Wagga Base Hospital will come under scrutiny in coming days as the NSW birth trauma inquiry heads to where it all started.
The Wagga RSL will host a local hearing of the state's maternity care inquiry on Tuesday to hear from members of the community who have experienced birth trauma in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD).
This is the first time the public will hear from local women who have been personally affected by birth trauma.
Wagga Base Hospital and the MLHD will also be called as witnesses at the hearing. To date, no submissions from either have been published but they have indicated they will cooperate with the inquiry.
An original Wagga hearing date of September 9 was pushed back after the inquiry received more than 4000 submissions, primarily from individual women who have been traumatised by their experience giving birth.
Inquiry chair Emma Hurst said it was important to have a hearing in Wagga to ensure the voices of regional women were not forgotten.
"It's a highly important hearing. That's why Wagga was a chosen location early in this inquiry," she said.
"It's important we hear from regional areas where we've had a significant number of submissions. Wagga was on our radar from the beginning.
"It's so important we hear from people in the local community about the local experiences. That will help us shape the recommendations to the inquiry while giving weight to the unique experiences of women living in regional areas."
Many advocates are pushing for changes that would force greater consideration of the mother's needs throughout the pregnancy and birthing process.
Central to this is multi-disciplinary care, and continuity of care.
Organisations like the College of Australian Midwives and Rural Doctors Association have said this would create better conditions for informed consent, and produce better outcomes for mothers and children.
Ms Hurst said the consistency of the messaging from trauma survivors and experts would make it hard for NSW Health to ignore.
"There is so much evidence going back to the thousands of individual submissions they've received, I don't think anyone can deny at this point in time there's something going on here," she said.
"I don't think this can continue to be ignored in any way.
"I think we're seeing a turn in the attitude, and I don't think this can continue to be ignored in any sense."
The inquiry will also hear from representatives of the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network, GP obstetrician Trudi Beck and senior manager of primary care engagement Andrew Heap.
Joining them will be four mothers who made anonymous submissions alleging they suffered birth trauma in the MLHD, and the author of one submission that has been suppressed entirely.
One of the submission's authors, newly identified as from Wagga, said she assumed because she was a nurse her local hospital would look after her.
She detailed the challenges encountered there and a contrasting experience giving birth under the guidance of a midwife.
"After 14 hours my son was born via emergency cesarean due to fetal distress. At the time I was praising the staff because imagine if I didn't have access to this care, my son could would been vulnerable and compromised," she said.
"It was not until I was trying for a VBAC [Vaginal Birth After Cesarean] and educated myself that I realised how naive I was.
"This pregnancy meant that I needed to attend the designated VBAC clinic, which in turn meant I had the same midwife my entire way through and she was incredible. I felt supported, heard. She provided me with great resources and education.
"I ended up getting my dream labour and birth. I ensured I did everything possible to avoid another induction and luckily went into spontaneous labour. I birthed our girl naturally and with no assistance. I felt incredibly proud and empowered."