Dunedin woman Demelza (Mel) Wybrow had planned a water birth in Dunedin hospital for her second child. When she was faced with a last-minute change of plan, she was grateful for the support offered by Otago Polytechnic Bachelor of Midwifery Student Jane (pseudonym).
“I lived in Timaru until I was three months pregnant with my daughter Leiha” she explains. “When my Dunedin midwife Megan Walker asked me if I would be willing to have a student I said yes. It [following a pregnancy] is a good opportunity for students to learn and you can’t learn without taking part. But it was also extra support for me – it was good to have a person to get out and have a coffee and a chat with.”
Jane attended all of Mel’s sessions with her midwife and kept in regular contact with her both in person and by phone. When Mel’s obstetrician explained to her that delivering by caesarean section may be her best choice, she and her partner Alan included Jane in their discussions.
“We were planning on a water-birth as I had heard it was a lot less painful. But Leiha was a big baby, and there were complications. The obstetrician told me I needed to make a decision about having a c-section quickly. We went and had a coffee and talked it through. It was good to have someone else there to help me make the decision.”
Mel chose to have Jane present at the delivery of Leiha. She acted as their photographer, and, she believes, was an excellent support person for Alan. Following the birth, Jane also played a full part in the follow-up sessions with the midwife, attending all visits and checks and keeping in regular contact with Mel.
“I knew quite a lot from my previous pregnancy, but with Leiha it was a different situation to my son Jordan. I had morning sickness and everything throughout this pregnancy. With Jordan, nothing! I was able to get some advice off Jane and that’s because we had a great connection from the start – when she first phoned me I felt like I had known her for years. In fact, it was quite sad to see her go at the end.”