18/01/2011 | Christella Williams| Midwife | The Portland Hospital
Christella Williams works at The Portland Hospital as a midwife and has worked within the Midwifery Led Delivery (MLD) team for 3 years. Prior to this she worked as a nurse and midwife in the NHS for 20 years.
The MLD service at The Portland Hospital consist of a small team of dedicated midwives who care for low risk women throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.
Here Christella Williams speaks of a typical day as a midwife at The Portland Hospital…
The term ‘Midwife’ actually means to be ‘with the woman’ and that is the essence of my work – a combination of holistic care, clinical competence and partnership with the women I care for. I strive to empower my women during their journey into motherhood and as a mother myself I fully appreciate this need. No two days are the same for me at work but I’d like to reflect on this particular day with you.
I was called into the delivery suite at 7am as a lady was in labour. I arrived to care for her, she had spent her early labour at home with the support of her husband. Over the next few hours I attended to her wellbeing. A pre-requisite of excellent care is anticipating women’s needs in labour, not just clinical, but emotional and spiritual too. All women react in their own unique ways to labour and birth and a midwife’s flexibility is paramount to enhance the woman’s experience. I call myself a ‘baby catcher’ because I believe women deliver their own babies; I am there as a guardian of normality and to recognise deviation from the norm and take appropriate action.
Her labour progressed beautifully, she had been in the birthing pool for one hour and it was time for her to meet her baby boy. Her husband got into the pool too at this point and he cradled his wife as she gave birth to their second son. I reached in and passed the baby up to them, still joined by the cord. Babies born in the pool are often quiet and relaxed at birth as they too are relaxed like their mothers. I dried his little face and he opened his eyes and looked at his parents. This moment when parents look into their baby’s eyes is always an ethereal experience for me, I am always amazed and moved by the instant love that fills the delivery room. A perfect start to the day for me, I just love water births!
Following the birth I continued to care for the family and about 2 hours later once mother and baby had rested I transferred them to their private obstetric room on one of the postnatal floors.
After a break for lunch for me I then went over the MLD Clinic at 212 Great Portland St for the afternoon. Two MLD midwives were running the clinic that day. We have our scheduled antenatal appointments but we also have an ‘open door policy’ for our expectant mothers, so they can drop in or call anytime they have a concern during their pregnancy. That afternoon I saw 3 pregnant women. A booking at 12 weeks of pregnancy, this includes lots of health promotion and advice and takes an hour or so. Then another woman at 38 weeks wanted to have a chat about her birth plan and choosing an epidural for labour. As well as performing the clinical antenatal checks, midwives spend time in clinic listening to concerns. Women are well informed and often well read and have many things they like to discuss with us. That is what we are there for, to reassure mothers during their journey to motherhood.
At 5pm I finished the clinic and prepared the handouts for the ‘Active Birth Workshop’. This is a two hour interactive class for women and their birth partners. It’s aim is to empower them with all the knowledge and coping strategies to help them achieve a positive birth experience. I have been running this workshop for three years and the feedback has been excellent. Originally it was for MLD clients only, but now the consultants send their women to it too, especially those who wish to have an active natural birth or water birth. My role can be challenging at times especially when people have so many questions, but that’s the beauty of my work, it is so rewarding. My favourite word for my job is ‘privilege’, because it is a true privilege to care for pregnant women, catch their babies and a fantastic privilege to work at The Portland Hospital.
So by 8pm my day is done. Yes it’s been a long day, but we work 12 hour shifts in order to provide continuity of care for our patients. On my days off I am usually visiting my children at university or chasing my dog around the park and of course I rest where I can, ready for my next exciting12 hour shift with the MLD team.
For further information or to arrange a tour with a midwife of The Portland Hospital's maternity services please call the Maternity Enquiry Line on 020 7390 6068.