CHAT column, October 2019

First published in John O’Groat Journal in October 2019

Louise Gunn is a mum of three who lives near Watten. All her children were born in Wick Maternity Unit and Louise recently told me of her experiences.

Louise said,

“I had my first baby Séamus in April 2014 when Wick was a Consultant led unit. In February 2016 at the start of the changes Fergus was born.

Both pregnancies were very much midwife led and went very well.

In November 2017, I sadly lost a baby late into the first trimester, caused by a molar pregnancy. In August 2018 when my GP suspected I could be pregnant again I was referred to Inverness, because my recent molar pregnancy meant a pregnancy test alone could not confirm the pregnancy.

They were able to confirm there was a heart beat and that I was pregnant. I was put on a Red Pathway, meaning that I was expected to give birth in Inverness.

Following a scan at CGH, I met with the consultant, who offered a Wick delivery.  I had to have a Group B Step test at 35 weeks and a growth scan at 37 weeks to ensure the baby could be safely delivered in Wick.  It was only at this stage I was given the green light to give birth locally.

I did a lot of research into what unplanned emergencies could happen during labour and I bombarded the midwives with scenarios and questions. They completely reassured me and answered everything confidently.  They encouraged me to ask anything and spent considerable time providing me with peace-of-mind.

The midwives showed great empathy and understood my anxiety about this pregnancy, after they’d supported me through my loss.  I built up a great deal of trust in the midwifery team and was confident that I could safely deliver my baby in Caithness.

At 41 weeks pregnant, my contractions started and I attended CGH who advised I was in early labour, I was allowed to return home until labour progressed.  It was a great feeling knowing that when the time came it was only a 15 minute drive to the hospital and until then I could rest at home.

When labour was established, the midwives gave me the choice of the delivery suite or the birthing pool. I chose the birthing pool and I was there less than an hour before I gave birth.

The two midwives were very calm and reassuring. This was by far my easiest labour, I felt very relaxed and in control throughout.

My beautiful daughter Rohaise was checked over and the three of us were left to bond in peace, it was a very special time. The consultant in Inverness gave me the okay to go home and four and a half hours after Rohaise was born we left hospital. 15 minutes later I was feeding her from the comfort of my own bed.

Giving birth and becoming a mother is such a special and empowering event in a woman’s life and it should be a very happy, stress-free time. Personally, for me, knowing that I was in safe hands and just had to focus on my labour and not worry about travelling, being apart from my other children or being amongst strangers made this a very positive and healing experience that I will never forget.”

Ron Gunn
Vice Chair Chat