AFTER 27 years as a midwife in Portsmouth, Anne Dance has bowed out of her profession with pride.
The resident of Lovedean Lane, Lovedean, opted to take voluntary redundancy from her role within NHS Portsmouth, only three years before she was due to be offered early retirement.
Mrs Dance said she was sorry to go, but finds the 12-hour shifts increasingly hard after two hip replacements.
Having started her training in 1984, Mrs Dance says she has lost count of the number of little ones she has helped deliver, but estimates it is well into the hundreds.
She added that each and every delivery was a special and unique experience.
The 52-year-old said: ‘Watching a new life come into the world is incredible – it’s just amazing to realise you are seeing a new person begin their life.
‘It is the most special experience ever and you should never take it for granted.’
Although she remembers each delivery, Mrs Dance said some stick out more clearly in her mind.
‘The first baby I delivered after having qualified was very bizarre because the lady who was having the baby didn’t know that she was pregnant,’ she said.
‘She was complaining of stomach pains and was taken to accident and emergency because they were so bad, but she had no idea that she was having a baby.
‘I was waiting for her to tell me when she was ready to push, but she didn’t know because she didn’t realise what was going on – it was all very strange.’
Almost three decades later, Mrs Dance still treasures everything that goes along with the job.
‘I love looking after women at such a special time in their life,’ she added.
‘You build up a real connection with them and that’s something I will miss a lot.
‘When I think about leaving it makes me really emotional, but I know it’s the right thing to do.’
Mrs Dance recently helped deliver The News’ health reporter Rachel Hawthorn and her husband Andy’s little one, three-week-old Connor.
Rachel, 28, of The Spring, Denmead, said: ‘Anne is an amazing woman and incredible midwife.
‘She has always been there for me, especially when I’ve been worried and needed reassuring. And even now Connor’s here, she’s helped us these last few weeks, through the steep learning curve of becoming parents.
‘She’s been an asset to the hospital trust, and will be sadly missed.’