Media Coverage

Bethlehem Celebrates 1000 births

New Zealand Herald

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Bethlehem Birthing Centre celebrates 1000 births

Ten thousand fingers and 10,000 toes - Bethlehem Birthing Centre is celebrating the milestone of birthing 1000 babies in the last three years.

The centre opened in November 2014, offering another option to mothers and has become known for its focus on primary birthing and postnatal care.

It gets the centre's chief executive Chloe Wright choked-up thinking about it.

"If I try to picture 1000 women all in a group holding their babies, that we have helped to create that beginning for them ... I can't," she said.

"It's incredible. It hasn't always been easy, but that picture makes it worthwhile."

Wright said a lighting display on the side of the building celebrated the arrival of every newborn child, glowing either pink or blue.

"The circles can go blue and pink, it is parents' choice to turn them on or not.

"They're an announcement to the community.

"It's saying you have a new son in your community, and you are now responsible for this new life - this boy.

"I grew up in a community where, if you were naughty, your parents knew before you got home. It was a village, and I wanted to create that here."

Three years ago, Danielle Fryer gave birth at the centre. She didn't realise at the time she was the first to give birth there.

Her daughter Millie is now an inquisitive 'three-nager'.

"It's really exciting now," Fryer said, "because she understands now what it means to be the first baby born.

"She was just explaining to her grandmother that she was the first child born at the centre.

"It's really magic that she can understand that."

The centre was open to all mothers who don't need intervention. Fryer's previous birth was in hospital and second time around she wanted to try something different.

"It didn't work that great last time.

"I still had a beautiful baby at the end of the day, and I do understand that there are times when intervention needs to be made, but this time I had a perfect pregnancy, so I really wanted to give it a go," she said.

On the other hand, Sarah Davidson gave birth to baby daughter Stella just one month ago.

"It's been an absolute roller-coaster the last four weeks.

"From feeling elated and a little in awe when my midwife handed Stella to me, to feeling incredibly overwhelmed with the responsibility of having this baby, to joy, to fatigue.

"But she's started smiling now, and that really is the most amazing thing ever."

Davidson said centre staff were always incredibly supportive.

"There were a couple of times where I needed to put Stella down, to have a shower or go to the bathroom.

"If she was unsettled, a midwife would come and help with that.

"Basic stuff like that where you think you don't know what to do, they are always so helpful and make you feel so comfortable."

The success of the Tauranga centre has now been replicated in Palmerston North, with new facilities opening in Wellington and South Auckland this year.

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