New generation midwife enhances 'birthing experience'

Published: 19 May 2008 at 15:09

Midwife emphasises importance of providing holistic birthing advice.

Julie Williams, a registered midwife from working at Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Trust, completed her midwifery course at Anglia Ruskin University Faculty of Health and Social Care in 2002. The course has enabled her to have more than a career; Julie, from Canvey Island, actually changes people’s lives. Julie and Kara tell their story about how Julie impacted on Kara’s life when she worked with her during the birth her second daughter.

“I studied midwifery at Anglia Ruskin University and can say that the course proved to be interesting and enjoyable as well as a challenge.  After three years of study, combined with working at Basildon Hospital on placement experience, I qualified as a midwife achieving a Bachelor Of Science Degree with Honours.”

“Having a family made more determined than ever to achieve my goal to become a midwife as I wanted my husband and daughter to be proud of me and my achievements.”

“I gain great pleasure working with women and their families ensuring that holistic care is given at all times, which is imperative in midwifery. I always hold close to me that pregnancy and childbirth is a lifetime experience that women will remember and talk about forever and for myself to be part of that memory and experience is very rewarding as well as overwhelming. All the women I have cared for have been unique and gratifying, but one woman in particular expressed how her pregnancy and delivery was made so very special. I actually met Kara and her husband Kevin during her antenatal period and when she was in established labour and came to the delivery suite, I was on duty and cared for her.  This continuity of care proved to be an important factor for both us, and had such an impact on Kara’s well being during pregnancy, delivery and in the postnatal period.”

Kara said:

“My pregnancy until birth with my first daughter had no complications and went smoothly. The labour and birth itself were extremely difficult although having a beautiful daughter at the end of it; I had no desire to go through that again.”

“In 2007 I was pregnant again and I had mixed emotions. The slightest twinge would provoke anxiety and worry. I was referred by my GP to the Maternity Assessment Centre at Basildon Maternity Unit, in August due to being unwell with headaches. I went in full of worries and anxieties that something was wrong. I came out feeling reassured and grounded. The transition between the two was where I met Julie.”

“I felt so reassured by her, not necessarily just by the efficiency of medical attention. It was really how she presented herself and projected her confidence, knowledge, life experience and ability onto me.”

“The day arrived and in the throws of labour, Julie was on duty to deliver my baby. The labour to date had been the same as the first, fighting the pain and feeling despondent.  I was adamant prior to labour that I was not going to have another epidural because I did not like the numbness and the disabling part for me in the delivery.   Julie did not numb me with an epidural, she encouraged and believed in me, keeping me alive and energised when required. Julie’s approach was holistic and she had faith in me and the process we encountered together. The impact of this proved to me that I could do something I believed I was not able to do.”

"The solid foundation of our relationship at this time blossomed and humour became a part of the experience which was great. Julie believes having a birth song playing whilst giving birth will enhance the experience. It was not the song that enhanced my experience, it was having Julie present. Another was her clear direction, what not to do and what to do to help delivery."

"Three months later I can say that the experience still moves me. The fact that I am still breastfeeding my baby and generally a calmer person may not sound like a life changing experience but to find that special someone who takes damn good care of you when you most need it is of paramount importance and what I call a true congruent person and naturally provides a continuity of care."

The end of this story is really the beginning of another, a story I cannot yet tell. I have an enormous sense of finding a more settled self who has faith. This will no doubt benefit predominantly my children and everyone around me on a daily basis.

Julie sums up what being a qualified midwife means to her,

"I am proud to be a midwife and I am sometimes overwhelmed by the impact I have on women’s lives like Kara. Choosing to do the midwifery course at Anglia Ruskin was the right choice for me and has given me the ultimate in career satisfaction. I aim to develop my career and my education with Anglia Ruskin; in fact I plan to do the mentorship course with the Faculty of Health & Social care later this year."

Lynne Cook, Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology at Basildon Maternity Unit, who has worked as a Midwife for 30 years herself, said:

"Julie’s thoughts sum up why I became a Midwife myself.  The sheer pride in bringing a new life into the world, but in doing so, enabling that woman and her family to experience something, that as Julie has said, will remain with that family and be talked about for years to come."

"This to me is the essence of Midwifery, the woman and her family are the most important part of the process, but having a mature, competent Midwife, who can relate and communicate with those women, is also essential.  I am proud of the midwives who work for me; particularly those I have watched grow and develop over the years. Julie is one of those midwives and has made my role and responsibilities more worthwhile, when I see what can be achieved.  I wish Julie every success for the future."

The Faculty of Health and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University offers a wide range of courses including Nursing and Midwifery, and Primary and Social Care. With over 8,000 students, and a budget of over £28m, it is now the largest graduate provider of health education in the East of England.

The Faculty of Health and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University has a purposeful and dynamic vision to improve the health and social care of the individuals and communities of Cambridgeshire and Essex through high  quality education, research and consultancy. All courses are run in partnership with the NHS, Local Authority Departments and private sectors across the region.