My husband and I were so excited the moment we found out we were pregnant! We had a pretty great pregnancy and enjoyed every moment of watching my belly grow! When we found out we were having a girl, my whole family cried in joy! Leading up to the birth, I was a little nervous as my family lives in Victoria and my husband and I live in Queensland. This was all during the pandemic and constant lockdowns!
At 34 weeks, I found out that Elora was breach, and I immediately started talking with my midwife about ways to help her turn and the possibility of a safe breach birth being an option if she refused to turn! After some research on 'spinning babies' at my 36-week appointment, I found out she had flipped and was partly engaged, so my midwife and I were excited to talk more about our birth plan again!
My due date was Sunday the 23rd of May 2021, and after a stretch and sweep the week before, I started showing promising signs that labour wasn't far away! My parents started to get nervous that they would miss the birth of their first granddaughter, so mum called me and said they booked last minute flights to us mid-week (between lockdowns, so it was safe).
My mum kept saying, 'she will come when we arrive, she is waiting for her nanny', and I kept smiling, knowing how excited she was! Little did I know she was right!
We picked my parents up from the airport on Wednesday the 19th of May at 7:30 pm and Thursday the 20th at 5:00 am while I was sleeping. I woke up to my waters breaking! After about 30 minutes, I started feeling mild contractions, but I was feeling them in my back which I thought was just normal at the time. I immediately called my midwife and let her know. She called the hospital and let them know we were going in for a check-up!
Once we arrived, we were there for a little while, and they checked baby and me to make sure everything was going well! They confirmed my waters had broken, but I was only losing a very minor amount of fluid!
They also told me that Elora was in a posterior position which wasn't ideal for labour or birth, so I needed to try to spin her through the day if I could. My husband and I returned home to labour at home as long as possible. I spent most of the day rocking on my gym ball and walking around the house.
My contractions were very continuous throughout the day, being anywhere from a few minutes to 15 minutes apart but never any longer than that, so I couldn't get any sleep. We started heading into Thursday night, and my contractions were still inconsistent, so I sent everyone to bed to rest while I rocked on my gym ball, leaning over the bed in the pitch black, breathing through my contractions, in complete silence, which made me feel so calm! I was timing my contractions as I felt them become more intense, and they eventually got much more painful, so I was walking through them for a little while.
I was still feeling every bit of my contractions in my back. Then all of a sudden, I noticed that a good pattern of 2.5 to 3 minute apart contractions were happening, and I knew I was heading into Active labour! Once they were 2-3 minutes apart for 1 hour and I couldn't talk to myself through them anymore, I decided to wake up my husband and tell him it was time to go!
It was 11 pm at this point, and I called my midwife to let her know it was time to go to the hospital. My midwife stayed on the call through some of my contractions, encouraging me and helping with my breathing. She let the hospital know we would be there soon! The car ride felt so long as my contractions were now so intense and regularly about 2 minutes apart. Sitting in the seat made my contractions excruciating in my back. We arrived at the hospital, and we were escorted by security through the service elevators straight to the birth suite, contracting while walking as I was in too much pain to sit again!
Once we entered the birth suite, it was midnight at this point. I immediately was given the gas to try to help me through some of the pain, and they did an internal exam to check everything was going well, and my midwife was on the way. I also made sure my student midwife was on the way, so she didn't miss anything! They then told me I was 7cm dilated, and I felt incredible, so empowered that I had gotten to 7cm at home, and I was so ready for the next part of the birth.
I continued with the gas, and at around 2 am I was 10cm dilated and thought that meant I would need to start pushing, but I didn't feel the urge to push. My contractions were coming so fast and were just excruciating with what felt like no rest time in between. I was still having a posterior labour because Elora refused to turn. I looked up at my husband as I squeezed his hand so tight and I just sobbed through the pain.
Because I had hit 10cm and we knew baby could come at any moment, I didn't get any pain relief, just the gas, as I was nervous it would affect her when she was born! I was standing labouring for a bit and felt a little urge to push, so I did, and I felt my entire waters gush out over the floor. It went everywhere! The midwives were immediately putting towels all over the ground, so I didn't slip over!
I found it most comfortable on the bed on all 4s at this point, and my midwife started pushing my hips together at the back to move the pain of my contractions.
I immediately felt relief on my back as the pain shifted to my front, and I cried out in relief! My midwife did this a few times for me to give my back a break through the contractions, and Elora was still in a posterior position.
I continued contracting without feeling the urge to push, and once it hit 5 am on Friday the 21st of May, I was given antibiotics due to hitting 24 hours since my waters broke to reduce the chance of infection. Around 5:30 am I finally started to feel a huge amount of pressure and the urge to start pushing through my contractions! It was so hard at first, but I started to get into a rhythm of pushing.
After 20 minutes of pushing, I broke down but was told baby was right there and to keep pushing. My back felt like it was breaking, the pain was indescribable, and I felt like I had nothing left to give. I had no energy. I composed my breaths and channelled every last bit of energy I had left into pushing, and I could feel my body pushing for me too. I don't remember any breaks between pushing. In my mind, I just felt like I was constantly pushing, and nothing was happening but pushing still helped distract me from the intense pain in my back.
My husband and midwife later informed me that I was so exhausted that I was falling asleep (snoring) for the minute or so between contractions and would wake to push, which I don't even remember! The midwife's kept telling me Elora was right there and to keep pushing. I had been pushing for 1.5 hours at this point, and I broke down crying, begging for someone to help me get her out. I felt like she was starting to get stressed, and I just wanted to hold her in my arms and hear her cry for the first time! As I went, I kept telling them I was giving it everything, and I just couldn't do it on my own, so they offered to use the vacuum to help get her out. I agreed, and they performed an episiotomy, so I didn't tear from the vacuum. I continued pushing, all of a sudden, I heard them say her head was out.
I was told to give one more small push, so I did, and I felt a huge pressure release and my contractions stopped. I looked up as they were placing my baby girl on my chest, and I just watched her waiting to hear her cries! She started crying, and they told me that she was perfectly healthy! I watched them wheel the NICU bed away and felt so grateful our baby was here safe and happy.
I cried, looking at her perfect little face and looked up at my husband in a way I can't even describe. It was the most incredible day of our lives. We were holding our princess!
I looked at my mum (Rae), who was with me and my husband through the whole labour. As I looked up at her, I told her our baby girls name, Elora Rae. I saw tears coming from her eyes!
Our baby girl was born at 6:49 am on the 21st of May, weighing a perfect 3.4 kilos, almost 26 hours after labour began!
As they stitched me up from the episiotomy, the general kept wearing off, and I would feel what they were doing, so they had to continue to administer more which increased my swelling. I continued bleeding for a while, but I was just too caught up in our princess! My poor husband was watching, anxious the bleeding wasn't going to stop, but thankfully it did!
As I looked up at my husband, he told me that the reason I couldn't push Elora out on my own was because she couldn't get down far enough. The cord was wrapped around her neck and around her entire body so she would come down as I pushed but would then be pulled back up again.
They started speaking about an emergency c-section to my husband, and they all agreed it was best not to worry me about the cord while I was pushing, so they didn't tell me. I am so grateful that, with a little help, I was able to push her out!
I just looked down at her on my chest with tears in my eyes, feeling incredibly grateful she was safe and happy. My husband was so emotional about the whole process and open about how much he struggled with watching me go through so much pain while he just felt so helpless.
I know I couldn't have done it without him, so I am just grateful he was there to hold my hand and watch our daughter be brought into this world!
I am grateful to all the staff at the hospital and all the support I received before, during and after the birth. They were all incredible and so supportive!
A few days after Elora was born, my parents had to fly back home, and within two days of returning home, they were back in lockdown. We thought ourselves so lucky they made it here for Elora's birth with everything going on!
Elora is now five months old and the happiest, cheekiest little baby! We are just obsessed with her! My parents miss her like crazy, but hopefully, we can travel home soon so they can enjoy some more cuddles and the rest of my family can meet her!