Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The most amazing midwife...

I think Chris Barbier has to be one of the most influential people I have met in my life, and it's a shame I didn't meet her earlier. When pregnant with Sophie, my attitude towards pregnancy and birth was fairly mainstream - so long as mother and baby are ok, anything goes. Take all the drugs possible and just get baby out. My midwife at the time had similar attitudes, unfortunately. Then when I was pregnant with Lachie, Chris was recommended to me. I already knew I wanted a natural birth again, and I finally understood the importance of itonce I started seeing Chris. With Chris's calm guidance I developed my true feelings towards the amazing phenomenon of birth and started to look forward with anticipation. In my own time, I came to respect home birth and started to want one for myself and my baby. When suggesting it to Chris, her face lit up - this is right up her alley. Just chatting with Chris gives you insight into her experience, vast knowledge and empathy. She is the perfect home birth companion, calm, loving and competent. During my labour she observed and did not interfere. It was like having a second mum there, letting me know that mother nature was doing just fine. Having had the most wonderful birth experience with Chris by my side, I was motivated to share this with everyone, and help others have the fantastic experience I had had! I started volunteering at Parents Centre, and also decided to become a Childbirth Educator. That decision I can credit to Chris. She has shaped my beliefs in natural childbirth and given me the passion to help others enjoy what I have experienced. One of the first things I thought of when I discovered I was pregnant again was how exciting it was to have Chris as my midwife again! She shared in my excitement, and she is so genuinely passionate about pregnancy and babies that I felt as if I was her first ever client! She came to see me in the hospital when I was in the neuro ward, cake in hand and a reassuring smile on her face. No, she wasn't there because she had a birth at Christchurch Women's or other work to do, she came in to visit and see how I was. As I said, she's like a second mum. That weekend that Ellie stopped moving, she was at the end of the phone, texting me advice to get her moving - from a cold drink to eating chocolate. And when that didn't work she suggested I go for a scan at the hospital, as I was in Greymouth (a little far for even the most dedicated midwife to travel!). I didn't get to call her to tell her Ellie had died. The hospital midwives did it without even asking me. I would have liked to tell her myself. She called me while we were on our way back to Andy's parents house, and admitted she was going to have a stiff drink and a cry for me. Just like any mother would. She has been with me every.single.step of the way and although what I had to experience was terrifying, I knew I would be Ok with Chris advocating for me. She came over in the evening before I went to hospital and talked me through everything. She stood up for me in the hospital, she made the hospital midwives respect my fear of needles and made sure I had numbing gel, she did all the hands on examinations, she chatted with me and my support people, she bonded with us all while she sat knitting. After Ellie was born, her love for my baby was obvious. She helped me feel like the proud mum of a perfect wee baby, I felt no different to any of the other mums she would have helped. She came to our home to farewell Ellie, and her follow-up appointments have included the odd glass of wine, and us both processing what has happened, together. I really feel like I couldn't be this strong without her motherly presence. Thank you for all you have done for my family, Chris. You exemplify what a midwife should be. Hopefully we can continue to see each other as friends, or else I will have to continue to have babies just to catch up with you :D

2 comments:

white-rose said...

Beautiful tribute to an amazing woman who obviously encompasses everything the midwifery profession should be!

Plingie said...

She certainly is a beautiful example of a midwife :D