One Born Every Minute Australia has aired its third episode this week!
If you haven’t already heard, One Born Every Minute Australia is based upon the series with the same name in the UK. The premiere episode connected 325,000 metro area viewers with the birth unit at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital. One Born Every Minute is an observational documentary series that captures one the rawest, emotive and life-changing moments in a parents life – the birth of their child.
Interview with Alex from One Born Every Minute Australia
I was fortunate enough to have a chat with Alex earlier in the week about pregnancy, birth and her experience as one of the family’s who shared their story with the entire country.
Alex generously answered my questions surrounding her initial desire not to have children, being pregnant with an active toddler underfoot, her planned caesarian, transitioning from being a Mum 1 to 2 and backstage insight on the show.
Chatting with Alex from One Born Every Minute Australia
Dani: Hi Alex – It’s Dani from Play Inspired Mum. How are you?
Alex: Hi, good thanks Dani, how are you?
Dani: I’m not bad at all thank you.
Alex: Thats good
Dani: Firstly, I would just like to say congratulations on the arrival of your little girl! I have heard you had a little girl.
Alex: Thank you!
Dani: Just to let you know, I am recording this. I am a mum myself and my memory is not what it used to be.
Alex: Yeah sure, I understand.
Dani: And since starting a family and being a parent is such a raw and personal venture, I certainly don’t want to offend you or anything with any of the questions so if there is anything that I ask that you wouldn’t feel comfortable in discussing, please just say the word. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.
Alex: Yeah sure, no problem.
Deciding on starting a family
Dani: So, I have been told that you originally preferred not to have children, until you met your niece.
Dani: What was Chris’s reaction when you two discussed this?
Alex: [laughs] Well I sort of had these views for quite a while and he always thought that I was joking and that I didn’t really mean it. It wasn’t until after we got married and we had that discussion again that he realised that I was being serious. He wasn’t – it wasn’t the best news for him. He wasn’t too happy about it but I guess I never felt maternal, I guess. I didn’t understand when people said ‘kids are the best thing you will ever do and I love my kids more than anything. I didn’t get that. And so he, it was a bit of adjusting for him to hear it. He finally come around to the idea of it just being him and I until I completely changed my mind and put it on him that I did want to have children. And by then he had become quite comfortable with the idea of not having any so I sort of changed his mind again – which didn’t take too long to do anyway but once I met my niece, I dunno, I just had this instant, instant love with her and I just knew that I think this is love already at that point in my life and it was something that I wanted to do and I would regret it if
Dani: It sounds like it must have been a really magical moment when you first met her.
Alex: Oh absolutely! I was in the actual birth room with her and I also had a bit of fear of
Dani: That is really beautiful. Really, really gorgeous. So you have got a little boy as well, a son.
Alex: I do.
Dani: How old is he?
Alex: Yes, i do. He will actually be two in two weeks on November **th. We will be celebrating his second birthday very soon.
Dani: Oh thats exciting!
Alex: It is yeah!
Dani: So after the arrival of your son, were you planning on having… was a second child something you thought of straight away?
Alex: Yeah, it was something we knew we were after. We knew very shortly afterward that we wanted a second. We definitely wanted a sibling for him. I was so close in age with my sister – there is just over a year, just one year and one week between my sister and I so we were always very close in growing up and there is only two years between my brother and myself so we are all quite close in the sense. I really wanted to have a sibling for my son, for him to grow up with and run a muck with, make those memories and be a support person when they both get older in life as well. So we did know right away that we wanted a second.
Dani: It sounds like you have a really nice, close family.
Alex: Yeah, we do, we do. We are a very blessed family. Our immediate family is quite close, Mum, Dad, brother, sisters.
Dani: Yeah, lovely! So how did you discover you were pregnant with your second pregnancy.
Alex: I just had a feeling, I knew. I was breastfeeding at the time my son and he loves to be breastfed. It got to the point were it was every hour, just for comfort really, then he sort of just stopped on his own and I thought, ‘oh, thats a bit odd’. Maybe he is a little bit off – I wonder why he had just stopped and then I had a feeling deep down and I did the test one or two days later and it came up positive. I dont know, I heard that the, well i dont know how true this is but i have heard that your milk can sometimes change in consistency once you fall pregnant again so I don’t know if thats what happened and thats why he has weaned off. But yeah, I did kind of have an inkling.
Dani: Its amazing how you get those feelings as a parent isn’t it? Like an intuition?
Alex: yeah definitely. I think with the second one as well, you have got a bit more of an idea on what it all feels like and I kind of knew. I was a little bit
Dani: Oh you poor thing.
Alex: I sort of, had those same feelings and thought it was happening again.
Pregnancy with a toddler
Dani: So do you think your pregnancies were comparable? Did they have their similarities?
Alex: Ah yeah, I had a lot more morning sickness with my son and I was definitely vomiting a lot more with him. Sort of smells and textures with food would set me off and I just couldn’t eat meat – completely off that. Throughout my pregnancy with my daughter, with ********, it was a little bit different. I wasn’t as sick with her. There were those similarities. With my son as well, I was pregnant right in the middle of summer, I had a lot of fluid retention, I was really swollen, when I walked my feet were really sore. It was a real struggle towards the end. With my daughter, not so much, cos she was born in winter. I felt a lot heavier. It was harder to get around. [Laughs] So there are some similarities and some differences as well.
Dani: Its good that you were able to experience pregnancy through both seasons. I feel as though it really is different with those environmental factors – well so i have heard. I had summer babies, but i have friends with winter babies.
Alex: Oh yeah, it is definetely. I think I much prefer the winter babies as well. Especially with
Dani: So did you prepare yourself to have another child that was like your son, or did you go in thinking, completely new, could be different baby, could be a better sleeper or not have these challenges as appose to these.
Alex: Oh I definitely went in thinking the worse cos my son was a terrible sleeper. He is literally waking every hour for the first year of his life. He even to this day, he still doesn
Dani: Especially with a newborn!
Alex: I really need to constrain myself to go through all that again but they are completely different. My daughter is an independent sleeper, she doesn’t want to be rocked to sleep, she just wants to be placed down. Unlike my son, I would have to rock him and feed him. And she is only 4 moths old and she will sleep through the night so very, very different experiences.
Dani: Oh it sounds, well its not good that he is still waking so regularly but she is supporting him already!
Alex: [Laughs] Yeah!
Dani: So what would you say would be the highlight of being pregnant with a little one to share it with. The first time it was your husband that, I imagine, that you were primarily sharing that experience with but then to have another little one at your feet as well. How did find that?
Alex: It was difficult at times but you know, you cant really explain to a one and a half year old at the time, ‘ok, babies coming, Mum’s really tired, I need to have a bit of a rest. So I was still doing a lot of chasing. My son is very active – very, very fast. He likes to run around everywhere. So there was a lot of chasing him around. But it was also nice and very he was very curious about my belly. He wanted to touch it all the time and put his head on it, and close his eyes while his head was on my belly. I think he was curious as to why Mum has this really big belly all of a sudden. But also a lot more physically challenging, chasing around a very active toddler.
Dani: Oh I can imagine, actually not even need to imagine! [Laughs] It sounds like you are a very resilient mummy with the sleepless nights and growing a baby.
Alex: [Laughs] Well we don’t have a choice do we?
Deciding on a caesarian section delivery
Dani: Well thats it isnt it? Well said! So if you dont mind me asking, what were the circumstances around the caesarian section as appose to a natural birth?
Alex: So with my son, I was going for a natural birth, and I had an emergency caesarian in the end. I had low amniotic fluid throughout my pregnancy, for maybe the last six weeks of my pregnancy and my waters broke the day before I was due before they were going to decide to induce me, so my fluid levels had gotten
Dani: Yeah… so how were you feeling about that?
Alex: I wasn’t nervous but I was scared. It is major surgery and that played on my mind. I was really worried about that and I was worried about the pain afterwards. With my first caesarian, I wasn’t it much pain afterwards. It was… I didn’t really need any meds. I home from the hospital in two days but I had heard that the second caesarian because of previous scar tissue, it can be a lot more painful. So I, was worried about that and I found it really odd and creepy that I could sort of choose my baby’s birthday date. So my
‘One Born Every Minute, Australia’ experience
Dani: It sounds like it was a matter of taking a really risky route for both of you or just looking into that c section. So at what point did you consider going onto the show [One Born Every Minute Australia].
Alex: I have seen the UK version of it – I love the show. I think it is great, just because it’s great to hear about people’s background stories and what bought them to that point of having a baby. I thought the show was just really beautifully planned out. So I saw the flyer there at Westmead hospital and I thought, ‘Oh ok, I know what this is about’. I had seen something in the newspaper about it actually. So I approached them and said,’Oh what’s all this about?’ and they said they were looking for women giving birth between the 1st July and some other date and my daughter was booked in to have her, well to be born on the ** July, so that worked well. The first day of filming and my daughter was due to be born that day. They explain the whole process. At any point, we were allowed to pull out. If we weren’t comfortable with it, if there was something going wrong in the, when she is due for birth, the obstetrician was allowed to say, ‘turn off the cameras’. There were no cameras present either. It wasn’t intrusive. I didn’t see anybody and there was no one in my face. They were just hooked up in the theatre room and because there was so much other equipment, I didn’t even notice the cameras were in there. I got to see the final edit of the show as well to see if there was something I wasn’t happy with if I wanted to change anything, and there was something I asked them to blur out and they were happy to do it -it was great! Kind of an easy decision to go ahead and do and its a nice memento too. A nice little video of my daughter being born. One day I will show it to her when she is older. Maybe on her 21st birthday of something [Laughs] Put it on a big screen for her and her friends [Laughs}
Dani: [Laughing] Bring it up on YouTube and let’s have a look at the episode of… [laughs] It sounds like the producers and the whole team were really supportive. To be honest, I was expecting you to describe that completely different. It just goes to show that you can’t make assumptions, isn’t it? It sounds like it was a really supportive experience for you.
Alex: Yeah, it really was. It was great. I would do it again in a heart beat. All of the crew who were filming the show, obviously they were filming at home and they were great with just kind of asking us what we were comfortable with and what we wanted, what worked for us and they were really concious that we had our son there as well. When he was getting to loud, they would stop filming for a little bit and they were great with that and totally understood. The crew, the staff at the hospital as well, all the midwives were fantastic. They were all on board to be part of the show and I really don’t think they get enough credit for what they do. I had the best experience when I first gave birth with my son. They were so, so so attentive and tehn the second time round, even more so cos i was in a lot of pain this time around. They were just really hands on and I had some feeding issues with my daughter and which they really helped with. Just everyone there, were so supportive and willing to offer any help really.
Dani: Yeah, it sounds like a gorgeous experience. Challenging but at the same time it sounds like you were in the perfect environment to help you overcome those challenges.
Dani: So what was Chris’ take on the show? How did you even bring it up with him? ‘Oh hi darling, how do you feel about going on One Born Every Minute?’ [laughs]
Alex: Yeah, he had never seen the show before. He never watched an episode. So I told him all about it. He was interested. He wanted to learn about it a bit more. We met with ********, one of the crew from One Born Every Minute and she was lovely and she answered all our questions. We showed Chris and episode, well
Dani: All those reality TV shows
Alex: Yeah, its not as dramatic but it is still dramatic.
Dani: Oh yes, definitely. Its real.
Alex: So he was defiantly interested. He was on board. He loved the experience, he had a great time also. We have spoken about it before and she said he would defintly do it again. If we ever have a third. He would defiantly do it again third time round.
Dani: So is there going to be a Season 2 One Born Every Minute Australia for baby three?
Alex: [Laughs] I think we might be done. We are very happy, we are very content with our little family. I don’t think there will be a number three but who knows? That may change. Ask again in a year and a half [laughs]
Establishing a bond with second baby
Dani: [laughs] So you mentioned that you were a bit concerned establishing a bond being that she was being delivered via the c-section. When did you know that you had that connection? How were you feeling in the lead-up?
Alex: Oh it was, once she was born, the connection it was a different connection there. When you are giving birth naturally, you are in labour and the pain and the adrenalin and then the baby comes, and all the tears and everything. It was different this time around. There were still tears, because literally what happens is you are all booked in on this day, at this time, you go in, and you sign some papers, and you are taken away in a waiting area. now they are pretty punctual, if you booked in at 930, your baby is born around 930. So the anathesiologist comes in goes through information about a recap, cos you have already spoken to them in the months leading up with risks that are involved and they just give a recap of that for you. You are taken in and you are given the spinal tap and then ten, fifteen minutes later the baby is there. So its very … there is no kind of… you know that adrenalin, that lead up to it? So it was a different kind of connection in that sense. There wasnt that rush of emotions and everything but as soon as they put her on me… she opened up her eyes and took her first breath. And she was so much like my son when she was born as well.
Dani: Oh thats so lovely! You spend all those months wondering what they are going to look like and to just have baby on you for the first time and them just looking up at you, it is a beautiful, beautiful moment isnt it?
Alex: It is, it definitely is yep.
Advice for expectant mothers who are having a caesarian
Dani: What advice do you have for any ladies who have a c-section on the cards for a potential birth option?
Alex: I think definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will need a lot of help after you give birth. The recovery is a lot longer than
Dani: Yes, in more than one – all those horizontally and vertical cuts and all of the layers that they go through. So how have you adjusted from going from one to two?
Alex: I think, my daughter is very happy to play on her own. She definitely loves attention but she is very easy, with sleeping and feeding, she is quite easy. Because of that, it has not been as difficult as I thought it was going to be. So my husband is really, really hands-on with my son. They have always had this amazing connection. He is also really great with household chores. He lived out of home for a long time from the age of 17, so he knows how to cook, clean and still to this day, does a lot of chores at home. As soon as he gets home from work he spends time with our son. All weekend he will be playing with my son and interacting with him. I get a lot of help from him so it isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I get that help from him and from my family.
Dani: Sounds like you have a beautiful support network.
Alex: Yeah, I definitely do. I am very, very lucky. I know there are a lot of people out there that don’t have that and I take my hat off to them. I don’t know how they do it. It’s not easy being a Mum. You are on the go all the time.
Dani: It sounds like you have had some ups and downs but it sounds like it has been a really enjoyable experience. Thats probably not the right word [laughs]
Alex: [laughs] It is. I has been a great experience over all. If anyone is thinking of having kids, just go for it! You are never going to be 100% ready.
Dani: I completely agree. I don’t think anything can prepare you. As you said, having two children,
Alex: Oh thank you, I cant wait!
Alex is truly an inspirational woman and mother. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank her again, for sharing her story with us. Alex certainly touched on some circumstances which I can personally resonate with. Motherhood is a tough gig, however, we are not alone on this journey.
Thank you Alex, for sharing your experience and insight. I wish you and you family all the best!
One Born Every Minute Australia is currently airing Tuesday, 8:30pm on Network 10
Dani D x
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