Birthing Centre Newsletter April 2020

Newsletter April 2020


In this issue

Caring for a family in lockdown

A letter of admiration and support


Letter from the founder 

Kia ora,

My family are cross with me. I want to do the grocery shopping, I want to put myself on the line, ignoring the warnings of a Government, which has the best interests of people of a certain age, my age, at heart. Why? Because I don’t want my family to be put at risk and, in my own way, it allows me to feel solidarity with the beautiful midwives of our centres and LMCs who have remained true to their principles of supporting those women who are about to give birth. Many of these women are terrified. The emotional connection to their midwife will be their greatest comfort at a time when family support is so limited. I work hard, but the risks I take pale into insignificance when I see on the news our first defenders, the work they do and the toll it takes on them and theirs.

Thank you ❤️, thank you ❤️, thank you ❤️.

We are living in a time of, potentially, a miraculous change. What else might have made us, as humans and a society, re-set our value systems? Real change comes from the bottom up. We have become complacent, often living week to week, counting on others to be our voice, not preparing ourselves for the life we want, or for not wanting the life we live. None of us can turn back the clock, but we can be kinder, more understanding. We can try to imagine how it might feel to walk in another’s shoes. We can learn empathy, educate and prepare ourselves to live the life we want to live. To be the person who is happy in their own skin. To stop being greedy and unscrupulous, blaming others instead of being grateful for the opportunities life sometimes offers us.

Birthing Centre put stringent policies in place before it became mandatory to protect our teams and our families. Sadly, some of the education programmes planned and in train have had to be put on hold during the COVID-19 crisis, but the enthusiasm and energy prevails and before too long we hope to be running these again. Our Clinical Midwife Managers are doing an amazing job of using initiative, bringing forth ideas and new stakeholder relationships that can only benefit the collegial relationships between our midwives, LMCs, and DHBs. Our midwives can bring their own ideas for discussion. Our mothers may still birth and have their support person stay for at least the legal 48 hours while getting the support for which our teams have become respected, if not famous. I am so proud of those who stay the distance in these harrowing times.

Recently the operation of our Te Papaioea Birthing Centre was taken over by the MidCentral DHB. We trust their dream of the gold standard this can produce in New Zealand will continue once the precautions needed to be taken at this time have been lifted. The Memorandum of Understanding between MidCentral DHB and the Wright Family Foundation is very clear, and our philosophy of care will continue. This pilot gold standard for the nation was a brave action on the part of a DHB, which sought to make positive tangible outcomes for families based on the science of the ‘first 1000 days’.

Ka mahi te tawa uho ki te riri. Well done, you whose courage is like the heart of a tawa tree.
The COVID-19 crisis has necessitated changes, as with all medical facilities for the time being, but what I and the DHB are most excited about is that many more women will get to experience the facility under the guidance of MidCentral Health’s maternity services and those midwives who have had the foresight to support this change.

My vision was always to create a primary birthing centre that gave many more mothers and families the best support to bond with baby, take time to rest, heal, establish breastfeeding if that was the choice, and to return home as prepared as our midwives could prepare them for the great adventure of parenthood.

We employ all staff under an Individual Employment Agreement. This is to ensure that each person has their own voice and freedom to bring ideas, initiatives, grumbles, and any other comment to the people who genuinely care most for them. Our CMMs are fully invested in the welfare of our midwives, and I am fully invested in supporting our teams to further education that will enable them to grow in confidence to support our mothers. We are proud of our philosophy of open communication, unfiltered or distorted. It’s called being human.

Silver Linings
Our son Oliver and wife Kylie returned from Australia a month ago to have their baby in New Zealand. As they were part of our bubble, we were able to share the excitement and preparations for the birth. With the baby due on 20 April their LMC, Amo, not only prepared them through the short examinations, but ‘Zoomed’ and phoned them to the point of Kylie’s absolute confidence in woman’s power. Amo gave them the gift of clay and flax, again giving confidence that together, they could, with clay, create their own ipu whenua for burial of the placenta, and flax to braid the muka tie for the umbilical cord.

Nga mihi mahana,

Chloe  ❤️
Chloe Wright



Our granddaughter was born on 15 April, but that is their story to tell. All I would say about that is, as we hugged in our bubble and they walked from the front door to the car, Kylie stopping for some moments to breathe deeply, I have never seen her looking so beautiful and at peace as in that moment. The three of them are cocooned in their BBC bubble, skin to skin, hearts to hearts, a vision of eternity unfolding.


I reflect on a quote I embrace and my wish for her:

Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve imagined.” – Anonymous

Support for Birthing Centre’s continuation of postnatal care and ‘partners stay too’ policy

Birthing Centre’s decision to continue providing 48 hours postnatal care for women after they give birth during COVID-19 Alert Level 4 has been widely appreciated by mothers and their families.

Unlike hospitals and other birthing units around the country, a support partner has also been able to stay with the mother during the postnatal care period, with Birthing Centre providing meals and emotional support in the forced absence of extended whānau.

Here’s some of the positive feedback we have received on Facebook:

“Thank you so much! It is such a relief that you are still allowing our support person to stay!” – Tina

“Thanks for looking after all our mums not only in their physical health, but mentally too!” – Caitlyn

“Thanks team for all you do.” – Bay Births Midwifery Team

“Awesome news. Thank you heaps guys. See you very soon!” – Matt

Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre went above and beyond just a few days into lockdown, with a mum due to give birth at Wellington Hospital keen to give birth at the centre instead because she wanted her partner to be able to stay with her. With her own LMC not able to deliver at TABC, another local LMC was found.

Midwife and mum met just once before mum went into early labour and delivered a healthy baby on 29 March. CMM Jacqui Paine says the couple were “so grateful and thankful for their experience”.

“They were so relieved that we were here and able to have partners stay. It was quite a different experience to what they would have had.”

Caring for a family in lockdown

Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre Clinical Midwife Manager Tish Taihia had the privilege of caring for the Ford whānau during the lockdown. These are her words:
“Karamia Ford and her partner, William, had a beautiful baby girl, Rhythm, early yesterday morning at 3:52am. This is Karamia’s fourth child (after a nine-year gap), and William’s first child.

All her other children were born at Middlemore Hospital, but Karamia had seen the Nga Hau Māngere Facebook page and told her midwife from the outset that she wanted to birth at the centre.
“Fortunately for Karamia, her midwife had an access agreement, and when her midwife’s Otara clinic closed due to COVID-19 and she obtained an LMC clinic space at Nga Hau Māngere, it gave her the opportunity to check out the centre, further cementing her decision to birth in a primary setting away from an environment preparing to care for pandemic cases.
“Karamia tells me with pride how she laboured without having any pain relief, so unlike her other births. Maybe, she says, it was because she was so relaxed in this lovely setting.
“Perhaps the other huge factor for her choice was that her partner, William, was able to remain with her postnatally – something that many with family in hospitals in this current climate cannot have.

As I hear both parents say how they feel happy to be at the centre, because it’s comforting and they feel like they are in a ‘hotel’, it gives one great satisfaction that this new family feel safe and warm on this cold and wet night.”

A letter of admiration and support from Bethlehem Birthing Centre Clinical Midwife Manager, Alexandra Deas

To our midwifery team at Bethlehem who continue to show courage, kindness and compassion, with full focus on the safety and experience of the women and babies we care for and for supporting and caring for our LMC colleagues. For keeping up to date on developments, changes, and new protocols. I thank you!

 The team at Bethlehem Birthing Centre.
To our maternity care assistant team (permanent and casual), whose exceptional standards and dedication are keeping us all safe. For embracing the requirement of wearing full PPE while deep cleaning all rooms and our rigorous, four-times-a-day sanitisation schedule. For pushing aside your fears and putting the needs of others around you first. I thank you!

To Chloe, our Founder, for her dedication and commitment to the service we provide and keeping the safety of her teams and the women and families we serve paramount to all decisions made. I thank you!

To Taniya, our temporary administrator, for stepping back into a role to help and support during a pandemic crisis, not only to bring skill, but also love and compassion for everyone around her. I thank you!

To Lonaye, our maternity care assistant team leader, for once again stepping up to the plate. Helping develop protocols and guidelines in a very short space of time to ensure the safety of our team, their families, the women and families we care for, our LMC colleagues and the service we provide to stay as safe as possible. For training and supporting our MCA team to meet these guidelines and feel safe and supported at the same time. I thank you!

To our casual midwives, Anne, Pat, Penny, Saskia and Michelle, you did not need to step into this.  You all have other roles and could, like so many others, stayed safe at home but ‘the calling’ saw you all offer your time and support. I thank you!

To Sylvia, our chef, who, despite food shortages and difficulty with ordering, and having a big trip home to Korea to see loved ones cancelled, has continued to provide not only delicious and nutritious meals for Mums but also now Dads, and working long hours. You are a legend!

To Gemma, for stepping up from casual midwife to further developing our antenatal programme and making it available to expectant couples via Zoom, so that in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, couples expecting babies can still feel mentally prepared for labour, birth and beyond, but also, and maybe most importantly, connect with other expectant parents to form their ‘village’. I thank you!

To Trish and Julie’s Mums for taking to their sewing machines and making masks for our team, to give those at the frontline a decreased sense of anxiety. I thank you!

To my fellow CMMs Jacqui and Tish who are captaining their own ‘ships’ and keeping their teams safe and well, under immense pressure, reading all the latest information, guidelines, juggling staffing and rosters and developing new protocols. I thank you!

To our administration and accounts team, Traci, Claire, Kim and Shikha, all working from home, but still always available and only a phone call away, able to sort any problem in a heartbeat, while juggling children at home and reduced resources such as multiple screens. I thank you!

To my fellow midwifery colleagues at other Birthing Centre facilities, doing their very best to continue to provide exceptional care under difficult circumstances. I thank you!

To my LMC midwifery colleagues working at the frontline of this, continuing to work in our communities providing midwifery care. Supporting Mums and families with care, knowledge and choices as well as supporting their mental health and wellbeing, acknowledging individual circumstances, with at times limited PPE protection. I thank you!

To my colleagues and friends working in frantic and often short-staffed DHBs around the country, while other get to shelter at home. I thank you!

To our PR team at Blink, who tirelessly work to keep the women of our community informed and reassured. I thank you!

I write to you all, to say I SEE YOU and I THANK YOU, every day for your bravery, your selflessness, your dedication to the service of others. For lifting the spirits of everyone around you and for all the work you do that is so often unseen, but so incredibly valuable.

Thank you for showing your children what bravery looks like and teaching them that life is about the impact we make and the difference we can make to the lives of others.

You are ALL heroines in my eyes, and I pray when we beat this bloody awful virus you will be recognised for the difference you made and the people you saved.

Thank you for all that you do every day to make a difference.

“None of us including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Teresa.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

“Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe.

“Don’t feel bad if people only remember you when they need you. Feel privileged that your kindness is a candle that burns brightest when others are surrounded by darkness.” – Alexandra Deas.

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui,

Alexandra Deas
April 2020

Online breastfeeding and antenatal support for mums

While Te Papaioea Birthing Centre is now under the management of MidCentral DHB, the Wright Family Foundation is continuing to fund the Milk Café breastfeeding support group.

While we’ve been in lockdown, lactation consultant Jacquie Nutt has been running a Zoom meeting several times a week for women in the ‘Milk Cafe – Te Papaioea Birthing Centre’ Facebook group to answer any breastfeeding or mothercraft questions.

To become a member of the group, all you need to do is join the Facebook page ‘Milk Cafe - Te Papaioea Birthing Centre’. The Zoom link is published on the page before the meeting.

If you do not use Facebook, you can become a member via email on
For personal breastfeeding queries in greater depth, Milk Café members can text for a WhatsApp voice or video appointment on 022 3200 611.

Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre Milk Café lactation consultant Liora Noy is also offering breastfeeding and parenting support during the lockdown period though Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or simply a phone call to the Newtown Breastfeeding and Parenting Support Centre in Wellington.

While Bethlehem Birthing Centre is also not able to physically host its Milk Cafe breastfeeding support group during the lockdown, breastfeeding advice and support is continuing to be provided online through the ‘Breastfeeding Support Group’ on Facebook. Women can join the group here.

Bethlehem Birthing Centre is also offering its antenatal classes using Zoom video conferencing during the lockdown. Women can book via the Birthing Centre website.

Bethlehem joins in teddy bear and Easter egg hunts

Bethlehem Birthing Centre, in collaboration with SuperGrans Western Bay of Plenty, has added four friends into our ‘bubble’ as part of the New Zealand Teddy Bear Hunt – which sees Kiwis putting teddy bears in the windows of their houses during Alert Level 4.

Midwife Trish Ryan also decorated Easter eggs to put in the windows for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s nationwide Easter egg hunt over Easter weekend.

Birthing and midwifery in New Zealand during COVID-19

Women and families are continuing to receive high quality midwifery and medical care throughout New Zealand during Alert Level 4.

"Midwives are flexible and responsive health practitioners and as such are adapting the provision of care at this challenging time. This includes more conversations by phone or video call to reduce physical contact where appropriate,” said New Zealand College of Midwives' Claire MacDonald in a Stuff article on 27 March.

COVID-19 has also caused a spike in requests for home births.

"A number of women are choosing and planning to try and reduce their chances of cross-infection, to keep to their bubble and to ensure that they can have the people around them that they want for support," College of Midwives' Jacqui Anderson told Newshub on 27 March.

Plunket has also changed the way it works during lockdown, with nurses keeping in touch with families over the phone and via video conferencing - already established for breastfeeding support thanks to financial support from the Wright Family Foundation.

Find us online

Our website,, is a great port of call for anyone who wants to find out more about primary birthing, our philosophy and service.

You can also find previous issues of our newsletter here

Check out our Facebook pages too:
Bethlehem Birthing Centre:
Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre at Melling:
Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre:

Quote of the day

“Motherhood is the exquisite inconvenience of being another person’s everything.”



Please forward this newsletter to anyone who might be interested, or contact us on if you would like to add an email address to our mailing list.

If you would also like to receive the Wright Family Foundation newsletter please contact us on to add an email address to our mailing list.

Copyright © 2020 Birthing Centre Limited, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 13 465 Tauranga Central 3141

Previous Article Birthing Centre Newsletter March 2020
Next Article Birthing Centre Newsletter May 2020