Getting to Know One Born Every Minute and Project-B Midwife Gemma Raby

Getting to Know One Born Every Minute and Project-B Midwife Gemma Raby

August 2014

In this week’s blog we thought we’d give you a little insight in to our fabulous resident midwife One Born Every Minute’s Gemma Raby. Check out how she really felt about being part of one of the UK’s biggest hit TV programmes and her work with Project-B.

What was it like being part of One Born Every Minute?

At first being part of OBEM was really strange. Being filmed ALL the time and wearing a microphone for 13 hours a day, but it's odd how quickly you adapt to the unusual. Within a couple of weeks it was like the crew had always been there. The OBEM phenomenon was crazy. Seeing yourself on Channel 4 prime time and having people recognise you is a very odd experience. I'm not an actor or a celebrity and wasn't prepared for that side of it.

Has it changed your life in any way?

I have been able to do some amazing things thanks to my involvement in OBEM. I've travelled in the UK to speak as an expert at The Baby Show live which was lovely. I was also invited to go to Liberia last year with Save the Children to help promote their maternal waiting home campaign. I spent 5 days meeting the most amazing people and then after returning home helped to use this experience by appearing on TV and radio. There’s nothing like being on the BBC breakfast sofa with John and Suzanna to make the day feel split from reality. I was also asked to be the Project-B midwife expert. I love being able to give advice to so many women as part of this role.

Do you keep in touch with any of the couples from the show?

I haven't really kept in touch with any of the couples from the show. I try to be professional at work and I think it's important to understand the boundary between your professional and personal life. This might sound a little stuffy but I also think it's good to be able to leave work behind at the end of the day. I have some friends who get Facebook messages and texts for advice about pregnancy and postnatal care at strange times in the night from patients who have become friends. 

Do people still ask you about it when you’re at work?

Initially after the show was screened the attention and recognition was huge. It has quietened down now, although lots of couples still seem to think we're filming and we catch them trying to find the cameras. A patient the other day was super excited to have me caring after her. She said it was like being looked after by a celebrity, which although it’s not how I feel, was still nice. 

Did you watch yourself on TV and what was that like?

Watching myself on TV was horrible! I sound different than I imagine and I think I look a lot bigger too. It's very disconcerting to see your little ticks and mannerisms on a big screen, as well as the random things I say a lot, which I never realised; such as "the fun just never stops" – which is apparently my catchphrase!

Would you be in it again if you had the chance?

If they had continued filming at Leeds I would have been happy to be a part of it again. However I'm primarily a midwife. I have no yearning for fame and recognition. I was just lucky to be established at a hospital that was chosen. I think we are a great team and that was why we were chosen, I think this camaraderie also came across really well on the show.

Tell us something we didn’t know about the programme!

Whilst on the show we were filmed, very discreetly, all the time. Sometimes we would be talking about something very personal which we didn't want to share with the nation. To ensure the footage wouldn't be used we would talk directly to the camera about one born. The crew must have hated it. A useful tactic though. 

What’s your favourite thing about working with Project-B?

My favourite thing about working with Project-B is being able to reach so many women. Everyone is provided with a free maternity service in the UK but during my time with Project-B I've realised that a lack of access, rapport and trust mean women have many burning questions and nowhere to ask them. Being able to answer these questions gives me a lot of professional satisfaction. I love it when people feedback to me with their birth experiences and baby photos too.

Thank you Gemma for answering all our questions, and being such a brilliant resident midwife to Project-B. We love you!