Let me just start off with WOW. I mean, WOW!
I lay in a bit longer than usual this morning and got up feeling rested and ready to take on the day. Probably a good thing because the day took a very interesting turn about an hour ago...
I was just about to call the kids to come upstairs for school when my neighbour came to my front door. I'd been meaning to speak with him for a while, because I happen to know that he's renovating and I was looking to earn a commission on a bamboo flooring job. So I figured he'd somehow heard about my bamboo flooring contact and wanted to speak to me about that.
Great was my surprise when he told me instead that his domestic helper had gone into labour and they needed me to come over and help!!
I threw on a jacket and marched out of the door, asking him whether her water had broken, trying to ascertain how much time I had. He said that they had already called for an ambulance but that there was no way of knowing how long it was going to take.
Just as well, because when I went upstairs to the room where the poor woman was labouring, she was lying on the bed shaking. And through her chattering teeth she told me "I'm cold!"
Things looked very tidy at this point and I thought at first that her water could not have broken as everything around her looked quite dry.
I took her hand and asked her how far along she was in her pregnancy, but all she could tell me was "The baby is coming!"
I asked her to take off her panties so that I could see what was happening, expecting that I would have to examine her internally to see how far her cervix was dilated.
All she could utter was "Wait!" and so I held her hand through the contraction and told her she was going to be okay. The contraction over, I got her to remove her panties and let me take a look.
I was greeted with the sight of her baby's crowning head. There was nothing for it but to stand by and help her deliver that baby. So I talked her through pushing out the head while I supported her perinium. She was a total champ and baby's head was out in just one good push - nice and slow, though, so she didn't tear! Then I encouraged her to give another good push and baby's shoulders were almost all the way out. A second big one and her brand new little girl came sliding out into my hands.
At this point, there were several thoughts swirling around in my head - What if she started bleeding? How's the baby's colour? Is she breathing? Do I need to suction her? With what!!? How much blood has she lost? What am I going to clamp the cord with? What if this baby dies?!!! Should I be worried about HIV?
The baby was covered in vernix and looked quite blueish. But she squealed almost instantly and started sneezing. I wanted to get the new mom, Nomsa, to breastfeed her little one immediately, but she didn't want to. So I wrapped her up in a towel and handed her to her mother with my congratulations. :)
After the cord had stopped pulsing, I asked the neighbour to bring me some string with which to tie it off. She brought me some, but forgot to bring scissors, so I just tied the cord and left it.
A couple of minutes later, I asked her if she felt like there was something else coming out and she said that there was, so I encouraged her to give a small push to get the placenta out, which she did.
Roughly 15 minutes after the baby was out, the paramedics arrived and I handed over to them, giving as much information as I could remember to give. And then I asked Nomsa if I could take a photo of her baby, to which she agreed:
I'm usually fairly calm in a crisis and I generally manage to keep it together enough to act with common sense in an emergency, although I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be able to deal with the mess of someone else's birth! But you know, when it came to it, it was simply a matter of getting on with it. There was no-one else around with enough wits about them to know what to do and this poor woman needed help. So I helped. And even though I was shaking like a leaf as that little baby landed in my hands, it felt friggin' awesome!!