I gave birth to my two beautiful children at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 2007 and 2012 and sadly also suffered a miscarriage in between. One thing that really got me through the ordeal and of childbirth and the heartache of saying goodbye to my unborn baby was the kindness and generosity of the staff. As a young single mother I was petrified of what was ahead of me when I walked through the labour ward doors puffing and panting but the staff were beyond incredible and remained professional and ever-understanding throughout. Now that my children are aged 8yrs and 3yrs I wanted to thank the baby unit and also help other new mothers and so I set upon fundraising £1,000 for The Ducklings Trust charity with a sponsored swim.
Not only did I want to donate my fundraising total to the hospital but I also offered my time and skills in order to help raise awareness for such a wonderful service that they provide, so I came along to meet the fantastic team of midwives and find out how my donation has been put to good use. One thing that really struck me about the charity is their vision of what makes women feel reassured during childbirth as it’s all down to the way that you approach it. When I had my first child at the age of 19 I screamed and panicked at the pain and I doubt a horse tranquilliser would have even calmed or silenced me; but the midwives spoke to me calmly, helped me to control my breathing and thankfully got me through it with just gas and air. The second time round in the labour ward at the age of 25 I gave birth in silence via meditation without pain relief and it was an absolute joy.
The midwives explained that the NHS provide the staff and facilities to give birth but The Ducklings Trust charity was set up in 1984 to provide extra equipment and improve the environment of the maternity unit for families along with little luxuries to bring a touch of homeliness to such a sterile environment. So what would you consider to be a luxury when giving birth? Well the team decided that my £1000,00 donation would be used to purchase a new set of wireless monitors to allow women the freedom of movement whilst in labour with their babies wellbeing still being able to be tracked by the machines. I spent many hours trapped in a bed and wired up for monitoring whilst pregnant with my son as his heartbeat kept dropping and at times he refused to move for days on end. Being trapped in the bed was not only very boring but also uncomfortable as I’m sure we’ve all experienced the horrible feeling of sitting down for too long perhaps in a car, in the cinema or on a sofa; sometimes you want to stretch your legs, go to the toilet, look out the window or get something from your handbag, but when you’re wired to a bed on leads the only way to get out is to call for a nurse and the monitoring has to stop and be reset when you get back into bed.
With these new wireless monitors labouring mothers are able to walk around the room, use the birthing pool to relax and potter about as nesting mothers do! It’s not often that I ever sit still as a parent and being made to do something you’re not used to, such as being fixed to the spot for many hours can be quite stressful, especially in labour when you’re in discomfort and could really do with a nice back rub or warm bath. I’m so pleased that the hospital can purchase the equipment they feel would benefit them most from my donation and I hope that it helps many expecting mothers for years to come. I would like to thank everybody who kindly donated to my fundraiser to make this possible and hope that you can see the difference your generosity has made. Contributions to The Ducklings Trust from the public are always very welcome and all money raised means that they can build on their previous achievements and continue their efforts to support the Maternity Services.