Meeting Jimmy Harper

I never thought I would be sitting here writing a birth story again. You see, there was a time in my life where I was told I would have a 1% chance of falling pregnant. But I was one of the lucky ones who is now an IVF success story - I kind of thought I had used up all my luck.

Fast forward 3.5 years later. I was doing a double shift at work, and the dreaded 3 am nausea kicked in (nurses or shift workers will get this) where you are so tired that you just feel sick. But It made me think though, what if? What if by some crazy miracle I was pregnant?! So what else do you do at the time of the morning, and you work in a hospital. You pee on a stick of course! It was faint, but it was there. I was pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. It was perfect timing; we all needed something positive at that time of our life. Our family’s lives had been turned upside down the month prior with the death of my mother-in-law, so I had the strong sense of the whole circle of life scenario.
I really had wished I had filmed my husband’s reaction to the news, let’s just say there was a lot of swearing with disbelief.
My pregnancy had its ups and downs. Nothing too serious. Just the usual of lingering morning (all day) sickness, and the ridiculous insomnia. At our 20-week scan, we discovered that I had a marginal cord. Which means that the insertion of cord into placenta was on the edge of the placenta, rather being in the middle, and this just needed to be monitored. I was also sent off for a growth scan just to ensure everything was as it should be - as it can affect foetal growth and also as my first born was born at a low birth weight. But all in all, things were tracking along well.
A few days prior to my 35-week check-up, I just felt different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I almost felt like the baby had done a major shift, and my movements felt different. I had always been very onto tracking my baby’s movements. It turned out that my little baby had become breech. I felt deflated. I am unsure of why this upset me, maybe just because that was not in the little plan I had going on in my head. I went home and googled like you wouldn’t believe about all the different ways I could naturally get my baby to spin, and from then I spent the next few weeks on all fours doing all sorts of moves to get that baby to spin! My 3.5yr old thought it was great riding mummy around like a horse! Not so fun for me!

Well, two weeks later, it all changed again. The baby was head down again.


All those pre-labour anxieties began to creep in. When would it happen? Where will I be when I go into labour? And the biggest fear of all; living a 25-minute drive away from the hospital and my first labour was only 45 minutes. To say I was nervous about that whole situation was an understatement. At my 38-week check, my legend of an OB decided to induce me the following week to avoid me delivering roadside! Thank god! I instantly felt more relaxed about giving birth again.


On the 15th of August, we arrived at the hospital at 7 am. We were taken straight around to the birthing suite and waited for the change of shift when the morning midwives would begin. We met two lovely midwives, they put me on the monitor to check baby, and we all heard that amazing sound of the heartbeat thumping along. We all laughed and chatted while waiting for my OB to arrive. Around 8 am, my OB had arrived and got all set for my induction. He did an internal, and well, you wouldn’t believe it, but I had a breech baby once again.


I began packing up, feeling deflated once again. My OB just looked at me and laughed and said: “where are you off too?”. I thought I was off home until baby decided to spin again. After all, the baby had done it once before! But no, unfortunately, that was not that case. I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital. I wasn’t given the option of an ECV as it was too risky with the marginal cord. Instead, I was given a consent form to sign for a caesarean section. I put my big girl face on and signed along on the dotted line, and made stupid jokes, as that is all I know to do when trying to avoid serious situations.


We left the birthing suite and were taken to our room. We had to wait until lunchtime for an operating theatre, and this Mumma had a coffee on the way to the hospital! Oops!


I remember calling my mum to fill her in and holding back my tears. I then called my best friend. She was going to photograph my birth! She still came and sat with us, and that really helped to lighten the mood. We also still had not picked our names, so to pass the time we put names into a hat to draw out a name for each sex! And before we knew it, our midwife was back, and I went for one last nervous wee and to put on my hospital gown. It was then that I sat quietly on the toilet and cried. I cried silent tears. I was so scared, and I was so disappointed. All I wanted was to be able to give birth naturally again. Even though my first birth was fast, it was amazing. I felt so empowered, and I felt like that had all just been ripped away from me. But I didn’t want my husband or bestie see me crumble, so I pulled myself together and made the long, bizarre walk down to the operating theatres. I couldn’t get past the strange feeling of going in to have a baby cut out of me, but not even laboured at all. I just wanted to feel at least one contraction to make it all feel normal and real. But it didn’t.


I have been in dozens of operating theatres as I used to be a scrub nurse myself. I had seen numerous c-sections. So being on the other side of things was tough. I actually have a lump in my throat thinking about it all again. But, as I knew, once my spinal block was in, the actual procedure would happen fairly quickly. I laid there, and tears just kept on pouring out, I had no control over them.



Then I heard the words from my OB saying it was very lucky we ended up in the operating theatre.


Remember that marginal cord I was talking about? Well, it was hanging by a thread, my placenta had nearly detached from my uterus, and my baby had been completely wrapped in the cord after doing so many flips.


As my baby was being checked over, my midwife brought my placenta around to show me, and how close I was to having that cord snap. Then the words that have stuck with us since. “if you tried to have this baby naturally, he wouldn’t be here right now”. That one sentence has stuck with both my husband and me; 9months on, and I have to admit that it does still replay over in my head.


But thankfully, he was here. He was absolutely perfect in every single way — all 7lb’s of him. Jimmy Harper was born at 1:36 pm, my miracle baby!



Once we had decided that we needed the c-section, I had asked once the baby was born to have some delayed cord clamping and to have skin to skin as quickly as possible. I was nervous that he was not going to get all the goodness that he needed and I wanted to ensure I bonded as soon as possible; I had heard a lot of stories of c-section mums finding it difficult to bond then found it really difficult to breastfeed.


Well, cord clamping didn’t happen, the thought was there, but really, what were they clamping? That thing was literally just hanging on by a tread! But the midwives and the paediatrician were all amazing. They gave him a really quick once over, hubby was still able to cut the cord, and then I got to hold my beautiful boy. That’s where he stayed snuggled in for a good hour and a half. He was super clever and sniffed out the milk bar, and he latched like a complete champion!


Even though I was ridiculously disappointed that I needed the c-section, I look back now and couldn’t be more grateful.


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