harper rose's birth story

I guess no birth story is exactly how you imagine it and ours definitely didn't go to plan.

Our story is not pretty, not easy, not what we expected and not what we originally wished for. But in the end, all that really matters is the story's ending ... our beautiful Harper Rose who we will treasure for the rest of our lives.

Going through the photos from Harper's birth brings back so many emotions and it feels like yesterday when I first met my bebe. Since her birth, my life has changed in so many ways - everything feels richer, brighter, happier and I am definitely making the most of each day in a way I never did before.

It all started on the last day of November. It was a Wednesday and we were celebrating my dear friend and work colleague's last day in the office with a lunch at Grill'd. After lunch, I had planned to meet my husband at the funeral home as it was the viewing of his best friend who had unexpectedly passed away the week prior. Driving home, I called my husband and told him I was running late. Truth be told, I was absolutely exhausted and all I wanted to do was climb into bed but I wanted to be there for my husband, who had been through a lot and was having a very tough week. Knowing how tired I was and how much the last few months of pregnancy had taken a toll on my body, Matt told me not to worry about meeting him as he was with all his friends and would be going back to one of their houses after anyway.

Arriving home, I headed straight upstairs and climbed into bed. Less than five minutes later my phone started ringing. I didn't even need to check my phone to know that my doctor was on the other side of the call. You see, earlier that week I had scheduled an appointment with my doctor after being extremely swollen and fatigued for the past week. Putting it down to stress, I originally thought it was just a result of grief and a week of late nights caring for and worrying about my husband. But after several people pointed out just how swollen I was and my mother in law urged me to get a professional's opinion, I decided to err on the side of caution and made an impromptu appointment with my obstetrician. He told me I was likely fine but did some blood tests 'just in case' and told me he would only be in touch if something was wrong.

Well back to Wednesday 30 November and something clearly was wrong. I picked up the phone and my doctor told me to pack my bags and come to the hospital straight away. He said my bloods looked bad and that there was a chance I may have to deliver the baby earlier than expected. I was only 33 weeks pregnant which scared the crap out of me! And to top it off my parents were away on a holiday in New Zealand so I couldn't even call my mum for support. I tried to call my husband but he was still at the viewing and wasn't answering my phone, so in tears I called my mother in law and asked her to pick me up right away.

At this point, I was running around the house, frantically picking up clothes and toiletries and trying to remember what  I needed to pack in my hospital bag. I hadn't even started maternity leave at this point so I had nothing packed. To be honest, I hadn't even had a chance to head to the shops and buy all the necessities. I still thought I had another two months to go!!

I'll skip through the next week as it just consisted of me lying in a hospital bed, watching daytime TV and being monitored every four hours. Turns out I had preeclampsia and my kidney and liver were starting to suffer.  The only thing that cures preeclampsia is delivering the baby, so the doctor was just monitoring me and the baby and trying to get to the best crossover point, where the baby was strong and healthy enough to make its way into this world and I was still healthy enough with functioning organs.

Being in hospital on strict bed rest did wonders for me as by day two, my swelling had come right down and my blood pressure also lowered to a healthy level. Unfortunately as the days went by, my kidney and liver were still not functioning properly, so after being in hospital for nine days, the doctor decided I needed to deliver the baby and a c-section was scheduled in for the next day. This was news to my ears as I had been stressed each day waking up and wondering when I would be delivering the baby and I really wanted a date so I could emotionally prepare myself.

On top of this, all week the doctor had been preparing me for the fact that I may have to have a caesarean-section delivery, depending on whether my body was showing any signs of going into labour naturally, and how my preeclampsia was progressing. At the same time, I was dead set on a natural birth and had my fingers crossed that there was a chance I could deliver naturally.

Well as the saying goes ... "man plans and god laughs". As much as I wanted to deliver naturally, God had other plans for me and when my doctor examined me, he said he wouldn't even be able to break my waters as my body was just not ready to give birth naturally. So a c-section was scheduled in for the next day and that was that. After everything had been locked away it was like a wave of calm washed over me and I could start preparing myself and focusing on the fact that the next day I would finally get to meet this little life growing inside of me.

That night, my husband stayed with me at the hospital until late and we spent our last few precious hours together as a family of two. After my husband left I barely slept, thinking about my baby, wondering whether we would be meeting a little boy or girl and what they would be like and look like, and also starting to worry about the c-section. Given I was hospitalised so early, I hadn't done my birthing classes yet and I had no idea what a c-section even involved. Dr Google got the better of me and in the wee hours of the morning I had to force myself to turn my phone off and close my eyes.

After I finally fell asleep, I slept like a rock for two hours then woke up to shower and get ready for what was set to be the best day of my life. My husband arrived at the hotel nice and early and we both gowned up and went through all the last minute checks. The anaesthetist came to explain how he would be implementing the epidural which scared the living daylights out of me! All I can remember him saying is that there would be three needles. The first a small prick to numb the top layers, the second would hurt slightly more and would numb a little deeper down and the third would be a "massive needle" that would "finish me off" - his words! Then our parents came to wish us luck and I was a little teary saying goodbye, knowing that would be the last time I saw my mum before I became a mum myself.

I only got more emotional from there as I was wheeled down to the day surgery unit. Luckily the midwife who was with me was lovely and helped to came my nerves and reassure me that everything would be ok. After waiting for what felt like an eternity in the holding room (Matt reassures me it was more like 30 minutes), they brought me into the operating theatre and from here everything was a blur. I remember looking around and everything being so cold and clinical. I also remember there being a great vibe in the room - the surgeons were laughing and singing together as they were preparing everything. They asked how we wanted to find out the gender and we told them we wanted them to do it the old fashioned way and tell us what it was as soon as they had pulled the baby out of me! My doctor and the midwife who had been looking after me all week then came up to me and gave me a hug and wished me luck. It was at this point that reality really sunk in and I started bawling my eyes out! After holding it together all week (I hardly shed any tears from the time I was admitted until the day I gave birth) I finally let it all out and felt so much better.

My back was painted with some ice cold gel, the epidural went in and it was an out of body experience as the screen went up and they started the procedure. Before I knew it the anaesthetist was next to me, telling me I would start to feel some pushing sensations as the baby was about to come out. Less than a second later I heard the most amazing noise ... my beautiful baby screaming. The doctors couldn't believe how easy the baby had come out. Apparently it was in the perfect position which I see as a sign from God that everything turned out exactly how it was meant to.

At this point, the surgeons screamed out that we had a baby girl but I was still so out of it that I didn't really respond until they placed my baby on top of me. I remember asking my husband if it was really a girl - and then the tears started coming out again as he nodded yes. The doctors asked us if we had a name and Matt and I looked at each other and nodded. We had chosen names for both genders and after seeing our beautiful baby, we knew the girl name we had picked out was just perfect (which is a relief because we couldn't agree on any other names haha)! At 11.11 on 08.12.16, our beautiful Harper Rose was born, weighing 6 lb 12 oz and measuring 47cm.

I was so lucky that I got to have skin on skin time with Harper straight after she was checked by the paediatrician. No one could believe how perfect she was and what a great size she ended up being, given she was over five weeks early. Before my surgery, the midwives had warned me that there was a good chance my baby would have to go straight to the special care nursery to be monitored for anywhere from a few days to several weeks, just depending on how developed their breathing was and how well they were feeding and putting on weight. They prepared me for the worst case scenario, being that they would have to take the baby straight to the nursery and I wouldn't get to see her until later that day.

Well my beautiful bubba mustn't of wanted to be separated from her mama because she was breathing perfectly and had a strong set of lungs on her.  As she was laying on my skin on the hospital bed I just felt this overwhelming flood of love and I knew my life would never be the same. As they stitched me up, my husband and I shared a special moment together, looking at our beautiful baby and whispering to each other how lucky we were.

Before I went back to my room, the midwife positioned Harper to feed and she latched on right away - just like the videos we had seen at the breastfeeding class we went to the week before. Again, I couldn't believe how lucky I was and how well my premmie baby was doing. As I was being wheeled back to my room we passed all of our family waiting in the guest room at our hospital. I will never forget the looks of joy on their faces as they saw their granddaughter/niece for the first time. Those next few hours with my baby, my husband and our families were so special and are moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I had a healthy, happy baby and a loving family to share the joy with.

So there you have it - the birth of our Harper Rose, the light of our lives. I didn't get my natural birth but I did get so much more than I ever imagined I would have. My heart is so full and I have never smiled so much.

Harper Rose, you are such a blessing and I will treasure giving birth to you, my first born, for the rest of my life.

xx G

1 comment

  1. Wow you so brave that must have been such a scary few days but you ended up with a perfect healthy baby girl you must be so proud you did good Mumma! Looks like I should pack my hospital bag early just in case xx