Meeting Our Rainbow Babe
This was our tenth pregnancy. We never had IVF, we never had trouble falling pregnant, but we never got past 8 weeks. So when I fell pregnant for the tenth time at 38, I didn’t think this would result in a different outcome but the loss and heartache, we had become accustomed to.
Reoccurring and unexplained pregnancy loss puts you in a special category of people who are cared for by the incredible ‘Star clinic’; part of the perinatal medicine department at the Mercy Hospital for women. I have spent countless hours in their care, usually receiving disasters news and arranging medical or surgical management of a pregnancy loss.
Calling to tell beautiful Nina, the admin assistant of their team that I was pregnant again, was almost embarrassing. And while the team were cautiously optimistic about our chances of a successful pregnancy. I, understandably, was not. I couldn't allow myself to believe that we might actually have a baby.
Routine testing started at 7 weeks. I met with obstetrician Liz Mccarthy and her team, week after week. And week after week, our babe got bigger and stronger. At 11 weeks - further, then we had ever been before, I woke up to a period sized bleed and I thought it was all over. A rushed Sunday morning scan confirmed; that not only was the bub ok, but it was perfect. We still had a long way to go.
With no explanation as to why our other miscarriages had occurred, after numerous genetic and physiological tests of both my husband and I; we decided to let this baby be our ‘fresh air baby’. No injections, no peccaries, no drugs. What else did we have to lose?
Each week we went for scans and doppler tests, each week our baby grew. Each week more promising, each week more terrifying.
At 32 weeks, I finally started to let myself believe this might be real. We let our parents get a little excited. We let our friends throw us a baby shower. We attended baby classes. Built a cot. Picked a baby car seat. We even had a maternity shoot with the legendary Sigrid Petersen. But never would I let myself fully believe that we might welcome a healthy baby.
At 36 weeks during our routine weekly check, my beautiful, kind, patient obstetrician, told me she had to go to Spain to speak at an obstetrics conference and probably wouldn’t be there for my planned induction at 38 weeks. She then took my blood pressure, which was understandably a little elevated; cue hypertension and concerns of pre-eclampsia. The last two weeks were filled with fetal monitoring; which was surprisingly reassuring that our baby was ok. I was booked in for an induction at 38 weeks.
Unfortunately, our induction failed. The foley balloon kept dilating in my cervix when it was filled and would pop out (side note, that doesn't tickle). The cook balloon was used overnight but also didn’t get the job done. On the advice of a very jet-lagged obstetrician, we opted for a caesarean.
Because I had a morning coffee and a muesli bar, we had to wait for a few hours before surgery. I headed into the theatre at 6 pm for the spinal block, but we were bumped for an emergency caesarean.
By 7 pm, we were back in the theatre, prepped and ready to go. By this time, I was pretty anxious, hungry and tired. All I can remember is complaining to Paul that I had ridiculous reflux. Lots of hurried chatter amongst the doctors, the classic kitchen reno in the belly and our baby was born. As they lifted her into the air, Simba from the Lion King style, I caught sight of her little bum. She was real! She was here! She was a she! She was ours!
I watched the screen as they cleaned her up, took her perfect scores and trimmed her cord. I wasn't feeling amazing, the smell of burning meat and sound of the suction and hushed whispers from the obstetricians was all a little much.
They brought our perfect baby girl to the table, I shed a tear or ten before I announced I was going to be sick; and boy, was I sick! I spent the next 24 hours in the high dependency unit recovering from a 1500ml blood loss.
I had a raft of fibroids hanging out of my uterus; that caused Matt (our delivering ob) some grief. These caused our girl to sit high; so they had to make a J incision and pull her out with the salad servers (forceps). In hindsight, if our induction did work, there was a very high probability that we would have ended up with an emergency caesar. So a great call from obstetrician Liz!
Our baby and her amazing Dad went to the maternity ward while I recovered. The next day I was moved to the maternity ward to be with the new love of our lives.
Our little rainbow was here, after so much rain; and she shines brightly every day. Who knew something so small, could perfectly heal such broken hearts.