MURWILLUMBAH mother Arna Baartz with new baby Amora yesterday.
MURWILLUMBAH mother Arna Baartz with new baby Amora yesterday. Blainey Woodham

Baby, it's nowhere but Mur-bah

A MOTHER fed up with changes to the Murwillumbah District Hospital maternity ward took a stand by showing up as an unexpected high-risk birth patient.

Arna Baartz, 38, said there was no other option for the birth of her eighth child than to have it in Murwillumbah hospital two weeks ago, even though she had been ordered to present herself to The Tweed Hospital in Tweed Heads due to being identified as a high-risk case.

Instead, Ms Baartz turned up to her local hospital with no intent of changing.

“I just couldn’t stand the thought of going to Tweed hospital,” Ms Baartz said.

“I had previously had four of my children in Murwillumbah hospital at that point. It was the right thing for me to deliver there.

“I was so far along when I arrived, but I know it’s the protocol to go to Tweed Heads.”

Ms Baartz was deemed high-risk due to a previous caesarean.

Hours after turning up at Murwillumbah hospital, Ms Baartz gave birth to daughter Amora with no complications.

Murwillumbah hospital began transferring high-risk maternity cases to Tweed Heads earlier this year.

Ms Baartz said she disagrees with the North Coast Area Health Service’s (NCAHS) changes to the Murwillumbah maternity ward.

“Someone was trying to take away my choice, but I didn’t let them,” she said.

“It was just ridiculous for them to take that option away from us.

Ms Baartz said she hoped her story would turn heads at the NCAHS.

“Murwillumbah has a perfectly good hospital that caters to an important and growing percentage of the population in the CBD and surroundings areas,” she said.

“We have experienced, competent midwives who look forward to going to work and welcoming new people into the world.

“But I wouldn’t encourage others to do what I’ve done though.”

Ms Baartz said the she was stressed thinking she was going to deliver at The Tweed Hospital.

“I endured many anxious nights over it,” she said.

“I just like having my midwives with me. It is a secure and loving option. I want the best for myself and my baby.”

Ms Baartz defended her decision to show up at Murwillumbah hospital because she felt she did not have enough time to get to Tweed Heads.

“As a mother I know my body. I believe in my body’s ability to birth easily and naturally, so the ridiculous notion that I would likely need specialist care and that I would now only find that The Tweed Hospital was like a worm in an otherwise shiny apple.

“I speak to pregnant women all the time and it is quite obvious that we want the option to lob up the hill at any time of night or day without the fear of being turned away.”

Murwillumbah Hospital Support Committee chairman Ian Ross commended Ms Baartz.

“Good on her, there should be more of it,” Mr Ross said. “We fought dramatically to avoid this kind of thing from happening.

“People like Arna have to speak out for themselves about the hospital.”

A spokeswoman for NCAHS said she was unable to provide information regarding the care of Ms Baartz due to laws covering patient confidentiality.

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