When Westmead’s new hospital opened four decades ago there was plenty to celebrate, as a new era of health care for the people of western Sydney began.
For one young woman approaching a milestone of her own there was also another celebration, but it was not her impending 21st birthday.
In fact, Ann English delivered her daughter the day before her 21st at Westmead’s new maternity unit, making baby Bianca the first to be born at the brand new hospital.
“All of a sudden she started having contractions and within a very small amount of time she was whisked away and I think I was almost born in the elevator,” Bianca told The Pulse.
Mum Ann had been rushed from Parramatta Hospital to Westmead after developing complications with the pregnancy.
“It was I think a shock for her, as I actually wasn’t supposed to be born for another two months,” Bianca said.
While Westmead Hospital opened on November 10, 1978, the maternity unit actually started operating the following April.
The ward already had its first mum booked in for a delivery, but on April 10, 1979, Ann English was given priority and made history by becoming the first mum to give birth in the new hospital.
All on the eve of her 21st.
“So she celebrated a big birthday in hospital, with me,” daughter Bianca said.
Bianca will help celebrate Westmead’s 40th birthday this Saturday, November 10.
“I’m excited to join in the celebrations, my husband, my kids, my mum, they’ll all be coming.”
Bianca, who now lives in Jindabyne, works as a life coach, helping people achieve their goals and dreams through motivation and time management.
Her special link to Westmead Hospital has seen her return many times to help celebrate the facility’s own milestones.
“It’s an honour – I love the fact that that’s a quirky little story in my tapestry of life.
“It’s always a good conversation starter,” Bianca said.
Bianca feels a real connection with her place of birth.
“It’s a world-class facility and I’m lucky to be part of that.
“There is a sense of happiness coming back as well,” she said.
Westmead’s 40th birthday celebrations commence on Saturday, November 10 from 10am to 3pm.
It will include a sausage sizzle, tai chi demonstrations and health information displays.
You might even bump into Bianca and her mum Ann.
“I like to see it as a team effort – we started this together, we’ll finish it together.”