This is a story that is so relevant to many families today. Facing the possibility of having her baby without her partner present due to work circumstances, Libby proves that with strength, determination, and a little humour it's okay to let go and let fate take its course. Here is Libby's story.
The fourth of December 2014 - a date I will never forget. It was the night we found out I was pregnant. I remember feeling so scared and unsure about what kind of mother I would make and also how a baby would fit into our crazy life as, Chase my partner, was in the process of securing a job in Hong Kong.
I had a few close friends who had recently given birth/were due soon so it was great to have lots of different advice and also lots of ideas about the type of birth I wanted to have.
I didn't put much energy into making a birth plan per say, one of the only things I was set on was having my partner there with me. Chase ended up getting the job in Hong Kong, this meant he would be required to live and train in Adelaide for 7 months. Living in Queensland myself, this meant Chase would not be available for birthing classes and possibly the birth of our baby. We decided my mum would be my main birthing partner and be there with me when Chase couldn't. The only other elements I knew for certain was that I would like a water birth in a calm environment and as natural as possible with little to no intervention.
The night before my due date Chase and I were texting and he was saying the baby will be here soon and he was asking what I thought we were having, at this stage I was convinced it was a girl, Chase knew what we were having and never let anything slip but, I took everything he said in passing as a hint... We said good night and I told him to get a good sleep as he had a big exam the following morning.
On Monday the tenth of August 2015 I woke at 1.13am with cramps, I got out of bed to go to the bathroom, I felt a rush of liquid and guessed that I had just lost my mucus plug. I called Chase and told him what was happening, in his sleepy haze he told me "everything is fine, don’t worry, go back to sleep" - easier said then done right?! My contractions were coming every 15-20 minutes, I played music and rested in bed and at 3.30am when my contractions were still coming, I called the hospital they told me that this could be a false alarm and to get some sleep and call back in a few hours if the contractions were still going.
I called Chase again but told him not to worry. At this stage I was pretty certain I was going to have our baby that day but I didn't want to stress Chase out before his exam, so I played it pretty cool and told him all was good and to concentrate on passing!
By 6am I was out of bed and resting in the living room outside my parents room. I waited for my mum to get up for work, when she came out she looked at me with a funny look - I told her that I was pretty sure we were going to be having a baby today! I told her to go to work as she had to open the office, I said I would call her when I needed her to come home, my dad was going to be home until 9.30 so I wasn't going to be alone.
At 9.30am I put myself in the bath to relax and help with the contractions by this stage they were coming every 5-9 minutes, again I spoke to the hospital and they told me to rest and check in again later. By 10am I asked mum to come home, when she got home I was still going through contractions and we um'd and ah'd about whether to go to hospital - I decided it wouldn't hurt to go in and just see what happens, so we loaded the bags into the car even though we were expecting to be turned away.
We arrived at Nambour General Birthing Suite, around 11:30am. In the birth suite the midwife asked me if my waters had broken, I wasn't sure as that initial rush I felt in the early hours was quite heavy and watery, but as a first timer, I didn’t know! My contractions were coming every 4-5 minutes now so the midwife did an internal check, we were all shocked to find out I was 5cm dilated. Mum and I were surprised, even though the contractions were close I didn’t feel as if they were very painful. I called Chase to tell him that the baby was definitely on it’s way, Chase finished his exam in thirty minutes, not the 2-3 hours anticipated it should take! While I contracted in the birthing suite Chase called and asked me to book his flights - I was thinking, "Are you kidding me?" But I wanted to stay calm and welcomed the distraction, so I booked his flights. If you can believe it he called back and asked me to book his mother's flights! - This time I thought "far out, he can't possibly be serious!?!?!" – but I booked them anyway because I wanted her to be there to meet her first grandchild.
Chase's flight was booked and he would be landing at 4.35pm, he would then have to drive in peak hour traffic from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast - more on that later...
"I told my midwife Angela that I was starting to feel the contractions in my backside, she timed a few contractions, looked at me, held my hand and said "Libby I don't think Chase is going to make it, I'm so, so sorry"..."
Around 2:00pm I told my midwife, Angela, that I was starting to feel the contractions in my backside, she timed a few contractions, looked at me, held my hand and said "Libby I don't think Chase is going to make it, I'm so, so sorry" I instantly burst into tears, I was absolutely devastated. My partner and best friend wasn't going to make it to witness the birth of our first child. Angela, seeing how upset this made me told me that she would usually, at this stage get me up to walk around and put me on the exercise ball to get things happening and that if she was to check how far dilated I was the Doctor would probably want to come in and put a drip in my hand to speed things up. She said she would do none of this and would leave it in my hands to tell how her how I was feeling and what I would like to do and when.
Mum was officially on back rubbing duties, using coconut oil and lemongrass essential oil, it felt soooo good! Angela suggested the shower to help ease contraction pains. I didn’t enjoy it, the chair was uncomfortable and 2 shower heads weren't nearly enough!
Off to the bath we went at 4:30pm, thankfully it was available as Nambour hospital only has one. The bath felt great and it was nice to be able to relax into the big space and warm water.
CHASE HAS LANDED! But low and behold his phone battery is dead! So he stopped off at the service station to buy a charger... We spoke on the phone several times while he was making his way to me. By 5:00pm contractions were getting stronger and stronger, I looked over and said to my mum "I can totally understand why people have drugs". I was getting myself through each contraction by thinking of the rest period I would get once it was over and by thinking about meeting my baby and holding him or her in my arms, I was so excited.
At 6:00pm the feeling to push was getting so intense but Chase still wasn't there. The second midwife kept coming in and out of the bathroom and every time the door would open my hopes were raised so high that it would be Chase walking through but every time I was disappointed. I was mentally prepared now that he simply wasn’t going to make it and I had to be strong for the three of us.
Fifteen minutes later I was on my hands and knees in the bathtub, the doors opened, I looked up with with hopeful desperation and this time walking through the doors was Chase. The relief I felt when I saw his face was incredible, I started to cry, which in turn made mum start crying. He came straight to me and kissed me over and over. He told me how amazing I was and how great I was doing. Mum said she sensed a change in me once Chase arrived, she said it was like I knew it was okay to let go. Mum was right - now Chase was here I felt a new found strength and determination to bring our baby into the world. Chase took position at my head while mum stayed at my side and continued to rub my back. My waters broke shortly after Chase arrived; the feeling was bizarre like a water balloon bursting between my legs. At this stage midwife 2 was talking about taking me out of the bath and have me birth on a birthing chair while Chase sat behind me, but I really didn't want to get out of the bath. Instead they had me crouching on the balls of my feet to let gravity help while I pushed, I looked down and saw the mirror in between my legs and could see our baby's crown of dark hair. The baby was stuck in the dreaded 'S bend', with each contraction I was getting about 4-5 pushes but once the contraction would end baby was still not over the 'S bend'. After 4 separate contractions of this I changed position and once again was on my back, I could feel the burning sensation and at this stage was down right exhausted but knew our baby would be here soon and I would finally be able to hold my child in my arms. Chase and mum continued to talk me through each contraction. Mum and Chase both had had a look and could see baby’s head crowning, their encouraging words really got me through the final minutes of birth.
All of a sudden, after the massive amount of effort of bringing baby down, the head came out and one push later Angela was placing our SON on my chest, the relief and instant pride that I felt was something I never could of expected. Reflecting on it now our birth journey was perfect. The birth itself was perfect and I never could of expected everything to go so smoothly, it was tough but I did it and I felt immense pride in myself, and forever thankful to the wonderful support given to me from my Mum and Chase. And for all those wondering, yes, he passed his exam!
Jude Angus Adcock. Born on his due date the 10th August 2015 at 7.10pm, 51cm long, 8 pound 1 ounce.
We thank Libby for sharing her journey, what a generous and patient labouring mother she is! I can't believe she booked those flights! Libby later told me that she was supposed to be driving her friend to work on this day, she felt so bad that she contemplated driving her to work still.. while in labor! Libby you are kind, generous and strong, thank you for sharing!
For updates of Libby and Jude you can follow their adventures on Instagram