A beautiful brave Mumma, Trace, shares her story of the birth of her little girl Harriet who arrived a few weeks early!
Our baby’s name – Harriet
Gender – Female (we decided to find out but had the sonographer call my sister to tell her and then she sent an outfit up to us which we opened at my husband’s Bach -the same place he proposed! It was very special sharing that moment of what we were having just the two of us in a very special place and then the following day we shared with our families and close friends that we were expecting a girl!)
Birth date and time – November 21, 2020, at 8.05pm
Size & weight – 42.5cm and 5lb 11oz
Where did you go into labour? I was out in New Market grabbing a few things for her nursery and my water broke as I was leaving a clothing store (not like movie scene breaking but that thought of did I just wet my pants or have my water broke!) – I was 35 weeks + 3 days
Waters broke at 4.05pm and I was fully dilated by 7.30pm and was rushed to theatre about 5 minutes later as baby was breech.
Birth plan wasn’t really finalised… around 20 weeks we found out she was breech and at a 26- and 32-week growth scan she was still breech. At 34 weeks, our midwife spoke about options and booked us in for an ECV when I was 35+6 (we didn’t make that appointment!). From about 32 weeks I did lots of baby spinning exercises to try get her to turn.
We were pretty flexible and open to how birth could look. We were initially asked on the assessment ward if we wanted to consider a vaginal breech delivery (we had not discussed this with our midwife) however this was no longer an option when they did a scan and discovered she was ‘extended breech’ so very much wedged under my ribs (c-section only option!)
Memories of the birth – Pretty whirlwind and crazy but surprisingly both my husband and I stayed very calm and just rolled with it. Being wheeled to theatre was pretty surreal, my husband was walking at the end of the bed and talking to our parents to let them know what was happening and then I got really nervous waiting for the epidural to kick in as they had to get baby girl out asap so if it didn’t work, I would have had to have had a general (luckily it worked!) C-section was intense; lots of pressure as she was very stuck but hearing her cry was a huge relief! Seeing Harriet for the first time in my husband’s arms was amazing however her heart rate dropped quickly, and she needed help breathing. Asking what was going on and not being able to see was really hard but the anaesthetist was amazing at giving me updates on how things were going.
Harriet needed help breathing with CPAP and was taken up to NICU. My husband went with her (we had discussed that at antenatal) and then I went up after 50 minutes in recovery.
Not being able to hold her when I got wheeled up was so hard. It was so scary seeing her in the incubator with CPAP on, an IV line and all the cords attached to her. But she was in the safest and best place! I went into NICU at about 5am the next morning and had my first cuddle then! That was AMAZING! My husband and I then did lots of skin to skin with her for next 5 days till she moved onto the ward with me. I cannot recommend skin to skin more to any new parents! Whilst the clothes are cute and lovely, put them in a nappy on your or your partner’s bare chest and soak up those snugs! She was put on the boob 36 hours after birth (finally) and latched beautifully and that was a pretty incredible feeling too!
How were to feeing post birth? I felt pretty good after the birth – was up in the shower at about 3am in the morning and walking around my room like a baby giraffe but I truly feel having a baby in NICU helped my recovery from surgery as I just sat in a chair all day (or walked back to my room on the ward every 3 hours to pump!)
Who does baby look like? Baby definitely is a mini version of my husband! But she has my eyes!
First visitors? Were our parents! Pretty intense taking them in individually to introduce them to our baby lying in the incubator!
Post baby meal – Crappy hospital food! Wasn’t really thinking what sort of food I really had missed but night 7 in hospital (our second night with baby girl on the ward with me), my husband organised White & Wong uber eats and holy crap it was the best meal I feel I’d had all year! Haha!
It was the best feeling being discharged 8 days after she arrived: just to be in our own space and environment! It was very special! We were extremely lucky Harriet was a wee fighter and went from strength to strength each day so quickly! NICU is a crazy intense place but the nurses, doctors, lactation consultants are absolutely incredible! We felt so well supported and even when we were on the ward, the nurses and midwives helped with checking latch, syringe top ups to get her weight up so we could get home quicker and ensured we were well looked after!
If after reading this you’d be happy to share your own experience of pregnancy, please email me at [email protected] to send you one of the pages (or you can send a photo of your own pregnancy journal)