Birth at 32 Weeks Gestation // St John of God, Subiaco Maternity Hospital
You walk a path that has been walked by many before you take strength in the knowledge that they survived this and so too will you. You are stronger than you think, you are not alone, you are one of many in this journey but that is a good thing, it means you have a village besides you and behind you through whatever comes next. - Sarah
View the slideshow of Sarah's birth gallery below:
Poppy’s Birth Story
I knew she was coming early, I had said it from the moment we found out she was growing inside me. What I didn’t know was what that would mean, what my life would look like, what it would feel like to walk out the hospital doors time and time again only to leave my baby behind to be cared for by someone else.
I wasn’t prepared for NICU life but if I am to be brutally honest nothing can fully prepare you for it, it is something that you have to live through to understand. If I was to give one piece of advice to a soon to be NICU mum it would be this;
You walk a path that has been walked by many before you take strength in the knowledge that they survived this and so too will you. You are stronger than you think, you are not alone, you are one of many in this journey but that is a good thing, it means you have a village besides you and behind you through whatever comes next.
So with that in mind let me share Poppy’s birth with you.
I was 32 weeks when I went into labor. I was booked to have my baby at SJOG Mt Lawley but they can only take babies from 34 weeks gestation so once it was confirmed I was in labor they transferred me to SJOG Subiaco to deliver.
I then spent the next two days going up and down from the ward to birth suite and back again, because she was so early they tried their best to keep her in, they started me on nifedipine to stop the contractions. I cannot even begin to explain how mentally & physically exhausting having surges every 10 minutes for days is, to prepare yourself for the reality of being in labour with a prem to then stopping labour only for it to start all over again mere hours later over & over again for two days straight.
Looking back I am grateful they kept her in those few extra days it allowed them time to give me steroids for her lungs and to mentally prepare me for what her birth would be like. I knew to expect the extra equipment and people, I knew that they would take her from me to go to the NICU and that the next time I saw her she would be hooked up to a lot of different things but in the moment I remember being angry, angry they put me through days of surges angry they couldn’t just keep her in and make it all stop but most of all angry at myself for not being capable of carrying a baby to term she would be my third premature baby my body was failing me again and this time it was failing me so early my baby wouldn’t be coming home with me when I would need to go home.
So when I woke on the Thursday morning I was tired & not just physically but mentally my mind was running wild with negative scenarios & little by little I lost my confidence I was for the first time ever terrified of birthing not from the pain but from what came next, the unknown, the NICU journey ahead.
When my waters broke mid morning and the nifedipine stopped working I turned to my partner to draw strength from him, from his confidence in me. I read my affirmations I put on my music and I prepared myself for the day.
My surges were 5min apart but not progressing, my OB came to check on me and we decided to check my waters were 100% broken which they weren't so we decided it best to break my waters fully to help things along. We were worried she would get distressed & wanted to give her the least traumatic birth possible. My surges got stronger but my cervix was still posterior & only 2cm dilated. It felt like the day was never going to end that my body would give up along with my mind before she would be ready to come.
By 2.30 when I was 5cm dilated for more than a few hours but still posterior we decided to put in the drip to help strengthen the contraction and help get her out as she was too tiny to come down with the contractions and stay down and I was too tired to keep going much longer without an end in sight.
Thankfully things progressed quickly once the drip was put in I sat on the ball, I stood, I lent & bent until I was sure she were close. I climbed up on the bed, struggling in discomfort I found a position that felt right, I came to all fours leaning over the head of the bed, I remember telling my midwife that she was coming and that she needed to call my OB & the Paed team. Unfortunately she didn’t believe me and thought I just needed drugs as I wasn’t coping and in her mind I still had a lot longer till my baby was going to come out.
I guess it goes to show you know your body best and you need to trust your instincts because as she walked to the door of the room to go do some paperwork, I placed my hand to my daughters head & caught her as she fell, no pushing no warning just an empty hand one second and a baby the next.
I am grateful in a way that my midwife wasn’t there it meant I was able to birth my baby myself. I got to be the first person to touch her before she was taken away.
The midwife came over and scooped her off the bed, cut the cord and next thing I know there is a team of people helping my baby.
I sat on the bed watching, waiting, longing to hold her and for someone to tell me she was okay. She was crying but I kept asking if it was someone else’s baby crying I guess I didn’t expect her to be able to cry.
Once they were ready to transport her down to NICU they wrapped her in a blanket and allowed Kris and I a quick hold to say goodbye before they took her away,
I was devastated I wasn’t allowed skin to skin or to hold her like I wanted to but looking back that brief hold was everything as I didn’t know it at the time but I wouldn’t be allowed to hold her again till days later. Thus begins Poppy’s NICU Journey.
View Sarah's birth film below:
If you're interested in having your birth journey documented, you can get in touch with me here or if you're still unsure and have some questions, just do the same and ask away – can’t wait to hear from you!