Speeding towards the hospital, weaving in and out of peak hour traffic, Renee Facciolo’s baby is on his way and there was nothing she can do to stop it. She whips off her seatbelt, turns around and hugs the back of the passenger seat just as her water breaks.
Behind the wheel, Renee’s husband Trent starts dry retching.
It was far from the birth they were expecting, but this Melbourne couple still managed to capture the pure emotion of the moment in a brilliant selfie.
Is it really labour?
After being together for 16 years, Renee and Trent had shared plenty of ups and downs, including trying for two years to conceive their first son, Philip. It took them another two years to fall pregnant with their second baby, and Melbourne mum Renee had plenty to contend with.
“I was expecting to be highly medicalised due to my BMI and that I had gestational diabetes and was on insulin,” Renee explained to Mum’s Grapevine. “Despite this I was allowed to be on a caseload midwife program that the hospital offered and I sought the services of my doula Bethany.”
Renee made it to 39 weeks, when her labour symptoms started. “My son Philip and I were just finishing FaceTiming his friends from mother’s group and I felt like I needed to go to the toilet.
“From then on I started getting quite strong and overwhelming contractions but refused to believe that I was actually in labour and that it was just a tummy upset. I decided to ring my mum to let her know what was going on and she thought it best with the time of day (3.30pm) that she best come down to help look after Philip. I did the ring around to the midwife and doula and told them what was happening and said that I would try and manage at home for as long as I could because I didn’t want to go to hospital too early.”
‘I’m ok, concentrate on the road!’
Renee then messaged Trent at work to tell him not to do overtime, but he replied that he had to. “I called him and told him that I’m in labour but to take his time coming home. I could hear in the background the other construction workers yelling at him to get going.”
As she laboured, Renee used an exercise ball, which three-year-old Philip thought was great fun. “My mum arrived and started caring for my son but I was not to be touched or consoled. I left some tasks for me to do as a mode of distraction including packing my hospital bag, stripping and making the bed, washing my hair and shaving my legs. I only the hospital bag and hair wash got done.
“The shower offered little in the way of relief. When my husband got home I flung myself around his neck and danced on my tip toes. He was eager for us to leave but I wasn’t quite ready. It wasn’t until I had a big vomit that I was ready to leave. I gave my son a big hug but he was yelling out for more as we backed out of the driveway and that sent me into tears, until the next overwhelming contraction took over. Making calls from the car I called my midwife to tell her that I’m not coping at home and that I’m on my way to the hospital for pain relief. I called my doula who was on her way to my house and diverted her to the hospital.”
“It would have have been two minutes before I flung my seat belt off and turned around and hugged the back of my car seat – eyes only focused on the backseat. My husband driving and weaving through peak hour traffic I heard him yell “SHE’S IN LABOUR” and saw that we were being waved through a Booze Bus. Contraction after overwhelming contraction had me screaming and rocking back and forth. My doula called me and listened intently as I yelled, ‘I’m splitting in half!’, when a second later a POP that sounded like a balloon and a drenching gush of water, I announced, ‘my waters have broken!’ My husband wound down the window and proceeded to dry retch and I had to yell at him ‘I’m ok! Concentrate on the road!'”
“My ever calm and cool doula Bethany asked me to look down and notice if there was any colour to the water and I said no. The contractions were still going with me still yelling in between, then it suddenly changed in to a deep, deep groan as I felt his head move into my pelvis. I said, ‘the baby is coming’ and Bethany asked if we need to stop on the side of the road.
“My husband said, ‘We are three minutes away’. Bethany asked me to put my hand between my legs and squeeze. I said, ‘I can feel the head – I’m crowning!’ My husband pulled into Joan Kirner Hospital where my doula flagged my husband down at the entrance. Bethany opened the door and asked if she could pull down my shorts. ‘Hello little one!’ I hear her say as my body gave another involuntary push and expelled him from me. I gently placed my hands onto the car seat where I picked him and he gave a massive cry.”
Let me take a selfie
With the relief of birthing her baby, came the realisation that Renee was not alone. She had an enthralled gallery of witnesses looking on. So Trent snapped the moment in a hilarious selfie.
“I realised I had an audience of midwives, security and nurses waiting on me! The first words out of my mouth were to Bethany: ‘I did it. I had my baby in the car!’ And then BURST into wracking happy sobs. Bethany told my husband to take some pictures and thank goodness because my expression says it all. I was on the biggest high, and can’t believe my body was able to do everything it was suppose to and I birthed him on my own terms just listening to my body.”
Baby Anthony was born in just two and a half hours on March 24, 2021, weighing in at 3.456kg. Something tells us he’s going to be an independent little guy!
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