My story starts November 21st, 2019, the day I made medical history. That Thursday morning Jerome and I were talking, and he said, “you’re so moody I’d think you are pregnant, goodness” we smirked at the thought, and I replied, “it’s impossible remember”. I have a condition called turners syndrome which effects 1 in 1000 women. It causes complications with our reproductive system, height, learning etc.

That evening we were grocery shopping and we walked past the pregnancy tests; we thought why not. A quick five-minute drive home and as soon as we stepped foot into our home, I went straight to take the test, I was eager to find out. 

One line passed and I chuckled thinking how obscured it was that I decided to take a test. Seconds later a second line showed, and I started shaking uncontrollably, I was absolutely shocked. I called Jerome over from the lounge and showed him the positive test; he thought I was joking; his exact words were “so what does two lines mean?”. He had the biggest grin that almost reached both sides of his eyes it was heart-warming. I couldn’t make eye contact with him; I was laughing uncontrollably out of anxiousness. I was in the unknown and didn’t know how to feel. My first thought was “oh no I’ve got to tell my sister Pam, how is this going to go down”. She’s like my second mother, such a strong and inspiring lady. 

Our first appointment went by, I was told to take another test just in case, which to no surprise came back positive. The look on the doctors faces when they saw the two lines. Out came the negativity, reiterating that due to my condition, I would need to be aware that this baby has a chance of not making it at all. Out came the water works, I felt as if the world came to a sudden stop. My partner gripped my hand tight bringing me back to reality. I left the appointment unsettled. After that, we went searching for a midwife totally disregarding the doctors’ words, feeling all sorts of emotions after my first appointment. 

 Baby could not be seen in our first ultrasound, although a little smudge was shown, and we were told that baby is only around the 3–4-week mark. We then went back for the 6 weeks check-up and there was our little baby, so perfect. We confirmed everything was fine and went back to the doctors, only to be told baby would not make it past 12 weeks and proceeded to apologise and send condolences in advance (How dare you!). 

The day of our 12-week scan arrived and I cried thinking we would see a “still” baby. It was the complete opposite, he was jumping around and waving, he was so happy in Māmā's puku (tummy). My partner looked me straight in the eyes and told me “There you go, wipe those tears my darling our baby is perfect. There’s nothing wrong with you and there is nothing wrong with our baby. Believe this.” 

We had found a midwife who had been a midwife for 32 years. She always reminded me that I should stop doubting myself when I would say I shouldn’t be in a clinic. It came time to talk about our birth plan, instantly I said I wanted to give birth at home with my mother, sister, Mother In-law, and my partner Jerome, I also wanted to have a water birth. She instantly replied saying “No f’ing way”. My heart felt heavy once again, I felt disheartened. I was the worst feeling being told I was not allowed to deliver him in the comfort of my own home and in water, where I flourish. Her exact words were “We need you in the hospital. You won’t be able to do anything at all without the doctors wondering what will happen if you do this or that; you will be watched like a hawk my darling and you need to listen to everything the doctors say”. I said okay, but I’m still having my family there, to which she responded “You’re allowed but remember the alert level is one higher than what the whole of New Zealand in the hospital”. 

Fast forward to the day before the beautiful birth of Marcellus-Tukotuku, the moment all expecting mothers are preparing for. 29th of August 2020, 2 days before our expected due date. I was wondering why I wasn’t feeling any different and when will he come! Jerome would ask every day “is our son coming soon?” “Do you feel anything different?” my answer was always no, nothing different. We went for a ride that lasted over an hour to attend my nan’s birthday. We enjoyed the food and cake and we finished up our travel by seeing my eldest sister, Petra. She made a joke saying the ride there and back would put me in labour. She knew I was in the early stages of labour; she could tell by how often I went to the toilet, the way I looked and walked (how incredible is our connection). She has asked whether I was getting any signs yet, which I replied none at all. 

At 1:20am I woke up with uncomfortable pains that lasted 1-2 minutes. I attempted to go back to sleep but couldn’t. Jerome was awake playing games and as things proceeded to get worse, I told him. The contractions came on super quickly. Lasting 3 minutes now and they were very sharp, my whole tummy felt like it had been tightened to its maximum point. He was so excited “oh my gosh we are having our son today” “I’m packing the car”. NO, I EXCLAIMED, I’ll get over these, I have felt them before. My partner then called my sister Pamela so I could stop being so stubborn and admit I was in early labour “SHES CONTRACTING” he shouted over the phone in absolute happiness. Pam couldn’t sleep that morning either she said she felt the need to stay up. “Talk during your contractions” she joked, and I couldn’t. Her words were “eddy get the car ready and get her in the bath. I’ll count the times of the contractions and if I get the timing right, Winter better get in that car” 2:40am arrived and we called Jeanette her words were “don’t you pull a sneaky one and try have him at home, I’ll get you in that car myself.

Off to the hospital, we went. I refused to go, I listened to my body and knew it was too early in my labour. I was 1cm when we got there, but when they monitored him, his heartbeat dropped twice. 6 nurses, 1 doctor and two surgeons rushed in, I was overwhelmed. Due to condition, they took every little thing as if it were something. Quickly they stripped me to go into the theatre I broke down in tears immediately. Jerome told them to exit the room immediately and give us space. He calmed me and they listened. They gave us 7 minutes and came back in to say we could proceed naturally. What a relief. I was watched like a hawk; my privacy was out the door, literally. I tried feeling for my baby spiritually so he would help me do what he needed me to do, and that was birth him safely. My sister, mum, brother and partner all took turns massaging me and giving me words of wisdom. I wanted my own space and for everyone to be quiet so I told them to be quiet and leave me alone, but all they could do was laugh. 

Still not in active labour, my midwife broke my waters and performed a membrane sweep, as they needed me to start dilating me or I would have been rushed into theatre. I went from 3cm to 10cm in an hour and 11 minutes and was in established (active labour for an hour). We had no idea I fully dilated that quickly and by this point, I was screaming for an epidural. I sat in the same position for the whole hour of me dilating without knowing it. They got as far as putting the line in without the anaesthetic before I panted “I need to push”. All I heard was my midwife say, “what?Really?”. She checked me and baby was crowning, she said that was so quick push NOW! 

I looked for my partner, who was helping me, and I channelled his energy, such a strong man who was meant to be a Pāpā. Jerome, my sister and my mother-in-law who was in the car park because they wouldn’t allow her in, gave me such strength. All I could hear was “push, push, push, keep pushing” and “if you don’t get him out in the next 5, I have to get some help”. Trust me, when I heard that I pushed like I had trained years for this. After pushing for 20 minutes, there he was. Our beautiful miracle baby. 8 pounds 1, born at 3:53 pm on Sunday, 30th August. Our heart and our miracle. I felt whole for once, I felt like a part of me died but then I felt I was renewed holding my precious treasure, our baby so pure in my arms and I just dropped into tears. Our hearts were in sync. His eyes would not leave mine. The way he looked at me was breathtaking, as if I had fallen in a deep love coma. He made the whole room stop and relax; we were in awe. So speechless. He’s here, our baby is finally here, we did it baby. We did it.

There is such beauty behind this. I want to share my story for mamas who resonate to this or those who feel strength from this story to say that you CAN DO THIS! No matter what.

Beautiful mama @winterroseteao