baby

Needles, stitches and avoiding her worst nightmare: Fiona Falkiner's incredible birth story.

Model and former Biggest Loser host Fiona Falkiner had only been with partner Hayley Willis, a sports journalist, for four months when they put their names down on a sperm donor list. It would take them a further two years and countless rounds of IVF to finally conceive their adorable little boy, Hunter William Falkiner - born on 22 March 2021.

Fiona and Hayley didn’t have a definitive birth plan, but Fiona knew for certain that she did want to be induced and she definitely did NOT want anyone using forceps.

"I spent too much time online reading and listening to other women’s stories and the aftermath of a forceps delivery filled me with fear," Fiona explains on Mamamia's podcast, The Delivery Room. 

Listen to Fiona Falkiner's interview on The Delivery Room. Post continues below. 

"I also had a lot of anxiety about giving birth in our car! We live over an hour’s drive from The San hospital in Wahroonga and my mum and sister, who have five kids between them, both had deliveries that took less than four hours. 

"My obstetrician said she could lock in a time for me to be induced at 39 weeks and I could come in the night before. This really put my mind at ease."

Something else that Fiona knew before even starting the induction was that her pain threshold was low and she wanted an epidural.

"My sisters had no pain relief and they told me I could do it too. But I felt these three contractions and it was as if someone had a hook in my cervix - it was really painful. I knew what I wanted and I just don’t know how women labour for hours."

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By 8am Fiona was in theatre ready for her epidural; a tough process for both Fiona and partner Hayley who had to watch on. 

"The local anaesthetic didn’t work very well and it was really painful. I was sobbing into the gas mask blowing bubbles out my nose while trying to stay still and just breathe. It was a hectic experience but once it kicked in, it was amazing."

For the next few hours Fiona felt completely numb and pain free. She was dozy and tired but just quietly laboured while Hayley sat beside her. 

"Apparently I was saying all sorts of gibberish and I kept slipping down the bed because I couldn’t feel my legs. At one stage, Hayley knocked my feet and I started falling out of the bed! I am not a small person and I was a dead weight. We had to call four nurses to help move me back into the correct position."

At around lunchtime, Fiona began to feel a deep pressure with each contraction. 

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"It was exciting as I knew I was soon going to meet our baby and so for the last couple of hours I was breathing into each contraction."

At 3pm Fiona was ready to push. The midwives told her it could take up to two hours but within 20 minutes, baby Hunter was out.

"I remember being surrounded by women with my legs up and being told to push with everything I had. At one point the midwife told me the umbilical cord was wrapped around his little wrist and that they might need to use a suction cup to get him out.

"They fetched a mirror to show me his position and his head and at first I didn’t want to look but I did. It is the weirdest thing to see a head coming out of you."

Once Hunter’s head was fully out, there was a short pause before the midwife took Fiona’s hands to help guide the rest of him out after the final few pushes. 

"On the last little push, he just came out and I helped place him straight onto my chest. Initially I wanted someone to check that he was okay, but then he looked at me with his big blue eyes and that was it, I was in love forever."

Fiona needed to have three small stitches but she remembers feeling surprisingly good after Hunter’s ‘chilled-out’ birth.

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"The three stitches were near my pee-hole and so it really burned when I went for a wee. I drank Ural to help and compared with many friends who had way more stitches than me, I think I was super lucky. 

"When the feeling in my legs came back and I had no pain, initially I felt like I wanted to dance. After a couple more hours it all caught up with me. I might not have had the pain but my body still laboured and it was like I had run a marathon."

Something Fiona was not expecting once baby Hunter was out, was how she initially felt about her post-partum body.

"I loved my beautiful bump and I felt great while pregnant. I was glowing. Once he was out, however, I felt such internal judgement – there was no baby in there and I was like, ‘what’s with the squishy tummy?’ I have had to work hard through all that."

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Fiona is instead focused on feeding Hunter and sleeping, as well as some gentle walks in the sunshine with her gorgeous ‘little koala’.

"My obstetrician told me that I am not allowed to do much exercise until he is 12 weeks old anyway, so I need to give myself a break. I will prioritise my health later but right now, my priority is Hunter – I am literally just a milk bar for my kid and I am okay with that."

If Fiona could offer one piece of advice to other mums, it would be to enjoy as much of the pregnancy as possible.

"Pregnancy was a real wide ride and I think because of the IVF, I couldn’t really allow myself to feel it was real until I was holding Hunter in my arms. Looking back now, it all went by so quickly and I wish I had spent more time connecting. Hayley used to sing to my bump each night and now he is really soothed by her voice, which is beautiful."

For more on Fiona’s birth, story check out Mamamia’s The Delivery Room podcast episode featuring Fiona  here

If you have an amazing birth story to share, let us know by emailing some details to: [email protected] and including 'My Birth Story' in the subject line.

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