Elle Colette Meyer was born on the 12th October 2018, she weighed 3908 grams.
I fell more in love the second I saw her.
Having taken some time to ourselves following the birth of our little princess I know how keen people are to hear some of the spicy details. So welcome to one of the most traumatic yet amazing stories I’m yet to tell, the story of Elle’s birth.
I had been eagerly awaiting my next appointment with the doctor, I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant and I was keen to hear his update about roughly how much longer I’d have. I had just about gotten to all I could take. My ankles had swollen to the size of my knees, I was having unbearable migraines daily, my walk was a waddle and toilet visits were every 10 minutes. Emotionally I was so done. The hormones were rushing around my body like crazy. The idea that labour could start at any time but not knowing when was tormenting me. I was physically unable to do much, and my energy was drained. I’d watched literally anything worth watching on Netflix and I was beyond bored. I wanted to be a mother and meet my girl already. So, the morning of my doctor’s appointment I was so excited to get some closure. The check-up was normal, and he gave me a stretch and sweep which is supposed to encourage labour to start sooner. I mentioned to him that my swelling had become painful and that I couldn’t take off my wedding ring which was cutting off my circulation to my finger. Upon mention of this, the doctor warned that the swelling could be more than just something regular, it might indicate having pre-eclampsia. So, he asked me for a urine sample and told me if there was any need for concern that he would call the next morning.
So off we went back home, hoping that the stretch and sweep would work over night, with no real concern about having pre-eclampsia. However, the next morning, at 7am I got a phone call from the hospital. They told me I’d been leaking protein and that I should come in for a check-up as soon as I could get to the hospital. With still low concern we finished breakfast, cleaned up and headed back to hospital. I was checked over, bloods taken etc. and I got told the same thing I had all pregnancy: “blood looks good, heart rates good, textbook happy baby.” But then they told me that I was still leaking protein and that my blood pressure was quite high. Given this information they told me that they couldn’t conclude that I did have pre-eclampsia until bloods came back, but that it looked probable that I either had it or that it would develop soon. So, they offered me an induction and after a considerable conversation with Josh we decided to take it. I was later told that I did develop pre-eclampsia but was only 100% confirmed after the birth.
So, at 40 weeks and 5 days I received a second stretch and sweep before being induced. A medical film was inserted around 5pm and I was scheduled to have my waters broken at 5am which would hopefully kickstart labour. Can I just point out by the way how much it hurts to have a medical film placed. And mine fell out after an hour and I had to get it re-inserted -ouch. Our baby girl seemed way too keen to come and meet us because my waters broke on their own after only 5 hours. From that moment until we met our baby girl was only 3 quick hours, her arrival at 2:11am. I must say it felt a lot faster than that though, the whole thing was so rushed. When my waters broke it was determined that the baby had passed her first poo in the womb, which officially categorized my birth as “high risk” considering I also had the pre-eclampsia. We got ready to head over to birth suite while the staff got the room ready. This 20-minute wait was for me the longest part of the whole night. I was literally yelling at Josh, I wanted to go and hop back in the shower, which was the only thing that would give my back any relief.
We finally got to our birth suite, I hopped back in the shower with the soothing hot water and got the gas hooked up. Now I don’t know about the other mum’s out there… but my gas was a joke. Even after me asking them to turn it up over and over even when it was nearly all the way up it still wasn’t much help at all. I mean it helped to cope a little, but the pain was still fully there, and I was still fully aware of it. I’d had a shot of morphine a little past 2 hours of labour, but it barely kicked in till the very end. Given the circumstances of the labour and it being so short, I pretty much felt everything.
I had organised Rachel, my older sister and mother of 4,  to be at the birth to support me, she lives just over an hour from the hospital where I gave birth and so I had called her as soon as my waters broke. Since the labour started at 11:30pm she had to get a babysitter and come over in the middle of the night. She had someone waiting on call to look after her kids just in case as she knew I was being induced that night. But I don’t think she had expected for it to work so fast either. But I called her and just hoped she’d make it in time.

Now I’m going to skip some of the gory and TMI details in an attempt to maintain some dignity (trust me though, there is no dignity in child birth). But let me warn you, it’s still a little gory from here on out. There was a lot of back and forth in that room between the shower where I felt the most pain relief and the bed. That in itself was difficult because I wanted to stay in the shower, but I thought it was important to go to the bed for examination regularly, to make sure I was safe. I had to wait for a contraction to finish, then sprint over to the bed in time for the next contraction. It was an ordeal at the least. The reason for the constant monitoring was due to my risk of going into a seizure which would have put me and bub in a lot of danger. I was on the bed, the contractions getting more intense when suddenly I felt a bit of comfort as someone grabbed my other hand and squeezed it. I looked over, I felt pretty airheaded from the gas and I saw my sister had arrived. I had the perfect combination of support, between Josh holding my hand, stroking my hair, looking in my eyes and breathing with me and Rachel, holding my other hand, telling me I was doing great, reminding me about my rights, standing up to the midwives and generally assisting in what was going on.
(you can see in this photo ^^ just how bad the swelling had gotten by the end. My neck was just about the size of my head)
The thing is that with the QLD public health system you get whatever midwife you get. Some are great and some aren’t so great. My main prayer was that I would get someone who would deliver my baby in the best way for her, that she would come out breathing, healthy and well. I had so many support staff that I’m not sure the number. But it being categorised a high risk birth called for the lot, there were doctors, midwives, nurses, OB-GYNs, child doctors etc. if I had to guess it was around 7 medical staff over the course of the labour. I knew it was my right to stay in the shower where I was most comfortable and Rachel was a good reminder of my rights in the moment, because in that moment I wasn’t really thinking straight. I decided to go over to the bed for the last bit of the birth because I felt it would be the safest for myself and for my baby. But let me tell you something – birthing on your back hurts. A LOT. I mean, labour hurts any way. But gravity was definitely not in my favour.
Well I was given 5 minutes to push. Although I don’t remember actually being told that, until the last minute. I screamed out “I don’t want to do this anymore!” and one of the many nurses in the room came up to me and said:
“Elizabeth, we had 5 minutes to get this baby out while she had low blood pressure, before she’s at high risk of having any problems afterwards, now it’s been 4 minutes already. I need you to stop breathing the gas, I need you to stop worrying about the contractions, and for this last minute I need you to listen to me, and give me some really massive pushes, as hard as you possibly can, are you ready?”
Well… that is a scary thing to hear! I knew, that was it. I had a minute to get my baby out. After one huge push I thought my legs were going to snap off, I thought I was going to die, I was shaking and trembling all over. Nothing compares to that pain. I actually felt like I was dying.
Rachel grabbed my hand, she told me the baby was crowning, she guided me to touch my baby’s head and told me I was only a few pushes away from meeting her. For a split second the love that I felt took away all my pain, I had touched my baby’s head for the first time. Then they all yelled PUSH PUSH PUSH. And honestly the rest is a bit of a blur. I pushed, I tore, I felt myself tear (3rd degree – which means I had to have surgery). My baby girl came out, it was all in such a hurry, the doctors were doing something, Josh cut the cord, we had requested to let it stop pulsing but there was an emergency and we had to cut it straight away. I looked over at her and I remember thinking “there was a baby in there” mixed with a whole bunch of “she is so beautiful” and a whole lot of “I am in so much pain everywhere hurts”. 
The doctor then came over to deliver the placenta. I remember asking her how much it would hurt, she said “not as bad as what you just went through, but I will need a decent push” I was so numb by this stage that you could have done just about anything to me and it wouldn’t have compared. Then she was done, I didn’t feel it, I didn’t even know it was done. I was still asking her about how painful the placenta would be, and she said it was already done.
After that I was given skin to skin with my baby girl, I don’t remember much of it, I just remember thanking God that she was finally here with us and that she looked so healthy. I was then taken to operating theatre for stitches while Josh got some skin to skin time. That was an interesting experience in itself, I was numb but awake, I couldn’t feel pain, but I could feel touch. It was bizarre. Anyway, I was still shivering the whole way through it, not because I was cold, I think I was just in shock. I finally fell asleep and when I woke up again I was offered an icy pole. Let me just tell you… that icy pole was the most amazing icy pole I have ever had in my life! It was the first thing I’d had in so long and going to operating theatre I wasn’t allowed any food or water and I was so thirsty after giving birth.
It wasn’t until hours later after I’d woken up from some very much needed rest that Josh told me that she wasn’t breathing when she first came out. At that point I was so in shock and overwhelmed that I didn’t realise. Another thing I was told after was that her shoulder had gotten stuck coming out and the midwife had to put her hand in to assist. Well I was quite out of it, the last push sure put me out a lot.
(A commonly asked question is why Josh was shirtless in this ^^ photo, it was just after he'd had some skin to skin time with the baby, not just because he felt like it.)
Well that’s pretty much the end of the story. I got myself all cleaned up, got some sleep and spent lots of time with my new baby girl. My hospital stay was fairly short after that, I only stayed over one night. Let me just say by the way – I don’t care what they say, hospital food is actually amazing, especially their jelly and custard – I still think about that stuff.
Well given everything I was happy with my experience. If I could go back in time would I stay in the shower? No. I went with my instincts. I followed what I thought was right, and the advice of the medical professionals who wanted a healthy mum and bub. As I’m writing this I am still recovering. The pain was so intense that just the memory of it was painful for the first 2 days. For the first week I could hardly stand up straight, let alone walk properly. I was emotionally drained, and breastfeeding was challenging (she’s a star at it now though). Things that you’d never even think twice about became challenging for me, I found it hard to bend down and get something off the floor, or to reach above my head. My back was in a huge amount of pain and I am still very tired. But every time I look in those deep blue beautiful eyes of my baby girl, I just think how such a painful thing could bring about someone so utterly perfect. I can’t stop looking at her, I just can’t believe I get to be her mum. She fills my heart with love in a different way than I’ve ever felt.
Thanks for reading,
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