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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Two generations, one midwife

Penny Copestake helped to bring Cherelle Griffiths into the world on 31st May 1996 when she was a newly qualified midwife in the Maternity Department at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital.

Earlier this year, Penny came back into Cherelle’s life as she supported her through her own pregnancy.

 In January 2020, Cherelle and fiancé Will were delighted to find out that they were expecting a baby. Her pregnancy was a surprise as Cherelle believed her chances of conceiving were low. Then came the second surprise - they discovered that they were having twins.

As fate would have it, through her sister Naomi, a Clinical Support Worker in the Maternity Department at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital, Cherelle became reunited with Penny, who was now working as a Community Midwife in the Seacombe Birth Centre.

Cherelle said: “My mum had always told me that I was delivered by a midwife called Penny and of course I’d seen the photos from the day I was born. I was delighted when I found out she was still working locally and she would be able to look after me too.

“Luckily for me my pregnancy was a dream, I had no issues at all, and the babies grew nicely. I think the lockdown had huge part to play with me enjoying the pregnancy as I was working from home.  It was nice to just stay within my bubble of me and Wills, especially after going through something we didn’t even think would be possible without treatment. Anything we were unsure about, we both have siblings we could ask or even pick up the phone to Penny.”

Penny was a member of the LOTUS team who specialise in taking care of mums like Cherelle who will have a caesarean birth. Penny said: ”As midwives, we look after women during a special time in their lives. Being part of the LOTUS team we offer continuous care to the mums we look after, providing antenatal and postnatal support seven days a week. It’s a privilege to care for mums-to-be, building a trusting relationship, like being part of the family.”

The last Tuesday in August, Cherelle came into hospital, as there was reduced movement from the babies. The next day, Will joined her in the hospital and two days later, on 29th August, with dad Will in the theatre, twins Loui and Lucas were born. They were three weeks early but healthy, weighing in at 5lb 13oz and 5lb 7oz.

Penny saw them the next day at the baby clinic and later she came for the home visit. After checking that all was well with mum and babies, Penny discharged them from her care. Loui and Lucas are non-identical but look very alike. Grandmother Andrea, Cherelle’s mother, describes them as “miracle babies”. Cherelle and Will are looking forward to a very different but very happy first Christmas with their twin babies.

Penny retired less than a month later, after more than 30 years in the NHS.  Cherelle’s birth came at the start of her career and Loui and Lucas rounded off a career she has loved.