Employer saves domestic worker's breech baby
03 September 2015, 11:14
Cape Town – Domestic worker Colleen Arends never thought she’d end up giving birth to her baby girl on the floor of her employer’s Sunningdale home.
The 36-year-old Kraaifontein resident had visited the bathroom a few times on Monday morning before she spotted blood.
“I was not expecting to go into labour. I was just feeling I had pain by my bladder and thought it was the pressure of the baby,” she told News24 on Wednesday.
With her baby in the wrong position (breech), doctors had been expecting her at the hospital in two weeks’ time.
But the little one had other plans.
Employer Shara Engelbrecht, 39, a bookkeeper who works from home, said she didn’t know what was happening so told Colleen to sit on the couch so she could rub her back.
"I thought she was going to pass out. Next thing she was on the floor on all fours and saying she could feel something between her legs," Engelbrecht said.
The domestic was crying and shouted that the baby was coming.
Engelbrecht tried finding out where the hospital was but was also worried because Arends did not have medical aid.
She got her brother-in-law to call for an ambulance, waited for some family members to arrive and found towels and cushions.
"I think I called my mom again and when I looked behind I saw little feet.
"I wrapped a towel around the feet and the baby started coming out. The head was stuck inside and Colleen said: ‘I don’t want my baby to die’."
Though they tried to loosen the head, no amount of pushing seemed to work. At first she was wriggling but soon the baby stopped moving.
Engelbrecht put her hand on the baby’s chest and felt the strong heartbeat slowly fading.
"To me it literally felt like hours passing."
She let her sister and an assistant into the house and rushed back to her side.
‘Gift from God’
Out of the blue, she decided to tell Arends to lie on her side because she thought it might help her relax.
"As she lay on her side, the baby came out with the water and placenta. I don’t even think she pushed. I obviously caught her."
Paramedics soon arrived and cut the umbilical cord before handing the baby over to her for breastfeeding.Arends's little bundle of joy.
Doctors later told her that if she hadn’t received assistance, it would have come to her or her baby’s life.
Her blood pressure and her baby’s blood sugar were very low.
"I have named her Azaria, which means a gift from God. She is quite fine and drinking well,” Arends said of her 3.8kg baby on Wednesday.
"Shara was a very big help for me. I can’t stop thinking of what would have happened if she hadn't been there.
"There is not enough money in the world to repay what she did for me."
Ever humble, Engelbrecht said it didn’t feel as though she had done anything great.
"I am just relieved that I was at home at the time because I had an appointment later that morning. If anyone else was there, they would have done the same thing."