Doctors’ book captures 30 years of baby births

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There is nothing more precious than a healthy, newborn baby, and two Cairns doctors have seen plenty in the 30 years they have been working together.

Paediatrician Dr Tim Warnock and Cairns’ longest serving obstetrician, Dr Tom Wright, are marking three decades of delivering children at Cairns Private Hospital with a photo book, 'Safe Arrivals – Celebrating a Collaborative Journey'.

Dr Wright has been working in Cairns since November 1990, following in his father’s footsteps as an obstetrician.

“It’s been a tale of two generations – a real privilege of being able to follow my father,” he said.

“I’m one of a small group of two-generation doctors in Cairns and equally it is my privilege to deliver two generations here in Cairns. 

“I delivered babies in the ‘90s and I am now delivering their babies.” 

Dr Tom Wright (left) and Dr Tim Warnock right) with local Cairns GP Dr Renae Dall’Alba and her baby Eden.

Dr Warnock has worked in Cairns since March 1990. 

As both a paediatrician and the book’s photographer, he said he had a special connection with Dr Wright.

“Both of our parents were medicos in Cairns, so each of our families has more than 50 years of medicinal history in North Queensland,” Dr Warnock said. 

Dr Warnock, a member of the Cairns Photographic Society, said he loves to help parents record those first precious moments of their baby’s life.

“The photo on the cover of the book came from one case where I was called in to help with an emergency caesarean – and the dad, his phone battery was flat,” he recalled. 

“I happened to have my camera with me, as I had just been talking some snaps of my nieces, and I asked him if he wanted me to take some photos, and they turned out really well. 

“It’s probably also my favourite photo of Tom.”

Dr Warnock said they decided to produce the book as a way to celebrate three decades of working together.

“Lots of parents want photos taken at the time of delivery – I’ll generally only do it during a caesarean not a natural delivery.

“It’s a unique moment in a family’s life and being at the delivery is one thing but being able to photograph it too, so it’s there with them forever, is wonderful.

“The theatre nurses and the midwives will help setting up for photos too, it’s become a bit of a regular thing for all of them," he added.

“I think drama can make for a great photo – there’s one of a little girl, Remy, with her hand outstretched and the theatre light is lighting up her eyes, that’s a dramatic one.”

A photo montage from the book 'Safe Arrivals'.

Dr Warnock, father of three and grandfather of one, said working with babies and children was one of the most rewarding types of medicine.

“I do mostly work now in the neo-natal area, and that’s a very nice area to work in, low-risk deliveries and parents who are in the right frame of mind and generally just can’t wait to meet their baby.”

He said some of his best photos were of fathers seeing their babies for the first time.

“We had one, where the dad couldn’t go in (to the delivery), and we brought the baby out to meet him in the recovery area, and that first meeting was very special.

“For Tom and I, one of the best things now is that we are seeing kids of the kids we saw in the 1990s," Dr Warnock added.

“It’s always lovely to see the repeat offenders too – you look after them with their first babies and then you see them again when they come back for baby number two and three.

“We’re very lucky.” 

The book will also feature as part of a four-week photo exhibition at The Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns, from Friday 22 January 2021.

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