby does decide to arrive with the full moon!.

 I love my job!


Susan Stephenson, Independent midwife and mother of five, Yorkshire.


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