Cindy Swartz, 22, with baby Liam to whom she birth in toilet. Picture: Leon Knipe
Cape Town - A young mother in labour, who was sent home twice from the maternity unit, ended up giving birth by herself on her toilet at home.

But authorities at the Mitchells Plain Maternity Obstetric Unit (MOU) claim their midwives sent Cindy Swartz of Lentegeur home because she was not in active labour.

Cindy, 22, says her labour pains began on Saturday, 29, December, at 8am and she was rushed to the maternity unit by family.

But as soon as she arrived, a 40-weeks pregnant Cindy claims uncaring staff claimed she was not in labour and sent her home.

“I waited for my turn and gave in my card,” she explains.

“Just before 10am, my name was called and the nurse asked me what was wrong. I said I am getting period pains. The nurse told me she will do an examination. She said I must take my pants off. She placed two fingers inside my vagina and said I’m still very far [from giving birth] and to wait until 2 January to return.

“She said I must walk the pain away.”

Cindy says she left, trusting staff despite being in pain.

She said she walked around for hours until her water broke: “The pain went on until the next day just before 2am, 30 December.”

Cindy was rushed to hospital again where nurses told her she was not in labour.

“I had cleaned myself up and when I got to the MOU around 2am, the nurse said she will do the same procedure like the other nurse,” she continued.

“I told her my water broke and she said it’s pee.

“She said the blood had to be a certain colour and after doing the examination, I was told I could go home because I wasn’t in labour.”

But when Cindy arrived at home, the pain continued until midday, when baby Liam Grant made his appearance.

“I was in so much pain, I walked up and down, even in the street,” she says.

“I kept feeling this pressure and like I needed to popo (defecate), but there was nothing. And then I just felt something was there. I pushed and his head came out and I caught him before he could fall into the pot.”

Cindy says her family and neighbours all arrived to help and called an ambulance.

“The one neighbour held him upside down and patted him on the bum and he cried,” she adds.

“When the ambulance came, they cut the cord.”

She says she is disgusted at the service she received.

“When I was taken to the hospital, the same nurse who saw me the Saturday and said she remembered me because of my swollen feet,” says Cindy.

“I said to her, ‘you said I’m not in labour’, and said she is sorry for that and I didn’t say anything.”

Marika Champion, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Health says an investigation will take place.

But Monique Johnstone, Principal Communications Officer for Klipfontein / Mitchells Plain and Western / Southern Sub-structure maintains that staff followed procedure because Cindy was not in labour.

“Ms. Swartz was not in active labour when she presented to the Maternity Unit on the 29 and 30 December.

“She was examined by the midwife on duty and diagnosed as having a closed and thickened cervix with back pain, which is an indication that she was not in active labour.

“She was given feedback and discharged on both visits.

“It is standard procedure at our Maternity Obstetric Units to send a patient home if there are no signs of active labour.

“A mother in active labour will be admitted for delivery if her cervix was soft and dilated to 1cm with regular contractions.

“If she had returned with signs of regular contractions, then she would have been admitted for delivery.”

Daily Voice