A group of midwives from Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board have received awards for their vital work supporting bereaved parents who suffer pregnancy or baby loss.
Specialist bereavement midwives Jan Garrod, Lucy Dobbins and Sarah Griffith are part of the Snowdrop Bereavement Team covering North Wales.
Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, Sue Tranka, felt their work warranted individual Excellence Awards to mark their compassionate roles.
Each received a certificate and commemorative badge from Dr Ruth Wyn Williams on International Midwife Day - and some heartfelt words of appreciation from Ms Tranka.
In a message to the Snowdrop team, she said: “It’s important the midwifery profession is recognised for the vital role it plays in people’s lives.
“It’s been fantastic to hear about the commitment of colleagues across Wales and to celebrate the role of midwives, who are central to people’s maternity care.
“These awards are a reflection of how much I value the dedication of the award winners, and I want to congratulate and thank them for all of their efforts.”
She specifically praised the team’s “invaluable bereavement support” for parents and families across the region.
She continued: “Thankfully the majority (of pregnancies) result in a healthy baby but this team is an important resource when that hasn’t happened. They help families navigate the grim process which should never happen.”
The Snowdrop Team accepts referrals from gynaecology, maternity and neonatal services, offering support to families who have experienced pregnancy loss of any gestation. This includes stillbirth, termination of pregnancy for medical reasons and neonatal death up to 28 days.
As they accepted their awards they revealed how their tightly knit team supports each other with such a heavy emotional workload to shoulder.
The Snowdrop Bereavement Team help families cope with their emotional loss but crucially provide immediate care, birth planning, memory making and offer support with funeral choices.
Tailoring support to each individual family, they offer parents a safe space to talk through their grief and the reality of life after loss – and help them access agencies for any other support they may need.
Vitally it reduces the number of times families have to recount their harrowing stories, because of the continuity of support in dealing with one specialist midwife as they navigate the most difficult of times.
Yet, it’s not only parents who benefit from their experience and knowledge. Staff can access multi-disciplinary post-mortem consent training, bereavement training and memory making sessions to ensure they’re able to provide care in a sensitive and informed manner.
The team has also started a Rainbow Clinic where families can attend for their review appointments but also where they can attend for care in subsequent pregnancies. The clinic also supports women who have suffered recurrent miscarriage.
A Rainbow Clinic is currently available in Wrexham, however plans are in place to introduce them in Glan Clwyd and Gwynedd hospitals.