If only giving birth was as easy as cutting a ribbon to open newly refurbished birthing suites.
Mother-of-two Carla Nieman from Hoole, Chester, was chosen to perform the honour at the Countess of Chester Hospital because she was the first mum to give birth in the new maternity facilities before the project was fully completed.
At the time, midwives at the Countess were starting to make small improvements through their own fundraising efforts. But after receiving almost £150,000 from West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) the amenities now include a birthing pool, en-suite facilities, a birthing couch and the original birthing suite has been completely refurbished. A family sitting room has also been redecorated.
Carla, her partner Audley, son Rory, three, and 15-month-old Isla were all on hand to cut the ribbon and declare the unit open.
She said: “We were delighted to be asked to officially open the new birthing suites at the Countess. I had Rory at home but he needed emergency help following the birth and the midwives at the hospital were wonderful. So when it came to having Isla, as much as I wanted another home birth, I was nervous and the birthing suite at the Countess seemed like the best compromise.
“There was great privacy for Audley and I and it was relaxed, soothing and with lots of space. It didn’t feel at all like a hospital room yet we had that medical reassurance that we were looking for. Seeing what they’ve done to improve the facilities even more is fantastic. Giving birth is such a big moment and I can’t speak highly enough of the midwives at the Countess. They are great.”
Kathie Grimes, deputy head of midwifery, said: “Mums and their families are understandably nervous when they come into hospital to give birth and we are keen to promote ‘normality’ in our birthing suites and create a relaxing and calm environment for them to welcome their baby into the world.
“Through our own fundraising efforts we had begun adding small touches such as a bubble lamp, inspiring and relaxing quotes and even a special birthing couch to our birthing pool room at the time that Carla gave birth to Isla. She and other mums were so positive about the environment that it gave us the confidence to push ahead with our efforts to gain funding from the CCG and make further, more significant improvements.”