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gemgirl

Hospital-based birth choices in Canberra

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gemgirl

Honestly, after a couple of years TTCing, I never actually expected to be planning a birth! And now we are expecting and although it seems too early to decide, I hear you have to plan early in Canberra. I don't really know what our options are- I feel clueless. I do want a hospital birth, but we haven't decided between public or private and midwife, obsetrician or other. So are the choices:

 

Calvary

John James

Antenatal at Canberra Hospital

Birth Centre at Canberra Hospital (these two are different, right?)

Anything /anywhere else I need to look into?

 

I have done so much research on fertility and IVF and cycles and could talk about any of this forever.... But I know NOTHING about managing a pregnancy, giving birth and our options. Welcome any thoughts! Thanks.

Edited by gemgirl

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gemgirl

Oh I just read the big recent thread and feel more informed, I will start to make some calls

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Mrsbrown101

I went through the birth centre at Canberra Hospital, which is run by midwives. You are assigned a primary midwife for your care during pregnancy and the delivery (you also have a 'back up' midwife).

 

It was great in that most of the appointments take place at your home and the care was great.

 

However, it is drug free (just so you know!) and if there are complications you'll end up in the maternity ward of the Hospital anyway. You also don't stay after birth - just 4 hours and you either go home or up to the maternity ward.

 

There is also a big waiting list - you pretty much need to ring the moment you find out you are pregnant.

 

I am not sure if the new maternity ward at Canb Hospital has opened yet but the new birth centre sounds great.

 

The only other option you haven't mentioned is Queanbeyan Hospital. I have heard the care is great and you have your own room to stay in after delivery.

 

Good luck!

 

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FeralAlpacaWarrior

Yes I was just coming in to say that Queanbeyan is also an excellent option if you are low risk. It is a public hospital but you can go in as a private patient with shared care between midwives and an OB if you have PHI. I'm having my 2nd baby there, in 4-5 weeks time, and the facilities and staff there are excellent. It is rather busy these days though so if you want to go there you'll have to talk to them ASAP. PM me if you want to know more OP :)

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gemgirl

Thanks for this!

 

I'm booked into the Birth Centre, but think CATCH might be better.

 

I spoke to my Dr today and she feels I'll need more medication than the birth centre will provide (due to BP).

 

I do have PHI and have plenty of hospital cover. BUT we've spent loads on TTCing and I just had a week in a private hospital due to OHSS (IVF related problem), so we've spent a fortune already. Not that I'm complaining - I wanted to be in a private hospital for that, and I had the best care possible. But, I'm thinking for birth we might just go public. My doc said ultimately it didn't matter, unless you wanted to know your doctor... and chances are the doctor wouldn't be there for the birth!

Edited by gemgirl

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gemgirl

She was saying she thinks I'll end up needing an epidural (apparently they lower BP) or C-Section. BUT I think it's too early to tell. My fertility specialist said some women with existing high BP find it DROPS in pregnancy.

 

I will ring CATCH tomorrow and see if it's too late to get in to that. Thank you!

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apple80

I went to Calvary John James. Found it fantastic for first baby, was in there for ages. Private room with my husband able to stay on the floor, good food, heaps of support with establishing breastfeeding and how to look after a brand new baby. Excellent staff, there were a couple of bossy rude ones I didn't like but out of the dozen or so I saw I was very impressed. Went home feeling really confident (though that didn't last for long haha). If you know what you are doing and are keen on going straight home, maybe not for you.

 

I was a bit worried about going private with all the hype as I wasn't keen on unnecessary intervention but I had a drug free normal vaginal birth. Hadn't really planned anything or thought about it much, I think it is just luck tbh.

 

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goesaround

I have had 4 children...1 in normal delivery suite...3 at the birth centre at TCH.... I had 2 great experiences at the birth centre and the last was awful... any way... I needed no drugs for the last 3 but the first was a much longer, harder labour. This is not meant to scare you... as birth is a wonderful experience...yes of course there is pain.. but unlike other pain this is a productive one with a wonderful outcome. Anyway for me the most important things would be continuation of care... seeing the same midwife every time (consistent advice and forming a relationship with someone who is going to be there for you in a very personal / important time in your life)... having access to a lactation consultant soon after birth if required (you won't know until after you have the baby whether or not you will need this)... having your partner be able to stay after delivery... it is awful if they have to go... it should be a family affair... them leaving felt like total abandonment to me... with my first I had no idea what I was doing and there certainly are not enough nurses to provide adequate support on the wards. Finally in relation to my poor experience (really poor experience) at the birth centre... it related directly to my midwife who was allocated to me not the birth centre in general... well with my first I was told if I wasn't happy with my midwife i could ask for a different one... I did this with my fourth and they told me that it wasn't an option to change and the only way I could change would be to go to the delivery suite and lose my position at the birthing centre! In the end my instinct was right about my midwife - she made a big mistake causing me to have to face additional pain during delivery that wasn't necessary (I was told probably just 15 minutes before giving birth that I had to leave the bath because according to the notes that thought I would have a small baby and therefore could not have a water birth... this was never told to me prior to birth!!... I had 3 previous baby's all average weight and small fundal height... if my midwife had bothered to discuss this prior to birth I could have told her this and avoid getting out of the bath and go from manageable pain due to the warmth of the water to terrible pain (no drugs because I was managing with relief from the water)... basically this midwife lack of care made a beautiful birth and painful and disappointing one... My prior two experiences with the birth centre were fantastic and so were my midwives :)

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Kitakoo

Just one other thing to consider when looking at options, is what kind of care you are looking for after the birth. If you want to go home soon after the birth, and feel you will be most comfortable there, then I think the benefits of private hospital care are greatly reduced if you're low risk. I went private and, for me, it was really comforting during my pregnancy to know that I would be in the hospital with midwife support for a number of days after the birth, while my milk came in and I got my head around everything. I had a wonderful birth at John James and my obstetrician totally backed me in having a natural birth.

 

Good luck!

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munchkinsrule

I am booked in to have bub number 4 at the canberra hospital delivery suite as i couldnt get into either the birth centre or the catch program and i rang when i was only 7wks pregnant.

 

so far i have been happy with the care i have received going to the midwives clinic at the hospital and have had to see the ob there as well due to low blood pressure and measuring larger than dates. they have so far been very professional. i would have liked to have had the same midwife but as i normally have quick labours it doesnt really matter too much. good luck with it all and hope that you find somewhere that suits your needs.

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FrenchSoda

Rather than start another topic, I figured I might as well resurrect this one as I'm after the same info, and it has so much valuable feedback already.

 

I've registered with the birth centre and will be attending an info session next week, but I don't think it's the right option for me (I.e. drug-free).

 

I've heard good things about Queanbeyan but they don't appear to run any "official" tours on a regular basis like the other hospitals, though I haven't called up to confirm this yet. Does anyone know otherwise? I don't live in Queanbeyan, but it's not much further than any of the other hospitals for me. I'd love to hear about any recent experiences giving birth at Queanbeyan (feel free to PM me if you like). I've heard Queanbeyan does shared care with a list of GPs - I like my current GP, but I'd be okay with seeing someone else if she's not on the list.

 

I have PHI with maternity cover, but assuming my pregnancy is low-risk (I'm not even 5 weeks yet), I don't really feel the need to go private. Unless I start hearing unanimously rave reviews about one of the private hospitals!

 

Thanks for any feedback!

Edited by FrenchSoda

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Passport1

Good luck with the Birth Centre. We really liked the centre and felt it was a good fit for us. I was so upset when I got the preliminary phone call at 12 weeks checking my specifics and was told they felt I "might" end up being high risk and therefore couldn't birth there. (NOTHING in the questions/answers had changed since I booked in at 5 weeks and was offered a place...so I have no idea why they waited until 12 weeks to tell me I was too old.)

 

Consequently I couldn't get into the CATCH program as they are full. We're now left with the antenatal clinic option which was the one we didn't want. Now I'm really, really wishing we could afford John James!

 

Just saying it's probably a good idea to look at other options and maybe book into a couple of places so you get at least some choice if the Birth Centre option goes belly up.

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Tooties

I had baby number 3 through the antenatal clinic at TCH just 6 months ago. Bub was transverse and a few other difficulties so was booked for a caesarean. I had a horrible Ob treat me like it was the 1950's - spoke to my husband rather than me and when I asked any questions regarding bringing the date forward by a week because I kept having contractions and was really worried about what was happening he didn't give me any factual answers about why they prefer to leave it as long as possible, he rabbited on a whole bunch of emotional crap about how I was just going to hurt my baby and blah blah - had me in tears. Then while I was still in hospital after the caesarean they wouldn't let bub stay with me in recovery because they were too busy to have a midwife stay with us Besides that, day 1 they were great. After that I didn't get much care at all. On my last day there (day 3) I didn't see a nurse for about 8 hours - not even for pain relief or obs. Generally not a great experience.

 

In contrast, someone I'm close to has just had surgery in Queanbeyan (not birth but there is only 2 inpatient wards there, right next to each other). All the nurses were lovely, lots of care for her the whole time, even when she wasn't high care. They are trying to take more private patients at the moment because it brings more money into the hospital - you can go there as a private patient and not have to pay a gap for hospital. Highly recommend Queanbeyan, they were very caring and not so busy they ignore you for most of your stay!!!

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FrenchSoda

Passport1 - how frustrating! I feel a bit silly trying to make this decision when I'm not even 5 weeks, but experiences like yours make it seem like it is necessary to sort out plan a and plan b ASAP, just in case something doesn't work out.

 

Tooties - thanks for your feedback! Do you know, if I do go to Queanbeyan as a private patient, do I need to have an obstetrician? I wasn't planning on seeing one unless I encountered complications later on.

Edited by FrenchSoda

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MGB

.

Edited by Mrs Mel

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seepi

My experience at Calvary was of being largely ignored. Not impressed at all.

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Maggueful

I found the Calvery Hospital in Belconnen to be really good. Excellent care and attention during and after the birth.

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Bluenomi

I went Private at Calvery and will be again this time. I had no problems, the staff were lovely, got to stay for ages which is good since they push you out sooner in the public system and best of all, no shared bathroom! Plus I like my OB and felt more comfortable seeing the same OB and midwife the whole time instead of whoever was around at the time during my pregnancy.

 

QBN is only little, I'm not sure if they take women from out of zone (ie The ACT) but you can check. You'll end up at Canberra if you go early or have issues, they don't have a special care or NICU.

 

As for having an OB just be warned if you wait until there is issues to get one, you might not be able to get in. Most book out very early (ie 5/6 weeks) and with a few stopping working in obestrics lately there are less than there used to be.

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Duck-o-lah

I recently had DD at TCH and had a terrific experience.

 

For the first 16 weeks I went through the antenatal clinic. The appointments were very good, but the waiting times were loooong. Even when I was the first appt of the day, they were still running late. That was the only fault I found for the whole experience though.

 

At 16 weeks I got into the CATCH program and it was awesome. No waiting for the mw appts (still had to wait for the OB ones, though they were few and far between). I had to decide between a VBAC or elective CS and felt 100% supported either way. My MW was absolutely fantastic.

 

Found the care on the day of the surgery and afterwards excellent. DD got to come to recovery with me and we weren't separated the whole time I was there (4 nights). I had some painful complications after birth and found the staff attentive and sympathetic. Had trouble BFing DD when she was about a week old, my MW (who was still visiting me at home every day) got me straight in to see a lactation consultant to sort things out.

 

Couldn't recommend it highly enough. I have a friend currently going through the birth centre and she has so far had a very good experience also. Only trouble with either program is getting a place, book very early (like as soon as you get a BFP!). Good luck :)

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Nataliah

I gave birth at Queanbeyan hospital in March and I had a wonderful experience. I think it is a really good option particularly if you go public. I had the water birth I wanted, we were able to stay for 4 nights, with DH in my private room with me. The hospital is quite new and you're almost guaranteed a private room, as they only have one shared room which I was told rarely needs to be used. They don't do continuity of care (yet) with midwives, so you'll see different ones each time and get whoever is on duty when you go into labour. There aren't that many though, so its likely you'll get someone you've met before anyway. I was pretty confident about birth and really wanted to be left alone to do my thing, with DH of course. The midwife was there when I needed her, but otherwise I was free to do as I liked. She also took my birth plan seriously and held me to it in a gentle way, which I really appreciated.

 

I guess this might not be your idea of a good birth though, it depends how much involvement you want from your Dr/midwives? I also lived in ACT the whole time, they don't care about that, they take it as a compliment.

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FrenchSoda

Thank you all for taking the time to share your experiences, so helpful. It does seem like we're very fortunate in canberra to have a range of great hospitals to give birth in, certainly wasn't the case in the city I used to live in!

 

I've visited and registered for the birth centre. It was so lovely, I was extremely impressed BUT at the end of the day, I don't think it's where I'll end up because I want the option of an epidural (for reference, they have gas and one shot of morphine available in the birth centre). I was also a little concerned about the fact you pretty much have to give birth and get out (understandably, due to the demand).

 

I gave birth at Queanbeyan hospital in March and I had a wonderful experience.

 

I'm feeling really positive about Queanbeyan, your experience sounds really great. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your feedback. Can i ask, when did you first contact the hospital? I'm only 5 weeks at the moment.

Edited by FrenchSoda

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FeralAlpacaWarrior

Hi there, just wanted to let you know I had both my girls at Queanbeyan and it was fantastic. [removed OB name] The midwives are great, I bumped in to one at the shops the other day and she still remembered me. They were very supportive of my choices, I've also had friends birth there and have similar experiences. From what I understand Canberrans are allowed to birth there no problems. Go for it I say! I'd have another baby just to have another 4 day rest from housework!

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Nataliah
Thank you all for taking the time to share your experiences, so helpful. It does seem like we're very fortunate in canberra to have a range of great hospitals to give birth in, certainly wasn't the case in the city I used to live in!

 

I've visited and registered for the birth centre. It was so lovely, I was extremely impressed BUT at the end of the day, I don't think it's where I'll end up because I want the option of an epidural (for reference, they have gas and one shot of morphine available in the birth centre). I was also a little concerned about the fact you pretty much have to give birth and get out (understandably, due to the demand).

 

 

 

I'm feeling really positive about Queanbeyan, your experience sounds really great. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your feedback. Can i ask, when did you first contact the hospital? I'm only 5 weeks at the moment.

No problems! I went and did a tour at about 8 weeks pregnant and the other two women were ready to drop and had 3 other children. I felt like a fool, I was so clueless at that point (unplanned pregnancy). The reason I decided on QBN was similar to what you said above; as I felt they would support any birth I wanted to have and at that early stage I really had no idea what I wanted. I wasn't prepared to commit to the birthing centre, given the lack of pain relief. Had I been making the decision at 30 weeks, when I was sure I wanted a natural drug free birth, I might have made a different decision. However I am glad that I decided early and stuck to it as I had a great experience. In particular as a public patient I don't think there is a better option available!

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Nut

I had DS At TCH birthing suites and DD at the birth centre. My birth with DD was wonderful (and the lack of pain relief is not an issue for me) and I am having my third at the new birth centre with the same midwife who delivered DD.

 

 

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FeralRebelWClaws

Sorry to drag up an old thread, but I wondered if anyone had experience with doing shared care with their GP and MW/TCH ?

 

Ideally, I'd want DH to be able to stay with me, but I am guessing if we go with this option it wouldn't happen? Or could it possibly happen if we did shared care and went to Queanbeyan instead? Queanbeyan may not be the best choice, I *could* end up being high risk (because of weight.)

 

Thanks

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