Click or flick across for more photos from the Mercy Health parents and babies unit over the years.
THE very first and one of the very last mums to attend Mercy Health’s parents and babies unit said thank you this week to the staff who saved their sanity.
It was a bittersweet day as staff and parents celebrated 30 years of service before the unit closes in Albury next week and reopens in Wodonga on October 29.
Kathleen and Noel Watson had no trouble with their first two children, but with their third came sleepless nights and a constant sound through their North Albury home.
“He just kept screaming. I really didn’t know what was wrong with him,” Mrs Watson said.
“The elder two kept saying ‘Take him back!’”
Mrs Watson was at the end of her tether, especially with no extended family in the area, and a nurse suggested she try Mercy Health’s parents and babies unit.
She was the very first mother to walk through the unit’s doors 30 years ago and since then, a small group of women has helped almost 14,000 families.
Mrs Watson’s memories of that time are fogged by the sleeplessness, but she can remember the day she turned to the service for help.
“The first day I went there they took Adrian away from me and took me into another room and told me to sleep,” she said.
“That was tremendous.”
Even 30 years later, the relief still washed over Mrs Watson’s face at the memory as she sat in her lounge room surrounded by university graduation photos of Adrian, now an adult.
It was the same relief felt by Brydie Charlesworth, from Albury, after she had her first baby
Olivia 12 weeks ago.
“She was really good at night, but during the day she wouldn’t settle unless she was in my arms so it was getting tiring,” Ms Charlesworth said.
She heard about the service at Mercy hospital from other mothers and she went twice with her last visit on Tuesday.
“They showed me how to wrap her properly, how to use the same routine each time she goes to bed so she knows what’s coming. It’s to help settle herself really,” Ms Charlesworth said.
“After the first time there was a dramatic improvement ... it saved my sanity.
“I was lucky I had a pretty good baby, there are mothers out there that have babies that don’t sleep at night at all and they were beyond stressed and the service saved them.”
Ms Charlesworth and Mrs Watson said the service needed to continue in Wodonga in the same manner as Albury.
“It needs to continue,” Mrs Watson said.
“We had no family around and we did need a bit of help ... it was beneficial to me.”