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My husband and I live in Mount Isa, in far North West Queensland. While Mount Isa services a large health district and has a reasonably large hospital, we decided that I would have my first child in Brisbane, at Redcliffe Hospital, where my mother worked.

Prior to leaving Mount Isa for Brisbane, I worked full-time until the day I left, as the Ward Clark in the Emergency Department. This meant lots of running around, but also easy access to the maternity ward.

On my last shift, I felt decidedly uncomfortable so went for a stroll to maternity ward, where a few hours later I was told to take it very easy before I left Brisbane or my baby would be born in Mount Isa. To complicate things even more, I was due only a few weeks after Ansett collapsed and was booked on a Virgin Blue flight which left Mount Isa at 2am!!!

I’ve flown Mount Isa to Brisbane too many time to count – this was the worst trip of all. On arriving in Brisbane very early on Saturday 30th September 2001, I had a few days to rest before my antenatal appointment and two weeks until my due date. On Wednesday 3rd October, I went for my antenatal appointment at Redcliffe Hospital, only to find that my blood pressure was unusually high (I had throughout my pregnancy had consistently low blood pressure) and that I had protein in my urine. As a result I was admitted that afternoon.

That night the attending doctor suggested that I ring my husband Owen, still in Mount Isa, and organise for him to fly down, as I would have a baby by the weekend. On Friday afternoon, only hours after Owen arrived, I was induced for the first time. My mother and Owen took turns to walk me around the hospital grounds. That night I was experiencing quite real contractions, but was yet to dilate. I was given a pethidine shot and a bed in the birthing suit. Owen and Mummy went home.

At 9am the next day I was induced again. Again I walked and walked. At around 3pm (time was fuzzy) I was slightly dilated, with high blood pressure and getting very tired, so the doctors broke my waters. At 8pm, after having a vomiting reaction to the gas, I was given an epidural.

At 10pm I could no longer resist the urge to do a poo. At 11pm I was FINALLY checked by one of the midwives (the ward had a few emergencies happening at the same time). I was 10cm dilated a told to start pushing. At this Owen sat down in the chair and went to sleep!!!! Apparently I yelled at him to wake up.

An hour and half later the doctor told me she was worried about me and my baby. Half an hour later after much pushing and a vacuum extraction, Sullivan John Blacklock was born. He was taken to the resus trolley where it took a few anxious moments before he began to breath.

Thankfully he was perfect and completely ok. His mother was not. Sullivan John was born at 1.27am, at 4.30am my doctor stopped stitching and said that she would be back at 7am, as she wasn’t able to stop all of the bleeding. At 7am she returned and stitched for another hour.
Sullivan John is now a happy, lively, well mannered 2 year old.

On July 21st 2003, he became a big brother to his baby sister Imogen Violet. I chose an elective caesarean for Imogen’s birth, at home in Mount Isa. At week 34 I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and on the day of Imogen’s birth (only a day after finishing work) I had high blood pressure and protein in my urine. Unfortunately the spinal didn’t take and I had to have a general anaesthetic. Imogen was delivered safe and sound, swaddled and taken to her very nervous Daddy and Norny (my mother). In the meantime I bled very badly on the operating table and had to be given two blood transfusions. Luckily I heal well and won’t let anything get in my way (I only had 6 weeks maternity leave and wanted to make the most of it), so I was released from hospital early Friday morning, much to my doctors amazement. Imogen Violet is now 6 months old, is as determined as her mother, and is already crawling and saying Dad Dad Dad. We are currently trying for our third child, with the view to moving to Townsville at the end of the year.

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