At 28 weeks, I got the devastating news that I had gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Little did I know it wasn't that devastating at the time, but right at that moment, I felt like I had failed as a mother to protect my daughter and failed to keep myself healthy.
At 36 weeks pregnant, my partner and I decided to swap public hospitals to something closer to home as we had to move. But little did I know that across two public hospitals in Victoria, the ranges for GDM would be so different. It was at this time I was put on to insulin - much to my distress. I was also told that for the safety and health of my daughter, I would be induced at 38 weeks.
I went home and cried after that appointment. All I wanted to do was labour at home in the bath or shower, but that wasn't going to happen anymore. I felt like the rug had been ripped from under me. We decided to keep her induction date a secret from everyone other than our parents, as we didn't want to be harassed during the process.
At 37 weeks and 6 days, I went into the hospital at 7 am to start the induction process. I was put on the monitors, and we watched our little one's heart rate beat away happily. She was happy in there, and I couldn't convince myself that she was ready to come. In went the gel at 8.30am. At that point, we were told to walk, eat and walk some more to kill time before the next check-in.
That morning I received the call I had been dreading for weeks. My grandfather had passed away with all his children around him, and I was absolutely distraught and wanted to go home to be with my family. But I knew that wasn't an option. Now I was trapped in the hospital not wanting to be there, not wanting to have the baby. I just wanted to go home to be hugged.
Time ticked by slowly. During this time, I had a few period pain sensations but nothing too painful. We walked around the hospital multiple times trying to kill time, boredom and thinking about my grandfather's death. It felt like time was moving, and nothing was happening. By 4pm when I was rechecked, I doubted that little miss was ever going to budge. The hospital decided to do another dose of gel to try and get little miss stubborn pants to wriggle on down the birth canal. By 8 pm that night, I was finally admitted to birth suite and told that this time tomorrow I would be leaving here with my little girl. My partner and I ordered some cold rock ice cream, kissed each other good night for the night as tomorrow 2 was about to become 3.
At 7 am wrapped up in my sheets, my wake-up call was here. My partner was standing beside me, trying oh so gently to wake me up before the midwife came in. He didn't succeed. The midwife came in to do hand over and introduce me to the new midwife and student who would be taking over. They were commenting on how well the gel had prepared me, but it hadn't started the process as they hoped, and that meant they would need to start the IV induction.
All I knew was that I was going to be trapped to a machine for the rest of my labour - much to my anger. They put in the cannula and waited for the OB to come up to break my waters and start the drip. The breaking of the waters is the weirdest sensation. You feel like are sitting in a paddle pool filled with lukewarm water that all of a sudden goes really cold. All through my pregnancy, I had been told that induction moves really quickly, but the next few hours weren't as bad I as I imagined. I was up on the ball, bouncing around, getting back rubs. These are a commodity in our household, so I was taking full advantage.
Then all of a sudden it went from a lovely stroll in the park to a hike up the steepest hill. One of those hills where you're struggling to catch your breath, your legs feel like they are dead weights, but you can see the crest and know that it's only going to be a few more steps and then it will be all worth it.
Well, that what this increase in the drip was like. 0-100 in matter of what felt like minutes. I was consumed by the pain and was unable to surface. The gas is like having just a few too many drinks, very hazy but pain free. I was in a happy place now, but this was short-lived because the drip went up again. I was losing my mind. My partner describes this point as crisis point. Everyone in the room was unable to reason with me or get a clear answer on how I wanted things to proceed. I was trapped in my body and head, I could hear them, but I couldn't respond. I was just looking for the next break between contractions, which didn't seem to come. I was unable to see the crest of the hill anymore, and I was ready to pack it in and return home.
My partner and midwife finally started making sense, and I DEMANDED that my epidural was done NOW! It felt like an entirety waiting for the fog to lift, but the moment that second drip was switched on the crest was insight again. I felt like they brought me back from the brink.
Fast-forward 3 hours: little miss had escaped reach by the monitors and was lying in the posterior position. They put a scalp monitor on her head to keep an eye on her and called in the OB to check her position. While waiting for the OB, I suddenly became very ill. As the OB walked into the room I projectile vomited all other the room – think exorcist style. I got the midwives, and the OB was just missed. It was go time.
As I pushed little miss decided to flip into the right position. I could feel a great pressure down below but no pain. It's a weird sensation to push when you can't feel the contraction. Then all of a sudden, I was told to stop. The paediatrician was brought in. The room was starting to get crowded. I was in the zone and unaware of what was going on.
Fast forward to 9.30 pm, and little miss has become stuck. The OB pulled out what looked like salad tongs, and my legs became airborne.
Thank god I had that epidural because at 8-weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with symphysis pubis dysfunction, and for the duration of my pregnancy, I felt like the front of my pelvis was being torn apart.
Then all of sudden she was here. I couldn't hear anything, but there were lots of people working at the foot of the bed. I didn't know what was going on. It felt like a lifetime when, in reality, it was only minutes. She was crying, and the bustle calmed.
I finally got introduced to my little dragon – Miss Sierra. My first hug was a little bittersweet moment… amazing to finally hold her, but absolutely devastating because I would never see my grandfather again.
It was the first moment since it all started that I was able to relax enough to grieve. Grieving during labour is hard, especially since the moment is supposed to be irreplaceable and special. 22 months later, I now understand that it wasn't goodbye, he still here. I see snippets of his personality in her daily, especially his cheekiness.