My beautiful partner Jarrod and I met when I was 18 years old, and he was 26. We dated for about 18 months before going our separate ways. He was a grown-up buying a house and settling down, and I was still being a 20 year old! However, we kept in touch off and on through the years and remained friends. We got back together in March of 2018, and by August we discovered we were pregnant...ALREADY!
I had been feeling a bit off, a bit achy, a bit crampy for about a week. My best friend Sarah was convinced I was pregnant but, to me, all of these signs were just typical period symptoms.
Saturday night rolled around, and I was waiting for my partner to get home from work. My best friend texted me and told me to pop over. I arrived at Sarah's house and was promptly handed a plastic cup and told "wee in this". Well, off I went - just to humour her and shut her up mostly! I left the cup in her bathroom and went off to play with her kids. Minutes later, I hear "friend! You need to look at this".
Sure enough, two pink lines! I just about died. We did another test just to be sure, and straight away: two pink lines.
I had to go home and tell Jarrod. I was terrified. We'd only just started our relationship up again and moved in together. We'd planned to start trying around Easter time of 2019, which funnily enough my due date was Easter Sunday 2019. How's that for irony!
I had no idea how to tell him, so I panicked and literally just shoved the two tests in his face. After us both working out what was going on, we 'celebrated' by making a trip to the chemist and purchasing every single pregnancy test they had - just to be sure. Every single one was positive, haha! Off we went to the doctors the next day and to get the blood work completed and then the fun really began.
We found out pretty early; I was only four weeks pregnant. By six weeks pregnant, I was starting to feel it, and I had some glorious nausea! I think I only physically threw up maybe twice. However, I would have rathered the vomiting as a relief to the nausea.
Around six weeks, I had my first (of many) emergency room visits. I had a recurrent bleed for the first 21 weeks of my pregnancy. We're still not 100% sure what was causing it, but we had figured out by about 19 weeks that it wasn't coming from inside my cervix. Possibly I had a clot attached to the outside. Thankfully, it all subsided by around 21 weeks.
At about 15 weeks we found out that we were having a little girl; however, the terrifying thing about that time was that I had contracted Influenza A. Side note: everyone get your flu needles, I'd never wish the flu on anybody! We just wanted this little girl we'd fallen in love with to be okay.
Heading into my third trimester at one of our routine midwife appointments, we discovered that our girl was measuring LARGE, like weeks ahead. Fundal height and ultrasounds were both matching in their estimates.
I'm only 5'2, so I'll let you imagine the size of the belly. So from then on, we were in for regular growth scans and fluid monitoring because with macrosomic babies, there's a risk of reduced fluid.
All came back clear with my diabetes tests, so no issues were causing my girls size; she was just a big strong girl.
At about 32 to 33 weeks I'd noticed that I couldn't feel our girl. Our usually very strong, very busy little babe hadn't moved much if at all that day. So off we went for some monitoring. All was fine, and of course, she turned it on once all the monitors got attached to her Mama. This turned into a regular occurrence after this scare. We'd have days of our happy, busy baby and then I just wouldn't feel her at all. So from 34 weeks, we were in for bi-weekly monitoring and fluid checks at the hospital.
We made a plan with our OB to make it to 37 weeks and then we'd talk induction. We'd already known that this was an option due to her size, and she was on track to be over 10lbs if we went to 40weeks.
Thirty-seven weeks rolled around, and I was HUGE. We went in for our first lot of monitoring for that week on Tuesday, and we were finally given THE DATE. Our baby was going to be induced that Sunday, I would be 38 weeks on the dot.
We organised that I'd have the cervidil gel, then my waters would be broken the Sunday night/Monday morning, and the syntocin drip started.
Later in the week at my monitoring session, I had an internal exam where we discovered I was already 3cm dilated. So, we did a quick stretch and sweep to see if we could make it all happen by itself and had a quick chat with the OB. It was decided I'd still go in Sunday morning, but we'd just break my waters and go from there.
Sunday morning came, and we arrived at the hospital, eagerly ready to get the show on the road. We were popped on the monitors to check on the baby, and then we were promptly sent home. I was devastated.
We were told to come back at 8 pm because there were no birthing suites available. This back and forth continued through Monday.
I had given up all hope by Tuesday, and I left my partner at home. As far as I knew I was only going in for monitoring as no birthing suites were available yet. But as I pulled into the car park I got a call: there was a birthing suite available, finally!
I made the call to my partner and Mum and waddled my way in. I got myself all comfy in my birthing suite, and my Mum and partner arrived just as they were breaking my waters at 3:30 pm. And boy did my waters break!
We got all set up on the drip, and my contractions started immediately.
For the first hour or two, I thought I was fine; I was riding the waves of the contractions and then chatting in between. Then after the shift change my next (amazing!) midwife decided it was really time to get this baby girl on her way out. So, my syntocin drip was really ramped up, and I was getting contraction after contraction with no breaks between.
I tried to tough it out as long as I could, but with no breaks, I cracked, and it was time for the epidural! I could have proposed to the anaesthetist when I felt that warm relief.
I had about an hour of relief when it became more and more obvious that the epidural was only working on the right side of my body. Despite this, I was able to doze a little bit on and off for a few hours and get dilated to 7cm. I was getting closer finally.
During the night, my little girl was becoming harder and harder to keep the heart rate monitor on. So, we had to attach a clip to the top of her head to monitor her that way. Also, Jarrod had started to notice that my urine in my catheter bag was beginning to look a bit blood-tinged. The midwives kept an eye on it for an hour or so until they started to do their next round of obs on me. By this point, Jarrod told them that the whole bag was full of blood now.
They seemed a little concerned, but I was told that sometimes it's normal, but they would double-check with the obstetrician once they had finished my obs and internal checks. The midwife finished my observations and popped out to chat to the OB. Two obstetricians came back in and basically did all the same checks that the midwife had just done.
They then said it was time to talk.
I wasn't progressing. I was still only 7cm dilated after many hours, and my catheter bag was now just full of blood. My baby girl was stuck in my pelvis, and her poor little head was beginning to swell because she was wedged in so tight. She had started to rotate to a face-up position, and my cervix was beginning to swell.
The safest option at this point for baby and me was to head in for an emergency c-section. There was one lady in front of me already in theatre, and then it was me. I had my Mum call my Dad (I'm the biggest Daddy's girl and needed him there), and they wheeled me down to theatre.
They left poor nervous Jarrod out in the waiting room while they took me into the theatre to prep me. Because my epidural wasn't working, they had to remove it, and I ended up having a spinal block. I was so scared and waiting for Jarrod to come in seemed like an eternity.
I was finally prepped, and I had Jarrod on my left side and had the anaesthetist on my right. I didn't even know they had started any of the c-section, but next thing we knew we heard "get ready to see your baby" and at 8:48 am our girl came into the world. They popped her up over the curtain for us to see!
They took her over to their little work station to get her breathing, and she let out the most beautiful little cry. Jarrod got to go over and cut the cord and bring her over to me for a kiss and a cuddle.
We finally got to meet our beautiful Harlow Isley. She was just perfect!
They got her all wrapped up and took some photos and Jarrod took her out into the waiting room while they got me all sorted. I had haemorrhaged during the c-section, and our poor girl was so stuck in my pelvis that they had to use forceps to get her out. She was never going to get through my pelvis we later learnt.
Harlow was born after a 17 and a half hour labour, weighing in at 3750g and 52cm long.
We spent three days in hospital after Harlow was born. Harlow developed jaundice shortly after her birth and spent a day in special care receiving phototherapy. She was an absolute champion at latching, and we've had a beautiful feeding experience so far. My recovery from the c-section was better than anything I could have hoped for, I was up and walking as soon as my catheter was taken out. I didn't need any pain medicine once I left the hospital and my incision is basically unnoticeable already.
I put no pressure or expectations on myself for pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. The whole way along I took it all as it came - much to my Mum and partners frustration. I'm extremely laid back, a little too laid back sometimes, but I think in this instance it really worked for me. I gave it all a go and overall enjoyed the whole pregnancy and labour/c-section experience.