From genetic conditions to a cancer diagnosis, episode three of One Born Every Minute is full of medical dramas any parent would dread – but still the unbridled joy of welcoming new life.
In episode three, we start off not at Westmead’s birth unit, but at Alexandra and Chris’ home as they jump in their car. It’s D-Day (delivery day) and we follow their car journey to the hospital for the scheduled caesarean birth of their second child.
For someone who originally didn’t want to have kids at all, having a second child is a big deal for Alexandra. After her first son was born, Alexandra discovered that she is unable to give birth naturally due to a genetic condition where her pelvis won’t open, so in order to avoid another emergency caesarean she’s booked in for a scheduled delivery.
Due to the clinical setup, she is struggling with her feelings and having trouble connecting to her unborn baby, thinking the whole process is unnatural. Her fears are evident in the operating theatre, where Chris supports her and calms her down.
Ultimately, her baby girl Charli is born and once she’s in mum’s arms, skin to skin, all those fears of not being able to connect with her baby are gone.
Janet and Blake are not your usual couple – not only is Janet fiercely independent, she’s also a midwife. Janet’s opted for a water birth and no pain relief for her third delivery – she wants to challenge herself – which means she really doesn’t need Blake’s help.
Blake’s not fazed by this as they are one very practical couple. While lacking in sentimentality, Blake is keenly aware of his part to play in labour: he needs to playfully annoy Janet, so she forgets about her labour pains.
The water birth goes without a hitch – if you ignore the fact that Janet’s in a lot of pain. As baby boy James makes his way into in their hands and both parents celebrate his arrival, a surprisingly philosophical Blake gives us a different take on parenthood and birth: you don’t love your children as soon as they come out. You have to learn how to love them, and that’ll come with time.
Bubbly and quirky Peruvian mum Marisa and her husband Daniel come in to the birth unit as Marisa’s waters break. They are ready for the birth of their second child, Alejandro.
However, this second pregnancy was not as pleasant as the first one, as Marisa was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 24 weeks pregnant. Having cancer meant undergoing chemo while pregnant.
A complex pregnancy like Marisa’s meant that she was followed closely by the PeARLS (Perinatal Advice Referral and Liaison Service) team at Westmead. Precautions are taken to ensure her delivery goes smoothly as her immune system is weakened by the chemotherapy.
Marisa also is saddened by the fact that she won’t be able to breastfeed, as she needs to go back to chemo shortly after birth. However, the couple is happy that – with financial support from the Cancer Council – they’ll be able to feed Alejandro with donor milk from a milk bank.
Marisa is induced to make sure Alejandro is born in between chemotherapy cycles and, after an emotional birth, they have their healthy baby boy in their arms.
The worry and the stress almost overwhelmed the couple, but their positive spirits kept them on track for a safe delivery, dealing with every new problem with a smile, always looking towards the future with hope.
To support Women’s and Newborn Health at Westmead Hospital contact firstname.lastname@example.org or text BABIES to 0473 000 111.