Hull's hospital heroes share their stories on International Day of the Midwife

Tributes are being paid today to all the midwives of the Humber region who make the experience for mums and babies “the best it can be”.

NHS Humber Health Partnership is marking International Day of the Midwife today (Sunday, May 5) by showcasing the work of midwives across Hull, Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole. Midwives from Hull University Teaching Hospitals (HUTH) NHS Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole (NLaG) NHS Foundation Trust will be sharing their stories on the organisation’s social media pages to celebrate the fantastic contribution they make to health care.

Rukeya Miah, head of midwifery and neonatal services at HUTH, said: “I would like to thank all our midwives and midwifery support workers for all that you do to make the experience for our women, parents-to-be, babies and families the best it can be. I would like to pay a very special tribute to you all on the International Day of the Midwife 2024.”


Nicola Foster, head of midwifery at NLaG, said: “I am very proud of our midwifery teams and the care that they give and, on International Day of the Midwife this year, I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the midwives working within our maternity service. The teamwork, kindness and flexibility demonstrated daily is absolutely amazing.”

Here are the stories from just two of the midwives who will be featured as part of the celebrations.

Gemma Butterworth – Maple Ward, Hull Women and Children’s Hospital

From a young age, Gemma knew she wanted a career in midwifery after her own aunt went into premature labour with twins. While her cousin Laura passed away shortly after birth, the other twin Jade, who weighed just 1lb 2oz, survived against the odds.

Gemma said: “I was fascinated with the intensive care and journey of neonatal life. I knew from a young age that I wanted to care for women and babies.”

When she was 18, Gemma studied Adult Nursing at the University of Hull, deciding to go into nursing first to help build her life skills. Qualifying in 2004, she worked in the Accident and Emergency Department for a year, enhancing her knowledge and skills.

Hull Women and Children's Hospital
Hull Women and Children's Hospital -Credit:Hull Live

Gemma started midwifery training in 2005, became a mum herself just a year later and qualified as a midwife in 2007, beginning her career at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital. She was a rotational midwife, working in all areas of midwifery, until 2017 when she became one of the core midwives on Maple Ward, the hospital’s antenatal ward.

She is now junior sister on Maple Ward and also supports her colleagues as a professional midwifery advocate, sharing career or education advice, supporting them with any difficulties they face and helping them find their voice.

No two days are the same for Gemma. “A typical day entails either running a busy induction of labour clinic, co-ordinating the antenatal ward or caring for those having elective caesarean sections,” she said. “Every day is different and can be challenging but I enjoy the variation in roles.”

For Gemma, the best part of her job is supporting families. “It’s knowing that you made a difference in their care - this means so much.”

Nikola Donner - Labour Ward, Hull Women and Children’s Hospital

Nikola will be raising a glass to all her colleagues who make such a difference to the families they see. “Our midwives, managers, midwifery assistants, obstetric and anaesthetic team, ward clerks, hygienists, cleaners, caterers, porters – the list goes on,” she said. “Happy International Day of the Midwife, everyone!”

Nikola has been a midwife for almost ten years and works as a midwife on the Labour Ward at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital. “If I play a part in supporting and bringing families together in such an important time then I can go home feeling like I did a good job that day. It’s such a joy being a small part of families’ stories.”

After three years’ training at the University of Hull, Nikola qualified in 2015. “Every day is so different. One day I can be in theatre, the next facilitating a water birth to another supporting a family coping with loss. Whatever the day, I am proud to be part of a dedicated team.”

Nikola also works as a student link on the ward, supporting student midwives who come onto the Labour Ward as part of their training and is really optimistic about the new generation of midwives qualifying over the next few years. “We have a wonderful generation of midwives coming though,” she said.

Her advice to anyone considering a career in midwifery – prepare yourself. “It’s busy,” she said. “Some days are hard but if you can give a little bit of yourself to families and care for each family like they are your own, this is the career for you.”