Birthing Centre Newsletter May 2020

Newsletter May 2020


Birthing Centre Newsletter | May 2020





In this issue



Births during lockdown

Thank you to all our teams




Letter from the founder 

Kia ora,

Have you ever lost someone and feel you would give anything to have that person back, if only for a moment of deep human connection, whispered last words, to hold their hand as life slips away? The pain of not being there never goes away. Whether it is a life lost or a new life coming into the world, loving hands connected through time should always be there to help the transition from one world to another. A sympathetic phone call, a possible apology could never, never compensate the refusal to share those last moments. Without humaneness, what is humanity?

We made the decision at Birthing Centre to uphold our philosophy of the first days of bonding and care. Scores of families were able to have the birth of their dreams, to remain in our ‘bubble’ of nurture, education, healing, and love. There could have been so many more. Feedback from our midwives, LMCs, and especially mothers is that they have felt this time was the best for their recovery and attachment. For our teams and LMCs there was no rush, no distraction from visitors. A peaceful feeling pervaded these sanctuaries. For the mothers and partners, they could spend these days in sweet isolation, together bonding as a family, learning the techniques of burping, wrapping, and establishing breastfeeding. We encouraged these parents to take time, to extend time as they felt the need. Unhurried bliss.

In this ‘reset’, the direction our country can head, the talk is around the economy and rightly so. But where is the conversation about social changes we so desperately need for equity. Equity born from people’s lives fulfilling aspirations where encouragement and empowerment are key to success. Self-control and resilience, not control by a Government whose role it is to serve. Vague words about kindness are not tangible.

We have world-class health professionals, but not a world-class system of healthcare. We have a shameful record of domestic violence, child abuse, maternal suicide and antidepressant use, and suicides are predicted to rise.  How lovely to hear the Prime Minister and Dr Ashley Bloomfield recognise the International Year of the Midwife on TV. Midwifery and mothers’ wellbeing is not a smiling 30-second soundbite, it is people like Alison Eddy, CEO of NZCOM  tirelessly supporting a dwindling population of practising midwives; it is Louise Upston travelling the country fighting for women’s right to postnatal care; it is Mothers Matter uniting mothers in recognition of their vital worth as role models for our most vulnerable; it is the midwives of New Zealand who work under such difficult conditions so that women can have the best care in the world. These people are the guardians of women’s health, but are denied in real terms recompense appropriate to their worth in the communities they serve. So, what are we going to do about it?

I am driven by advocacy for women and uplifted by midwives. For me, they are the heroines.


Chloe  ❤️
Chloe Wright


A new addition to the Wright family

Ollie and Aurora Wright

My husband, eldest daughter and I recently travelled home to Tauranga from Melbourne, Australia to welcome the birth of our daughter at the Bethlehem Birthing Centre. With both of us being Tauranga natives living abroad, the decision was easy knowing that we would be surrounded by family and the support we needed.

Having experienced both the Australian and New Zealand midwife system during this pregnancy, the difference between them is vast, and I feel the high level of attention and care received in Aotearoa is not provided in Australia. This cemented our decision to come home and book into the centre.

The Birthing Centre is an outstanding facility. As we entered our birthing suite I immediately felt relaxed. The room was not only beautiful, but felt warm, calm and inviting. The lights were dimmed and the bath was running. It was a wonderful welcoming. We were there less than two hours before Aurora decided to enter our world and change our lives forever, and we couldn’t have dreamed of a better birthing experience.

Not only is this gorgeous modern facility equipped with more than you can imagine, including a chef who provides delicious and nutritious meals and snacks throughout your stay, the postnatal care and education provided by the midwives at the centre is phenomenal.

Such welcoming, caring and knowledgeable staff made our experience invaluable from arrival to departure. It has made such a positive difference for our new family, having been taught the skills to care for our newborn.

Our experience was more than we could have imagined, and it wouldn’t have been possible without this wonderful facility, our incredible midwife Amo and the amazing team at Bethlehem Birthing Centre.

Kylie Wright




Births during lockdown

We might have been in lockdown for four weeks but the babies kept coming at Birthing Centre! COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown – from 26 March to 27 April - saw 42 babies born at Bethlehem Birthing Centre, 16 babies born at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre and 13 babies born at Nga Hau Māngere Birthing Centre.

Baby Aubriella, pictured above, was born at Bethlehem Birthing Centre on 4 April. Here is her mum’s story:
First-time mum Ashley Manuel gave birth to baby Aubriella with her husband Brandon and LMC Lyn Allport alongside her.

The week leading up to the birth was an anxious time as the country went into COVID-19 lockdown.

“I was pretty anxious and scared. It was fear of the unknown – everything kept changing. I had to adjust my birth plan.”

Ashley says it was important to have her husband with her for the birth and postnatal stay.

“I don’t know what I would have done without him. Being at the centre was amazing. It didn’t even feel like we were in lockdown. And as much as you do want your family to meet your child, it was nice for us to have that special time with our baby girl.

“The food was amazing and the midwives were very supportive. They were always there to answer any questions or concerns.”




Thank you to all our teams at Birthing Centre  

We would like to acknowledge and celebrate all of our staff, who have all gone above and beyond the call of duty during COVID-19, ensuring that our facilities were safe so babies were able to be brought into the world in the company of those they love.


Alex Deas, Clinical Midwife Manager at Bethlehem Birthing Centre, has written the following account of the past six weeks:

Many things have changed here at Bethlehem during the past weeks, with COVID-19 seeing the world and our beautiful country thrown into turmoil and change. Some things have been very hard, like adapting protocols rapidly due to lockdown, changing visiting structures, managing potential symptoms, delaying the start dates of new team members, having to cancel vital support networks for women such as Milk Café, SuperGrans and counselling, and asking our team to practice social distancing when many just needed a hug for reassurance. Let me tell you, for a ‘hugger’ like myself its like being violently thrown into AA.  Working in PPE (including our beautiful MCAs for deep cleaning rooms) it is hot and claustrophobic, looks weird and places an unwanted barrier between us and the women we work with, but we have persevered and pushed through for the safety of our clients, our families, our team and our community. We have fielded many, many phone calls from expectant Mums needing reassurance and asking for guidance; we have done everything in our power to make them feel safe and calm and to not be cheated of all the experiences of becoming a new Mum.

Sourcing PPE in a hurry became an absolute nightmare and at one stage I felt that I was going to have to offer a kidney as payment. We were getting mixed messages. The news was showing us graphic images of people dying around the world, including health professionals in full PPE, and the disease affecting people exponentially, however the Ministry of Health in New Zealand was telling us to simply wash our hands and social distance. How anyone thinks that a baby can be born into the gentle hands of a midwife from two metres away is mind-blowing. Women and families were scared, midwives were scared, everyone was scared.

Through all this Chloe has stood firm, wanting protocols to lead by example rather than wait for direction. This has made leading our team so much easier and has enabled me to implement changes and guidelines to further increase the safety of our teams. At huge expense, Chloe purchased masks to not only keep her teams safe but also the wider community. She has supported the partners staying at BBC to be fed to reduce their stress and eliminate the need for them to leave the building and put themselves and our centre at risk. Due to this we have seen partners relax in our environment, feel valued and be even more attentive to their spouse and newborn than normal, and families are so grateful. She has always been only a phone call away (which has been hard for her, working from home, when she is normally so present in our centre) guiding and supporting me, and for this and so many other things I am eternally grateful.

Many things to come out of this have been a blessing, like the team pulling even closer together, the offers of support that came out of nowhere, (even a midwife coming out of retirement and a midwife that has now become a secondary school teacher returning to help), supporting people to adapt to change, family together time, quiet, rest and the reassessment that comes through adversity of what we hold most dear in life.

I have been overwhelmed with emails of support and thanks; it has been humbling to realise that the smallest of things in these difficult times can bring comfort to someone. Staff Mums who have made masks, people who have 3D-printed face shields, messaged us thanks on Facebook, dropped off baking, and dropped off PPE not required from their companies. The feedback we have received from families that have stayed at BBC is that despite everything, they have loved being in their bubble - the everyday pressures from the outside world have been lifted and they have been enabled to spend 48 hourrs of quality undisrupted time as a family, laying down the foundation for a life of love.

We have learned to work smarter, with video conferencing, reducing waste and evening team-building sessions via Zoom, such as team bingo and quiz night. It has united an already strong team and highlighted the strengths and skills of so many. 

So, on reflection, as we very, very slowly reclaim our normality, I am so sad that this has happened. Sad for those whose lives were taken too soon, for their families being cheated of time. Sad for those that could not have their families with them during both death and birth and the toll that will take on their memories, their mental health and future. Sad for those that were isolated away from loved ones and support through lockdown. Sad for the businesses in New Zealand that may never open again and for our economy that has taken a brutal beating. But I am also so thankful. Thankful to work for an organisation that makes me feel valued and able to make change, for working beside such strong, courageous, and selfless women, in such a beautiful and safe environment. Thankful for being able to make small differences to people’s safety and wellbeing. Thankful to live in New Zealand and be a Kiwi, a nation that when times are tough, recognises that strength comes from unity and kindness and perhaps most of all I am thankful, so very thankful that everyone I love is safe.

Alex Deas
Clinical Midwife Manager BBC




International Day of the Midwife celebrated this week

This week, on 5 May, the world celebrated International Day of the Midwife. While the milestone is celebrated each year, this year was particularly special as it is also International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, designated by the World Health Organization in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

This year’s theme was ‘Celebrate. Demonstrate. Mobilize. Unite.’, with midwives and associations asked to focus on how they can partner with women and women’s groups to mobilise and unite towards a shared goal of gender equality.

At Bethlehem and Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centres our midwives received some sweet treats, and Nga Hau Mangere Birthing Centre decorated its front reception area and hosted a special lunch for staff and LMCs.

Thank you to all midwives throughout New Zealand for the work you do. We salute you!

And a special thank you to the midwives at Bethlehem Birthing Centre from this mum via Facebook.

“Your midwives took me through my entire pregnancy and birth of my baby boy. Every single one of you that I met made me feel welcome and at ease, absolute champions. Belinda was the one that helped me through birth and labour and I honestly wish I could have had her for all my births! Happy international midwife day team, you guys are amazing.” – Louisa Jesperson.
And from this mum, via email, to the midwives at Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre.

“In honour of International Midwives Day today, I'd like to once again express my gratitude to all of you amazing ladies working at the birthing unit. I honestly could not have asked for a better place to bring my beautiful baby boy earthside in March. The care, support and affection of Tanya and Siobahn meant the world to me that night. The love and tender advice of Sarah and Jessie throughout our after-stay was so very sweet. I had felt wrapped up in a blissful bubble of care that was really hard to leave. All of you - Jacqui, Angela, Emily and everyone else included, do such an amazing job! Please keep on showing up with as much dedication as I felt from each and every one of you throughout the months of my pregnancy and birth. I couldn't have asked for more and keep telling all my pregnancy friends about you.” – Michelle Kliczkowski.

Support for midwives was also expressed via the Mothers Matter Facebook page (the following comments are unedited).

Hine Castle The midwives that looked after me for my first were amazing and I wish they were still doing it, and my second child myself and my husband delivered our baby on the side of the road going to hospital and our third has an awesome midwife Mary Mupita thank you all for hard work and you are appreciated.

Kathryn Malaxianaki As it was 40 odd years since I had my first child, things were very different. GP looked after you then when you went to delivery midwives were there to help doc. However with both of my children doctor never made it in time and I had 2 very experienced midwives who did a fabulous job. Firm encouraging guidance was most appreciated. Was very grateful.

Laura Meadows My midwife was awesome!!! Sarah was so supportive throughout my whole pregnancy and then when I went into labor, I had Sarah’s backup, Leah, who was equally as awesome! I felt so safe and supported in both hands! Could not have asked for a better experience.

My midwife Frances was WONDERFUL with both my daughters. Amazing human!

Lecia Challans I had my son and she was amazing she cleaned me and helped me gather myself came home to do checks and was always up for a laugh both times actually and her partner in crime too! My second she was amazing again she was worried for me and bubs we were planning on a home birth but it didn't happen and then in the hospital I lost some blood and she got all the needs and the people to help me.

Nicky Olivier I have the best midwife you could ask for. So excited I to have her with me again.

Debbie Stevenson My midwife took all my concerns seriously fun friendly and being a first time mum she really helped me with my daughter.

Ruth PiriInangaro Peters My 1st sons midwife was great she made sure he was fine n all, my 2nd child my only daughter n miracle. her midwife saved her life as nurses looked liked they didn't know what to do hence they were gonna give up. My last born had multiple midwives but we're all great. So had great experiences with mine. They looked after us very well. Big high5 to the great midwives out there.

Sarah Kea I have awesome midwives very helpful and thank you to them.

TeInuwai Pickering Nicholson My midwife was amazing also my baby sister always a trooper.

Lucy Olsen I have been blessed to have Midwife Dorn Jacobs for all 4 of my babies and she was at all 4 of my births. Dorn is an amazing midwife. She always made me feel safe, well informed and listened to. Midwives are so under appreciated by our health system but we love them to bits.

Jasmin Patterson My midwife wit my youngest son was amazing i was her first client as she was new n we both went thru c section 4 the first time 2gether in a different hospital and i was lucky 2 gt 2 stay 4 5 full days in Hospital.

Diane Ward I was an emotional wreck after losing 2 babies. My midwife was at the delivery of my second at only 14 weeks even though she didn’t have to be there. She was so kind and caring to me. When I got pregnant a 3rd time she was there with me the whole way through to the birth of my beautiful wee girl who is now one and I will forever be grateful to her. 

Millica Marie Howe My midwife has delivered 7 of my babies. She isnt just a midwife, but part of our familia. Love her to pieces xoxoxo.

Sae Batnag I had the best midwife. As a first time mom, she was the backbone of our pregnancy and birth. She moved down south so might move there too if ever get prego again.

Sam Andrell Webster If it wasn’t for my amazing midwife I don’t think I’d be here right now. My labour was traumatic and long. My midwife went above and beyond to keep me calm and look after me while I was crying through my contractions, rubbing my back and cleaning up after me. When things went wrong she always kept me calm. And giving birth in lockdown she knew I was extra sensitive. My midwife is definitely an angel.

Ngati Hindu My midwife was an old school maori, she was tough but thats what I needed at the time. she was my superhero. Thank you.

Chris Tina There was this beautiful midwife who took my twins into another room at the hospital so I could get some sleep ♥️ because of her I got 5 hours sleep ♥️♥️♥️.




Wishing all our wonderful mothers a fabulous Mother’s Day this weekend!






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

““Birthing is the most profound initiation to spirituality a woman can have.””

Robin Lim, Midwife


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




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