The Two Week Wait
10 Questions To Ask Your Care Provider
Your Pregnancy Care Options
Common Symptoms in Early Pregnancy
Six things you may not know about the hours after a caesarean birth
What is Informed Choice?
How to Plan for Postpartum
A Quick Guide to Breastfeeding
In this week’s episode I chat to Stevie about her pregnancy and birth with baby Jimmy. After struggling to conceive and experiencing painful periods for as long as she can remember, Stevie saw a fertility specialist and was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, hyperthyroidism and endometriosis. A few months after a laparoscopy she fell pregnant and had a smooth and symptom-free pregnancy. She recalls the details of her labour and cesarean birth as well as the challenge of those first few days when she was exhausted, in pain and struggling to breastfeed.
Stevie and her husband Jules live on the Gold Coast and decided to see a fertility specialist after struggling to conceive. Stevie had experienced incredibly painful periods for as long as she can remember and had a hunch that she might receive an endometriosis diagnosis. “The specialist said I had a perfect storm of polycystic ovaries, hyperthyroidism and stage three endo. I had a laparoscopy a few months later and two months after that I fell pregnant. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it.
“I was in the frame of mind that I might not fall pregnant and I was ok with that. I wasn’t the sort of person who desperately wanted to have a baby…I knew that if it happened it would be amazing but I could still see a great life for myself without kids.”
Aside from morning sickness till 17 weeks, Stevie had a really smooth pregnancy and saw a local OB who came recommended to her. At 32 weeks she attended her first birth preparation class at the hospital and admitted that she hadn’t done any reading or research on birth until this point.
“I was so unprepared the whole way along. I didn’t look into birth options or watch birth videos till after 32 weeks…to my own detriment. It was just such a crazy year, I felt like once I found out I was pregnant I was backpedaling to get my business organised and I just didn’t even think about the birth till I was well into the third trimester.
“I did talk to the OB about my options in regards to an elective cesarean. I read the information he gave me and decided it wasn’t for me but the hospital has a high rate of water births and I went in there knowing that it was something I wanted to try. I didn’t have set expectations but a water birth sounded great and it’s something I wanted to experience if everything worked out that way.”
Stevie’s OB went on holidays when she was 40 weeks and at 41+3 she started to have mild contractions. She had a stretch and sweep later that day and after being monitored in hospital and going on walks to encourage labour to start, she settled into the birthing suite in the early evening and contractions started to build in length and intensity.
“This part is a bit of a blur for me but they started running the bath and there was five hours of contractions, they were getting stronger and I was standing in the shower for quite a while and that’s when they started to slow down again. I was walking around the birth suite and it got to 10-11pm and my waters hadn’t broken and after the OB’s second attempt they finally broke and my contractions went to the next level very quickly. I tried to hold off for as long as possible for the epidural and had pethidine and gas but at around 1am I finally succumbed and I slept for a few hours. They woke me at 4am and they told me it was time to start pushing. I was pushing for about an hour when the OB attempted to use the vacuum but the baby’s heartrate was dropping so I was wheeled into theatre for a cesarean. They told me everything was ok but it didn’t seem very ok. It was 5-10 minutes to me being in the room to them delivering Jimmy. It was the craziest feeling.
“I vividly remember that moment, having Jimmy on my chest, and then I remember being in recovery and there were a few midwives trying to help him latch. I fell asleep shortly after and when I woke I was back in the birthing suite. I didn’t feel that overwhelming crazy wave of love and I was really concerned. I struggled a lot for the first five days, I was in a lot of pain, I wasn’t sleeping, he had trouble latching and on day 3 I broke down and I just didn’t know how I was supposed to be feeling. The midwife reassured me that everything I was feeling was completely normal. It just wasn’t the way I had pictured it would be.”
Stevie explains that falling in love with Jimmy wasn’t instant, it was a gradual journey and now she is utterly obsessed with him. It is, she explains, the very best thing in the world.
Breastfeeding has been a tumultuous journey and for the first six weeks it was agony. Her milk came in while she was still in hospital but she had trouble getting Jimmy to latch which resulted in severely cracked nipples so she got a breast pump and exclusively pumped for 4-5 weeks.
“It was so hard as I was expressing all through the night and he’d be screaming because I wasn’t prepared, I did that for 4-5 weeks and then I gave breastfeeding a go again and honestly I’d got to the point where I didn’t think I could do it, and then it just clicked. And now I find breastfeeding one of the best parts of being a mum and the idea of him weaning is just so sad to me.”
Caesarean, Breastfeeding, Polycystic ovaries, Hyperthyroidism, Endometriosis, OB, Epidural
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