Ulster Hospital midwife Heather scoops award after new mum’s nomination
An Ulster Hospital midwife has been named Midwife of the Year for Northern Ireland after making a big impact on a mum whose baby she helped to deliver.
Heather Campbell has been awarded the Emma's Diary Mums' Midwife of the Year 2018 for the Northern Ireland region, a prestigious award from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
Mum Rachel Leonard nominated Heather for the award, describing the real connection they had during the delivery of her baby daughter Lucy.
Rachel and her partner Chris were left devastated at being unable to take part in a programme for low-risk pregnancies, known as the 'Getting Ready for Baby' (GRFB), after she was diagnosed with severe Gestational Diabetes.
But Rachel said Heather stayed with them and worked to ensure they could complete the course, normalising the changing and complex pregnancy to allow Rachel to have the birth she wanted. And Heather continued to support Rachel after the birth.
"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," Rachel explained.
"She 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. Heather has an amazing way of making you feel so special and she reassures you, no matter what. I have no doubt the way I was able to breastfeed Lucy so successfully and deal with being a new mum was all because of Heather.
"I filled out the nomination form because I really do think she deserves the recognition, but I didn't know she won the Northern Ireland heat until she rang me. I was over the moon and I really hope she goes on to win the UK-wide award."
For her part, Heather didn't realise she had been nominated, but was delighted to win the award.
She said: "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 70 years of the NHS - 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 March 6 in London.
Heather will join the six other regional winners at the awards ceremony, where the national winner will be crowned.