Mother flown to Dunedin without baby after early birth

Cherin Spencer-Bower heading to Dunedin by helicopter, and 3-hour-old daughter, Indy, on the way...
Cherin Spencer-Bower heading to Dunedin by helicopter, and 3-hour-old daughter, Indy, on the way to Dunedin by road with father Chris. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Another Wanaka mother has come forward with concerns about how far pregnant Wanaka women are from birthing facilities.


Cherin and Chris Spencer-Bower's first child, Indy, came earlier than expected, in the early hours of June 5, ruling out their planned drive to the Charlotte Jean Maternity Hospital in Alexandra.

Mrs Spencer-Bower said yesterday she had no choice but to give birth at home, Indy arriving too early for a road trip.

After the birth, Mrs Spencer-Bower was bleeding enough to cause concern and her midwife called for the rescue helicopter to take her to Dunedin Hospital.

However Indy could not accompany her on the helicopter, and father Chris had to drive Indy - age three hours - to Dunedin.

"I was stable, but had lost nearly two litres of blood and no-one had really checked my newborn,'' Mrs Spencer-Bower said.

"She seemed OK, but my husband was thrown the task of strapping a very new infant into a car seat - the temperature only -3degC - and driving three and a-half hours on windy, frosty roads to Dunedin Hospital while she gurgled and spit up bits of blood from the birth.''

Mother and daughter were reunited that afternoon and spent two days in Dunedin Hospital before transferring to the Lakes District Hospital in Queenstown "with an incredibly uncomfortable drive''.

After five days, they were able to return home to Wanaka, completing a 617km round trip.

"There must be a better way.

"Ours is one of many stories arising [out] of the birthing crisis in Central Otago.

"We are a part of a baby boom and know of 26 other mothers in Wanaka due to give birth in June alone.''

Mrs Spencer-Bower said she knew of another Wanaka woman who gave birth at Clyde, on the way to Alexandra.


Still, no one from the DHB feels it needs them to front up at a community meeting eh?