When we first found out that we were pregnant, the next few questions that came to mind were:
“What is the next step?” (this is a good site to have a look for those in SA!)
“Where should we deliver our firstborn child?”
“Public or private?”
“What is the system like?”
“How does it all work?”
While I was being precious about my first baby and all, hubby (a physician in one of the Adelaide hospitals) was believer that if you are young, healthy and have a normal pregnancy, one does not necessarily need to fork out additional cash to pay for private hospitals for delivery.
I also have had friends who had their babies through the public system at Flinders Medical Centre, Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Lyell McEwin Hospital. They were all happy and satisfied with their experiences so that gave me some confidence as well.
I went through the shared care system where I would see my chosen GP monthly and only went to the hospital for my 12-week scan and 37-week scan. Personally, this was a great arrangement as my GP was only less than 500m from where I lived and I could easily walk there. Having been to the hospital on certain occasion I also think that seeing your GP might be faster than seeing a midwife in the hospital.
My Labor Experience
So, it was winter when my little one decided that it was all too cosy in the womb and refused to come out. At 39 weeks, I set up a labor induction appointment at 40+5 weeks with a heavy heart as I was all for natural birth at the time.
My due date came and went without any signs of labor, so I had to be induced through a balloon catheter (my cervix was not ready) at about 2pm on that fateful day. We were meant to let the balloon do it’s magic for the next 12 hours or so, but when I got checked next at 4pm the doctor said that she would be able to artificially break my water and so she did.
They then proceeded to inject some oxytocin as my contractions have not started despite all the help.
But finally the contractions came! I still remember it being 8pm and I was supposedly having a contraction every few minutes but not feeling much. At first it was so light I could barely feel it.
So I thought smugly, “Hah! I can do this!” I’ll just remain calm and listen my Hypnobirthing tracks.
BOY WAS I WRONG!
My contractions started getting really intense towards 10pm and by 12am I was all out of it. Hubby and the midwives thought that I was doing really well and was amazed by how calm I was, but man inside I was just screaming.
Whoever who said that labor is just like period pain must be out of their minds. I was calm and in the right frame of mind thanks to my Hynobirthing practice but sad to say it did not reduce the pain one bit at all!
So there I was suffering with about 4 contractions in 10 minutes to then find out then I was only 5cm dilated. No way I was going through many more hours of this unbearable pain and so requested for an epidural at midnight.
Thank goodness for modern medicine. I was so so grateful that the horrible pain was over, but we were only halfway there.
For the next 6 hours, hubby and I managed to catch some sleep before I was fully dilated and bub’s head was engaged. Yes, 6 hours! So glad I proceeded with epidural.
I started pushing for the next hour but nothing changed. We also had a little scare when my bub’s heartbeat was really low for 2 minutes and a group of 6-8 paediatricians, obstetricians, anesthetist and more midwives rushed into the room.
It was really odd as by the time everyone came into the room his heartbeat went back to normal. Such a drama queen even before he was born lol!
My obstetrician then gave me a choice, “Your baby’s head is still not out. We can either bring him out through assisted delivery OR you can continue pushing (!!!).”
At the time I was just wanting the baby out of me and said, “Whichever is the fastest option.”
I think I cried tears of relief more than tears of happiness lol!
So what did I like about my experience at Women’s and Children’s Hospital?
- I received great support from the medical staff during labor
My labor lasted more than 12 hours from when I was first induced, and yet I was never alone the whole time. Due to my long labor, I had about 4 midwives look after me and I thought that they were all experienced and competent. They did not force any unwanted advice/ideas on me and were generally supportive. I had less interaction with the obstetrician and anesthetist but felt as comfortable as I can be during labor.
- I was able to request for an epidural even at the very last minute
It was my wish to have an all natural birth at first. When I showed the midwives my birth plan, they were all supportive of it. But when it all became too much and I opted for pain relief at the 11th hour, it was granted in less than 30 minutes. I understand that if I had gone private, this would not have been possible unless arranged beforehand.
We saved about $3000-5000 by choosing the public route, and used that money for some portpartum recovery and help instead. Best decision ever!
Of course, everyone’s labor, needs and expectations are different. It also depends on what happens and the midwives/doctors on call on the day of your labor. But if you are healthy and young expecting mother and wondering whether the public system is good enough in Adelaide or South Australia, I would like to reassure you that it definitely is!
Till next time! xx