Gidget Foundation Australia is an incredibly valuable service. I don’t know where I would be without them!
When we found out we were pregnant we were ecstatic. Straight away you start imagining and planning what life will be like with your baby and that was no different for us.
We knew before getting pregnant that I would need to travel the eighteen hours to Perth, from our remote town, to deliver in the state’s maternity hospital. I had medical issues complicated and increased by pregnancy, so it wasn’t a shock that we would need to relocate our lives six weeks before our daughter was born.
Living away from home, your husband and your own space are hard especially when you are praying not to go into labour without your husband being there. We were staying with family and planned to return home a week after our daughter was born. Two weeks before we found out our daughter had the umbilical cord wrapped three times around her neck and was being held in breach therefore I needed a cesarean to deliver. I had prepared to hypnobirth and have a natural delivery so this was a shock however I didn’t recognise the impact of that news until I was working with Gidget Foundation Australia much later.
The cesarean was awful with cancelations on the day, delays, difficulty with the spinal resulting in multiple tries (and me fainting), and a reaction to the medication meaning I, unfortunately, don’t remember our daughter being born. She was born not breathing and required assistance. There were various medical difficulties for both my daughter and me in hospital resulting in her being admitted to NICU with a major infection. Our daughter spent a week in the hospital and was discharged with major feeding difficulties and requiring intensive community follow up.
My husband and I couldn’t stay with our newborn at the hospital which disrupted our early bonding. Following her discharge, we needed to stay in Perth for another two weeks at family’s homes. It’s really hard not to have your own space to bond with a new baby let alone a sick baby.
Eventually, we got to go home and then started the three months of intensive community appointments. It’s really hard being a new parent, especially when everyone is telling you, your babies losing weight / not feeding / not growing / isn’t getting enough tummy time etc etc.
All I heard was “you are doing everything wrong”.
On my birthday I fell apart. Our baby was screaming, still couldn’t latch (turns out she had a tongue and lip tie) and was refusing to bottle feed. I lost it, I felt like I had no connection to our baby and felt she was never going to love me. I eventually pulled myself together and remembered a nurse in NICU giving me the number for PANDA. Honestly, this was the best phone call I ever made.
I got into contact with Gidget Foundation Australia with a GP referral and had an appointment the following week. The ability to have the telehealth appointments was so incredibly helpful! We have very limited services in our remote town and as a mental health professional myself you can’t see your colleagues as your therapist.
The appointments with Gidget Foundation Australia are the BEST appointments you will book with a new baby.
They happen in your own home. You don’t need to get dressed up, pretend you have it all together, disrupt your sleeping baby or later into the appointments (when your baby is playing) they can just continue around you while you have your appointment. I got the opportunity to privately and confidentially work through all the difficulties I was experiencing at my own pace.
My Clinician was comforting, positive, kind, and was the one person I didn’t feel judged by. I honestly don’t know if I could have pulled myself out of the hole I was in without Gidget Foundation Australia. I worked through the need to have a cesarean, traumatic birth, our daughter being admitted to NICU, difficulties being away from our home, feeding difficulties, disrupted bonding, medical appointments, and my own guilt.
Gidget Foundation Australia assisted me to manage my feelings and stress as we explored why our own little lady couldn’t feed and grow and was such great support. I spoke with my husband about the appointments and he still sings the praises of Gidget Foundation Australia.
I have worked through all the difficulties and know I am a fantastic mother to our daughter. I wouldn’t have felt like this without Gidget Foundation Australia and will be thankful for the rest of my life!