Humble midwife born to help
A heroic midwife has topped off her memorable career with a national award.
Cariad Milmine delivered her last baby after almost 20 years in the industry this month.
Her dedication to midwifery was recognised at the New Zealander of the Year awards.
She received a local hero award after saving a baby's life.
When Mrs Milmine delivered Sam Benson there were no complications and he was a healthy, happy boy.
But 12 days later his mother Justine was unable to settle her newborn and called on Mrs Milmine.
"When I arrived Sam was very pale and hardly breathing. I grabbed the oxygen and resuscitation kit because the ambulance was taking time to come."
Baby Sam was eventually admitted to hospital and placed on life support.
Doctors told the new mum that without Mrs Milmine's intervention it's likely Sam would not have survived.
The humble midwife is honoured by the award but says she was just doing her job.
Mrs Milmine faced her own challenge in 1998 when her career was almost ended by a near-death experience.
After only five years as a midwife the Eastern Beach resident was involved in a serious car accident that left her with life-threatening injuries.
She was on her way to deliver a baby at Middlemore Hospital when a car smashed into her stationary vehicle.
Instead of delivering a baby at the hospital she was admitted as a patient and placed in an induced coma.
When she woke she couldn't speak or identify anybody or anything apart from her immediate family.
"I remember the therapist showed me different objects and asked me their use. She held up a toothbrush and I brushed my hair with it."
Doctors told Mrs Milmine there was only a 10 per cent chance she would practise midwifery again. But she defied those odds and after 18 months of rehabilitation returned to work.
At the time of the accident Mrs Milmine was upgrading her diploma of midwifery to a degree.
She decided to complete this study after the accident despite being unable to read.
"I used to take a recorder to lectures and play it back on repeat. It almost killed me."
She independently delivered her first baby after the accident in 2000.
Now she's decided the time is right to close the door on that chapter of her life.
"I feel very positively about what New Zealand women are offered in the way of maternal care and it has been a privilege to be part of that."