This is part one of a series profiling nurses and midwives in our area. The year 2020 is the World Health Organization's International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. The year-long effort celebrates the work of nurses and midwives.
Arlene Lavilla, as a high school student, wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps to become a midwife.
Life took a different turn and she ended up doing a bit of teaching.
But it wasn't the right fit.
Arlene fell in love with midwifery on her initial placement, during which she saw a birth for the first time, and she hasn't looked back.
"I just thought it was incredible and amazing," she said about witnessing a birth for the first time.
"It's a very precious time."
Arlene, who has been a midwife for almost a year, said her colleagues at Port Macquarie Base Hospital were so supportive.
She hopes to become a lactation consultant later in her career and also spend more time in neonatal care.
Arlene said the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife would help make people more aware of the midwifery profession and its scope.
Cathy Foley, a registered nurse for 42 years, has about 22 years' experience as a midwife.
An opportunity arose to pursue her midwifery dream while living in Tamworth but it meant time away from her family.
"I had thee children at home - 10, 13 and 15 - and my husband [Pat] was very supportive," she said.
"I was thrilled because I'd always wanted to do midwifery."
Fast forward and Cathy is an experienced midwife at Port Macquarie Base Hospital with expertise in child and family health and women's health, and 12 months spent working in the IVF field.
She said as a midwife, you were never without a job.
"The thing I love most is assisting women to have the best birth they can," Cathy said.
"It's one of those life-changing events and you never forget the midwife that was with you."
The rewards are found in seeing new mothers having their babies, Cathy says, and sending them home with confidence to manage their newborns.
She said the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife would promote midwives as health professionals.
What else is making news, sport?
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.