by Kate Sawtschuk
We have a treasure in Ryde undiscovered by many local families. No, it’s not a cool kid-friendly café or a new state of the art park (although I definitely want to know about those!). It is just a lovely little place where women can go to have their babies!
Six years ago, I had my first child at a traditional public hospital with an obstetrician. Whilst I wouldn’t swap this experience for the world, I did learn a few things. Pregnancy is not a medical condition and birth need not be feared.
I went on to have my second and third babies at Ryde Midwifery Group Practice located at Ryde Hospital. What a huge difference! Designed for low-risk pregnancies, it offers women one-to-one care by a midwife throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and the first few weeks at home and is supported by obstetricians at Royal North Shore Hospital (information from the Mums@Ryde Facebook page).
I had brilliant experiences with both births at Ryde. But I may not have had this chance if I had not learnt about it through the invaluable resource of the community of local mums. When I was pregnant with my second baby, at playgroups and parks I happened to talk to mums about their experiences of giving birth at Ryde Hospital. It opened my eyes to how relaxed and enjoyable this special time of your life can be, not to mention convenient (hospital around the corner!) and inexpensive.
At Ryde, the same midwife looks after you throughout the antenatal period, birth and postnatal period. You develop an amazing trust and understanding with your midwife, which is linked to great outcomes for mums and babies. One of the most valuable things for a pregnant woman to possess: the mobile number of her midwife to call with any questions or concerns! It also perfect in our culturally and linguistically diverse community as it enables women to fully participate in every decision along the way.
Both of my babies were born in the birth pool. The birth centre doesn’t feel like a hospital. Labouring and giving birth in a familiar, dimly lit and homely space made me feel calm enough for my body to get on with things. Once the midwives ensured that baby and I were fit and healthy, I returned home about four hours after birth. People often raise their eyebrows at this, but it felt like the right and the best thing to return home to my family. My midwife then visited me almost every day for two weeks until we were settled in at home.
My pregnancy journeys and births at Ryde were magical… but they also felt normal. If they choose to, every woman should have the chance to use a service such as this.
Read more personal stories of local mums who have birthed at Ryde Hospital: