Dear Azalea - Dr Fiona Hooper <3

Thank you for blessing me with the perfect labour..... 

Well in comparison to your sister Maddison it was pretty close!

Your dad and I have always wanted 4 children however the circumstances surrounding Maddison’s delivery both physically and emotionally was almost enough to make her an only child!  So thanks for potentially opening the door to a 3rd child, a boy (come on, we all know it’s going to be the next question).

Watching your sister completely melt all over you with uncontrollable love was also the first time I had accepted our 3 heart crushing miscarriages before Maddison. 

You would have been the 5th and you wouldn’t be here today.

That alone brought a tear to my eye.  The second I held you I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it.

The thought of another pregnancy after Maddison put my anxiety through the roof!  However, I’ve always dreamt of a big family and I knew that whilst I couldn’t change the past, I could do so much now to have a positive birth experience. 

I'm proud to be able to share with everyone how happy I was with your quick entrance into the world.

One less horror story is always a good thing!

So did I??

Those who followed my pregnancy journey thought I was crazy making my birthing preferences so public and revealing the details of my delightful grade 3C tear received by Moo.

Every doctor/obstetrician during your pregnancy suggested I have a C section (some were more intimidating than others) to reduce the risk of a re tear and the potential complications I could experience later in life.

However your mother was determined (others call it stubborn) to not fall victim to the medicalization of labour and make decisions based on the facts at the time and ultimately do what’s best for YOU!!

So I took massive action to educate myself on how to reduce the chance of a re tear during your pregnancy and labour.

I even wrote an article to share the knowledge I had discovered with others in the same boat (this article can be found here). 

While your story doesn't have the excitement, drama and suspense as Maddi’s, (with broken down cars and wolf creek scenes) you still deserve to have it documented for a keep sake and to know that the reason you are highly favoured in the will is because you were ALOT kinder to me ;P

So did I?

Did I tear?

Drum roll please.......

NOPE!

Not even a graze.

THANK YOU!

You are the best!

I didn't believe them at first and so I asked them to check again.  Who does that?!

So I'm proud and relieved to be able to say that if you choose, you too can give birth naturally after a severe tear and with a bigger baby!!

Gosh I can’t believe I just said that! I don’t even want you out of 000 size clothes never mind having a baby!!!

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Even to the day I had moments where I wanted to cave and just go with the 'easier and safer' option. 

I had many ask what's the difference in terms of the benefits for you with a natural delivery over a C section and I'm going to do an article on that too (one day).

Now what helped me achieve your amazing delivery?

I personally believe the Hypnobirthing course your dad and I did online was hands down the best thing and the greatest contributor!!

And when I say your dad, I mean it!

Sure there was the odd occasion where I had to wake him up as he’d fallen asleep (due to being tired from work not the content ;p)

But no s**t he was the bomb in labour!

To the point where he was so focused and on a mission that anyone would have thought he was in labour!

A few weeks leading up to your birth I had been experiencing non painful tightening’s or I guess you could say braxton hicks. 

The Friday night before you were born they returned a little stronger. Just enough to message daddyo, who was sitting on the other side of the room watching Geelong bomb out of the AFL finals to stop drinking just in case he needed to drive us to the hospital.

They stopped so I went to bed.....

Monday arrived.  Due date!  

I wondered if you would arrive on time like your sister....you didn’t.

I knew Maddison wouldn't want to share that stat with anyone!

Another day went by and we were booked in for a growth scan and a 'possible' stretch and sweep on the Wednesday. 

Each visit to the doctor was really a ‘Fiona, shut up, listen and keep your opinions to yourself’ type of appointment. 

There was no point in wasting my energy telling them my intentions until the situation arose. 

However your poor father would cop the backlash after every appointment and I swear he’s so informed now on all things pregnancy and labour that he could pass as an Obstetrician too ;) (although he’d say he would prefer to be a hydnobirthing dad ;p)

I will admit, I was getting pretty nervous that things were starting to head onto a direction that was out of my control and toward intervention L However I was prepared to roll will the punches and take a positive spin on any direction we took.

But you, my little cherub are just like your father and left it right up until the last minute to get a move along.  Procrastination they call it, and is a favourite characteristic of your dad’s but maybe you liked it in there ;)

That Tuesday night the tightening’s turned it up a notch and I knew the show was about to start (ha ha pardon the pun ;) but there was no ‘show’).

I went to bed hoping I could fall asleep like I did with Maddison and wake up 6cm dilated.

No deal.  It was too uncomfortable to sleep so I jumped into the shower while Ol mate was still sleeping.  I wasn’t able to use the shower with Maddi but it worked a gem with you until the water went cold!!!

I called your dad in to time the contractions on the groovy app on his phone and they were a consistent 30 seconds long, 2 minutes apart.

I noticed without the shower I was really tensing up which started to elevate my pain. I was to the point where I didn’t think I could survive a car ride, so we rang the hospital and updated them. 

They down played it and said it sounded like the start of labour and to come in if we wanted.

Ahhhhh yes please!! I need a hot shower!

So I chucked on the tens machine for the car ride, balled my eyes out as I said goodbye to your sleeping sister, had a final contraction hanging over the stairs and then jumped (more like rolled) into the car. 

We arrived at the hospital just after 12.30.  I had another 3 contractions down the hallway before I entered the labour ward.

Your dad was quick to act and pulled out the birth preferences to lay down all the rules to the midwife.

Can we please dim the lights? Water?  To fill up my drink bottle with electrolytes,Can she get into the birthing pool?……..all before we’d even said hello!!

I could sense they were a little stand offish at the beginning so in between contractions I tried to soften the requests a little as all I wanted was to have some gas and find out how dilated I was.

The moment I walked in that room I wanted to poop ;p

But I couldn't tell if that was the cabbage I'd had for tea or your head!

Tip : Don't eat any foods that make you gassy leading up to the birth as it seriously confuses you.

They insisted I first be monitored to see how you were coping with the labour.  I’m all for this, but there was no way I was doing it on my back.  How does anyone sit still in pain?? It’s so natural to move to get comfortable so that’s what I did.

At this stage the tens machine was still working wonders but the bloody thing kept switching off. 

The gas threw me off this time so I threw it away after a couple of surges. Hypnobirthing taught me to breathe in and out through my nose and this was having a greater effect than inhaling the gas through my mouth.

When they finally had worked out that you were happy they checked to see how dilated I was and said 'ah yep you're good to push now'

Say what??!!  Already??I was like, nah you just grab the baby out, I'm too scared to push.....

So with a couple of poor/freak out attempts they told me I needed to have a real go and that's when my Hypnobirthing brain kicked in we worked as an amazing team.

Then with no more than 5 attempts at bearing down you arrived!

They passed you to me and asked ‘what did you have?’

A girl!! Crap a girl?!! (I swore you were going to be a boy)

We remember just in time to delay your cord from being clamped to allow for up to an extra 30% blood volume to be delivered to you.

Then your daddy cut your cord. What a moment!  You were perfect!

Welcome to the world little girl you are now your own being ready to share your gift with the world.

There was an instant warmth (and I’m not talking the warmth from the gooiness all over you ;p) and calmness like we were already best friends.  I had so many moments leading up to your arrival of fear, sadness and uncertainty of not being able to love another little cherub as much as I love Maddison.

Well wasn’t that silly. 

To think that I had really loved before children was even sillier ;) 

Half an hour later your placenta was still not delivered and I was being prepped for surgery.

I begged to have one more attempt where I could try and help push the placenta out with them at the same time.

Fortunately it worked and I’m so grateful that I got to stay with you and cuddle you.  I didn’t get this opportunity with Maddison L

This initial bonding time cannot be underestimated.  It was incredible! 

So at 2.11am you, Azalea Bell Hooper arrived and we sat in the delivery room frantically brainstorming new names and searching google as we didn't like any of the names on our list.

You are named after a flower on Dad’s favourite golf course and Bell is your great grandmother's maiden name (which has so much more meaning since she passed away last week at 96 years old).

So there you have it!!

Welcome to the world beautiful girl and thank you for blessing me with an amazing birth experience and giving me the opportunity to recover quickly and keep up with your bigger sister.  

Love Mum XXX