Contact Liese Garman
When I went into labour with my third baby, the circumstances did not feel ideal: it was my first born’s birthday; she was ill and wanted me. I had decided to have this baby in the MLU at the JR. Ideally I would have had a home birth, as I did with baby number two (I do not like hospitals, particularly after my first born’s birth which I found traumatic) but we live over 20 miles from the hospital which I felt to be too far should anything go wrong. Still, I had my birth friend Liz, and my husband, and every chance of the midwife-led birth I desired.
However, when we arrived at the MLU, I was assessed by a midwife to whom I did not warm. From the outset she seemed to doubt I was actually in labour. She kept putting the lights on brightly in the side assessment room, and when she took my blood pressure it was high. Then my waters broke and there was meconium. She said I would need to transfer to the hospital ward downstairs to be monitored by doctors, as it was not safe for me to give birth in the MLU.
I immediately panicked. Everything felt out of control, scary and reminiscent of my previous hospital birth. I tensed up and my contractions became more painful. Liz worked hard to reassure me that both the meconium and my blood pressure did not preclude natural birth and healthy outcomes. But I found it hard to be reassured as the other midwife seemed to counter-balance this; she remained concerned about my blood pressure and thought the baby was back to back. To me, this midwife seemed austere, negative and convinced I was going to have a problematic birth.
All I could envisage at this point, was a stressful and medicalised birth, with interventions and risks for my baby and me. I honestly believe that this would have ensued in reality had it not been for three key factors. Firstly, Liz my birth friend, was a voice of experience and calm. Secondly, my husband was a constant support and massaged me through my contractions. Thirdly, and crucially, the midwife I was uncomfortable with went off duty, and Liese replaced her.
I cannot thank Liese enough for what she did for me. As soon as she came into the room, the energy shifted. She smiled at me. She talked directly to me, introducing herself and asking why I looked so worried. I instantly felt better. When I told her I was keen to avoid medical intervention if possible (and safe) she listened. When I told her I was desperately anxious, she helped to allay this with reassurance, confidence and humour. What a massive difference a kind, sympathetic and compassionate person makes! Liese was totally positive, professional and convincing. She made me believe that a natural birth with healthy outcomes was entirely possible.
My blood pressure readings were ok with Liese. She agreed with me that the baby was not back to back. Although the doctors had said she needed to put a probe in the baby’s head, she delayed this, as she could see my fear of the procedure could be more of a risk, so she patiently kept adjusting the belt through my contractions to monitor the baby. She delayed the doctors coming in to see me because she could tell this would stop me birthing. She got me into a position where the doctors were happy and no longer required a probe for the baby, or a team for my delivery.
Liese was tirelessly supportive, and I ended up having a relatively quick and straight-forward labour with no-one else in the room apart from Liz, Liese and my husband. The baby was healthy and my blood pressure was normal from then on.
Liese treated me as a person, not a protocol. I trusted her. She was experienced, professional and an independent thinker. I knew she was making constant judgements and assessments, adapting as she went, in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for me and my baby.
In my opinion, Liese is an exemplary midwife, to whole I will always be grateful.
Thank you Liese!Hannah
I met Liese when I was accompanying a client to give birth to her third baby at our local hospital. Liese was the midwife assigned to care for my client on Delivery Suite. As a retired midwife, now working as a Birth Friend, with seventeen years midwifery practice behind me, ten of these in independent practice, I often feel defensive and concerned about common modes of speech and behaviour from NHS midwives.
My client was a highly anxious woman, easily frightened, but also highly intelligent and informed. She had planned to give birth in the midwifery led unit. She had some memories from previous births that left her scared and very risk averse, but hoping for a simple birth nonetheless.
On assessment, when she arrived in strong labour, the midwife on the MLU determined for clinical reasons that she should give birth of Delivery Suite instead. This put her into even higher anxiety than she was already and made her feel even more scared than she already was.
When Liese entered the Delivery Suite Room to meet us, calmly, respectfully and quietly, I knew from her demeanour that my client was in excellent hands, and would receive excellent midwifery care. Within the first five minutes, Liese was able to engage both the mother and father with gentleness and care. She demonstrated her determination to help them have the best birth the circumstances permitted verbally, through her body language and by reading and working with their birth plan.
She turned the lights down, and kept verbal communication to a minimum consistent with safety. Her body language clearly showed she felt confident that all was and would remain well. She also responded to my client’s expressed worries, honestly and carefully.
This was the perfect response for this particular client and really helped her regain some perspective and settle down to the real work of labour.
She is an awesome midwife, gentle but strong, caring but careful. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending her to you. She would be an asset to any organisation. Any women who receive midwifery care from her will be blessed indeed.Liz Nightingale