CIRCLE OF LOVE
A couple share their story of their long-awaited baby’s arrival
AS TOLD TO JAI BREITNAUER
Cleopatra, Sam and baby Alexander
Sam and I got married in February 2013, and started trying for a baby a couple of months later. Although I was only 25, and Sam was only 27, we both knew we wanted children and Sam has retinitis pigmentosa, a congenital eye condition that leads to blindness. He wanted to be able to enjoy being a dad while he still had good sight. Despite all our efforts and our age, we didn’t get pregnant and in December 2013 I was diagnosed with having polycystic ovaries. We began treatment with a fertility clinic in February 2014, but I had two miscarriages. I felt like my body was failing me, and during our journey Sam was certified legally blind. Finally, we fell pregnant in October 2015 through IVF. Neither of us would believe we were pregnant, and we were nervous wrecks for the first trimester - every time I felt nauseous Sam would say, “Good, that’s a positive sign”. The baby was very active which was reassuring, although he would often kick so hard he would wake me up at night. We didn’t really have a birth plan – what’s going to happen will happen. The morning before my due date my waters broke. My fatherin-law, Doug, just happened to be over and as the contractions got stronger he called my mother-in-law, Barbara, who picked Sam up from work and brought him home. By the time he got there I was leaning over the sink breathing heavily; it all seemed to happen quite quickly. The three of them supported me, rubbing my back and wiping me down with a cold sponge, at home until 7pm, when the midwife advised us to go into the hospital. I don’t remember much about it but Sam said I was howling like a wolf at the moon! Sam’s dad drove us to the hospital and my mum met us there. They put a monitor on my bump and by 11pm the contractions were so strong I couldn’t stop pushing even though I was only 5cm dialated, so they gave me an epidural. The difference from before the epidural and after was like night and day. One minute I was writhing on the bed, the next the room was silent and I was relaxed, with Sam holding my hand. My dad arrived just after the epidural and sat with me while the rest of the family had a break. I always had someone with me, someone to talk to and hold my hand, which I was grateful for. I’d always wanted my mum to be with me, and it was important to me that Barbara was there too as she has no daughters of her own. Eventually, around 3am, they told me I could start pushing, but Alexander was stuck so they took me in for a C-section. Mum came with me into surgery as you can only have one person there, and Sam was exhausted. I was terrified, but the staff were great, explaining everything. As they pulled Alexander out I heard this little choked squeal, and then they lifted him over the curtain and I burst into tears. It felt like a dream but there he was, my baby. It was 5.17am, and he weighed 3.71kg. Alexander James, or AJ as we like to call him, latched on straight away, and mum sent a photo to Sam on her phone. Later in the recovery room, Sam took his shirt off for some skin-to-skin bonding time with AJ. That was really special. The whole family was there, just as they had been with me in labour, and I felt so happy for Alexander, who will be so loved.
Cleopatra with Alexander and her super support team, who helped her through the labour. I heard this choked little squeal, and then they lifted him over the curtain and I burst into tears. It felt like a dream but there he was, my baby.