A mother has highlighted the importance of learning how to perform CPR after it saved her newborn daughter’s life when she turned blue from choking.
An already exhausted Natalie Beale, from Sydney, had just brought her four-day-old daughter, Chelsea, home from hospital. She was up at 2:30 in the morning to feed her, then nodded off, so her husband, Richard, looked after Chelsea while she slept. However, just 10 minutes later, the couple’s worst nightmare happened.
Natalie told news.com.au that she woke up to her husband rushing into the room. “He came rushing into the room and said ‘I think Chelsea’s choking’. I took one look at her and I said ‘Oh my God, she’s going completely blue’. He called the ambulance and I just tried to clear her airwaves and remove what was blocking her,” she said.
At that point, Natalie said that Chelsea was frothing at the mouth and the emergency call responder told Natalie to immediately start CPR. “I just remember her saying ‘Go as hard and as fast as you can’. I’d been trained how to do it, so I knew you had to compress the chest down one third of the way,” she said.
Natalie recalled how she performed CPR on her daughter for eight minutes.
“Watching me do those hard compressions really freaked Richard out, the whole situation was awful. For eight minutes we were doing the compressions and it was the longest eight minutes of my life.
“But as soon as we started the blood must have started pumping around her body, because her colour started coming back. She just started breathing before [the ambulance] got there,” she said.
Natalie believes knowing proper first aid training saved her daughter’s life. “I just went into autopilot and I did what I’ve been trained to do. You don’t want to think the worst, but eight minutes is a long time to be doing compressions. I feel like we saved her life. We’re so lucky,” she said.
Now, St John Ambulance is encouraging Australians, particularly parents, to complete a first aid course and learn how to properly perform CPR. Its CPR trainer Josh Clark said that there are people who are hesitant about performing CPR because of fear that they might cause an injury, but he said that doing something is better than nothing.
“The only thing you can do is do CPR until the person starts breathing again. It is as simple as putting your hands on the person’s chest in the centre between their arms and you push down one third of the chest depth,” he said. “You do 30 compressions for every two breaths and perform that cycle five times in two minutes. It can make such a big difference.”