Midwife Haidee Latham
My first 2 pregnancies/births were not the great experiences I was expecting.
The care I received throughout my pregnancies was lacking in many ways and felt very impersonal. My births, sadly, weren’t much better.
Going through the usual public hospital channels, I was attended by a different doctor or midwife for every.single.visit! I was 22, living 5 hours from family and terrified. For my labour, I didn’t even have a midwife with me. I was left to labour on the maternity floor with 3 mums with newborns. Trying to be quiet during active labour so as not to disturb sleeping babies is a nightmare. Thankfully my partner and my mother (actually a midwife of 30 years) were allowed to stay with me throughout this time. My birth actually occurred in an examination room, where I could just about touch the walls on all sides. My second birth was completely different, but extremely traumatic as my baby had to be resuscitated after my mother delivered her (no midwives or doctors to be found at crunch time).
Thankfully, with my third baby, I was accepted into the Midwife Group Practice at the local public hospital. This meant that I had one midwife who would see me through my entire pregnancy and that same midwife (if everything went to plan) would also be there at the birth to support me and deliver my baby. It wasn’t until I went through the whole Midwife Group Practice experience that I realised just how much better and less traumatic/clinical birthing could be! With one person you could establish a relationship. With the same person every time you knew that to them you were a person, not a number, and that feeling was oh so worth it! My midwife team knew my history; they knew what I was going through during my pregnancy; they knew what I wanted/didn’t want during birth; but most importantly, I knew them.
I had an instant connection with the midwife I was assigned. She encouraged me to trust my body. She supported my want for ‘natural’, 100%. She talked TO me, not AT me. I felt validated and supported and this was exactly what I needed. I cannot thank my midwife and her team enough for making my third birth the experience I always wanted and the experience I needed to heal from my first two ordeals.
I feel like hospitals are finally offering an option for Mums like me. Giving birth as naturally as possible is not the taboo anymore. We are not looked at like crazy hippies; we are not scoffed at. We are listened to and we count. I will never tell other mothers how they should birth their babies; all I want for every mother-to-be is to be informed of ALL of their birthing options, to be allowed to choose their own path and to be involved in any decisions made about their bodies and their births.
Haidee Latham was my primary midwife during my time with the Midwife Program. Haidee has kindly agreed to answer a few quick questions about her experience with pregnancy, labour, birth and post-natal care.
Haidee Latham is a Registered Nurse and Midwife. She has a diploma and a bachelor in Nursing as well as her Masters in Midwifery. Haidee has been working as a nurse and midwife for 8 years and has been in the Midwifery Group Practice for 2.5 years. as well as midwifery, haidee has a background in both Medical and paediatric nursing.
Would it be fair to say you take a more natural, listening to your body approach to prenatal care and delivery within the hospital setting?
Our whole practice and the midwifery philosophy is to respect what is normal and natural, and as midwives, a lot of our job is connecting and building those relationships, so women trust us, as well as the birthing process and learn to work with their bodies.
How do you support/encourage/facilitate women in experiencing a more natural delivery?
We encourage women to try and use more natural techniques like water immersion and keep the birth safe a warm, relaxed environment. There are also diversionary therapies such as music and aromatherapy that we encourage to create that woman’s birth space for her and her family.
What is some important general advice you give your clients in the lead up to birth?
The best advise I can give someone leading up to their birth is that it is ok to be nervous or even scared, but know that you have “your people”, that can be doula, midwife, partner or any support person, and that it is one contraction at a time. I often tell my women it is their job to tell me where they are at and my job to let them know what their options are. Every birth and woman is unique.
What are your thoughts on birth plans? Do you encourage woman to have one and what sort of things would you suggest be on it?
I personally love women to have birth plans, because the birth plan is not what is important, it is the process to determine what she feels is best for her is what is empowering and to show respect for her needs and wants.
How do you support women in the fourth trimester?
Women in the fourth trimester need to just try and relax and enjoy their time with their babies. Yes you will be tired, but everyone deserves to enjoy this period. Don’t put expectations on yourself or your baby because it is a learning process for you both.
What would be one of the most important things you would want any birthing mother to know before delivery.
The most important thing I want women to know before delivery is our job is to walk with women regardless of the end result. All midwives find it a great privilege to be a part of families during that time. Our job is to know normal and correct the abnormal to give birth the best go we possibly can.
What do you suggest for Natural Pain Relief options?
Natural pain relief options are water emersion, sterile water injections, music therapy, aromatherapy, active birth positions, and most of all work on being mentally prepared, and have people you trust and know who will help you to be around.
How can women prepare their body for birth?
The best thing women can do to prepare their body is to keep some level of fitness up, and eat well, as well as looking after yourself mentally and physically.
How long can a woman safely go over her due date before needing intervention?
Current guidelines for QLD recommend and IOL be discussed between 40/41 weeks of pregnancy so that if the woman consents birth has occurred by 42 weeks. This is rather controversial OBGYN’s are saying IOL at 38/39 weeks is appropriate, and a new research paper has just been published saying 42 week and beyond could be Seen as safe? We just support the woman’s choice and try and make the situation as safe as possible.
What options are there for being induced?
There are a few different methods for Induction. The two most common are cervidal, prostin and a cooks, balloon. It all depends on the woman’s health situation, what time the IOL is to occur to determine what is appropriate. There is the Queensland maternal and neonatal statewide guidelines that have and induction of labour specific section, which is available to anyone to look at if you use google. Talking to a health care professional about specifics is what would be my personal advice.
Have you supported a mother with VBAC?
I personally have not supported a woman who has wanted a VBAC for a while because this has only recently been deemed appropriate for our MGP to take on. VBAC is safe depending on the woman’s health needs and why she had a caesarean in the first place. Women in the situation need the support of a midwife, and need to wait 18 months/2 years in between their children to be a good candidate.
What are your suggestions for birthing bag essentials?
Birth bag essentials are Hair ties, lip balm, phone charger, money for food and coffee, snacks, toiletries.