Natural Birth experience in Australia

February 8, 2020

In Australia, having natural/ vaginal birth is so normal… Where I come from, in Brazil, most of us do opt for the schedule cesarian – which is fair enough, we all have places to go, places to be, doctors have appointments – it’s just convenient. 

I can’t really recall if I was even given the choice here in Australia. It was more of: “you are having a natural birth. That’s what we do”  I though “great” bring it on ! I was so excited !! All my friends here in Australia had natural births, and midwives have been doing this forever… Let’s do this !! 

Being a permanent resident in Australia, most of the costs were either free of charge, or medicare would reimburse me 50 to 70%.  However, I’ll tell you know young lady, pregnancy is costly ! Specially if you are here within a visa condition, you would need to pay full price  The prices below are based on 2018 which was the year I got pregnant and had my baby.  The main 5 things to budget for, here in New South Wales, Australia:

  1. Scan – most likely, your doctor will ask for 3 scans, each for one trimester. The full cost of this is +/- $200 each;
  2. Blood test – again, once per trimester. The full cost of this is +/- $100 each;
  3. GP appointment – your doctor will want to see you once per month throughout your 9 months pregnancy. The full cost of this is +/- $70 per visit;
  4. Midwife appointment – once per trimester. Should you not have medicare and be required to pay this, expect the full cost to be +/- $400 per visit;
  5. Labor in hospital – the day we all been waiting for (yeay! exciting !!) – Should you not have medicare and be required to pay this, expect the full cost to be around +/- $8,000; AND again with no medicare, if you want pain relief – let’s say epidural – expect to pay an extra +/- $500

Another thing I learned while being pregnant here in Australia, is that the country doesn’t oblige your employer to pay you maternity leave. This depends of your work contract. HOWEVER, the Australian government is the one required to pay you an amount related to maternity leave (with one condition for foreigners: you must be an Australian resident for 2+ year). 

All that being said, fast-forwarding the whole 9 months pregnancy (which was a true blessing, I loved every bit of it) let’s go to when I first started feeling my first real contractions at 37 weeks + 5 days ! They say that real labor contractions feel like a pain or pressure that starts in the back and moves to the front of your lower abdomen…Oh gosh… and it all started, of course at 3am !  From 3am to 7am, I was very patience: I had a shower, I spoke with my baby, I tried calming myself down, I bounced on my exercise ball, I had hot tea… then I thought it would be a good idea to wake up my husband. THEN, the real excitement began ! My mum, who travelled all the way from Brazil, was actually staying with us and she ended up waking naturally to see me sweating on my bouncing ball – she nearly fell over and had a heart attack herself !! 

We had breakfast…. We had lunch… oh my goodness, time could not go any slower. And the pain, just getting more and more accurate by the time ! At 2pm, while my partner was on the phone with the midwife timing my contractions, we were finally given the OK to go to the hospital. That trip to the hospital was soooo long, mind you it was only a 20km distance – but still, the contractions were HUGE !! 

My dad flew from Dubai, landed in Brisbane and went straight to the Tweed Hospital to meet us. My water broke as soon as I arrive at the hospital, which was great. First thing first, I looked at my midwife and was like: EPIDURAL FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE !  Being a public hospital, and being as natural as they could be, the midwifes did try to convince me otherwise. But I was sure about it, and couldn’t be more ready for that epidural, thank you very much !!

Karma or not, as soon as I got the epidural I stopped dilating… they did advise me that epidural could potentially prolong the labor process… It was now 6pm, my dad was jet lagged, Matthieu my husband was starving and mum was praying all the prayers in the bible. The midwife said it wasn’t gonna happen any time soon, so…obviously… and with no doubt… Matthieu looked at my dad and said: around the corner, there’s this amazing pizza place. Let’s check it out. And my dad was so quick to reply: hope they sell beers too. And off they went.  It was great to have a moment with my mum. We spoke about our anticipations of meeting the little one, how she was in disbelief that I was doing this all naturally… She then decided I needed some make up, to welcome our baby son in style. So I let her do my make up… it was cute! 

At 9pm, I was fully dilated and it was time to start pushing ! I didn’t had anything to eat most of the afternoon so I though a cereal bar would give me just the energy I needed it – except I threw up my very first bite… nothing to eat for me then.  By 11pm I was exhausted, and simply did not had the energy to push any longer. By that time, our son had pooped inside me and they said some complications could arise… So in came the doctor with the vacuum extractor, which she used to help guiding our baby out of the birth canal. She did say that it uses a soft cup that attached to our baby’s head with suction and that the baby wouldn’t feel a thing. 

FINALLY, at 11.47pm on the 17th April 2018 Luca Rodrigo Sadaillan was born. It was such an amazing experience to have had shared with my mum and dad, and my husband of course – I actually was concerned that the delivery room was gonna be way too crowed, but in fact, I wouldn’t do it any other way. It was perfect !  On that day, I got to bed at 3am, so I could say I enjoyed the entire 24 hours of my day – What a mission, to say the least! A lovely mission. One to never forget.