Care driven by connection: midwife shares the key to exceptional birthing experiences
Meet Natalie Jeantou, one of the midwives leading the launch of the Women’s homebirth program.
If not for her aunt, Nat would have become an architect.
She had it all planned out: she’d compiled her portfolio and was ready to apply to The University of Melbourne. Then her aunt asked her to attend the birth of her fifth baby.
“I supported my aunt while she gave birth and it was amazing. I thought ‘this is what I’m supposed to do with the rest of my life’,” Nat says.
She changed her university preferences and hasn’t looked back.
Baby born by Christmas tree in the Women’s first homebirth
Nat is now an experienced midwife who has been at the Women’s for 13 years. She is one of the midwives leading the launch of the Women’s Homebirth Program, which allows a small number of women to give birth in the familiar environment of their own home with the support of the hospital’s maternity team. With the program still in its infancy, there are limited places available each month and women must already be receiving Caseload care at the Women’s to be eligible.
The program recently saw the first family give birth at home with the support of midwives from the Women’s, including Nat.
“It went perfectly. It was amazing to see everything come together seamlessly: all the planning and preparation led to this incredible moment as this baby was born under the rainbow lights on the Christmas tree. It was a privilege to witness the birth of this baby, the first in our Homebirth Program” Nat says.
Nat’s passion for homebirth can be traced back to her time studying.
“The first birth I ever attended as a student midwife was a homebirth. It was the most incredible experience: seeing a woman in her own space, as relaxed as possible. There were midwives drinking tea in the corner and making sure the birth went smoothly and safely. It was so beautiful,” she says. “It’s remarkable to now be able to provide a public homebirth service, where women are safe and supported, without as much of a financial barrier that is usually connected to homebirths.”
Care driven by connection
As a Caseload midwife at the Women’s, Nat sees the same women throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period.
“We build a strong connection and really advocate for the women we support. Every woman and birth are unique and caseload allows us to tailor our care to ensure they have the best possible experience.”
“There’s an emotional investment in every birth and as a midwife, you feel that emotion. For every woman I’ve cared for, there’s a part of them that stays with me and a part of me that stays with them,” she says.
For more information about the different models of maternity care at the Women’s, including homebirth, see: Pregnancy Care Options.