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Emily’s Birth Story 

Emily’s Birth Story

Emergency CaesareanBrisbane
Theodore 3.56kg
39+1
Emergency Caesarean

I was 38 weeks pregnant and definitely starting to feel the end of pregnancy exhaustion. Hip and back pain, cramping, insomnia and my gestational diabetes that was easily managed with diet was starting to spike. I noticed on the Tuesday that I was getting really itchy palms and soles of my feet as well. I kept an eye on it not really thinking anything but throughout my week 38, it got more intense and eventually felt like bugs crawling under my skin. Nothing I did settled it. I also began getting very swollen hands and feet and a bit of blurry vision.

I called the hospital on the Friday and they asked me to come in for testing as soon as I could. We were in the hospital a couple of hours later, I had bloods done and bub and I were being monitored.

I came pack positive for Intrahepatic Cholestasis and my blood pressure etc. showed a high risk of pre eclampsia developing. With that, as well as my gestational diabetes, I was looking at the triple threat of risk.

I knew from the moment I fell pregnant that I wanted a hypnobirth. To be fully present, listening to my body, following my natural instincts and allowing my baby to be born the way my body knew how. I didn’t want to be induced, I didn’t want any interventions and I certainly didn’t want to spend more than 20% of my labour in hospital.

I felt my heart drop the moment we got the results and Stu reached out to hold my hand. He had written my birth preferences with me and knew how passionate I was about each and every word.

They told us that as I was now 39 weeks, they could put plans in place for an immediate induction but ultimately it was our decision (they had read my birth preferences). They gave me lots of information and the evening to have a chat with Stu and make some decisions. I cried the whole drive home.
Stu and I read through everything, looked at every article and went on every website they gave us, absorbing all of the information and weighing up options. We reread my birth preferences and made a plan for each step if things went off course.

We made the decision to be induced. It wasn’t our first plan but weighing up the medical risks for bub or myself, especially with the results we saw on the screen, we knew it was the right decision.

We listening to hypnobirthing meditations that evening until we fell asleep.
The next morning, we spoke to the hospital and they told us to take some time just the two of us that morning and to come in around lunch. We spent the morning talking all things birth, we read through the hypnobirthing book and made sure we were both on the same page with the birth preferences and any turns that may happen. With Stu’s help, I went from feeling broken, scared and numb to feeling empowered, brave and ready to meet our baby, whatever the next little while held.

The induction began almost immediately after arriving to the hospital. I was given the prostaglandin gel and Stu and I spent the night in the postnatal ward. Despite being in hospital already, and not even being anywhere near labour yet, I felt calm. Every midwife we came across had not only read my birth preferences but was excited that I wanted to follow hypnobirthing and made a point of sharing that with every handover. We were monitored closely that night and at 5am were taken back to the birthing suite to meet baby boy. My waters broke around 6am.

Stu worked with the midwives to make the room as calm as possible. The curtains were closed, lights off and fairy lights were gathered by midwives from all over the hospital to make it a magical atmosphere. They also had a diffuser bought in for me, my affirmations were put up around the room and we had meditation music playing. One of the midwives put a sign on the door to let everyone know that hypnobirthing was happening. They also made sure to have back up wireless monitors charged so that I could move freely around the room. The midwives were amazing. They knew to speak to Stu before me and would have quiet conversations outside the room so that I could be in the zone. They helped Stu remember positions that opened my pelvis and only got involved when we asked.

They did minimal VE and asked permission each time, reminding me that it was entirely my choice. Stu advocated for me like nothing I’ve ever seen before. He had copies of my birth preferences laid out for each handover of staff and continued to ask to be explained what was on the screens/monitors so that he was as informed as possible about the medical side of things.

He did light touch, meditations, acupressure, helped me into different positions and swayed with me for two hours in the warm shower (once again the midwives let us be other than creating a dam with towels on the floor so as not to flood the rest of the room!). I could tell that he felt confident in his role and that confidence gave me strength to focus on my affirmations and meeting our little boy.

I laboured for 13 hours. It was 7pm and I was becoming exhausted. The syntocinon was at this point definitely living up to it’s name and giving me very intense contractions, very close together. I was getting double, sometimes triple waves that would last for minutes and would only give me 30seconds to a minute of relief. My comb and breathing techniques, which had been my lifeline and gotten me this far, were no longer enough.
I asked to know how dilated I was. The answer was 4cm. They felt my bump and could feel that baby was definitely head down but he wasn’t quite square on. Stu spoke to them outside and then came back in and spent some time looking at their screens. He let me know that the monitors were starting to show some distress of both baby and myself. We talked about options moving forwards, I wanted to keep going but I knew it my gut that my body was starting to fade.

I decided on exploring the option of an epidural to try and find some relief from the intense contractions being caused by the syntocinon. The anaesthetist came in and with the lights still off and music still playing, he sat with me, breathed through some contractions with me and explained what the procedure undertook. I asked many questions and went ahead with it. He did the procedure with a head torch on so that I wouldn’t have to have any bright lights.

I had the epidural and continued labouring for two more hours. It was at this point that baby started to go downhill. Once again the midwives spoke with Stu, and showed him everything on the screens. My heart rate and breathing was also becoming irregular.
The midwives left the room and Stu explained all of this to me. He said that I can continue labouring for as long as I like and the midwives will do everything they can to support me through it, but he also explained the changes in baby and I and that they have put the option of a c section on the table. All I remember from this conversation was him being so calm and the midwives being calm and supportive when they came back in. I also remember having intense feelings of ‘doom’ come over me. I knew in my gut that something was going to go wrong if I continued and I agreed to a c-section.

Stu was immediately given scrubs, a midwife held my hand and the anaesthetist came back in to talk me through it all. Everyone double and triple checked that it was a decision I was comfortable with. I remember time slowing down in those moments. I remember this feeling of doom but also this intense fire in my belly, this determination to meet baby boy. To see him and hold him and make sure he was safe. All I could see was him.
Stu said from the moment that I said the word yes, there were 15 people in the room prepping for the surgery and within two minutes I was being wheeled out of the birthing suite. It was an emergency, I knew it in my gut, but the midwives were making sure to keep me calm, to follow my birth preferences and not force anything upon me that I didn’t want.

The surgery happened. I had a midwife holding one hand and Stu the other. Two other midwives had mine and Stu’s phones, making sure to capture the moment our son entered the world. Theodore cried as soon as he was lifted. Stu held him on my chest and we were in that moment for half an hour. The three of us amongst the chaos of the room. I was aware that I was being stitched up, but all I could see and hear and know was the three of us. We were given that time with no interruptions. Stu cut the cord and went with Theo while they prepped me for the recovery room.
We were reunited moments later and our lives began!

My birth story is entirely the opposite of how I had dreamt, I wasn’t able to have that, but I know that the steps that I took and interventions that I chose in the end saved both mine and Theodore’s lives.

The medical complications during labour were explained to me early the next morning, after giving me some time to rest.
For Theo, he was born with a slight cone shape and some sores on top of his head. This was because he was stuck. His head was, instead of going towards the birth canal, pushing up against my pelvis. After 15 hours of pressure and contractions, it was clear that he was not going to move naturally and no matter how many more hours of labour or pushing I did, he may never have been able to be born vaginally.

For me, I suffered an Amniotic Fluid Embolism. They caught it quickly enough and treated it during surgery. Had I continued to labour and not chosen the c-section, I may not have survived. Post birth, Theo and I were both on half hourly obs for three days. They had to keep an eye on not only the birth recovery but also the gestational diabetes and cholestasis.

Thankfully, we were told on the evening of the third day that our recovery turn around was incredible and were given the choice to be discharged. We took it, packed up and took the slow walk down to the car, ready to begin our best adventure yet!

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