I feel so lucky that we have such a wonderful resource as the Helensville Birthing Centre in our community. Also that we have such amazing, hardworking, passionate and caring midwives and lactation consultants to support us. The anti natal class run by the birth centre was very interesting and informative and both Renee and Debbie did a great job of teaching. I’m very grateful that Michelle, Emma and Fiona supported me to have a home birth like I wanted to. Both Steve and I were blown away with how fantastic they all were. It was the most challenging and intense experience of my life and along with Steve they were the best support people I could have wished for. And Elsie is the best reward. Then staying at the birth centre was such a fantastic experience. It’s so great how it’s set up so that both parents can be together and get to know the baby and learn about being parents in a caring supportive environment. It was good being away from home and the normal stresses and responsibilities of everyday life so we could just focus on the baby. I love how the baby bed is attached to the parent’s bed and it’s so comforting knowing that there is always someone just a phone call away if you need help or have a question. The lactation consultants have all been extremely helpful. Renee, Debbie and Marie (and Michelle) have all helped me so much with breastfeeding Elsie, giving advice on all aspects, identifying that she had some stiff neck muscles so we were able to take her to the osteopath and also that she had a tongue tie which we were able to get fixed at the birth centre as well. It’s my wish to exclusively breast feed Elsie and being given the tools (such as the lact-aide and nipple shields) and strategies to do so when it’s been difficult is empowering and has helped me achieve my goal. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s reassuring knowing that if I ever need more help I can return to the lactation consultants. It was also fantastic having home visits from Michelle, Emma and Renee. They were really helpful with good advice and suggestions. The encouragement especially meant a lot to me. I never felt rushed or that any question I asked was a silly one. I felt respected and supported to make my own decisions. I really don’t know what I would have done without everyone’s support – we couldn’t have asked for better outcomes for Elsie’s birth, after birth care, and breastfeeding support. Thanks so much everyone. You all do such an amazing job and you deserve to be recognised for what a great start you give to babies and their new parents.