A midwife at Melton’s St Mary’s Hospital is celebrating her 30-year anniversary of helping to deliver babies across Leicestershire.
Joyce Salkeld (56) has been involved with over thousands of families since she started her career as a midwife in September 1986 and has delivered countless babies.
Originally from Gaddesby, Joyce completed her nursing training in Doncaster in 1978 and then moved to Leicester to carry out a midwifery course in 1981, before joining St Mary’s in 1986 as a community midwife covering Melton and the surrounding villages.
St Mary’s is one of three birth centres in Leicestershire, the others being at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and the General Hospital. St Mary’s Birth Centre became a stand-alone unit in 2002 and provides care for low risk pregnant women, during and after birth.
During her 30-year career as a midwife, Joyce has seen a huge amount of changes take place since she first started in the 1980s.
She explained: “Back then, St Mary’s was a maternity unit supported by local GPs. Caesarean sections had only just stopped in 1986, but women were still being induced and forceps births were carried out by the GPs with general anaesthetics given for minor complications post-birth.
“Women routinely stayed in the hospital for eight days after a normal birth and five days for a subsequent birth. Midwives would attend alone for home births with bleeps, but no mobile phones.
“Uniforms have also evolved since joining St Mary’s – I remember having to wear a traditional navy round-neck ‘crimpoline’ dress with a blue felt hat!”
Joyce recalls a very special birth which took place in a horse box. The travelling family had equipped the horse box with all ‘home comforts’, they even provided the midwives with a porta-potty located in the trees, but Joyce managed to keep her legs crossed for over six hours!
Colleague and team leader Andrea Dziemianko said: “Joyce is a very popular midwife in the Melton area. Her good reputation is well-known in the community and women who have never met her often request that she is their midwife.
“While there has been a huge amount of technological advances in maternity care during Joyce’s career, midwifery knowledge and skills cannot be replaced by machines, and Joyce’s experience is a real asset to our St Mary’s team.”
Talking about her 30 years at St Mary’s, Joyce said: “Keeping up with the changes over the years has been a mission, but I have loved every minute of it.
“I’m incredibly proud being a midwife. It’s so special to see women progress through a pregnancy and to support them with bonding with their babies. I would, however, long to deliver the baby of a baby I delivered earlier in my career before I retire.”