07/05/2015 17:01 BST | Updated 07/05/2016 06:59 BST

Meeting Miracle Babies Who Survived Earthquake in Nepal


Shaku - who went into labour 40 minutes before the earthquake started

As news of the royal baby, Princess Charlotte, reached me in earthquake struck Nepal, I was on a maternity ward, meeting some special deliveries of my own.

For the past two days I have been with ActionAid's emergency response team at Patan hospital in Kathmandu, where brave doctors and nurses have delivered nearly 200 babies since the earthquake. This includes 45 cesarean sections and four babies during the quake.

I met with Shaku who went into labour just 40 minutes before the earthquake started. She told me that her uncle had to pull the car over during the quake and then drove through an hour of aftershocks to get her to the hospital.

Terrified and in pain, Shaku eventually gave birth by cesarean section. She credits her life and that of her baby to the incredible hospital staff who delivered her baby with diligence and calm against all odds.

Nurse Rassmi, a retired midwife, who within hours of the quake occurring returned to Patan hospital to do what she does best, explained that while the ground was still shaking, her team delivered no less than four babies in the open air.

The hospital staff moved everyone outside of the hospital building and in the days following the earthquake, when people were too afraid to go inside, carried out life-saving surgeries in a tent in the car park.

Many women have gone into premature labour due to the stress of the earthquake meaning the hospital is working around the clock.

What struck me about Patan hospital's medical team was their resilience and level headedness. They were just getting on with it. Patan hospital delivers around 10,000 babies a year and even an earthquake wouldn't stop them from doing their good work.

When ActionAid heard that there were skilled, local doctors and nurses in Nepal ready to do their job, but lacking the medical supplies and surgical equipment to do so, we decided to give them £50,000 to equip their operating theatre, enabling them to help more people both now and in the future.


Senior nurse Shretha listening to a baby's heartbeat at Patan Hospital

A few days ago in an earthquake survivor's camp, I met Shreya, who is eight months' pregnant. She told me that the earthquake shook her so hard that her baby moved into the wrong position. Thankfully her baby has moved back now, but she worries that there will be complications when she gives birth.

It encourages me to think that when she reaches Patan hospital, Nurse Rassmi and her team will be there to help her, with an operating theatre if necessary.

As for Shaku I asked her what will she name her baby? She tells me that in Nepal babies aren't named until 12 days after their birth, but her family have nearly made their mind up.

"I think we'll call her Lucky," she says with a smile.