COVID-19: Stories from the frontline

From the front line we meet Grace Lawry, a midwife, who tells us how COVID-19 has presented challenges that she never imagined

Grace Lawry

“I work as a midwife on labour ward, where we support and empower women to deliver their babies safely.

“My role has changed quite significantly, especially due to wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). It is harder to portray your emotions, especially in instances where you are reliant on non-verbal cues such as portraying your admiration for how women are coping - perhaps without a birthing partner as they had planned.

"PPE has other challenges too. The heat under the PPE can be somewhat distracting and the mask is tight to my head and gives me a headache. But it seems churlish to complain when I think of my colleagues in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) who are wearing this all day, every day. Our hearts go out to our ICU colleagues and we are in awe of their commitment, strength, and dedication, and we are behind them 100%.

“In adapting to COVID-19 the team has had to change the service in different ways. Some areas have been converted to help with patient care during COVID-19, and our visiting policy like every ward in the hospital has changed, which has been difficult to manage at times.

"My patients have astounded me with their resilience and acceptance of the circumstances. I feel, more than ever, in partnership with the women in my care and a duty to facilitate what little of their birth plan I still can. Small but constant reminders that I support them and their decisions - this is still their birth and their consent is still of paramount importance. I remind them we are stronger together, and that one way or another, their baby IS coming into this world. There is a finite number of women who will give birth during the COVID-19 pandemic – they will be known as warriors. I will never forget them throughout my career.

“If I had to work anywhere during this global pandemic, I would choose to be at King’s every time. I am saturated with pride when I, in a crowd of NHS colleagues, march from Denmark Hill station in the early hours of the morning - all of us descending upon the hospital to relieve the night staff and dedicate ourselves to fighting this virus. There is a life beyond this pandemic and every day we are closer to it. Better days are coming, and I look forward to speaking with and cheering on evermore of my colleagues when this is all over. I have love and adoration for them all.”