Updated: Jul 6, 2020
At one point in time, I realised that having the baby I always wanted might not happen. I had just been diagnosed with endometriosis, adenomyosis and fibroids. Each condition making falling pregnant not impossible - but harder to do. I was told that my best chance after my keyhole surgery (removing of stage 3/4 endo) would be to try and have a baby within two years. We weren't ready just yet, so waited till we felt the time would be right.
A year later, I was then diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis, and treatment meant that I could not try for a baby as the medication would be extremely dangerous for the baby. We were at a crossroad. The two-year window was closing, and if I went on the medication (for arthritis for nine months), then I would only have three months left to try. We made the decision for me to not go on the treatment and remove my Mirena and see what happened.
Three weeks after removal, I started getting cold feet and booked an appointment to be put back on the Mirena. I was in Italy with my best girlfriend and decided that it wasn't the right time. While on holiday I realised I was late. I took a pregnancy test and nothing. No line. I couldn't have been pregnant; it had only been a few weeks, and we hadn't really 'tried'. Later that day, I was repacking my bag and found the stick, as I lifted it the light coming in from the window hit it at such an angle that I saw it. There it was a very, very faint marking. Not even a full line and nothing you could see by looking at it straight on.
A few days later, I returned to Perth and went for my appointment. I already knew, but my GP confirmed I was indeed pregnant. Only 4/5 weeks along. My husband and I couldn't believe it. We had so many emotions, but the main one was disbelief. We couldn't believe it had actually happened.
We waited to tell our family and friends as I experienced bleeding on three different occasions, but the baby wasn't going anywhere. We eventually told when it was 'safe'. Everyone was so happy, especially my family as we hadn't had a baby in our family for 20 years.
My pregnancy went on normally. I had morning sickness till 22 weeks, pelvic pain and the bouts of fatigue but loved every minute of it. Loved seeing my belly grow and the ultrasounds of my baby. Loved the kicking the most. I took it all in. We decided to keep the gender a surprise until birth. My husband really wanted a little girl. Just when we started dating ten years ago, he already told me that he wanted a girl and what her name would be. As the months went by we were getting more excited to meet our baby.
I moved to Perth five years ago and have none of my family here. So the plan was that my parents, siblings, Avo (Portuguese for Grandmother) aunt and cousins would come for the birth and stay for the first few weeks. Then the borders closed. I knew it it had to be done, but I was heartbroken, especially for my parents as it's their first grandchild. It hit me hard, but I needed to focus on my pregnancy and having a healthy baby.
I have always been so interested in the birthing process, so did all my homework on how to have a natural birth. I also looked at other options as I wanted to be informed and educated. I spoke with mums, my OB, watched YouTube videos and read birthing material. I felt ready and prepared. My wish was to go into labour naturally, and if I needed it, I would have an epidural.
At my 37 week appointment on a Monday, we were told that our baby was measuring small and was small for gestational age (SGA). We were also told that it would be safest to deliver in the 38th week, which meant we would deliver the following week Wednesday by induction. I was a little heartsore as I really wanted to experience going into labour. I was going to try everything I could to bring on labour naturally before then.
Just two days after my appointment, I was in the shower, and my hands and feet were incredibly itchy. I knew something wasn't right. I had seen on an account I follow on Instagram (labour/delivery nurse) about a condition called Cholestasis (liver condition) where itching was a symptom. The next morning I was at the hospital, my baby's heartbeat was being monitored, and I had bloods drawn. I was then sent home as the baby's heartbeat was perfect. At 13:00, I got the call that confirmed I had developed Cholestasis and needed to start the induction process straight away as the condition is dangerous for the baby. Thank goodness I had been so organised I already had my hospital bag packed and in the car since 34 weeks! Since everything was ready, I quickly did my hair and put some make-up on and had a mini photoshoot. I wanted to capture my belly once last time. I now look at those photos which make me so happy that I did.
I arrived at the hospital at 16:00 and had the Cooks Catheter put in to start the induction process. The next morning at 8:00, it was removed, and I had dilated 4cm. Then next I had the epidural, my waters broken and Oxytocin. I was calm and happy. This wasn't what I had planned, but it was the day I was going to experience something I had dreamed about for so long. As the hours went by, my contractions weren't becoming regular, and I hadn't gone past 4cm. The epidural also wasn't working on my right-hand side, so I was able to feel the baby move and the contractions. I still felt in control and that things would move along. Then 15:00 came, and my OB checked me — still 4 cm. I was swelling up internally, and so was the baby's head. It was too risky to carry on waiting, and I was rushed to theatre. It was all a whirlwind looking back. Everything happened so fast and slow at the same time. I was shaking, and a little nervous but my husband was there to hold my hand. I kept praying that my baby was going to be okay.
At 15:35, our baby, a little girl named Elena was born.
She was tiny at 2.2kg a real-life doll. I got to spend a few minutes with her before she was rushed to neo-natal as her oxygen levels were dropping. She stayed there for two days before joining me in my room. That first week was magical, just the three of us getting to know each other.
The birth was everything I wanted to avoid and the complete opposite of what I hoped for. I won't lie I have my moments where I'm sad that it didn't go the way I hoped and that's okay. I kept and still keep telling myself that she's safe and healthy and that's what's most important. However, its also important to let yourself feel what you do, to acknowledge it so that you can move on and heal.
I came across something the other day that I find helps it says:
I have a scar to prove my love for you
that I would do whatever I needed
to bring you safely I to this world".
Now the for the next hurdle, breastfeeding - and of course, I have a low supply! But I'm taking it a day at a time and enjoying the roller coaster ride that motherhood is ❤️