Ever since high school, Bethany and Joel have been inseparable. With so much in common, it’s no surprise their close friendship eventually blossomed into romance.
“Joel and I were high school best friends who finally admitted to each other we loved each other in college,” Bethany shared with Mum’s Grapevine.
“We are practically the same person – we love the same things, laugh at the same jokes, and feel like we’re the little old couple who have been together for years.”
And so in January last year, the loved-up couple from Tasmania agreed the time was right to try for a baby…sort of.
“I stopped taking my birth control around January 2022 as my script had run out and I thought after 10 years on the pill, I’ll let myself have a break. We decided we wouldn’t ‘try for a baby’ but we wouldn’t ‘not try.’ Fast forward to March and we got our faint line. Mother’s instinct told me it was a boy, and of course, I was right!”
Bethany enjoyed a healthy, easy pregnancy and soaked up every moment of the growing baby in her belly.
‘I tried hanging upside down’
She excitedly made plans for a natural, drug-free water birth. But in her third trimester, her little baby was found to be in a breech position.
“Harrison was discovered breech at my 30-week ultrasound, so I tried everything under the sun to get him to turn – spinning babies, exercise ball, hanging upside down. You name it, I tried it!
Despite Bethany’s best efforts to turn her baby’s head down, he was still breech at the next 36-week ultrasound. Her only option left was to try an External Cephalic Version (ECV) – is a procedure used to turn the baby from a breech position (where the baby is positioned feet-first instead of head-first in the uterus) to a head-down position prior to a vaginal delivery.
“Now, being in the 86 percentile it wasn’t very likely he would turn but I was willing to give it a go seeing as he is my first child and I was hanging out for a water birth!
“At 37 weeks +6 days, we headed into the scheduled ECV appointment, but unfortunately it failed. I was put in a waiting room for hours afterwards and couldn’t work out why. After a few hours of back-and-forth tests and feeling like a pin-cushion, they finally diagnosed me with pre-eclampsia and told me I’d be admitted that night due to my blood pressure being sky high. The only symptom I had was swelling in the feet and hands – I just thought it was because I was in the last few weeks and I’m not one to put my feet up and relax, boy was I wrong!”
‘My baby spent 10 days in NICU’
It was decided the safest option for Bethany was to give birth via a c-section the next day. But just as she was about to be wheeled in for surgery, another pregnant woman needed an emergency c-section and so she had to be rescheduled until the following morning.
“The morning of the 16th, after what felt like five minutes of tugging, I laid eyes on my little ginger boy. The surgery went so smoothly! It was over before I knew it. But after two to three hours in my room, they noticed he was a bit blue. They took him straight away and I told my partner to follow them. My partner and the doctor came back in after what felt like a lifetime of waiting and told me that while the fluid was normal, because he wasn’t pushed out it didn’t have a chance to be squeezed out of his lungs.
“Harry spent the first 10 days of life in the NICU on CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and a feeding tube. He had fluid still in his lungs and broke into a temperature within the first 48 hours so an IV drip was also added to his arm in case of infection, lucky there wasn’t and the drip could come out! Every day we would walk into the hospital and be flooded with good news of how much he achieved overnight. We are so proud of him.
On the eighth day, we were mask free and only on a feeding tube! Finally, we got to start our breastfeeding journey, yay! He took the boob like a champ and we were allowed home after two nights.
He is now three months old and the strongest little chunk.”
Despite the ordeal, Bethany looks back on her pregnancy and birth with nothing but positivity and happiness.
“Our pregnancy was amazing! Truly blessed to have such a healthy and easy-going pregnancy. After he was born I instantly missed my bump.
“My overall experience was nothing but fantastic, all my doctors and nurses and the NICU staff were the most lovely and supportive people, even after I was discharged. Truly thankful! And the Spring Baby Mum’s Grapevine group has just made the whole motherhood transition into something of a dream. I’m thankful for all of the amazing women out there.”
Got your own birth story you’re itching to tell? We’re always on the lookout for new stories to feature. Submit your birth story.
More birth stories from the Grapeviner community…
- Birth Story: ‘Our rainbow baby is the love of our life’
- Birth story: ‘At two days old they amputated his thumb’
- Birth story: ‘After three losses, I finally held my son’
About to (or just had) a baby?
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