Natalie Dixon and her family were expecting a few false labour symptoms with her second child, Georgia – as this was what they experienced with their eldest child, Jenna. However, no one expected true labour to come on with Georgia at only six months gestation.
“It was just another day and more stretching pains,” says Natalie. “Or so we all thought!”
Natalie and her partner were in town enjoying a rare day off together when the pains started. They began in the morning and continued through what she hoped would be a leisurely lunch. Then, as they sat down to watch a movie together, the pains increased and Natalie was too uncomfortable to bear them. She rang her midwife for advice and was assured that she was likely experiencing Braxton Hicks – false labour.
“She recommended that I take some paracetamol and put my feet up for a while, but keep in touch with her” said Natalie.
At around 28 weeks through the pregnancy, no one expected the baby to be on its way – but she was.
“The pain never subsided and was playing out like contractions. I rang my mum and she too suggested they would be Braxton Hicks.”
Natalie was becoming anxious, remembering that her first daughter tried to arrive early too, but the labour was stopped with medication. She decided to be cautious and asked her partner to take her to Whangarei Hospital for a check-up.
“The internal examination showed that I was fully dilated and they could see a foot through the membranes,” says Natalie.
Things moved pretty quickly from that point. Natalie arranged for her mother to take Jenna to her aunty’s house and join her at the hospital. The hospital staff tried to slow the labour with medication and assess whether Natalie could be flown to Auckland for the delivery. However, the urge to push was overwhelming.
Labour stopped temporarily, but started up again and so did Natalie’s anxiety. She was scared about what giving birth to such a premature baby would mean and fought against the labour. When she was faced with the alternative of having a caesarean section, it was her father who calmed and focused her.
“Dad is the only one who can do that,” says Natalie.
Ten minutes later, baby Georgia was delivered upside down and breech at Whangarei Hospital, weighing only 2lb 14oz.
“I remember how small her little feet were,” says Natalie.
“The doctors took her down to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) as soon as she was born. I showered and headed straight down to be with her.”
Although Georgia was resuscitated, intubated and ventilated at birth, she was transferred to Starship’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit by Northland Emergency Services rescue helicopter without complication in the early hours of the next morning.
“It was such a challenging time,” says Natalie.
“We didn’t expect her to survive and it was a blessing to know that she was in the safe hands of NEST.”
Georgia was flown home 28 days later and is today a very healthy and strong 10 month old who knows her mind!
“Georgia is very cheeky and likes to hide behind her toys,” says Natalie.
“She wakes us up with her babbling at 2am and is beginning to roll around the floor like any other child her age.”
Natalie and her family thank all of the medical staff involved in delivering their baby girl into the world under such extreme circumstances and encourage everyone to give generously to the NEST rescue helicopter campaign.