A LOT has changed at Bentley Maternity Hospital since it began its services 50 years ago.
In 1968, when AFL legend Barry Cable dropped his labouring wife Helen at the unit, he was instructed to go and play his football game.
It was an important game, but it was the way of the times that men were not allowed in a birthing suite or maternity unit until invited.
It was 3am before he received a call from the hospital informing him he was the father of Barry Jr a “little ruckman” and 11am before he could watch his newborn through the glass of the nursery.
A cuddle was still a few days off.
It is very different from the patient-centred care model the hospital now practices, led in part by Mr Cable’s daughter-in-law Josephine who is second in charge of maternity at Bentley.
Bentley Hospital has been an important part of the Cable family history, with Josephine and Barry Jr’s son Jeremy also being born at the hospital in 2006.
For Helen Cable, being able to hold Jeremy within the hour after his birth proved how far maternity care had come in four short decades.
“We didn’t question in those days how things were done, but it was amazing being in the hospital waiting while Jo was in labour and meeting Jeremy so soon after he was born, it showed how far we had come,” she said.
Josephine Cable has been at Bentley since 1999 and said the familial way Bentley Maternity was run helped make the decision to deliver there.
“Rooming-in, breast feeding promotion and recognising that birth is natural are all things that have changed over time and improve the birth experience for mothers,” she said.
“And of course allowing fathers in birthing rooms.”
The hospital, which was on the cusp of closure last year, continues to deliver more than 1000 babies a year and the three labour wards and 23 antenatal beds have remained full throughout 2017.
Barry Cable Snr said it was wonderful to return to the hospital where his family began for its 50th anniversary and said while the trees had grown taller and the garden more lush, the hospital’s warm feeling had remained the same.
“It’s important for us, and having Josephine here means that Bentley hospital is still a big part of the Cable family,” he said.