Dedicated midwife team share in families' joys

Read time

Image for Dedicated midwife team share in families' joys

Midwifery Unit Manager Jen Renshaw with her son, James, who was born at the Kingaroy Hospital

Download high resolution image [JPEG 5.4 MB]

Kingaroy Hospital’s maternity unit is more than just a workplace for its team of dedicated midwives. It’s a space where their clients become mothers, and families are created.

And it’s not just members of the public welcoming new life in those precious rooms.

The staff themselves are choosing to give birth at their local hospital, surrounded by their colleagues whom they now consider family.

Jennifer Renshaw is one of those hospital staff members, and she’s a MUM in more than one sense of the word.

Jen’s journey started when she moved to the South Burnett 12 years ago. She then followed her dream and became a student midwife at the Kingaroy Hospital. She then secured a position in the midwifery team after graduating, helped establish the local Midwifery Group Practice, and is now the hospital’s Midwifery Unit Manager, or MUM for short.

Add two children to the mix, and it’s safe to say Jen has her hands full. She is proud to say she gave birth at the Kingaroy Hospital.

“I couldn’t imagine having my babies at any other hospital,” Jen said.

She is just one of the many hundreds of women who have given birth at Kingaroy’s state-of-the-art, modern maternity unit which opened last year as part of the brand-new $92.5 million hospital.

The unit is the envy of many with its single rooms, pull-out sofa beds so partners can stay close, and streaming entertainment services.

Jen leads a team of dedicated and passionate midwives whose goal is to celebrate and nurture each and every birth. 

“People are very keen to be a part of the Midwifery Group Program, and we have women booking in very early in their pregnancies,” Jen said.

“We are seeing good outcomes from the MGP. Women appreciate and benefit from having continuity in their care. We have great collaboration between doctors and midwives here at Kingaroy, we work together to care for our women.”

Each year, the team of midwives provides antenatal and postnatal services to around 400 women. 

Under the MGP program, women are paired up with a known midwife for the duration of their pregnancy, labour, birth, and aftercare. They are also supported by a team of other known and trusted midwives to allow for breaks and unexpected staff leave.

It’s considered the “gold standard” of midwifery care and has been shown to improve outcomes for both mother and baby, and their extended families.

For first-time mum, Grace Teske, the opportunity to have a known midwife during her pregnancy and birth was invaluable.

Her baby Tobias, or Toby for short, is nearly six months old. As all mothers would say, Grace said, those first few months have simply “flown by”.

She was supported by midwife Di Schulte.

“Di was just amazing, and I cannot speak more highly about the care we received,” Grace said.

“She answered every phone call and every question I had. We’ve cried together and laughed as well. I would not have wanted to have my first baby with anyone else.

“As a first-time mum, I had no idea what I was in for. Some parts were scary, but Di patted my head and held my hand. She reassured me and was by my side.

“It takes a very special person to be a midwife and we are lucky to have so many special women supporting mothers in Kingaroy.

“The MGP is such a valuable program, and we are so fortunate to have it here at the Kingaroy Hospital.”

Di Schulte is a popular member of the midwifery team having worked in the South Burnett since 2021.  

She described her job as a source of “pride” and values her colleagues, Anna Lee and Phillipa Schreiber who also work in the MGP program.  

“It’s so important to involve women and their partners in the decision-making related to their care,” Di said.

“It’s also important to instil trust and empower women to have confidence in themselves.

“I have so much pride and joy watching the people in my care grow into happy, healthy families with wonderful, caring parents.”

She’s so popular that women often “request” Di when it’s time to expand their families.

Naomi Westcott is one such mum. She gave birth to baby Jaylen on 30 March this year.

“Di is such a beautiful person as are the rest of the team at Kingaroy,” Naomi said.

Naomi has four children, with her two youngest having been born at Kingaroy.

“Having Di as my midwife I was able to create a connection and trust,” she said.

“I trusted what she was doing and I knew myself and my baby were in good hands.

“The facilities are amazing too and the upgrades are brilliant.”

This connection extends beyond the birth suite and maternity wards, with the midwives providing in-home services and check-ups until the baby is six weeks old.

“It’s not just the physical side of things, they also make sure you are feeling well mentally,” Naomi said.

“They really care about their jobs and what their patients are going through.”