Baby, Birth Story, Mums, Pregnancy, Premature, Uncategorized

Etienne : My little miracle

 

It has taken me more than 2 years to write this post.  I guess it’s because it was such a crazy time of my life, but before I write anything about what I experience with him on this blog, I’d like to introduce my youngest son Etienne.

After a traumatic experience giving birth to my son Chance (you can read about it here: https://creativemamaau.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/my-birth-story/ ) I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through the whole process again.  Especially not any time soon.  But fate had decided that Chance would have a little brother. Just under a year after Chance was born I fell pregnant.

I have to say being pregnant the second time was easier, just because you knew what to expect and you aren’t freaking out at every body change, movement, cramp etc..  I was much more lax about it.  Being pregnant and having a 1 year old proved to be a challenge however.  My first child is and has always been active.  He also is very affectionate and likes to climb all over me.  Once I started to get bigger, I struggled to keep up with him and hold him in my arms.  I continued to work normal hours (I’m a singer and vocal coach) and had this amazing plan that I would take all the work I could get till the end of March then I would take time off in April – when bubba was due.  It was a great self organised maternity leave plan I had for myself.

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1 week before give birth

Etienne came on the 22 February 2015.  A whole 8 weeks premature.  Right in the middle of my busiest work month.  The night before, I had contractions, which I brushed off as the ‘fake’ ones cause it was way too early.  But they intensified and at 5am I asked David to take me to the hospital.  Yep my baby was coming.  He was ready to be out it one easy go.  It would have been a real short labour, had we not had to prolong it.  You see, when a baby is born 8 weeks early, the lungs have not yet fully developed and so there was a massive risk that he would not be able to breathe on his own.  To help move his development along, I was given steroids and told I would need to wait 12 hours for them to enter bubba’s blood stream.  This would give him a boost and give the lungs a chance to further develop.  I also was given something to try to stop my labour.  12 fucking hours of him wanting to come out and and me and the doctors holding him in.  No pain relief drugs.  My uterus hurts just thinking about it.

 

My mum flew to from Melbourne to Sydney to join me at the hospital.  By now we were about 9 hours in and David’s eyes were falling out of his head from fatigue.  I sent him home and called my best friend Veena.  She was the angel that dropped whatever she was doing to help me through the last few hours and hardest contractions.  Each time they came I buried my head on her shoulder and squeezed her hands – I was sure I would break them.  At the 13th hour, I finally got my epidural.  Gosh, as soon as the pain was gone, I told the doctor — all good, no rush now, we can just chill.

Because I had had a c-section with Chance, under 2 years before, I was originally recommended to have another c-section with baby number 2.  The pressure of giving birth naturally after a c-section, having not fully repaired, could lead to the scar tearing open again.  But things were progressing quite fast (bar the doctors slowing things down) and Etienne was going to be tiny, so the doctor didn’t think it would be too much of a risk to have him naturally.  I took the natural birth route.   I gave birth to Etienne just after 11pm that evening with mum, David and Veena present.  My Epidural had worn off just in time to feel the push and Etienne was so small he popped out of me relatively easily.

But as soon as he did he was taken away.  The prodded and poked him and stuck wires into him and put him on machines and into a box.  He was born 1.6 kg.  My palm was the size of his whole torso.  My heart sunk when they told me he would have to stay in the hospital for 6 weeks.

 

 

I stayed in the hospital for 10 days and then every 4 hours I needed to return to the hospital nursery to breast feed my baby.  He always fought to stay off the machines. My boy was a fighter. He wanted to breathe on his own and on the 3rd day, they took him off the oxygen machine.  He still had to have a tube into his mouth and nose, which went down to his tummy because he had not yet learnt to suck, so he was fed milk through this tube with a syringe. There was a nurse with him 24 hours a day.  Thank god for those nurses.  It was hard.  I had a one year old who was needy and not allowed to see his brother yet, I had a full schedule of work and my partner and I were exhausted.  To top it off, we were also moving house. FML!

Choosing the natural birth option was the best thing I could have done for myself.  I was literally able to dance the next day.  I did however wait a week before my first gig (straight out of hospital and on stage as diana ross and the supremes lol).  By the 3rd week the intensive care nurses thought I was superwoman (or had lost my mind). Every 4-6 hours into the hospital, breast feeding or express pumping in between gigs and teaching.  I remember feeding, then of to the hair dresser for a massive 60s do and eyelashes, then coming back for 2nd feeding, then off to a “Starlettes gig” and then back to the hospital at midnight for a feed still in my gold sequins maxi dress.  Then the next day I was Tina Turner.  ‘What a glamorous life I had’ they said, But I was delirious 🙂

 

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Skin to skin

Pumping milk out of my breasts in between sets wasn’t fun either but I didn’t want to explode whilst on stage (it happens), so it had to be done.  Anyway, my little man was doing well in hospital.  We had a lot of skin to skin time and he slowly learned how to breathe and suck.  I will never forget holding him in the baby ICU and watching the red light flash on the machine that monitored him with his heart rate counter falling rapidly because he was tired and just momentarily forgot to breathe.  It happened twice in my arms.  His heart may have not stopped fully, but mine surely did.

 

 

 

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Holding hands on the way home

It was a hazy 6 weeks and when it was time to leave we moved into our new place. Bringing Etienne home from the hospital felt so awesome, even though he wouldn’t have professional monitoring by nurses 24/7. I was excited to have him home with the rest of the family.  My heart was full when in the car on the way home from hospital, Chance held Etienne’s hand.  It was the perfect start to our new journey with our 2 boys.  Having 2 children under 2 is hard work but I’m glad I had them when I did, because they are close in age and they interact really well with each other now.  Also for us parents, we are still familiar with the development stages when the second one goes through them.

Oh and they are not the same, they are like chalk and cheese with regards to personality.  Etienne is no where near as social as Chance is much more sensitive (he is his father’s child for sure), he is fairer (like he actually might burn in the sun rather than tan) and he has straight hair.  He sure did catch up on his weight too. The little tank is almost the size of his brother now and has been wearing the same size as him for a year.

I wasn’t sure I had enough love in my heart to share between 2 children but the moment I lay my eyes on him, I had found another very special place to hold Etienne forever in my heart.  He is 2 now,  fussy as hell,  loud, sometimes grumpy, but my is he beautiful.  I still can’t believe he’s mine.  He will forever be my little miracle.

I’m still grateful for the nurses at RPA in Sydney, I’ve never seen a team so caring and hardworking.  They literally saved my child’s life and continue to save lives everyday.  My best friend Veena,  I mean, you watched me pop a baby out of my vagina, we homies for life!  I’m so blessed to have you as Etienne’s godmother.  To David, I never told you how fucking awesome you handled both births and pregnancies.  I love watching you parent and become a better dad each day.  To mum, who taught me to be a mum and who left her life to choose us and be a part of our little family.  Thank you for always showing up for me.  And to uncle Scott, whom we could not have coped without through the early months of both our sons.  We can’t wait to have you here with us again soon.

Lastly, thank you for taking the time to read my story.  It has been quite therapeutic to write and remember.  Till the next one (blog post, not baby).  :p

I’ll leave you with some recent photos of my Etienne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Birth Story

My Birth Story

Let’s take things back about 3 months ago.  I was the size of a whale ( or a 3 bedroom house).  It was mostly belly but I’m little so this baby bump really did take over my whole body in the last couple of months.  I have these pains in my back, so bad that I had to call my girl Paula to sit in her bathtub for a couple of hours (we didn’t have one at home).  Anyway, these pains were contractions that I didn’t know I was having — I mean I always thought that I would feel contractions at the front of me.  These lasted for 2 days.  My mum flew up from melbourne to be with me leaving her needy husband (my step dad) behind, despite his unhappiness with her choice to come to sydney when she did — but that’s another story altogether….My mum WAS the only thing making me feel better at this point.

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On the 17th Sept my water hadn’t broken yet but I was not coping with the pain, so David, Mum and David’s Mum (who I will refer to as Grandma), took me to the hospital.  My baby was in posterior position – think the worst pain you can imagine, then double it.  Posterior position means that my back and his back were in line and instead of him facing down he was facing up.  Because of the size of my pelvis, there was no way he was coming out that way.  Anyway, the midwife checked me and sent me home to try to turn the baby.  I remember David getting me to go up and down the stairs more than a few times to help me move things along.  Later on that night I started to feel the contractions round the front…Alas!! bubba had turned the right way!!

So off to the delivery ward I went again, this time I was given a sweep to help break my waters and was hooked up to a monitor checking my contraction frequency and intensity.  They tried to send me home again to relax but this time I was determined to stay.  2 hours later they started to really hurt.  Like fucken hurt.  I was dilating really slowly and me waters were still intact.  David and I decided to get under the shower so there I was, sitting on a backwards chair, under the hot shower whilst david was also using a hand held shower nozzle to hose more water on to my lower back.  It was steamy, I had the happy gas and we breathed through the excruciating pain together.  Its probably the closest I’ve ever felt to him and I’ll never forget that feeling. (Its the only part of the delivery I like to remember).  At around 7cm I was exhausted and opted an epidural.  A midwife had manually broken my waters – it was like some girl on girl action that I didn’t really want and if I wasn’t in so much pain I would’ve been pretty embarrassed about it.  The epidural kicked in and I felt much better.  I tried to rest.

I had a pretty good support team around me.  David dealing with the emotional stuff, mum in charge of ice and water and grandma in charge of mini back massages.  In the early hours of the morning of the 18th, I was fast approaching 11 hours in labour and the doctors made a decision to use a drug to make my contractions stronger so I would dilate faster, but this came with another stronger dose of epidural.  So with a double dose of epidural I waited to be ready to push…let me just say – just because i was feeling little pain, it don’t mean i wasn’t feeling a-lot-a-bit tired.  An hour later it seemed that bubba did not like the drug they administered and his heart beat dropped.  A quick decision was made to have a C-section.  So off we went to the operating theatre, where I was given another dose of anesthetic.  David left me to prep and mum stayed back in the labour ward so I was left alone with the surgeons for a bit.  (please excuse my disjointed sense of time here, I’m just writing what I remember)  I don’t know if I was scared or if it was a reaction to the drugs but I started vomiting as soon as I got into that theater – And my god I was soooo thirsty.  Like fucken thirsty.  But I was told I couldn’t have any water till they finished.  David finally joined me and the doctors started doing their thing.  My teeth had started to chatter but I was trying to keep calm.  A while after “feeling some odd pulling and pressure”, baby was out.  The first time I heard him cry, I cried. I cried like OMG he’s alive and ok.  The teeth chattering got worse.  They checked bubba, cleaned him and injected him with vitamin K and put him on my chest.  He started to suck on my chin which was now chattering vigorously.  I cried again. I couldn’t believe I made him.  Oh and now I remember that I’m so thirsty again. And my neck or shoulder or both is hurting a lot.  The doctor gave me a few drops of water but I threw it up almost immediately. And the chattering and now shakes had become unbearable.  I don’t remember the next bit but apparently my body was convulsing, David was yelling at me to calm down and holding me down cause I was kicking the surgeon who was trying to stitch me up, screaming for them to hurry up and demanding water.  Scary stuff. My body just didnt cope with the amount of drugs and I lost control.

Next thing I remember was being in another room with 6 or so doctors around me but nobody seemed to be doing anything.  No one was helping.  And all I wanted was a fucken glass of water.  I was dying of thirst.  No actually – I was dying. My blood pressure was through the roof and I was on the verge of a cardiac arrest.  The doctors stood back because there was nothing they could do but wait it out at this point.  They even sent David away just in case things turned worse.  I was so fucken scared and then I blacked out.  I awoke to being wheeled into an elevator and then into a hospital ward.  David was there looking so stressed and there was a baby cot in the room.  I was alive. It was daylight. Then I slept.

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I woke up to my mum, David, grandma and the most perfect little boy I have ever seen.  It took 7 nights in hospital before they let me out.  Bubba (Chance) was perfectly healthy and I was battered and broken.  The C-section left me unable to walk for the first few days and my mum, having trouble at home, left with a promise to come back as soon as she could.  I was traumatized, exhausted and felt like I was broken beyond repair and the depression settled in.  I cried. A lot. I cried because mum couldn’t be by my side (and no one could replace her). I cried because I was in too much pain to walk, move fast and felt like I was failing to care for my child.  I cried because he wasn’t attaching properly so breastfeeding was a challenge – And I thought it would come naturally.  I cried because, even though I was often surrounded by people, I felt so lonely.

My mum came back the day before I was released from the hospital.  The second week was difficult too.  Still having trouble moving and feeling like I was a bad mum because I could not look after my baby properly.  My postpartum depression caused me to cry constantly.  It was like I felt like a failure at something I expected to come so naturally – motherhood.  But I had so many good people around me.  David, my mum, grandma, David’s brother Scott, , my besties Veena & Paula, my good friend Sarina, my cousin Dennis & his wife Lisha and Aunty Lisette and David’s nieceLlindzee.  I’m so thankful to them for being there in the hardest time of my life and I’m so blessed for their ongoing love and support.

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Its amazing what your body can cope with and how quickly it can recover from a tremendous amount of stress.  By the 3rd week I was walking and even did my first gig.  I had to go back to work as I felt useless staying at home in bed.  And now 12 weeks later I have made a full recovery, gotten the hang of the mum thing and even enjoying it.  When I look at my beautiful baby boy everyday, and he smiles at me, no stretchmark, battle scar or contraction could make me regret having him.  Children are amazing. I  have never loved anyone so unconditionally and I now know how much my mother loves me.  I also have never been proud of anything I’ve done more than making this little man.  Being Chance’s mum is truly the best gig ever!

Pregnant ladies:

1. DON’T research too much or obsess about labour (I mean the last thing I wanted to see was a video of a woman giving birth just before I had to do it)  The more I researched the more scared I got — It’s OK to skip those classes….EVERYONE HAS A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE

2. Who your LABOUR SUPPORT TEAM is, IS  the most important decision you can make to help your labour experience — not too many people and THE RIGHT people (no being nice and inviting the whole world so they dont feel left out business) oh and dont underestimate how exhausting it will be on your baby-daddy.  Cut him some slack 😉

3.  Contractions HURT. Drugs HELP.  We are in the modern world.  You wouldnt pull out a tooth without anesthetic so why do women feel pressured to give birth without it?

4. C-sections aren’t the easy way out…If you can go natural. GO NATURAL..trust me

5.  Babies can integrate into your lifestyle with a bit of conditioning so dont think your life is over once you have one.

6.  Being a mum is TOPs.  That Is All 🙂

Its been amazing sharing this story with you all and I think it is a healthy part of my recovery and I encourage all new mums to document their birth stories even if just to write and forget.  And if you want to post yours here please feel free to email me from the “Contact” page

Stay Creative…

Roxy X