Edwards family stories


Alexander’s Birth – Induction

I will never forget waving goodbye to Paulette (Eric’s sister) and her children as they stood on our veranda just after 8am on 8 July 1999. It felt rather strange taking a sedate trip into hospital at a pre-determined time and day.

I was pleased to see our midwife, Raewyn, at the hospital and to find out that I was one centimetre dilated! I was then examined by Mr McLean (specialist) and his team. It felt odd to be in the hospital bed rather than in an O.T uniform with the rest of the team.

At 9am the hormonal gels were inserted to help speed up the dilation of the cervix. I was hooked up to the machine I was relieved to see that the niggling pain was indeed small but definite contractions. Things started to speed up after lunch, so I had a soak in the bath. Then at about 2.15pm Raewyn hooked me up to the machine and confirmed that I was definitely in labour. By the time Eric had the water pool set up I was ready to get in and ease the increasing pain. Time passed quickly in the pool and before I knew it my body was wanting to ‘bear down’ and it was hard to resist that urge. I got out of the pool (as per the obstetric registrar’s instructions as there was concern about my low platelet count and potential for haemorrhage).

The next 1 1/2 hours of pushing with lots of encouragement from Raewyn and Eric were not quite enough to push our baby out. However, the mere mention of forceps was enough for me to give an extra push forward and with the aid of an episiotomy our son, Alexander Paul McKenzie EDWARDS was born at 7.16pm. We were amazed at the size of him, a hearty 9lb 10oz (4610 grams). After giving our hungry lad his first feed, I then enjoyed watching Eric give Alex his first bath.
My thanks to a great support team of Raewyn and Eric.



Somehow, we must have known that our second baby’s birth was close because on the 12th of March, the E.D.D (estimated date of delivery) I washed out all the baby clothes. They fluttered in the warm Southland breeze while Eric assembled the birth pool eagerly assisted by ‘big brother’, Alex (20 months). While this was happening Pamela, our midwife, arrived with a midwife who could cover for her the following weekend when Pamela was away.

That evening when Eric was in at work for several hours, I began to get crampy feelings when going to bed around 10.15pm. I tried not to get too excited but could not sleep hoping that I was going into labour. By 1 am when Eric arrived home, I was having mild and regular contractions about 10 minutes apart. Mild, yet enough to keep me awake. I dozed for an hour but was up for the rest of the time getting linen and other items ready for the birth. At about 4.30 am I had a small blood tinged mucus show. I was very excited! Then at 6 am I had a larger show. I left Eric sleeping until 7am when I woke him, and we agreed to give Pamela a ring. Pamela said to let her know when the contractions got stronger. So, we rang my sister, Robyn, who lived next door, and my mother who lived 30 minutes away. Mum said she’d come in at about 10 am and take Alex out to “the farm” with her for a holiday.

Eric filled the pool after breakfast then went for a snooze while Mum and I chatted for an hour or so. Around 11.20 am things started to hot up. I was getting sick of being inside and decided to go for a walk down the road with Eric but quickly changed my mind at the gateway when a was gripped by a stronger contraction. By 11.30 when I was doing some weeding in the garden, I felt very pleased knowing that Pamela was due around noon. When she examined me, I was rapt to learn than I was already 5 cm dilated (halfway!!!).

After lunch I got in the birth pool to carry on labouring. At this stage, the contractions were not that intense. Pamela said that I might experience a forceful popping sensation when my waters broke and not long after this was exactly what happened. Soon after this I moved into a rapid transition period of pushing. Pamela and Eric were almost caught out at how quick it was before your head was crowning. I think it was four or five pushes before the head emerged then another two or three pushes before our baby slithered into the water. I turned onto my front and gave our baby boy his first cuddle while Eric cut the umbilical cord. Hamish did not make sound but just looked around intently at his surroundings.

Raewyn (our second midwife) made a mercy dash to her home several kilometres down the road to get a replacement for the Syntometrine (used to speed up expulsion of the placenta) lost in our fridge. I was amazed at how quickly I expelled the placenta after this drug was administered. Robyn arrived and said that she could look after our Singaporean friends who were due to arrive “sometime after lunch” and stay for a night or so! Robyn was rather surprised to be able to give Hamish one of his first cuddles. Three quarters of an hour later I was sitting on the sofa in my dressing gown with our baby in my arms when our friends arrived. To their delight were able to hold a newborn babe before heading into Invercargill to find alternative accommodation! At 5.30pm I was tucked up in bed with Hamish’s bassinet beside me and Pamela went home to organize herself for her trip to Australia.

A Letter to Tesca

This is the story of your birth. Long before you were conceived your father, Eric, had a name in waiting. Tesca, the name of a small alpine plant -meaning wild place.

A week late and I’d done all the jobs I’d wanted to do, the birth pool was gathering dust in the garage, I had even bought a big pile of videos and tried to think of things other than “when was this baby boy or girl going to arrive?” Saturday (23 August) and Mum-to-be was grumpy and needed to get out of the house. So, I packed a picnic lunch and Dad plus two sons grabbed coats and gumboots for a ‘wee stroll’ up Forest Hill (a local walking track). Our ‘wee stroll’ to the summit lookout and back lasted over 2 hours with Hamish (nearly 2 ½) and Alex (4 years old) setting the pace.

As we pulled in the drive at home, we saw my sister, Robyn, and I commented that if that walk didn’t put me into labour then nothing would! I went and had a hot bath and lay down for a while. It was not until I got up at 5.30pm that I started having cramping sensations. So, I sent Eric and the boys off to get fish and chips. Eric finally detected my state as we were picnicking on the floor. Eric said, “are you okay?” I said “no, let’s get the kids into bed A.S.A.P and get the P-O-O-L up “. The boys suspected nothing and went to bed happily after a few stories.

Eric’s next job was to fill the birth pool while we both timed the contractions. I was a bit thrown by the fact that I was getting my labour pains in the front of my thighs and having pressure on my lower bowel. So, when I rang Raewyn (our midwife for the weekend) for the second time my contractions were only two minutes apart. Maree (student midwife) and Raewyn raced around immediately.

Raewyn hadn’t been in the door for more than a couple of minutes when my waters broke. From then on things went very quickly. Raewyn forgot the paperwork and checked the baby’s heartbeat which was strong. I barely made it into the pool before I was pushing. And I could not believe it, but I had just started pushing and the baby’s head was already crowning. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the cord was wrapped twice around its neck. But it was only another push and our baby were born. Several weeks before your birth a friend had prayed for a safe delivery and that the umbilical cord would not be a problem. Already God had his hand upon you little Tesca.

As Raewyn lifted our baby out of the pool, I was amazed to discover that we had a wee girl. Tesca was born at 9.21 p.m. Initially she was a bit stunned from the delivery but recovered quickly and tested her lungs! Already she showed strength in holding her head up. A few minutes later we woke up big brothers, Alex and Hamish, so they could meet their wee sister and see Dad cut the cord “with a really big pair of scissors” (as Alex said!). After I delivered the placenta, I gave Tesca her first feed and she latched on straight away for a big drink. In the glow of the fire and with the midwives composing medical poetry at our kitchen table. We rang our family to tell them the good news and your Auntie Robyn came over from next door to meet wee Tesca.

Then we all had a hot drink and biscuits. By midnight we were all tucked up in bed our new family of five. And Tesca you slept on your father’s chest like a wee possum (or not so wee at 8lb 13oz!). The next morning, I woke with a smile on my face thinking ‘I have a daughter.’ Thank you to my absolutely fantastic support team of Eric, Raewyn, Maree, Auntie Robyn, our family and of course Pamela, my midwife but for a weekend when it all happened (sorry about the surprise, Pam, it just shows what a walk up Forest Hill can do!)