Birth: there's nothing quite like it, and it's clear no two birth stories are the same. Which is why we're asking everyday women and some of our favourite celebrity mums to share theirs, in Mamamia's My Birth Story series.
This week we profile police officer Karleigh Finlayson-Browne, mum to four-year-old Cooper and nine-month-old Kiarah.
Karleigh’s first pregnancy was extremely challenging from the very start.
“At six weeks I began to feel unwell and was vomiting up to 10 times each day,” Karleigh said.
Watch: Things pregnant people never say. Post continues below.
“I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) and was initially given a low dose of anti-nausea medication but it had no effect. I was prescribed a drug usually reserved for cancer patients, but I could barely keep anything down.”
Karleigh was put on light desk duties so she could keep working. A few weeks before baby Cooper was due, she went into hospital for a check-up.
“I was dehydrated as it was a really hot summer and while hooked up to an IV drip, I asked if I could have a scan to see how big he was.
“I knew we had a history of big babies in the family and they not only discovered that he was a good size thanks to the scan, but that I had already lost half of my amniotic fluid!
“I stayed overnight for monitoring with my husband Darren and then I was induced the next morning at 11am.”
As the labour progressed, Karleigh requested pain relief and was given a shot of morphine but told it was too late for an epidural.
“At around 7pm I began pushing and Cooper was finally born at 9.48pm that night. I was exhausted but exhilarated as Darren cut the cord and placed him on my chest.
“Cooper had a haematoma on his head from being stuck against my pelvis and I had third degree tearing and required stitching.”
Only a few minutes later, Karleigh told her midwife she felt strangely like she was peeing.