At 38 weeks and three days, my partner came home from work at 4 am, I was wide awake with stomach cramps and said: "I think you should get some sleep, I think today is the day".
He was out like a light. I could not sleep, I got up and had a hot shower and soon after lost my mucous plug. I messaged my Mum (my rock) and made myself comfy on the couch, watching TV. Mum came over at about 9 am, with Tim Tams at the ready. By this stage the contractions were irregular but intense, anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes apart, lasting up to one minute in length.
Midday came, so I called the hospital to let them know what was happening. I was told if everything else was fine, to wait for three contractions within 10 minutes. The day was dragging, but around 4 pm, I decided to have another shower to freshen up. All clean with fresh clothes, my waters broke. I called the hospital and said we would be in, at this stage, my contractions were 3 in 12ish minutes, lasting one very long minute each.
We got to the hospital and were strapped to the machines and assessed, confirming there was amniotic fluid present and I was 3 centimetres. The midwife recommended we go home and wait it out a little longer. I bawled my eyes out, I was so fatigued, in so much pain and began vomiting from the nausea.
I was given Panadeine Forte and a room with a bed where the midwives let my partner and I stay to rest. A few hours later, I was still in agony; the Panadeine had not touched the sides. I was then given two Morphine injections, while this made me super drowsy, I still could not sleep through the contractions.
1 am the next day came, I was assessed again, and only 5 centimetres dilated at this stage. However, the midwives said we could move to the birthing suite, where I requested an epidural. The instant relief from pain was A M A Z I N G. Mum was also able to join us in the birthing suite. The midwife had me sit up in the 'throne' position to try and get bubs to move further down.
I was assessed several times over the next few hours, however, was only dilating about 1 centimetre every 2 hours, so I was given oxytocin to increase the contractions. Around 9.30 am, the midwife checked and said I was fully dilated. She said once the epidural wore off, we would start pushing.
At 10 am, I started pushing, for what felt like an eternity. It had been 25 minutes, I was so fatigued, but the baby was doing extremely well. The midwife called the doctor in so some form of intervention could be used. The first doctor wasn't convinced we could deliver the baby vaginally, saying the baby was posterior.
He called for his superior doctor to make a decision. The doctor arrived, and after assessing the baby's position was satisfied, the baby could be delivered with a vacuum. My legs were put in stirrups, and it was go time. Nearly two long hours later, an episiotomy, vacuum and with shoulders getting stuck too, my baby arrived. It was a GIRL!
The feeling, the emotions, everything at that moment was indescribable. My baby girl was placed on my chest momentarily before getting checked over, measured and weighed—a healthy 8 pound, 8-ounce baby girl.
I watched my partner and Mum in awe as I lay on the bed, given an injection to birth my placenta, which felt like an absolute breeze after the baby. Moments later, it felt as though someone had turned a tap on inside of me. As my legs were still in stirrups, I could not see what it was and assumed it was normal. One of the doctors turned back to me, and her face went white. All of a sudden emergency buttons were pressed, phone calls were being made, medical staff were running around everywhere. All I could hear was "it's gushing, it's gushing".
I was bleeding, and they could not stop it. Although everyone was professional, I could sense the panic. One doctor was putting another cannula in my arm, another doctor was reading a risk/consent form to me and asking me to sign it, I could still hear the doctor saying "it's gushing, it won't stop". I started to cry as I feared the worst. My baby was placed on my chest again as they prepped to rush me into surgery.
I was wheeled away, leaving my partner, Mum and baby in the birthing suite. After I woke from surgery, I was told they measured a total blood loss of 3.2 litres; however, it did not add up to how I was presenting. The doctors and midwives were nothing short of baffled. During the surgery, they said they could not find the source of the bleeding which had stopped, my cervix was grazed, and they stitched me up.
About 4 hours later, I was reunited with my baby girl, partner and Mum, at last. I spent two nights in the hospital, was given intravenous antibiotics and an iron transfusion before going home. Before our birth, I had listened to the Tiny Hearts Education and Dr Sgroi podcasts, while nothing could have honestly prepared my partner and me for what we experienced, it wasn't all completely unknown to us. I have struggled when people have asked how our birth was and said: "that happens to everyone". My biggest coping mechanism has been telling my story to people who will listen and how lucky I am to have my beautiful, healthy baby girl.