I wanted to take a moment to tell you about some angels in my life and how they pulled me through a very tough time.

Against all odds, with three auto-immune diseases as well as fertility issues I have managed to have five children (my husband is very proud of this fact and likes to think that he is ‘bionic-man’!). Anyway, after having a daughter and three sons we felt sure that there was another girl to come. The universe lined up for me and I fell pregnant. We were all absolutely thrilled and it felt as though all of my dreams had come true.

Well, the pregnancy went beautifully and I was loving every minute. At 35 weeks pregnant I was at my children’s school volunteering; up a step-ladder; putting up a display (I know, I know, stupid and crazy)! 2 am the next morning… my waters broke. No!!

My husband was a day’s travel away on the mines and I have no immediate family here and with four children sleeping, I panicked. What was I going to do? I was not ready! My babies are always late! I called my husband in tears (poor guy) and he calmed me down into action. I woke my 15 year old daughter… I have never seen her move so fast (I normally have to put a rocket up her behind to get her moving on a morning) as she began commando-rolling all over the place packing bags for the baby and for me, she was amazing. The hospital wanted me in immediately which was an hour away so, at 2 am in the morning, I had to make a series of phone calls. This was hard for me as I am not so good at asking for help.

The first was to my backup birthing partner to let her know that things were happening and I was on my way. The next was to a family friend, a Belgian guy from the most beautiful family who have always been a great support to us. I apologized and explained and asked if he could possibly take me to the hospital. He replied in his best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice and simply said, ‘I am coming’ before he hung up! Then I had to call another great friend who flew to my side to stay with the boys while my daughter and I went into the birth. On the way into the hospital, I created a Facebook group of lovely friends alerting them to my situation as I needed help and I needed it to be sorted out fast.

I was so stressed for the baby and for the children I had left behind. My thought processes were, the washing needs tumble-drying; I wish I had cleaned the floors; who will look after the animals; which friend needs which car seat; who needs the keys to the house; which child would be happiest at which house. etc.

My waters had broken but the baby was not ready… no labor. I was given steroids etc. for Thea’s lungs and I waited.

I contacted the school counselors as I knew that one of my boys is very sensitive and would not be coping well. The school were great. They supported the boys and allowed me to speak to them in the school day. In the background my husband was jumping through hoops to try and get home from Tanami. This is far more complicated than it sounds. Two flights per week on which you have to be booked and allocated. Then to Perth; then to Adelaide.

He couldn’t get to Perth, only to Darwin but amazing airport staff and a wonderful travel agent got him to the hospital by 6 pm that same day. We both burst into tears on seeing each other. We have been best friends for over 24 years and need to be together for these ‘main events’.

Long story short, things did not go well and soon went from bad to worse. Being our fifth time around, we knew how things worked and we knew how to read medical staff. The baby (our little Thea Rose) was in trouble. They forced my contractions and every time I contracted her heart virtually stopped beating. My older daughter was there and so we were careful not to alarm her but my husband and I shared the occasional glance, we knew that things were serious. All of my other births had been blissful and so this was uncharted territory for us.

An emergency C Section was decided upon and we were whisked down to theatre. My daughter went to a waiting room. The surgery did not go well. My baby had positioned herself under my ribs and they had to fight my body to get her out as fast as they could. They finally got her out. No Sound. Floppy baby. She scored 1/10. They whisked her away, my husband went with her. I remember the medical staff sounding urgent around me and then they knocked me out. A half an hour operation turned into 4 hours. They could not stitch me up as I kept tearing. I lost 2.5l of blood. So, tough times.

A premature baby in the special unit. Excruciating pain and a husband who has to leave me very soon. I was sent home and they allowed Ian an extra week at home. They told us that Thea might have to be in hospital for 5 weeks which meant we would see her very little as I was unable to drive and I couldn’t have my kids stay away for weeks on end.

On day 6, I called the hospital to see how she was doing, I pumped breast milk like a champion and she was being fed through a tube and they were trying to get her to bottle feed so that she could come home. On finishing the call with them I put the phone down and started to smile, no beam!! My husband asked me what I was smiling about, “She pulled her feeding tube out last night. Put her car seat in the car, she is coming home today.” My husband asked if the doctors had said that she could come home? No, but she had decided and I was fully expecting the doctors to see how feisty she was and let us bring her home. She did come home that day. Another hurdle overcome. No more sobbing from me leaving her behind at the hospital (they released me home earlier than Thea).

A few calm days and then my husband had to leave. I WEPT when he left, I mean I really wept. How was I going to do this by myself? I could hardly walk, I was in so much pain and I had this little premature baby and my four beautiful kids to look after?

Do you know, the girls in my community rallied around when they saw what was happening and they brought a cooked meal every night, EVERY NIGHT, for 3 weeks!! They swooped in like ninjas and they really saved me. I COULD NOT have done it without them.

Thea turned one April 9th and so it is the perfect time for reflection.

Never underestimate the impact you can have on someone’s life, you can literally be saving them.

My Angels:
The friends who came to me at 2 am
The friends who swooped in and got my children, packed their bags, got their comfort toys and took them into their family and loved them in my absence
The friends who took care of my animals
The medical staff that saved my life and the life of my baby
The women who fed us for 3 weeks with food and with love
The husband who leaped through mountains to get to me
The people who prayed for us
My children for being wonderful, brave and strong

I am blessed beyond all measure.

All my love,
Cathy x

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