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Call the midwife! Christmas day on Gloucestershire's maternity wards

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 23, 2013

  • midwifeHazelWilliams

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CHRISTMAS Day is just another working day if you’re a midwife – although it is a bit special at our maternity units.

Gloucestershire midwives will be professional as always but, while mum’s pushing, their midwife might be wearing a pair of comedy antlers.

“It’s just another working day,” said midwife Lynsey Phillips, who will not be opening stockings with her children on Christmas morning – she will be putting in a 7.30am to 8pm shift at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital’s Birth Unit.

“Regardless of whether you have children, it’s got to be done, but we all share – I haven’t worked the past two Christmas Days,” she said.

Her children Gracie, seven, and Seth, five, will celebrate Christmas again with her on another day.

“They don’t know anything else,” she said. “I’ve been a midwife for 15 years. They are going with my husband Sam to their grandma’s house, so they’ll get two Christmases.”

Julia Preston, lead midwife in GRH’s delivery suite, said everyone will try to make the day more special, even though they are at work.

“We try to make it a happy and jolly day,” she said. “We still have our normal professional standards.

“Obviously, having a baby arrive is a joyful experience but especially so on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”

She admits she works most Christmas Days.

“Often I end up doing the rota and I have this guilty feeling – I can’t ask people to work Christmas if I’m not prepared to,” she said. “It’s something I have got used to.”

Hazel Williams will be at Cheltenham General Hospital’s Birth Centre at 7.30am sharp on Boxing Day, ready for a 12-hour shift. She has done her share of Christmas shifts in 30 years of nursing, 24 of them in midwifery.

“It’s a normal working day but a special working day,” she said.

“It’s part of the job – it’s what we signed up for.

“Babies don’t pick and choose when they are going to arrive – we’re a 24- hour service.

“We have a choir come some years and we give presents to Christmas Day babies – we have knitted Santa hats for them.

“Some mums will want to go home and we will help them do that but some can’t and their families come in to celebrate Christmas.”

Christmas babies at Cheltenham General can be put in a specially-decorated crib. And there’s some light-hearted rivalry over which unit delivers the first baby on Christmas Day.

“There is a bit of friendly competition between us, Stroud and Gloucester,” said Hazel.

“We all ring round to see who has the first but we’re pleased wherever the child is born.”

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