I have found that in my three years of being a parent (plus the extra 40 weeks of pregnancy!) that there are a never ending amount of choices to make. Some days it is the ‘easy’ ones such as ‘which breakfast cereal will I buy for my toddler?’ Other days I have agonized over ‘which day care centre will I trust in to care for my baby’. Fortunately the choice of where to birth my little girl was an extremely simple one for me and it is a decision that my family and I have remained delighted in. My gorgeous daughter Tegan was born in June 1999, but this is not where my love and admiration began for the Birth Centre at the Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH), Brisbane. I first learned of the Birth Centre while working at the RWH as a registered nurse. At this time I had also commenced study to become a Midwife. At this time in my life I had mistakenly believed that the Birth Centre was a model of care that would appeal more to ‘hippie’ women, not a mainstream person such as myself who considered my private health insurance to be important for childbirth alone! My first visit within the Birth Centre was during my hospital orientation. The second I walked through the double doors of our first Birth Centre (in the now demolished building) I felt at peace. I gravitated towards those walls lined with photos of jubilant faces, their arms ecstatically cradling life’s most glorious gift. I was hooked and wanted to know more. A great deal of my midwifery clinical placement was spent within the Birth Centre. The midwives took me under their wing and my love of natural birthing and family involvement was nurtured and firmly cemented in my mind. I was privileged to attend many Birth Centre antenatal appointments and births and got a real sense of what it is like to work within such a special environment. Needless to say I was pregnant before my midwifery course was finished and the obvious progression was to have my baby at the Birth Centre with the expert care of my midwife Karen Marshall. I had a great pregnancy and looked forward to my antenatal appointments (if you don’t count the morning/all day sickness for the first 14 weeks!!). They were a great opportunity to lounge around and have a chat. I never felt rushed; it was actually more like visiting friends who knew how to measure blood pressure. My pregnancy progressed well past my due date and even after my water’s broke still nothing happened!!! Karen continued my care in Birth Suite with a syntocinon infusion (and the epidural that I never thought I would have). I was involved with every decision made regarding my care and loved the fact that Karen stayed with us (despite the fact that she was already tired after a particularly grueling couple of days). The midwives are not only there when things are “normal” and this fact was further reinforced when my husband and I experienced the devastation of miscarriage last year. Once again the Birth Centre midwives were a supportive and caring team. I am obviously very devoted towards the Birth Centre and the amazing work of the Birth Centre Midwives. Since Tegan’s birth I have become actively involved with the non-profit organization Friends of the Birth Centre. I have found this to be a very rewarding experience as it is very fulfilling to give something back to the midwives who gave me so much during my pregnancy and birthing journey. I have also met some very special people who have also decided to become active members of Friends of the Birth Centre – in fact I feel that we are all a very normal bunch of people who only want what we believe is the best possible start in life that you can provide for your new family member. Friends of the Birth Centre was established seven years ago. We have regular fundraising activities such as cake stalls and the very popular “Massive Pre-Loved Toddler and Baby Goods Sale”. Our next sale will be held on Saturday the 19th of October from 10am to 2pm at the Wavell Heights Bowls Club. Friends of the Birth Centre uses these funds to enhance the Birth Centre and contribute to the professional development of our Midwives. We are also recognized as a consumer group that is often requested to provide comment on various hospital policies. We publish a quarterly newsletter and have a website www.fbc.org.au I think it is obvious that any subsequent babies that I have would also be Birth Centre Babes. I just couldn’t imagine any other way to bring a new life into the world!