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My Husband, Shane and I began trying for our first bub 3 months before our wedding expecting it to take a little while, but to our surprise we were lucky enough to fall pregnant straight away! We were shocked but beyond excited to be starting our newest adventure as soon to be parents.

Working in the healthcare industry, I had a good understanding of the models of care available to me, and was fortunate to gain a place in my local hospital’s Caseload Midwifery Program. The Caseload Program provides continuity of care for women accessing the service, and actively encourages women to be involved in their care provision. The midwives who work on the program are strong advocates for their patients, and ensure that the wants, needs and preferences of all patients are considered in relation to their birth. Women accessing the Caseload Program see one main midwife, as well as a small team of midwives who deliver your baby if your midwife was unavailable to attend the birth.

After being accepted into the Caseload Program, I was temporarily moved in to the High Risk clinic. The doctors wanted to make sure that a small hole in my heart would not cause any problems for me or for bub as my pregnancy progressed. They also wanted to make sure that bub did not have any issues with her heart. We were both given the all clear, and accepted back into the program much to my relief!

My first trimester was uneventful, and I was grateful to only experience mild nausea of an evening. I lived off toast, potatoes and plain pasta for dinner for the first 12 weeks, so lost a fair bit of weight during that time. Other than the nausea, I felt great and was at a loss for words the first time I saw our little love’s heartbeat on screen for the first time.

We had the NIPT test (Noninvasive Prenatal Test) done at 10 weeks to screen for genetic abnormalities, as well as to find out the babies gender. We waited a long 7 weeks after the test to have a gender reveal at our wedding, where we found out we were having a little girl!

I felt amazing throughout my second and third trimester despite developing a strong aversion to meat and a newfound love for coffee. I was able to go on our honeymoon/babymoon to Japan for the Rugby Union World Cup and to Singapore. I was a little anxious of what I might do or where I could get help if anything happened while we were away, and made sure I had the numbers of the closest hospitals on hand everywhere we went. Everything was fine and we had a ball! I am grateful we got to go away for one last holiday together pre-baby and pre global pandemic.

My pregnancy went smoothly, and our extremely active girl was measuring a little on the small side but nothing concerning, was head down and engaged ready to go. I got to my due date still feeling really great and not too uncomfortable, however was extremely impatient and very very ready to meet out bub. The days went by, and I filled them with lots of walking, eating dates, drinking raspberry leaf tea, eating spicy foods (which I absolutely hate), acupuncture and 2 stretch and sweeps. I got to 41+4 days with still no signs of bub coming any time soon. My midwife, Nicky was extremely supportive of me and together we decided on an induction date for 41+6 if nothing happened before then.

I was adamant that I wanted a drug free labour, and wanted to have a water birth with no interventions if possible. I had heard that if you are induced you are unable to use the tub, however Nicky assured me that I could still use the water as pain relief and would use monitors that could be used underwater. She also let me know me that she would do everything she could to try and make sure that I got the intervention free birth I wanted if possible.

Induction day arrived, and we got ready to get to the hospital to get things going. Walking past the COVID-19 Testing to get to the birth suite was the strangest feeling. Bringing our baby into the world 1 week before the country was locked down was definitely not something I ever imagined I would do in this lifetime!

My waters were broken at 7am, and I was started on a drip to start the contractions. Nicky started the drip slowly and monitored me closely to see how my body reacted to the drip, and turned it up bit by bit. The contractions started slowly, and I loved rocking on the yoga ball to get through them. At one stage, I had 2 contractions back to back (not fun), but Nicky was straight on to it and turned the drip down again. All of a sudden I needed to throw up, and wanted nothing to do with the yoga ball. I asked Nicky to fill the bath and jumped straight in. The warm water was a welcome relief and definitely took the edge off the contractions.

At about 12pm, my body started to push involuntarily. Nicky did an examination to see how dilated I was, and I had a small cervical lip that she could move out of the way when I pushed. I was way too hot sitting in the bath, and wanted to get out and on the bed to start pushing.

I moved around a lot trying to find a comfortable position, and ended up settling on my back with Nicky holding one leg, and Shane holding the other. After 5 hours of labour, another 45 minutes of pushing and a tiny tear, our 3.8kg ball of love, Theodora (affectionately known as Teddy) was born with Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” playing in the background.

I was able to do delayed cord clamping, and had the most incredible golden hour with Teddy. She did the breast crawl and latched on herself with 15 minutes of being born, and has not come off the boob ever since!

I was given the injection to deliver the placenta, which took a little longer than expected. There was also a little more blood than they would like to see, but nothing problematic. I had always told myself that I would give birth in the water, not on my back and not covered in my own poo (so glamorous) but it is amazing how much things can change in the moment.

We never went to the ward, and were able to go home 6 hours after Teddy was born. Nicky would come to visit us every day for that next few days to check up on Teddy and I. I was so grateful that we could go and bond together in the comfort of our own home, and be away from what was becoming a hot spot for COVID-19.

 

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Despite all of the negative stories I had heard from people who had been induced, I had the most magical and empowering experience.

Nicky had my best interests at heart, and made sure that my preferences were prioritised at every stage of my pregnancy, labour and birth. Shane was the most incredible support, and I cannot thank him and the Caseload team enough for helping me to achieve such an incredible birth experience.

Special thanks to the wonderful @Madelinelily (Maddie) for sharing her story.