Cumbria Crack

Midwife retires after delivering thousands of babies in career spanning 47 years

Judith Armstrong

Judith Armstrong will miss the cuddles from thousands of babies she has delivered and cared over the years.

Judith has recently retired from NCIC after a career in midwifery and nursing spanning 47 years.

She is very sad to be leaving the Trust during the middle of a pandemic but has done so to protect and shield her daughter, Katie.

Judith’s career started in 1973 at CIC with East Cumbria Health Authority at the age of 18.

She spent three years training as a nurse before landing a job in gynaecology as a staff nurse at the former City General Hospital in Carlisle.

In 1978 she moved to Newcastle General Hospital to train as a midwife and qualified the following year. After working in Newcastle she then took a job at the City Maternity.

She then went on to be a community nurse/ midwife, a dual role and obtained her District Nursing certificate and became a team leader in Brampton in 1985. She went on to be a Community Work Teacher and a Nurse Prescriber.

She said: “In 1993 we split the dual role and created a Community midwifery service in Brampton which gave the ladies a better service choice. and continuity.

“We not only delivered Mums at home but also created an official Domino service where we all had caseloads and carried out antenatal care, delivery in hospital and the postnatal care. It was successful but not sustainable due to regular and long periods of being on call.

“A very similar service is again being created nationally in the form of Continuity of Carer. It feels as if the service has come the full circle.”

During this time Judith had two children and graduated with an Honours Degree in Health Studies from St Martins College, Lancaster.

She then went to be a midwife at Penrith Maternity Hospital. She said: “I really liked it, at the time it was a GP led unit with a delivery facility and seven postnatal beds.”

In 2001, Judith became a supervisor of Midwives – and later for a period of time ­- was Lead Midwife. The midwives became influential in creating a midwifery led unit and it was back to community midwifery and creating a stand alone birth centre.

Judith has also held positions as a Community Risk Midwife at Penrith and the Cumberland Infirmary and as a Community Midwife in Carlisle.

From late 2017, Judith has worked as a bank midwife and was latterly working, as part of the team of midwives based in Penrith’s Birthing Centre and covering Brampton, Alston and across Cumbria.

She said: “I will miss my work family both in the Community and the Hospitals and of course the mums. Seeing the girls in their own homes with their babies is wonderful. You really see a different side to them and find the real person. Being a midwife really is the best job in the world, it isn’t in fact a job it’s a vocation!

“It’s a pleasure and an honour to deliver anyone’s baby and to think I will never deliver again kind of upsets me. I used to count exactly how many I had delivered but I stopped at about 500. It will definitely be into the thousands.

“Ladies don’t forget and have been known to stop me in the street because they remember me from when I was their midwife and now that is developing into yet another generation.

“I have had a very rewarding career but now is the right time to go. It is what it is. Everyone is working so hard right now and I hate to go in the middle of a pandemic but Katie must come first.

“If I had the chance I would do it all again.”

Judith is going to renovate a house during her retirement and sew.