Aimee, Waldo and baby Emilia (first birth – birth centre)
Waldo: We didn’t know what a birth centre was until we were shown around by the midwife at the hospital.
Aimee: I guess because we’ve got private health we thought private.
Waldo: That was the initial idea.
Aimee: That was the initial idea, but then listening to our friends we like the idea of the midwifery group and that was through the birth centre.
Rochelle: (first birth – birth centre] I knew it was an option at the hospital, at the public hospital, it was either the labour ward or the birth centre. It was a good option for me for a few reasons. Firstly, I was hoping to have a natural birth and I felt like that was a space where I would not be offered lots of interventions. I also like that it was a sort of continuity of care, so I was going to meet the midwives who were going to be at the birth, during my pregnancy. It felt kind of more intimate and more personal.
Aimee: So there were 4 midwives in the group practice and one of them is I guess your main one and you can get any of the 4 during your birth, depending on who’s on shift. Luckily for me, my main one was on, so...
Waldo: You were scheduled for an appointment at the same time that we got there.
Aimee: I was actually scheduled – yeah, so...
Waldo: So the atmosphere was good because she was there.
Aimee: She was there and it was very calming. It was like – there was no I guess – there weren’t the monitors and the things that might scare you or – it was like being at home in a way.
Rochelle: I chose to have my baby at the birth centre because I felt it was a good middle ground between a homebirth and a hospital birth. I had all my antenatal care at the birth centre, so that was also nice going to visit the place where I was going to have the baby for all my antenatal care, and also hearing women having their babies while I was going for my appointments was really good because we don’t get that culturally. We don’t get to hear women having babies. So it’s quite confronting at first. So I really liked that.
Waldo: The support was good beforehand. The antenatal classes were good because we got to make friends with people that were in the same situation as us. The midwives I thought they were great the whole way through, and including during the birth of course. We got there and the midwife was there waiting and everything was all set up.
Aimee: She had all the options ready, so the bath was full, the bed, and the floor. So we could choose where we wanted to go. I would recommend having a baby in a birth centre, but I guess it all depends on the person as well. So we’ve – I mean it may not always be the option if there is medical complications or risks, but I found it a beautiful experience and something that I guess I’m quite proud of in a way.
Rochelle: I liked that a water birth was an option because I wanted to keep all my options open. I think I also felt the security of knowing that if I did need anything else it was just across the hall and it was all there and available to me if I needed it. I guess the cons to it are that I knew that if it was full, or if it was closed, I would need to go to the labour ward. Also, that if I did want any more pain relief, like an epidural or anything, or if any intervention needed to happen for me or the baby, that we would need to get transferred. What was great about the birth centre was that nobody else was coming in. So they’ve got the double bed and it’s all kind of very homely there. My husband and I were able to stay the night in the room where we had the baby together and spend our first night as a family altogether, which was really nice.
Aimee: Follow up care from the midwives, at home they would come and see us and check up everything was going well.
Rochelle: I had home care from a midwife. I think about 3 or 4 visits over the space of a week. I think that wherever someone is most comfortable and feels the safest is where they’ll birth best. So if they’re not sure about any particular setting I would say explore other settings and other avenues.
Aimee: Have a look at the birth centre before, maybe see what options are available at the hospital before you make the decision. There are hospital tours, so...
Waldo: Talk to people that have been through the birth centre and private, or the other options available recently.