Many women have a long and difficult journey to the birthing suite, as is certainly the case in the three mothers featured in episode six of One Born Every Minute.
The episode begins with midwife Natascha answering a phone call from expecting mum Nina: she’s a little over 35 weeks pregnant and is having Braxton Hicks contractions. Nina comes to Westmead Hospital and Natascha tries to stop the contractions – the goal is to avoid giving birth to a premature baby.
Hours later, Nina’s contractions haven’t stopped and she is indeed in labour. Bad memories from her first delivery resurface. Her first child had breathing difficulties when born, which was a scary experience.
Oscar tries to cheer Nina up, but her quirky labour rules (no touching, no words of encouragement) makes his job difficult.
Finally Nina delivers a baby boy and he does have some difficulties breathing, but not as severe as her first child. After a bit of a scare, the family finally has little baby Theodore in their arms, safe and sound.
Mariatu is a midwife at the birth unit and she’s also giving birth to her third child amongst her colleagues and friends at Westmead Hospital.
Mariatu’s husband Sampson is present, but in her culture men don’t usually take part in birth, so the birthing partner for her planned water birth is her best friend Mariama.
Originally from Sierra Leone, Mariatu came to Australia as a refugee and discovered midwifery while starting her new life. She feels proud about being able to help women and giving them a voice – something that she couldn’t not experience back in Sierra Leone.
Mariatu retells the traumatic story of her first son’s birth and eventual death, an experience she wishes on no one. However, being a midwife in Australia has given her new life.
Her water birth goes beautifully well and she delivers a healthy baby girl, who in her culture can only be named in a special ceremony after a full month.
And for our third story, Julie and Izaac, a Lebanese-Australian family come in to Westmead for a planned caesarean birth. It’s Julie’s second delivery, however she’s expecting triplets this time around.
As Dr Indika finds the three babies’ positions during Julie’s ultrasound, we learn that they were conceived eigh years after their first daughter Gabriella was born. It was a long journey to this second pregnancy, one marked by a miscarriage.
Ultimately Julie and Izaac opted for IVF while visiting family back in Lebanon and were surprised with triplets – two boys and one girl. Going from one child to four makes the couple nervous, but they are terribly excited for their birth, and so is their extensive family – all present at the hospital for the triple delivery.
The logistics of a triplet birth are extensive: they’ll be born at 33 weeks and an army of midwives and obstetricians crowd the operating theatre. One at a time, the babies are delivered via caesarean section, with the trickiest one being the last baby.
They are all successfully delivered, and an emotional family waits outside of the operating theatre to greet the three newborns – Jonathan, Charbel and Maya.
A month later, we check in with Mariatu and Sampson at the bright and colourful naming ceremony for their baby girl. Their daughter’s name is finally revealed to the delight of their extended family: Fatimah.
To support Women’s and Newborn Health at Westmead Hospital contact firstname.lastname@example.org or text BABIES to 0473 000 111.