Are you looking for an opportunity to showcase your skills in a way that allows you to give back to the community?
Imagine doing this, as well as meeting and working with some amazing women at the same time!
Sounds great, right? We would love for you to join us at our AGM later this month and show you how you can do exactly that!
An opportunity exists for you to help set the direction of Friends of the Birth Centre for 2015, and be a part of helping to create events such as the 20th Birthday party of our wonderful Birth Centre.
There are so many ways that you can help, from cake stalls, helping out at the Pregnancy, Babies & Children's expo, advertising, contributing your voice to our online magazine, and so much more!
Any contributions are welcome, whether large or small, and we encourage as many of you as possible to come and join in the discussion.
So come and see us on January 31st and find out how you can help!
Let's get ready for a fantastic 2015 for Friends of the Birth Centre!
In 2010, The Federal, State and Territory Health Ministers pledged their commitment to implementing a 5 Year National Maternity Services Plan.
A key priority of this plan is the credentialling of Medicare-eligible midwives at public hospitals. As outlined in a Media Release from Maternity Choices Australia this week, this new option has now been established at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH).
Whilst this is a wonderful step in the right direction, and will provide more pregnancy and birth care options for the women of north Brisbane, there is still more work to be done.
With only 1 year left to go with the Plan, only 7 other public hospitals, all in Queensland (Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Nambour, Ipswich, Gold Coast, Redlands and Logan Hospitals), have made this option available to women.
“Maternity Choices Australia estimates that each birth with a private midwife saves the Government up to $2000. Over 1000 women in Queensland having birthed with private midwives since Toowoomba Base Hospital credentialed the first Medicare-eligible midwife over three years ago; this represents a saving of up to $2 million for the Queensland State Government.” - Maternity Choices Australia
Maternity Choices Australia (MCA) has started an online campaign encouraging the Federal, State and Territory Governments to honour the commitment that was made to Australian women.
“This is an option all women should have access to. We encourage all hospitals to put the systems in place to give the full range of maternity care choices to women in their communities” said Leah Hardiman, President of Maternity Choices Australia (MCA).
There is more that can be done to improve access to continuity of midwifery care by credentialling Medicare eligible midwives at public hospitals.
If you feel as strongly about this as we do, and would like to help make our voices heard, can you please consider signing this petition and sharing with your friends and colleagues to help bring about more change. https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/improve-women-s-access-to-high-quality-maternity-care-with-medicare-eligible-midwives
We have received some exciting news from Maternity Choices Australia (MCA).
The Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital (RBWH) has now established full practice and visiting rights for Medicare Eligible Midwives!
What does this mean for you?
Essentially, if you live in the RBWH's catchment area, you are now able to access care from Private Midwives, who are able to provide pregnancy care in the community, labour and birth care at the RBWH, as well as postnatal care at home – and it is all rebatable by Medicare.
“This is great news for northside Brisbane women.
This new initiative falls in line with the recommendations from the Metro North Perinatal Health and Maternity Services Forum, which was held in March this year.
This is an amazing step forward, and we would like to extend our congratulations and heartfelt thanks to everyone who was involved in bringing about this valuable change, and increasing the options available to the women of north Brisbane.
If you would like to read more about this initiative, please feel free to view and download the full Media Release from Maternity Choices Australia here : http://www.maternitychoices.org.au/media-releases.html
One of our wonderful Birth Centre Mums, and fellow Friends of the Birth Centre Committee Member, Georgina Rosos has written this beautiful article on the importance of valuing the role we play in our children's lives.
I am, in no particular order, a nurse and a mother. I have been a nurse for the best part of 12 years, whereas my almost-two-year-old frequently reminds me how new I am to parenting. It may sound odd, but I don't always see where my role as a nurse ends and where I, as a parent begins. What is clear to me though, is how we as a society consistently undervalue what I like to call the 'soft art of caring'.
It is well documented that traditionally women's work such as nursing, midwifery, teaching, child care, and mothering is undervalued, and has traditionally been described as “instinctive” rather than something that can be learned and something that is worthy as a profession (i). We see the impact on a daily basis: from the stay-at-home mum who has to face the “what do you do all day?” questions, to ridicule of fathers who take time away from careers to care for their children. We see it in the poverty of those caring full-time for a family member (ii), even though their dedication and love may save us (as a society) money by keeping people out of costly institutions. We see it in the low pay of those in both aged care (iii) and child care (iv).
One family friend was surprised when I reacted because he summarised my role as emptying bed pans. The fact that I am a professional in Intensive Care, who spends my time monitoring changes in my patient, assessing, prioritising and acting decisively to ensure the best possible outcomes for my patient's physical and emotional well-being, providing care for them and their family and liaising other skilled professionals such as the ICU doctors, medical speciality teams, social workers, physiotherapists, dieticians, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, cultural liaison officers.... You get the picture.
"What I find my self asking is, if we put words and rationales to all those seemingly mundane daily activities, would we be able to better recognise the work, effort that we put in so we can do the absolute best for our children?"
Women's liberation caused a concurrent revolution in nursing – to become recognised as a profession in it's own right. And no, increasing education standards did not mean that we care less. In order to show that we were professionals, we became more articulate about what we did and why we did it. It is this that I bring into my role as a parent. What I find my self asking is, if we put words and rationales to all those seemingly mundane daily activities, would we be able to better recognise the work, effort that we put in so we can do the absolute best for our children? So for all those who ask “what do you do all day” (implied: your house isn't even tidy), this is what I would tell them if they stuck around for long enough. So here is my part of my day as a mum, as written (as it were) as a nurse.
A day in the life.....
Firstly my day starts providing a breakfast that promotes nutrition by including protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre and essential fats. I also encourage a healthy attitude towards food and work to prevent future problems with obesity by not pressuring him to eat more that he wants. I then aid him with his elimination needs to sit on the toilet. As he likes to have a book read to him while he poos, it also aids his language skills, increases his vocabulary, and may even assist him with dispute management! Then we ensure regular hygiene by wiping bottom, washing hands, washing face and brushing teeth, which (depending on mood) may initially be met with reluctance that is generally overcome with diversional acitivity, such as “look at the soapy bubbles” or “where are your big dinosaur teeth”. I then try to ensure optimal temperature regulation by trying to convince him to wear clothes, which also doubles as a good form of exercise for both of us as I have to chase his naked bottom all around the house.
Some time at the park may be described as health promotion (wearing sun protection), and increasing gross motor skills, strength and exercise tolerance. That beetle we find on a tree initiates an age-appropriate science lesson, along with the discussion about the solar system (or why we can't see the moon and stars during the day), promoting natural curiosity and learning. Some snacks at the park help to stabilise glycaemic levels, promoting further activity, growth and metabolism, along with emotional stability.
We have the encouragement of social skills as we negotiate turns on the swing with other children. Then we also have the emotional support and counselling required as having to leave the sandpit and go back home for lunch is clearly a traumatic moment. I aid his emotional processes and allow him to work through his grief to the best of my ability, and promote skin integrity by removing him from his very sandy clothes.
He's fallen asleep in the car, and I manage to transfer him to the bed without waking him (hurrah!) promoting his rest, recuperation and growth. I then use this moment to have an uninterrupted cup of tea (double hurrah!) and plan a nutritionally optimal lunch, after which we practice fine motor coordination skills with drawing and basic counting skills by building blocks. We then promote the development of imaginary play (and future intellectual development) as he plays with his toy oven and makes me “cups of tea”. Social development and emotional attachment is further aided by the arrival home of my husband (Daddy, my Daddy!), and also allows me to throw together a meal that hopefully, will allow optimal growth and sleep-producing hormones. Well, we can but hope.
This is not to say that anything I do is out of the ordinary, only that the role of parents is not generally articulated. This is has all been somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but sometimes putting words to what we do allows us to recognise its value. The work of all mums and dads who are looking after their children the best way they know how is important beyond measure, it's never “just” being a mum or a dad. So congratulate yourself, and recognise the the importance of you. For you are a warrior in the soft art of caring, and to a little someone, you may just be their world.
About the Author
Georgina is an Intensive Care Nurse at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. These are her personal views and do not reflect those of her employer, Queensland Health. She has an interest in trauma, disaster response, research, health promotion, neurological development and response to injury, along with social and gender equity. She also practices the “soft” martial art of Aikido. She has a son, a husband and a house inhabited by many geckos. She rants on twitter as The Sword-Weilding Nurse. @GeorginaRosos
(i )BRINGING THE MEN BACK IN:: Sex Differentiation and the Devaluation of Women's Work, Gender & Society, Vol. 2, No. 1. (1 March 1988), pp. 58-81
(ii) Int. J. Geriat. Psychiatry, Vol. 14, No. 8. EUROCARE: a cross-national study of co-resident spouse carers for people with Alzheimer's disease: I—factors associated with carer burden(1 August 1999), pp. 651-661
(iii) Sustaining Low Pay in Aged Care Work, Gender, Work & Organization, Vol. 19, No. 3. (1 May 2012), pp. 254-275
(iv) Wages of Virtue: The Relative Pay of Care Work
Paula England, Michelle Budig and Nancy Folbre
Vol. 49, No. 4 (November 2002) (pp. 455-473)
Today is National Caesarean Awareness Day (NCAD).
An opportunity to encourage awareness and support for women whose birth experiences, either by necessity or informed choice, brought their beautiful children into the world as 'belly-born" babes.
It is a chance to celebrate ALL birth experiences, and to highlight the vast range of emotions that accompany a Caesarean birth, which can often be misrepresented as the 'easy' option.
To celebrate, I am sharing the story of my daughter's Caesarean birth, and I encourage any of you who have also had a Caesarean birth to share your experiences - either below in the comments, or by sending us your story to feature on the website.
We are all Birth Centre Mums - regardless of whether we birthed in Birth Centre, or our personal circumstances meant our journey included a Caesarean birth, we all have benefited from the fantastic Continuity of Care model, and Midwife support that makes the Birth Centre the amazing facility that it is!
Milla's Birth Story
I fell pregnant for the first time a few months shy of my 34th birthday. Due to some ongoing health conditions concerning my thyroid and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, we were not actively trying for a baby, rather we were aware that pregnancy may indeed not come easily for us when we did decide to enter the 'trying to conceive' phase of our lives. So, safe to say, finding out we were expecting was a surprise, but a very welcome one.
Once the news sank in, we were both incredibly excited and happy about what was to come, but my anxious mind immediately went into overdrive trying to process what this meant in terms how my health would affect the pregnancy.
My pregnancy progressed relatively uneventfully, and my mind was put at ease when blood tests showed that my thyroid levels were remaining consistent, which meant not only was my baby developing well, but my general health was good as well.
After researching all of my options for my Pregnancy Model of Care, Josh and I decided on giving birth in the Birth Centre, and after a tense wait of first seeing if we were successful in securing a place in the Birth Centre through the ballot (we were!!), I then had to wait and see if my obstetrician would sign off on my acceptance, wiht Birth Centre only able to accept low-risk pregnancies (my thyroid and PCOS issues could have me considered as high risk). Thankfully, after passing TWO 3 hour glucose tests with flying colours (not the most enjoyable part of the pregnancy, that bright green drink is the worst!!) I was accepted into the Birth Centre and met my wonderful midwives Annie, Corinne and Tania.
The middle part of my pregnancy flew by. I was doing a lot of research and reading regarding Hypnobirthing techniques and principles and was eagerly awaiting the moment I would welcome our baby into the world.
I wanted to try for a natural, drug-free birth, in a calm and relaxed environment with my partner, and trusted midwife by my side, and I was hopeful that with being in the Birth Centre, and armed with my Hypnobirthing techniques and knowledge, that this would be my experience.
Josh and I spoke many times however, that it was important that we be flexible in our expectations for the birth, and our birth plan, and that our ultimate priority would be to bring our baby into the world safely and healthy.
At 20 weeks, along with finding out we were being blessed with a healthy baby girl, our anatomy scan showed that she was comfortably settled in breech position, and that her head measurement was on the larger end of the scale. None of this raised any red flags for us, or my midwives at the time, and I happily marched towards my third trimester.
One of the benefits of the Birth Centre model of care, and one of my key motivators for wanting to birth in that environment was the continuity of care aspect. I had gotten to know my midwife team extremely well, and they informed and supported me as a first-time mother. I trusted them implicitly and felt incredibly comfortable with them and looked forward to our 'catch ups' at my appointments.
"The 'C' Word"
When I reached 32 weeks, it was recommended that I have additional ultrasounds to check the position of the baby, as she was still in breech position, with her head tucked up near my ribs, and facing towards my back. Scans at 34 weeks showed she was still comfortably tucked up in the same position, and measurements showed that her head circumference was still measuring big. This raised some concerns for a natural birth, with regards to the potential risk of her getting 'stuck' in the birth canal as she would be coming feet first, and her head measurement being what it was.
My midwives were incredibly supportive, and discussed all of my options with me, but the possibility of Caesarean was raised should my baby not turn into the correct position before birth. A Caesarean was something I wanted to avoid, as I truly wanted to experience labour and birth, and also, the idea of surgery just didn't sit well with me. My midwives guided me with information and suggestions including particular exercises to encourage her to move into position, chinese acupuncture and many other natural methods to encourage movement, all to no avail.
Despite all of this, there was the reminder of the additional consideration of our baby's head size - whilst in proportion, the size of the head posed a higher risk to me attempting birth naturally. Knowing my hesitation and concerns regarding a C-section, my midwives advocated for me with the obstetricians who were recommending a scheduled c-section, trying for as long as possible to hold out on a final decision to give my baby time to turn herself.
I cannot speak highly enough of my midwives, who were strongly advocating on my behalf for me to stay in the Birth Centre and try for my natural birth, but they were also ensuring I had all of the necessary information on the process for the c-section and were preparing me emotionally for the possibility that this would be my outcome.
At 37 weeks and 5 days, a scan showed my baby was still in breech position and the decision was made - a scheduled c-section was the answer, to avoid the risk of me going into spontaneous labour and risking an emergency caesarean.
"Happy Birth Day!"
The day our daughter was born was hands down, the single most wonderful day of my life. Despite my apprehension regarding the surgery, I was able to mostly focus on the fact that by lunchtime, we would have our baby girl safely in our arms. Josh and I arrived at the hospital at 6:30am, and after the checking in process, and some final ultrasounds and blood pressure checks etc, we were sitting in a waiting room, both in hospital gowns, waiting to be called in to the Anaesthesia room. Knowing that the epidural being put in was something I was super nervous about, Josh sat in front of me, holding my hands and looking into my eyes and telling me we would be meeting our girl soon, and before I knew it, the epidural was done! Hurdle one cleared, and I had survived!
The atmosphere in the operating theatre was so happy and positive - not what I had expected at all. Everyone was smiling and talking, and before I knew it, the surgery was started. Josh sat next to me, and because he could see the reflection of the surgery in the lights above me, he was giving me his own humorous description and 'commentary' of what was happening, in an effort to lighten the mood. As a result, we were both smiling, and laughing a lot, as were my midwife Tania and the nurses. A couple of minutes later though, the expression on Josh's face changed dramatically, and he was wide-eyed and serious - "She's here! She's here!" he called out, and his face broke into the biggest smile I have ever seen, just as I heard my daughter's cry for the first time, and they lifted her over the curtain for us to see. Josh kissed me and followed the midwife as they took our girl over to be checked over and weighed.
Our precious girl Milla had arrived, and we both could not be happier.
After all of my fear and apprehension regarding the c-section, and the disappointment of not having the natural birth I had so badly wanted, the reality of how Milla was born was actually incredibly positive. I had Josh, and one of my fabulous midwives Tania, with me, Milla entered the world to the sound of her Dad and I laughing, and I spent 45 glorious minutes in the recovery room after surgery, enjoying skin to skin contact with my daughter, and breastfeeding her for the first time - after I had to practically wrestle her out of her Daddy's arms because he didn't want to give her up! :)
My physical recovery was quick and relatively pain and complication-free, and we were surrounded by so many loving family and friends eager to meet and hug our baby girl.
I know I am lucky. Lucky to have been blessed with a healthy pregnancy, and the opportunity to be a Mum. I am lucky that I was supported through the challenges of my pregnancy and birth by my boyfriend, family, friends and midwives. And I am incredibly lucky and thankful that by having the c-section, we were able to bring Milla into the world safely, and not risk harm to her or myself.
But in those first weeks of motherhood, and even those first six months after, I experienced so many varying emotions regarding the caesarean. I felt cheated out of experiencing labour. My water didn't break, I didn't have a single contraction. None of the things that you associate with giving birth. I felt guilt that I should have fought harder to wait just a little bit longer to see if she changed positions on her own before scheduling the ceasarean. I felt like I have failed. Failed my daughter and failed myself by not being able to do something that we are told our bodies are made to do. In these moments I let myself simply feel the emotion - I cried, I wrote to get my feelings out, whatever it took, because my feelings are valid. It is natural to feel this way. Even now, as we prepare to celebrate our little girl's first birthday, I still have moments where I feel a flood of emotion regarding her birth.
But ultimately, what I keep telling myself is that I wasn't cheated. I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I don't need to feel guilty - I did all that I could to encourage her to change positions, I could do no more. And I tell myself that I DID NOT fail - we told ourselves at the start of the pregnancy that we would do whatever we needed to do to ensure she arrived safely, and that is exactly what we did.
To help me deal with these feelings, I attended a morning tea held by the Friends of the Birth Centre. It was a turning point for me.
The support I have received from this group, and being able to talk with other Mum's about their birth experiences has helped me immensely. Ultimately, I am a work in progress. When I think back on the day my daughter was born, the day I became a Mum, my overwhelming feelings and memories are those of happiness, joy, and more love than I thought possible. The way I felt is natural, and like all things, time and having the support of family and friends was what helped me to experience and validate what I was feeling, but also to realise that, in its own way, a Caesarean birth is just as beautiful and emotional an experience as an other birth.
The birth experience is different for every Mother and Child. Every pregnancy and every birth are unique, and most importantly, there is no right or wrong way to do this. The story of how Milla was born is our special story, and it is an experience I will be forever grateful for, as it is what made me "Mummy", and brought this wonderful little girl into our world.
Birth from a Dad's Perspective
We often talk, as Mother's, of our birth experience, and the memories of how we felt, and how that day impacted us. To celebrate Father's Day, we felt it was appropriate to hear from one of our many Birth Centre Dads, and hear, from his perspective, about the day his son was born.
Thank you Paul for sharing your wonderful story with us.
I will remember the 29th of September 2010 for a very, very, VERY long time. Basically from Leanne saying: “um, Paulie . . . I think my waters just broke” onward, will be permanently etched in my mind.
Our path to the big day was wonderful. I felt confident and secure in the process, preparation and care given by the capable midwives of the RBWH Birth Centre. Leading up to the big day, I guess I essentially saw it as my role to maintain calm, provide moral support and to ensure that whatever came our way was sorted without drama in the best interests of my young family.
I have to admit, there were some very tense moments when I thought our baby was going to be born at home or in the ambulance on the way to hospital. But once we arrived at the A&E and were greeted by midwife Tanya, I felt an enormous sense of relief. From then on, I knew everything would be ok. Rowan was born just before midnight and I was incredibly thankful to be able to spend the remainder of the night and the next day with my wife and our new son.
It was always important to me to play a meaningful role in the birth of our baby. The thought of being at the pub with a cigar and a beer while Leanne was left ostensibly alone with potential strangers to endure the most incredible pain or to potentially fight for her life & the life of our baby fills my stomach with a sickening emptiness. I’m forever grateful that a facility like the RBWH’s Birth Centre enables companionship, professional guidance and moral support for the most significant moment in a parent’s life.
Our little boy is an absolute treasure. I’m very proud of my wife and the enormous strength & courage she showed on that day. I have gained a new perspective that has strengthened & fortified our family forever.
We are so excited to be part of the Worldwide Premiere Screenings for the documentary "Microbirth" on Saturday 20th September 2014.
"Microbirth" is a new feature-length documentary looking at birth in a whole new way; through the lens of a microscope. Investigating the latest scientific research, the film reveals how we give birth impacts the lifelong health of our children and potentially could even affect the future of humanity." - Courtesy http://microbirth.com
We will be hosting our premiere event at Griffith University, in the Auditorium at Southbank in Brisbane. Make sure you like our Facebook Page to get all of the up to date details regarding tickets, and times.
If you would like to hear more about the documentary, you can read the Press Release, or visit www.microbirth.com
Did you know that Friends of the Birth Centre will be at the Pregnancy Babies and Children's Expo - Pop by to see us! We have very cool merchandise, amazing raffle prizes and passionate mums and BC midwives ready to answer all of your questions!
The expo is being held June 20-22 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre at Southbank.
We would love to see you there!
As a way to say thank you to our members for your support, and also to celebrate the reason we are all a part of this community, we will be sharing some inspirational, positive quotes and affirmations in the form of printables on the website.
These will be available for free download for our members to enjoy.
Today is our first printable, and the message is pretty amazing. Simply right click on the image or hit the download button to make this yours!
Do you have a favourite quote or affirmation that you would like to see made into a printable? Email us and let us know!
Buy 100% certified organic Miessence products direct online and FBC will receive a percentage of all sales
Your contribution will help us meet our mission.
Make every purchase count at http://www.miessence.com/fbcqld/en/
OR call Julie O’Neill on 0732693297 or 0410311408
Our FBC Committee Members will keep you updated on the various fundraising, consumer representative and information events they participate in during the year.