Introducing MASON: Jess’s Birth Story

posted in: Life, Parenting | 0
Photo credit: Noemie Vonthron Photography


And just like that, our RDM team has grown by one tiny new member with Jess’ baby now here ?. Introducing baby Mason, born 23.05.23. He was 5 weeks early – just super keen to meet us all!

Here is Jess’ birth story.

Some background

Before I share his birth story, I wanted to provide a little background.

We already have a beautiful daughter who has just turned 11. Yes, that’s a while between drinks. Do I regret the gap? Not at all. This is my family’s journey and like yours and the person next to you, it’s going to be different. I don’t regret anything and am so deeply grateful for the family we have created.

Having an older child and being pregnant is really special.  She remembers the moment we told her we were having a baby (we told her the day we had our 7-week dating scan and she didn’t tell a soul until we told friends and family at around 13-14 weeks on Christmas Day!). She then got to come to ultrasounds, feel the baby move, listen to his heartbeat, and everything in between. She will remember all these moments which I think is so special and really adds to their relationship.

My daughter was born at 36 weeks after first going into labour at 34 weeks. At that point, I had steroids to delay the labour and allow time for her lungs to strengthen. It worked and she was able to stay cooking for another 2 weeks.

So with that early birth in mind and knowing early babies are very common on my side of the family, I had a feeling this baby would be early too but of course, I just wasn’t sure how early! At least I could prepare, as 11 years ago when my daughter arrived early it was a real shock!

Having said that, I was naturally still worried in my pregnancy with Mason – I noticed every sign that could mean preterm labour or my body showing me it was ready. However, I was encouraged to call the birth unit at the hospital and talk through any concerns with them and if I needed to come in for a check-up they let me know. They were wonderful.

Waters breaking

Two days before my waters broke in earnest, I noticed they were slowly leaking. Off to the birth unit we went and confirmed baby was ok, and my cervix was closed and long so it looked like a hind water leak. In short, nothing to worry about and call them if anything changed.

On the Monday I would normally go to reformer Pilates after dropping my daughter to dancing. This Monday I decided I was tired after not sleeping well the night before (I was a terrible sleeper this pregnancy!!) so went home for a quick nap before going back to collect my daughter 3 hours later. When I went to get up from that 30-minute Power Nap, I knew my waters had broken.

I went into panic mode as my bag was not 100% ready, I was still meant to have 3 days left of work, my daughter wasn’t home, my “life admin” to-do list was 10 pages long, I hadn’t finished watching my antenatal online classes, I didn’t have a birth map/plan and the list goes on. Obviously I got myself worked up but my partner calmed me down and reassured me, and we called the birth unit.

I explained what had happened, the smell (why does it smell like semen?!?!?), and she told me to come right in and bring my overnight bag as I would be staying.

Cue the tears and further panic as I was only 35 weeks and just not ready. My sister then called me and also calmed me down and off to the hospital we went.

Hospital arrival

On arrival, we were taken to an assessment room and taken care of by a lovely midwife called Steph. We checked on baby via a CTG (that’s the blue and pink stripes they put around you to monitor heart rate and any uterus action), she took my obs and we waited. I wasn’t in any pain but as I was preterm I knew they would want to give me antibiotics. The doctor came and we did a bedside ultrasound which showed there wasn’t a lot of amniotic fluid around the baby. They told me I would need to stay at the hospital for a few days, have antibiotics to help reduce any potential infection risks and if nothing happened they would induce me at 37 weeks. At that point I laughed thinking ‘Yeah right I am lasting that long’ and my baby kicked. He wanted out!

After this I started to get some lower back pain, they told me this was common for premature ruptured membranes and didn’t mean labour. I was moved down to the maternity ward at about 11pm and given some Panadine Forte to help take away the pain and allow me to sleep. I cried when, Simon, my partner of almost 19 years left me. I hated feeling vulnerable and missed him being beside me but I tried to put my big girl panties on! Of course, I did NOT sleep, the pain kept me up all night.

The following morning at 7am I asked my nurse for more pain relief. She said we needed to check baby first and we agreed that after her handover at 9am, we would do the CTG, check baby and then I could have the Codeine part. In the meantime gave me Panadol which didn’t do much!

I decided to kill some time and have a shower. With my daughter I remembered this really helped as I have found I feel labour pain mostly in my back. The shower did help but by now at 8am the pain was coming in waves so I figured contractions had started.

At 8.55am I buzzed my nurse and explained I couldn’t wait till after handover as I was in a lot of pain. She checked with doctor as they were doing rounds right at the time and I was 3cm.

Birth unit

I messaged my partner in a panic as speaking was too hard at that point. Earlier in the morning I’d suggested he stay home and get some work done and I’d message him if anything interesting happens.

Well in that hour A LOT happened! I told him to hurry and get back to the hospital as I was in labour. 9.30am is not the best time to be told to hurry given it’s peak hour traffic!

As I wasn’t in a position to take a leisurely walk up to the birth unit, I was rushed there on the bed as they couldn’t find a wheelchair.

Originally I was assigned a lovely midwife called Megan for my labour who was the birth unit team leader that day and therefore extra busy – but her colleague Belinda soon joined us and quickly became the main midwife for the labour and she was absolutely AMAZING. I can not speak more highly of her and all the midwives. I also had a lovely student midwife Sarah who also did an awesome job. But gosh Belinda, she was extraordinary and really helped make my labour the best labour possible.

I asked to use the bath but as I was pre-term I couldn’t. I also asked if I could have a shower to allow the warm water to help my back but she said she didn’t trust me as she knew my daughter was born in under 6 hours so she wanted me where she could see me, monitor me and help me.

Labour Strategies

Belinda asked my partner what I wanted for pain relief. I believe that any labour can have dozens of paths with the outcome of a healthy baby being born. I didn’t go into labour saying I only wanted this or that and I was open to anything and everything depending on how my labour progressed. However, I had a few props that I wanted to try.

Firstly I hired a TENS machine. I will 100% admit I was a skeptic, but I thought it was $90 to hire for 8 weeks and if I don’t like it then so be it. It had a boost feature for when a contraction came on and it was a great task to give my partner so I didn’t need to think about pressing a button when I felt a contraction coming. It was a great investment and one I would make 100 times over. I hired from Bliss Birth – they do a 4-week or 8-week hire and the price includes the satchel to send back to them. You can read about them here.

I also brought along a comb – yes a comb! It was a cheap $4 wooden comb from Chemist Warehouse. I got the idea from Core to Floor Restore antenatal classes and she recommended one. The antenatal classes were recorded by Bernadette, a very experienced midwife in lockdown. She wanted to give women a way to ‘attend’ their antenatal classes when all were cancelled – they’re still available online. The first one can be seen here on her YouTube channel and classes 2 to 8 can be found here in her website. She suggests a $15 payment and even though I only watched the first 4 they gave me so much knowledge and self-belief. They are a must-watch.

I also had a squish ball from my daughter. She offered for me to take it and it was fantastic. I could squeeze it during contractions and roll it across the bed while laboured sitting on a yoga ball beside the bed. I wanted to use the yoga ball to encourage gravity to bring the baby down plus I could rotate on the ball to help relieve some of the pain.

As the contractions got closer together and the pain intensified I also used a little gas, upped the level on the tens, and really listened to Belinda. She was constantly beside me, talking to Simon, reassuring us both. She had so much experience. At times in my labour, I would forget my breathing and therefore experience more pain and start to panic. She would remind me to breathe, look me straight in the eye and guide me through. I can’t tell you what an Angel that woman was.


At about 1030am I heard Megan say she thought we would have a baby by 12. I thought ok that’s 1.5 hours – let’s work to that. My contractions only lasted 20-30 seconds but were on top of each other and less than a minute apart.

At times I felt like I was losing willpower and wasn’t coping as the pain intensified – I was doubting my abilities. But I told myself I could do this, I would meet our baby soon. I trusted my body, I listened to Simon and Belinda who were both pure towers of strength with their words, action and support for me was amazing. Once I focused back on the task, worked on my breathing, positive affirmations and was in the zone I was back to getting my baby here safely and as efficiently as possible.

By now a doctor had come in insert a cannula for antibiotics which they want to do if you’re under 37 weeks (I was 35). Unfortunately, it wasn’t done well so they got an amazing anaesthetist in to do another one and it was sorted. All through the labour Belinda was organising people and teams whilst being there for Simon and I. She had the Paediatrician on call as my baby was premmie and would most likely need some help once earth side.

The final stage

Around 11am they asked me to jump on the bed to check where I was at. The pain for being on my back was sheer agony. But I was 8cm so that meant 80% there and then time to push and meet my baby!

As I wasn’t full term they needed to constantly monitor babies heart rate which, as baby moves down the birth canal, gets harder. At one point Belinda suggested they might need to do a fetal scalp monitor but I said no I didn’t want that. She respected that and worked hard to keep track of my baby via the wireless sensors.

After getting off the bed, Belinda suggest they set up the mat on the floor so I could kneel/squat and lean on the yoga ball as I said I didn’t want to give birth on the bed but wasn’t sure what option I wanted to try.

From the kneeling position, Belinda kept an eye on things with a mirror (so I didn’t know what she saw but poor woman!!) which allowed her to guide Simon and I.

At this point, Simon kicked into the next gear and was even more amazing. I felt so safe to lean into his shoulders when in pain or just to know he was there. He was telling me all the right things, advocating for me and giving me the strength that helped to get me through. He was also in charge of ensuring I had constant lip balm and water as these were key jobs I had given him haha! I am a big softie but our love got us there in labour and we were about to meet our beautiful baby.

Soon Belinda told me I could push but first to try to wait (love it when they say that). Without asking she used a warm compress to help reduce the risk of tears and so on. She did so many little things like that that really helped my labour without me even asking. Just her face and supportive words and her strength is something I can’t even put into words.

The birth

With 2 pushes our baby was born while I was kneeling on the mat with the yoga ball. I then scooped my baby up off the mat (don’t worry it’s really thick and soft and he didn’t fall as I was close to the mat) and bought him to my chest as Simon and I cried. I was so overcome with emotion and so was Simon. Our baby was finally here and a sibling for our beautiful daughter.

For me, there is no moment more euphoric than giving birth with your partner beside you and holding your baby for the first time. The rush of emotions and holy shit look what I just did is insane. We made that baby with love, I grew that baby, we just went through labour and now this perfect mix of us both is here. The rush of happiness and emotions is like nothing I can describe.

I wanted to have a birth as natural as possible but I know birth can take a million different paths so I was open to anything depending on what was needed for a safe arrival. The female body is truly amazing and I definitely felt like some kind of warrior after birth to know I trusted my body and the truly amazing team I had.

Even though our precious baby was born at 35 weeks he was strong and breathing on his own with an APGAR score of 9 – perfection. He didn’t need any help and the Paediatrician didn’t even need to come.

I needed a couple of minor stitches for a grade 2 tear which is expected as it was a short labour of around 3 hours so the body went through a lot in that short time.

That champion I keep raving about – our midwife Belinda, allowed for delayed cord clamping and extended skin-to-skin, both of which I really wanted.

Now I’m at home and loving being in my newborn bubble. I’m so grateful for my straightforward birth and to have a positive story to share, I know it doesn’t always go that way.

I’m so grateful for every single midwife and person we came into contact with at the hospital – they were amazing. Their care, experience, and compassion are out of this world. Thank you, if you’re part of our hospital staff and maternity journey. You are so special and I appreciate all you did for me.

And that is the story of how our newest RDM baby arrived earthside on 23rd May 2023.


Photo credit: Noemie Vonthron Photography