New mum Paal with son Ari Newton and birthing centre staff Caroline Chandler, Jane Crawford, Jen Bennett, Robyn Brazel, Julie Young and Lyle Bugoyne.
New mum Paal with son Ari Newton and birthing centre staff Caroline Chandler, Jane Crawford, Jen Bennett, Robyn Brazel, Julie Young and Lyle Bugoyne. John Gass

Birth unit winning hearts

MUMS can still have their babies at Murwillumbah District Hospital – they just have to book early.

Second-time mum Paal Newton had her baby boy, Ari, on November 19 at the birthing centre and said she was glad she did.

“I had my first child at The Tweed Hospital, and when I went to book in for this one they were full so they asked me to go to Murwillumbah,” the Elanora resident said.

“As soon as I walked in I knew I wanted to have my baby here.

“It was completely dif- ferent to my first birth. It was so relaxing. It didn't feel clinical and I wasn't rushed at all.

“With my first baby, she was taken away within half an hour to be weighed, but with my boy, he lay on my belly for three hours and we were just able to bond.”

Almost one year on and the Birthing Service at Murwillumbah District Hospital is fast-approaching its 100th birth, with the 95th yesterday afternoon.

Nurse unit manager June Crawford said expectant mothers were travelling from outside the area to have their babies at the birthing centre, even though some people still thought there was no maternity ward at Murwillumbah.

“We had a few months at the start where people weren't really sure about the service, but now we are fully booked every month,” Ms Crawford said.

“We have mostly local mothers, but some have come from as far as Pimpama and Helensvale to have their babies here.”

The birthing rooms, one pink and one blue, are used a couple of times a week and mothers are given time to bond with their newborns, Ms Crawford said.

Murwillumbah midwifery unit manager Cheryl Colley said a caseload midwife got to know the women and their families and provided continuity of care from the booking-in appointment until the baby was six weeks old, and included ante-natal, birthing and post-natal care.



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