Milton Keynes midwife nominated for top award by grateful patient

Tracy Rea and Jane Norman
Tracy Rea and Jane Norman

A Milton Keynes midwife has won an award after being nominated by a patient for the outstanding care she received.

Specialist bereavement midwife Tracy Rea won a Tommy’s Healthcare Hero Award for her work at Milton Keynes Hospital and in the local community.

Kayleigh Moore, from Milton Keynes, met Tracy, who lives in Northampton, following the devastating loss of her son Keagan, who was stillborn at full term. Kayleigh, now 22, checked into hospital at 38 weeks to prepare for a planned caesarean section the next day, only to be told the devastating news that they could not find her son’s heartbeat. Kayleigh was told that Keagan would be delivered the next day as planned, and despite being on annual leave that day, Tracy contacted Kayleigh that evening to support her through the delivery. Tracy took keepsake pictures and footcasts of Keagan for Kayleigh to remember him by. Every day for the next two weeks Tracy visited Kayleigh and her husband Ciaran to help them get through their grief, and when Kayleigh sadly experienced a miscarriage six months later, Tracy was there for her.

Kayleigh fell pregnant again six months later and Tracy helped her cope with the anxiety of being pregnant after two previous losses. She advocated for her to receive additional scans to monitor her baby’s growth and progress. As she approached the 38 week mark, the time when Kayleigh lost baby Keagan, Tracy tackled Kayleigh’s worst fears by getting her c-section delivery date moved forward. Kayleigh gave birth to healthy daughter Amberley, and Tracy was the first person to hold her when she was born.

Kayleigh said: “Tracy has been there for me through everything, and her constant support has helped to make the unbearable bearable. When my husband and I lost our son Keagan, followed by a miscarriage six months later, Tracy was my rock. Falling pregnant again was nerve-wracking and Tracy was there for us both night and day – I would have been lost without her continued support.

“To Tracy being a midwife is much more than just a job, and she does more than going the extra mile. She has set up her own support group and all of us who attend agree on how special she is. I nominated her for the Tommy’s Awards to say thank you for everything she does.”

While working with Kayleigh, Tracy spotted a gap in care for women going through the anxiety of pregnancy after a stillbirth. Tracy approached Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and in September 2012, Tracy and her colleague Kate Lazslo set up a support group called the Butterfly Group for women who have lost a baby, and are pregnant again.

On Friday, March 21, Tommy’s will present Tracy with the Tommy’s Healthcare Hero Award sponsored by Danone. The ceremony takes place in London’s Landmark Hotel, and the award will be presented by leading pregnancy research expert Professor Jane Norman of Edinburgh University, also Director of the Tommy’s Edinburgh Centre.

Tracy said: “It was so sad to see Kayleigh and her husband go through something so awful, and from day one I just wanted to give them as much support as I possibly could. When you have lost a baby at such a late stage getting pregnant again can be terrifying, and there isn’t much support out there for parents who are in this situation.

“I set up the Butterfly Group to help mums who have had a loss, be it a miscarriage, termination of pregnancy, stillbirth or neonatal death, to get through the tough emotions of expecting another baby.”

Now in its 19th year, the Tommy’s Awards recognizes people whose lives have been touched by pregnancy complications or the loss of a baby. Each year, one in four mums-to-be in the UK will experience the heartache of losing a baby through complications causing miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth, and another 60,000 babies will be born too soon. The Danone Healthcare Hero Award is awarded to a healthcare professional who has made an outstanding contribution to the care of pregnant women.

Jane Brewin, Chief Executive of Tommy’s, said: “Tracy’s work is making an incredible difference to the lives of women such as Kayleigh and she has truly gone above and beyond to support families in her care. People like Tracy often see themselves as just doing what any professional would do, but the fact that her support and care is remembered and cherished tell us she’s doing something special. The Tommy’s Awards aim to recognise everyday heroes for their fantastic work and we are delighted to award Tracy our Healthcare Hero Award.”