For the midwives and doctors who staff the busy birth unit at Westmead Hospital, every day brings new challenges – as episode two of One Born Every Minute captures in thrilling detail.
In episode two we meet Akaysha and Grant, a clear case of opposites attracting.
Akaysha is bubbly, hilarious and bluntly outspoken when it comes to her bodily functions and her pregnancy. Grant is her more reserved and gentle foil.
They are having their second baby and Akaysha is determined to have a natural birth. Her first labor was induced and went on for 21 hours before ending up in an emergency caesarean.
This time she’s keen for a VBAC – a vaginal birth after caesarean. It’s a birth plan that comes with some inherent danger.
Once someone has had a caesarean, there is a scar that remains on the wall of the uterus. There is a small risk is that this scar can rupture during a subsequent natural birth, ending up with the baby in the abdominal cavity.
Akaysha’s labour drags on. 17 hours in labour, the baby’s heart rate suddenly drops, a sign of respiratory distress.
With the health of both mum and bub at risk, the decision of whether or not to have a caesarean not has to be taken out of Akaysha’s hands.
Baby Heath Patrick is born by caesarean section and an emotional Grant reflects that “seeing your baby for the first time is the only way to really experience love at first sight”.
32-year-old Elyse and 33-year-old Chris are having their first child. But the baby is in the breech position – meaning that he is upside down in the womb.
Caesarean section is commonly regarded as the safest option in cases of breech. Elyse however is keen to avoid a caesarean at all costs because she has had two previous spinal surgeries and she is worried about the recovery time and taking care of her first child, as well as the impact on her body for a second bub.
The couple were referred to the breech clinic at Westmead, where Dr Andrew Pesce specialises in the natural delivery of breech babies. After 24 hours in labour, the team decide to give Elyse one more hour to see if her cervix will dilate sufficiently to allow her to safely try for the natural breech birth she is desperate to have.
Dr Pesce does his final examination and it’s good news – it’s time for Elyse to start pushing. It’s a dramatic, compelling and moving experience watching baby Donovan emerge backside first.
Elyse and Chris are now parents – with a healthy 3.8 kg beautiful boy.
Likeable truckie Liam and wife Sarah are having their second child. Their first, Parker, was born with a rare genetic muscular disorder, and the couple were given the option to terminate the pregnancy.
They decided against this and are deeply grateful for the life lessons learnt from having a child with special needs. As Sarah puts it “we don’t sweat the small stuff anymore” and Parker is a happy child who copes well with his disabilities.
But this second pregnancy has been coloured by concerns that bub number two might suffer from a similar genetic condition, and it was only after 20 weeks that Sarah and Liam were given the all-clear.
Sarah decides to get an epidural for pain relief, Finlay is born naturally after a short, calm and smooth labour.
Don’t miss the next episode on Tuesday, November 5 exclusively on Channel 10. To support Women’s and Newborn Health at Westmead Hospital contact firstname.lastname@example.org or text BABIES to 0473 000 111.