My latest addition to the Marvellous Midwives series features Dumebi, who is behind the Instagram page @blackmidwifery
Tell me about you, where you are from and how long you have been a midwife
Hello, my name is Dumebi Pemberton and I’m from London and I’ve been a practising midwife for 7 years.
Why did you decide you wanted to become a midwife?
In my secondary school work experience placement at age 15, was where I fell in love with midwifery. I was allocated to the maternity ward in my local hospital and ever since then, I knew I wanted to become a midwife.
How did you find the training?
Having been a registered nurse before becoming a midwife, I did the shortened midwifery programme which lasted 18 months. I found it really intense along with my course mates & on top of juggling placement, OSCEs, & coursework – we still had to deliver 40 babies in this time! It was challenging to say the least but I enjoyed every minute of it, I was blessed with amazing mentors who taught me key skills that have been in embedded in my everyday practice.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight for me is being able to care for women in every aspect of their maternity journey confidently; from providing antenatal education at booking, watching their faces light up when I auscultate the fetal heart, and then supporting them during labour, birth and the early postnatal period. The word midwife derives from Old English (Latin)and means “with woman”. Essentially that is what I do, supporting and caring for women.
What have you not liked so much?
The shortage of staff because of the negative impact it has on the service. It is extremely difficult providing high quality, safe care with such constraints and often leaves midwives feeling burnt out. It’s a knock on effect, not enough midwives to care for the women, delay in care, midwives not receiving breaks which can affect the care provided and the women and midwives deserve better.
Tell me 3 qualities that make an excellent midwife
Caring, empathetic and patient.
There has been a lot of awareness raised in recent months and years about the plight of black and brown women having babies. What do you think we can do as midwives to help reduce the disparities?
I am saddened that today in the maternity service we are faced with such horrific statistics. I feel in order to tackle these disparities in maternal health as healthcare professionals we should be treating the women in our care with the patient centred care approach. Women are not the same and are entitled to individualised care. Every woman should be respected, treated with dignity, listened to and involved in all aspects of their care despite their race or background.
What is a typical day like at work for you?
A typical 12 hour shift for me on Labour ward starts with hand over from the previous shift, I introduce myself to my patient and their birth partner and discuss their plan of care. Carrying out the daily checks on the equipment and I spend my shift supporting and providing care to my patient: clinical observations, fetal monitoring, labour care, documentation, whilst providing the relevant information to my patient and their birth partner(s).
Do you have any interesting birth stories that stand out?
I have many! But the story that always sticks with me was four years ago in labour ward, I was working alongside a student midwife caring for a woman in a labour, she was having an induction & was nervous about giving birth as her last pregnancy was 19 years ago. The Syntocinon infusion had been in progress for two hours, observations & fetal monitoring had been all normal and then she began vomiting – quite common in labour. After handing her a sick bowl, I noticed some movement under her sheet and to our surprise I caught her baby girl. Luckily I had gloves on, the student midwife handed me some towels, baby began to cry and was placed on mum’s chest. After she birthed the placenta, she thanked me repeatedly and I kept telling her she did all the work.
What tips do you have for any prospective student midwives?
- Do not hesitate to ask your lecturers, mentors and midwives questions (remember, there is no such thing as a silly question).
- Have a support system, practical & emotional support is useful for when you’re finding the course demanding.
- Spend your free time doing things you enjoy to ensure you’re giving yourself a true break.
How can we keep in touch with you?
My passion for women’s and maternal health inspired me to start Black Midwifery, which is a platform for maternal health related information for expectant and new parents, fellow midwives and students.
I am currently working on a birth plan guide, providing birth preparation information to expectant parents and it will be available on our site soon: Blackmidwifery.co
You can keep up with us on Instagram & twitter @blackmidwifery, for anymore information please feel free to email email@example.com