Although Healesville Hospital still did birthing in 2012, they didn’t take first-time mums so I was booked in for Box Hill.

The most daunting part was the 50 minutes to one-hour drive.

You get stuck at every set of lights while being in pain with contractions, watching the clock waiting for the next contraction, and counting down the minutes until you get there.

With my first pregnancy, we arrived at hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning and they sent me home as it slowed down.

I got all the way back home and it felt unbearable again so I went all the way back to Box Hill and, of course, by the time I got there it slowed down again so they were going to send me home.

But there was no chance I was leaving.

I was happy for my partner to go but I was adamant that I would stay on the premises even if it meant I was only sitting in the waiting room.

I sure as hell was not going up risk the dreaded drive again.

Luckily a few hours went by and they were so busy that they left us alone in a disused old part of the maternity ward.

They came back and were talking about me possibly going.

I was having some contractions so she ordered to see how far dilated I was. If I was not far along then I would have had no choice but to go home.

Thank my lucky stars I was.

The following morning I had my first baby at 9am on 23 September 2012.

I was lucky enough to be back at Healesville Hospital by 5pm that night where I recovered and had family and friends visit, and it made it easier for my partner to come and go.

The staff at Healesville were great. I wish I could have delivered there at the time.

One week later they closed maternity, so I consider myself lucky and grateful for those two days there.

Fast forward to 2016 having bub number two.

I got to hospital about 2.45pm after the awful car drive down in unbearable pain and the nurses didn’t think I was even in late stages of labour as they thought I was too composed.

They made comments of ‘do you have anywhere close by you could stay?’ rather than going back to Healesville.

I said no and I probably indicated like last time around I wasn’t leaving.

My son was born at 5pm on the dot.

At least at Healesville it wouldn’t be an issue to be sent home.

Given the location I struggle to want a third child as I don’t think I could bear the long drive again.

– Jodie Anastasio

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