Heather Campbell crowned Northern Irelands' 'Emmas Diary Mums' Midwife of the Year 2018

31/01/2018

Ulster Hospital midwife wins top honour.

Nominated by local mum Rachel Leonard, Heather Campbell has been awarded the Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year 2018 for the Northern Ireland region. The prestigious award is one of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards, recognising the incredible work done by exceptional midwives across the country.

Midwives play such a pivotal role in so many mums’ lives and the Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award enables them to pay a heartfelt tribute to their own special midwife whose kindness and support truly surpassed what was expected of them.

When Rachel and her partner Chris discovered they were expecting and attended their first appointment, they were invited to join a pilot programme running across all NHS and HSC Trusts for first time parents with low risk pregnancies.  Known to parents as ‘Getting Ready for Baby’ (GRFB), the scheme aims to provide parents with the tools they need to have a positive relationship with the newborn, whilst focussing on their own health and well-being to ensure a secure attachment and healthy family.

However during a routine antenatal check at 29 weeks, Rachel was diagnosed with severe Gestational Diabetes and was immediately classified as a high-risk pregnancy and moved to consultant led care. Rachel required four insulin injections a day and the tests highlighting a possible underlying diabetes condition.  Rachel was devastated as both she and her partner had valued the scheme and were benefiting from the consistent and continuity of care and support they were receiving from their Midwife Heather.

Heather managed to ensure they could complete the course, normalising the changing and complex pregnancy to allow Rachel to have the birth she so wanted.  Heather continued to support Rachel post birth when she was diagnosed as Type 1 diabetic and would remain insulin controlled long term.

Rachel, who nominated Heather for the award, explains: “I felt a real connection with Heather and she understood how I felt that my gestational diabetes diagnosis had shattered my perfect pregnancy. Heather helped me realise this was out of my control and not my fault.  She explained how my care would change and tailored the rest of the course to suit my individual needs.  Heather made my transition incredibly smooth and despite not being able to have the low risk pregnancy and birth I wanted I was still able to go on and have a natural birth.  I am now type 1 diabetic and remain insulin controlled but without Heathers support I may have found this completely overwhelming.”

On winning the award Heather who works for the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust adds: “Rachel’s unexpected and complex diagnosis at the later stages of her pregnancy potentially may have impacted upon their attendance at GRFB.  We ensured this did not happen and they completed the course.  We worked together to create the perfect birth plan for them both and they happily had a spontaneous labour and birth welcoming beautiful Lucy into the world!  I am honoured to have been a member of a team that worked in partnership with Rachel and Chris to enable them to actualise the birth they envisaged. I feel incredibly lucky and very happy to accept this award.  It is a true honour, particularly in 2018 as it is the celebratory centenary year of the Midwives Act in Ireland and to celebrate 70yrs of the NHS-of which I am extremely proud to be part of.”

Emma’s Diary, the UK’s essential support resource for mums to be and new parents, received a record 751 nominations from mums across the UK. All entries were put through a meticulous judging process by a panel of representatives from both Emma’s Diary and the RCM, culminating in seven regional winners.

The RCM’s Annual Awards, now in its 16th year, will be held on 6th March 2018. Heather will join the six other regional winners at a glamorous awards ceremony in London, where she will receive her trophy and find out who is crowned the coveted national winner.

Sunil Singh, Emma’s Diary’s healthcare director, comments: “This will be our third year sponsoring the award and each year we get blown away by stories of exceptional compassion and dedication shown by hundreds of wonderful midwives across the UK. Each nomination conveys a level of care and support that makes such a huge difference to a mum and their family’s life. It is a truly humbling experience and we are delighted for Heather, who is so deserving of this extra recognition.”

Commenting Mandy Forrester, Head of Quality and Standards at The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said; “This is a really special award to have won. Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award recognises the amazing support that midwives give to women throughout pregnancy, birth and early motherhood. Heather has delivered exceptional care and support to the mother that nominated her for this award and she should be very proud of this achievement.

“To read testimonies from mothers who have recognised that their midwife has provided safe, high quality, woman centred care is truly inspiring and certainly something as midwives we can all learn from.”