After British mum Sian Wylie moved to New York and struggled to find a midwife for her second pregnancy, she wrote a blog post to find and thank the midwife who delivered her first baby in London.
"I had no idea how much you would mean to me," Wylie wrote. "To be honest I hadn’t really given you much thought at all. I just figured that I would go into labour, get to the birth centre and someone would help me deliver my baby.
"What I really can’t get my head around though is that you played such a huge role in our lives, helping get our daughter safely and peacefully into my arms, but you do that all day, everyday at work.
"You are an incredible woman who did the most incredible thing and I never got the opportunity to really thank you."
Within 24 hours the midwife, Lydia Schorah, had seen the post on Facebook and said she was "overwhelmed" by Wylie's message of thanks.
Schorah, a community midwife at University College Hospitals London NHS Foundation Trust, has been qualified as a midwife for four and a half years and completed practical placements during her three-year degree course, so has delivered thousands of babies, but said she has never received quite a big a thanks as that in Wylie's blog post.
"It’s quite often that you’ll get a card in the post, or when parents leave hospital, or sometimes even six months down the line, but Sian’s is definitely the most overwhelming thank you I’ve ever received," Schorah told BuzzFeed News.
"I still read the post now, and her words were so lovely and it makes you realise why you do what you do, and that the little things you do really make a difference.
"I treat my women all the same, but it shows they remember all the little bits you do for them, which is nice."
In the UK, official guidance states that a pregnant woman should wait no more than 10 weeks before getting in touch with an NHS midwife, a medical professional who specialises in pregnancy and birth and offers a holistic approach to maternity healthcare at no cost to the mother.
In the US, where midwives are less common, expectant mothers instead see a specialist obstetrics and gynecology doctor, or OB-GYN, who focuses on medical interventions during pregnancy and birth and performs caesarean sections, and care is paid for with medical insurance.
"I am 25 weeks pregnant with my second and after so much searching and battling with insurance companies we have only JUST found a midwife," Wylie told us.
"The main issue over here is that midwives are just really rare," she continued. "Doctors and surgeons deliver most babies and it is all very medical.
"If you want a midwife birth here you have to seek it out like we did (which is tricky) or you have to privately hire a midwife to have at your birth alongside your OB-GYN."
Wylie said it is "astonishing" how hard she's found it to plan a natural birth since moving to the US.
"Sadly it seems that this over-medical attitude to birth is because everything that happens in your labour and delivery is billable," she said.
"Everyone is paying (directly or indirectly) for their care and so the more interventions, drugs, and doctors there are, the more that is billable at the end.
"It wasn't until moving over here and experiencing the USA approach to childbirth that I felt so strongly about how important our NHS midwives are."
Wylie said she's been contacted by several other midwives thanking her for sharing the hard work they do. "The response to that little blog post has been amazing," she said.
She continued: "I had a message from a midwife who has just retired after 30 years and a student midwife who is struggling to cope and feeling the impacts of all of the cuts and they were both moved by it.
"My midwife said that she had shared it with loads of her friends and it had really lifted them all.
"It sounds like the NHS going through such a pressured and difficult time and so it is lovely to have something positive out there."
Recent plans by the government to close a £22 billion deficit in NHS funding have shown that many maternity units in England could face closure. Changes to funding for student nurses and midwives have also left many concerned that issues with recruiting new midwives could develop.
He too highlighted the difference in maternity care his family had experienced in the two countries.
"My wife and I, who had what’s considered excellent insurance in the US, received bills for about $1,300 after each of our first two kids were born," Delaney wrote.
When his third child was born, in England, it was "with the help of a young Scottish midwife in a hijab," he said.
"A midwife who, I’ll add, did a better job than both the doctors who delivered our first two kids at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital.
"If there are better people than British midwives on this planet, I have yet to meet them."
Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Laura Silver at email@example.com.
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