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Labour of love: He wasn't breathing

Last updated 05:00 19/02/2013
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SCARY START: Erin Major-Johnston's son had to be resuscitated shortly after birth.

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At 38 weeks and having just returned from my baby shower, I said to my partner that I was ready now. There were no more commitments to hold off for.

Ten minutes later, I felt a little ill. An hour later, I was in a lot of pain. Eight hours later, I was keeping the neighbours awake, but with no regular contractions.

Our midwife knew something was wrong, the baby was posterior.

After a fairly traumatic birth our poor angel wasn't able to breathe. My partner was swaying and going green after cutting the cord but snapped out of it as soon as he realised something was wrong. He held our son's hand while he was resuscitated, then went up to NICU. 

As soon as I got the feeling back in my legs I could go see him (I lied, I couldn't feel a damn thing!). I only got to see him for a few minutes, just our touch and proximity was draining his precious energy.

Then we were taken aside to be gently told about the possibility of heart or brain damage.

I've never felt so devastated. I would've opened my own chest, my own skull, given all my blood, everything and anything, if there was even the slightest chance it would help. I know my partner would've done the same.

I was admitted to the maternity unit, baby-less. The receptionist asked "just you?".

Other mothers were sick of their babiess constant crying. I hadn't heard my baby yet.

By 1am, eight hours after birth, he was able to breathe on his own. 

After five days we were able to go home with a 100 per cent healthy baby boy. 

We owe everything to our midwife, Chris Barbier, and the people at Christchurch Womens, especially the NICU team.

We are all so lucky to live in this amazing first world country, where baby and mum have the best chance of surviving and thriving. Where we have Plunket, Plunketline, playgroups, Working For Families and budgeting advice to name only a few of the awesome supports out their for parents.

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