Linus' Birth Story (Bec's Preterm Classical Cesarean)

It was the 12th of December and I was 29+4w pregnant, I had only just clicked that our little guy was 10 weeks away and I hadn't done much prep for our home birth, I had a birth pool, a few new towels, some face washers but that's about it. I put a status of facebook asking other home birth mummas for tips on things I needed or they recommend that I needed. My midwife (Helen) also emailed me a list of things I would need. It was about 3pm and I was stepping outside to have a coffee and write a list of things we needed to get in the next 10 weeks.

As I stepped outside I felt a trickle of water/pee/cm down my legs, only a small amount so thought maybe I just pee'd a little (being my 5th baby, I thought maybe I need to do more kegals hehe) I said to Damian, that there was a possibility my waters just broke.

I went to the toilet (waddled even) and Damian (and maybe Kayla) followed, I pee'd and wiped, and said to Damian that I think I just pee'd a little. He instinctively said 'that wasn't pee' but I wasn't convinced.

I put a pre fold nappy between my legs, went outside and called Helen. She answered the phone with her usual chirpy, 'hi Bec, how are you' I said to her 'I'm ok...but I think, maybe my waters have broken' her tone changed and she said 'oh no, really? Tell me what happened' so I explained to her that I felt some fluid run down my legs but not sure if it was pee or water and that I had gone to the toilet and put a pre fold in my undies. She told me to just take it easy and if I felt more fluid to call her back and email her a pic of my 'pad' (pre fold)

So I went back outside to write my list, things were ok for about 1/2hr, till I coughed and I felt some more fluid, I waited another 10 mins then went to check my pad. There was some fluid and also some, straw-ish/brown-ish coloured discharge there too, I took a photo and emailed it to Helen, then called her, she was looking at the photo when I called, she was 'ummming and ahhhhing' for a little bit and said she was unsure and wasn't a fan of the colour of the discharge, so told me to go to hospital to get checked out (and to go to dandenong as I went there when I had the bleeding) I told her I was worried they would want to do a VE and I didn't want them to just incase it was was my water and I was worried about risk of infection, she said they shouldn't as if they suspected my waters had broken they wouldn't want to risk infection either, and that they would probably just do a speculum exam and that is ok.

By this stage it was about 5pm and I told Helen I would go once the kids were settled at around 7pm. I called my friend Lisa as I wanted someone to come with me as Damian had to stay with the girls. Lisa was busy. My friend Amanda (due 2 days apart to have our little ones) messaged me asking if we were ok as she had seen my facebook status saying that 'we have had a little scare and to keep Linus and my self in your thoughts' I told her what was going on and she offered to take me to hospital. I took her up on the offer, she just had to get her son looked after, she got here around 7pm.

I hadn't felt many more losses of fluid, just a little bit here and there, I had told Damian how silly I felt and that I was going to be mortified when the doctor tells me I'm just pee'ing myself.

The girls were in bed and Amanda and I were on the way to the hospital by 8pm.

We got to dandenong hospital around 8:30pm and went into emergency, I explained what happened to the nurse at the desk, who called maternity and sent me round.

I got to maternity and was taken into a room where I put on a clean pad and waited to be seen, Amanda and I laughing at the fact that I could be just pee'ing myself, while giggling I felt a bit more fluid and laughed some more that I was pee'ing myself while laughing, Amanda said 'I don't think that's pee' The first midwife on was a little cold to me when I explained that I was planning a home birth, and that I wanted no internals but a speculum is ok. It was time for hand over so she left, and in came one of the most amazing women/midwife I have met in the public system, her name is Sally.

She was gentle, calm, supportive and kind. A funky looking woman with tattoo's, stretched ears and short peroxided blonde hair. I explained to her that I was planning a home birth and what had happened, she asked who my midwife was and when I said Helen Barrington, her face lit up and she smiled a big smile. As it turns out Helen is one of her good friends, I felt truly blessed and happy to have her caring for me!

I was feeling more small gushes of fluid now as Amanda and I were chatting with Sally, but I kept telling them I thought I was pee'ing, they both laughed at me (well with me) I kept saying 'this is my 5th baby, maybe my bladder is shot...it happens yeah?'

The doctor was almost ready to see me, it was about 10pm.

We chatted with Sally some more, we found out she used to be an IM with her own practice in the 90's. But had decided to go back to the public health system to try and educate other midwives and women more to the natural side of birth. I asked her if it was hard for her being what her beliefs are in the system, she said it was very hard, but feels good when she does help a woman stuck in the medical side of birth...

The doctor came in, he was a short, funny looking man, not very friendly, and made me feel uneasy, but with Sally there I felt safe.

I chatted with the doctor about what had happened, and he asked me to hop on the bed as he needed to do a speculum exam, I felt scared and worried, I went to the toilet to pee then I was given a sheet and took off my pants and undies, fluid ran down my legs, and I remember thinking 'oh no' as I had my socks on and it ran down into my socks and dripped on the floor, I think that's when I realized it wasn't pee!

I hopped up on to the bed, Amanda was sitting up beside my head. The doctor started to lay the bed flat and as he was doing so I could feel fluid just running out, I must have had a funny look on my face as Amanda asked if I was ok. The doctor started palping my belly and more fluid came. The doctor and Sally were now down at the foot of the bed with a big light shining between my legs (fuck I hate that, feels so violating) Sally was there rubbing my leg telling me calmly that it was ok. Amanda took my hand, cuz by this stage I was scared, the doctor took one look and said 'ummm did you just go wash?' I think he though I splashed some water on my vagina?? I told him no.

I looked as Sally and I knew that it was my waters by the look on her face.The doctor inserted the speculum and as soon as he opened it slightly I felt another big rush of fluid, he said 'your waters have defiantly broken' I said 'are you sure??' as I looked at Sally I saw she was nodding her head and giving me a little smile, that said 'I'm sorry'

The doctor inserted the speculum further to see if he could see my cervix, and told me that being my 5th baby that I may already be 1-2cm dilated, but my cervix of steel proved him wrong, it was posterior high up and clamped shut tight. That freaking hurt like a bitch tho, Sally was so comforting, as was Amanda, being a trooper sitting next to me holding my hand.

The doctor said I needed my first of 2 steroid injections and a bung put in for IV antibiotics, and would need to be transferred by ambulance to monash, royal womens, or mercy, as they are the only 3 hospitals that can cope with a baby under 34w.

Amanda and I had a bit of a giggle as I was the one saying I wanted to go to 42w and enjoy my last pregnancy as much as possible, as poor Amanda has had a tough pregnancy so far.

The doctor left to call the ambulance and I asked Sally to call Helen and tell her what was going on, I felt really bad as it was coming up to midnight by then. I called Damian to let him know what was happening, the poor guy stuck at home, while his baby boy and I were in Hospital, I can't imagine how scary it was for him. He was so supportive and was going to get me a suitcase ready.

I was given some muscle relaxants to make sure i didn't start contracting. Sally put the bung in and got the steroids ready, and oh boy did I shit bricks when I saw the steroid needle. That thing was huge, I asked Sally if it would hurt, she said yes very honestly, that it would hurt as it needed to go into my thigh muscle, that's why it was so big. I was petrified, Amanda was still holding my hand, while I was freaking out, and not letting Sally do it, every time she went to I would say 'stop, not ready' Sally was amazing and let me get it out, and calmly told me that my baby needed it and it was for him, so I took a deep breath and told her to do it, I was surprised, it didn't hurt at all?!

The ambulance arrived a few minutes later, Amanda was heading back to my place to get me my stuff to bring to monash as they were the only ones with a spot.

I was strapped to the trolly thing and taken to the ambulance. Sally came with me. Sally and I had wonderful chats on the ride to monash, she was amazing, I'm so glad I had her with me.

When we arrived at monash I was taken to birthing suite to wait for a bed on the ward. Sally went to chat with some nurses/midwives that she knew there to make them aware of my situation that I had been planning a home birth, but my waters had broken etc.

It was about 1am or 2am on the 13th by the time some doctors came into see me.The doctor there told me that the first 48hrs was the big one, and that most women go into labor within 48hrs of ROM and that if labor didn't start there was a good chance he would stay in for a few more weeks, but they would want to get him out by 34-36w. But they said if he didn't come and I had no signs of infection I could go home on the 18th as long as I monitor myself for infection etc, I was really happy with that as Paige's birthday is the 19th I wanted to be home for her birthday and Christmas with my girls.

It was time for me to move to the ward. Amanda met me at the ward with my suitcase that Damian packed, he did his best, but it wasn't the best stuff for me to wear haha.

The nurse looked very confused as to who was going to be staying, as Amanda and I both with swollen bellies fully of baby. Amanda stayed with me till about 3am, I don't know what I would have done without her.

After Amanda left a doctor came in and started my preventative Abx and took some blood to check my CRP (infection levels) I tried to get some sleep but couldn't, I missed Damian and the girls so much it hurt.

I was still losing fluid every time I moved. I had tired to call my mum all the night before, no answer, I had also tried calling my sister and spoke to her at 2:30am and told her what had happened.

I napped on and off, with nurses coming in to do my ob's every few hours. I was fully awake by 8:30am, my mum rang sometime that morning, I let her know what was happening.

Damian took the day off work, he usually worked Monday, Wednesday, Friday and did full days Tuesday and Thursday's, but because I was going to be in hospital the next 5 days for sure we needed to organize help with the kids so he could work, he organized with his boss that he would work, Tuesday Wednesday Thursday and Friday but only do 1/2 days so start at 9am but be home in time for the girls dinner and bed (so be home by 5:30pm)

Our friend Dawn (Kaylas BFF's Vicky's, mum) would take Kayla to stay with her, drop them at school, come to our place to watch the girls till Damian comes home and then take Kayla and Vicky home with her.

The days in hospital become a blur, I was counting down to Saturday the 18th as that's when I was hoping to go home. Kayla had the Monday off school and dawn picked her and her things up that afternoon.

Not much went on really, I was loosing fluid on and off, the results from the bloods taken at dandenong came back with a CRP of 22 which was a little high, so they did a repeat test to check again, and the new one came back at a level of 12 which is good.

I was on Abx every 4hrs. It seemed to be keeping infection away.

It seemed like I was in hospital for so long, on the evening of Tuesday 14th Damian brought Paige Zoe and Mia into visit me, I missed them all so much, I felt as if my heart might actually break. I had never felt such pain and sadness as being away from my girls, but I knew I was in the best place I could be at that time, for Linus. I felt more in love with Damian than ever, but when I saw him I wanted to kill him, it might not make sense, but I think I was jealous he was caring for our girls as I have always been the main person to care for them.

They left and I just cried myself to sleep.

I dont remember much of Wednesday, but I don't think I had any visitors that day...

On the arvo of Thursday 16th Lisa came into visit me with scones, jam and cream as she was working in Clayton on the night shift. We had a good laugh and chat, then as she was about to leave I was feeling a little off.I got up to go pee so I could walk her out at about 6pm, when I wiped I checked the toilet paper as I had been the whole time to make sure the colour was ok, to my shock there was a lot of blood, I stood up and looked in the toilet....sure enough the water was red.

Linus had been moving a lot just before I pee'd so I was pretty sure he was ok....I felt slightly panicked as blood when pregnant is scary, but because I'd had the bleeds from 12-20w I thought maybe the clot might be coming away again....But because I was feeling a little unwell I thought I'd let the nurses know and press the buzzer, I opened the door to see Lisa standing there and heard one of the nurses say..that's coming from the toilet (the buzzer) and 3 of them ran towards the room, I looked at Lisa and said "there is blood" I assured the nurses I was ok, but I was bleeding, one looked in the toilet and said "ohhh yep blood" then told me to go hop back into bed. Lisa had to go to work so she said bye, as a nurse came into do my ob's.

My temp was 38.5c she asked if I was feeling ok, I was feeling a bit weak but I think that was to do with worry about what was gonna happen, 'would I be having a baby very soon?' 'it's too soon' 'will he be ok' My heart was sinking. I was tender on palp of my tummy, so a Dr was called to come and have a chat and take some bloods, do a speculum exam etc. I had a canula put in my wrist and some blood taken. A speculum exam was done, he could see blood pooling but couldn't see my cervix, he tried to get a look but was hurting me so he stopped. By this stage it was really late, somewhere around midnight. I tried to get some sleep...but was tossing and turning at the thought of possibly having a baby soon...too soon. I had a good chat with him and told him to be strong and how much we all loved him, he kicked me lots, I like to think he was reassuring me he would be ok.

I dozed off and woke at about 5am on Friday the 17th to a different doctor, waking me gently, and telling me my bloods had come back, and my CRP was fine, but my white cell count was up, my temp was still hovering around 38c and I was still sensitive to having my tummy palp'd. So instead of waiting 6hrs to do a repeat blood test he would like to book induction at 9am, but it was ultimately up to me.

He explained that it might be nothing and we might have a baby a little earlier than they would like, but if it was indeed infection, the longer we wait the longer Linus could be exposed to infection. It was one of those 50/50 things.

After everything Linus and I had been through, I didn't want to risk loosing him. My mumma instinct was telling me, it was time...I did my best to stay strong. I tried and tried to call Damian, but he was sleeping. I had a shower, and at 8am was greeted by a nurse who took me to delivery. 9am came and went. I got on the phone to Damian around 9:30am and told him we were having a baby today. I also called Helen, who was coming down to be with me. Those few hours between 5am and 9:30am were the most alone I had ever felt in my life. I just held on and tried not to cry. Paced around that cold room, alone with my thoughts and fears, talking only to my boy, trying not to pass my fear onto him, I needed him strong.

A Dr and 2 midwives came in at about 10:30am to try to have a feel of Linus' position, they had a hard time being able to tell, so they brought in a crappy little u/s machine, they 'thought' he was head down but cuz the machine was so crap they couldn't tell, so it was decided for us to go to a better machine, Linus was head down before so I thought he still would be, the put the wand on my belly down low and said "oh I think that's a bottom, hang on" put the wand on my right side near my ribs, and a gorgeous little face popped up on the screen, sure enough, he had flipped.

The Dr of course right away said "you need a c-section" I could have vomited right there.

I got back to the birth suite and one of the midwives came in and said "you don't HAVE to have a c-setion, would you like me to talk to the dr for you?" I said "yes but let me ring my IM"

I was scared, I was a whirlwind....no a hurricane of emotions, I could feel Linus retreating higher into my ribs, not wanting to be born. I had this unnerving feeling that if we did the induction something bad would happen and I'd loose my baby. I could sense he wasn't ready, not only because I was only 30+2 but because that is the vibe I was getting from him.

I rang Helen, she told me just because he was breech didn't mean I couldn't have him naturally, being my 5th and him being so small. I asked her to choose for me, I was scared, she said she couldn't choose for me, I needed to look in myself and look to my son and see what they told me.

Something about induction made me feel uneasy, after everything my little baby had been through, the bleeds, my water breaking and he still held on, I had this fear (instinct?) that he would not cope, something somewhere was telling me not to put him through that.

I don't know if I was making the right choice....fuck that was hard....so I choose to have my son surgically pulled from my body or do I make him go through 'fake' contractions and the possibility of him not coping and loosing him which was also a risk with c/s....I was fucked either way.....I know vaginally is always best for baby, but something somewhere in my gut was telling me not to go that way...

Damian and I discussed it and he was so torn as well, he just wanted his baby and I to be ok...

I told Helen I chose c/s, she said after everything bub had been through, that was her gut instinct too, but she would be there for me either way.

So we told the midwives we choose c/s this was about 11am, they told me it would happen at 1pm, I kept 2nd guessing my choice, but in the end the c/s seemed like the safer option for my son...I know a lot of people will say "WTF?!?" to that, but I can't explain it...there was just something telling me it was a bad idea....I wish I knew what it was.

Helen was there by that stage, just hanging out with me and chatting, saying just a few weeks ago she was at my house for an appt and we were talking about waters breaking, and how I had said "I wonder if there are any herbs or anything you can take to make your bag of waters super strong" after talking about my 4 previous births and how the 2 that it stayed intact just minutes before birth was so much easier to labour that the other 2 when my waters had broken 12+hrs before labour started. Kind of ironic....

Damian went to get some lunch and was coming back by 1pm for the c/s. We had made everyone aware that Damian HAD to be home by 5pm to pick up the girls (who all 4 had been put into creche for a day) they promised us....yes yes it will be fine it will be done by then...

Well 2pm rolls around...oh then 3pm, we call someone is to see what's going on as Damian will have to go soon. They apologize but I have been bumped to 5pm....WHAT???WHY DID NO ONE TELL US!!! Cue Damian freaking out, he didn't want to miss his son be born!?! We do the ring around and see is anyone can watch the girls so he can be with Linus and I. Our friend Leisa offers to go be with the girls, so Damian rushes out to go pick up the girls and drop them at our place with Leisa. He leaves at 3:30pm knowing he will be back at 5pm. Helen and I just shat and chatted, while I was trying not to freak out, I just wanted a healthy baby. I was the one who had said I wanted to go as 'overdue' as possible and savor every last day, minute, second of being pregnant with my final baby.

At about 4-4:30pm a man walks in and tells me he's taking me up to pre-op. WAIT...WHAT?!? Noooo I meant to go up at 5pm, he tells me "no, now" I ring Damian scared and tell him they are taking me now (he was still driving home) he flips his shit. First they told us 1pm then they changed it to 5pm "So Damian can be there" Helen holds my hand as we are wheeled away.

Sitting in pre-op Helen and my hospy midwife get the scrubs on, the anesthesiologist comes to chat with me...he was horrible, I didn't know the answers to the questions he was asking and I was becoming upset as he was becoming agitated with me, from across the room Helen i think sensed my uneasiness and comes over quickly to see whats going on. He immediately asked Helen who she is rudely and she explains that she is my midwife, he looked confused then sighed and said lets go...I said it's supposed to be at 5pm so my husband can be here. He says "well it's not anymore" and walks off. Helen comforts me by saying that 0% bedside manor usually means 100% good at his job.

We quickly chatted with my hospy midwife who agree'd to take pics of the whole thing for me as Helen would be personally supporting me.

I just wanted Damian with me, my heart was breaking, and I was so scared, confused and bloody thirsty. We got into theater (fuck it's cold in there) I was sat on the edge of the trolly so they could find where to put the spinal. The anesthesiologist asks what the rash is all over my back I have a skin condition called tinea versicolor that is usually controlled with a body wash and flares up, mostly with hormone changes, that probably flared up with stress. I told him what it was and he was not comfortable doing a spinal as there was no clear space...he was worried about introducing a Fungal infection into my spine, to a GA was needed....for the first time since being told/choosing c/s I cried, I tried not to but it just happened.

I told Helen my biggest fear of the GA was not waking up...morbid? Yes....but I really felt I wouldn't wake up again and these could be my last minutes....The anesthesiologist, seemed to become a different person, he was kind, and caring and really really nice. He walked me through my fears and was very comforting.

I said I wanted to change my mind, but I really didn't my thoughts switched to my own wellbeing for a second, then I realized why I was doing it, and it was to have my son.

I lay down on the trolly as the prepped me, cold stuff on my belly, hands everywhere, even a hand on my throat. I wanted Damian, he couldn't be there anyway, but I wanted him. They put my catheter in....yuck...Then a man popped up above the sheet with some clippers to say he needed to shave my pubic hair, and rudely asked if I wanted brazilian..that was the rudest thing I had ever been asked that whole time, and very unprofessional I think, I did not find it funny. They had got me all prepped and ready so now I was time to go under, tears running from my eyes, wondering if those lights would be the last thing my eyes would ever see, then it went black.

I awoke in a white room with a nurse sitting beside me reading a magazine, and someone talking to me, I'm unsure if it was Damian or Helen. Someone told me my babe was fine....relief washed over me and I fell back asleep.

I awoke again by someone explaining to me about a pain relief pump thing, then being wheeled down the hallway, I think I rang Amanda at this time to tell her all went well, but I don't really remember. she says i was funny :)

I got to my room, where Helen was waiting, I don't remember if Damian was with me or in the room or with Linus. I don't really remember much, I remember that when I was in pain that the press of a button the pain was gone and I'd fall asleep. It was about 7 or 8pm.

Damian left to go home around 9pm and I started expressing our boy some colostrum, that the nurses took to him. In the morning I went to visit Linus in the NICU, he was in bay 7 at monash. He was so tiny and on CPAP by this stage after 6hrs of intubation. He weighed 1.691kg and was a tiny 41cm long.