Celebrating 20 years of babies born in the maternity and birthing unit at Redland Hospital

MORE than 35,600 babies have been born at Redland Hospital since the maternity and birthing unit opened 20 years ago.

Of those 17,220 were girls and 18,390 boys.

While parents have arrived and left with their newborns, four staff members Trish Cottle, Anne Rashleigh, Sandy Johnstone and Kathie Carlyon have been there all along, delivering thousands of babies between them.

Ms Cottle said the unit was a vastly different place two decades ago.

"You couldn’t birth twins," she said.

"They were all low-risk births and there was just an on call doctor.

"If we wanted labs taken we had to take the bloods ourselves, call the courier, send it into town and call for the results and our nursery didn’t open for about 18 months."

Redland Hospital nurse unit manager women and birthing Janet Knowles said the hospital's first baby was a girl born on March 15, 1999.

Midwife Sandra Miller who still works at the hospital was in attendance.

ORIGINALS: Trish Cottle, Anne Rashleigh, Sandy Johnstone and Kathie Carlyon were among the original staff at the Redland Hospital maternity and birthing unit.

ORIGINALS: Trish Cottle, Anne Rashleigh, Sandy Johnstone and Kathie Carlyon were among the original staff at the Redland Hospital maternity and birthing unit.

"There were 17 babies born during the first month but this quickly increased to 179 by December," Ms Knowles said.

Staff have had to adapt to change and cope with unexpected births - even in the hospital car park.

"I remember one night, about 10.30pm, mum just couldn't hold on and dad was nervous but I just kept calm and their first baby arrived safely in the car park," Ms Rashleigh said.

Redland Hospital now provides services like midwifery group practice and greater support with its own social worker and culturally sensitive birth suite.

"We cater to more high risk women now," Ms Cottle said.

The maternity and birthing unit opened in 1999 as part of a $47 million hospital refurbishment.

The unit is set for more changes with a water birthing suite to be built as part of $1.73 million works at the hospital.

Timeline

1994: $2.9 million Redland Health Service Centre begins operation

1995: Announcement of an upgrade from 40 beds to 120 beds

1996: $47 million state government capital works program announced for hospital refurbishment

1997: Turning of the sod

March 1999: Official opening of the new Redland Hospital's women and birthing unit