Remembering Foxx

Remembering Foxx

Almost 2 weeks ago I went into labour. The same very day I would feel the most joy, and the worst pain ever imagineable.

I’m writing because right now it feels like the only way I can get out my emotions with control. It feels like I can live the excitement over and over again before the pain has a chance to return.

I want you to know about my pregnancy, my labour story and the days that followed. I don’t have to share any of this but through sharing I’ve learnt how rare our outcome was for our little boys illness was and also how possibly it could have been prevented. Knowing many of you are young, and may start families of your own. If my story can make you question things a little bit more then I know my beautiful little Foxx could be saving others lives.

On Saturday night 25/3/17 at 8:30pm I began to get tightenings in my belly that ached my back and felt like period cramps. Just before I was about to go to sleep I noticed everytime I tried to relax for sleep that they were enough to keep me awake. I began to time the contractions. 8 minutes, 11 minutes, 7 minutes, 7 minutes, 12 minutes. They were irregular but close and I couldn’t sleep. As two hours passed on the same cycle I left the bedroom and went to the lounge room and bounced on my gym ball thinking if this is going to happen then I’m going to help it along. 12am, 2am, 4am. The time passed and I hadn’t slept a bit. I didn’t feel tired. I didn’t feel exhausted.

It hit 7am and my contractions were 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes. They were getting closer but not close enough for me to be convinced this is “really” happening. I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  I had spoken to the hospital about the contractions throughout the night and was told once they reach 2 minutes apart for an hour it was “time”. When ted came out of the bedroom (I was nice and let him sleep) I told him about it all and how if we got contractions 2 minutes apart it’s time!

I was in a fair bit of pain at this point and had a portable tens machine vibrating on my back but with determination I said let’s take the dog for a walk! Now when I think back I laugh because what kind of woman goes walking with their dog and partner when in full blown labour? By this point my contractions were 2 minutes apart as we left the house down the street I would have to stop and freeze through each contraction. I remember being so determined though that not even the pain was going to turn me back home. I walked up and down gutters, in 37 degree Darwin morning heat. My contractions regulating between 1 minutes and 2 minutes. I knew it was time to go back home.

The midwife came over to assess me. She checked me and was amazed I was 4cm! My waters were bulging and told me to keep riding the pain at home as long as I could. She forgot to mention that the stretch and sweep she performed would amp up that pain even more. Still just surviving by using a tens machine and bouncing on the ball while watching the tv show sex and the city I was like seriously ted I think it’s time to go at 11am.

I’m such an idiot though and decided I would have a shower, wash my hair, blow dry my hair and everything before we left haha. I knew the pain was about to get worse! But I felt content trying to remain as normal as possible.

Ted kept timing my contractions, you can definitely feel when one is coming on! Mine were lasting 30-45 seconds so in hindsight I just kept reminding myself that pain is only temporary.

I wrote a “labour sheet” for myself and ted to utilise suggestions so that I could cope through a natural labour. He kept reminding me of moments and things to focus on, to keep breathing and keep in control. It’s so easy to lose it if you give into the pain. You can either focus on the pain, or focus on the outcome and we just kept trying to focus on the outcome.

On the way to the birth centre I had only 3 contractions on the 25 minute car ride (thank god) but then I thought this might be the end of it and not progress?

A week prior to birth I played the song “latch – by uncle jed” and I sat in the car crying because I felt so connected to this song and knew I wanted to birth my baby to this song. So when we played the song on the way to the hospital I had those same memories and it kept me calm.

Once we arrived at 11am I got in the shower, I bounced on the ball, I walked around, I got in the bath. Ted was right next to me at every step. Eventually I said I needed more! I needed help with the pain but determined to still have a natural birth I opted for gas. Which to be honest does nothing at all pain wise haha, but the rattling of the machine as you breathe in slowly helps to focus your mind again I believe.

The time passed, at times it felt slow and other times fast. I got to a point where I begged for the epidural only for the response “there are no beds available upstairs so it may be a while before you can get one” lies, lies, lies. I knew that was a lie  but I also knew I didn’t actually want an epidural all along and my midwife knew that so I knew I wasn’t going to get one.

I kept going and it was getting more intense every second, she offered me pethadine but I denied it? I don’t know why I denied it. I think it was out of fear of prolonging the labour. I think I thought if I’ve made it this far I can honestly keep going! I’m still alive after all right?

When it came time to push, Wholey. I felt every ounce of that. It’s like pushing a watermelon through a concrete donut. It does not fit! They lie and tell us it fits but ouch it is not meant to fit. Every push feels like you take 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I thankfully only had to endure pushing for an hour.

Once the head is out, the rest of the baby kinda just falls out haha. The head is the hardest part. His head came out on the side, his cord was lightly wrapped around his neck but not affecting him.

He came out stunned, and they had to cut the cord quickly and rescuciate him. I didn’t feel stressed though. I felt totally at ease because I felt like everything was going to be okay. Our little baby was 6 pound 12, 48cm long and perfection to us.

Within minutes he was brought back over to me crying and ready for a cuddle. He was perfect, I couldn’t believe we were parents. It felt like we had waited so long, yet all happened so quick too.

I kissed his little head and learnt how to breastfeed him. Ted cut the rest of his cord, and ted cuddled him long and hard while I got up to have a shower. I came back out to ted just sitting there staring immensely at our little baby happily asleep in his arms. It’s honestly amazing seeing your partner become a father. It’s like it was always meant to be. He was so proud, not only of our boy but of me and I felt like I was superwoman.

He passed Foxx back to me to keep feeding, when we noticed him starting to cough up bloody mucuous and began strangely breathing and grunting. I still felt like everything was going to be okay? Why did my instincts not kick in? We were about to go home before the midwife then too became concerned.

We went up to see a specialist who immediately said he was critically unwell and diagnosed him with group b strep. He was placed in NICU and given antibiotics before being placed on life support as his condition continued to deteriorate.

It normally takes 24 hours to grow cultures to diagnose an infection like that, but it took 6. He was so highly infected. He was lucky to live the 3 days, in that time giving us just as many scares as he did with improvements as well but it was on the 29th of March that he ultimately went into a seizure he couldn’t come out of. The infection won.

Just a week and a half prior to birth I had a group b strep swab. I tested negative. Women who test positive are routinely given antibiotics during labour that helps their body to kill the infection before a enters the world.

The swans are known to be inconsistent, one week you can test positive, the next negative but in that very moment in time I tested negative and I’ll forever question why it had to be me?

They say this infection is rare and even more rare to kill a baby but just in the last 2 weeks I’ve learnt of over 10 women who also birthed babies in the last 6 months who died prior to birth (still birth) with the infection crossing unbroken membranes (waters) or mothers who lost their babies within hours of birth. That’s 10 women in Australia, and many more that I’m sure I don’t know of so I am really questioning “how rare” this is?

There definitely isn’t enough research, because I had no signs and symptoms even during labour of the infection along with the other 10 women. Group B Strep is also not something nearly enough talked about to pregnant women. Even though I gave birth in Darwin and it is apart of their testing procedure. Back in our home in QLD it is not a routine test given to pregnant women.

As paranoid as pregnant women get we already research everything and anything we can. We overthink it all – but why was there nothing about this? Why did I not even consider it could harm my baby when thousands birth healthy babies everyday I’ll never know why we were chosen for this road.

No mother and father should ever have to kiss their baby good bye in the same week they meet them. They shouldn’t ever have to kiss them good bye. My heart breaks everyday. It hurts. We will love you forever.

RIP baby Foxx.

Foxx John Fitzgerald 26.3.17 – 29.3.17

18 thoughts on “Remembering Foxx”

  • My heart is still so broken for you .. I think about you, Ted and Foxx every single day. Thank you for sharing your story. You are one strong woman Mik.. I am in awe of you. Xo Rest in paradise baby Foxx

  • What an incredibly brave woman you are. I have been thinking of you every single day. Your story will help so many others. Rest easy darling little Foxx ?

  • I’m so sorry for your loss, I send all my love to you & Ted ❤ my heart absolutely breaks for you guys!

  • I am so amazed by how strong you are, I hope you have all the support you need. No one should ever have to go through what you’ve been through! So heart breaking. Thinking of you. ?

  • You are so incredibly brave to share your story. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for you right now – You’re an amazing mummy and so strong for being able to get the awareness out there – it is personally something I’d never even heard of! Baby Foxx will always be remembered and able to save future lives. I know he’ll always be watching over you.❤️

  • You’re such an amazingly strong woman and couple. I’m so sorry this happened to little Foxx, he is so beautiful and perfect in every way. They don’t test for it here in the UK either which is so worrying. This needs to be prevented, one baby is too much when this is such a treatable infection. I’m sure many babies and couples will be saved by what you’ll do to change this in Foxx’s name. Big hugs from across the pond. xx

  • I am sending you so much love and strength beautiful. I have found myself in tears almost every day since reading your first post about Foxx, just thinking of the pain you & your hubby are feeling after spending your lives planning and preparing for this perfect little bubba only to have it all turned upside down by something so preventable.
    It makes me so angry and so disappointed in the medical industry. It’s 2017, get your shit together Australia!

    When explaining your story to my husband, his first reactions were, “If this is something that can happen during labour, that can result in the baby’s death, why don’t they just give the antibiotic drip to every woman once their waters break? Why isn’t it standard procedure to prevent these deaths?”
    And honestly, I feel exactly the same way.
    I too got the swab done whilst pregnant, and tested negative, but that was it. 1 test, 1 time. No repeat tests or even a swab once I was in hospital ready to have my baby. Why isn’t this something that was introduced as soon as 1 death occurred from this?

    I am so sorry for your loss and no words I say or anyone says will make this easier or better for you.
    But I hope you know and take comfort in the fact that your baby boy was SO LUCKY to feel your love, feel your touch & kisses and to have those special moments with you, no matter how short.
    He knew he was loved, and now he will forever love you and watch over you, forever and always.

    Sending love, kisses, hugs, strengths and positive vibes your way. XXX

  • Im deeply sorry for your loss, I myself lost our son 5 hours after he was born on the 15th November 16. Its a very long and painful journey you will now be on. Take time for yourself and your partner to be gentle with yourselves as its each other you need to get you through. All the best. Your very brave to tell your story.

  • I birthed my baby on the same day as you and foxx, at rdh. I tested positive for group b and was given the antibiotics. My story is very different to yours, but please if you need a shoulder to lean on or a baby to cuddle who shares your beautiful boys birthdate please reach out. I have no idea how you’re managing to get through each and everyday! Xxx

    • Hi Sharnee, thanks for reaching out. Your so very lucky you tested positive and to receive antibiotics. I truly wish my story could be just the same. My heart would be full and not so broken then, I don’t even know how I’m managing to get through everyday. It definitely doesn’t feel right but I can’t change anything now ? xx

  • Oh hunny, my heart breaks for you!
    I went to hospital around 21ish weeks because i started to bleed, everything was fine but they decided to test me for group b (thank god they did, im in qld so its not routine.) I tested positive. I was able to get the iv antibiotics at the hospital 6hours before my waters broke.. i had a beautiful 6pound 9 little boy and couldn’t imagine losing him. You are such a strong women!

    One question i think you may be able to answer for me. Is group b reoccurring? So if we test positive will we have it throughout all pregnancys?

    • Hi Sharee,

      When you test positive once you are required to ensure you get antibiotics throughout all subsequent births xx

  • Im so sorry for your loss this is awful & noone should not go home without their baby & I also believe everyone should be medicated either way to protect their baby. I live in qld and at 27weeks tested positive to strep B only because I got a UTI, I was then medicated again once my waterbrokes at 41weeks but it made me question was he still open to infection. They refused stretch & sweep at 40weeks due to the step B. Thank you for raising awearness strep B is no joke. Sending lots of love to you & your family x

    • Thanks for reaching out. I am so glad your little one is here safe and sound. It is still a living nightmare at times of what we went through. I really can’t even comprehend. We live back in QLD now too. It is amazing that they don’t routinely test here. My friend just last week had to fight them to get tests, anyways turns out she was positive and 24 hours later went into early labour from the group b strep and fought them again to get the antibiotics. Horrible but so glad that thanks to my story her son got a fighter mama who was GBS aware xx

  • I remember you posting your beautiful announcement of arrival of baby Foxx in “Aussie Autumn babies” facebook group, when you followed on with your baby boy fighting for his life, I held on to my son and my little girl who was in my tummy. I broke down, I panicked and felt almost every emotion possible.

    The next week was my midwife app and coincidently I was due for my group b strep test also! I begun stressing to my midwife how scared I was and she assured me all would be fine.

    I attened my next appointment and of course after reading your story I tested positive.

    My heart breaks for you babe ! But you are stronger then ever and I love watching your instagram and your new healthy bubba girl.

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