Real Birth Journey: Charli Mae

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:
Alysia Beams, 27

Due date:
15th of April 

Cravings during pregnancy:
Chocolate milk, all day everyday! 

Worst symptom/s:
I had a lot of bleeding throughout my whole pregnancy and the doctors didn’t know why.

Biggest concern about birth was:
The possibility of something going wrong (during birth).

Ideal birth plan was:
To not have a plan and just go with the flow. I was open to do whatever I needed to as long as it got my baby girl here safely. 

Hours in labour:
I ended up being induced, the drip was started around 5:30pm, active labour was for 6 hours with 45 minutes of pushing. Baby was born at 5:40am 

How we went from wombmate to roommate: 
I was 33 weeks pregnant when I woke at 2:00am to my waters breaking. I still remember waking my husband Nick and his response being “are you sure you haven’t just wet yourself babe?” And thinking, shit maybe I have! Once I stood up, I had a big gush and I knew that it definitely wasn’t just baby’s pressure on my bladder! I called the labourward and they told me to come straight in. When I got there I started having mild contractions and the reality of having our baby prematurely set in, and I started to panic. The doctors gave me a steroid injection straight away to help grow babies lungs as strong as possible, and also some medication to stop the contractions. 

Everything then settled and the plan was to keep baby in my tummy for as long as possible and strict bed rest while being closely monitored in hospital. There was minimal fluid left around her so I was prone to infection and I remember having to wear adult nappies because even though the fluid kept regenerating it just kept coming out. So glamorous! 
I was determined to keep baby put, but 8 days later a blood test showed signs of infection in my body so the doctors decided it was time to deliver her ASAP. I still remember calling Nick in absolute hysterics. I knew it was going to happen eventually but wasn’t expecting it so soon and I felt like I had failed at keeping our baby safe. I was so petrified of what was to come. 

The plan was to now induce labour by using the oxytocin drip and because of the infection they wanted to start straight away. The doctors had me prepared that when baby was born there would be a lot of people in the room to ensure that she was okay because they were unsure how developed her lungs would be and if she would need help breathing. I was told that once she was assesed by the paedtrician they would then take her straight to the NICU. 

The first 6 hours of my labour were pretty cruisey with bearable contractions spaced out. The drip kept increasing and contractions steadily got more painful and closer together. I got to the point where I wanted something more than the gas, and I was convinced by my midwife to try water injections in my back. I had a lot of back pain and she said these were supposed to be very effective. Well that was the worst idea ever! The injections themselves were SO painful, much worse than the pain of the contractions alone and only gave me relief for about 15 minutes.

I was examined after 4 hours of active labour and I was only 3 centimetres dilated! I decided to have an epidural because the midwife said I could be in for a long labour and I was already exhausted. The epidural was AMAZING! So good that I couldn’t even feel the contractions at all. Everything calmed down, so Nick and I had a little nap expecting that it would be a while before meeting our baby girl.

I was being monitored on the CTG machine and the doctor came in because she was worried about babies heart rate. They decided to check me again, it had only been just over an hour since the last time but I was now 10 centimetres dilated and they could see babies head. I had gone from 3 to 10 centimetres within an hour – the epidural was so good that I had no idea it was time to push. After 30 minutes of pushing and baby getting more distressed the doctor had no choice but to complete an episiotomy and deliver with forceps. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to think ahout it. 

Charli was born and passed straight to the pediatrician to be checked over. They were so surprised at how well she was breathing and how strong her lungs were, the steroids had done a great job! I even got to have a quick cuddle before she was taken to the NICU with Daddy right beside her. I had to be stitched up (which felt like it took forever) and wait for all feeling to come back after the epidural before I could join her in the NICU – the longest 4 hours of my life! I still remember Nick sending me photos of Charli in the NICU and I just couldn’t believe how small and perfect she was! 

Most vivid memory during labour:
The sound of hearing Charli’s first cry and the feeling of relief that came with it! 

Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth:
I asked Nick to put on some music and he picked my daggy 90’s Spotify playlist. I remember the anaesthetist making fun of my love of Backstreet Boys. 

During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
To be confined to the bed in the one position. One downfall of being induced was being hooked up to the drip and CTG. All I wanted to do while having the contractions was walk around! 

Myth I believed prior that I now don’t is:
That epidurals make you lose all feeling in the bottom half of your body – I could still feel and move my legs. 

Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Charli Mae Beams 2.2kgs/4.8pounds 8th of March (international women’s day!)

Baby’s name was almost:
Nina – I was/am a big Offspring fan. 

Time spent in hospital post birth:
We were in hospital with Charli for 15 days, and then were discharged as an outpatient with daily visits from the NICU nurses for another week or so. She came home with her feeding tube still in and we were trained up on how to feed her through it if need be. It took a while for her to be strong enough to properly breastfeed. 

Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and embrace all the support of the professionals! Oh and pack your own soft toilet paper for the hospital, because their cheap stuff is really rough after you have just pushed out a baby! 

3 lifesaving items for a newborn:
Spew rags, lots of nappies and a husband who is a champion swaddler. 

If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
Don’t wait for maternity leave to relax and binge on Netflix, because you may not get the chance! 

If you could speak with yourself during labour, what would you say?
You are so much stronger than you think you are, and every bit of pain is so worth it.  

If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say?
It’s okay to not be okay! Those 3 day blues hit really hard, but things do get easier and again it is all so worth it. 

Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth?
Trust your body and the process, it is truly such an amazing experience! 

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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