NHS Heroes: Vicky Weaver Providing Compassionate Care to Bereaved Families

21st Jun 2024

With nearly two decades of dedication to midwifery, Vicky’s journey from a ward services officer to a bereavement lead midwife is not just a professional journey, but a deeply personal one.

Inspired by her own devastating experience with stillbirth, she brings a unique blend of empathy, and expertise to her role at Sandwell and West Birmingham (SWB) NHS Trust.

Through her commitment to providing comfort and support to grieving families, Vicky embodies compassionate care. She said: “My journey into midwifery began after working on the labour ward as a Ward Services Officer. This is where I discovered my interest in midwifery but didn’t consider pursuing things any further at that time. As a young mum who didn’t have a single member of family who had attended university, it felt like an impossibility.

“The turning point for me was experiencing the devastating loss of my second child – my daughter who was stillborn at 34 weeks. It was during the heartbreak of my loss, that I recognised the importance of a supportive midwife. As I began to heal from the trauma of losing my little girl, I began to think about how short life is, and decided that I wanted to help other families who experience the loss of a child.”

Vicky went to college to pursue her dream, working as a maternity health care assistant alongside her studies and going onto university, finally qualifying as a midwife in 2017.

“The support from the Trust has been instrumental in my career progression and ambition to provide compassionate care. I applied for the bereavement role when the opportunity arose and was successful and after two years, I am now the bereavement lead,” she said.

“My primary responsibility is to provide practical and emotional support to women and their families who have suffered the loss of a baby at more than 16 weeks gestation or during the neonatal period. This involves ensuring follow-up care to report the results of investigations. I work closely with consultants to develop a plan of care for any potential future pregnancies and provide support during subsequent pregnancies as well.”

She added: “The most rewarding aspect of my job is supporting families through the loss of a baby and then witnessing them experience a successful pregnancy. Receiving positive feedback from patients I’ve supported is incredibly fulfilling. One particularly memorable experience was assisting a woman in locating the burial site of her son nearly 50 years after his passing.

“The patients we care for are enduring one of the most challenging experiences of their lives. My goal is to do anything within my power to lessen their burden or enhance their experience, whether it’s taking a prescription to the pharmacy to save them a wait or dressing their baby in a special outfit before the funeral.

“Looking ahead, I am eagerly anticipating the bespoke bereavement suite at the Midland Metropolitan University Hospital (MMUH) in Smethwick, set to open later this year. This suite will provide a more comfortable and well-equipped environment for caring for our patients, allowing us to offer even better support to grieving families.”

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