Babies Born!

Today we celebrated the birthday of the first baby boy born (say that three times fast) in the Alice Springs Hospital!  He’s 70.

We had Charlotte in a hospital in 2007 on the Queensland coast… one word – Shenanigans!  When I fell (*trip* oops!) pregnant again last year I was going to have the baby in the Alice Springs hospital.  Unfortunately that last pregnancy was a molar pregnancy, but the options open to women having babies in Alice Springs are pretty impressive.  Home birthing options are the most surprising –  You get full support and your own home birthing midwife for free!  Do they stay on, do the washing and make you a cuppa tea?  That would be sweet! I don’t know if I would have gone for it but I am glad the option is there.  I was one of those mums screaming for the drugs by the end.  The words – “numb me up woman!” may have been uttered/yelled.

It is a much smaller hospital than the one in Qld and it is used by people from miles around in an area where health issues are a hot topic.  So, I think it is excellent that they provide such a great range of services for pregnant women.

The old Aboriginal man who turned 70 is trying to get the hospital to acknowledge him as the first boy born there (on the plaque outside it only has the first Caucasian boy born – it was 1939).  Once that racism issue is cleared up I wonder if the woman who was born before both of them will want it changed!

Argg!  I am torn between my anti-racisim and anti-sexism feelings! Actually I think they should share the glory of the plaque!  I think I might write a country and western song about it… watch this space for my no.1 hit – the glory of the plaque.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Hey Pip! Starting us off nicely.

    Just up the road here, Alice Springs is our birthing hospital too. They used to have births at the local hospital but not anymore, and there is currently a petition and movement to ‘bring birthing back to the Barkly.’ This was very important to me, I ended up birthing both of mine in Darwin. DH actually missed Widget’s birth because he was 11 hours away and my labour was only 8 hours. For Midget he was there, but I was still stuck in Darwin with my ILs for several weeks waiting. I was pretty impressed and was going to sign, but a discussion changed my mind.

    Firstly to have births here they would not only need an obstetrician or obstetrically trained GP but they need a theatre team and anaesthetist available 24/7. Money may be sordid, but when it comes to scarce health dollars I personally would rather they spent it on something that will be used, rather than ‘what if something goes wrong.’ And that assumes we could actually get them – we can’t even get a full time GP!

    Then there’s the emergency scenario. If you are in a city having a homebirth or in a little hospital, help is still only an ambulance ride away. Here it’s a 2hr RFDS flight to Alice. If the plane is here. If it isn’t, you do the maths. So if something is seriously wrong with either mother or baby, there is a real risk that they will die.

    So like all risk analysis it comes down to two things – the chances of something going wrong, combined with how bad it will be. And for me personally, the risk of even one mother dying, even one baby brain damaged, just doesn’t stack up against 99.9% of us being able to birth in our own town. (And to complement your racism point, we all know who would be more likely to have that emergency).

    I don’t know. I could draw some long bow about health rights and third world conditions, but I’m not actually sure where I stand. Because I choose to live here, and I knew what it was like before I made that decision. As for the people born here, I wonder if they know what they’re missing out on and what they would choose if they did?


    • Posted by plahski on May 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm

      From Tennant Creek to Alice is a LONG way! I think the best way to think about it is to look at what other states get – Coastal towns that close and with the same population will each have maternity wards. In fact, with the amount of surrounding communities that Tennant Creek has the population would be larger than expected…

      Although, if Alice Springs Hospital stopped getting money or incentive for services to all of these other places would they be as good? hehe


  2. I think that sums up the problem neatly, Pip. If we compare them to towns in other states, they would both get a maternity wing, say it would cost $100 000 (I have no idea, that’s just a figure). But would $100 000 get you a maternity wing in TC? No. You have to offer more just to get people to come out here, like I said we can’t even get a full time GP but have visiting ones. I’ve needed some specialist services and they couldn’t even get them in Alice, we had to go private in Darwin. So do you look at equality of services? Or equality of resourcing? And then there’s the difference between ‘entitlements’ and what there is physically available.

    And everything is magnified with the flow-on effect – we were excited about possibly getting a prison, because more guards would mean more families, which would mean more teachers, so more police and nurses, better for the businesses etc. But basically the prison guards said they didn’t want to come and live in TC, so the new prison is being built in Darwin. Every time you cut back on services in the bush it is that bit less attractive so people leave, so they cut back on services. It’s a constant juggling act.


  3. Posted by perfectmum on May 7, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you both for shedding some light on how woeful the services are for people who live in remote areas of our country…it will make me think twice before I complain about wheatbelt WA…at least the city with its innumerable resources is still a manageable drive away for most people here.


  4. Posted by plahski on May 8, 2009 at 11:21 am

    There is a lot of second rate stuff going on out in the bush especially when it comes to health and educational services for children.

    The intervention was meant to be about the wellbeing of little children. The three most obvious changes to make a difference in children’s lives – Health, Housing and Education – seem to be missing on the ground. Just the term ‘intervention’ is unjustified and quite offensive when you live out here. We do get money faster for small projects now but in the big scheme of things, long term, and where it really matters everything is falling short.

    I think the previous government needed the ‘intervention’ to wake up to the reality of our country and the NT. It isn’t an ‘us’ and ‘them’ issue it is obviously a myriad of problems that is affecting everybody.

    Yikes! I thought it would take longer than that for me to show my true colours!


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