Antonia and Ali May 2020
At the start of the year we contacted Annabel and Suzanne ahead of the birth of our second child in April 2020. Having had a long and slightly stressful first birth, we were keen to get extra support principally for the birth and then for the initial postnatal period. From the moment we met them in February their experience shone through – but we didn’t know then just how much we would come to value this.
As we approached the birth, the situation with the coronavirus pandemic and UK lockdown became increasingly worrying. But they created a plan to make us feel calm and confident during what was a very uncertain time.
Their experience and knowledge was invaluable – Annabel’s in terms of preparing for the actual birth and Suzanne’s in the postnatal period. Annabel phoned on a regular basis and every time we spoke her calm, practical advice lifted any stress we had. The plan we made for when labour started gave us something we could focus on and removed the anxiety we felt about the hospital situation. She told us how she thought it would play out – we would go to the hospital and sit outside together for as long as possible, then my husband and I would go in and the baby would arrive soon after – and this is exactly what happened! In comparison to my first baby, the birth couldn’t have been more different – we were in and out of the hospital within 8hrs, back in time for lunch with our 2yr old.
Suzanne’s presence post birth was equally invaluable, especially given there were to be no home midwife visits and we weren’t able to see any family members. Her vast experience meant she was able to answer any questions we had and offer advice on all areas of newborn life – feeding, sleeping, settling, etc. – as well as providing reassurance and support during the early days.
Not only did we find them to be extremely knowledgeable and calm (quite something given the circumstances!) but both are also enormously caring and kind – characteristics which we valued, whether in the midst of a pandemic or not.
We couldn’t recommend them more highly – and will be forever grateful to them both.
Like many prospective mums, I had been told any number of horror stories from friends and colleagues – of agonisingly long labour and miscommunication with busy and stressed hospital staff. However, having managed to deliver a beautiful, healthy baby girl into the world naturally and without drugs or intervention, I am happy to share our positive experience, and the integral role Annabel played in this.
Both my husband and I agree that it made a world of difference to know that we had someone so calm, wise and reassuring, who had been through this process – and had helped so many more – completely on our side when we needed her the most.
My labour was relatively unusual for a first pregnancy as my contractions started 5 minutes apart. Within two hours, they were every 3 minutes but despite this, the hospital indicated that I would likely be sent home if we were to come in so soon after labour had started. However, having discussed this with Annabel, she agreed that it made sense to head to the hospital. It was absolutely the right decision as I was fully dilated at my initial assessment!
Annabel’s advice in the birthing suite was invaluable. She knew the midwife that had been assigned to me at the birthing centre at Chelsea & Westminster, which was again, hugely reassuring. She had an uncanny way of saying exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time! She also encouraged me to try the birthing pool, which given the stage that I had been admitted provided the only pain relief I needed. Just over 7 hours after my first contraction, I was able to pick up my daughter out of the pool!
I am so grateful for the support that Annabel provided us through such an intense, but incredible experience and would not hesitate to recommend Kensington Midwives to anyone considering their services.
“On recommendation from a friend we contacted Kensington Midwives and never looked back. Like most first time parents we felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available from books and the internet and we were looking for some more personal support. Annabel helped us in the run-up to the big day and made us feel calm and collected about what lay ahead. As we were having an NHS birth, the Kensington Midwives provided a reassuring service which, alongside my regular hospital check ups, meant that my health and the baby were monitored every step of the way. Their presence during the differing stages of labour was invaluable and their composure and support relied upon when I needed an emergency caesarean. In the days following the birth their visits provided answers to all the little questions that arise when you bring your baby home for the first time and gave me the reassurance needed to boost my confidence as a new mum.”
“I can clearly remember the first time I met Kensington Midwives. I had called earlier that day to arrange a meeting, having lost confidence in the NHS system after waiting for hours and seeing different midwives on every visit to the hospital. I wanted to make sure I received the best of care without necessarily paying for a private, consultant led, birth and private midwives seemed to be a good compromise. My husband was also keen to have the support of people he knew and trusted when the big day actually arrived.
Before my meeting with Kensington midwives, I had been to my NHS GP for a routine check-up. My GP had been unable to find my baby’s heartbeat but assured me that it was perfectly normal at that early stage and advised me to come back a few days later to try again. I therefore arrived at my meeting with Kensington Midwives in a total panic! After a chat and a cup of tea, they were able to easily find the baby’s heartbeat and I left knowing that I had found the right people to entrust my pregnancy to. All of my pre-natal appointments with Annabel were relaxing and confidence boosting. I had a very happy and contented pregnancy knowing that I had midwives I could completely rely upon.
With their support, we chose to opt for a natural birth at St. Mary’s birth centre. They were amazing during the birth and I can honestly say that I could not have done it without them and that my whole birthing experience would have been completely different without their presence. In the initial stages, they were on hand to advise how long to stay at home and when to go in. My husband was able to relax knowing that there was someone on hand should any problems arise. At the birth, having a woman beside me who I completely trusted and knew had gone through the same process themselves, gave me the confidence to keep going even when my body was telling me otherwise! With their help, our beautiful baby boy was born into the birthing pool after 11 hours of labour and no interventions.
I would not hesitate in recommending Kensington Midwives. They are wonderful people and fantastic midwives.”