Meeting Malakai



Around 34 weeks gestation, my partner, my toddler and I all contracted covid. On day 5, my movements became incredibly different and decreased. Amy, who is a part of the Mudgee covid care team, called to check in on me. I explained how I was feeling, and she told me to go straight to the hospital and that she would call ahead. From then on, I would drive to Dubbo daily to have a trace done and then drive home. Movements never picked up, and some days I would go hours without feeling anything. We had multiple scans that came back fine, although baby would sleep without a movement for an entire trace and ultrasound, and we didn't know why. I had an iron infusion as it was quite low, but nothing changed. He was just so sleepy. 

Fast forward to 37 weeks, I had my last trace done in Dubbo and then called the Mudgee team to explain everything we had been doing, and there still wasn't any improvement. Amy told me to pack my bags and come over right away to make a plan. It was a Monday night, about 7:30ish. We got to Mudgee, and I was put on the monitor. Baby was sound asleep, but the stats were good. We didn't know why there was little movement and didn't know if waiting was safe or not, so being at a safe gestational age and after talking with the Drs and midwives, the plan was to get induced. We went home to arrange care for our toddler and drove back over the next day. 

37w1d - We arrived around 12pm and set up in our room. At 2:15pm, Dr Lee came around and explained what the plan was. He did an examination and inserted a dose of Prostin Gel into my vagina to hopefully soften and dilate my cervix overnight so that we could rupture my membranes in the morning. Almost instantly, I started getting very dull cramps in my pelvis. They were bearable until around 6:30-7pm when I felt like they turned into contractions. They felt very strong, but they were irregular. I jumped in the shower and had some panadol which did relieve some pain. We started timing the contractions so I could take advantage of every break I got, even though sometimes it would only last 15 seconds. I got out of the shower, hoping to get some rest, but the contractions got worse, and I could no longer breathe through them. We made our way down to the suite, and I used gas as pain relief for the rest of the way. It was about 9:30pm at this point. I arranged some dinner to be dropped off and then told my partner to get some sleep. I was comfortable swaying on the exercise ball, breathing with each contraction and sipping some cold water. I was also timing whether or not I could make a toilet run before the next one hit. I got more pain relief to take the edge off as I felt the contractions were getting worse every hour. 

37w2d, At 1:30am, I woke my partner and told him I needed the midwife because the contractions were getting worse. Going for 1.5 min with a 15-20 sec break. Sometimes they were back to back. I was beyond exhausted at this point. Amanda came in, examined me and found my cervix was completely closed. She gave me an endone at 1:45am and told me to jump in the shower, and we will take the gas in there. I had a contraction while getting off the bed, and I felt a painful pop. It was my membranes. It wasn't a gush but a slow leak. With every contraction after that, more and more came out. At 2:10am, I had a shower head running on my back and one on my pelvis. I was breathing as deeply as I could. I felt my body starting to bear down and jerk or convulse, and then I felt like I needed to poo badly. Instantly I knew. I looked at my partner and said, "you need to run, not walk, and tell Amanda I need to poo." They got back into the shower, and all I could do was scream, "he's coming right now," I could feel him descending every bit of the way down, and by the time they realised, his head was sitting in my undies. Amanda held his head stable, and my partner and another midwife helped me down on all fours where she cut my undies at the sides, and he quite literally fell out. She placed him on my chest and gave me an injection to keep my uterus contracting so I could soon deliver my placenta. I got back to the bed, and my partner cut the umbilical cord once it stopped pulsating. I delivered the placenta, and then I had skin on skin. Amy arrived and helped me latch baby. Dr Lee arrived soon after, and he then stitched my first-degree tear. Baby was weighed, checked over and dressed, and once everything was done, I had a shower before slowly making our way back to our room. 

It was about 4:30am at this point. At a healthy 3.21kg, at 2:15am Wednesday, 10th August 2022, Malakai Peter John Forgione came pushing his way through a thick cervix and was welcomed into the world. We were discharged on Thursday late afternoon, and I left feeling amazing. My entire birth was a positive experience and healed the wounds from my first child's labour/delivery which was extremely traumatic. I felt incredibly supported, like words could not describe. I genuinely felt like the girls took care of us as if we were family, and I cannot thank them enough. It was mainly the little things that I was really grateful for, like getting my breakfast all ready to eat while I fed baby, to sitting and cuddling baby while I showered. 

Unfortunately, at 6 days pp, I developed mastitis in my left breast. Malakai was still very sleepy and wasn't feeding enough to drain, so I was placed on antibiotics. Malakai also developed jaundice, and we spent the next two days in Dubbo SCN, where he received 24hrs of blue light therapy. Arriving with his levels at 310, leaving with them at 165. He started to feed for longer and put on 90grams during our stay. We got home and settled in until I developed mastitis in my right breast. We changed antibiotics, and it soon cleared up but unfortunately took my supply with it, which I have struggled to get back since and have switched to formula. Malakai is almost 2 months old and is thriving. He's gaining weight, feeding better and is having appropriate awake times before falling back to sleep. We are just so in love. It is still a bit of a blur, but when I look back, I don't become overwhelmed or anxious. I feel gratitude and appreciation that our beautiful boy is here, healthy and safe.

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