amanda

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Plea:

I was hugely touched to be nominated by Kerry and Stacey after meeting them as bereaved mums after the loss of their little boys, Junior and Jaxon. You wrote such lovely things about the care you had received from me and the team when your little ones were born, and we thank you it’s is truly humbling to be appreciated in such a special way by such lovely people who are going through the saddest and most difficult of times.

I knew I wanted to be a midwife as soon as I entered the labour ward during my placement on the maternity unit as a student nurse, I was struck by what an amazing job this was. After finishing my nurse training I applied for midwifery training and in August 2000 qualified as a midwife.

I was right, it is a truly amazing job, we as midwives are hugely privileged to care for families at such a special and sacred time as the birth of their baby – both in the best and worst of times. It struck me very early on how we as midwives can make a difference in the care we give, that it should be safe, and given with empathy to their own individual needs. I worked as part of the labour ward high risk midwifery team, then as a labour ward coordinator, starting my current post as bereavement support midwife in July 2011.

As part of my work on the high risk team I worked more often with bereaved families and it became apparent that what we do as midwives at the saddest time in the families life is so important. We are placed in a position where the parents are in shock, devastated at hearing the news that their baby has died, or have received a poor antenatal diagnosis.

It is our role as midwives to make sure that these families receive the best of care, compassion, guidance and support at such a devastating and confusing time. We aim as a team to offer the family the facilitate the families ability to make choices that will be right for them and help them as they are dealing with their grief and loss, and do all we can to make sure that things are done the according to the families wishes.
It is so important that we as a team offer the family their sense of control back, and are aware of all of the possibilities in regards to making memories, washing and dressing their baby, photographs, how they wish to spend time with their baby as a family and helping them to make their needs happen according to the families wishes. This might be staying with their family in our Butterfly suite, or taking their baby home, and ultimately discussing funeral arrangements and arranging services via the hospital’s contract funeral services if this is most helpful to the family, or offering information as to local private services.

Individualised care for every family is very important to me, we are all so different and it’s essential that we all recognise these differences and work to fulfil the families wishes on an emotional and cultural level, during my time in post, I have worked hard to produce guidelines and teaching sessions to help us work as a team to care for the family in ways that fulfill their holistic needs.
I work with families to help them make choices regarding investigations following the loss of their baby, talking through the procedures for postmortem and gaining consent from the family, in accordance with the investigations they are comfortable with. I also participate in perinatal mortality reviews where we can as professionals learn from practice and individuals situation, learning all we can to help reduce the risks to mums and babies in our care, and I am the lead perinatal death reporter at our trust, reporting cases to MBRRACE UK so care can be examined and changes made nationally to practice . I aim to offer further support once the family leave the hospital, offering a telephone support service and seeing the families at home in the weeks following the loss of their baby, for listening visits, offering the opportunity to ask questions or simply a safe space to talk about what has happened to them and their feelings about this, signposting them to other support services that might offer them support and comfort such as support groups or counselling should they find these helpful.

It has been lovely to be nominated, and I would like to take the opportunity to also thank my colleagues on delivery suite, the mortuary, medical photography and chaplaincy teams who have always been so helpful to me in trying to do the best we can for our bereaved families, your kindness and teamwork is much appreciated by everyone.
I would also like to thank all of the the families who have used the bereavement service and have done so much to give back to the unit and to others who are going through the loss of a baby. We have had donations of beautiful artwork, comfortable furnishings, and beautiful handmade baby clothes and blankets which make such a difference in offering the family a comfortable and dignifies safe space to spend time with their baby, I feel blessed to have this support both of the parents and of charities who I am so happy to see have been nominated for a Butterfly award too.Thank you for reading my statement, it has been a genuine honour to be nominated among so many kind and hardworking people who are aiming to offer the best to bereaved families.

Best wishes,

Amanda

Amanda is a bereavement midwife by profession, but is a true angel in what was my darkest times. The voice of knowledge, experience, kindness, compassion and true devastation for the families that she works with shone through and for the first time since I found out my Son was an angel I felt at peace. Amanda treated my son with nothing but love and dignity and I felt so assured he was taken care of when I had to leave him in the hospital.