Monday the 23rd of March, I knew she was on the way, I was getting a lot of cramping, I was so unbelievably uncomfortable, I could barely sleep and my heart burn was through the roof. This went on for the next couple of days.
The day before Dahlia’s birth 1 single rose bloomed in our garden, and I remember thinking she was going to arrive any day now.
On the Wednesday (the day before she was born), I had an appointment at the hospital for a growth scan, as bub was measuring on the larger side of normal. My scan was at 2:30pm that afternoon, Mat was able to come with me luckily as this was when COVID was really ramping up.
Before we left home my hospital bag was at the front door and Mat suggested we take it with us, just incase. We also made sure Benson had food and water in his bowl too. I think subconsciously we both knew something was going to happen.
We get to the hospital and I get called in for the scan, as I walked in I felt a slight gush, like I had peed myself a little - nothing crazy though. I knew at the time it was highly likely that my waters had partially broken, however I didn’t say anything, I just went ahead with the scan.
The scan results confirmed more of the same, bub measured on the larger side of normal, and they thought she was going to be a big baby - all was well though, she was happy and healthy.
I called my midwife as soon as we walked out of the appointment and told her what had happened, she was on her way in to the hospital and said it couldn’t hurt to check me out and asked me to meet her in the pregnancy assessment unit in 30 minutes.
From here on out things happened very quickly. My midwife confirmed that my waters had partially broken, but had concerns that there might have been some meconium in it. Straight off the bat there was talk of induction and a possible caesarean due to this and also bubba’s potentially large size.
The doctor advised that a caesarean was not necessary at this stage, and confirmed that there was no meconium in my waters, so we were giving vaginal birth a go. However, I was advised the risks of having a bigger baby.
Bit of back story, I had gone pretty much my whole pregnancy with placenta previa, where my placenta was covering my cervix - meaning baby would not have been able to get out when the time came, which can pose some serious complications for both mother and baby. I was advised to abstain from any sexual relations also, so nothing was ruptured. This meant that if my placenta didn’t move I was going to be booked for a caesarean and that a vaginal birth was not possible.
I pretty much had resigned to the fact that this was going to be the case and she was coming out of the sun roof.
I had a scan at 34 weeks and it turns out my placenta had moved and I was cleared for a natural birth.
So at this point I had to try and mentally prepare for that - we did also do a hypnobirthing course.
Back to the story.
So we are still in the little pregnancy assessment room, and I become very uncomfortable quickly and I can feel myself beginning to panic a bit - I’m hot, very large and start to feel claustrophobic sitting in there waiting for them to take me in to birth suite.
I kept thinking to myself, I’m not prepared for this, this wasn’t in my plan - I was supposed to labour at home for as long as possible, use my TENS machine, have warm showers and bounce on my ball, all whilst listening to meditative music in the comfort of my own home with Mat holding my hand and offering relaxing massages! - Not sitting uncomfortably in this room in my overalls and Birkenstock’s, glaring at the clock on the wall.
I walk with difficulty down the corridor to birth suite at around 4pm, and lay on the bed for the midwife to check me, at this point I was 4cm dilated, and she offered to rupture the rest of my waters and get things going, which I said yes - after this I had a change of hands in midwives as my midwife had already worked overtime. I remember the new midwife saying “she looks like she’s in labour, maybe she will go quickly.”
Things came on hard and fast and I didn’t know if I should sit or stand or where to go. I decide on the shower with Mat holding the shower head on my back, the warm water providing some much needed, albeit temporary relief. The midwife wanted to monitor bub's heart rate, as I stood awkwardly in the shower starkers trying to move through contractions. For some reason the portable dopplers being used weren’t working, which was extremely frustrating. I was then told I required an internal foetal monitor which attached to babies scalp to monitor her heart rate. I was back up on the bed again, the midwife struggled to attach the monitor to her scalp, due to her abundance of hair, it took a few goes but in the end it was successful.
At this point Mat had left birth suite to meet my parents to give them our house keys so they could pick up Benson. I also realised then, why labouring women do not want to be touched, lol.
I had been there for a few hours now and I was feeling flustered and really thrown off, the pain was intensifying, so I tried to go back in too the shower, but I wasn’t happy and made the choice to have an epidural to manage my pain.
I told the midwife with certainty that was what I wanted and within half an hour the anaesthetist was there and put it in, no dramas, not long after that the pain was gone. Although a catheter was then required.
It was now quite late at night, around 10:30pm and there was another change of hands for my midwife, this would be the 3rd and last one for my labour, she was lovely and put me at ease.
I had another internal check and I had only dilated another cm or so, and was told that the epidural can slow down the labour, for now I was to rest and that I would be checked again in a couple of hours, if I hadn’t progressed by then we may look at trying to speed things up a bit.
The couple of hours came and it was around midnight by this stage, I had dilated only another cm. Syntocinon was suggested to speed up the labour, to which I agreed.
This was administered intravenously and was on the lowest dose as my body was still doing most of the work and they didn’t want to overstimulate my uterus. After this the midwife said to shut my eyes and get some rest for a couple of hours. I couldn’t sleep though, I started to feel uncomfortable laying in the same position and couldn’t shut off my brain as I was nervously excited and still trying to process the day and what was to come.
More time elapsed and the monitors began to beep, the midwife came back in to the room and was staring at bubs heart rate, her baseline had been at 150bpm, but had gone up to 160 then 170, by this stage 2 doctors were called in and they felt my stomach, the Dr looked at me and said can you feel that? To which my answer was no, due to the epidural. She then proceeded to say she’d never felt a baby move that much in her life and that she was going crazy in there.
They decided they wanted to run some tests to make sure she wasn’t in distress, first step was to reattach the internal foetal monitor (as the 1st one came out) again there were issues attaching it due to her hair. Heart rate was still high with the internal monitor so another test was done, unsure of what this test even was.
We waited whilst the Drs reviewed the results, they weren’t gone for long before they came back in and the Dr said that bub is definitely in distress and that she was not happy with what was happening at all. Her heart rate went up to 200bpm and they wanted to get her out now, they asked if I consented to a caesarean, which I said yes of course. The doctor proceeded to call a code, CAT1 emergency caesarean due to foetal tachycardia.
Everything went blurry for me from then, I remember Mat getting garbed up. Then me being pushed out of the dark birth suite in to the bright lights, literally like I was in a movie getting wheeled down the hall way. The beautiful midwife holding my hand just telling me to close my eyes and breathe. Next minute I’m on the table with a room full of people shooting questions at me quicker than I could answer them, the team were gun and I knew I was in good hands, but it still didn’t settle my nerves.
I tried to focus on my breath, as my midwife massaged my cheeks and patted my head. Mat was to my left which made it hard to see him as did the fact I had my eyes closed so tightly trying to focus on being ok, hanging on to his hand for dear life. The surgery began, I could feel the pulling and pressure, no pain - I could hear the excited chatter of the medical team.
It was close, she was almost here.
My midwife said it was almost time, and to open my eyes when she said to, and just like that she told me to open my eyes, just as our baby was pulled up over the sheath.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, she came out screaming and I immediately started to cry, I looked over at Mat with relief and amazement that we had done it.
Dahlia was finally here, born 3:32am on the 26.3.20 and weighing 4.21kgs and a lengthy 55cm long.
She had some gunk on her lungs and was having some trouble breathing, so had to be taken away as soon as she was out, Mat went with her while I got cleaned and stitched up.
Unfortunately I had a bit of a reaction to the epidural block and couldn’t stop shaking uncontrollably, teeth chattering - which went on for the next few hours which was quite unpleasant.
They considered taking D to the nursery for observation but decided to see how she would go being with me in recovery. They put her on my chest, I was terrified because I thought I might drop her - as soon as she heard my voice she looked up at me and manoeuvred her way down to my bosom and latched on, the nurses were happy with that and decided she was ok to stay with us, and she has been with us ever since.
The most physically, emotionally and mentally challenging experience yet, but also an absolute dream.
She has cracked my heart wide open.
Raw, ethereal, and humbling.
We couldn’t be any more in love with our Dahlia Tove.