Wednesday August 22, 2018
A Wimmera nurse who delivered her colleague’s baby on the side of a bitumen road is still in shock from the event.
Rural Northwest Health memory support nurse Bronwyn McIntyre was driving to work along the Blue Ribbon Road from Horsham to Warracknabeal when she was flagged down by a frantic father just after 7am yesterday.
Bronwyn said she stopped because she recognised the driver was Ashish Sahi, a personal carer with whom she worked at RNH’s Warracknabeal campus. Ashish’s partner is Mahima Atwal, a registered nurse, who also works with Bronwyn.
“I knew Mahima was ready to give birth because I worked with her a few weeks ago and she went home early because she was having contractions,” Bronwyn said.
When Bronwyn arrived, Mahima was on the front seat of their Toyota Rav 4 and their 5yo daughter Archisha was in the back seat. Ashish was on the phone to emergency services.
“Mahima had crowned because I could see the baby’s head so I took the phone from Ashish and the Triple Zero operator guided me, telling me where to place my hands to help her push,” Bronwyn said.
“The birth happened within five minutes or so. Ashish caught the baby,” she said.
“They told me to place the baby on Mahima’s chest and we covered her with baby blankets that were in the car.”
As a nurse and former lieutenant of Warracknabeal Fire Brigade, Bronwyn was well trained at remaining calm in a crisis situation. Bronwyn said she remained calm throughout the birth and kept talking to Mahima and to Archisha because she was frightened by the experience.
“The only time I got a little unsure was when I was trying to give the emergency controller our location,” she said.
“I knew the district was Murra Warra but couldn’t think of the name at the time so I just said we were 100 metres south of the Wimmera Fire Shed and Sailor’s Home Hall.”
The ambulance arrived 15 minutes after the birth and commuted Mahima and the baby to Wimmera Base Hospital’s Yandilla ward. Bronwyn continued her drive to work where she had a big story to tell her colleagues.
“It was only when I got to work and everyone was congratulating me that it started to sink in what had happened,” she said.
“It was an overwhelming experience and it did shock me a bit when I think of what could have gone wrong.
“I’m just so glad it was me coming along at that time because I don’t normally start that early. I went over early because I knew I had a meeting later on and I was trying to make up the time.
“As it turned out, I ended up being a little late to work.”
Bronwyn said it was the first time she had delivered a baby and was in no hurry to do it again.
“I have no desire to take up midwifery. I prefer being involved at the other end of life.”
Mahima said she was so grateful for Bronwyn’s appearance.
She was concerned when she realised she wasn’t going to make it to the hospital.
“I told Ashish to pull over because I felt the baby coming,” Mahima said.
“I saw the car coming and told Ashish to ‘stop that car’ because he was going to need help,” Mahima said.
“We were so lucky it was Bronwyn. I think God must have intervened to help us.”
Ashish said he named their baby girl Arshika because it meant ‘happiness’.
“Archisha wanted to call her ‘Rose’ so that will be a nickname for her,” Ashish said.
Notes: Rural Northwest Health does not provide maternity services so the family had to travel to Horsham. Mahima said she didn’t want to use the ambulance because it is a very rough ride due to the poor condition of the roads.
Both Ashish and Mahima are from Nepal.
Mahima is a registered nurse. Bronwyn is an enrolled nurse and Ashish works as a personal carer. They all work in the award winning aged care facility Yarriambiack Lodge.