Midwives are being celebrated as part of International Day of the Midwife and Bundaberg Hospital's Rachelle MacKenzie says she was hooked on midwifery from her first student placement.
She's now been in the profession for two and a half years but vividly recalls the first birth she witnessed.
“Witnessing the birth of a baby is just as special as witnessing a woman become a mother,” Ms MacKenzie said.
“It’s so special to be the face and the voice that women remember after they’ve birthed their babies, and I love the excitement and the unknown of what each shift in the birth suite will bring.
“It’s a rewarding job – we’re privileged to help women gain independence to breastfeed, witness a newborn’s first bath, watch families discharge from the ward with their newborn, and the list goes on.
“Women often feel scared and vulnerable entering a birth suite, so it’s important we remain calm and educate women in the lead up to their birth, to allow them to make informed decisions and stay in control.
“I’ve also learnt to never underestimate the lasting impacts that tiny gestures can have on women, such as simply making a cup of tea or changing the bed sheets – it’s sometimes a combination of those little things that can matter the most.
“It’s also really lovely to touch base with women after their birth or at home on postnatal visits to debrief if needed and reflect on the experience we shared – it can be therapeutic for both of us.”
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service acting executive director of nursing and midwifery Cameron Duffy said International Day of the Midwife was important to celebrate the profession and recognise its contribution to maternal and newborn health.
“We’ve more than 100 midwives here at WBHHS and I can wholeheartedly say that each and every one considers it a great privilege to help care for our local mothers, babies and their families,” Mr Duffy said.
“We also employ midwives who provide valuable antenatal and postnatal care in rural areas and bring their skills and knowledge to other teams such as in child health or emergency department settings.
“Our midwives are uniquely positioned in that they get to experience some really joyous moments with families, but also at times, walk with women and families in their grief following profound loss.
“I encourage our midwives to pause today and reflect on their achievements and the invaluable contribution they make towards improving the health and wellbeing of women, babies and families.
“Despite a challenging 12 months, as we’ve navigated through this pandemic, their professionalism and compassion has given local women trust and confidence in their birthing journey during uncertain times.
“I couldn’t be prouder of each of our WBHHS midwives and I thank them for their outstanding patient care, not only on International Day of the Midwife but every day.”
International Day of the Midwife raises awareness
International Day of the Midwife honours midwives for their contribution towards the health of their nations and to raise awareness about the status of midwives and the essential care they provide to mothers and their newborns.
WBHHS midwifery teams in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay are celebrating International Day of the Midwife with staff events such breakfasts and afternoon teas to cater for all shifts.
In recognising the theme, ‘100 years of progress’, the Bundaberg Family Unit will also host a celebration dinner for past and present midwives who have worked at all maternity facilities in Bundaberg.