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 Jodie about her two planned caesarean births. When she was 18-months-old, she was diagnosed with a fistula which was repaired shortly afterwards. The issue arose again when she was 11 and after surgery she was told she would never be able to birth naturally. She remembers feeling sad that her choice had been taken away from her but when it came time to prepare for her first birth, she felt empowered by her knowledge and was comforted by her supportive obstetrician.
“My parents noticed that something wasn’t quite right when they were changing my nappy one day and after seeing a paediatrician I was diagnosed with a fistula. I had surgery on it but when I was 11 I noticed I was bleeding one day and I thought it was my period but my mum was unsure so we went to another specialist and it was discovered that the first surgery wasn’t done that well and I needed to have it repaired again.”
Jodie has always had long cycles, some lasting up to 50 days, so she presumed that falling pregnant would be difficult. She consulted her OBGYN and while she did have some markers for borderline polycystic ovaries, she was advised to try and if she didn’t conceive within six months, come back. No one was more shocked that Jodie when she discovered she had fallen pregnant within one month; she was ecstatic!
Despite mild nausea she sailed through her pregnancy, only experiencing discomfort towards the end when she had minor issues with blood pressure and fluid retention. She did experience a lot of questions when she divulged that she had booked in for a planned cesarean and while she never felt judged, she did have to explain herself more than she would have liked.
“I guess for me the most challenging part was the antenatal classes because the first few classes really weren’t very relevant for me considering I knew that I wouldn’t have to prepare for labour, labour positions or pain relief. I admit, I never felt like I was in a position where I needed to pull someone into line for their judgements or questions of my situation.”
She finished work a little earlier than planned to rest and after a day watching Netflix and experiencing braxton hicks, she noticed that she was having mild period pain and casually started to time her contractions. By that evening they were coming every ten minutes so she called the hospital and they encouraged her to stay at home and call back within an hour. Jodi ordered pizza, which in retrospect, wasn’t the best choice pre-surgery, and when she called back her contractions were coming every five minutes.
Jodie and Daniel went into hospital and after being monitored for an hour, the midwives decided to call the OB and theatre team in.
“It was a lonely experience I guess, the theatre staff were amazing and they could see that I was nervous, but it’s a weird thing when your husband is sitting outside without you and it’s strange not being able to share that journey of preparing for the birth with him.
“I got the severe shakes and they said it was a common side effect but it was still quite uncomfortable. She was the perfect size, perfect length, she came out nice and pink and screaming, that first cry you hear makes you feel a lot of comfort. The only thing that was disappointing about birthing when I did was that they had skeleton staff on and I couldn’t have Chloe with me in recovery. She went with Dan back to the room and I stayed in recovery and became really itchy – another side effect of the medication – so I had to have icepacks on my chest.”
Chloe was 13months old when Jodi fell pregnant with Olivia. Again, she fell pregnant easily but at 12 weeks, Dan had to have open heart surgery to repair a damaged valve and the stress of the experience was huge. Despite the upheaval, Jodi managed to stay calm and grounded and sailed through the rest of her pregnancy without any issues. Towards the end she was hot and uncomfortable, such is the reality of a mid-summer due date. Her cesarean was scheduled for 39 weeks but she woke three days earlier, in the middle of the night, and felt wet.
“The hospital told me to put a pad on and then come in as they wanted to check me out. My contractions began when I was at home and when I got in there at 2am, they monitored me and were trying to push me out till 5-6am so they didn’t need to call in the emergency team. Labour was starting to really progress though and they or I wanted to be in a position where I’d even come close to the baby moving down the birth canal. The spinal block took a few attempts but the side effects weren’t nearly as bad as last time and Olivia was born screaming like a banshee. I got to have her in recovery which was a really different experience and as soon as she was on the boob she was happy. She’s still the hungriest baby I’ve ever come across.
“Second time round was so much easier with recovery because I asked for pain relief so I could rest but then 12 hours after I was in the shower. Learning little things like that between the first and second was quite remarkable and it really made for a much smoother recovery although when I returned home I did find postpartum more challenging, mainly because I was just getting used to our new family dynamic and juggling a newborn and toddler.”
Planned caesarean, Fistula, Private obstetrician, Two births
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