Melbourne was in the grip of its hottest summer in 100 years. My petite 5’3” frame was carrying around an enormous baby, and feeling it.
My feet were the size of elephant’s, I had plump little sausage fingers, and the only clothes that still fit were my comically oversized comfort dresses.
I had many days of mental preparation and planning, practising how to manage the pain of labour and to overcome each physical hurdle. I wrote notes to myself, practised my breathing, packed my labour bag with the stress balls, music and magazines for distraction.
Then at 34 weeks I was told that I was measuring at 38 weeks, and I was sent for an ultrasound. My baby was already a whooper! The ultrasound showed a baby whose head had not descended, and who was already at full-term weight, with a healthy layer of fat all around it.
At 38 weeks I had another ultrasound scan, and my little bub was off the charts – a heifer to say the least. After long discussions with my husband, and OB, I waited and hoped that bub’s head would descend and that I would still be able to give natural labour a go. After all, I had done all the preparation! My OB let me wait and see until 40 weeks.
I was doubtful and hopeful at the same time, but alas, it was not meant to be. Bubs was just too comfortable in there! Fair enough too! Bub had a direct food line that was fattening it up nicely. (It should be noted here that there were no gestational diabetes at play, just an extremely healthy placenta).
At 40+4 weeks I was booked in for a planned caesarean. Those four hours prior to the surgery were agonising. Waiting to be called in, knowing that very shortly I would be a new mum. My husband paced nervously, trying to project a calm exterior and failing miserably. Finally at 3pm we were called in. The operating theatre was a relaxed environment; they even had the radio on. The nerves never really went away, though, even after the surgery started.
According to the surgeon, when they broke my waters there was so much liquid that their suction machine couldn’t cope and it went all over the floor! My husband was by my side the whole time, stroking my hair and keeping me at ease. I remember feeling incredibly sleepy.
The anaesthesiologist gave me the heads up when it was nearly time and then … a big cry filled my ears and I knew my baby was born. My husband and I looked at each other, tears in our eyes and we glanced over the operating screen to see that we were given a big, beautiful, healthy, screaming boy.
His face was a little squashed, he must have been pressed up against the wall for those last few weeks inside! My husband had the honour of cutting his umbilical cord and I was happy that I was able to breastfeed my new baby in the recovery theatre. Although a caesarean would not have been my choice, it was the right choice to make after our bouncing and boisterous boy weighed in at a hulky 4.7kg.
On the 13th of March, 2013, the heat wave of the hottest summer on record broke, and I welcomed into the world my gorgeous bundle of joy, Ryan.
Thanks to Ryan’s mum for sharing her wonderful birth story with us.
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