Delivering first baby "beyond words" for Midwifery students

Meet Chloe, Flick, Hayley, Juliet, Sam and Sophie - first-year Midwifery students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU). Back in September, they had a selection of one-week placements where they could observe professionals in action. Fast-forward to June and all six have delivered a baby, putting into practice the skills learnt so far during their course and on placements.

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We'll be keeping in touch with the Class of 2017 as they progress through the course but for our first meeting we find out about their motivation for becoming a midwife, highlights so far and more from:

  • Chloe Cook, 19, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire
  • Felicity 'Flick' Archer, 29, mum of two, from just outside Loughborough, Leicestershire
  • Hayley Hughes, 32, mum of three, from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear
  • Juliet Evans Lee, 49, mum of three, from near Market Harborough, Leicestershire
  • Samantha 'Sam' Newsome, 30, mum of two, from Derby
  • Sophie Farrar, 20, from Leeds

What has been your highlight of the first year on the Midwifery course?

Chloe: "Delivering a baby. I have no words to describe it. My mentor was just stood behind me and I did it all myself. They let you take control and afterwards I just cried. It was amazing. Helping a woman give birth was fantastic, it was the best thing I've ever done."

Sam: "Definitely placement. It doesn't matter which placement, but being out there and actually being able to make a difference is probably the best part."

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Samantha 'Sam' Newsome

Sophie: "My highlight so far has probably been placement. I like the fact that as a student you are actually given time to spend with the women and make them feel you are there for them."

Juliet: "There's nothing better than the woman at the end thanking you and even if they don't say much you can see it in her face that you've made a difference."

Why did you want to be a Midwife?

Sam: "I wanted to train as a midwife after the amazing experience I had giving birth to my first son and after hearing stories of my friends who didn't have such empowering births. I wanted to make a difference."

Juliet: "Having three children really did inspired me to be a midwife, as my first birth experience was really negative and I didn't want anyone else to have to go through that. In 2016 two things happened, I was made redundant from my job as an IT business analyst and my dad died unexpectedly of a heart attack. My dad had been a computer programmer in his youth, but in his 30s he chose to retrain as a doctor. Listening to his friends talk about his joyful life made me realise that nothing is impossible. I gladly took my redundancy and have never looked back."

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Juliet Evans Lee

Flick: "Before I had my boys I didn't know what I wanted to do but since having them I've realised how important pregnancy and the post-natal time is. I like how fast-paced and hands-on Midwifery is."

Chloe: "I wanted to help women during pregnancy and birth and support them along their journey. Midwifery is also a job where no two days of the same, which I like."

Why did you choose to study at DMU?

Flick: "I chose DMU because I liked the atmosphere, the tutors were friendly and passionate about Midwifery, and I was impressed at the Open Day."

Chloe: "I just liked the facilities and the lecturers."

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Chloe Cook

Hayley: "I received two offers from other universities in the north east. I thought they were fine - until I came to the DMU Open Day. The atmosphere and the people at DMU stood out… and I loved the openness and inclusivity."

Juliet: "DMU stole my heart and enthusiasm when I came to an Open Day. We had 'the talk' from (senior lecturer) Sue Nyombi, who was committed to defending the rights of the child-bearing woman and her baby, to making her maternal experience the best it could possibly be, and to producing a generation of midwives that felt the same."

How has the course lived up to your expectations?

Hayley: "At the Open Day I could sense that decisions about the course, and the experience at DMU, were based on what works best rather than what had always been done. DMU's ethos and the way Midwifery is taught seemed to fit perfectly with what I was looking for. The university and the course are everything I expected and more."

Flick: "I didn't know what I was letting myself in for! I wanted to be a lactation consultant, helping women breastfeed, initially, and so I thought the best way to get into that was through Midwifery. The support I'm receiving on the course is really good. The teachers have been absolutely fantastic. It's a very close cohort, we all support each other and everyone's lovely."

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Felicity 'Flick' Archer

Sophie: "I knew what a midwife did, but it was a different idea to what it actually entails - but it's definitely better. I did work experience at a hospital back in Leeds and there seemed a lot less to it, because a lot goes on behind what the women see and I didn't see any of that either."

How did you find your five-week community and birth centre/delivery suite placements?

Hayley: "Community is all about looking after the women in their own community, antenatal care and post-natal care, giving them the tools they need to go through the birth and to look after their baby. Delivery is all about the intrapartum, the birth of the baby and making sure everyone's well in that process. The practical experience is amazing. There's nothing better as a student than being there and doing it."

Sam: ""For me, although being involved in facilitating birth is incredible, it is the support aspect of care throughout pregnancy and birth that I really enjoy. After every placement I feel a bit more confident."

Flick: "I really enjoyed the continuity of care that comes with a community placement. It's quite different in a delivery suite, though, you meet women for the first time on the same day she has her baby. It's amazing the bonds that can be formed in such a short period."

Sophie: "I preferred the delivery suite placement because I was involved with high-risk care, which I really liked."

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What challenges have you faced?

Sam: "As a mature student you need to be able to juggle home life and work. It's challenging but doable and helps to have support at home. I also have a part-time job, which I do one day a week when I'm not on placement."

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Hayley Hughes

Hayley: "I had a thriving business, my family and children rooted in the north east and so the decision to move them to Leicester was huge. My husband was very supportive and it was one of the best decisions I have made."

Chloe: "I get really bad homesickness but having the support of fellow students and mentors really helps."

What is it like to study in Leicester?

Hayley: "Leicester is an unbelievable place, the culture and diversity you're exposed to. I'd never have this in the North East. It's a privilege training to be a midwife here in Leicester.

What are you most looking forward to about your second year?

Juliet: "I am most looking forward to going out on more placements."

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Sophie Farrar

Sophie: "Going back on placement and just doing it all again. In the second year, we learn more about high-risk stuff and complications, so I'm looking forward to that."

Chloe: "I like the idea of going home for an elective placement."

Ambitions for the future?

Juliet: "It is my dream to go back to Zambia, where I was born, to volunteer as a qualified midwife."

Sam: "I want to be a home birth midwife, so it involves both the community and intrapartum care."

Posted on Friday 29th June 2018

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