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The day my baby was born

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The day my baby was born

I will never forget the moment my labour began, the moment that marked that step in my journey into motherhood. I can remember everything about it so clearly. My partner, Dave, and I were walking down the road from our corner shop with our dog Jazz, it was nearly 6pm on Tuesday the 10th April 2014 . It was hot; I was 40+ weeks pregnant. I was HUGE. I had been to the hospital that day to be booked in for an induction in 7 days’ time. I had been out for lunch on the Brisbane bayside with my wonderful parents and I wasn't too tired, I was feeling great. I said to Dave " I feel really good right now, I feel really, really good". Little did I know that just a few metres walk after I said that would come the first labour pain that stopped me in my tracks. Little did I know the moment I said that it was the last time I would feel good for many days.

Night progressed and the early contractions came and went and were slow to progress. I was excited though so in between them I googled everything and read all the information I had and wrote down the times between my contractions. I called the hospital and they said it was early labour and to call when the contractions were 10 minutes apart. The next day came and the contractions were still all over the place. Sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 2, sometimes 10 or 15 but never enough to achieve any sleep.

24 hrs in

I laboured away and with each contraction the pain was so intense it was like something I could touch. I called the hospital again that night (now 24 hours in) but was again told to take a hot bath and try and rest. I tried the bath and the shower and all through the night I agonised again, no sleep, contractions still erratic. Thursday morning came. My mother came around and I explained the hospital believed this was just "false labour" or "early labour" and it wasn't for real yet. Mum said its time to get this sorted, go to the hospital; it looks like labour to me.

48hrs in

Thursday afternoon, we finally went to the hospital. They checked it out and said they could break my waters but they wanted it to occur naturally. Of course once I was in the hospital I relaxed and the anxiety went down so of course the contractions completely stopped. I was just 3 cm dilated. They advised me to go home and try and sleep and gave me some weak pain killer/sleeping pill - I forget the name. It did nothing. Once we were home the contractions came back and another night of hell, agony and sleeplessness ensued.

Friday the 13th. More of the same kept happening. Neither Dave nor I knew what to do. My mother is a big inspiration to me. She said to me with tears in her eyes you have to go to that hospital and you have to insist. “Don't take no for an answer, tell them to sort it out “she said.” This is the last time I will see you as just you. The next time I see you, you will be a mother. This time tomorrow that will little boy will be born. I will pray for you." We called the hospital and drove the 40 minutes there again. By this time I hadn't slept in 3 days and after 41 weeks of pregnancy you are sleep deprived enough so I was basically a nervous wreck. Tears spilled out at every opportunity, I was at the bottom of a pit now, erratic and fuzzy and completely desperate. I was going to the toilet virtually every minute. I was at the point where I was well prepared to tell the hospital staff that if they did not admit me now I was going to go outside and walk in front of a car and it would be their fault. It was the most raw, the most awful I had ever felt and yet I knew that I still needed to get the strength together to push my baby out and that the hardest was yet to come. Somehow I just dragged out the last of my strength from within and knew that one way or another I would be able to push on through. I had to.

72 hours in

I was in the birth suite, they weren't going to send me home again, they could now finally see the agony, the tears, and the desperation. They broke my waters and we went in the shower, and after 72 hours in hell, "real" labour began. What seemed like every 5- 10 seconds, I was having massive, ridiculous, agonising contractions. I tried the gas and this did help me breathe but it did not help the pain in anyway. All I can remember from this stage is Dave holding my hands, staring into my eyes saying "in through the nose, out through the mouth" over and over and over. Eventually it became evident I had only made it to about 5 cm and they tried getting me to lie down and try the pethidine, which also did nothing. After some time I eventually remembered what my GP had told me - "if you are a lot of pain early on - ask for the epidural". I knew enough to know that you had to ask that before you got too far dilated. So ask for it I did and an hour later I was half naked sitting up on a bed contracting constantly why they tried to tap holes in my spine and hook this epidural thing up. It failed a number of times but I will never forget when they said just one last contraction and we kissed that last stinking contraction goodbye. The pain disappeared. It felt like God had arrived, on time as always. The room changed from a noisy, crying, screaming hell to a peace that surely is only found in heaven. Dave sat in a chair and fell asleep instantly. This magical invention had taken over my contractions and was doing them for me. I listened to music for a while.

At 8 pm Friday night the contractions were still erratic and not progressive. I was put on syntocinon.  At 10 pm - more syntocinon, trying to speed it up. They kept checking. I kept lying there. Eventually sometime around midnight or so the doctor said you are still only 8cm. It has been too long.(Yeah -  no shit, I thought to myself.) I recommend you have a caesarean. I pretty much had the pen ready to sign on the dotted line before he even finished that sentence! They put the wheels in motion. Dave woke and was over the moon I was having a caesarean. It was time to meet our little boy. It must have been around 3 am and what seemed like a thousand doctors, mostly male were walking me down a hallway on a stretcher, asking me over and over my name , my date of birth, who was I , what was I here for, over and over and over again. The lights were so bright and I was surrounded by strangers. I hadn't seen any of them. Where was my beautiful sweet midwife Melinda? Where was my doctor? Where was Dave? I was terrified.

I can't remember much about the final hours before Zack entered the world. I was heavily medicated, terrified, crying, drained and felt like I couldn't breathe, lying there forever under those white lights. Dave was there and they explained what was happening and I just lay there. At some point I started to notice the doctors began to become a lot more rushed, they pulled Zack out but they didn't show him to me . I just heard him, at first a croaky cry and then one hell of a roar let forth from his lungs! I can't remember much but I can remember that. It was 5.43 am on Saturday 14the April and my little boy had been born but I barely even knew. I was drifting in and out and there was a hell of a commotion, the doctors had urgency, a panic amongst them and they all worked furiously. More doctors and more staff seemed to come. One said "call the blood bank". It finally dawned on me that maybe something was wrong. "Wait a minute, why, why are they calling the blood bank? Why did you say that?" I asked. "Oh it’s just a part of the procedure” they assured me. I did not believe this for a second. I hadn't read this in the book. This wasn't the procedure. I was supposed to have seen my baby. I was there for hours; despite the epidural I could feel the horrible tugging which was the sewing of my stomach.  Dave eventually came back and said that he had been with Zacky. He said he was gorgeous, he was OK said he had my ears (yay) and his nose (oh). I was so tired and felt like I was going to faint. I said “I feel like I am going away”. I had tunnel vision - the world started to close in on me. The one thing I remember really clearly is how freezing cold I was. It was an extreme, painful, draining cold. Dave seemed to come and go, sometimes he was there, sometimes he was with Zacky. The pulling and stitching stretched on forever. I was so tired. At one point I asked if I could go to sleep to which the doctor looked at me strangely and said "um, yeah" in a not too convincing voice. I decided I had better stay awake. If I went to sleep I had a weird feeling I might not wake up. I'm not going die today, I decided. Dave needs me here, I can't leave him. It’s my son’s birthday today. I looked out of the window of the surgery to the side from where I was lying completely paralysed, my life in the hands of the doctors and realised it was actually a nice day outside. Somewhere out there endless possibilities still existed, birds sang. I lay and waited and felt my stomach being pulled and stitched and pulled some more.

The doctors would later tell us that I had experienced was prolonged first stage labour, which is not that uncommon, my labour had failed to progress despite the syntocinon and all other attempts made to speed it up. The medical records indicate that Zacky was distressed and hence the reason to undertake the emergency caesarean, also not uncommon, it could (and does) happen to anyone. Once they finally pulled little Zacky out, my uterus had been contracting for so long it had basically exploded and was unable to contract back down, it lost all control causing me to lose 4.3 litres of blood during what is called a primary post-partum haemorrhage.  An average size adult has a blood volume of around 4.5 - 5.5 litres of blood. They had called the blood bank because it took 10 units of blood to save my life. I had been cold because I was almost out of blood. The senior surgeon on duty that day, eventually stopped the bleeding by inserting a balloon into my uterus. once he finished delivering this information to us, he said "you are a lucky girl, congratulations". Considering I had actually never felt so ill, the words just echoed around my head meaninglessly. I then spent 24 hours in the high dependency unit, still in agony, still not sleeping at all, just lying there paralysed. After 4 days in the ward I was suffering extreme headaches as the insertion of the epidural in labour had put a hole in my spine and I had to have another procedure called a blood patch to put the blood back in my spine. Zack was as healthy as could be and had the best set of lungs in the entire hospital, which he exercised continually. He was so good looking too! I was suffering but at the end of the day, looking back, we were so blessed he was alright.

I now realise that God did not put me through this to punish me. He was simply taking me on a journey to the core of myself to find strength and determination I didn't know was there. So that I would know limits are not actually real, they are just things we set for ourselves in our minds. When you think you have reached the end of your rope, you can always tie a knot and hold on some more. I was not able to see it this way at the time, but the experience was a gift to me because it was so difficult.  When I look at my little Zacky, now 3 years old, I can see that his spirit is so strong and his life force so powerful, his arrival here was always going to reflect that. For my incredible, amazing, smart, fun loving beautiful Zacky who gave me the gift of experiencing a miracle, for my husband Dave who has seen me at my rawest and worst and loves me anyway, for my  parents who's incredible love, strength and prayers kept me alive on the roughest of days of  - thank you. Most of all thank you to the people out there, who I don't know, who, without any hope for recognition, only through an act of pure generosity and honour donated their blood and saved my life. Thanks to them I am a proud happy wife and a mother of a very handsome and lively bright 3 year old  boy who is more precious to me than I can say. May God bless those people and their selfless generosity. I am forever in their debt. Thanks to them I am still alive. Thanks to them I will always be able to cherish, in more ways than one, the day my baby was born.


2 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Sue Rogers
Aug 21, 2015 7:04am [ 1 ]

Thank you ,Sarah. I cried as I read your story ,even though as Dave's mum and Zacky's Nan , I knew some of it.Peter and I love you.

Wendy Moman
Aug 29, 2015 2:11pm [ 2 ]

Sez, what a wonderful inspirational story. And what a brilliant writer you are. And thank you for sharing. I hope it inspires others to give blood as well. You should be so proud of yourself and your strength and that you have used the experience to grow and become even stronger. That's an inspiration as well for others to no wallow in pity, not to be a victim, but to rise up and become a better person from adversity. Love you to pieces. Love my Bro, and love love love my gorgeous nephew.

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