My partner and I first found out we were going to have a baby in early November 2015. We were both beside ourselves with excitement but both so nervous as well.
We both thought the baby would be a girl as we found out about the pregnancy on my partners mums birthday and our original due date was the date that his mother passed away.
A lot of my pregnancy was rough. I had terrible morning sickness for 14 solid weeks, vomiting and fainting.
Around 10 weeks whilst at work I had a terrible bleed. At the time my boss did not know I was pregnant and being in a very demanding job I couldn’t just up and leave. I waited patiently until my replacement came then went to my local hospital. I was told everything seemed fine and after some time sent back home.
At my 12 week scan seeing our little baby was so wonderful. I spoke to the technician about the bleed and he said a Dr would compare my scans and let me know if there is anything to worry about. He also suggested I get some “routine” blood tests done.
My pregnancy continued on and at my 20 week scan they found our baby had a weak heartbeat, a smaller than normal heart and a cyst in the brain.
We had to wait until 32 weeks for a follow up scan on the babies brain as it is common for brain cysts to disappear by that time. We also had to take time considering the alternative. If the cyst did not go away we were told there was a high chance the baby would not survive and if it did the level of retardation would be so great it would more than likely have a very short lifespan.
At this point we were also informed the earlier bleed was believed to be the loss of a second unformed embryo that had not made it past the ‘cell sack’ stage. We were never able to get 100% confirmation on this but a number of midwives and doctors that viewed my scans and blood tests agreed. This was a bit upsetting but in a way a blessing that we had never known there was two and therefore had never been attached to the idea of having twins.
I had another bleed and again went to hospital. We were monitored and sent home with no issues.
We had to monitor the baby’s heartbeat closely and every time we were told it was still weak but we were just grateful to hear it every time.
We finally had a follow up scan and everything was looking good. we could finally relax and await the arrival of our baby.
Due date came and went and no sign of baby. Another week passed still no baby.
Finally 8 days after due date I woke around midnight with back pain. After about 20 minutes of trying to get comfortable I finally realised I was in labour.
I got up and made myself comfortable on the lounge and began timing contractions. My partner thought nothing of it as I often couldn’t sleep at night due to PTSD and it was nothing out of the ordinary for me to get out of bed for a cup of tea and to watch some Tele.
Around 4 am I woke my partner and told him what was happening. He got up and sat on the lounge with me, completely unsure of what to do. After 5 hrs my contraction were two minutes apart. I called the hospital and was told to come in.
I was 3 cm dilated and given the chance to choose whether to stay or go home. We went home and waited. My contractions continued and by 2 am the next morning, 26 hours since realising I was in labour, my contractions were a minute apart and the pain was lasting for two minutes.
We went back to the hospital and I was still only 3cm. I told them I thought my contractions were lasting for close to two minutes and was told contractions only go for one minute. In hindsight this was the first indicator that something was not right.
I was told to try to get some sleep. My mum and my partner both snored away while I continued on, believing each contraction was bringing me one step closer to meeting our baby.
At 7 am shift change occurred and again, I was 3 cm. At this point it was decided they would break my waters. I had a student doctor and an experienced midwife come in and break my waters. I was expecting a massive flood of water instead the tiniest trickle of water came out.
Within the next 10 minutes I began vomiting and bleeding heavily. I got in to the shower and my partner began running the water over my lower back to help with pain. I vomited a number of times and continued to bleed quite heavily.
I got in to the bath and started using gas. I hadn’t been in the bath for long when I began to get the urge to push. By this point I had my partner, my mum, a midwife, a student doctor and a student midwife in the room with me. I pushed with every contraction and was in absolute agony.
I ended up being taken from the bath due to blood loss as it was to difficult to keep the water clean.
I tried everything to help the baby come, birthing stools, squats, standing, sitting, laying, exercise balls. You name it, I tried it.
They began having difficulties monitoring the baby’s heart beat but believed it to be because the baby was low in the birth canal.
By about 11 am I started pleading with everyone in the room, telling them something was wrong and I was in to much pain. I was told a number of times it was completely normal.
By mid day I thought I was going to pass out. I remember laying on the floor refusing to get up because I just didn’t have the strength to do it. There was blood all over the room, some of it in big clots.
2 pm bought another shift change. By this point I had been in labour for 38 hrs, 6 of which I had been pushing. A new midwife came in and attempted to find the baby’s heart beat but couldn’t get an accurate reading. She tested my heart beat and oxygen levels and deemed me as being in distress. They also began the process of organising a blood transfusion for me.
The midwife made me get up, go to the toilet then come back and get on the bed and use the stirrups.
Around 2.30 pm she stated she needed a doctor. By this point I could barely keep my eyes open, I have no words to describe the agony I was in and I was pleading for help.
Before long I had my mum, my partner, 3 midwives, a doctor, a pediatrician, a student doctor and a student midwife all jammed in to my room.
The doctor told me the baby was in distress and he would need to preform an episiotomy (a vaginal cut) and ventouse (vacuum) for a safe delivery. By that point in time if he had of told me he had to cut off both of my legs I probably would have agreed.
Two more pushes later and I gave birth. As they do, the doctor attempted to lift my baby up to my chest however they could only lift so that the babies head was just above my belly button. The umbilical chord was incredibly short.
My partner cut the chord and the baby was moved up to my chest for a split second before the pediatrician took it as there was no response. The student doctor quickly popped back over to my bed and told us we had a girl. A big girl at that, 8 pound 9.
Our baby girl was given back to me and almost just as quickly taken again. The pediatrician said she had to take her away and my partner quickly joined them. My partner walked beside the cot and began pumping oxygen whilst the pediatrician continued to rub the baby trying to get more response from her.
In the nursery she was given something similar to adrenaline to get her heart beating stronger and she remained on oxygen. A tube was put down her mouth to start draining fluid off her lungs.
Meanwhile I was stuck in the birthing room. I gave birth to my ruptured placenta before being stitched up. It was then that they realised that the agony I was in was likely to have been from my placenta being torn away from the wall of my uterus rather than gently peeling away.
When it was time to have a shower I realised my legs did not work. My muscles were so physically exhausted that they simply did not function alone. I was told stirrups also would have compounded the problem and it is quite common for muscle tears to occur when stirrups are used.
I was lifted out of bed and put in to a wheel chair. I washed myself as well as I could but I couldn’t keep my mind off my baby girl. Where was she and was she ok?
I sat there, childless fantasising about that beautiful moment that mothers speak of, of holding your child for the first time after the birth.
About 2 hrs later I was wheeled in to see my baby. She was in a humidity crib with tubes and monitors all over her body. We weren’t able to hold or touch her yet so we just sat in awe. We had picked a girls name a year prior, before I had even fallen pregnant. We gave her two middle names after my partners mother and my mother.
I was taken back to my room and given some food before my mum left.
Four hours after the birth of our little girl we were finally able to have a quick cuddle before she was put back in to the crib for the night. It was so surreal finally holding her.
The following morning most the tubes had been removed however they were still conducting blood tests every 4 hours.
I had further blood tests as they still weren’t sure about whether a transfusion would be required. I was told that morning that they were lucky to be able to save the baby and for a moment they believed they may have lost me too. That was such a daunting thing to hear, it definitely made me stop whinging about the pains in my legs.
She remained in special care for 3 days and 4 nights before she was allowed on the ward with us. We spent one night together before being sent home.
I found it hard to bond with her as I always had the feeling she wasn’t really mine. From the moment she was born she had someone else looking after her and I was more like the relative that popped in now and again.
She continued to have breathing problems for a few weeks once we were home. We had to squirt salt water up her nose 4 times a day to make her sneeze and bring up gunk that was obstructing her airways. She also had to have her bassinet on a slope so she wasn’t laying flat on her back. We spent many nights sitting up with her on the lounge so she could sleep completely upright and breathe freely. This helped massively with our bonding and it didn’t take long before I was completely smitten. It took about 8 weeks before I could move my legs without any pain and even now 7 months down the track I still get sharp jabs of pain from time to time.
It took some time but our little girl is now completely healthy and an absolute character. I just know that she is going to be a fighter all her life and nothing is going to bring her down.
Guest Blog @ Relaxed Parenting by R.P NSW, Australia
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