Birth Story: The longest week of my life

Pregnancy with PCOS

After battling with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, April Dunlop was told getting pregnant wouldn’t be easy. But to her surprise, while on the waitlist for a hormone specialist, April and her partner Trent Johns discovered they’d conceived naturally.

Throughout her pregnancy, April had been measuring on the small side, so as the big day approached, things started to intensify, culminating in the first-time mum almost giving birth at her grandmother’s house.

‘This is the longest week of my life’

April Dunlop's birth story

At just over 38 weeks pregnant, April woke with spotting and reduced movement, and after a phone call to the hospital was told to head in for monitoring.

“My Braxton Hicks were also very intense at this point in my pregnancy and I would have them every night for so long. I also had horrible pregnancy insomnia so wasn’t sleeping much at all. We had a CTG and my doctor luckily was in theatre doing a c-section that morning so when she was done she came up and checked me. She did an internal I was three centimetres dilated and had a very favourable cervix. She sent me for an ultrasound and back to the hospital that afternoon for another CTG.

“The next day I had my appointment with her and she did a stretch and sweep and booked me an induction date for eight days later but assumed I would be in labour beforehand. She did this because my baby had been measuring small since around 26 weeks. My fundal measurements had stopped and I hadn’t grown since 35 weeks. She also requested a CTG every third day and a stretch and sweep when I had my CTGs.

“That week was the longest week of my life. It was a mind game with my body. I did every old wive’s tale (except castor oil). On the Wednesday I had my last CTG before having her and my contractions that Wednesday morning were different but never consistent. They also weren’t showing on the CTG and after all that at the hospital, they pretty much said see you in the morning.”

‘I went to my car and cried and cried’

An eventful pregnancy and perfect birth

After an exhausting few days, April was understandably done. And she also feared that the birth she’d planned was no longer going to be a reality.

“I went to my car and cried and cried and cried I was so devastated my ideal birth was already failing, my body just wasn’t doing anything I was still three centimetres dilated. I had three stretch and sweeps I hadn’t slept properly in over four weeks I was completely defeated.

“I had to kill time before my partner finished work in this time I noticed my contractions weren’t going away. But I thought nothing of it as I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I went and got my partner and we drove the 45 minutes home (away from the hospital). We were about five minutes from home and I noticed the contractions were actually getting consistent but again didn’t want to jinx it. But after sitting down for dinner and having three contractions while eating I thought I should start timing. To my surprise, they were 5/7 minutes apart so I timed for an hour and then called the hospital as they weren’t painful at all and I was fine.”

After calling the hospital the couple were told to wait another hour and then to head in if contractions continued. Once they arrived at the hospital, though, everything slowed down again, and after monitoring April was told she was still in early labour. “They didn’t really want me going all the way home as it was so far, but I really didn’t want to stay as I felt nothing was happening.

“I quickly called my grandma who only lives 10 minutes away and asked if I could stay there the night as it was already 10:30/11pm by this point. She said that’s fine the midwives offered me a sleeping tablet so I could get some sleep. Before I even got to my grandmas I was pretty much asleep. I had broken sleep but at 2am I couldn’t handle it anymore.

“I got out of bed and walked around I then decided I wanted to shower to see if I could find any relief so instead of waking my partner to sit with me (I just didn’t want to be alone) I woke my aunt who is like my second mum. She sat with me I was so shaky, I decided I didn’t want to be in the shower so we ran the bath. Luckily my grandma has a corner spa bath so I got in the bath. My waters still hadn’t broken and my contractions were fairly intense.

“I was feeling a lot of pressure the midwives at the hospital said it would just be my waters just stay home for another hour as I was still talking to them fine and calm. Then I threw up so I got out of the bath and my contractions doubled in pain and so did the pressure.

April's birth story

“I quickly showered and felt the ‘pushing’ feeling. I woke my partner up and we rushed to the hospital. When we got there I got on the bed they checked me I was nine centimetres dilated and a few minutes later my waters broke as the midwives said to push.

Birth story PCOS

“An hour later I had my beautiful girl, Genevieve – no drugs and no tearing. My labour and birth was almost exactly my dream and I’m so grateful for that. My girl was also 7pound 13oz (3560g) so not small at all.”

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