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Midwife’s decisive action saved my baby's life

Kathy McClune’s expertise, professionalism and quick response during an emergency saved my son’s life, says Ann-Marie Field.
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Kathy McClunes expertise, professionalism and quick response during an emergency saved my sons life, says Ann-Marie Field

When I was 38 weeks pregnant, I went to the labour ward of Harrogate District Hospital to get a cardiotocography (CTG) trace, after becoming concerned by reduced fetal movements.

After having my blood pressure taken, I was admitted to the assessment room and seen by midwife Kathy McClune.

While setting up the trace, Kathy asked me how I was feeling and about the babys movements. She found a low heartbeat and, after checking it wasnt my own, concluded that it was the babys.

Calm manner

She told me I would be monitored for the next half an hour, but to call my partner to ask him to bring my overnight

...

Kathy McClune’s expertise, professionalism and quick response during an emergency saved my son’s life, says Ann-Marie Field


Drew was born at 38 weeks, with the help of midwife Kathy McClune. 

When I was 38 weeks pregnant, I went to the labour ward of Harrogate District Hospital to get a cardiotocography (CTG) trace, after becoming concerned by reduced fetal movements.

After having my blood pressure taken, I was admitted to the assessment room and seen by midwife Kathy McClune.

While setting up the trace, Kathy asked me how I was feeling and about the baby’s movements. She found a low heartbeat and, after checking it wasn’t my own, concluded that it was the baby’s.

Calm manner 

She told me I would be monitored for the next half an hour, but to call my partner to ask him to bring my overnight bag in case I needed to stay longer.

While this was more serious than I had expected, Kathy’s professionalism and calm manner were reassuring, so I wasn’t overly concerned.

Kathy asked me to lay on my left-hand side to see if this improved the baby’s heart rate, and went out of the room for a couple of minutes. During this time the baby’s heartbeat became very faint. 

I thought it had stopped and buzzed for help, and Kathy came back immediately. She called for additional help and took control of the situation, updating colleagues and arranging an emergency caesarean section. All the while she continued to monitor the heartbeat and kept me calm in what was a scary situation.

Forever grateful

I was rushed in for the caesarean within five minutes of buzzing for help, and Drew was born 16 minutes later. He was very ill at first and after being stabilised was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary for specialist care, including 72-hour cooling treatment. After a spell in intensive care and the neonatal unit we returned to Harrogate’s special care baby unit. Kathy came to visit us and asked ‘Do you remember me?’. In fact, I will never forget her.

We feel eternally grateful to Kathy. If it wasn’t for her expertise, professionalism, decisiveness and quick action, as well as her ability to keep me calm in an emergency and her genuinely caring nature, our son may not be here today – healthy and without any long-term disability, except for bilateral moderate hearing loss.

Drew and I met Kathy again just after his second birthday. I wanted to say thank you and to show her how fantastically he was doing.  

Some may say Kathy was just doing her job, but we disagree. She took my concerns seriously and successfully managed an emergency situation. Thanks to that, we have our son.

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