Tenisha (first birth – public hospital): How we went to choosing our public hospital is through our midwife’s clinic. We had a few different options. I always planned to choose a public hospital because my mum is a midwife and she’s worked in a public hospital. All of my siblings all of my cousins, both my parents, they were all born in public hospitals. So I never had a fear of using one.
Tash (first birth – public hospital, private patient): I chose a public hospital because my obstetrician he prefers to work out of this public hospital. It was the closest one to where I lived and it was highly recommended. My antenatal care was with my obstetrician. So I was a private patient in a public hospital, and he was pretty much the sole person that I dealt with, other than the couple of times that I had an ultrasound at the specialised clinic, but it was solely him and his 2 midwives that worked for him. I think the fact that I saw him and the midwives quite regularly really helped me as a first time mother.
In terms of planning parent parental classes and things like that the hospital provided those and they were excellent. They were really accommodating. My husband I run a business on weekends so we couldn’t make certain sessions and they were really flexible and made sure we got all our classes done.
Tenisha: Our antenatal care we were really, really fortunate just because of the team that we had and also having my mum as that further support. Ray actually had one kidney smaller than the other. We obviously did a lot more extensive tests than what you would normally. Also I used the Aboriginal Medical Service a lot just to see a local GP when I needed to.
I think the pros of us using a public hospital were the cost factor of it. Realistically I’m only 22 years old so we don’t have a lot of money, me and my partner. Public was actually great. We had incredible staff.
Tash: Because Lexie was premature it was a good thing that I was at this public hospital because of the neonatal ward that’s on site. A lot of other hospitals don’t have that level of care and this one did and I got to stay there with her, so that was great.
At the time that I was there it wasn’t too busy so I didn’t find that there were the issues in staffing that you so often hear with public hospitals. Like there was always plenty of support for me and heaps of support for her. I don’t know what I would have done without these people. All the nurses in neonatal were wonderful. The nurses in the labour ward were really really sensitive in dealing with me and making sure I knew how to maintain my milk supply, which is quite difficult when you don’t actually have a baby to feed and things like that.
So I found everyone very informative and very caring and really sensitive towards me, given the situation. In terms of the room that I laboured in I thought that was great and the best that I had sort of seen out of the couple of the hospitals that I had visited. I liked that I had a private room.
Tenisha: I was lucky enough to get my own room. It was just the draw of the hat.
Tash: The visiting hours, there was always people coming and going. They weren’t as strict as some other places and it wasn’t too big a deal but it got a bit frustrating at times, I think. There was a family next to us and they were, obviously it’s a baby, it’s very joyful, but they had visitors all the time and as my daughter wasn’t with me in the room, so it was a little bit hard I think at times.
Since Lexie left the hospital the neonatal ward has been in contact and they did quite a number of visits. In terms of my follow up care that was with my obstetrician and that’s been great. I saw him after 6 weeks and did have a little bit of contact within the weeks prior to my 6 week postnatal appointment.
Tenisha: After birth it was the midwife team that was on the ward that took care of me. So helpful when it came to breastfeeding and I’m sure for other mothers that know what breastfeeding’s like, its one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. The staff there were truly and honestly incredible, like I could not thank them enough. It’s actually getting me a bit emotional thinking about it. They were just beautiful, beautiful people that we’ve had.
I’m so very fortunate and also being an Aboriginal person, we did have some Aboriginal staff from the midwife clinic come around and they were so helpful.
Tash: Tips for people looking at a public hospital. Maybe just check that they have, like in terms of the labouring rooms, if they’ve got baths. Even though I didn’t actually use it, I know other people have used the bath in the labour rooms and it’s been really good for pain relief.
Tenisha: If you actually get in contact with your public hospital most of them actually will give you tours and actually let you see what kind of facilities they have, what kind of rooms they have.
Tash: I would definitely ask friends for their recommendations.
Tenisha: The public hospitals were absolutely incredible when we went. We had a tour before he was born and it was so reassuring to know that they let you see everything, like they’ve got nothing to hide. The staff at the public were just incredible. I’m pretty sure you could go in there and just have a chat to them if you wanted to.
I’m not too sure but I think some public hospital have liaison officers for Indigenous people. So for young Indigenous mums, even not young Indigenous mums, just Indigenous families, if they were unsure, just go speak to your liaison officer, or if they get in contact with their local Aboriginal Medical Centre they can definitely, if you need to set up an appointment with your public hospital.