Midwife was 'impatient'

WHEN night fell Benedict Coyne's growing sense of unease increased to fear.

His baby was not yet born and his partner, the mother of his baby, was exhausted, in extreme pain, and nearly unconscious.

On July 18 last year, Jasper Koch was born at the home south of Tuntable Falls around 11.30pm after his mother, Angel Koch, had laboured for nearly 22 hours. He died two hours later in Nimbin Hospital.

In an inquest into the death Mr Coyne told Lismore Coroner's Court that two discussions with their midwife, who cannot be named for legal reasons, about taking his partner to hospital, were dismissed saying only they would go to hospital if the labour did not progress 'soon'.

Mr Coyne said the midwife spent hours marking exam papers in the house as Ms Koch laboured.

“Angel was in distress and was calling for her midwife,” he said.

“We had gone through all the birthing classes and done all the research, and she was wondering where the hell her midwife was.”

Mr Coyne said there were times the midwife seemed impatient with Ms Koch's labour because her daughter was visiting and she wanted to get home to see her.

Mr Coyne said he and Ms Koch had talked about the home birth with the midwife in the weeks before the event, in particular about what would trigger a trip to hospital - a combination of exhaustion, an un- satisfactory foetal heart beat and labour stalling due to the baby's position.

“It was competently relayed to us that if Angel needed to go to the hospital then it would happen early and in the midwife's car,” Mr Coyne said.

He said there was no reason to believe the birth would be dangerous. But they had booked themselves into Lismore Base Hospital before the birth, just in case.

Ms Koch said she was prepared to move to the hospital if she needed to.

Ms Koch said she believed she was still in the first stage of labour when she asked to go to hospital.

“I felt intuitively I needed to go to hospital,” she said.

“It had also come to the point where the sort of pain I was feeling, and the exhaustion, together made me think 'I am not safe here'.”

However, Ms Koch said she believed her request was not taken seriously by the midwife.

Mr Coyne said when his son was born he was 'blue and floppy'.

Ms Koch's sister, Christina, drove Jasper to Nimbin Hospital with the midwife in the passenger seat feeding him oxygen and performing CPR.

Jasper was pronounced dead at around 1am.

Mr Coyne and Ms Koch were allowed to spend only 15 minutes with their son's body.

The inquest was adjourned to September 23.

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