First baby born in new women’s health wing at baby booming Blacktown

Father Bhuwan Pandey and mother Sheela Kharel with their baby boy.

‘Perfect’ was how new mum Sheela Kharel described Blacktown Hospital’s new birthing unit today, after her baby boy made history as the first arrival in the unit this afternoon.  

The new birthing unit is one of many women’s health services opening this week in Blacktown Hospital’s new building, a key part of the $700 million expansion of Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospital.

It includes birthing rooms with en-suites and a range of items to support birthing such as ledges, ropes and baths.

Located on level 6 of the new building, the unit also includes a maternity assessment centre for early diagnosis and management, which is directly adjacent to newborn care, which also opened today.

Parents Bhuwan and Sheela Kharel and their baby boy with registered midwife Bronwyn Shannon.

Newborn care includes a mixture of single and four-cot rooms, all with recliners or carer zone beds,  a parents’ retreat and a shared outdoor courtyard.  

Second-time mum Sheela said she was thrilled to be the first to experience the new birthing unit.  

“I’ve never seen any hospital like this. Everything is no new and advanced,” Sheela said.

“I desperately wanted to have a water birth with my first baby and today I did it – I’m so proud of that!

The new Blacktown Hospital building.

“It was so relaxing and so soothing.”

Sheela said she loved the ‘family environment’ and the sense of teamwork with her husband and her midwife.

“We’re so proud to have our baby here at Blacktown,” Sheela said.

“This is the best hospital for maternity.”

Midwifery unit manager Julieanne Barratt said it was extremely satisfying for staff to see all their hard work come to fruition.

“It feels a bit like having a baby ourselves, with lots of preparation and anticipation,” Julieanne said.

WSLHD board members joined chief executive Graeme Loy and Blacktown Hospital director of nursing Dani Levis on a tour of the new birthing unit recently.

“It’s a huge achievement. To see that women love what we’ve designed, and the way it supports their individual birthing experience, makes it all worthwhile. I couldn’t be prouder of our team.”

Newborn care nurse unit manager Therese Freeman said the move into their new unit today couldn’t have been smoother.

“The parents are well and truly settled in and they’re just astounded by the design, the light, and the services available to them,” Therese said.

“They think it’s just beautiful.”

A shot inside the new birthing unit. Picture shows a birthing bath and a carer lounge.

Today the hospital also opened its new perioperative services complex, with three urgent surgeries already conducted early in the day, and a total of about ten expected by the end of the day.

Divisional nurse manager of surgery and anaesthetics Cesare Aguilar said the move into the new hospital building went ‘really well’.

“The equipment worked well and we’ve had a lot of support from the IT and technology providers.”

For more information about the $700 million Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals’ redevelopment, visit: http://www.bmdhproject.health.nsw.gov.au/