Joyce Barrow loves being part of a new mum's journey, seeing a new baby born and the smiles of the family at the birth.
As a midwife and the acting Lakes District Health Board clinical midwife manager, it's something she's become very familiar with.
Today is International Midwives Day and the theme this year is "Midwives changing the world, one family at a time".
Ms Barrow has been working as a Lakes District Health Board midwife for 11 years as part of the 25-strong health board midwifery team, alongside some agency midwives.
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Health board midwives support independent lead maternity carers (LMCs) when they birth babies in the hospital. On occasion, if a woman turns up in hospital without an LMC, health board midwives take the lead role in birthing the baby and then look for an independent midwife to provide post-natal care in the community,
Ms Barrow, who is originally from Guyana in South America, trained there as a nurse for three years and then as a midwife for two years, completing her training in 1985.
Ms Barrow worked in a hospital straight after she trained in gynaecological and maternity wards and then a private non-governmental clinic which included sexual reproduction, family planning and fertility issues. Pregnant women in Guyana see an obstetrician for their antenatal care at a government-funded clinic and then the midwives on duty at the hospital birth the baby. They do not have the one-to-one on-going care by the same midwife as we do in New Zealand, she said.
"Maternity care in New Zealand is wonderful because women have the benefit of building a connection with the same midwife throughout their pregnancy, birth and post-natal period for six weeks."
She chose to be a health board midwife because there were regular shifts rather than the lifestyle choice of an independent midwife. It fitted better with her family life and four children, she said.
Ms Barrow left Guyana with her family in 1999 and went to work in Botswana at a 24-hour maternity clinic. They came to New Zealand in 2003 to her job at Lakes District Health Board and she hasn't looked back.
"I like the team spirit here at Lakes DHB. It's like working in a big family."