Local midwife in line for top award

A LISBURN midwife who helped save the life of a ten day old baby has just been awarded Northern Ireland’s Mum’s Best Midwife of the Year 2012.

Lynn Shanks will receive the award sponsored by Johnson and Johnson at a ceremony at The Brewery in London on January 24 from former newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.

Lynn, her mother Sylvia Creighton, as well as the baby Daisy who is now one year old, and her mother Claire Greenwood - who nominated Lynn - will also attend the ceremony.

Claire, of Greenwood Glen off the Purdysburn Road nominated Lynn in June - with the mum crediting the midewife for saving the life of her newborn baby.

Daisy who was born on December 10, 2011 was just ten days old when Lynn, who was Claires’ midwife noticed that she was looking unwell during one of her visits.

It was Claire’s second baby and Lynn, who is based at Holywood Arches, had been a great support throughout the pregnancy. Claire explained that her baby was coughing and was not eating but otherwise was well. Claire put it down to her daughter just simply picking up a cold from older daughter Rebecca (3).

But when Lynn saw Daisy, she was so concerned that she told Claire that she had to instantly take her to see the GP.

“To tell you the truth I had not had much sleep from the night before and hoped that once Lynn went I could get into bed for a nap,” said Claire.

But Lynn insisted that she had to take her daughter straight away to see the doctor.

“My daughter Rebecca had a bit of a cough so thought nothing of it,” said Claire. “She looked fine. She was pink in colour and she seemed fine also. I just told Lynn about the cough. She told me that I needed to take her to the GP because she was not happy with her. As far as I was concerned she was fine.”

Claire took her baby to the GP and he too was not happy with her and she was quickly taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. By the time she was taken to the hospital Daisy’s colouring had changed to purple and her health quickly deteriorated.

After some tests it was found that Daisy was suffering from a congenital heart defect.

The baby was swiftly taken by ambulance to the Children’s Hospital in Dublin where she had an emergency heart operation.

In the meantime Lynn was supporting Claire all the way.

“During my pregnancy Lynn was a great help and great support,” she said. “She was so lovely and really quirky but what she did for Daisy well I cannot thank her enough.

“I have no doubt that Lynn saved Daisy’s life. I was about to go to sleep when Lynn left. If I had, goodness knows what the outcome would have been because within a matter of hours Daisy’s health deteriorated. If she had not sent me to the GP and then to the hospital would have been looking at a different story.”

By Christmas Eve Daisy was back in the Royal recovering from the operation and within days she was allowed home.

“Lynn was amazing throughout,” said Claire. “She was texting me all the time and asking me not only how the baby was but how I was. She went beyond the role of a midwife - she was a constant support. She was always contacting me giving me good all round advice and making sure I was fine and that Daisy was fine. She even came to see me when Daisy got home too.”

Lynn, who has been a midwife for 25 years, said she was honoured to receive the award.

“It was really lovely to get something like this,” she said. “There was really nothing I did that no other midwife would not have done. I was there at the right time. I knew when I saw Daisy that she was not right - that is part of my job. I am part of a team and we all do the same job. The award is as much for them as it is for me. We all work hard and we all sort of do what we can to give out the best care.”