· By Tiny Hearts Education
When we booked our first scan, we thought we were about five weeks pregnant. I couldn't work out when my last period was so we were clueless. I remember the sonographer exactly saying: "congratulations, you're going to be ten weeks on Sunday". Excuse me? What? Ten weeks? How? I don't believe it.
We spoke about it for another week or so. Mat went away and saw his family, and it was the best thing he needed it. He came home, and we decided, let's do this! I am a big believer in everything happens for a reason. It was meant to be.
We moved house at 32 weeks into a much more suited family home. It was perfect for us. I was so confident I was having this baby early. I had a feeling. I thought if I don't go into labour after this house move from moving my body so much something is wrong.
Fast forward to 40 weeks and two days. I was due on March 29th, and I was getting super pregnant lady crazy. I was completely over being pregnant. I tried every old wives tale known to mankind: Clary Sage Oil, baths, hot showers, crystals, gym ball, walking, I did it all! Nothing worked!
On Tuesday at 5 pm I couldn't control my pee. Was this my waters? It wasn't a big gush of water like I've been reading about, so it's not my waters. It was a slow leak that just kept going.
I called my Mum in a panic because I started seeing some blood. I called the hospital and went in immediately.
I had to go in by myself because of COVID-19. My waters were definitely breaking, and I was walking myself up to the maternity ward with water leaking everywhere. Mat went and waited in the car park at McDonald's. They confirmed my waters had broken and they didn't bother doing an internal, my pad and pants explained it all.
I started getting contractions in the hospital on the CTG machine, and they told me it was Braxton Hicks. My gut said; otherwise, it wasn't Braxton Hicks. They sent me home with an appointment at 8 am the next day or to come in for an induction on Thursday. On the way home, we got Maccas' for dinner; I tried to keep my routine as normal as possible. But I wasn't feeling normal. I couldn't keep the Maccas' down. I felt sick, and the pain got worse.
I called the hospital at midnight, explaining how much pain I was in. My contractions were only lasting about 25 seconds, so I knew I was only in early labour. They said to come in if it got worse. I didn't want to feel as if I was being dramatic, so I held off until 1:30 am. I couldn't walk, I couldn't sit, I couldn't lie down. I just wanted the pain to stop. I had had about three warm showers at this point. Panadol did nothing. I woke up my partner at 1:30 and said we need to go. I felt so bad waking him up. Again, I didn't want to be dramatic. I put in my hospital bag in the car and nothing else. I was still trying not to be dramatic.
With the current COVID-19 restrictions, we had to be screened before being allowed in. More waiting time, more contractions, more pain. I couldn't do it anymore! We got up to the birthing ward, and she told me I could be 1-2cm maybe even 3cm dilated. She did an internal and told me I was 7cm dilated. My partner's face just dropped. The midwife couldn't also believe it. She applauded me for my efforts of labouring so well and for doing so much at home.
I got to a birthing room and set up. I was only allowed to have my partner with me—no other birth partners. I really wanted my Mum with me, but she wasn't allowed. What I didn't expect was to be in labour for over 24 hours. My partner didn't sleep, and I didn't sleep. We didn't see the light of day. Bubs had turned back to back. Which explained the pain in early labour and the midwives said my labour was something they don't see very often. I got water injections as soon as I arrived in my birthing suite. I didn't know about them, but at this point, I was willing to have any pain relief. I screamed so loud that everyone outside thought I was giving birth. I wish! But it was just water injections.
I got the gas and thought how much worse could this get? I am small and petite and had been told I was having a very small baby. I have an okay pain tolerance. I didn't do any birthing classes, and I wasn't scared of the thought of labour. I thought I had this! I knew my body was built to give birth, and I could do it. I had tried a warm bath in the hospital to ease my pain, but my temperature got too high, so I had to come out. I loved being in the bath. I felt so grounded and free.
At 6:30 am on Wednesday, I said: "I can't do it anymore." I said this about 600 times. I asked for the Epidural, and they started organising it. After two other emergencies and 7 hours later, someone was finally available to administer me with the epidural. Mind you; I had absolutely had enough at this point. Not only did I have back pain from him being back to back with me, but my contractions continued on top of that. I couldn't find a comfortable position. The epidural didn't work after six stabs to my back - my spine has a slight curve. At 1 pm, someone else was available to try again—finally, instant relief. I was myself again. And oh my god, that felt good.
The midwife shift change occurred, and I had the amazing Jemma come in and absolutely take over my birthing suite. She turned the lights off. Put the fake candles on. Put the oil diffuser on and relaxing music on. I was in absolute paradise. It was like she had come into my house and knew me to a tee. It was absolutely everything I would have had at home in a stressful situation or just every day. I couldn't thank her enough. Mat had gone home during this time to get our babies hospital bag, our phone chargers and some snacks. I knew he would come back thinking I had redecorated entirely and made the birthing suite mine. But it was all Jemma!
I got to 10cm dilated and bubs was almost in eyes view. They let me wait another hour to avoid excess pushing and see if bubs would come down himself any further. A god sent! Time for me to rest a bit.
Time to push! Here we go. This is it! I took the last selfie of Mat and I before we were about to become parents and sent it to my Mum. I really missed having her by my side. A crazy emotion time as I wanted her in the birthing room with me, but COVID-19 meant no support or visitors besides the partner. Despite the sadness of that, I got this! I can do it! No global pandemic, crisis, isolation was going to stop me.
I started pushing, bubs then thought that meant party time. He began moving side to side, tossing and turning and ended up getting his heart rate too high. I had doctors coming in that I had never seen before. A machine next to me flashing, beeping red big heart rate numbers. I wanted to freak out. No one else was freaking out, though.
A doctor explained to me due to the current situation they didn't want me to keep pushing and get nowhere, and further exhaustion would stress bubs out. They wanted to do a trial of instruments and I also signed the waiver for an emergency c-section. Let's get this done. "Get this baby out of me" was my mentality. I trusted them. My partner got his scrubs on, and we were taken down to theatre. I was so unsure of what was going to happen in the next hour.
All I wanted to do was sleep. I was exhausted. The epidural had done so well it completely relaxed me; I just wanted to sleep. I was about to meet my baby in less than 30 mins, but I just wanted to sleep. I napped for about 10 mins waiting to go into the theatre room.
Big bright lights, in we go. I saw about 30 people walking around me in this theatre room and another ten people working on me. One was putting my legs up, one was cutting my hospital gown off me, one was putting monitors on my chest, one was putting a monitor on my finger, one was dosing me up with another shot of epidural, one was asking me questions with an ice pack to test the epidural, and another was a lovely lady I could barely hear from my downstairs trying to explain to me what she was about to do. I was so overwhelmed. I couldn't see my partner and all I wanted was him. I heard someone say to him "here mate, take this seat. Sit right next to her." I saw him come up on my left side and he was sitting right there next to me. Thank god. I needed to see him. I had him on my left side and the AMAZING midwife Jemma on my right. I had them both in my ears full of encouragement telling me to push during my contractions. I was so high on the epidural I couldn't feel anything. I was pushing, but I didn't feel like I was doing anything except holding my breath and going purple. Little did I know this lady downstairs had a vacuum on my babies head. I am sure she told me everything she was doing, but I couldn't hear her in this loud theatre room. I pushed for a few contractions, and then I felt a pop in my belly.
I quickly opened my eyes in panic, and my beautiful boy Harvey was crying full of blood right there in front of my eyes at 8:40 pm on April 1st, 2020. Love at first sight. Yep, it's definitely a thing.
They put him on my chest, and the first thing he did was grip all his fingers around my thumb, and he squeezed my thumb so tight I just burst into tears. Oh my gosh! A love like no other. Twenty-four hours of labour, pain, 7-hour wait for two epidurals, back to back pain it didn't compare to what I had in front of me. I looked over at my partner full of tears, and I could see his eyes all watery. I can't even describe the moment.
He was so damn perfect. I don't know how we got so lucky.
Harvey had to be sent to the special care nursery for antibiotics and cultures as my membrane broke really early. Mat went with him and dressed him and cleaned his vomit and came down to me at 1 am and had to go home. With COVID-19 he is only allowed to visit between 1-3 pm for an hour and 5-7 pm for another hour. We just had a baby, and he had to go home. It broke my heart. I just went through something so intense, and now I am by myself at 1 am with this baby in a crib next to me. What on earth is happening?
For a baby we didn't plan, to be born on April fools we did have a bit of a laugh. He was as perfect as ever, and I am so grateful we have him.
Harvey James Colin Goodall
Born on April 1st at 8:40pm
Head circumference 36cm
The absolute apple of our lives we can't share with our family and friends for love and cuddles because of COVID-19. We are now stuck at home in isolation. We are keeping safe from the world and doing through the glass window visits. It's a hard and trying time in the world right now and what a story we have to share with Harvey when he's older of when he was born during a global pandemic.
Being a first time Mum during a global pandemic is scary, terrifying and exciting all at the same time! So for now, it's just us. Loved up in our love bubble at home, keeping safe until who knows when.