Every 90 seconds, a mother dies in pregnancy and childbirth and 2.9 million babies don’t make it to their first month of life…but there’s a super simple way we can help, explains Karen Miles.
In the July issue of CHILD Mags, we profiled talented duo Justine and Daniel Flynn, who created social enterprise Thankyou. The idea behind Thankyou is not to stop buying products but to choose better ones – like Thankyou’s new range of baby products (launching late July) that give 100 percent of profits to setting up and maintaining birthing centres for women. To date, over $4.1 million has been donated and is changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Last month, Justine and Daniel returned to Nepal to see how their hard work and your product choices are changing women’s lives.
‘Life changing’ is a phrase that’s thrown around a lot, but for me, I only truly understood its meaning when I became a mother to my son Jed in June 2015. Birth is both life changing and memorable, but not always for good reasons.
Last month, we were travelling with our new project partner One Heart World-Wide in Nepal to visit the programs that’ll be funded through our new baby range of nappies and baby care products. We visited many villages in rural Nepal, but there was one in particular that left a lasting impression.
We walked up a mountain to the birthing centre and there was a woman 20 hours into labour. Arlene (founder of One Heart World-Wide) and Dr Nastu Sharma were doing a check up, but even those of us with no medical training could tell something wasn’t right.
Dr Nastu, who has delivered over 30,000 babies, had found the problem, but from his calm composure you wouldn’t know the situation was potentially life or death. Dr Nastu asked me to stay with the woman and comfort her, so along with another team member I held her hand through the delivery. He told us there were complications with how the baby was positioned – a situation that usually requires an emergency c-section, but we didn’t have the time to reach a hospital for the procedure. So, over the next hour, Dr Nastu manipulated the baby’s head to get it out safely.
Another hour passed and the baby was delivered. A beautiful baby boy…but something wasn’t right. The baby wasn’t crying. The umbilical cord had wrapped itself around the baby’s neck three times. The doctor very calmly and smoothly unwrapped the baby and put him on his mother’s stomach. The baby didn’t look like he was alive or breathing. This was completely different to my own birth, where my little boy literally came out screaming. I took the mother’s hand and put it on her new baby, and he wrapped his little hand around her thumb. It was then that we saw hope.
His tiny lungs were ever so slightly moving…the baby was breathing. After the longest five minutes, the baby started to cry – faint, cute, little cries.
They weighed, cleaned and swaddled the baby, and handed him to me to hold while they looked after the mother. My mind was catching up with what had just happened when suddenly, looking into his eyes, questions started to swirl in my mind – ‘What would’ve happened to the mother and this precious life if she wasn’t at a birthing centre? If like a lot of women in rural areas with no access to a birthing centre, she delivered at home?’
I spoke with Dr Nastu later and got my answer. If she had delivered at home, or in the mountains walking to help, her uterus would have ruptured and she would’ve lost her life, and the life of her baby.
He Said…Something happened on 6 July 2015 that changed everything for me. I became a parent. My heart was racing that day. I was watching my wife and best friend, Justine, go through something I couldn’t control and all I could do was say “It’s going to be ok”. There was one moment where a button was pressed and in came multiple doctors and machines and while everyone was calm, I was freaking out. Things got a little complicated in that room and we’re so grateful to have had trained people with us. Without them, I wouldn’t have a son and I may have also lost my best friend in the process.
Eleven months later, I’m standing on the side of a mountain in a remote village in Nepal and my heart is racing. There’s a lady inside a birthing centre giving birth. Justine’s been invited into the room to support her and the doctor that was travelling with us had stepped in to help deliver. Why? Because things were getting complicated.
“It’s a boy!” one of the team yelled. Justine emerged from the room and I ran up and hugged her. She couldn’t speak for a few moments. When she did, she said it was beautiful, but there was a moment where they thought they’d lost the baby. However, the mother and baby made it.
You don’t get to choose where you’re born – in a hospital in Australia or a remote village in Nepal – but you do deserve the same chance at life.
Our world’s been gifted two more little champion boys (one of them my son) and two amazing women (one of them my wife) because there was trained support at both births.
Thankyou is giving away this stellar hamper of goodies from their brand new baby range. One lucky reader will win:
2 x boxes of Thankyou nappies
1 x Thankyou baby shampoo
1 x Thankyou baby lotion
1 x Thankyou baby bath wash
1 x Thanlyou baby bath milk
1 x Thankyou baby massage oil
1. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Thankyou Hamper’ in the subject line. We’ll subscribe you to the child mags blog and CHILD Mags newsletter.
2. In the body of the email, tell us your name and answer this question: What size nappy does your child need?
Entries close midnight 18 July 2016. Good luck.
Featured image; Kim Landy