Mum's two-minute miracle: 'I delivered my own bub on the bathroom floor!'
By Jess Bell
April 29 2020
Sandra Rhodes, 32, from Melbourne, Vic, was delighted when she fell pregnant for the third time.
But her labour didn't go quite as expected. Here she tells her story of the womb that went zoom!
Sitting next to my son, Joey, three, I showed him the black and white photograph in my hand.
‘You’re going to have a new brother or sister soon,’ Itold him.
He looked back at me and grinned.
But once we started telling friends and family our news, Joey’s excitement really went through the roof.
‘Mummy’s got a baby in her tummy,’ he’d tell his friends proudly.
As well as Joey, my husband Jack and I also had a little girl, Mia, one.
Both Mia and Joey had been quick arrivals and I made sure to warn my obstetrician.
‘I don’t want to be one of those women who gives birth on the way to the hospital,’ I laughed.
Like with Mia and Joey, we decided not to find out the gender of our new arrival.
By January 2019, I was 34weeks pregnant and everything was going smoothly.
Then one night, I noticed that I was bleeding.
I was kept in hospital for tests and over two nights, my doctor did an ultrasound and checked my cervix.
‘There’s no sign of early labour,’ he said.
He thought it would be another few weeks before the baby arrived, but I wasn’t so sure.
‘I’d be happy with just one more week,’ I replied.
I was given steroids to help the baby’s lungs develop just in case, but by the Wednesday, I was okay to go home.
Still working as a teacher, the next day, I went into school for my last day before I went on maternity leave.
It was a scorcher and as I set off home in the car that afternoon, I was hot and uncomfortable.
Suddenly, I felt a sharp twinge deep in my belly.
Pulling over, I dialled Jack’s number.
‘Can you pick up the kids, please?’ I said. ‘I need to have a lie down.’
He agreed and as I continued driving, I felt a few more twinges.
I assumed it was just Braxton Hicks – false labour pains – so back home, I lay down on the bed and hoped it would stop.
But the pain continued.
I started timing the contractions on my phone and they seemed to be getting faster.
I was desperate for the toilet too, but when I walked into the bathroom the pain suddenly got worse.
Sitting on the floor, I rang Jack again.
‘I think I’m going into labour,’ I said, breathing deeply.
We decided to ask Jack’s mum to pick up the kids so he could drive me to hospital.
But by then, my contractions were coming on thick and fast.
‘I need an ambulance,’ I told him.
So, as Jack rushed home, I dialled Triple-0.
The dispatcher tried to keep me calm as I panted through each wave of pain.
‘Paramedics are on their way,’ he told me.
I focused on my breathing, knowing it wouldn’t be long before I was taken to the hospital.
But as I gritted my teeth through another contraction, I suddenly felt the head against my cervix.
‘The baby is coming now!’ I said to the operator.
‘Okay, you need to support the head,’ he told me.
But I was struggling to reach my arms around my bump.
Two minutes later, I felt another strong contraction.
I pushed, holding the baby’s head and body between my legs and then suddenly, he was out.
I scooped up the tiny bundle and lifted my bub onto my chest.
The baby was breathing and after a few moments,
I heard a little cry.
My shoulders sagged with relief. I’d given birth to a beautiful little boy.
I was told to wrap him up in a clean towel but all I could reach for was the bathmat.
‘That will have to do,’ the phone operator said.
So I wrapped him in the mat and placed my hand over his head to keep him warm.
Soon after, I heard the doorbell ring.
The paramedics had arrived but my front door was locked, so we had to wait until Jack arrived home.
I was happy just knowing my boy was safe.
He was breathing well and he was a good colour too.
A few minutes later, Jack arrived home and let the paramedics in.
Jack had no idea I’d had the baby and when he walked into the bathroom, his mouth dropped open.
‘Meet our little boy,’ I said, laughing.
After checking over our newborn, the paramedics helped me into the ambulance and whisked us both off to the hospital.
Because he was premature at 34 weeks, and weighed just over two kilos, he was taken to the special care nursery.
The next day, Jack brought Mia and Joey in to visit their new sibling, who we decided to name Eli.
Peering into his cot, Mia and Joey fell in love with their baby brother right away and couldn’t take their eyes off him.
Eli was kept in hospital for the next four weeks as he grew bigger and stronger, before we were able to finally take him home.
Now, Eli is 12 weeks old, and he’s doing brilliantly.
I still can’t believe I delivered my own baby on the bathroom floor.
He really is our two-minute miracle!