Real Birth Journey: Harry Michael

Birth. It is the most incredible, indescribable, unpredictable and miraculous occurrence. Bringing life into the world is an experience that is personal and precious beyond belief. Each delivery is different to the next, and yet I feel that despite the varying differences it is something so special it can actually bring us altogether. I’m pulling together a range of real birth stories to share in the hope of expanding our knowledge and expectations of birth, and to dwell in the wonder that is the gift of life, in the countless forms it may arrive in!

Name & age at birth:
Olivia Chugg, 26. 

Due date:

Cravings during pregnancy:
Orange juice with ice. 

Worst symptom/s:
Having to wee every 30 minutes, and indigestion in the last month. 

Biggest concern about birth was:
That I wouldn’t be able to give birth naturally (deathly afraid of being cut open so that idea scared the crap out of me!) 

Ideal birth plan was:
I didn’t have a birth plan. I was happy to go with the flow, and just let things happen as they were meant to.  

Hours in labour:
I started having contractions on Wednesday the 15th, this intensified through the night and into the daytime Thursday 16th. Active labour started that night and went for 13hrs. 

How we went from wombmate to roommate:
I went in to the hospital at 5pm. They were going to send me home because my contractions slowed down. They gave me some pain medication, then a stretch and sweep. As soon as that happened it was all systems go. I battled pretty hard on my own until they gave me some gas. I wasn’t a fan and didn’t think that it was actually helping me.

I asked for an epidural, then straight away changed my mind. I was petrified of having a needle in my spine and straight away it turned me off. I went on for another hour or so and finally gave in and asked for the epidural again. I hadn’t slept in over 24hrs so really needed the break. This slowed my labour down so much that I didn’t start pushing until just after 7:30am. My son was then born at 9:03am.  

Most vivid memory during labour:
So, after I finished pushing and my son came out, I just remember thinking “I can’t hear him crying, why isn’t he crying?” During labour the cord had managed to wrap around him, causing him to distress and let out a poo (meconium) while still inside me. He had already inhaled some of this while inside, so when he came out he wasn’t breathing. Fortunately for me, nobody let on that it was as serious as it was; and the doctors managed to resuscitate him and get him to ICU straight away. I would have given anything to be able to hold my son straight away, and share that initial bonding time. However, the main thing is that he was alive and being looked after. He recovered very quickly after his big scare; putting on weight straight away!

Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth:
I remember right after I got my epidural, the first thing I did was Snapchat my sister that lives in Brisbane. I sent her a photo of me smiling saying something like, ‘it’s all good I’ve got the drugs now!’ Honestly, the relief was instant and I felt amazing afterwards! 

During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
How much it would exhaust me. There were two occasions that I was so worked up that I actually vomited. One of those times was while one of the doctors was actually putting a cannula in my wrist. Worst timing as she missed the vein because I jerked my arm while she was putting the needle in. Blood was going everywhere, and she ended up having to swap arms.  

A myth I believed prior that I now don’t is:
This isn’t really a myth, but I believed that I would know I was in labour when my water broke. When I was contracting, they got to 3-5 minutes apart and so intense but I still didn’t think it was labour yet because my water hadn’t broken. My husband wouldn’t even take me to the hospital because he didn’t believe the baby was coming at all. Obviously I was fairly annoyed my agonising pain and contractions weren’t a big enough give away for him.. My water actually got broken by the doctor once I was in hospital and by then I was about 4-5cms dilated. 

Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Harry Michael Chugg, 7pound 4ounces, 17.08.18 

Baby’s name was almost:
We didn’t know we were having a boy, so we had one girl name and one boy name picked out. Harry was always the ONLY name we had chosen for a boy. It was chosen from the moment I was pregnant. We both loved the name and there was nothing else that made us think twice. I always felt I was having a boy, even though we didn’t actually know. I found it really hard to like any girl names. 

Time spent in hospital post birth:
5 days in total. Because of Harry’s issue, we had to stay in a couple extra days for precaution. I wasn’t that upset with this as I was petrified to be alone with Harry. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, and I was feeling very anxious. We only left because I couldn’t stand sharing a room any longer. Once we got home Harry was an angel and slept a lot better than in the hospital. 

Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
Sleep when the baby sleeps, enjoy the cuddles while you can, and relax.  

Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn: 

  1. Breast Feeding Pillow: my son is nearly 1 and I still use it to feed with. Takes pressure off your arms and wrists.  
  2. Diffuser/Essential Oils: these items saved our sleep LITERALLY. Harry WOULD NOT sleep for six months. We started using a diffuser with some lavender oil of a night and now we have a 12+ hour sleeper! 
  3. Bonds Zippies: literally had 4-6 of these on rotate for the first three months! Easy to get on and off, and they wash really well! 

If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
I would say to her that you need to be prepared for the unexpected; but not to panic. I would say to not judge myself in tough times, and to give myself a break. I would say to not worry about the housework, or the lack of sleep, and that it won’t last forever and I will get through it.
I would also tell myself it is ok to not feel ok, and to talk about it with your family. As a first time mother, I was never expected to just ‘get it.’ The only person that judged me was myself, and I look back on that now and kick myself for that.  

If you could speak with yourself during labour, what would you say?
I would tell myself to NEVER GET PREGNANT AGAIN haha 

If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say?
Don’t panic, you have help! ASK FOR IT! 

Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth? 

  1. Enjoy your last moments with just you and your husband/partner; it will take some time before you guys get a chance to reconnect after having a baby. Baby takes up a lot of time and you tend to neglect each other.  
  2. Enjoy the special newborn cuddles. Something I miss more than anything is having Harry sleep on me during the day for hours at a time. Now he’s running amuck and barely get cuddles at all! haha. 
  3. Always ask for help when you need it. Don’t fear judgement/rejection. Most of the time you are the only one judging yourself. Pride aside, use your family/friends.  

If you have a birth story you’d like to share, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation and continue the celebration!

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