I've wanted to be a mum for as long as I can remember. In our family videos, there's footage of me meeting my little sister in the hospital when I was 4 or 5 years old. I literally followed the nurse around like a bad smell until I finally get to cuddle her. Then I refused to give her back haha!
When I met my partner Nathan in 2018, things moved pretty quickly. We were engaged two months into our relationship and started trying to conceive just ten months in - when you know, you know, right?
Because I had been diagnosed with PCOS and told this could make things challenging when I decide to start a family, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a positive result a month into trying.
We had our dating scan and were told our little babe was due on the 22nd of November.
Fast forward to our 12-week tests and the blood work came back showing I was awfully low in PAPP-A. I had somewhat of an idea of what this meant, as my sister in law had the same result in her pregnancy the year before. She had bought my nephew into the world at a tiny 2.3kg at 37 weeks.
I was told this would likely cause IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and depending on how the pregnancy goes to expect the possibility of early induction.
At 13 weeks we found out we were expecting a little boy, which was a shock as we were sure it was a girl! We had actually been calling him Matilda all the way up until then [HAHA]. We were also told our son was measuring a bit bigger than initially thought and our due date was bought forward to the 18th of November.
At around 35 weeks, I went to the maternity ward as there had been reduced movement from my bub as well as some symptoms of pre-eclampsia. I was hooked up to all the machines, and we found babes heart rate was dropping below 80bpm every few minutes. The midwife on duty that day wasn't worried and said he is likely grabbing and squeezing his cord. After being cleared of PE (pre-eclampsia), we were sent home.
We had lots of regular scans to keep track of how he was growing, and from 31 weeks, his growth had slowed down significantly.
Our OBGYN decided although the scans were showing our guy is measuring to be around 6 pound, which isn't overly small, he had been the same size for a few weeks now and it would best to bring him out early. He booked us in for induction at 37 weeks.
Our son had suddenly gone from a late November baby to an October baby! This was a bittersweet moment for me because although I was excited to meet my son a bit earlier, my mum who lives in New Zealand had booked flights for the day after my due date and there was no way she could get here for the birth. My mum was the one person I wanted and needed there with me, and she couldn't be here. I was devastated.
Fast forward to the day we were booked in Monday the 28th of October. I arrived at 2 pm with our bags packed, ready to meet my little guy within the next 24-48 hours. Boy was I wrong!
We waited in the foyer for 3 hours! Finally, I was given a bed, hooked up to the CTG to monitor baby, and I said to Nathan, "okay here we go, it should move along pretty quickly now". Again, boy was I wrong.
The doctor on shift at the time looked through all my doctor's notes, and he couldn't understand why I was here at 37 weeks for an induction when my baby was measuring a good size. He REFUSED to insert the balloon and get the process started. I had prepared myself to pop a watermelon out of my hoo-ha, just to be told I don't think we should do it and I'd suggest you go home and we will reassess in 2 weeks.
WELL, this mama wasn't taking no for an answer and demanded to speak to the head doctor on shift at the time. My argument was, why would my OBGYN have booked me in early if he didn't think it was 100% necessary?
What benefits would HE have to get MY baby out early and on top of all this, I had the mama's gut feeling that this little treasure needed to come now, mum knows best after all.
So I sat and waited, and waited, and waited for the boss man to come and see me. Unfortunately, he was delivering emergency babies all night and couldn't come to see me. Thankfully, there was a shift change, and a new doctor took over my files and came to see me. She gave me the option, bring the baby on or wait it out for a week or two and reassess. By this time, I was exhausted, and in tears at the unknown. Nathan had gone home because we had been waiting so long, and without my partner there, this decision was scary. But, I went with my gut as every mother should, and I said: "LET'S DO THIS!"
They did a vaginal exam, and I was already 1cm dilated. After calling Nathan and telling him to get here pronto, finally at midnight, 12:01 am on the 29th they inserted the balloon.
I got about 4 hours sleep all up and by 8 am I couldn't even close my eyes as I was so nervous and excited that today, I'll meet my son! (A little spoiler, I was wrong, again)
Just like the day before, there was a lot of waiting. It wasn't until 2:30 pm that they removed the balloon and broke my waters. This was when I called my mother in law, and my student midwife in, and we all took bets on when we thought he would arrive. Not one of us got it right because we all expected he'd arrive that day!
They hooked me up to the oxytocin drip, and things started moving along.
After a few VE's they found that I wasn't budging from 4cm and so they continued to raise the amount of oxytocin. Every time they would raise it, the contractions would become UNBEARABLE but still no change in dilation. After 10 hours of changing the amount of oxytocin and trying to get things right, after me trying to get some relief with the gas and after bubs heart rate dropping drastically and regularly, I caved and asked for an epidural.
It was exactly what I needed, after the process of getting the epidural and the almost instant relief, my body relaxed, and within an hour, I went from 4cm to 9cm!
FINALLY, IT WAS TIME TO PUSH! By this point, I was exhausted - mentally, physically and emotionally ruined. But as any other mama would know, you build up the energy, and you do what needs to be done, every time!
With each contraction, I bared down and pushed with everything I had.
Because I was so exhausted, the pushes that I thought were mighty and strong, weren't enough. The midwife, the doctor and my support people were all telling me; "you've got this, just push".
Finally, I got his head out, and when Nathan asked the midwife, "is that the cord around his neck?". And the midwife began nodding at him hoping I wouldn't see and stress out. I was determined to get our boy out and safe (this is what was causing his heart rate to drop even from 35 weeks, I'd hate to know what could have happened if I didn't go with my gut and waited another week or two).
I pushed and pushed and pushed with all I had, and it just wasn't enough. The doctor then said, if you can't get him out with the next push we will have to intervene. So I pushed, with every ounce of energy I had left, and he was here! At 4:31 am on the 30th of October 2019 our son Taj John William Healy was born, weighing and measuring the exact same as his cousin at 2.3kg (5.02 pound) and 45cm in length.
I got off lightly with only some minor internal grazes and no stitches needed.
Due to hypothermia, hypoglycemia and low birth weight, TJ had to spend some time in the special care nursery. He kicked every goal, and after only one night in special care and one night in with me, we were home to start the crazy journey that is parenthood!
After a rough start with colic and silent reflux, he is now almost five months old, thriving and putting on ridiculous amounts of weight each week!
Moral of my story, go with your gut. Ultrasounds are definitely not always accurate (considering they predicted TJ would be 1-2 pounds bigger then what he was) and no matter what labour and birth throws your way, you can do this!