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Phoebe's hospital birth story

Lola was due on 1/4/22. I went into Wollongong hospital to get monitored because of reduced fetal movement on the 28/3. Something didn’t feel right and I’m not really sure if it was because I was just nervous about the upcoming birth or something actually wasn’t right.  Lola didn’t move much for the few hours I was monitored and the ob suggested an induction, which I really didn’t want to get.

 

The midwife offered a stretch and sweep to see if we could get anything going and I had no idea what to do. I was stuck in this little shoebox of a room with no windows completely on my own and had to make a huge decision, of course, my family were just like 'get induced - what is the big deal?'. Cara (my doula) really helped me here and just said trust your instinct. I ended up opting to get induced because I know I wouldn’t have been able to stop worrying about it and be able to sleep... and something just felt off.

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They told me to come in the next day at 3 pm but said they would call first because of the availability of beds. The next day we waited around until 3 pm trying to relax and there was no call, ended up calling the hospital and they said to call back at 5 pm. At 5 pm they said to slowly make our way in so my boyfriend and I went and had dinner on the way. Got to the hospital around 6 pm and did some more waiting with Lola being monitored. At about 9 or 10 pm I had a balloon catheter inserted, my water immediately broke and I had no discomfort luckily, I didn’t even know until the doctor told me it had broken. They took the catheter out and transferred me to the natal ward to sleep. I had a terrible sleep of 2 hours because of the stretching that was happening but was so excited and nervous that I don’t think I would have been able to sleep anyway.

At 8 am I was induced, Nath and Cara were both helping me through my labour. Lola was on my back and it was super painful but I had breaks in between the contractions. I tried the tens machine which helped and also the gas, but that made me vomit. I was in the shower most of the time with a showerhead on my belly and back. So thankful I had Cara there to give me water and talk to the midwife whilst Nath stayed by my side in the shower. 

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I’m not sure what time it was but I asked for an epidural, and the midwife was a bit reluctant because I wasn’t dilated enough. I left the shower and had a cervix examination on the bed, midwife still advised me against it. The midwife left and came back and said I was allowed because I hadn’t had much sleep.

I was really nervous about getting the epidural but the female anaesthetist made me feel so comfortable, she was great. Right before I received the epidural my contractions became so much more intense, I was pretty quiet up until this point but now I was wailing and in so much pain. After I had the epidural, my midwife said I could have a nap now and Nath went off to have some lunch. I was still feeling the pressure but there was no pain.

After about 15 to 20 minutes I felt like I needed to push. The midwife said no no just relax. I was clenching my legs together so hard, I felt like the baby was coming. The midwife checked me and said Lola was ready to come and went to call the ob. I freaked out a little bit because Nathan was not there so Cara called and luckily he was on his way back. Within a few minutes, my legs were up in stirrups, the room was full of people and I was being told to push, I actually found pushing really hard and I wish I focused a bit more on that during my pregnancy.

I’m not really sure how long I pushed for, it felt like 45 minutes but I don’t know... could have been longer. Lola was born at 3.17 pm on the 30th of March, with some help from the vacuum. She tore a bit of my labia as she came out with her hand up next to her head. 

Everyone left the room and Nath and I had some time together with Lola as she had her first breastfeed. I feel pretty lucky with my birth experience. I would have preferred not to be induced but I have Lola and there were no problems so it doesn’t really matter in the end.

I remember I used to see pregnant women when I was younger and just think “aren’t they terrified, birth seems so painful!” But as soon as I found out about doulas and in turn, found Cara… I relaxed and was so confident in myself and my body and actually looked forward to giving birth. I had a great support team and Cara just completed that circle for me, Nath and I couldn't have done it without her. 

 

 

 

Phoebe and Nathan's one piece of advice for mothers and partners about to birth:

Nath: try to have structure but be prepared to learn new things and change it up every day, it’s an ongoing experiment.

Phoebe: keep the postpartum period as quiet as possible to just relax/heal and be with your new little family. I also second the experiment comment - every baby is different! Never compare to other babies or mums! 

What is one thing your birth/becoming a mother has taught you?

I worried a lot about my breasts and body changing.. and when it did, it came as a huge shock. The look and feel of my body as it grew and as it continues to nourish Lola and change postpartum is something that I continue to navigate. Through this experience though, Lola has put this shift into perspective for me, as she truly doesn't care what I look like, which is so special and so unconditional. Through becoming her mum, my relationship with my own body has shifted and evolved, which is really special.

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