Sometimes a midwife is more than a midwife. Sometimes she’s a superhero. Like Sue Bree.
Bree saved the life of Naomi Facey’s unborn baby by keeping her hand up Facey’s birth canal for an hour and a half.
Facey and her partner Neil Bolton manage a holiday park in Russell, New Zealand. On March 19, more than two weeks before Facey’s due date, her waters broke. Bolton called Bree, who told them to make their way to hospital.
But Facey noticed part of the umbilical cord was hanging out. She realised this was a prolapsed cord, which could cut off oxygen supply to the baby and result in death within minutes. Bolton immediately called Bree again.
“She told Naomi to get head down, bum up, to keep the baby’s weight off the cord,” Bolton tells the Northern Advocate.
“Then I had to hang up and call 111.”
In less than 10 minutes Bree had caught a ferry and arrived at the holiday park, where Facey was in a bathroom. The local St John Ambulance volunteers were already there. Bree put on her gloves and inserted her hand into Facey’s birth canal to hold the baby away from the cord.
With her free hand she called Whangarei hospital, using Facey’s bottom as a phone holder. Meanwhile, St John volunteer Janet Planet called in a rescue helicopter.
Facey remembers Bree saying, “If you are religious, now is the time to start praying.”
Because the hallway was too narrow for a stretcher, Facey had to crawl to the door. She was driven to the school, carried across a field and loaded into the helicopter. Bree’s hand stayed up her the whole time.
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By the time Facey was delivered to the operating theatre, where hospital staff were waiting to perform a caesarean, Bree’s hand had been in place for 90 minutes.
After the caesarean, the staff high-fived. The baby girl had been delivered safely.
“The doctors expected to do a full resuscitation but she coughed into life,” Bolton says. “She was perfect. She’s a little miracle.”
Facey and Bolton are enormously grateful to everyone who helped with the delivery, but, in particular, Bree. Bolton describes her as a “superhero”.
As for baby Emilia, she’s now nearly a month old and in perfect health.
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