Friday, 17 March 2017


Today is my granddaughter, Ashleigh's 18th birthday.  It is a day when our family will be celebrating her birth, but for another family it is a day of deep mourning.

My granddaughter's birth was a very complicated one. It was a very protracted labour as first deliveries can often be,  and after 17 hours of intense labour, my daughter requested and was given an epidural. Her partner left the room when she fell asleep, but I as her doula, stayed.  I asked the midwife what the graphs on the fetal monitor were supposed to read. She explained it all to me, boosted the Oxytocyn drip up higher and told me she would be in to check on her in 2 hours.  They were rushed off their feet with every delivery room full.

I had noticed some meconium stain when I was assisting my daughter, and I had privately advised the staff.  The baby was under some stress and to my mind, the stage was set for a possible emergency caesarean.  I was proved right.

With my daughter sleeping on three pillows, exhausted, there was nothing for me to do but watch the fetal monitor. I am sure God had planned for me to be there, for things went horribly wrong with the babys' heartbeat dipping dangerously during a contraction and not picking up after. My daughter would have been alone but as I saw it,  I ran to the nurses' station and told them to come urgently.  Within 10 minutes the child was born. 

If it hadn't been for me staying with my daughter instead of going for a coffee,  I would not have noticed the dipping heart rate until the babe was flat lining.  My daughter would have delivered a still-born daughter as they weren't even going to check on her for 2 hours. I remember seeing no staff around near the nurses' station and every door to each birthing room was closed.  I had to grab a midwife as she came out with some dirty linen.

Ashleigh was touch and go for a while but recovered quickly.  Not so for some poor woman and her baby in the long corridor of delivery rooms.  There was a distinct pall over the maternity floor and to this day I wonder just which room was the final resting place of a young mother and her unborn baby.

As the mother of still-born twins, I know the pain of loss, but I can't fathom the loss that the young father must have felt. Not to mention any other children the couple may have had and the girls' parents who lost not only a child but a grandchild as well.

I am so grateful to God that we have a healthy teenager today, but I have to try not to dwell on the fact that somewhere a family mourns the loss of a mother and child.  Life is full of tragedy... full of bittersweet days that herald a new life and see the passing of another.

Please join me in saying a quick prayer for that mourning family... it's all I can do for them. Oh, and happy birthday, Ashleigh!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted; Ecclesaistes 3:1-2

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