If a baby is born outside of hospital - is it an emergency? Last week baby Ayla decided to be born on route to hospital, there was no panic, surprise yes, but no panic. Our local media spread this story far and wide yesterday with all kinds of embellishment added to ‘spice up’ the story. Definitely a reflection of our dramatic culture (surrounding birth at least). Yesterday my clients and I were able to listen to about 3 minutes of the 000 call and at no time was anyone terrified or screaming. Is birth really an emergency when it happens simply, even by the roadside. Yes, there are situations where complications arise and emergencies happen, I’m not talking about these instances. But of spontaneous onset of labour, being at home where women feel safe and comfortable and then following their own instincts as to when to leave for hospital. Actually, in this particular case, Aimee wasn’t even sure she WAS in established labour - there was no pattern to her surges, no visual signs her labour was intensifying. We are all different, our desires for birth are different, we ‘progress’ at different rates. Let’s support unique women as individuals and meet their needs as they arise - rather than trying to force them into a ‘box’ to make them fit a system - that often lets women and families down.
Aimee didn’t ever really show visual signs that labour was established, her surges didn’t fit a set pattern, they didn’t appear to be intensifying. Aimee was quite alert and could express what she was feeling between surges. She likened aspects of this labour to her first, a posterior labour (back pain) with early pushing sensations. I had been over to see them the night before and we did some Spinning Babies techniques to try and bring balance to her body and make space for baby to turn. During the night we stayed in touch over the phone and using the shower gave Aimee some relief. They called me back when Aimee was finding the urge to push quite challenging to breath through and was concerned the pushing feelings were due to baby’s position. We did some body positioning, rebozo and acupressure to encourage baby to rotate into a better position but Aimee felt she would prefer to go into hospital to get some answers as to why labour didn’t seem to be progressing and determine if baby was still in a posterior position. We grabbed a towel for the car seat as Aimee wasn’t sure if her waters had released moments before.
Before heading to hospital we dropped their son off to his Grandparents house, Aimee has a couple of surges in the car on the way but found them comfortable enough to breathe through. When we arrived at the Grandparents house Aimee needed to get out of the car and move through this bigger surge. She got back in the car and I reminded Luke that if Aimee asks you to pull over you must and let her get out and move through her surges.
Aimee later said she had 2 fairly mild surges in the car on our way to hospital but then felt a much more intense surge, Luke said her voice changed and sounded very determined he should pull over. I was driving in my car in front, keeping my eye on the rear view mirror to see how they were traveling. Luke flashed his headlights and indicated he was pulling over, so I pulled over too thinking Aimee needed to get out and move. As I approached their car Luke said Aimee needed me ‘Right now” as I approached her side of the car I could see this was more than a surge. Aimee said everything had become quite intense and she wasn’t sure what was happening. Luke suggested we call someone and I soon saw we needed to call for an ambulance as it looked and sounded like Aimee’s pushes had shifted into strong, instinctive pushing. While Luke spoke to the Ambulance dispatch a police car from the road works on the highway pulled up to see if we were ok. Not exactly what she was expecting, I’m sure. Luke gave the phone to the female police officer and joined us as Aimee and I worked together. We decided it was time to have a feel and see what was happening, Aimee said ‘I can feel a head’ and I asked her if I could check and sure enough, as she was standing beside their car on the Bruce Highway at 1:20am her baby’s head was born - as soon as I could grab the towel from the front seat of their car, Luke was right beside me ready to catch their baby. With one push their little baby girl was born into her Daddy’s arms and gave out a little cry. Tiny little Ayla was in a big hurry to meet her parents. It took around 20 minutes for the Ambulance to arrive, we helped Aimee sit back down on the front seat of the car as we waited. What an adventure we had just been a part of! three female Ambo’s arrived and helped Aimee and Ayla into the ambulance so we could finally reach our destination - Sunshine Coast University Hospital!
The ambulance officers stayed for the placenta to birth (physiological third stage - no artificial oxytocin) before they headed back on the road. The midwife checked to see if Aimee had any tears or grazes - a minor tear that didn’t require sutures. Aimee and Luke were left to bond and adore their precious baby girl, marvel in the nights activities and you could not wipe the smiles of their faces!