A BIRTHING centre has celebrated its third birthday – and parents whose babies were born there wish it many more anniversaries to come.
The modern suite at the University Hospital of Hartlepool – which has helped bring more than 1,100 babies into the world since it opened its doors in 2008 – celebrated its big day by inviting parents and soon-to-be mums and dads to an open day.
The Mail went along to join in the celebrations and spoke to Hartlepool mum-of-three Melanie Firth, who was there with two of her children, two-year-old Lauren and two-week old Nathan, both of whom were born at the birthing centre.
The 34-year-old, who is also mum to Chloe, aged three, and married to chartered accountant Martin, 34, said: “I would definitely recommend coming here to other people. It’s fabulous.
“I got looked after when I had Chloe, which was before the birthing centre opened, but with Lauren and Nathan it was better because I could rest more. I had my own room when I had Lauren, and although I was in a room with three beds when I had Nathan, I was on my own, so it was a lot easier to get the rest you need when you’ve just given birth.
“Not only that but the midwives are absolutely brilliant. If your pregnancy is okay and you’ve had the all clear that you’re expected to have a normal delivery then I would definitely recommend it.”
Melanie, who lives at Elwick Rise, added: “I’d like to say a big thank you to all the staff, and hope the birthing centre has many more birthdays to come.”
Ian Monaghan, whose partner Adele Kennedy, 34, a speech and language therapist, gave birth to son Frankie six weeks ago, was also impressed with the centre.
The 43-year-old Mail journalist from the Headland said: “I thought it was really, really good, and so did my partner. It was very modern and clean and state-of-the-art.
“There was no fuss, no bother, the staff were excellent, especially the midwives who were calm and reassuring.”
Ian, also dad to nine-year-old Martha, added: “Also, thanks to the birthing centre Frankie was born in Hartlepool, as it should be.”
Lead midwife Dennise Butcher and her team were on hand throughout the day to show expectant mothers around, and to welcome back those babies they helped bring into the world.
“There’s been a steady stream of people coming in and out all day,” said Dennise.
“It’s been really nice to be able to reassure mums-to-be and to see mums and children who we helped to deliver.
“We all can’t believe it’s been three years since the birthing centre opened and we all feel really privileged to work here.”
She added: “It gives women more choice and control over their labour and delivery, for those women who fit the criteria to come here.
“We have very experienced midwives here because we want it to be the safest place it can be for mothers and babies. We rank less than the national average for transfers which were all timely and appropriate, and so far to date we haven’t had any problems whatsoever.”
Labouring women are encouraged to use different pieces of equipment available in the midwife-led centre, including the birthing pool, birthing balls, and birthing stools, which help to promote a normal labour and normal delivery.