Living an idyllic life in the picturesque Barossa Valley, Sarah, an emergency nurse, and Rhys, a carpenter and plumber, seemingly had everything they could ever want, except for children.
The couple navigated the painful world of infertility for years before having their first baby, Angus, in 2019, thanks to IVF. And their path to a second child was just as difficult. There were multiple rounds of IVF and failed transfers until their last frozen embryo was transferred.
There was no known cause for the couple’s infertility. While Sarah has endometriosis and a low AMH (egg count), doctors didn’t think they were the causes. The lack of answers only added to their pain. “While we were trying to conceive, everyone around us was having babies; it was a really hard time.”
But then, finally, a little miracle.
“Lucy was our lucky last frozen embryo,” Sarah explains to Mom’s Grapevine. “It was months’ worth of medications – tablets, injections, patches, and pessaries – glamourous, I know – and 13 weeks’ worth once we were pregnant with her!”
But Sarah and Rhys couldn’t breathe easily. At five weeks, Sarah started to bleed. “This went on for nine weeks. Each and every time I’d go to the toilet, I’d be an absolute wreck. We’d go back to the hospital. It was heartbreaking. At 16 weeks, I had an early oral glucose tolerance test – I had gestational diabetes again. However, I was able to manage on diet alone, which was excellent.
“At 32 weeks, we were decorating Lucy’s nursery when I felt a gush of fluid. Thankfully, it resulted in nothing and wasn’t amniotic fluid. However, my foundational height was always measuring small, and people would always comment that I didn’t look pregnant, which added massively to my anxiety-induced pregnancy as it was. We were very closely monitored by our midwife team and the hospital, which we are very grateful for.”
Sarah neared the end of her pregnancy with a huge sense of relief, as well as anxiety. It was suggested by her healthcare providers to induce labor before 40 weeks. “In the weeks leading up to our induction, I had episodes of reduced movements, which was truly frightening – we just wanted her earthside. So when it came to 39+4 with Lucy, we were well and truly ready for our induction.
“We were scheduled for induction on April 10, 2021, but we received a call saying we had been bumped. To say I was distraught was an understatement. I was petrified something would happen to her while we were waiting. The next night we went in for an induction, and the midwife checked me and said I was 5 cm dilated. She stretched and swept and said, “I think we’ll see you overnight.” Nope, she was wrong! Lucy was stubborn.
“So at 7 a.m., we went to meet our MGP midwife. I was hooked up to the CTG, had some monitoring, and she broke my waters. She suggested that we go for a walk and see if we could get things moving. I had one or two contractions as we strolled around the block of the hospital; it was surreal. We were going to meet our little girl. I happen to work at the hospital we birthed at, so we saw some familiar faces awkwardly. We also took some photos together, listened to my birthing playlist, and just hung out in the birthing suite. They were happy for me to wait, but we opted to get the show on the road and had an IV cannula inserted. They started the medications, and within 10 minutes I was in established labor with stacking contractions. It was so very different from my first labor.
“Once we were in established labor, things were escalating quickly. I felt most comfortable just pacing and standing next to the bed. My husband, Rhys, was an amazing birth partner, rubbing my back and telling me that I could do it. I felt nervous as the contractions were coming in hard and fast. I remembered the feeling – I wanted to meet Lucy. I was starting to get really uncomfortable. They stopped the IV medication and disconnected me; I ripped off my bra, which was all I had on, and my midwife laughed and said, “Okay, we are getting somewhere now.”
“I didn’t have any checks during labor at my request; however, I said that I felt that I needed to push, and it started. I needed the gas or air at this point; I felt Lucy move down, and I couldn’t bend over anymore. Rhys was so encouraging, and he was truly down to business. I felt Lucy’s head; he told me he could see her beautiful eyes and that she had hair, just like Angus. At this point, our midwife asked Rhys if he was going to catch her, and he did, with one big final push, and out she came. Rhys caught her. I heard an almighty cry from Lucy and then laid down on the bed where Rhys handed me our little girl.
“It was so emotional for us that she was here. We cried happy tears, and Lucy was cradled in my arms. Angus and Julia Stone’s cover of “Stay” was playing. We sat on the bed, listening to music, still in disbelief that she was here. Then came delivering the placenta, which was a challenge; it was a bit stuck, but we got there. We were able to postpone cord clamping; Rhys eventually cut the cord, and we just cuddled; we didn’t weigh or do anything for at least an hour.
“She was here; she was finally here.
“Our son’s favorite song came on: Angus Stone’s Broken Brights. We shed some more happy tears. During my pregnancy, my foundational heights were all off; a growth scan predicted Lucy would measure small; well, she was 8 lbs. 8 oz. She wasn’t small; she was a beautiful, chunky girl.
“Our family is now complete with our beautiful Angus and Lucy. After infertility and complicated and very anxiety-inducing pregnancies, we are complete as a family of four. We thank our care teams, fertility specialists, and our families for being our biggest supporters and making it possible.”