Simone Hasselbach, Vincent Pallotti Hospital

Simone Hasselbach
Baby Ella-Marie born on December 10, 2014 weighing 3.86 kg
Place of Birth: Vincent Pallotti Hospital

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Simone and Christian and their sweet baby daughter, Ella-Marie.

My husband and I had quite a few “chats” before actually deciding to have a child and the decision was most certainly not taken lightly. That being said, we were very excited at the prospect of bringing a human being into this world and into our lives.

Isn’t it great that God has blessed/empowered women with the ability to grow tiny miracles within us? I think it is absolutely amazing!!!

We were quite lucky in that we succeeded in conceiving after just one try. Lol. My husband was of course very upset as he was looking forward to the advice from others that was to “hump like rabbits.”

I was over-eager and used so many ovulation kits and pregnancy tests which were either too early, too late, negative, etc. that I eventually just stopped checking. Three weeks later I got the flu and felt a bit weird in comparison to how I normally felt when I got sick,  so I took a pregnancy test.

The positive lines were quite faint, so I called hubby to the bathroom, showed him and he just said “so….?”. Off to the doc we went, used test (wrapped in a tissue) in hand. “You have the flu,” said the doctor, “and you’re about 4 weeks pregnant.”

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One-year-old Ella-Marie 🙂

It was a candid camera moment as we just sat there awestruck. Couldn’t believe it had happened so quickly and was just thinking “What now?”…

I cannot tell you just how much I used Google when I was pregnant. If there was an award for “most frequent user of Google” – it would definitely be me :-/

The first thing on the list was finding an ob/gyn. It was a hard task. We weren’t sure about which birthing route to go and wanted someone who wasn’t biased and only for a natural birth or only for C-sections. After more extensive Googling, we were lucky to find Dr. Jacky Searle at Vincent Pallotti. At our first appointment we got to meet “Poppy”. At only 10 weeks old, she was 6.5cm and we could actually see her head, tummy and feet quite clearly. The feeling is second to none – that’s all I can say!

Next was antenatal classes that were preferably held on the weekends, as both hubby and I had demanding jobs and worked late hours during the week. After chatting to Dr. Searle at our first appointment, we were thrilled to hear that someone offered classes close to home and on a Saturday!

So we enrolled for classes and started going from September 2014. Again, proud as punch we were for finding Emma Nomanoglu. She is absolutely wonderful! It was here that we learned all about the different ways of giving birth, the pros and cons to each method and also the fears that couples generally have in association with birthing. We were 9 couples attending the September class and we still keep in touch to this day.

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Simone enjoying skin-to-skin with Ella-Marie.

We also heard about doulas for the first time and of course when you hear the word – your first thought is “What the heck is a doula? And why do I need one?” We met a doula called Sarah who came to one of the antenatal classes and explained what her role as a doula was and what her service included and we decided then and there that we needed one. We contacted Sarah in the hopes that she would be available around the time I was due but alas she was going overseas for the entire month of December. *sigh* I was actually tired of Googling at this point but as the saying goes “everything happens for a reason” and indeed it did.

I chatted to Sarah and she sent me some recommendations for other doulas and maybe it’s just me but I look at people’s profile pics and I kind of think whether or not I like the look of them (if that makes sense at all? ;-)) and Charlene’s pic stood out immediately for me. I popped her an email and a phone call or two later we decided to meet for coffee.

When we met Charlene, she struck both of us as a sweet and gentle soul that we instantly knew was the perfect match for us. Being first time parents, everything seemed dark and scary, but she kept reassuring us the entire time. We had fears, preferences, dreams, expectations, hopes and everything else that comes along with being pregnant and preparing ourselves for having a child. Charlene was nothing short of amazing and immediately picked up on my fear of having a natural birth. She recommended coming to her hypnobirthing classes and without blinking an eyelid, we signed up and started attending a few weeks later. I learned the best techniques (in my not so professional opinion) to calm my inner self and to prepare my mind and my body for our child’s arrival. We learned all about birthing options as well but more about how our bodies could cope perfectly well without any drugs to birth our babies and doing the exercises at home and just attending the classes reassured me even more that I was ready for a natural birth.

I planned to use the bath at the hospital, made my mini posters with my reassuring words, did practice runs with hubby for my contractions and just mentally and physically prepared myself for what was coming – my baby! I was so hyped up. Packed my hospital bag, got her room ready, had Charlene on standby and was starting to get impatient. At 40.5 weeks, I couldn’t feel the baby move. I panicked. All day long I tried to urge her to move. Ate hot stuff, then cold stuff, then hot tea, then coke, and, and, and… at about 7pm that night I told hubby to get the car ready – we needed to go to the hospital. My nerves were shot. Got there and they immediately put me on the monitor. Five minutes later she started moving. Shoo! What a relief. I couldn’t handle the suspense, honestly!

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Ella-Marie fast asleep on her dad, Christian.

The next day we went to Dr. Searle for our last checkup and internal exam. The news – not what we were expecting to hear. The cervix was still closed, baby was a week late, star gazing and in posterior position. This child did not want to budge! We were given two options – hormones that could take up to 36 hours to kick in or a C-section. We were stumped. How had all our plans just made a 180 degree turn?! From natural, hypnobirthing option to hormones to induce birth or a C-section? I was in shock and didn’t know how to digest the information. We had a few hours to make a decision…

I immediately texted Charlene who called me straight after and chatted to me about how things change and that we shouldn’t feel that we failed. Again, things happen for a reason but I felt I wasn’t prepared to make a decision so quickly. If it wasn’t for Charlene’s advice, I don’t think I could have made an informed decision in such a short amount of time. It was as if she lent me her strength in that moment and I was at peace with what we decided and knew she would support us either way.

I decided to do the C-section as I was tired and uncomfortable and I didn’t want to put my baby in any distress with the hormone treatment and the toll it would probably have taken on my body. So in two days I would be “giving birth”. A caesarean birth <3.

D-Day – Charlene met us at the hospital and made the build-up before going into theatre a relaxing and calm time. She chatted to us and gave me a full body massage while we waited. I was so freaked out when they came to collect me that I was sure my heart was going to pop out of my chest and bounce down the passage. Like literally… In the theatre Dr. Searle was waiting for us with her assistant and the injection dude, the anaethetist. I always thought his proper title is just way too long to say every time so he will just be injection dude!

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Ella-Marie, a few minutes old in her dad’s arms.

And to spare you the truckload of details about the wonderful experience of birth – the point of the story is that Charlene was there for us even though our plan had changed completely, even when we had to make a very important decision – she indirectly helped us make the right one, even though doulas generally aren’t for C-sections (as we read) – she was there to support us every step of the way, even though people thought we were crazy for having a “doo-what?” – she proved her importance and necessity with every phone call, whatsapp chat, email, visit, etc. and even with a very nervous husband in the theatre – Charlene was there to take the most amazing pics so that he could hold my hand and when he had to go with our baby to get weighed and measured – she took over for him and reassured me and congratulated me. Even after the surgery and hospital stay, Charlene offered us support. She still keeps in contact with me to this day and she will always hold a very special in our hearts, in our home and in our baby’s life.

So, if you’re thinking about whether or not a doula is for you – chat to people about their experiences. We found that in the end – you might be able to Google something or someone but it’s only after speaking with others about their experiences that you can make the decision and pick the perfect person for you. In this case, Charlene was our perfect person. Thanks again Charlene, we cannot express our gratitude enough for what you did for us!

Ella-Marie Hasselbach was born on 10 December 2014, at 14:37pm, weighing in at 3.86kgs and 53cm in length. She is the absolute joy in our lives and we couldn’t imagine life without her…

Ella-Marie, born via caesarean birth <3

 

Simone's workmates celebrate the news of the birth of Ella-Marie at the same time that she was born!
Simone’s workmates celebrate the news of the birth of Ella-Marie at the same time that she was born!

 

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