Traumatic toilet birth

Mum Lauren and her son Otis. 386841_03

By Casey Neill

Lauren Green’s son made an unconventional entrance to the world – into a toilet.

Pascoe Vale South mum can see the funny side seven years on, but the sudden birth left deep scars she’s still coming to terms with.

The nurse had always wanted to be a mum.

“I’ve always been quite maternal and very girly, kind of fitting into the stereotypes,” she said.

“I was in a relationship before my current partner with someone who didn’t want kids.

“That was a deal breaker.

“It became very clear to me then that I wanted to be a mum.

“Then I met (fiance) Nick.

“I said to him on our first date ‘do you want kids?’ and he said ‘maybe one day with the right person’.

“That was close enough.

“I’m an advocate now for having that conversation early on.

“If it scares them off they’re not the right person anyway.

“Do you want to have kids with someone who doesn’t want to have kids?”

Completing a half marathon flicked a switch in Lauren and spurred her to try for a baby.

“I felt quite strong, it felt at the right point in my life and my career,” she said.

“I just did a really hard thing, I’m ready to have a baby.”

Nick was hesitant.

“I’d had a few friends having a hard time getting pregnant. I told him it might take time,” she said.

“Then I think we pretty much got pregnant the first time we tried.

“I’m very grateful for that.

“We all got over the shock and were just over the moon.”

Lauren instinctively knew that she was pregnant early on.

“We’d gone out in the city for something,” she said.

“My boobs were huge and aching. I’d never experienced that before.

“I was like ‘Nick, I’m pregnant’.

“We went into a pharmacy in the middle of the city and got a pregnancy test.

“It lit up like a Christmas tree.

“I must have only been four weeks.”

Fatigue and nausea struck hard soon after.

“The second trimester was lovely. I went for lots of walks and had a spring in my step,” she said.

“The third trimester was good as well.

“I tried to work to 36 weeks but as a nurse, that’s hard.

“It was really hot. It must have been February or March.

“My boss came up to me and said ‘you can go on sick leave for the next few weeks if you want to, you don’t have to push yourself through this’.

“I don’t think I would have done that myself if someone hadn’t told me.

“That must have been at 34 weeks, which I think is when they recommend nurses stop.

“I was still safe to look after my patients, it was more about me being exhausted.”

Lauren had “a lovely time nesting” – aside from organising a new car after hers was stolen – and took Calmbirth classes with Nick.

“I’m really happy that we did that. I think Nick learnt a lot about how to support me,” she said.

She was 38 weeks and one day and she and Nick decided to have one last date night.

“We went to our local pub, played Uno, and had dinner,” she said.

“It was a really lovely night.

“In retrospect, I’m so glad we did that because it was our last time together as just the two of us.”

She’d had an induction massage earlier that day and instinctively filled her car with petrol.

“I was making sure everything was prepared,” she said.

“My body knew what was happening even if my brain didn’t.”

Lauren went to bed and woke to contractions at 1am.

“While I was sleeping I was obviously dilating and I didn’t know,” she said.

“The female body is just incredible. I’ll never get over being in awe of it.

“I thought ‘I’ll just let it happen for a bit, it could be Braxton-Hicks or it might go away’.

“It got pretty intense pretty quickly so I woke Nick up.”

Nick ran a bath for her but she soon got back out.

“I was restless, it didn’t feel right. It just wasn’t what I wanted,” she said.

“I was walking around the house remembering my Calmbirth sessions, breathing through it and being mindful.

“I felt comfy on the toilet. The position that your body is in when you’re on the toilet is quite natural for that process.”

Lauren had a TENS machine on her back and was timing the contractions using her phone.

They got closer together and more intense so Nick called the hospital.

On learning that Lauren was only three hours in, the midwife told her it’d be a while longer and she should take some Panadol.

“I think they didn’t believe me,” she said.

“I thought ‘they’re two minutes apart and they bloody hurt. What do you mean I can’t come in yet?’.

“It’s all a bit of a blur from there.

“I had a funny contraction that felt very different from the others.”

Lauren felt like her body was pushing.

“It happened again and I felt Otis’s head coming out.

“I said to Nick, ‘I think the baby’s coming out’.

“He was trying to do all the things he’d been told to reassure me.

“On the third weird contraction, he came out into the toilet.

“I felt like I didn’t have enough time in my head to process what was happening.

“Nick came barrelling into the bathroom and got him out.

“He was passing him through my legs.

“Everything’s tangled and it’s chaos.

“It was scary.

“I just put him on my chest and said to Nick, ‘You need to call an ambulance’.

“I just sat there then, in shock.”

The ambulance arrived in less than 10 minutes.

“In retrospect, if he wasn’t breathing that’s not quick enough,” she said.

She started having contractions again once she arrived at the hospital.

“That hurt more than the ones I’d had before Otis was born,” she said.

“I asked for pain relief.

“They said to me ‘You had the baby without anything so you’ll be OK’.

“I was lying on the trolley with Otis on my chest and my placenta still inside me.

“I think the ED was full but they made a space for me on the delivery suites.

“After that I felt very calm and I had a beautiful midwife who helped me through the process of delivering the placenta.

“I think my body was fighting it. I was so stressed.

“Once the placenta was out I finally just got to rest.

“Otis was completely fine.

“He did have a hematoma on his head. They checked that and everything was OK.

“That’s quite common if you have a vacuum birth anyway.”

Lauren lodged a complaint with the hospital following her experience.

“I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what would have happened if he wasn’t breathing,” she said.

“I do spend a bit of time thinking about that – less these days, but more in the year or two after.

“Everyone who goes through birth, it changes you.

“It’s definitely left me with some scars.

“It’s changed the way I think about things.

“We had floated the idea of just having one child before we had Otis anyway, but after that I was like ‘nope, I’m done, I can’t go through that again’.

“I don’t want to go through that again.”

Lauren told Otis about the ordeal “maybe a year or two ago”.

“He knows he was born in the toilet at our house, not in the hospital,” she said.

“When he was a couple of weeks old we went to a wedding.

“Someone there told me their son had been born in the toilet.

“She said her son had got picked on for it at school. That made me a little bit conscious of it.

“I told him he didn’t have to tell anyone that if he didn’t want to, that’s his personal story.

“I would be devastated if he got bullied for it.”