The day of my due date my friend who does photography took some pregnancy photos of me with my husband and our dog. We took some shots at home and ventured out to Hollybank for scenic photos. It was a nice day and we had heaps of fun having the photos taken. Oh, what timing – little did we know that I was going to go into labour that same afternoon!
My husband and I decided to take a detour through to Lilydale to look at some nurseries and enjoy the country drive after the photo shoot since it was such a nice day. We joked about the gravel roads we drove on which might help me go into labour. On our way home I started getting mild cramps and thought I had wet my pants and was eager to get home. Sure enough there was my ‘bloody show’. I already had a few false alarms in the weeks leading up to my due date so I wasn’t getting myself too excited so we put on a DVD and had a couch picnic of cheese, bikkies, fruit and sweets. This was around 4pm. What I thought were only Braxton Hicks turned out to be real contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart. I asked my husband to run the bath for me to relieve some of the pain and to help me relax as I thought we’d have a long night ahead, being our first child.
It was now a bit after 5pm and I had been in the bath for less than 20 mins. The contractions were coming on strong and all I wanted to do was get to the LBC – this time I knew –this is it! I called my primary midwife but could not get through – oh no, she must be at work or maybe at another birth, so I called my second midwife who was still in Brisbane at the time but was going to keep trying my primary midwife for me and would call me back – great, both my midwives are unavailable! This can’t be happening, I thought. Soon enough, my primary midwife who was at work called me back and arranged for a back-up midwife to come and meet me at the LBC until she could get there. I happily agreed and we packed our things ready to go.
We arrived at the LBC at 6.50pm and met our surrogate midwife who gave us a warm welcome and offered to run the bath to make me more comfortable. By this time I was labouring well. It even became difficult to do the tummy palpations and check for the baby’s heart beat through my contractions, so I hopped straight in the bath. Oh, it was so amazing for pain relief! My husband even hopped in with me to massage my back and offered all the support I needed. My goodness, I was so grateful and proud of him that night – he was my rock. I honestly could not have done so well labouring without the immense support from him and my midwives.
At 7.15pm my primary midwife called to let me know she was on her way and arrived shortly after.
At 8.00pm my waters broke whilst I was in the bath, then half an hour later a foot appeared! Oh no, baby must have turned again in the last week! We knew she was breech at 37 weeks but she had definitely turned the right way and had remained there at the 38 week and 39 week checks. At that point, I knew there was no turning back or any point panicking. There was no way I was going to be transported to the hospital to have an emergency caesarean as I was determined to have a natural birth and felt comfortable where I was and didn’t want to budge! Plus, I trusted my body and surrendered myself to it. All the coaching, information and inspiring birth stories that my midwives provided me prior to the birth were embedded in my mind which also gave me the strength and courage to go through with it naturally – just as we intended.
I transferred out of the bath to deliver the baby. Due to the nature of the birth, my primary mid-wife called one of the obstetricians from QVH for back-up support. Everything felt like a blur from this point and at 9.20pm, our daughter Ava Sofia was born, 8lb and 47cm on 20 November 2012.
Even though Ava’s heart rate stayed strong, she came out quite stunned and was having respiratory problems (possibly due to the precipitate birth and coming out breech) so had to be transferred over to A&E. The surrogate midwife stayed with me at the LBC so I could deliver the placenta whilst the others went to the LGH. My body went into a bit of shock from the whole birth experience and from being separated from my baby. I was just too exhausted to be transported but my primary midwife kept me informed the whole time and assured me Ava was OK. My midwives took such great care of me during this time and allowed my mother to stay with me at the LBC that night whilst my husband stayed with Ava at QVH.
We were reunited in the morning but Ava ended up having to stay in the neo-natal ward for 4 days so they could run a course of antibiotics and have a series of tests done as part of hospital protocol which she passed with flying colours. Despite the traumatic turn of events, I still have no regrets whatsoever about the birth. I honestly don’t think the outcome would have been the same for us all if I had had a hospital birth via caesarean. I was proud of the fact that I was still able to have a VBB naturally without any medical intervention. I only ended up with a small first degree tear, no stitches and recovered very quickly. Ava, too, recovered well despite the trauma she went through to start with – I think breech is just the way she wanted to enter the world. The support I was given by my husband, midwives and the obstetrician who came over to assist with the delivery was remarkable and I will be forever grateful to them all.
My husband and I now have a beautiful, healthy daughter and are enjoying every moment of parenthood. We are just so in love.