Labor pains and delivery – these very words make a pregnant woman nervous. Although she cherishes her journey of pregnancy, she’ll also put up a brave front while undergoing those innumerable, and often painful, physical changes. But all the pregnancy-related hormonal and physical changes are nothing compared to the impending labor pains. This is probably why every expecting mother hopes that her labor and childbirth are as quick and short as possible. However, a shorter labor time doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be a pleasant one too. Like it happened with Maria Harris, a resident of Portsmouth, UK, who had a unique birthing experience (1).
In 2014, Maria was pregnant with her first baby and was expected to deliver at the end of that year. Being her first pregnancy, Maria was obviously a bit nervous. But neither she nor her husband, Nathan, had anticipated what was in store for them. Especially since, barring low back pain and some blood pressure issues, Maria had an otherwise perfectly normal pregnancy journey. This, until one fine morning in November when Maria, who worked as a nursery nurse, realized at 9:10 am that her water had broken. She started experiencing labor pains. Not knowing what to do, she called up her husband, Nathan. Now, as luck would have it, the previous night Maria had been joking around with her husband pretending to be in labor. And, this was exactly what was happening to her, in reality, the following morning! With this background, it took some amount of convincing from Maria’s side to make Nathan believe that it was for real this time around. But once Nathan was convinced, he was in complete panic and eventually rushed back to Maria. He drove like crazy until they reached Queen Alexander hospital in Portsmouth.
Upon reaching the hospital, Maria was directly wheeled into the delivery suite. Almost every medical personnel seemed to be running helter-skelter to help Maria with her delivery process. By then, Maria knew that it was too late to consider any pain relief option. Her body had already started signaling that she needed to just start pushing. Since the childbirth was going to be premature, at 32 weeks, the doctors were still explaining to Maria that steroids needed to be administered in order to help develop the baby’s lungs to breathe soon after delivery. But nothing seemed to make sense to Maria. All she could think of was breathing in and pushing out harder. And even before the doctors could go ahead with the steroid administration, behold! Maria had delivered! Maria had arrived at the delivery suite at 10:20 and delivered the baby within 22 minutes!
As Maria recollected later, one moment she was experiencing contractions and the next moment she had delivered baby Jack, as he was later named. Since Jack was 2 months premature and did not get the opportunity to be administered steroids either, it took medical personnel almost a minute to get him breathing in the labor room. Once he did, he was rushed to the neonatal care unit and placed in an incubator. When Maria first got to see him, he was very tiny and weighed only 4.1 pounds. But she finally got to hold him 3 days later. Even then, he was very fragile and covered in wires, which scared her to no end.
Jack was kept in the hospital for five long weeks. While Maria got to stay with him for the first three days, she was very upset when she had to leave him back at the hospital. Like all new parents, Jack and Maria too had hoped to take their baby home soon after delivery. However, being unable to live that dream and the traumatic birthing experience pushed Maria into post-natal depression. And, the entire experience proved very overwhelming for the couple. So much so that they were scared to have another baby out of fear of undergoing a similar experience once again.
Baby Jack was discharged from the hospital just before Christmas that year and continues to be healthy, without any complications whatsoever, to this day. We wish him a healthy life ahead and salute Maria for being so brave! Kudos lady!