The Royal Berkshire Maternity team proudly opened their new Gemini Suite to care for mothers who are expecting twins, multiple births or more complex deliveries requiring more support staff to be present. The idea for the suite came about as a partnership between the midwives, doctors, mothers and their families who had suggested providing a more flexible non-theatre environment for twins and multiple births. While this is not always feasible, the team soon realised they could adapt a current setting to meet these needs.
The maternity team were determined to provide this facility and set about fundraising to help it come to fruition and as a result ‘Maternity Mountain Madness’ was born! Midwives, doctors, care assistants and their family members volunteered their own time to tackle Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scarfell Pike. In preparation, the team members overcame many blisters, broke in new boots and trained as much as possible around work shifts to get ready for their adventure. On three consecutive weekends earlier this summer, three teams set off on their mountain treks and experienced three very different weather conditions!
Team Snowdonia experienced unusually blazing hot sunshine and revived themselves with ice lollies and extra fluids to cool down before starting their descent. Team Scarfell faced a weather warning and advice not to undertake the walk due to torrential rain and potentially unsafe conditions. They bravely opted to carry on and completed a successful walk in very challenging circumstances. Team Ben Nevis piled on the layers and winter woollies and walked through snow and freezing conditions and managed to complete the challenge in one piece!
Sara Phillips, delivery suite manager said: “I am so proud of all of my colleagues and their efforts to raise the funds to convert the space for Gemini suite. I am also thankful to the women and their families and members of the public who have supported and sponsored us - everyone’s generosity has been greatly appreciated. We are also incredibly grateful to the Stevens’ family for their very generous donation in thanks for care they received from our team.
“We are now aiming to use the new Gemini suite to its full potential and looking forward to supporting women and families who are expecting multiple births in a more comfortable environment.”
Dr Patrick Bose, consultant obstetrics and gynaecology said: “As a labour ward lead, I was incredibly proud to invite staff, supporters of the initiative and former patients to the formal opening of the Gemini suite.
“Gemini represents the culmination of two years of planning and incredible fundraising, and has resulted in a purpose built birthing room for twin and multiple birth pregnancies. The potential benefits to mothers, partners and babies will become increasingly apparent as the maternity unit continues to deliver a truly ‘patient centred’ experience.”
Abby Stevens, a mother who was cared for by the RBH maternity team said: “In October 2017 my son Peter and I were lucky enough to receive life-saving care from Patrick Bose and the amazing team at the RBH. After a week-long stay in ICU and Marsh ward we came home with eternal gratitude to the team and the NHS.
“We all remain incredibly grateful and thankful to Patrick, the entire maternity team and the NHS for saving my life and safely delivering my son Peter.
“We really wanted to give something back and show our gratitude. We were so pleased to hear about the Gemini suite - a much needed resource for the safe delivery of multiples births at the RBH and were thrilled to be able to donate towards it.”