Kimberley Savage is a mumma from the mountains, she shares her home with her husband-to-be Lachlan, her journey to bring their baby into the world is not one she had imagined, but it is one that makes us very thankful for the amazing advancements we have in medicine today.
The last two weeks of my pregnancy were pretty tough. I was very noticeably showing from 12 weeks and continued to get bigger and bigger and bigger right up until the end. I unknowingly suffered from gestational diabetes, which I think caused a lot of issues including growing a big baby.
The day before my due date I went for my first pregnancy swim at my in laws because it was so hot. After swimming and hanging out for a few hours I started to get some dull aches across my lower back. I thought my two sizes too small bikinis I squeezed into, were causing it, so I quickly went and got changed and didn't think much of it. My partner and I have a relationship tradition that has to do with ladybugs, and on the drive home one flew in the car window and landed on my hand. My partner said, “I bet you go in to labour tonight!"
At midnight I woke to my waters breaking in bed! Luckily I had been sleeping with a disposable nappy change pad (life saver!) under the sheet for the last couple of weeks, which stopped the mattress from being ruined.
My partner drove me in to the hospital where they checked to make sure it was amniotic fluid and to see if I had dilated. They sent me home with some panadol and said to come back when my contractions were 5 minutes apart.
Cue 20 hours of contractions in our makeshift house under a tin shed on a 40-degree day in the Gold Coast hinterland... Our house was barely big enough for me to walk laps around to help bring labour on, but alas, I managed to pace around and breathe through the early stages of labour. We went back to the hospital at 10pm the night of my due date. As I hadn’t gone in to established labour and still had barely dilated, they suggested I could either go home and continue to wait or they could induce me, as I would have to come back in the morning anyway as we couldn’t risk infection to the baby after having the waters broken for so long. I was so flustered and upset because I didn’t want to do either. I don’t even think I made a choice because at that point they wanted to have a student nurse check to see if I had dilated anymore. She checked and with a puzzled look asked the midwife to check again. I could tell she was feeling around for something specific but I wasn’t sure what. When she finished and she said, “Mmm I’m just going to get our head doctor to come and check you”, I knew that something was up.
By this stage I was having frequent and stronger contractions than earlier on. The doctor came in with an ultrasound machine and said he was going to do an internal examination as well as do an ultrasound to check the baby. The pain from the internal coupled with the pressure of the ultrasound on my tummy during contractions was excruciating. I remember crying and pleading for him to stop. Once he was done, he explained to me that my baby was trying to come out face first instead of the top of his head. This is called Face Presentation and is very rare and dangerous. If my body continued to try and push the baby out it could potentially break his neck. The only way to deliver was going to be via emergency caesarean section.
"I honestly didn’t have one ounce of fear in me; even knowing I was about to get a needle in my spine..."
I was quickly whisked away to theatre while my partner got ready in his scrubs. I remember clearly my midwifing saying "I knew i could feel something, it was the baby's little nose poking out!" I have always been so scared of needles but after all the blood tests during the pregnancy, I wasn’t nervous at all. I honestly didn’t have one ounce of fear in me; even knowing I was about to get a needle in my spine. The desire to have my baby safely delivered far outweighed and reservations I may have had.
The nurses and midwives were all so lovely and comforting and made me feel really supported and safe. Once my partner came in, the doctors explained everything and began the C-section. The anaesthesiologist gave us a play by play of the whole thing, including telling me it was about to feel like my body was in a washing machine as they pulled the baby out. Before I knew it, the washing machine stopped and they held my baby up and said, “Congratulations, it’s a boy!” I will never forget the look on my partners face. He was so happy and started to cry. They asked us what his name would be and I just blurted out “TOBY!” before consulting with my partner that, that was 100% our name. Oops! But I just knew it was his name. They brought Toby over on to my chest and he instantly reached up and started to pat my face. His little face was so swollen and cute. I tried to touch his face but I couldn’t properly because I couldn’t stop shaking. The anaesthesiologist told me that it was a normal side effect of the spinal wearing off. They took Toby away to finish stitching my tummy up when all of a sudden I started to feel like I couldn’t breathe and began dry reaching and vomiting. The anaesthesiologist administered a fluid to counteract the spinal but I had a reaction to that medication also. I began passing out and couldn’t for the life of me keep my eyes open. I was still uncontrollably shaking and I remember feeling like I was cold and complaining that my neck and back were hurting. Sometimes when I opened my eyes I could see Lachlan (my partner) sitting with Toby in a chair. I had doctors buzzing around me trying to work on what was wrong. When I finally came to, I had been unconscious for four hours in recovery. I thought it had been about 10 minutes! Lachlan said it was quite scary to see but knew that I was fine because every time I opened my eyes, I would smile at him before passing out again.
A new doctor came around to check me and I remember he had to turn me on my side to check for any bleeding before I could be discharged to my room. One thing I specifically remember him saying was “Oh sweetie, you are TINY!” which I thought was an odd remark to make. It makes me think that because I had been so giant whilst pregnant, the anaesthesiologist may have administered too much medication and that’s why I had the reaction to it.
Regardless of everything that happened, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It was not the birth I had envisioned but the most important thing of course, is that we are all safe and together. I am so thankful we live in a generation with such advanced technology and of course to the caring and quick thinking staff who looked after me and our baby boy.
Tobias Taylor Duncan. Born 2:10am
Thank you Kimberley for sharing your journey with us and for enlightening us on the extreme dangers of a baby who is Face Presenting, it is so wonderful that you had quick thinking staff around you who were able to deliver Toby safely via C-section. You are so courageous and did an inspiring job.
You can follow Kimberley and Toby on instagram @teainthemountains or by clicking here!