Real life drama in Auckland symbolises genuine friendship and care
Lakshmi and Rajakumar with their baby boy Aegan on Nov 10, 2020
Standfirst: Pregnancy is the most important time in the life of a woman. Carrying another life is strenuous, painful and challenging but the arrival of the baby is the most joyous moment for the entire family. But the following incident was an eye-opener for all of us. We realised the importance of friendship and the need to reach out and help people. Covid-19 has taught us many new things, one of which is to look after a pregnant woman during her delivery time, especially under difficult circumstances.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020 seemed like any other day- I returned from work and performed my usual tasks of cooking and spending time with my husband and children- until about 1010 pm, when I received a phone call stating that our family friend Lakshmi Priya Angusamy was experiencing labour pain and sought my help.
I rushed to her house soon thereafter, to find her screaming with pain. Her husband Rajakumar Sonaimuthu was non-plussed and scared but did his best to support her.
Our other two friends, Raisa Infreda Arokiaraj and Priyavarshini Mani were at hand but were equally stressed and worried.
“Please do not worry, let us try and help Lakshmi. Let us welcome a new life into this world. Please keep faith and we will do our best,” I told them.
Pain lingers, suffering begins
We were tending to Lakshmi and requested Raja to gather all the items required and prepare to go to the hospital.
But the situation began to worsen when we saw Lakshmi bleeding and called her midwife. She advised us not to panic and said that she would prepare for the delivery the following morning.
I advised Lakshmi to save energy to push the baby and encouraged her to do breathing exercise, recalling my own experience.
Around 1115 pm, Lakshmi’s suffering became worse. We kept the midwife informed constantly. Around 1147 pm, I saw the baby’s head showing and asked Raja to please take us to the hospital. He asked if it was proper to move without the approval of the midwife.
We called 111 for Ambulance but they were asking too many questions and too much information and said that it may take them about 30 minutes to reach Lakshmi’s house.
We cancelled the ambulance and decided to drive to hospital.
We managed to get Lakshmi in the back seat of the car and sat beside her.
The weather was most unhelpful. It started raining heavily.
Raja did not know the route to the hospital through the motorway. There was no GPS in his car and he had left his mobile phone at home. I told him that I will guide him.
Krithika Karthik, Lakshmi Angusamy, Raisa Arokiaraj and Priyavarshini Mani
Birth in the Tunnel
As we entered the Motorway at Mt Roskill, I became aware that Lakshmi was going to push the baby. It happens in almost all pregnancies- of a mother carrying her baby for ten months but when the baby is about to be delivered, would not wait for even ten minutes.
As we entered the Waterview Tunnel, Lakshmi pushed and the baby surfed out and fell into my hands. We heaved a sigh of relief as the baby began to cry. I requested Raja to be careful and not apply the break suddenly.
Drama in hospital
A little drama awaited us as we reached the hospital.
Raja parked the car and rushed inside. He was gone for more than ten minutes. I was holding the baby close to my chest to keep him warm.
A nurse, entering the hospital after her break, told us that we were parked at the wrong place and asked one of us to take the car to the right entrance. But the car key was with Raja!
When he returned, the nurse asked him to move the car. The vehicle would not move because its battery had drained and just then began heavy downpour!
Raja ran into the hospital again with the nurse to bring a wheelchair, blankets, towels and an umbrella. We helped Lakshmi to sit on the wheelchair holding the baby covered with towels and blanket, covered them and took them inside the hospital were the midwife was ready with the room.
The mother and child were examined. Lakshmi received a few stitches due to nature of delivery and the baby, weighed and his first feed. Meanwhile, Raisa and Priyavarshini arranged another friend to pick the mobile phone and other necessary stuff from Lakshmi’s home and deliver them at the hospital. Lakshmi and the baby were discharged and we took them to Parnell Birth care.
It was thereafter that we called Lakshmi’s parents to inform them of the arrival of the baby.
The following day (Thursday, November 5, 2020), we shared the good news with our friend.
The mother and child have now returned home.
The baby has been named Aegan Rajakumar.
We have formed a group to deliver food for lunch and dinner to Lakshmi and Raja so that they can look after the new-born baby.
There may be many more pregnant women like Lakshmi who cannot arrange for the visit of their parents at the time of delivery because of Covid-19 border restrictions.
My request to young parents-to-be is, “Please do not hesitate to seek help from your friends or neighbours. Believe me, they will always be helpful.”
Krithika Karthik is a qualified Electronics And Communication Engineer and employed as a Technical Engineer at Spark New Zealand. She is an active member of Muthtamil Sangam and a community worker. She lives with her husband Karthik Ramanathan and their two children in Auckland.
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