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on 16 April 2017
What a fantastic account of a brilliant midwife giving her all to her mum's to be.

I just loved Virginia's way of dealing with those sometimes know it all - do it my way midwives!

Too posh to push mothers should read this wonderful account of how babies and mother's get the best experience of what nature intended!

I just loved this wonderfully written book.
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on 5 March 2017
An inspirational read! Couldn't put it down. Extremely insightful for anyone considering a career in midwifery. A must read. Thank you Virginia.
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on 20 May 2014
read it loved it just a fabulous book It flowed wonderful and I read it in one sitting couldnt put it down
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on 30 September 2016
A modern call the midwife! Loved every second of it!

I loved every second of this book! I felt super inspired by Virginia and her passion for her work as a midwife. All women deserve the experience she gives in pregnancy and labour.
If you love call the midwife you will love this, it is a modern version of it.
Funny, heartwarming and at times heartbreaking. I can definitely see this being read over and over.
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on 3 July 2014
Having been a past nurse and midwife myself I am always curious to read this type of material.
This book has been thoughtfully and expertly written by a clearly dedicated midwife. It was hard to put down and thoroughly captivating.
So why didn't I award it 5 stars...?
The reason is that Virginia clearly had a very negative time spent in NHS midwifery settings and other than a few good midwives acknowledged seemed to portray the rest of the 'Bison' in a very poor light. I do understand completely the characters she discusses having come into contact with a few very similar myself as a midwife!
However there is also an enormous amount of wonderful, caring passionate NHS midwifes who strive day in day out under tremendously difficult circumstances to give the 'Gold Standard' care we all WANT to give. I have worked in a busy Labour ward, midwife led unit and community setting within the same hospital and fantastically positive births are achieved every day. I myself had my first child and daughter in a pool in the hospital I worked at, followed by my son via Casearian section! Despite Virginia's claims that her workload covered all demographics I know with certainty that past women of mine would never in a lifetimes saving be able to afford Independent Midwifery as an option....
My concern with this book is if a nervous first time mum to be reads it she may become alarmed that if she does not employ herself an independent midwife she may well be left in a medicalised stuffy NHS room at the mercy of the 'Bison' !!
Whilst formidable characters, I have to say, that if my delivery was going 'titsup' one of those very experienced, matriarchal characters entering the room was a huge comfort!
As midwives I would hope we ALL want to achieve a positive natural and wonderful life affirming birth , and I just hope lovely mums to be aren' t spooked into thinking if they cross an NHS threshold that the scaplels not far behind!
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on 20 May 2014
...and put it in the handbag of a young woman who hasn't started her motherhood yet. Should be required reading for every pregnant woman early on, captures birth in all it's wonderfullness. Written by a larger than life character, her love for her job and customers shines through every page.
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on 9 May 2014
I loved this book, having had a rather traumatic experience with the birth of my first baby I chose an independent midwife with my second. Having battled to get the sort of birth I wanted being a VBAC I contacted Virginia at 38 weeks pregnant. I couldn't even talk about my first experience without crying. She was excellent and I gave birth to my second child in the birthing pool at home. A happy ending for me and I really hope that Virginia and others like her can continue to legally work with people like me.
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on 6 April 2014
I LOVED this book and would highly recommend it to all student midwives, practising midwives, parents-to-be and anyone interested in the topic of birth. This book is not just a great read, it is also a story that will inspire you to follow your dreams.
Over the years I have reviewed many books for TIPS but only The Blossom Method™ by Vivien Sabel achieved a Must-have TIPS Award. This inspirational parenting book introduces a revolutionary way of understanding the subtle but amazingly simple language of newborns. So when I was sent Virginia Howes' first book The Baby’s Coming, I did not anticipate it would become the second recipient of a Must-have book TIPS Award.
Quite simply I could not put this book down, and finished reading it at 02:45 on Mother's Day - having shed tears of joy, empathy and frustration! Virginia’s detailed and vivid descriptions of a number of home births (including breech, twins, vbac and even one in a local hotel) makes the reader feel like a VIP guest at each unique birth.
However what I enjoyed as much as the birth stories was Virginia’s own life story which is interwoven throughout the text. She is refreshingly open, frank and brutally honest - this is both touching and compelling. Virginia shares details of her personal life, and although this has its fair share of ups and downs she remains an eternal optimist. What shines through is her unswerving determination to become an independent midwife. Her own birth choices had been compromised, partly by the ’one-size-fits-all’ model of midwifery provided by an NHS that can sometimes be a post-code lottery. This system all too often fails women, leaving them feeling isolated, scared and disempowered.
Virginia is not afraid to fight for the women in her care, even if this means she has to confront her superiors regarding midwifery practice. She gives us one example of this when she talks about ‘the bisons of the labour ward’. She uses this nickname to describe a small minority of negative and controlling midwives who made Virginia’s life very difficult on many occasions during her midwifery training. Sadly the actions of a few might affect the excellent work of the vast majority of midwives, who work tirelessly to create lasting positive memories of birth. Virginia is refreshingly eager to stand her ground. She is more than happy to challenge these bullies whose intimidating actions should not be tolerated: they are neither professional nor conducive to natural birth.
The strong and trusting relationship between the parents and their midwife is precious. It develops over time throughout pregnancy and labour. However this trust can very easily be shattered with a few ill chosen words, or with actions that are at best insensitive and at worst bordering on professional misconduct. Such behaviour highlights the unwillingness of certain midwives to practice, as they have been taught, by following their instincts. Instead they choose to follow outdated hospital protocols that are no longer backed up by credible evidence. Virginia is determined to provide a tailor-made gold standard of midwifery care that all maternity units should aspire to.
To say that Virginia is an inspiration is an understatement. Her CV is impressive with life skills that are many and varied: kissogram business owner, mother of four, grandmother of five (all delivered at home by Virginia), general nurse, hospital midwife, passionate supporter of breastfeeding, inventor of the Howes Birth Mirror and founder of Kent Midwifery Practice (to name just a few!).
In recent years Virginia has spearheaded a campaign by Independent Midwives UK. The campaign lobbies the UK government to introduce an indemnity insurance option for independent midwives when a new EU directive is implemented in October 2014.
I am certain that Virginia's campaign will succeed - I have already joined as a full member. Additionally, I am convinced she will continue to inspire and empower her clients to achieve the birth they have longed for.
Virginia shows us that Mother Nature (she uses her own term: ‘Birth Angels’) invariably knows best. If a woman gets the support and encouragement she needs (and deserves) at this very special time, then she will be able to birth in a place, at a time and in a way that is right for her and for her family.
So now I'm sure you can understand why I loved this book. In fact it has all the ingredients for a great ‘feel-good’ movie but for now I hope that Virginia will be pleased to accept her well deserved ‘Must-have’ TIPS Book Award!
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on 15 March 2014
This book looks at all the different aspects of midwifery which are familiar to experienced midwives. It tells of the journey as a student and newly qualified midwife (we all recognise the 'Bisons'!!!) and then goes on to talk about Virginia's career as an Independent Midwife, weaving it around it the personal story of Virginia and her family. The stories of the births she attends made me reminisce about my career. It is well thought out and sweeps you along - warning - don't expect to get any studying or housework done whilst it's in your hands!!! All in all, a good all round book about modern day midwifery. It will be a real shame if it becomes historical if Independent Midwifery ceases to exist.
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on 15 March 2014
It's a long time since a book has hooked me in & been read in a day! An exciting, exhilarating and at times, sad account of Virgina's journey to where she is today. Any health professional who works in the same area will identify with Virgina's stories and will marvel at her strength to be the midwife that she wanted to be & not become part of the 'bison' brigade. This book portrays what can be achieved through mutual trust and support. You'll laugh and cry throughout this beautifully written book. May those birth angels continue to shine their magic for many years to come.
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