Today’s birth story is by the very lovely Samara, who shares the details of how her gorgeous little bub Madeline came to be! If you want to hear more from Samara you can check her out on Instagram under the handle: @our.cottage.life
Tell us about your TTC journey… My husband and I knew as soon as we were married that we wanted to start a family. There was no plan in place, we just wanted to see what happened. But I remember feeling disappointed every month that I wasn’t pregnant! About 6 months in I decided to be more proactive and began tracking my cycle and ovulation after seeing an OBGYN for my endometriosis. After another 3 months I bought some ovulation tests on a whim….
We had just celebrated our first wedding anniversary when I fell of my bike and tore a ligament in my knee. I had been seeing a physio for a few weeks with no improvement so my GP referred me to have an MRI. It was my day off and I was about to call the radiographer to book in when I realised I was a day late! This wasn’t unusual at all for me but I thought I had better take a pregnancy test before I called…. just in case. I took the test, popped it on the bathroom counter and went about my day. A while later I checked it and it was positive!!! I had to look at it about 10 times and took another test just in case I wasn’t reading it right. My mind immediately started thinking how do I tell my husband? I’d seen so many cute ways to tell your partner on Pinterest and I wanted it to be amazing. Those who know me know that I am ridiculously impatient… and within 5 minutes I had called him at work to tell him the news! I was soooooo excited and couldn’t wait to watch my belly grow.
How did you go with morning sickness and your pregnancy in general? I enjoyed being pregnant for the first few weeks, it was a little fun having such amazing news and keeping it all to ourselves. At about 5 weeks I started to get a little bit of morning sickness but totally tolerable and easy to hide. When I was 8 weeks pregnant we went away to our beach house with friends for my 27th birthday and that’s when I knew it wasn’t just morning sickness. I spent the whole weekend in bed, I couldn’t move or eat without being sick but figured surely this wouldn’t go on too much longer. By 10 weeks pregnant people had started to notice that I hadn’t been at work much and just wasn’t myself. We had our first doctor appointment that week and I was given medication to stop the vomiting, as I had started to lose weight.
At 11 weeks we were meant to attend a family event but unfortunately I was admitted to hospital with dehydration and diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. The medication made it a little easier to function but I was still struggling to stay hydrated and day to day life was hard. I hit the second trimester with hope that the sickness would stop and I would get to enjoy the beautiful glow of pregnancy. It didn’t. As the weeks passed I started to get anxious leaving the house, I had emesis (sick) bags and crackers stashed everywhere – my handbag, both our cars and every room in the house. I was terrified of being sick in public but still had hope that at 20 weeks the sickness would go away. It didn’t go away! The hyperemesis stayed with me right up until Madeline was delivered, all 39 weeks and 6 days. Every day was hard. I couldn’t shower or brush my teeth without being sick, smells made me sick or sometimes I would just wake up in the middle of the night to be sick. It made working as a Nurse almost impossible. I had to change shifts as mornings were horrible. Some days it would carry on all day and I wouldn’t be able to work at all!
And finally, the path to Madeline…. I went along to my 36 week midwife appointment knowing that I would be seeing someone new as the midwife who had been looking after me was away. As she was measuring my bump and palpating to see where bubs was sitting she told me that I was going to have at least a 4kg baby – hello freak out!! We were finishing up my appointment when she noticed that I had been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and there had been no follow up. She offered to send me off to another ultrasound as a perk of GD to see just how big this baby was going to be.
A week later I woke up and I was huge, it was like my whole body had blown up into a beach ball. My husband was concerned and asked me to call the hospital to see if I needed to come in for a check-up. I had the ultrasound appointment that morning at the hospital so called them on the way and they said to pop in after the scan. The scan all went well with bubs measuring 3.8kgs. I was still freaking out but at least it wasn’t over 4kgs and waddled down to the women’s assessment unit. I was seen by a lovely obstetrician who told me the swelling was due to Hypertension and that I had a week for bubs to make her arrival. I was booked in to be induced on 24th of June.
Induction day rolled around and I hadn’t told anyone (other than family) I was being induced to avoid the ‘is she here yet?’ messages. That afternoon a friend popped in for a coffee,
I remember just chatting to her when she asked me when I thought I might go into labour. I answered ‘tonight’ with a laugh and told her about the induction. I remember she was shocked I was so calm. I was so ready to do this, I didn’t have a birth plan but wasn’t scared of the idea of birth. I was ready to rock it and meet our daughter. We went in to the hospital as planned and were sent straight to the birthing suite. The suite was full and they suggested my husband and I go to the pub down the road for one last meal before we were parents but thought they should check my blood pressure before they sent us off on our date. My BP was through the roof so they cancelled our date quick smart and I got the next available room. We settled in and a while later a lovely midwife popped in a cooks’ catheter and told me to get some rest. She said it would help to dilate the cervix, induce labour and would probably fall out overnight. They sent my husband home and I went to sleep.
The next morning the catheter hadn’t done its job, so I was given a stretch and sweep and some gels as the next step. This happened every 8 hours and through the night with constant monitoring of the baby to make sure she wasn’t going in to distress (along with 2 hourly blood pressure checks). By Sunday morning I was exhausted and so beyond ready to meet our little one. When the obstetrician did her morning round we finally had a result of 1cm dilation, so they decided to do an artificial rupture of membrane. I don’t think I will ever forget the pain of that rupture, it made the stretch and sweeps seem quite pleasant. Everyone left the room and I jumped in the shower. That’s when the contractions began, hard and fast!
When the midwife came back to check on me I was pacing the room trying to find any possible way to get comfortable. I honestly didn’t expect it to hurt that much!! I asked to be put on the anaesthetist’s list for an epidural knowing there would be a wait and that I wouldn’t be able to cope. While I waited we tried using the gas, which worked well early on. When the anaesthetist arrived, I popped on the hospital gown (A seriously odd moment as a nurse being the patient) and we began. I was terrified of having an epidural, I absolutely hate having needles as ironic as that is, but I sat as still as possible holding my husband’s hand and breaking for contractions. After the anaesthetist did the epidural she said it would take a few minutes to work and she would be back. In the meantime, the student midwife who arrived just after handover time told me she would be putting in a catheter. They popped it in and thankfully that all went well, however I was still feeling every contraction to its full extent. The anaesthetist tried the epidural again and we waited but the block had gone laterally, only working on my right side. This happened 5 times in total with the head of anaesthetics attempting the last 2 before deciding to try a spinal block, which also didn’t work.
While all of this was happening I had a cannula inserted and was put on an oxytocin drip. This had been slowly turned up through the day. By 10pm I had only dilated to 2cm and was in quite a lot of pain! Handover to the night staff had begun and I was told I had Pre-eclampsia. The decision was made to take me to C-section but due to the failed epidurals and spinal blocks I had to have a General Aesthetic. I was wheeled in to theatre and remember being told that it would be a short aesthetic so that it wouldn’t harm the baby. I watched them prep my belly, saw the scalpel being placed ready for the incision and the next thing I remember was waking up in recovery. As I had a GA my husband was unable to come into theatre. He waited outside while I delivered our baby but was able to meet me in recovery once I woke up. He told me he had gone to the nursery with our beautiful baby girl, who was born at 11.17pm on the 26th June weighing 2.9kgs and was able to have skin to skin with her. I was taken to the postnatal ward where my husband said, ‘good night’ and went home to get some rest.
It was 4 hours until I laid eyes on our daughter. I remember the midwife wheeling her in to the room in the early hours of the morning and placing her just out of my reach. I watched her peacefully sleeping for a while snapped a photo and went back to sleep in between the Midwife doing my observations. It was about lunchtime the day after Madeline was born that I was able to hold our beautiful, tiny little girl. The midwife helped me to attempt our first breastfeed and this was when I got my first cuddle.
Knowing now what our journey would be, I would still do it all again in a heartbeat just to meet our perfect little girl. I can’t imagine our lives without her crazy little personality.
Wow! What a crazy, beautiful ride for you Samara! A very big thank you to you for sharing this amazing story with us! I don’t know about everyone else but I love to hear birth stories!! They are all so truly magical!
If you would like to share your story with us, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org