Today I have something special to share.
When I was putting together the Not Just a FIFO series I contacted my beautiful blogging friend Reannon from She Who Rambles as her family had been rolling with the FIFO lifestyle for quite a few years. She was done with the routine of it all and thankfully are having a little break but she was super keen to share a story.
Boy, what a story!
When I was nearing my due date with Leni this was what I worried about the most…
What happens if my baby decides it’s go time and the Mr is away?
As FIFO partners we get used to doing a whole heap of things on our own. One thing I don’t think any FIFO partner wants to do is go into labour while their baby daddy is away on site working, but that’s exactly what happened to me. Let me tell you all about it and how I coped.
Our fourth baby was due in May 2014, 13 months and 1 day after our third. At the time my husband was working a 4:1 (4 weeks on, 1 week off) roster, roughly about 3 hours away via plane and car. Being our fourth baby, and second one while doing this roster, we kinda knew how things would roll. I hadn’t gone over due with any of them so far and considering that each labour was getting faster and faster I knew we didn’t have a lot of wriggle room to get his fly home dates wrong but everything was indicating our baby was quite happy inside and showed no signs of arriving early. Excellent!
He arranged to fly in a week before the due date and my mother-in-law (MIL) would fly in about 10 days before that. Once April hit I started thinking I should maybe have a plan B just in case. I checked my sister’s FIIFO dates, checked my best friends work schedule and put them on standby. I then asked other friends to be on standby in case I needed a plan C but not for one minute did I actually think I would need to implement either of those plans. Baby 1 had been 4 days early, baby 2 induced 9 days early and baby 3 was on his due date. The little lady in my belly surely understood she needed to stay put until her dad was safely back home? Wrong. So wrong.
In hindsight I should have known what was coming. As April was coming to a close I was exhausted! I put it down to the fact that I had only had a (roughly) four-month break in between pregnancies, my 1-year-old was still not sleeping through the night (lord help me!!!) and parenting a 14-year-old, 11-year-old and 1-year-old while growing another baby while your husband is away 4 weeks out of five is just really, really tiring. I should have known it was my body’s way of telling me to get ready to have a baby.
May dawned fresh and bright and I was having my girlfriends over for a last hurrah before the baby was due and my MIL arrived. The day before our morning tea I started cleaning. I scrubbed skirting boards and windows. I wiped down cupboards inside and out. I mopped and vacuumed floors. I should have known something was afoot.
The next day I had a delightful time with my girlfriends. We ate. We laughed. They tried so hard to take my super clingy, and extremely out of character, 1-year-old off my lap to give me a few minutes break but he was having none of that. I should have know what was coming but I went to bed that night completely unaware of what I was about to wake up to.
At 6.30am I heard my boy call out to me so I dragged myself out of bed and started walking down the hall to him. As I walked I thought “Oh shit, I’ve wet myself” but as I took another step and it kept coming I knew it was not pee running down my legs. My water had broken and I was about to have a baby 18 days early. I calmly called my husband and told him he needed to get on a flight NOW! He was surprised but calm, laughed and told me to cross my legs, not to worry and he’d call me back in a minute. I quickly called my best friend and told her she was about to get her wish of being with me while this baby arrived. I called my sister and told her to get down to my place as quickly as she could without being booked for speeding (thank god she had flown in the night before!) and then called my mum and MIL, not that they could do anything, they live on the other side of the country! Then I called the hospital. I told them what was happening, that I was fine and I’d stay home until things got going. No problems.
I kinda panicked then. This was not the plan! I had not packed my hospital bag, the bassinet was not set up, I still hadn’t bought all the last-minute things I needed and most importantly MY HUSBAND WAS NOT HOME!! My best friend Amy arrived, my sister arrived and we just started getting things done. I made breakfast for my kids and packed school lunches. I showered and packed a hospital bag. I spoke to my husband who told me he was on his way to airport and to cross my legs (funny mate). I reassured my sister numerous times that no, I didn’t need to go to the hospital right away and yes I was uncomfortable but I was OK. When it was time to drop the bigger boys at school I felt like maybe I should go to the hospital now to just get checked out but said I’d be straight back home because I wasn’t going to sit around up there waiting. I called the husband again because things were going just a little faster than I expected. It was then he told me what he’d already told Amy and my sister – they couldn’t get him on a flight until 1pm and he wouldn’t get to the hospital until around 4pm. I burst into tears because it was in that moment I knew there was no way in hell I’d still be in labour by then. He tried to comfort me but it was no use. I cried all the way to the hospital but got myself together because I had a baby to push out whether he was going to be there or not.
I got into the hospital at about 8.50am and at 10.10am I gave my third and final push, while my best friend Amy held the phone with my husband on speaker so he could hear our daughter take her first breath while sitting in an airport. He arrived at 4pm, eager to meet his daughter and tell me how proud he was of me. Also how shocked he was at how fast she arrived. Me too mate, me too.
My advice to you if you are pregnant and a FIFO partner? Just have a few plans in place because you just never know which one you’ll need. Make peace with the fact that despite all your best laid plans to have your husband by your side it may not go that way and that is OK! Make peace with the fact that babies have their own agenda and you merely go along for the ride. And people have asked me if the fact my husband wasn’t there for the birth if it’s affected their relationship? Not at all. I know he feels disappointed to have missed our fourth, and final, baby’s arrival, but you’d never know any different. He and our little lady have a beautiful bond. It means we have a bit of a crazy story to tell and that Amy and I have something really special to add to our 23 year friendship. We got the healthy beautiful baby in the end & that’s all that matters right?