The life of a midwife: ‘The best part of my job is putting the new family to bed; it’s a beautiful sight’
A usual day for me consists of routine antenatal visits, palpating pregnant bellies to feel the position and size of babies, giving pregnancy advice or visiting mum and newborn babies for postnatal visits, giving breastfeeding advice and weighing babies.
Some days I could attend a homebirth but often babies seem to be born at night time! If this is the case I’ll receive a call during the night from one of the women I look after or their partners letting me know they are in labour. At this point it’s time to get out of bed and make my way to their house. I usually wake up very quickly as I am full of excitement about the birth I am about to experience!
Every birth is different and as a midwife I tend to remember each birth for different reasons. When the birth is over and after I have done all my checks, I make sure that mum and dad have had something to eat and drink and the new baby has had a feed.
The best part of my job is putting the new family to bed; it’s a beautiful sight. When I do finally arrive back home after a birth I sort out my visits for the next day and then try to get some sleep myself. This does usually take some time as I tend to spend a good hour or so reflecting on the birth. It’s during this time I realise how lucky I am to be a midwife and be part of such a special time in people’s lives.
To say I was delighted and honoured to win the JOHNSON’S® Baby Mums’ Midwife of the Year would be an understatement. There are no words to describe the enormity of how grateful I am to have won not only the regional award but also the national award. To me, this award is the most prestigious of all the awards as it is nominated by real mums who we have cared for at some point throughout the pregnancy continuum. Therefore as a midwife, it is an award we all dream of receiving at some point in our career, as the award is really credible and means so much.
I was so overwhelmed that Sarah Critchley took the time to nominate me. To win was even more special. Sarah, 10-month-old baby Faith and I were invited to the Royal College of Midwives Annual Award ceremony last week in London, as I was the winner of the ‘North’ region award.
I first met Sarah when she was 24 weeks pregnant. I’m lucky as I work as a case loading midwife, which means I have the opportunity to follow women right through their pregnancy; I can stay on call for their birth and then see them for up to six weeks after the baby has been born.
All routine antenatal appointments were carried out at Sarah’s house and each visit was at least an hour in length, which allowed me to build a solid relationship with Sarah and her husband Will. Sarah was a first-time mum and was practising Hypnobirthing; she attended classes that taught her how to enter hypnosis through deep relaxation and breathing techniques. Sarah also wanted a homebirth which I fully supported her with.
When the day came, I attended and cared for Sarah in labour and witnessed the calm birth of baby Faith into the birthing pool in their lounge at home, without any pain relief. It was a truly wonderful, relaxed birth. As a midwife it’s fantastic to support a woman in labour but to support a woman you know is even more special, as you know you have helped her achieve the birth she wants. Plus, clearly from Sarah’s recent actions in nominating me for the award, it was priceless for her to have me at the birth as well.
Following the birth, Faith struggled to latch on to the breast successfully, so I visited Sarah every day, sometimes twice a day to help her hand express colostrum (the first milk) into syringes until Faith learnt to latch on herself. It was definitely worth the hard work and determination from all of us as Faith finally achieved a good latch and is still breast feeding beautifully today at 10 months!
I was so proud of Sarah, she was so strong and determined during her birth and she has developed into a wonderful mum. I love this aspect of my job and I love being a midwife.
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