We are all excitedly getting the FBC stall ready for this year's PBS Expo - 17-19 June 2016. Have a look at our raffle in the FBC website shop and make sure you stop by to see us on the weekend.
So here we are for Day 2 of the Pregnancy, Babies & Children's Expo for 2015!
We had an amazing day yesterday, and so much fun meeting all of the new and expectant mums who were there to soak up as much information as possible!
We are having a blast, and we would love you to join us! If you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, the expo is on all day today and tomorrow at the Convention and Exhibition Centre at Southbank...come on in and say hi!!
We have some amazing, generous sponsors who have donated some wonderful prizes for you to win in our Raffle.
We certainly are blessed to have such support from local businesses, and we appreciate it so much. Their generosity, and all of you who purchase tickets in our Raffles, enable us to continue the work that we do, so we would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to you all.
Now, I know you are excited to find out what you can win!
1st Prize: Spectra Breast Pump & $80 Small Print Jewellery Voucher
2nd Prize: Doterra Diffuser & Oils from Susan the Oil Goddess,
PLUS a Pedicure Voucher with Bridget Emily Beauty
3rd Prize: $100 Go Mum! Fitness Voucher
For more details on prizes, simply click here.
So, I know you want to get your hands on some of these great prizes, but how?
Easy, just click here to purchase your Raffle Tickets - simple as that! And we hope to see you at our booth at the Pregnancy, Babies & Children's Expo from June 19-21 at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre!
The following is written by Annie Hampson.
Annie has been a Caseload Midwife at RBWH Birth Centre for the last 6 years. She has 2 young children aged 4 and 18 months, the first having been born in water at the Birth Centre. She has had the pleasure of working in a variety of teams with midwives such as Karen Marshall, Elaine Barrett, Corinne Mawn and currently with Carolanne Benson and Martha De Lacey. She loves working alongside Friends of the Birth Centre to continue to support the Birth Centre and to promote increased access to continuity of care for as many families as possible.
Holly Madeline Ditfort Williams was the first baby born in the Royal Women’s Birth Centre on 12th June 1995 at 11am. Her mother, Robyn, had a natural vaginal birth and used the bath in her labour. Holly was her second child and she was attended at the birth by founding midwives Marg Fein and Karen Marshall. Marg was a Labour Ward Charge Midwife who had been approached to look into the feasibility of setting up a Birth Centre at the then Royal Women’s Hospital. With a small budget the end of ward M17 was converted into a small Birth Centre and Karen and Marg began recruiting clients. The Birth Centre had originated out of community lobbying for a family centred birthing unit after the closure of Boothville Hospital which was a small private hospital offering a homely environment in which to birth. We know Marg and Karen were ecstatic to be able to provide this continuity of care at Birth Centre but we were also interested in what it was like to be the first Mum to birth there. Luckily, Robyn Williams agreed to share some insight with us all.
Birth Centre was such a brand new space when you were accepted to birth your baby there - why did you choose BC care?
After the birth of my first baby in 1992 (private system, male obstetrician) - and all manner of interventions - I felt really strongly that I wanted to be cared for by women in this pregnancy. I was living away from my family and the choice to be cared for during my pregnancy by a female midwife seemed the perfect solution. I needed to be nurtured in body and mind, and to heal from my previous birth experience and when I heard the philosophy behind the BC I knew I had found what I was looking for.
Did your friends find your choices strange?
A lot of people had no idea what a BC was. Some said things like "you're braver than me" or "I couldn't do that" (natural childbirth). Some thought I was taking a risk not having an obstetrician, and going into the public system. In some ways it was a leap of faith to try this 'new' concept, but it just felt right. I never waivered in feeling that's where I wanted to be.
What do you remember about your pregnancy care and birth experience? Does anything particularly stick out in your memory?
I think I breezed through my pregnancy. I always felt well and healthy while pregnant. I was able to cast off the negativity of my previous birth by talking to my lovely midwife, Marg (Fien) about that experience and I found a new confidence in myself and my body ... and its ability to birth as nature had always intended. We celebrated my pregnancy as it progressed by being in this unique partnership.
What was the environment and the midwifery care like?
In terms of the physical environment, to be honest, it’s probably much different from the BC today. It was a hospital ward, which felt quite isolated from the rest of the hospital. There was still "political tension" then as the BC was forging its identity and more and more women/families were seeking its services. I spent the first night on my own, with Holly. My partner was at home with our other child.
When you think of your experience and see that FBC are celebrating 20 years - how does it make you feel?
I am so grateful and happy that other women/families can continue to birth at the BC, and for all the advocacy work women/families have been doing over this time to ensure that this model of care continues to be a birth choice for women in Queensland and beyond.
Do you think your birth experience has impacted your life as a mother, a women and/or in your career?
What my birth at the BC did for me was restore my faith in my body's ability to birth. It was very empowering. Even I wasn't sure I could birth naturally and at one point during my pregnancy I convinced myself I didn't have what it takes. A lovely English midwife called Jane who worked at the BC and also with me at the Young Parents Program visited and reassured me that I was completely capable. She lent me a book called "A Wise Birth" written by a midwife that had supported Amish women to birth for many, many years. And I realised I didn't need to fight these anxious feelings, or be afraid ... because women were designed to birth and it was only man-made interventions and processes that had taken away ownership of our bodies, and the birthing process, from women over the years.
As a mother and a woman I can't speak highly enough about the BC and the opportunity for women to choose how they birth. There are so many avenues in this life where women do not have a say, or are undervalued and the BC is completely the opposite. It is women-centred, your wishes are respected and supported and you feel that you are very important. If wider society could reflect the value, care and attention placed on empowering women to have a choice, we would have a very different dynamic in this world. We still have a long way to go before equity and equality are the norm for women.
My BC experience has contributed to shaping me as a person.
Do you think your daughter is open to the birthing choices you’ve chosen for yourself?
Yes, she's quite proud of the fact that she was the first baby to be born at the BC and understands why it was important to me that she was born in that environment and with midwife care. I would support her in any birthing choice she made, but I think she might be a long way off having babies at the moment.
Did you have further children/births in the BC or other similar models anywhere?
I had my 3rd baby at the Mercy Birth Centre here in Melbourne
What is Holly doing now?
Holly has had a gap year since finishing high school and has enrolled at Deakin University for mid-year entry. For me, success is not about what Holly is doing right now, but who she is as a person. She has become a beautiful young woman, and has been a blessing to us in many ways. She is loyal, intuitive, compassionate, creative and kind, and puts others before herself. She is the calm one, when others around her are in chaos. She loves being creative, long walks, our cats and being with her family ... and loves a coffee and chocolate (a woman after my own heart!).
I think you’ll agree that Robyn gives us a great insight, not only into her own experience, but also fundamentally why we do what we do at the Birth Centre. One of the most amazing things we can offer is the opportunity to birth with a known midwife. The ability and strength of a woman is endless, particularly when she believes in herself, trusts her midwife and feels in control. In this way even a birth that doesn’t go quite to plan can be a very empowering experience.
The Birth Centre now has more midwives than ever and unending passion to deliver the ‘gold standard’ of maternity care for many years to come. Karen Marshall continues to care for families and share her wisdom and experience to this day which is testament to the model of care. We owe much to the support of Friends of the Birth Centre and wholeheartedly support all their efforts to increase the availability of continuity of midwifery care to as many families as possible.
A big thank you to Robyn Williams for sharing your story, I know many expectant mothers out there will find inspiration and strength in your words. We hope your family enjoy a wonderful birthday celebration. Happy Birthday Holly!
What is an Eligible Private Practice Midwife or EPPM as they are are known? And what does that have to do with Friends of the Birth Centre?!
In May 2014, after many years of work done before us by other consumer groups and midwives the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital started getting serious about the call from women wanting a private midwife to be with them from the beginning of their pregnancy all the way through the birth and for post natal support up to 6 weeks. Friends of the Birth Centre were invited by the RBWH Executives to start attending the working party to provide valuable input from the point of view of a consumer, a mother. After months and months of meetings which the lovely Anna, from the FBC Consumer Representation group happily attended, the negotiations, legalities, concerns and a whole lot more were addressed and completed. A whole year later in May 2015 the new model of care – care from an EPPM at the RBWH - was launched by the Queensland State Health Minister, Honorable Cameron Dick. http://www.health.qld.gov.au/rbwh/docs/eppm-contacts.pdf
Who was the first mum to birth through this new model of care at RBWH?
A woman had been excluded from attending the Birth Centre for her second birth (due to complexity) wanted to have continuity of care similar to her first birth in the Birth Centre was the first woman to have a baby through this model. Having the EPPM model will allow women, who loved their first Birth Centre experience, or want the Birth Centre for the first time for continuity of care even if that are not eligible to have care in the birth centre to have Continuity of Care. We are admitted as private patients, but do not need to have Private Health Insurance. For most people around half the cost of care is covered by Medicare and of course those who have Private Health Insurance will obtain a full rebate for care to the scheduled fee. Psst. and did you know if meet the low risk requirements of Birth Centre Continuity of Care you may just get to use that very special, homelike space which Friends of the Birth Centre keep looking so beautiful.
Did you have a wonderful experience at the Birth Centre and want to help us spread the word about this awesome facility?
Friends of the Birth Centre need your help! The Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s (PBC) Expo is coming to Brisbane and Friends of the Birth Centre will be having a stall!
We are putting a call out for volunteers, to spare any time you have available on Friday 19 June, Saturday 20 June and Sunday 21 June 2015. The times are 10am - 4pm on Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The Expo is held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Brisbane and we of course will have everything as organised as possible to make it nice and easy and comfy for our volunteers, so mark your diary with dates and start thinking about how you might be able to help the FBC out at this great event.
We promise it’s not scary – we will prepare you before the stall opens!
Babes in arms/carriers are very welcome.
If you think you can help in ANY WAY on ANY of the days, even for a short time slot, please let us know.
There will be more information to come, but in the meantime, if you could email the Friends of the Birth Centre PBC Expo Co-Ordinator, Skye Rowan, at email@example.com with any times you think you may be able help, or any questions you may have.
Don’t forget - mark your diary in any case because this is a huge, worthwhile event to attend!
Each of us come to the Friends Of The Birth Centre after a life changing event which changes how we see ourselves and prioritise our lives. In the months after having your baby you process your birth experience, discover the human limit of sleep deprivation only to push beyond it, read endless pages of conflicting advice, celebrate with friends and family and quietly weep at the struggle and angst of such profound responsibility. In this turbulent time you may feel energised and impassioned to make a difference (other than creating a brand new human being) and that’s when we want to pounce!
You see we have a not so hidden agenda, we want you to join our organisation and share in the many rewarding and sometimes tedious tasks which allow us to keep supporting and spreading the vital message that non invasive continuity of care in birth is available for FREE! Why aren’t there queues of mothers outside the Birth Centre?! We need a marching band!
We can’t wait to hear from you.
Now that we have had a chance to recover from what was such a fun day, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to everyone involved in making our 20th Birthday Celebrations - Family Fun Day such a success.
We would also like to thank our Stall holders for participating:
We are also immensely grateful to Di Farmer, who attended as the representative for the Premier and Minister for Women.
And I am sure you would all agree that a MASSIVE thank you is due to ALL of the amazing Midwives who came on the day.
It made the event that much more special to be able to share it with the wonderful women who are so much a part of our birth stories.
Thank you again to all who were involved (we hope we haven't missed anyone!), and we hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did!
We would love to thank everyone who attended and supported us at the event on Saturday, and we sincerely hope you had as good a time as we did!
A special thank you to everyone who supported our Raffle, and a big Congratulations to our winners!
$1500 Photography package from Tanya Love Photography - Won by Janet
$100 voucher from Go Mum! Group Fitness. - Won by Catherine
Dayna Kiel (Photo by Etta Photography) and Shan Bell were the lucky winners of the Endota Spa Vouchers!
Congratulations again ladies!
The below article is written by the lovely Karen Marshall, one of the two founding Birth Centre Midwives. Through the course of preparations for Friends of the Birth Centre's 20 year Celebrations, we have uncovered some very interesting information, however one thing has always remained constant - the women of South East Queensland worked together to make the Birth Centre a reality, and 20 years on, we are still united in our cause.
We would like to thank Karen for sharing this amazing account below:
RBWH Birth Centre & Friends of the Birth Centre - A History
By Karen Marshall
The Birth Centre at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital was set up in early 1995, originally a small Birth Centre consisting of 4 rooms which was situated at the end of Ward M17 in the old Royal Women’s Hospital. It originated out of community lobbying for a family-centred birthing unit after the closure of Boothville Hospital (a small private hospital at Windsor which offered private GP or Obstetric care within a homely environment which included a large postnatal room where families stayed after the new baby’s birth) .
At the time staff restructuring meant one charge position in the RWH Labour Ward was to go, and Margaret Fien who was Joint Charge Midwife in the RWH Labour Ward was asked by the late Rhonda Middleton (Nursing Director RWH) to look into the feasibility of setting up a Birth Centre at RWH. After some research and visits to some recently established Birth Centre in Southern States, a proposal for a Birth Centre was taken to the Hospital Board and approved. The princely some of $17,000 was allocated and renovations commenced. Two three bed bays where converted to single rooms, a normal size bath was added to the room, and bathroom given a very basic revamp and the two now birth centre room were furnished. Two single rooms were converted to a lounge room/parents room area and an office/antental visiting room. Both of these rooms kept the original shower/toilet within the room. The rooms were equipped mostly from begging /borrowing and imaginative discovery from other areas.
The Early Years
A few of these women birthed in the Labour Ward with Marg and I, but finally on 12th June 1995 , the first baby was born at the Birth Centre (Holly Williams). Both Marg and I were present for Holly’s birth and were ecstatic to be offering families continuity of care with a known midwife.
A couple of GP’s (Maria Nandam and Charlie Elliot) who had used Boothville for their clients also had access to the birth centre and a few families who had previously birthed with these GP’s used this option (in conjunction with Birth Centre midwives) for their care.
With the next year mostly from word of mouth, this model of care became very popular and more midwives, Renee Coker, Jane Stanfield and Meredyth Sauer joined the Birth Centre with Cia Moroney recruited as holiday reliever. Places at the Birth Centre became sort after and a ballot system was established, and a waiting list was in place. The Birth Centre continued with these midwives, (Marg, Renee, Jane, Meredyth, Cia and myself) for a number of years and operated on a pure caseload midwifery model with each midwife allocated their own clients. A few women also attended using private obstetric care ( in conjunction with Birth Centre midwives) in the early years.
Birth Centre Midwife Jo Fisher, with Birth Centre Mum Bec, and her daughter
The Start of Friends of the Birth Centre
Sensing that this new model of care would need consumer support, a public meeting was called by the midwives, and from this consumer meeting, Friends of the Birth Centre came into being in 1995 and has continued since offering parent groups, lobby groups ,consumer representation and fundraising.
The original Birth Centre continued to operate at the end of Ward M17 (women who had complications in labour had to be transferred across a long walkway to the main building which housed the labour ward ) and another 3 bed room was commandeered from M17 and a third birth room was added around 1998, this time with a big round bath. The Birth Centre had been offering water immersion in labour since its inception and water births since 26th May 1996 when Cara Wass birthed her daughter Zoe in the ordinary bath.
In the early years women stayed in the Birth Centre for 24 hours after birth, thus the two birth rooms were often being used and a number of babies were born in the parents lounge bathrooms, on a mattress on the office floor, or in the shower in the office/consulting room, (any place which had privacy) when women arrived in very established labour and there was no time to vacate the birth rooms.
In 2003 with the building of a new hospital, the old RWH was closed down and eventually demolished, and the Royal Women’s Hospital was amalgamated with the Royal Brisbane Hospital to become the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and a new Birth Centre was opened in this new hospital, this time with 4 birth rooms, 2 dedicated consulting rooms, a parents lounge and a staff office, and continues in this space currently.
The Birth Centre Today
three midwives and the addition of a small group team in the last few years.
It is testament to the model of care that that there tends to be longevity in years of service to the birth centre, with many of the midwives staying for long periods of their careers.
Currently many of the midwives (Anne Clarke, Tania Nairn, Marion Lengronne, Elaine Barrett, Jo Fisher ) have more then 10 years of service at the Birth Centre.
I have been privileged to be part of this team since with Birth Centre’s inception in 1995 and have cared for many families at the Birth Centre in this time, a number of whom have birthed 3 and 4 children at the Birth Centre. It is difficult to estimated how many births I have attended at the Birth Centre (probably around 800) but it has been an honour to be able to be part of such a team of wonderful midwives over the last 20 years.
Our FBC Committee Members will keep you updated on the various fundraising, consumer representative and information events they participate in during the year.