‘Nobody Cried, Nobody Said Anything’: A Midwife From Westmead Told Us Her Most Memorable Birth Story
If you're planning to watch 'One Born Every Minute Australia' -- you'd better make sure you've got several boxes of tissues handy.
The series lays bare the extraordinary experience of childbirth, showing just how different everyone's pregnancy journey can be and how midwives use their chameleon-like skills to adapt to -- and embrace -- any situation.
'One Born Every Minute Australia' focuses on the birthing unit at Sydney's Westmead Hospital, where Clinical Midwifery Educator Natascha Dastur has worked for seven years -- and she's seen it all.
"It's changed my life," she told 10 daily, explaining that she'd originally trained as a midwife to qualify as a flight nurse with the Air Ambulance, but stayed put after gaining an understanding of the meaning behind the process of labour.
"Everyone says, 'Oh my god, are you really put off by this process?' but I always come out of it going, 'Oh my god, this is amazing'."
"The sheer unbelievableness of the whole thing, the power that people don't even know they've had their whole lives, to see that coming through is amazing."
Of the thousands of births that Natascha has been present for over the years, there's one that sticks in her mind from years ago, an experience that tips the stereotypes of labour we see on fictional TV shows completely on its head.
"We obviously go in with no expectations -- I'm never really sure what to expect -- and we mould ourselves into the personality of whoever is in there," she told 10 daily.
"You know, so if someone laughing we'll be laughing, if someone is quiet we'll be really quiet, we'll be with them on every step of their process," she added.
But when she entered the birthing unit with a midwifery student at her side, she looked around to see a room set up in a way she hadn't really seen before.
"This woman had really thought of what her birth space would look like and the entire room was surrounded by fairy lights and dim lights and candles --the electric kind!" she laughed, assuring us that it wasn't a fire hazard.
The woman, who was "in the throes of labour" was surrounded by her husband, her aunty and a friend, who were all working to create a love-filled environment to help the mother welcome her newborn.
"The husband was near her giving her lots and lots of smooches, which is excellent for birthing because your oxytocin (the love hormone) just goes right up.
"Her support person was massaging her hand with an oil and her aunty was rubbing her foot with like this massage brush thing and she was just lying there looking like this goddess who was basically just being cared for by everyone and I thought, 'This is love'".
Natascha said she and her student watched in awe as the woman "turned on to her hands and knees, pulled her own baby up and just caught it".
"And we literally were standing back and it was the most peaceful process -- nobody cried, nobody said anything for about the first 10 minutes and this baby was having this silent communication with the mum," she explained to 10 daily.
Of course, not every birth can go this smoothly with Natascha explaining that "the reality of life can be difficult" when complications arise.
"There are certain clinical decisions that we need to either make that we know is going to be really hard for the woman and really hard for us to be in it with her," she told 10 daily.
"But we're chameleons, we've got to blend and, we need to understand our role as the background person and we need to be there for them if they're crying," she said, adding that the midwives are also "always looking after each other".
"[We have] lots of talking, lots of wine, lots of debriefing and lots of team building. Hard times like that bring us all together as a team. And we're always very quick to put ourselves down. We're our biggest critics, all of us."