Birth Story: Cara’s second pregnancy was nothing like her first

Posted in Birth Stories.

Left image shows baby being helped by midwives Right image Cara holding newborm

Cara’s second pregnancy was anything but ‘textbook’ with complications arising every step of the way. From the initial moments when her baby wasn’t attaching in the womb to him being floppy at delivery, Cara was able to overcome her struggles and deliver a healthy full-term baby boy.

A member of the Mum’s Grapevine Winter 2023 Facebook group, Cara shares her pregnancy story and delivery of her second son Jack.

First pregnancy in a pandemic

Cara and Tom at wedding on beach

Originally from Germany, Cara was raised in South Africa where she met and married her husband, Tom. Together, they embarked on a new journey, immigrating to Australia five years ago.

During the craziness of the pandemic, Cara and Tom welcomed their first son into the world in March 2021.

A difficult second pregnancy

Cara pregnant on the beach

Unfortunately, Cara’s second pregnancy was nothing like her first.

“The first trimester was hard. [Our baby] Jack hadn’t attached properly in the womb, so I was told to be extra careful. I couldn’t lift anything and had to decrease any activity and rest as much as I could. Easier said than done with a toddler running around. My husband was amazing and took over nearly all of the household duties.” Thankfully Jack eventually attached and there seemed to be no more signs of complications.”

However, Cara’s journey didn’t stop there. She began to experience acute symptoms; breathlessness, increased heart rate, and an upset stomach.

“I became so short of breath that I presented myself to the Emergency Department where they gave me a full workup. They found nothing wrong and I was signed off to work from home for two weeks. However, my GP wasn’t happy with the null findings of the ED, so he ran a bunch of other tests which showed that I had a bacterial infection… a few more days of rest and medication, and I was good as gold again.”

Risk of preterm labour


inside of gender reveal cake

Cara heavily pregnant on public transport

Cara’s sailed through her second trimester with only a mild case of COVID to report.

It was during her third trimester that the challenges arose once again. With constant, and painful Braxton Hicks Cara headed back to the birthing unit multiple times, where they told her she had an “overexcited uterus”.

Then at 34 weeks, her contractions intensified and started to come in more regular intervals. Back at the birth suite they performed a swab test and thought she might be in early pre-term labour. Urged to rest up, Cara headed home to prepare for the arrival of baby Jack.

“Under the strict supervision of my husband, I made sure I wasn’t overexerting myself, I rested as much as I could, and managed to hold off giving birth until 39+2 weeks.”

Pain became more intense

Medical team looking after baby Jack on the rescus table.

The day finally arrived, June 4th, 2023, Jack’s birthday. It all began at 11 am when Cara noticed the first signs of losing her mucus plug. She went about her day as usual, heading off to bed at 9 pm. Little did she know that cramps would wake her just an hour and a half later.

“I planned not to wake my husband Tom until the very last minute so he got plenty of rest. I wanted him to be as fresh as possible for the days after giving birth and he could change, burp and rock Jack while I slept.”

“As I was still talking and only needed to slow down a bit for each contraction, I wasn’t sure if the midwives would want me to labour longer at home. By the time we went to the hospital I was being stubborn and did not want to pay the parking fees at the hospital, so we parked on the road and I walked the 200m to the hospital.”

To everyone’s surprise, Cara was told that she was already 6 to 7cm dilated. The midwife’s jaw dropped as “I was looking so relaxed still”.

‘I was convinced I had already given birth’

Opting for an epidural and gas to manage the pain, Cara was determined to have a comfortable and pain-free birth experience.

“I was a bit overly enthusiastic about the gas. During the placement of the epidural, I had a moment where I was totally high and when I came to, I was laughing hysterically. I was convinced that I had already given birth. I was looking for Jack in my arms or next to me. My poor husband was totally confused.”

A little scare

Cara holding newborn Jack

With the epidural in place and the gas switched off, Cara entered the final stage of labour. Just 30 minutes later, she gave birth to her precious son, Jack. Her choice of the epidural allowed her to remember every precious detail of the birth.

Jack made his grand entrance into the world, weighing 3.2 kilograms. However, they soon noticed Jack appeared ‘floppy’ and he spend 15 minutes on the resuscitation table. Monitoring him closely, the Doctors revealed he had low blood sugar levels, and as a precaution, moved him to the special care unit for the night.

Cara, Tom and their two boys

Thankfully, after receiving a clean bill of health, Cara and her family were so excited to take baby Jack home the very next day. Together, as a complete and happy family of four, they’re embarking on a new chapter filled with love, laughter, and precious memories.

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