After delivering her second baby at 30 weeks, Rebecca's third birth was both emotionally and physically intense

Picture: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography
Picture: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography 

In this new series we celebrate pregnancy and birth by inviting readers to share the story of their baby's arrival. 

After delivering her second baby at just 30 weeks, Rebecca Fletcher's third birth was always going to be an emotional experience.

But while the mum-of-three was prepared for the rollercoaster of emotions, the physical intensity of the birth took everyone by surprise.

As she told Essential Baby, Rebecca dilated five centimetres in just 15 minutes. 

After an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth with her first daughter Mackenzie, now six, Rebecca and her husband expected much the same for their second baby. Life had other plans, however, and they were thrown a huge curve ball when her waters broke at just 24 weeks. 

Put on a rotation of antibiotics to delay labour and strict bed rest, the couple welcomed their son Keats at 30 weeks.

Although both longed for a third child, Rebecca said it took a lot of soul searching before they felt ready to go again following the traumatic experience, which included a long stint for their son in the NICU. 

Taking a pragmatic approach, they sought out pre-conception counselling to ensure they were both in a positive space going into their next pregnancy. 

Picture: Rebecca experienced intense and rapid contractions. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

Picture: Rebecca experienced intense and rapid contractions. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

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"We decided to give it some time. When Keats was two we went and saw an obstetrician and had prenatal counselling to check if it would be safe to have another baby, and find out what risks were there," Rebecca said.

"She gave us the all clear to try, but we had a plan for what would happen while I was pregnant, so we went into it with a lot of wisdom."

But having been told there was a 25 per cent chance they could have another pre-term labour, there were still moments of fear and anxiety, she said.

"We had to reconcile that if we chose to have third baby, it would be much more medical pregnancy. With Mackenzie I could relax and go with the flow, but with Tennyson, by time i'd hit 12 weeks I'd had seven scans. There were a lot more interventions."

That included starting aspirin at six weeks, taking progesterone and antibiotics, as well as fortnightly cervix checks from 16 weeks. Although Rebecca said she felt safe with her obstetrician and trusted her care plan, certain points in the pregnancy brought their own emotions for the couple.

Picture: Rebecca was able to lift baby Tennyson out herself. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

Picture: Rebecca was able to lift baby Tennyson out herself. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

"When I hit milestones in the pregnancy with Tennyson, I got quite emotional and it was hard to process that. When I got to 24 weeks -  when my waters broke with Keats - I had to walk through that. When I reached 30 weeks with Tennyson too, because that's when I delivered last time."

"My goal this time was to get to 37 weeks and I got to 36 and three days." 

It was 5am when Rebecca started to feel her first contractions, and after two previous fast labours - just over two hours for her first and 45 minutes with her second, she knew she had to get to the hospital asap.

But as her husband had already left for work an hour and a half away, she called a friend who drove her to hospital. 

"They checked me and I was only 2cm dilated, they offered to try to stop labour but by that stage, I'd already had three to four times of pre-term labour and the side effects of the medication to stop labour are quite intense," Rebecca shared.

Picture: Tennyson's safe arrival was an emotional moment, given Rebecca's previous experience. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

Picture: Tennyson's safe arrival was an emotional moment, given Rebecca's previous experience. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

When her husband arrived she was put on a drip and her waters were broken, but she was still dilating slowly. 

"That was at 8am and at 1pm they gave me a whiff of Syntocinon (to induce labour) and it felt like all hell broke loose."

"It felt like I went from zero to 100 in 60 seconds. Just that whiff and I went from five to 10cm dilated in 15 minutes. It was really hard and really fast." 

"Apparently I'm very sensitive to Syntocinon. I was huffing on the gas like crazy, and my body just started pushing, I said 'I have to push'."

"They told me I needed to stop, that the cord was wrapped around his neck and I was so high on gas because of the pain, my husband had to pry it out of my hand to wake me up enough to stop pushing."

Picture: Tennyson had to spend two days in special care but was otherwise healthy. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

Picture: Tennyson had to spend two days in special care but was otherwise healthy. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

Her obstetrician arrived at that moment and unhooked the cord, encouraging Rebecca to reach down once the baby's head and shoulders were out, to lift him out and onto her chest herself. 

Although all went well, the intensity of the pain - which Rebecca described as feeling as if it was one constant wave of contraction rather than peaks that amped up and died down, left her feeling like she couldn't regain her breathing. 

"I felt really out of control in the end, I had done calm birth class with my first ... I felt really upset with myself for huffing on the gas so much that I wasn't as present as I'd have liked to have been. I had to reconcile that afterwards." 

After spending two days in special care to monitor his blood sugar and for jaundice, the couple were able to bring Tennyson, now almost two, home to meet his big brother and sister. 

Rebecca said though it had been a daunting to fall pregnant again following her experience with Keats, with the right support, she said women can achieve their dream of having more children.

Picture: Rebecca and Tennyson enjoy some bonding time after the birth. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

Picture: Rebecca and Tennyson enjoy some bonding time after the birth. Credit: Credit: Yasmina Ilic-Miloradovic/Yasmina Nadine Photography

"I think it's hard for mums sometimes after a traumatic birth to go again," she said. "I saw a psychologist after Keats came home from the NICU."

"For us it was about making sure we were wise about going into having another baby. But there's so much help out there you can do it again. You don't have to put your dreams for your family on hold because of that experience, there are ways to get through it." 

Do you want to share your baby's birth story? Send details to editor@essentialbaby.com.au, with the subject: birth stories.