Milton Keynes midwife wins national award for work with bereaved parents

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A midwife from Milton Keynes Hospital has won a national award for her work with bereaved parents.

Tracy Rea is a specialist bereavement midwife, and was nominated for the Tommy’s Healthcare Hero award by five different women.

The role sees Tracy support staff care for bereaved families on the labour ward and the neonatal unit before, during, or after the delivery. She supports the families when they leave the hospital without their baby, giving them as much assistance as they need or want.

And this was the second time she had scooped the award, having already won it in 2014.

Jessica Allison, 26, was one of the women who nominated Tracy. Jessica, who works as a specialist teaching assistant, was 19 weeks pregnant last year when she went into early labour and delivered a baby boy, who was too small to survive.

She was cared for by Tracy and is currently pregnant with a little girl. Tracy is her named midwife.

Jessica said: “Tracy was there to comfort me and to guide us through this difficult time. Once discharged from hospital she visited weekly.

“She was always caring and compassionate, someone we could trust and feel comfortable around.

“When I found out I was pregnant again, my nerves and anxiety were through the roof, but she was always there to help me through. Without the support and guidance of Tracy I don’t know how we would have got through the heartbreak of losing our son so suddenly and also coping with the anxiety of a second pregnancy.

“She is so kind and modest and sees it as her doing her job, but I believe she goes above and beyond this.”

Tracy is also responsible for MK Hospital’s bereavement garden, for bereaved parents of babies and children in the hospital grounds, as well as the ‘Forget Me Not’ butterfly garden.

“There are many memorial gardens around the country,” she said.

“I wanted the garden to be close to where parents had had their loss, so they could find comfort at having a place they could go and be close to where they lost their baby or child.”

Tracy also runs a ‘Forget Me Not’ support group for bereaved parents, which helps those who have had a loss through miscarriage, termination of pregnancy, stillbirth or a neonatal death.

And she has set up a support group for bereaved mothers who are pregnant again, called the Butterfly Group.

Tracy said: “I felt strongly about this as often women didn’t get continuity of care and felt scared and anxious in their subsequent pregnancy.

“I now run my own clinic and caseload about 45 women a year from the beginning of their pregnancy until they give birth.

“I feel very proud of this achievement. I know their history and met them at their saddest point and yet here I am looking after them in their next pregnancy, alongside their obstetricians.

“If able, I start their induction of labour and will be their named midwife if they have a planned elective caesarean section. If I’m fortunate enough to be around when they go into spontaneous labour, I will do my utmost to be there.”

Tracy added: “I love my job and get satisfaction knowing the care we provide bereaved families of Milton Keynes is the best we can give.”