a plastic sheet to lie on

I had a brilliant experience giving birth to my little girl, Lila. When I say "brilliant", I don't mean it wasn't painful, uncomfortable and traumatising to my body - it was all of these things, and more!

But it was pretty textbook fabulous in how all of the events unfolded. I woke up at 4.30am with cramps. They were stronger by 6am. By 7.30am they were 3 minutes apart, and at 8am my water broke. I raced to hospital and had barely climbed onto the bed before "real labour" (the painful bit) started, and she was born at 11.08am.

A rare moment of rest in between contractions

I had no drugs, no intervention, no complications, it all just happened very easily. I feel super lucky and grateful, because I know it doesn't happen that way for everyone. I have friends who have endured 30-hour labours, or frightening complications like placenta previa, and some who had emergency C-sections when things didn't go to plan. Super scary at the time, but they all delivered healthy, perfect babies! Thankfully, we live in an incredible country where medical expertise and resources abound.

So spare a thought for the mamas in Afghanistan. I learnt this week that 86% of women in Afghanistan give birth unattended by any health professional whatsoever! (On a side note, baby boys in Afghanistan are so preferred over girls that some baby girls go nameless for two years after their birth, because of the disappointment! Completely heartbreaking.)

A lot of these women give birth on the ground. In the dirt. With no clean facilities, no medical help, not even a clean scalpel to cut the umbilical cord. It's no wonder that hundreds of thousands of woman and babies routinely die in third world countries due to infection and other complications.

It makes me feel like such a brat for the things I worried about during my pregnancy, like will I get stretch marks? And how will I lose the baby weight?!

Lila, aged 7 weeks

There is something we can do to even it up, just slightly. For a mere $2.50, you can send a kit to a pregnant woman overseas to help bring about a safe delivery. The kit includes:
  • a plastic sheet for the mother to lie on, to prevent the mother and baby from coming into contact with the ground
  • 2 gloves to prevent the birth attendant from transmitting germs to the mother and baby
  • a scalpel blade for clean cut of the umbilical cord
  • soap for clean hands to prevent the birth attendant from transmitting germs to the mother and baby
  • 5 gauze squares to wipe secretions from the baby’s eyes and the mother’s perineum
  • 3 cords for clean ties to the umbilical cord and to prevent bleeding from the umbilical cord

The kits are distributed through Birthing Kit Foundation Australia. Best of all, 96% of all donations are used to create and send the kits, so hardly any money gets lost in admin expenses. Everyone's a winner :)