Former A&E nurse, Laura, 30, is currently on a 20-month conversion course and is on her way to becoming a qualified midwife.
Laura who is based in Greater Manchester says: “I used to sometimes support midwives when I was previously a healthcare assistant and it was always a toss up for me whether I would pursue nursing or midwifery. After four years on the A&E wards and after experiencing some emergency births, I knew it was time for me to switch my career.” Laura started her training in February 2021.
Laura is enjoying her training, and discovered the Beyond Bea charity when searching for midwifery milestone cards to plot her training. She says, “I was automatically drawn to the charity, through their meaningful online content, and when I saw the bereavement care training was available without cost, I signed up immediately.” Laura went on to complete her online training earlier this year.
Laura says: “This was the first online training I have completed and it was such an informative and positive experience. The training was led by the CEO of Beyond Bea, Steph Wild. I loved how she used her own personal experience to help frame the clinical needs of baby loss. The training was very relatable and made you think of how both a midwife and a family might be feeling. The training included information that I didn’t know both in a clinical sense and also in what we can offer a bereaved family. For example, I didn’t know that parents could take their baby home, I didn’t know that we can offer skin to skin after delivery, and although I was aware of ‘cuddle cots’, I didn’t know how they worked or how they were used.”
Laura put to use her Beyond Bea training for the first time earlier this year, whilst on placement on the delivery suite, helping to care for a family whose daughter had died at 35 weeks and five days gestation.
Laura says: “I said to the lead midwife, that I wanted to work alongside her, and if she would ask the family, if I could join the care team. I didn’t want to distance myself from this experience. I knew it was an unavoidable fact and something that midwives have to be proficient in. I felt confident that my Beyond Bea training had prepared me. I was fortunate that the family were happy for me to participate, and I went to introduce myself. I stayed with the family throughout the labour and delivery. I treated the labour as if it were for a live baby.”
“It was so sad, when their daughter was finally born and there was no cry - although I was expecting this, it is still really shocking. Their daughter was perfect, and I told the parents that she was beautiful. I could hear Steph’s voice in my head from the training, and I offered the parents skin to skin – which the mum was really keen to do. I asked the family if they would like to dress their child. They didn’t want to, so I remembered, to ask them if they would like me to dress her, which I then did with their permission. I asked the parents if I could give their baby a cuddle, which they agreed to, and I again which I did. I loved holding her.”
The bereaved family were moved to the bereavement suite, where they could shower and rest. Their daughter was placed in a cuddle cot. Laura checked in on them before she went home that night, and returned to continue her care of them the next morning.
“I returned the following day, to support with making memory activities including taking photos and prints. I felt so connected with this family, and was so touched when they asked if they could take a photo of me holding their baby. The tears had really started to flow now, and the family asked to stay another night, and again I offered to look after the family.”
“The time came when my shift ended and I knew I wouldn’t be back on shift for a few days and I sadly had to say goodbye to this amazing family. I had one final cuddle with their baby.
“There’s something so sad about a baby dying, so much potential gone. I’d obviously experienced death working previously as an A&E nurse, but nothing prepares you for this. I’m so grateful that I had the confidence to participate in the care of this family, I wasn’t scared. I knew I had learnt the right things to say and what to offer.”
“I’ll never forget this family and our special time together. I was privileged to be invited to care for them. When I finally got home, I cried my eyes out and I still think about them all the time.
I would recommend the Beyond Bea bereavement care training for all midwives and student midwives. I wouldn’t have been able to care for a bereaved family effectively without it. The training is invaluable.”
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