My daughter was born almost four weeks early. Although her arrival was unexpected, she wasn’t worryingly prem. I had a nine-hour textbook labour, vaginal delivery and no medical intervention. The baby was a bit under-cooked (2.5kg, hairy shoulders) but her APGAR scores were great – hello, perfect lovely offspring!
So I got stitched up, had a shower, and was dismissed from the birthing suite. My husband and I wheeled our new tiny person up the hallway to room 514 – I got the bed near the window, sweet! – and we sat down together on the scratchy waffle weave blanket, overwhelmed and overjoyed.
And this is where my memory gets a bit fuzzy. I suppose we were probably staring at the baby, touching her soft cheeks or rearranging her hat or something. Maybe we were discussing names – we hadn’t picked one yet – or just saying things like “Whoa, we have a baby!” and smiling deliriously at each other.
Then our swaddled daughter forgot to breathe.
I must have been in some kind of post-birth daze, because I didn’t notice the violet tinge that swept across her skin. I didn’t see her little chest stop moving, or detect the absence of her warm breath. She was right there, in my arms, and yet I didn’t realise that anything was wrong.
Fortunately my husband was on the ball. His new-father elation suddenly disappeared and he said, “She’s gone blue.” Then he pressed the nurse buzzer and leaped out into the hallway to call for help.
Meanwhile, I… Well, I don’t know. I can’t picture the scene at all. I have no memory of it. What was going through my mind? Did I gasp? Did I put the baby down on the bed? Did I do anything at all? I have no idea.