Midwives at the Mersey Community Hospital havehelpedto bring 15,000 Coastalbabies into the world.
That’ssince the first newbornwas delivered atLatrobeon August 21, 1992 at 7.31 am.
Mother lode: Mersey midwives Debbie Chettle with Autumn Grossmith and maternity services nurse unit manager Mandy Compton with Sophie Muir. Picture: Cordell Richardson
The midwife was Debbie Chettle and sheis still at the Mersey today.
Mrs Chettle wasjust backfrom maternity leave after having her daughter at the old maternity hospital in Devonport.
As a midwife, the move to Latrobe was not a big adjustmentbut it was for acommunity unhappy to lose itsseparate maternity and outpatientservicesand there were protests at the time.
The decision was made to consolidate the two parts of the hospital at Latrobe and change is looming again.
On Thursday it was a proud day tinged with sadnessas thecloseknit team at Mersey marked thelast international midwives day together beforebirthing services arecentralised to Burniein September.
Antenatal and post-natal care wouldstill continue to be delivered from boththe Mersey and inBurnie for mothers across the North-West.
The Mersey midwives have a close bond due to the nature of the work.
Maternity services nurse unit manager Mandy Comptonsaid she wouldn’t want to do anything else.There arelong-serving Mersey midwives that have seen generations of women havebabies.
“Sometimes you know ladies before they come in and ladies have come back a few times to have babies, so that’s a nice thing,” Mrs Chettle said.
Mrs Compton took time to reflectonthe huge changes in midwifery.
Amajornew innovation has beenwhere midwives have juststartedto doultrasounds and the registration of suitably qualified eligible midwives to prescribemedication and do pathology tests rather than need a doctor to orderthe tests.
When Mrs Comptontrainedwomen stayed in hospital for 10 days after the birth and were not allowed out of bed.
“In 1984 breast feeding wasn’t really encouragedit was much more for the convenience of the hospital andwe fed thebabies every four hours and the babies went back the nursery.”
Another huge change was to have mothers in the room with their baby. A mother today wants theskin to skin contact with her baby whereas it used to be thatonce the baby wasborn the baby waswrapped in blankets.
“What other job can you be a part of this miracle, and no matter how many thousands of births you have seen, every one is different, and special, and every oneyou still get that joy,” Mrs Compton said.
You are there to help people make the transition to being a family.
“It’s a privilege to be part of that,” Mrs Chettle said.
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