Real Birth Journey: Annabelle Jessica

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:
Rachel, 26 

Due date:
20th December 2016

Cravings during pregnancy:
Hot chips

Worst symptom/s:
I only had morning sickness from week 7 – 11, and I got some pretty bad stretching pain when I was about 34 weeks. Other than that, it was a wonderful pregnancy! 

Biggest concern about birth was:
I had a massive freak out around 37 weeks, I was like “oh my god, this baby needs to come out, it has to come out, I am not prepared for this.” 

Ideal birth plan was:
I really didn’t have a birth plan, other than I didn’t really want to use pain relief. I was really happy to just go with the flow and let the midwives tell me what to do. They are the experts after all! 

Hours in labour:
5 hours. 

How we went from wombmate to roommate:
Annabelle was due on 20/12/16, and as the days after her due date passed and she still wasn’t here, I was worried I would be having her on Christmas Day! 

I went in to hospital on the 29th to be induced at 5pm. 

My OB used gel to induce me and told me to go back to the room, have a good sleep and in the morning I would be having a baby. That was the perfect scenario, but it didn’t happen like that at all.

Within 10 mins after having the gel, I instantly felt crampy. By 7pm I was having slight contractions as we tried to go to sleep for the night, by 11pm they were just getting stronger. At midnight I was taken into the birth unit because I was in labour. 

The only pain relief I had was gas. I did have a pethadine injection, but that did not work. 

After what felt like hours, I suddenly had the urge to push, and not being fully dialaited yet, I had to hold back until I was. I can’t remember how long I was pushing for, or the fact that my obstetrician wasn’t even there, I just remember the midwives being completely amazing!! 

At 5.38am on December 30, our little girl was born. We did not find out the gender during pregnancy, so it was a beautiful surprise. 

Most vivid memory during labour:
I remember having the sudden urge to push. And my midwife told me I wasn’t fully dilated, so when a contraction came, I had to stop myself pushing, otherwise I would tear. It was one of the hardest things I think I have ever done. 

During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
To sweat so much! I think it was the most I have ever sweated in my life. 

A myth/misconception I believed prior that I now don’t is:
I assumed that everyone poo’s during giving birth – it was a concern of mine when I was pushing, and I said to my husband almost straight away when it was over “did I poo myself” haha. He laughed and said no! 

Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Annabelle. 3.5kg. 30/12/16. 

Baby’s name was almost:
We actually didn’t have another name chosen, Annabelle was the only name that we had both agreed on. And it was lucky she was a girl because we hadn’t settled on a boys name yet. 

Time spent in hospital post birth:
4 nights/5 days in total. 

Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
Accept as much help as you can, if it’s from friends, family or even neighbours. Having people cook dinner or mow the lawns was an amazing help! 

Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn:
Love to Dream swaddles, bonds wondersuits and lots of bottles! 

If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
Don’t worry so much about the excess weight after birth, and don’t be so hard on yourself about your body! 

If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say?
That it is ok to bottle feed and not breastfeed. 

Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth?
I would suggest to any new mum to just relax, go with the flow and do what feels right for you. 

Any further notes you’d like to include:
Annabelle is our little miracle! Between “trying” to conceive and actually giving birth to her, it was a 4 year process. 

Annabelle is an IVF baby. My husband and I don’t have anything medically wrong with either of us, and there is no reason as to why we cannot conceive naturally, it just never happened. 

When I had my egg collection, they were hoping for 10+ eggs. Sadly I only had 3 collected. Out of those 3 eggs, only 1 embryo survived. That 1 and only embryo, was our Annabelle ❤️ 

IVF is a huge process – emotionally, physically and mentally! It definitely was a huge journey for us, but I am so glad we did it, because we now have our little miracle! 

If you have a birth story you’d like to share, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation and continue celebrating this incredible life changing event!

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