HELPING to bring a new life into the world is one of the perks of the job for Ballarat midwife Anne Ditchfield.
Being present at the birth of a baby on Christmas Day is a bonus.
With midwives at Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital alternating working over the festive season, it was Ms Ditchfield’s turn to do an eight-hour shift this Christmas.
“Helping to deliver a baby is a truly joyful experience, made even more so if a baby is born on Christmas Day. It’s nice to welcome a newborn on Christmas Day,” Ms Ditchfield said.
Nineteen midwives were on duty yesterday at the Ballarat Base Hospital - seven in the morning, seven in the afternoon and five on the evening shift.
For those babies fortunate enough to be born on Christmas Day, Base Hospital staff organise a small token to mark the occasion. It may be a small Christmas decoration but, for the parents of those newborn babies, it’s a memento that indicates the start of their child’s life.
While the midwives and other hospital medical and support staff may have to work at Christmas, those on day shift still have a chance to celebrate, with the hospital providing a lunch on a festive table.
Mothers who gave birth just before Christmas, but were still in hospital, were also able to leave for a few hours to spend the day with their families.
“(Staff) get to eat together and celebrate Christmas together, while some of the new mums got to go home for a time to be with their families,” Ms Ditchfield said.
Instead of swapping Kris Kringle gifts this year, the midwives donated money to the Lou Quinn Ovarian Cancer Fund. Lou, a much-loved BHS staff member, died earlier this year only weeks after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Ms Ditchfield, a mother of two daughters and a grandmother to three, celebrated Christmas with her own family after her shift finished yesterday afternoon.
“When my own children were little, I spent Christmas Day with them. But now they have grown, I like to make sure (BHS) staff who have their own little children get to spend time with their families.”