Doting mum Sianne Lee is enjoying life with her newborn son, thanks to the expertise of Berwick midwives and the town’s maternity unit.
Baby Tate James Lee was born at the unit on February 25, soon after Sianne arrived there with her husband Mark.
The couple were delighted with the new arrival, their third child, who weighed in at 8lbs15oz. But things soon deteriorated after the birth when Sianne lost a lot of blood.
The midwives managed to stop the bleeding - but had the unit not reopened for deliveries last year following a suspension of services in 2012, it could have been a very different story.
“It was a really quick birth,” Sianne explained. “I went to the unit after my waters broke at about quarter to 10, and he was born at 11.16.”
The midwives administered lifesaving drugs before Sianne was rushed by ambulance to the consultant-led unit at Wansbeck, with Mark following in the car with Tate.
“The midwives were worried but they weren’t panicky - they just did what they needed to do,” Sianne said. “By the time the paramedic arrived I was stabilised.”
After spending the night at Wansbeck, Sianne was able to come home the following day and introduce Tate to his proud siblings Cole, nine, and six-year-old Sydney.
Sianne, 27, believes the decision made last year to keep the unit open saved her life.
“He came so quickly, if the unit wasn’t open Tate would have been delivered by the side of the road,” she said.
“If it wasn’t for Berwick Maternity Unit being there my husband would have had to deliver my son on the A1, and I really don’t think he would have been able to stop the bleeding afterwards. He could have been left in a car with a new son and a dead wife. It might sound extreme, but it could have been the case, so I am very thankful and grateful that the BMU was there.”
Health bosses suspended deliveries at the unit in August 2012, citing low birth rates and safety concerns.
It was reopened for births last July, following a public consultation and a hard-fought community campaign. Since then 10 babies have been born at the unit.
Janice McNichol, head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “All our midwives are committed to providing the highest standards of care before, during and following a birth and are extremely well trained to deal with any complication which may arise following a low-risk delivery.
“While the majority of low-risk births occur without complications, a postpartum haemorrhage is not uncommon.
“Our dedicated midwives in Berwick acted entirely appropriately on this occasion by stabilising the patient and making arrangements for her to be transferred to a consultant-led unit, in accordance with national guidance.
“One of our midwives accompanied the patient on the journey to Wansbeck General Hospital.”
Commenting on facebook, Sianne’s mum Caroline Patterson said: “The staff were superb and probably saved my daughter’s life with their expertise and quick actions. I now have a gorgeous grandson and he has his mother beside him.”
Local mum Kelly Corrigan, who headed the campaign to reopen the unit during its closure, welcomed Tate’s arrival. She said: “This is why I started Save Berwick Maternity Unit. We put blood, sweat and tears into it. Now the unit’s doors are open and a new mum and baby are safe and well, thanks to our quick-thinking, experienced midwives.”