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"My husband was so emotional. He cried for 40 minutes before he was able to call his parents"

Sarah’s pregnancy was categorised high-risk from sixteen weeks onwards. Her symptoms included oedema, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Sarah was the fourth person in Australia to trial the Atard Ripening Device designed to promote dilation of the cervix.


Sarah and Jasmine

 It was a difficult pregnancy with terrible morning sickness beginning at 5 1/2 weeks until 12 weeks then off and on until 22 weeks.
I was vomiting daily and nausea was constant. All I could stomach was vegemite on toast. At 16 weeks I began bleeding and my pregnancy was categorised high risk. By 18 weeks my blood pressure was 150/90. I was given medication immediately. Further tests detected protein in my urine, my first signs of pre-eclampsia. I had scans at 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 20 weeks and 24 weeks. It was scary. My symptoms got progressively worse and by 24 weeks I was recommended to stop work. I had fluid retention in my hands, legs and face. My blood pressure further increased and I was having scans fortnightly rather than monthly.

Gestational Diabetes

At 28 weeks, my doctor diagnosed gestational diabetes and a diabetes specialist placed me on a strict diet where I had to eat four or five meals a day with no high-sugar foods. I had to do a blood test four times a day to monitor my blood sugar levels. This was really hard for me because I have a real sweet tooth. My father has high blood pressure and my sister is an insulin-dependent diabetic.
At 33 weeks my blood pressure was still high and there was a risk of my baby being born with low birth weight. There was also a risk that the placenta was slowing down and not supplying the baby adequately. I had bad flushes, no energy and was completely stressed out. I could no longer wear normal shoes and was unable to wear my wedding band.

At my 36-week check up my blood sugar level was out of control and my blood pressure had reached 170/100. It was as though all the problems that could go wrong did go wrong. My doctor prescribed insulin injections and blood pressure tablets four times a day. He did an internal and when he found my baby was in the right position for birth, he asked me if I was happy to have the baby as soon as possible.

When I went to the hospital to be induced my feet were so swollen that I couldn’t even get my husband’s shoes on. I went to the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton where they take high-risk patients. My care was excellent. My doctor, midwives and specialists were so thorough and caring.

Atard Ripening Device

I was to be the fourth person in Australia to use a balloon induction device called the Atard Ripening Device. Designed in Israel by Dr Atard, the device is still on trial in this country. It comprises two parts that are almost like condoms or small balloons. One part is fitted into the cervix and the other part remains outside. Both are inflated with water. The device is designed to soften and dilate the cervix.
It was fairly uncomfortable having it fitted but not painful.
Meanwhile my baby’s heart was being monitored by Doppler scan.

I had some contractions overnight that I thought were horrendous and when I was told they were minor I decided there and then that I would have an epidural. By the next morning I was 4cm dilated. At 9am they broke my waters and put me on a drip of oxytocin. By 11am the contractions were fairly close together and very intense. By 1pm I was screaming for an epidural. From then on it was fine, I didn’t feel a thing.

By 6pm I was fully dilated and started pushing. They could see her head, and because of the effects of the epidural I had to be told when to push. My doctor came back in and I heard them say I needed help to get her out. They gave me an episiotomy and used forceps.


At 7.35pm Jasmine was born. She was 3.2kg (7.4lb) and 50 cm in length. For 36 weeks she was a good size. My husband Richard cut the cord. I fed her within 30 minutes of her being born because her blood sugar levels were quite low. The hospital fed her formula as well to boost these.

Two paediatricians checked her within the first three minutes and there were no problems. I was so, so relieved, exhausted and hungry! My husband was so emotional. He cried for 40 minutes before he was able to call his parents.

Jasmine had a small bruise on one eye that faded within a couple of days. Within a month I was off medication. Initially the fluid retention got worse which I am told is common but within two weeks most of it had gone. I had so many stitches and they were uncomfortable but it was nothing compared to what I went through during pregnancy. My doctors have advised me not to get pregnant within the next two years given all the problems.

Jasmine has been a real personality since she was born. She knows what she wants. As soon as she could crawl, she’d roll across the floor to get it. I love her to bits. And you know what, I swear I would go through it all again if I knew I would end up with another gorgeous baby like Jasmine.

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