Be thankful Orange!
On Friday, my wife and I welcomed the arrival of our third child and first daughter, Evie — a joyous time for our extended families, although we almost lost my mother-in-law to shock, so certain was she that we were having a boy. Thankfully, she is still with us, but judging from the minute-long unbroken screams we heard coming from the phone it was a close call!
No matter that we had both been through this twice before, there is always a lot of anxiety and uncertainty ahead of a birth. But people of Orange, I hope you know how blessed you are to have such a fantastic hospital. I cannot speak highly enough of all the staff that helped and reassured us through this week.
For my wife and I, one of the greatest luxuries during this past week has been the simple fact that we were able to have our baby in the same town we live in. It is something most people in Australia probably take as given, so let me tell you how great it is from someone who has never had the option before.
In our former home of Bourke, there has not been a local birthing service for more than a decade now. In that time, hundreds of women have had to travel to Dubbo, Orange or further abroad just to have their babies.
Removing yourself from your home, your family and friends at such a stressful time takes an emotional toll and is a costly, logistical headache.
Just in the lead up to this birth alone, it has saved us thousands of kilometres in commuting. Over both previous pregnancies, my wife made probably a dozen 800-kilometre round trips from Bourke to Dubbo to see her Obstetrician or for scans which were unavailable in town. Now being just blocks away is quite amazing.
It has also meant my wife and I have been able stay at home together right up until the delivery. When my second child was born, I spent a fortnight at home looking after our three-year-old son while my wife waited in Dubbo. And we were fortunate enough that she had family to stay with within the area, unlike many other women who spend weeks paying to live out of a motel in order to be close to the hospital for their delivery.
Now, with two children and one at school, having a baby locally has meant they can stay home in their own beds and we don’t have to drag them on two long car trips and rely heavily on family for their care. Something that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to rely on.
To be discharged with only a ten-minute commute ahead of you when leaving the hospital is also such a relief. Sitting on the side of the road on a 40-degree day trying to keep a toddler entertained, while my wife feeds a newborn after hours of being in a car is not a memory I’m keen to relive.
And the peace of mind knowing that help is at hand is immense. There were issues with my second child as a baby that required him to see a paediatrician, which meant more long trips to Dubbo including two emergency flights with the incredible Royal Flying Doctor Service.
There are countless other little things that, by being in Orange, have made this experience far less trying, too many to fit here, but my wife and I are grateful for them all.
Sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and being grateful for what we easily take for granted.