On the other side of the fence-the relative


During each and every one of the 36 years I worked for our glorious NHS, I always tried to put myself in the shoes of those I cared for. It's strange and quite nerve wracking to be on the other side of the fence, and to be receiving care. When I was a patient myself last year I was ever alert to what was happening around me, and I was truly nervous.

Last week my eldest daughter gave birth to Elizabeth (Betsy), and I was 'the relative'. This was yet a different experience; I was still as anxious and even more out of control. But I was delighted with the care and attention; in fact it was first class. I expected high standards, as I know the maternity service is second to none and receives excellent feedback. Even so, we found the staff to be exemplary, and they went out of their way to make sure us 'relatives' were OK too.

I have to mention two people (there are many more but A will tell all). The first is Leigh Halliwell, the wonderful midwife who worked hard with Anna, loving and supporting her for 12 solid hours. Thank you so very much Leigh. And then there is Mrs Liz Martindale, the obstetrician who supported choice, gave commitment and encouragement, and even supported me via text in the hours leading up to Betsy's arrival. Just moments before the birth, Mrs M told us she was going to make A's birth experience (emergency caesarian section) the most positive ever, and she did just that.


Those who know me, or who have heard me talk at conferences will know that I frequently sing the praises of this particular doctor. This is because she is exceptional in so many ways; pushing boundaries to ensure women feel in control and happy with their birth experience. Mrs Martindale is quite famous for her innovative work (1), especially the 'Martindale Manoeuvre'. Do you know what that is?

So an enormous THANK YOU Liz from all our family for all you did for daughter A, and Betsy Byrom.


(1) Byrom S, Fardella L, Sandford J et al (2010) Collaborating to push boundaries to promote positive birth :an inspirational reflection MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 20(2): 199-204

Photograph of fence