My birth story (part one)

In honour of World Prematurity Day (November 17) and the Miracle Babies Foundation, to which I am a proud ambassador.

Trigger warning: discussion of premature birth, baby loss and graphic content. 

Here is my story.

Premature labour

I was 29 weeks (+1 day) pregnant and I’d been experiencing crippling back and groin pain for a month.

On Saturday, October 16th at 7am, I woke to go to the bathroom. Before I stepped out of bed, I wet myself slightly. 

I brushed it off, thinking the twins were lying close to my bladder as I had ballooned recently.

After going to the bathroom and walking back to our bedroom to change my underwear, it happened again—just a trickle.

On the fourth occasion of changing underwear;

“How am I going to do anything if I can’t move without peeing myself?” I sobbed to Bryce.

Video: 12 hours before I went into labour

I hadn’t considered I was in labour. I thought I had simply lost control of my body and would be wearing adult nappies before buying nappies for the babies.

I went to the toilet again around 8:30am and noticed a distinct scent and colour.

While sitting there, I found this article on the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website;

“Oh my goodness, babe, I think I might be in labour…”

“Should we go to the hospital?”

“Nah not yet, let’s get a smoothie and we’ll pop into Mum’s, I’ll ask her.” 

Typical millennial. 

Doctors warned twins were a high-risk pregnancy and I could go into labour early.

Stats from Miracle Babies Foundation website

After the smoothie and on the drive to Mum’s place, I started cramping. Like period pain, it was uncomfortable but not unbearable. At Mum’s, I went to the toilet again and I had started to bleed. 

Hospital admission

By 11am, Bryce had me in the Frankston Hospital maternity ward examination room. 

A doctor performed an internal. They explained I was in active labour, a centimetre dilated and would be having the babies that day.

They noted that only one of my waters had broken though. 

Levi, Twin A, was ready to enter the world. 

Tate, Twin B, was still enjoying his cushy waterbed and had not been forced by his twin brother to break his water yet.

In the examination room, I started having full-on contractions.

I always thought, in movies, where someone was preparing to give birth, the contractions you saw were exaggerated. Turns out, they’re not. They’re very painful.

For the next hour, the pain skyrocketed. 

I was crying out in agony like a banshee. I felt like I was going in and out of consciousness, I was sick (goodbye smoothie) and my stomach felt like it was being ripped open from the inside out – clearly I’ve also watched too many horror and alien movies.  

The nurses were quick to act and provided me with my very own relaxation pipe as I called it, or more simply the ‘gas’

What a pleasure that was! I felt little pain and almost delirious, in a very good way. (I wish the gas was around now while I’m dealing with twin toddlers!)

By 12:30pm, I had a follow up internal and had dilated another 2 centimetres, so into the maternity suite I was taken. 

As I was wheeled down the maternity ward, I felt high as a kite. I ‘queen-waved’ to staff as I was pushed down the corridor, cracking jokes and asking when I would get my celebration cake. I was in good spirits thanks to my relaxation pipe. 

The next few hours, I mentally prepared myself while Bryce took care of my every request and also called our immediate family to inform them of what was happening.

My Mum and sister headed straight down to Baby Bunting where they almost bought out the store of clothes and baby accessories.

For silly me, didn’t think to pack a hospital bag for myself or the twins before 30 weeks.

Here’s a tip: pack your hospital bag as soon as you can. You never know what could happen during your pregnancy.

Once I started becoming immune to the effects of the gas, an anaesthesiologist administered an epidural. It took a little time to get the injection in the right spot and I was panicking at the expected pain. 

Thankfully, it hurt no more than any other injection I’ve had during my pregnancy – which I might add, feels like way too many needles for an expectant Mum. 

Around 5pm, I was nearly fully dilated, and the paediatric doctor sat down next to me to discuss having a natural birth. 

Due to the positioning, the health of the twins and my own recovery time, they recommended it was the best and safest option.

With my relaxation pipe

I started hyperventilating in between tears as they explained what I and the twins were about to go through. 

I was in no danger, however as the twins were due to arrive so soon, the concern was for their lungs, which were underdeveloped and their struggle for breath moving forward would be paramount to address. 

While I knew it was the best situation to have a natural birth, to be in a better physical position for the twins, and of course, the medical professional knew better than me, I was terrified. I’d thought I’d be having a caesarian.

The doctor took Bryce outside to discuss it with him, while also gently encouraging him to gently encourage me that this was the right decision. Bryce fought for me though, knowing that I wanted a caesarean.

‘This is why I’m marrying the villain’, I thought to myself. He had fought for me when I hadn’t had the strength to since the first day we met.

It took convincing, but I agreed to attempt a natural birth. If there was any danger or stress on the babies, doctors had set up the surgical room next door to perform an emergency caesarean.

The birth 

The time came when approximately 15-20 doctors, nurses and medical students flooded my room in preparation for the twins’ arrival.

That’s a lot of people that were able to have a good look at my vagina while I was in the stirrups!

And trust me, I wasn’t shy at all the moment I began pushing for the first time. I joked and apologised mid-pushes for not waxing before my arrival.  

Initially, it took me several attempts to learn the rhythm of my body to successfully push Levi out into the world. He was born relatively easy at 7:22pm, weighing a mere 1.2 kilos.

I held Levi for a few beautiful seconds before he was whisked away to an awaiting team of medical staff and machines.

There was a slight reprieve between Levi and Tate being born. However, Tate I’m sure felt forced out, as his water had yet to break itself.  

So the doctor did it for him using the amnihook. 

Once they’d broken my waters for Tate, he began his descent…. Feet first. Geez, this kid made me work for him. Totally worth it though. 

The doctor tried rotating Tate by pushing on and manoeuvring my stomach. Now that was uncomfortable. Not painful… But not fun either. Tate was set on coming out in his own way. 

Tate finally arrived into the world at 7:54pm, weighing a tiny 1.1 kilos. The doctor started handing Tate over for a quick cuddle yet changed their mind. Before I got a chance to hold my baby, he was taken away to an incubator to be resuscitated. 

I tried remaining calm but the tears started to flow. Briefly, I thought the worst. After the longest minute of our entire lives, Tate cried.  

From here, the medical team ferried the boys to another wing while I was cleaned up. 

Bryce was torn on who to go with.

“Go with them, make sure they’re okay!”

He didn’t need any further encouragement than that to follow them. Not before he kissed me passionately and said over and over again, how proud of me he was. 

You imagine were your significant other is going to be like in this important moment of your lives. Bryce had not stopped encouraging me from the moment I began pushing. 

I could only hear his voice over the top of all the other noise. 

His emotion, the tears for our sons’, the love and elation for me at what I had physically done and how he felt about me in that moment, was the most love, sincerity, adoration and physical connection I had ever felt and will never forget that beautiful moment. 

Pain-full or pain-free?

I can say, I barely felt pain while giving birth. I did feel tremendous pressure, a little ‘warm’ down there (ring of fire, am I right?!) and frustrated that it felt like it took forever to push those tiny babies out. 

The contractions and the cannula in my hand (which administered magnesium sulphate) hurt the most. 

My birth experience was otherwise pleasant, memorable, and near pain-free. I had no tearing or complications. I was certainly one of the lucky few; a pleasant birth can happen. 

Had I known what my exceptionally tiny and vulnerable premature babies were about to go through, I would have preferred to have been torn to shreds and have the most horrific birth.

Come back for part 2 on Thursday.

3 thoughts on “My birth story (part one)

  1. Zowie

    Hey Liss, I had my son at 29+3 can relate to the challenges of premmie mum, from the bonding to the expressing/breastfeeding to the no sleep cues and noisy AF sleeping.
    Nobody could ever tell me why I went into spontaneous preterm labour. I saw on one of your videos you said you have a thyroid condition. I was diagnosed with post-partum thyroiditis and found to have antibodies. I wonder if I’ve always had it and if that caused the early birth. Do you know why your boys came early?

  2. Kay. Ole

    Bryce and Melissa, thank you for sharing your story. I watched the tv programme where you met and I was delighted when you stated together. You did have a rough time of it for a while on the show but you both weathered the storm.
    Now you have two beautiful baby boys and you went to hell and back after they were born. Thankfully, they are both okay now and I wish you and your little family all the best for now and the future. Enjoy every minute, don’t worry if there are toys all over the house for the next few years because you’ll miss that when they are all grown up and left home………as I did,
    Kay Ole.


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