At the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, Elaine Wotherspoon, Muriel Faulds and Lisa Watson have over 70 years of midwifery experience between them.

As colleagues and friends they sat down with the Evening Times to share some very special memories from their years on the labour ward.

“I am what you’d would term a modern matron,” laughs Elaine, 56. “But am no any Hattie Jacques… I’ve not got the big enough bust.”

With vast humour and vaster experience, Elaine is the most senior midwife among the trio, having first entered general nursing in 1981. As a young oncology nurse she was inspired by working alongside one particular health visitor in Drumchapel, who changed the direction of her career.

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Elaine says: “She was incredible and I thought I want to be like her. Her persona and the way she connected with the mums, the grannies, the kids... it was terrific. So that was part of why I did my midwifery.”

Along with Muriel and Lisa, Elaine worked at the much-loved Rotten Row Maternity Hospital until its closure in 2001.

“I still miss it as it was a fantastic building,” Elaine says. “It was sad as we were very much a hospital as opposed to being part of a big organisation.”

Despite the fond memories many Glasgow midwives share of the Rotten Row, the Princess Royal — built in its place — became vital to preserving the care and safety of pregnant women with more complex medical needs than in previous eras.

Attached to the 225-year-old Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the maternity hospital has been making history for a new generation of mums and midwives ever since.

Muriel, 56, also started her nursing career in 1981. After experience in operating theatres and paediatrics she switched to midwifery.

“It was nothing like I expected,” she smiles. “I thought it would be all old people delivering babies… now I am that person. I came to the labour ward and I’ve never escaped… here’s me 26 years later.”

Present at the birth of babies of famous actors and MPs over years, Muriel recalls: “I once delivered a famous footballers’ love child and his wife had been in having another baby at the time.” Never short of a colourful quip, Muriel smiles. “It was all over the papers the next day, but it wasn’t me”

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Mum-of-two Lisa, 37, works in the maternity ward’s outpatient department. In her role, she values the importance of the relationship between expectant mums and midwives.

“It’s good if you can get the continuity of care and build up that trust from the beginning,” says Lisa. “Some women remember you from three pregnancies ago, so it just shows that bond we make with mums in quite a short space of time.”

Lisa recalls the one question she was anxious about when she started in midwifery. She says: “When I qualified I dreaded being asked by patients if I had kids. I hated saying no. I thought people would think I wasn’t qualified enough to help.

“That’s not why I had kids,” Lisa laughs. “But after having my girls I really had more appreciation of how my life was in my midwives’ hands.”

With constant banter and a gentle ribbing of each other, the ladies agree midwives have rolled with changes in both technology and society in the past two decades.

Elaine says: “There’s a lot more women getting pregnant via IVF and more women fit the criteria to be pregnant as well. You’ve got the wider diversity of women in Glasgow now too.

“We had an expectant mum come in once who couldn’t speak English. We didn’t have good interpreting services then and I was giving it hand signals to ‘did your walk here or did you drive?’ Nowadays we’ve a bit more slick.”

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The toughest part of the job is something every midwife experiences at more than one point in their career. Elaine says: “In company when you tell someone you’re a midwife, they say ‘oh that’s a great wee job.’ But you still have babies that die and sometimes mothers too… not often, but it still happens.

“When we lose a baby we might cry with the mum as we are closest to her in that moment.”

Among all the highs, lows and beautiful babies they’ve helped deliver, Elaine, Muriel and Lisa agree on the one thing a midwife never forgets. “We’ve always been the advocate for women,” says Lisa. “We’ve been like that for years… that will never change.”