On December 7, 2017 athlete Turia Pitt and her fiance Michael Hoskin welcomed a son, Hakavai Hoskin.
The 30-year-old ironwoman – the same woman who lived after suffering burns to 65 per cent of her body while competing in an ultramarathon in Western Australia in 2011 – is wrapped up in the joy of motherhood and doesn’t want to forget the feeling.
“I’ve been trying to write about this time in our lives as often as I can,” she wrote to her email subscribers yesterday. “I don’t want to forget any of these moments.”
With this pledge, for the first time yesterday, Pitt shared the story of birthing little Hakavai.
He didn’t want to come out.
At 40 weeks, Pitts says she started exercising – swimming and bushwalking – as well as going four-wheel driving “on a very bumpy road” to try and coax Hakavai out into the world.
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“At 40 weeks and two days, I saw my chiropractor and got my pelvis aligned,” she wrote. “I swam a kilometre. I went to an acupuncturist. I made an eggplant parmigiana (I used a recipe touted all over the internet as the best labour inducing food out there).”
Finally, as Pitt was sitting on the couch in her living room with her mother and Michael, she farted.
“Very glamorous,” she wrote. But, with their laughter, her waters broke.
“I decided to be calm,” she wrote. “I got in the shower, while Michael called the hospital. We were told to start making our way up there (the hospital is two hours away).”
At the hospital, she and Michael were left to work through the contractions as they grew increasingly intense.
There were times throughout the night when Pitt called the midwife begging to push.
She wasn’t ready, however, and had to continue breathing through the contractions. “They don’t call it labour for nothing,” she wrote.
When the doctor arrived at 7am the following morning, Pitt still wasn’t dilated enough to give birth. She’d been in labour for nine hours.
She had three options: Keep labouring, in which case she wasn’t expected to give birth until the next morning; opt for a caesarean; or have an epidural, sleep for a few hours, and wake to give birth once sufficient dilation had occurred.
“I opted for the epidural (which was bloody amazing! I didn’t even feel it go in!) and it took around 30 minutes to work,” she wrote. “I started to feel pretty sleepy and managed to fall asleep for three hours. My obstetrician woke me up, and said: ‘You’re 10cms dilated girlie, it’s time for you to start doing some work’.”
So work she did.
“I could still feel each contraction which helped. My legs were in stirrups and each time I had a contraction, I would push against my obstetrician (right leg) and the midwife (left leg). They placed a mirror ‘there’ (hectic, I know) so I could see Hakavai’s head. I could see his masses of black hair.”
After 40 minutes, the doctor said he had to cut her. “Thank goodness for the epidural, but still no Hakavai,” she wrote.
Then, they had to use a vacuum. Not once, but twice.
“The second time, Hakavai slid right out and the sound of his cry filled the room,” she wrote. “He was covered in blood, vernex and other unidentified bodily substances. His head was misshapen from the vacuum. But… My son! He was perfect to me.”
“They placed him on my chest and I started breastfeeding half an hour later.”
Pitt has dreamt of motherhood her whole life.
She and Hoskin, who are high school sweethearts, always planned on having children and losing this possibility was her greatest fear when she woke from her coma after the 2011 fire.
“One of the first questions I asked was if I would still be able to have children,” Turia told The Australian Women’s Weekly in September last year.
“I always get asked if I can have children. People assume that I cannot because I have been burned but the doctors never said, ‘You’re going to struggle’, never said I had to adjust my expectations. On the inside, everything is fine.”
Welcome to the world, little Hakavai and congratulations Turia and Michael.