It was felt like we were in a peaceful bubble where as a couple we could meet and first bond with our new baby.
We really hope other families get to enjoy a similar experience.
|Birth Centres for Wellington Region||
I had an amazing experience giving birth at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre - start to finish!
Just 15 minutes after giving birth the room was sorted for us and food brought in (I hadn't eaten in 24 hours).
The midwives were incredibly supportive - even in the early hours of the morning when I was exhausted trying to figure out breastfeeding! They made sure we were comfortable the whole time and popped in to check on us frequently.
When I got pregnant in February the birthing centre was the clear choice for me.
I was devastated to hear the news that it is facing closure and that I may no longer have the opportunity to birth there.
For me, birthing at home is not really an option as I unfortunately still have a flatmate and am not comfortable having her around for the birth.
I also do not want to birth in the hospital, as I have some anxiety issues revolving around doctors and find the environment cold and clinical - and as most know, relaxation is key to an intervention-free birth.
Please keep the facility open. It is such an important resource in the community for offering choice and safety to pregnant women and their partners and babies.
Florence from Tirohanga, birthed her baby Annabelle at the Birth Centre, had to spend a short time in the hospital, and explains how different the two birth spaces are......
Florence experienced all of the following at the Centre:
Our first experience at the birthing centre was antenatal classes. The parents room was a great place for these to be held.
Annabelle was born at birthing unit and we were so grateful for the space to birth in and the care from the birthing unit midwives.
After a long labour the duty midwife came in to support my midwife, suggesting positions that might help and finally Annabelle arrived. I was briefly transferred to Hutt hospital for stitches, we found the stay in hospital stressful for the baby - she barely slept and cried A LOT and therefore very stressful for us. I had lost 800mls of blood and the food provided at the hospital was not enough to help me get my strength up, even with my partner and parents bringing me extra snacks.
Once we transferred back the birthing centre it was like a cone of silence settled over us, our baby relaxed so we could finally relax too, we were so well cared for and rested we decided to go home after the first night!
The meals were amazing, and I even got up in the middle of the night to help myself to some fruit, I couldn’t believe how hungry I was having lost blood and with breastfeeding Annabelle but the birthing centre were prepared for that in ways the hospital wasn’t. They provided nutritious filling meals which were edible (unlike the chicken that was served for dinner in the hospital which I couldn’t even force down). The breastfeeding support was amazing and even just having a comfortable chair to sit in to breastfeed was awesome.
One of the best parts about the birthing centre was how welcome my partner was vs the hospital that barely had a place for him to sit.
After lockdown we started going to a weekly support group run by Liora in the parents room. We continued to do this for 3 school terms, this was absolutely amazing as we made great friends and had so much support and advice from Liora and the other mums. Liora encouraged me to continue the fight with our GP about Annabelle’s possible allergies (no obvious signs) as she could see that something was causing Annabelle pain.
Without the birthing unit this group would not have had anywhere to meet.
We are so grateful to the birthing unit to the support that we received during the birth
I gave birth to my daughter at Te Awakairangi in August 2020 with the support of my midwife, Kelly.
As a first time mum, I was apprehensive about giving birth but realised right from the start of my pregnancy journey that Te Awakairangi was the right place for me to be.
I wanted an environment that was private, safe, relaxing, quiet and facilitated a low-intervention birth but that was closer to the hospital than my home in case anything went wrong. Te Awakairangi ticked all of these boxes for me (and more) and it was a no brainer that this was where I should give birth.
I was fortunate that my pregnancy was low-risk and there were no complications so I was able to see through the entire birth at the birthing centre. My own midwife, Kelly, and the midwives at the centre provided absolutely fantastic care of me and my newborn daughter. I felt so relaxed, private and free from the stresses and chaos of a hospital. The birthing centre is also far more welcoming of support people and family which creates an environment that far better suits the needs of people giving birth.
Without a doubt, I would birth there again and I'm absolutely gutted that this may not be an option for myself, or for other mums-to-be in the Hutt Valley, in the future.
It is incomprehensible that Hutt Valley women will not have primary birthing options available and there will be inevitable added pressures on the already under-resourced Hutt Hospital. The loss of options for women in the region will also add to the mental and psychological stress of childbirth, particularly where women have no choice but to birth in a hospital environment despite their best wishes.
LMC Midwife Susie, who has her clinic base at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre, explains why keeping well women outside of the hospital is imperative...
My passion has and always will be primary birth. It is evidenced based. It is simple. Keep well women outside of the hospital system. I have worked this way since becoming a midwife in 2019. I offer and facilitate home births and primary births here at Te Awakairangi for well women in this community. I have great outcomes for families in these spaces.
Take away this haven and what do we have? Fewer choices for women and their families, and potentially worse outcomes with an already understaffed, less than ideal local DHB facility. Oh, and political rivalry....
Te Awakairangi is a village, it is a hub abuzz with familiar faces, colleagues and friends.
It creates community, breaks barriers and restores the spirits of tired midwives, burned out from our weary system.
Stories run deep, families are created in truly spectacular moments, memories that last a lifetime for a woman. The stories have influence, they break cycles - birthing in freedom rather than fear.
Do we really want well women to feel that birth is 'risky' or do we want them to feel empowered by their bodies abilities?
I have cared for so many strong women, I want their legacy to continue for women yet to come!
Melissa, from Whitemans Valley, who works at Hutt Hospital, shares why she chose to birth baby Mason at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre instead
I chose to birth at the Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre because I work at the hospital and know how busy the maternity ward is there.
I also didn’t feel confident birthing at home especially where I live as it is rural. I loved that I could have another option for where I wanted to birth. I had all my prenatal checks with my midwife at Te Awakairangi so I became familiar with the facility before I gave birth which I found really helpful.
I laboured for many hours at home until I started active labour when I was then told by my midwife to make my way to the birth centre. When I arrived the bath had already been run for me so I got straight into that. My birth was very long and difficult, I had 2 midwives, a student midwife, my mum and my husband all helping me get through. My beautiful boy was finally delivered safe and sound.
I stayed for 2 nights which were just amazing. The staff were so helpful and gave me all the time that I needed, the food was incredible! I have never eaten so well in my life!
The postnatal care I received was 5 star… after going through the hardest experience of my life to then being looked after like royalty helped me get through.
When I went home after my stay at Te Awakairangi I felt confident as a first time mum, I was also rested and my body was well fueled again. On the day of discharge the midwife spent time with me making sure I felt confident, answered my questions, showed me how to put my baby in his car seat correctly and I was given a goodie bag with a beautiful book, some nappies and a certificate to say that my son was birthed there.
If I am to have a second baby, I want to birth there again.
I’m very sad that this beautiful centre is possibly closing down. It is such an asset for women in our region. Birth should never be under rated, it takes such a huge physical, emotional and mental toll on your body and to be somewhere where you feel safe, well looked after, given the time to learn, rest and recover in a beautiful hotel like facility is just so wonderful.
We had the best experience with the birth of our second son.
The birthing unit gave us an experience that we never will forget. They were so helpful and gentle and made us feeling very comfortable and so at home. Will be so sad for future mums not to have this experience. I would love to have my third and fourth babies at the birthing unit but if they are closing down, we would have to go to the hospital or do a home birth.
The birthing unit gives you a piece of mind that if something goes wrong or you do need medical help, the hospital is close by and gives you the home feeling of having a home birth.
Just so much in love with our experience at the birth unit. Very sad that its closing down :((
We arrived at the birth centre at 2am and our little lady was born 14 minutes later.
From the moment we walked through the door we were welcomed and treated like family.
Our LMC Alison arrived a few minutes after us, and with her guidance Brad delivered our wee Emily into this world. The quiet calm atmosphere of the birth centre allowed me to trust my body and birth in a way that felt comfortable, natural and safe.
The several hours of skin to skin was the most precious time, unhurried and uninterrupted, safeguarded by our Alison.
Brad being able to stay both nights with me as we got to know our baby and care for her together was incredible in protecting and supporting that new mama breastfeeding journey, and allowed us to share the load of newborn sleep.
The skill and knowledge of the birth centre midwives was invaluable in refreshing our memories of caring for a newborn (how quickly it all comes back!) and their approach built confidence in me when the night two cluster feeding started and sleep deprivation hit hard.
Overall we can’t speak highly enough of our experience at the birth centre. We look back at those first 48 hours with Emily so fondly and it’s all thanks to the care from Alison and the birth centre Midwives.
Every birthing person should be able to choose an environment in which they feel safe, comfortable and empowered to birth in. For me that was not a hospital, and the birth centre serves a vital purpose in allowing birthing people to birth naturally without intervention in a calm safe environment. It must remain an option for our community.
Our midwives are the most amazing people, they’re literally bringing life into the world and they play a pivotal role in every birthing families journey. They deserve so much more, on so many levels.
So much love, always. Laura and Brad McCarthy x
Alison, their midwife, is no longer working as an LMC.
I can't express gratitude enough for the amazing team at the birthing unit Melling throughout pregnancy and birth of my first born child.
I felt especially supported in the hours of after care provided by some wonderfully caring and beautifully supportive midwives.
I could ask all the "first time momma" questions, received support with breastfeeding, cue reading and trusting my instincts and felt really just welcomed into this new "club" of mothers.
I've been sending all my pregnant friends this way and will keep on spreading the word about the magnificence of this institution.
Freddie from Upper Hutt born at Te Awakairangi, his Mum, Rebecca, shares why they chose to birth there...
Freddie was born at Te Awakairangi on 13 January 2020. I chose the birthing centre as I had birthed at Hutt Hospital in 2017 and vowed never to go back again.
Te Awakairangi gave me a sense of ease, I felt relaxed, supported and so well looked after.
We got to instantly bond with our gorgeous boy with no interruptions.
I had to share a room at Hutt hospital with another woman who had constant visitors all night (my husband was asked to leave though) the bathroom in another room was out of order so we had 4 women sharing 1 bathroom and I didn't see a midwife the entire time I was transferred to the ward.
I texted my husband at 4am begging to come home because I didn't feel safe. Closing the Birthing Centre will have awful consequences and I'm beginning to feel it may be the loss of a mother or a baby....
I am a midwife in the Hutt Valley and I work out of Te Awakairangi birthing centre.
This is a fantastic facility and allows my clients to have choice in place of birth, which evidence has shown to be very important to birthing people.
Without this facility, many whanau will lose this choice and be forced to birth at HVDHB, which is already understaffed and overcrowded.
I can not understand why HVDHB will not fund this beautiful facility. If this facility were funded by the DHB, this would open the facility up to being used by any birthing people in the Hutt Valley, not just those who are lucky enough to find LMCs.
I had my first child Aiden in 2016 at Hutt Hospital and my second Niven at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre and the two experiences after birth are vastly different between the two facilities. I was more relaxed at the birthing centre than I was at the hospital (granted - my body knew what to do) but I knew I was in good hands since my partner could stay with me. He wasn’t as relaxed at the hospital. The rooms were spacious and quiet.
The meals were fantastic - top of the class! I didn’t expect such awesome food! I was lucky and grateful that the duty overnight midwife helped me by holding my baby while I got a wee nap.
I was briefly at the birthing centre before my third child arrived but it didn’t work out and I knew that not all things go to plan. I was grateful for their assistance anyway. I am saddened to learn about its potential closure and I hope that we can find a way to keep it open for women like me who need a separate space away from distractions such as housework, older children to give birth in a calm atmosphere.
My last word goes out to my midwives - Lisa and Susie. You were super supportive and encouraging throughout. I would not have done it without you both! I am grateful for your help. I wish that we could do more to keep wonderful people like you in this profession.
By the time I had my 3rd baby I wanted to do something different. Although home was appealing it wasn’t for me as the idea of having my 2 kids around (then 2 and 3) wasn’t something I wanted. Then I heard of the birth centre opening and my world changed. I knew that was where I wanted to be. My own quiet space, a beautiful birthing tub in the room, a glorious queen sized bed that my partner could sleep on and support me through the night, 3 delicious meals a day plus snacks delivered to your room, staff there to support you in every way. It sounded like an absolute dream.
So after 2 hospital births where I felt out of control at times, where my space felt loud and uncomfortable, where my husband was sent home or had to sleep on an uncomfortable chair, and where I almost gave birth to a tiny baby in a car to avoid being at the hospital, on the 12th of Nov I walked into the birth center in labour.
My beautiful midwife met me there and was quietly running my bath. The room was silent except for the noise of the water, or my husbands voice supporting me, and then later my moans and roars and I worked hard to bring my baby down.
And then there he was, born gently into the water at 12.05am on the 13th of Nov. and there was no hurry to get me to the postpartum ward. I just moved a few steps away to the bed where my husband and I held each other and held our baby and I whispered to myself “this is how it should be”.
Supported. Comfortable. Not rushed. Calm. Peaceful. With warm, delicious food and people there to hold your hand through it all.
Te Awakairangi Birth Centre allowed me to have all of these things and come out of my birth physically and mentally well, as all women should.
Charlotte's midwife, Julie, left LMC practice in the community at the end of 2020 due to the issues faced by midwives.
My midwife suggested towards the end of my pregnancy to try to birth at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre in Lower Hutt, as we had discussed the birth trauma I received after my first son. I couldn't face being in a hospital environment. It was barely open a few weeks, and I went into labour. My labour came on quickly, and made my way to the birthing unit 5 minutes away from home. Baby was coming rather fast, and the reception/midwife were quick to assist. We barely made it to one of the beautiful rooms down the hall way, and he arrived 4 minutes after arrival.
There was short notice given by the midwife, and the centre had already run the bath in anticipation. While I didn't labour for long at the centre, after giving birth was amazing. I had a shower and the staff remade the queen bed.
After coming out of the shower it felt like a hotel room. You wouldn't believe how that feels after giving birth. I was calm, relaxed and could spend time bonding and early breastfeeding.
High quality cafe style food was continuously being delivered to the room. As you know sometimes you don't feel like eating, so this was amazing to re-energise. The on-site midwife and admin team were also amazing. They popped in when needed, to have conversations or offer support. They took baby overnight for a few hours so I could catch some sleep.
The two days I spent in there was the best possible start I could have ever imagined after being very traumatised after my first. On discharge, the staff gave a bag of goodies and suggested to take a photo under the Maori carving in the reception area which we gratefully accepted.
We were baby number 7 birthed at Te Awakairanga, and I couldn't fault the experience. It completely changed the way I saw birth, the experience and healed wounds I thought that could never be healed.
I have had two births on both ends of the spectrum and couldn't imagine this option being taken away from families.
I birthed at Te Awakairangi back in 2019 with my second baby. After having a lengthy labour with my first and having an epidural followed by an episiotomy with her. I really wanted to push for a more natural birth! The birthing unit was perfect, It was everything I imagined a home away from home. The perfect middle ground when you're too anxious to birth at home but want to stay away from the hospital and the cascade of intervention.
My midwife was nothing but amazing and the staff at the unit were phenomenal! I left the hospital with my first when she was 6 hours old, I managed to stay 30 hours with my second and only went home to settle in with my eldest.
Midwives in both units are AMAZING! But the birthing unit PROTECTS normal births but also know and have the ability to transfer and consult when things stray from this, then these cases the women come back and have a beautiful relaxed postnatal stay with support at hand and no one knocking on your door to leave for the next mum to come in nor shared rooms! It's truly a home away from home and is instrumental in protecting women and babies to have the ultimate birthing experience they so rightly deserve.
I am now a student midwife who has seen first hand the different experiences for women birthing at the hospital vs the birthing centre.