News posted 3 May, 2024

International Day of the Midwife: Manchester midwife praises the co-workers who helped her become a mother

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  • International Day of the Midwife: Manchester midwife praises the co-workers who helped her become a mother

A midwife, turned patient, has shared how her friends and colleagues helped her through a tragic loss, and how she eventually gave birth in her very own delivery suite.

Since beginning her training in 2012, Melina Saebi from Cheadle, has worked in the Delivery Suite at Wythenshawe Hospital, ran by Saint Mary’s Managed Clinical Service. In 2021, she was so excited to find that she was pregnant with her first child with husband, Dan.

Melina, aged 29, said: “It was always the plan to deliver on the ward where I work because I wanted to be looked after my colleagues.  It felt like being in your second home”.

Tragically, Melina and Dan received the devastating news that their first baby had a rare and severe heart condition which meant she would not survive. At 21 weeks, Melina gave birth to their first baby girl, Lily, who survived for a few precious hours but then sadly died.

Melina said: “We were absolutely devastated to lose Lily, and when you’re a midwife, it can be even worse because you have all the knowledge of what’s happening to you.”

After taking six months leave to grieve their loss, she returned to work and received a promotion to become a Delivery Suite Coordinator. By October 2022, she was pregnant again. Melina was referred to the Lotus team at Saint Mary’s, who offer specialist support for women who have suffered a previous stillbirth or neonatal death during a subsequent pregnancy.

The Lotus Team gives families a direct contact to support them with their physical and mental health needs, in addition to co-ordinating their often-complex care plans. Birthing people under the Lotus Team will see the same midwives at their antenatal appointments, who already know their story, which helps ease the anxieties that they undoubtably have at this time. The midwives are also at the birth where possible and visit families at home postnatally.

Melina said: “I really wanted the Lotus team to look after me. From working at the hospital, I’m friends with many of them and it was so lovely to receive advice from them during such a personal time.

“After my experience, I had phobia of attending scans, and I had to attend one every month. I remember once that I text them to ask if I could come in earlier, so I wasn’t waiting all day. They treat pregnant women with such sensitivity and that makes a massive difference to their wellbeing; and I really felt that as one of their patients”.

Due to Lily’s heart condition, Melina also received care under the Fetal Medicine Unit at Saint Mary’s Hospital on Oxford Road for specialist cardiac scans. She was anxious throughout her pregnancy as she was scared that the same problem would occur. Fortunately, after a long six months, they found her second child did not have the same condition and they were discharged.

After being induced, her daughter Rosie was born in the early hours of Thursday, 8 June 2023 – in the very delivery suite where Melina works. She said: “Even though I was so stressed during my second pregnancy and having many potential complications, my labour was actually very straight forward – I was even home six hours later!”.

“As a midwife, you know the full birth process like the back of your hand, but it is different to experience it yourself and you feel more vulnerable. But because I was in the hands of my own friends, I could relax and just be a mum in labour”.

Olivia Bunker is a Bereavement Midwife and has led the Lotus team since it began in 2021. Both her and Melina trained together and have been friends since university.

Olivia said: “The Lotus team has been so important for families who have been through the devastation of a pregnancy or baby loss. It is a terrifying time being pregnant again after having lost a baby, and to hear that the team have helped Melina with her rainbow pregnancy journey means so much”

“I can’t imagine how it must have felt for Melina to come back to work after losing Lily. She is an inspiration to us all and I am proud to call her one of my best friends.”

Now, Rosie is 10 months old, and Melina is enjoying being a first-time mum. She said: “Everyone says how Rosie looks my double! She is such a character and super smiley.

“Motherhood has definitely been a journey, especially after losing a baby as it can bring up old feelings – but we’ve done really well and have a great support network.

“I’m really proud to work at Wythenshawe and I wouldn’t have wanted to give birth anywhere else other than where I work”.