Not many women give birth twice in two months, but the day we spoke to Laurel Devenie, her Shortland Street character Kate had just “given birth” – while she was just weeks from having her own baby.
Planning a home birth in Whangarei with her partner Matt, Laurel wasn’t expecting to spend time in hospital beyond the Shortland Street set, but that all changed when she experienced bleeding at around 34 weeks.
“I had no idea bleeding could be so serious at this time of a pregnancy. I felt physically fine so thought I was fine, but when I mentioned it to my midwife, she told me to ring the maternity ward at Auckland City Hospital immediately.
“I thought it might be difficult to talk to someone on the maternity ward at such a huge hospital, but it was so easy, and my call was put through straight away. They told me to come to the Emergency Department, and someone would meet me there.”
While she plays a nurse on New Zealand’s most-loved drama series, Laurel had never spent time in hospital herself, and was feeling anxious at the thought of it.
“Before I got there, I felt so antsy, and was intimidated by the giant hospital. I thought I wouldn’t know what to do, but when I arrived at the ED, I was met by an orderly who wheeled me where I needed to go.
“Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I was really surprised and immediately impressed by how easy it all was.”
Laurel was kept overnight in the hospital, so the baby’s movements and heartbeat could be continually monitored, and she had a scan to check everything was ok. Both Laurel and the baby were perfectly healthy, but Laurel had to stay as a precautionary measure, and she was grateful to be so well looked after.
“I was overwhelmed by how many services we have available to us, particularly in maternity. Everything was seamless, which gave me such confidence, and stopped me worrying. I’d been having such a great pregnancy, other than sleepless nights, so it was a good wake-up call to take things seriously.”
Having such a positive hospital experience has made Laurel re-think her birth plan, back in her home town of Whangarei.
“I was planning a home birth, but now I’m thinking the hospital. My experience at Auckland City Hospital has made me change my mind; I think a hospital birth will make me feel really supported. I can’t wait to meet my little baby.”
Auckland DHB provides complex maternity and gynaecological care for the Northern Region (north of Mercer) and, for some conditions, the whole of New Zealand. The Women’s Health Department is one of the largest women’s health providers in Australasia, and it is part of the National Genetics Service, supporting the upper North Island.
Through the Auckland Health Foundation, people can support Auckland DHB’s Women’s Health Services, enabling world-class advancements that will benefit women throughout New Zealand and around 7,000 babies born under the DHB’s care each year. Make a donation here.