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 Kristin; a mother of three who let her intuition guide her throughout her pregnancies and subsequently experienced three beautiful, empowering births (albeit not without their challenges). Five miscarriages in a fifteen-month period left her anxious and fearful but once she passed the 12 week mark with her son, Toby, she settled into her pregnancy and refused to let her obstetrician class her as high risk. She took responsibility for her birth, hired a private midwife and birthed in the water at home. Kristin talks confidently and clearly about her pregnancy and birth experiences and is incredibly inspiring, especially in regards to owning her birth journey and surrounding herself with people who supported and guided her.
Image by Jerusha Sutton
Kristin fell pregnant at the age of 24 with her first son, Sebastian. She opted for GP shared care and while she admits that she didn’t know a lot about birth, she knew she wanted little to no intervention. She refused the Glucose and Strep B tests after doing her research and discovering that they are not routine tests around the world and therefore, not always necessary (you can hear more about the Strep B test in in episode #211 with Bernadette, a midwife and mother of two).
She worked up until 38weeks but, as is so often the case for women looking forward to a little downtime after a hectic third trimester, Kirstin’s waters broke that night. The hospital was shocked when she said she didn’t want to be induced and while she laboured well and without pain relief, she didn’t experience a steady build up of contractions, but instead had a flurry of them and then a long break in between.
“If I could change anything about our birth culture it’s just to give women more time; the clock culture in the hospital system is really problematic.”
“I was 5-6cm when an older midwife suggested I go for a good walk. I did and had a huge contraction in the carpark and we turned around and someone heard me out at the boomgate and they came running with a wheelchair.
“I pushed for two hours against a cervical lip and they put me on a syntocin drip and told me to lay still on my back….Sebastian was born with the assistance of the ventouse/vacuum….he was tiny at 2.6kg and spent a day under the lights because of jaundice.”
Kristin met her second husband when Sebastan was four and three months before their marriage they started to try for a baby. She had five miscarriages within 15 months; it was unexplained and they went as far as trying IVF which was a particularly traumatic experience for her. Around the same time she was seeing a Chinese medicine herbalist who prescribed lots of strange concoctions but after seeing her for a few months she fell pregnant naturally. Regular blood tests showed that everything was normal yet Kristin struggled through the first trimester; she couldn’t really relax until she could feel baby Toby moving.
“I booked in with an obstetrician at the local private hospital because I felt like I needed a lot of monitoring; he was old school and he would give me a trans-vaginal scan every time. He mentioned that I was high risk because of the miscarriages and he would treat me as such. I felt in my bones that I wasn’t high risk; and I didn’t want to be a high risk patient.
“I did a 180 pivot and started talking to homebirth midwives. John was shocked and not very supportive at first but then my midwife, Cheryl came around and John asked a million questions and after that initial meeting he was convinced.
“I saw her once a month until about 30 weeks and then I saw her once a fortnight, then weekly. I used to look forward to those appointments so much. I’d go to her house and curl up on her couch and talk about life and family, and birth and breastfeeding. I formed a really close bond with her.
“I woke up at 2am at 39+6; I’d done calmbirth this time and I wanted some techniques other than active birth if I had a long labour. At 6am it was on and John started filling the birth pool, I called the midwife at 9am and she got to the house about 10am. I laboured at home for most of the day but I had a bit of trouble getting through that labour; I hadn’t revised any of the calm birth or active birth courses, I was fighting through the contractions and almost panicking…I remember just getting to transition and having that huge contraction and howling but I knew the end was nigh. I sat down on the toilet and my waters broke and then I would not move…I was on there for an hour
I got to pushing and I had a massive panic attack because of the cervical lip in my first labour…I demanded to be checked. I marched to the birth pool and lay down on my back and after 20minutes of pushing he was born. I hate the pushing bit, it hurts and I hate the burning and it just feels really stressful.
“I was so lost in labour land I almost forgot why I was there.”
After getting out of the bath Kristin got straight into bed (the beauty of a homebirth) and Sebastian came home from school to meet his new brother.
Fast forward five years and thanks to being an avid listener of the podcast, Kristin convinced her husband to have another baby. Early tests were a little inconclusive so Kristin decided to be super sanguine about it; whatever will be, will be.
“I had really terrible morning sickness with her and I was quite reassured by that. I didn’t find out her sex (I even asked for them to leave off the gender information from the harmony test which i chose to have because I was 39), I had planned a homebirth from the start and had a doula and birth photographer.
“When I was 6 or 7 weeks I called my midwife, Cheryl and she was delighted. I’d fallen in love with Melissa Ayling from the podcast (episode #221); I found her and she did a private hypnobirth class online with me. She’s such an amazing teacher and guide; she really took the time to get to know me and what I was afraid of and what I wanted from my birth.
“I went 8 days over….it doesn’t sound like much but it’s just so long. My midwife called me a brat and reminded me to just relax…baby was coming. I lay down with Toby and I remember thinking I was going to miss the belly when it was gone and that afternoon I went into labour after having acupuncture that afternoon.
“I called my team; they came over about 11pm, candles were burning and I was draped over the fit ball, I was really going inward, the contractions were really irregular and it just went on and on and on. I was looking for transition and having strong contractions…I lost a lot of confidence and told my midwife that I wasn’t feeling right. I was 6cm and Cheryl told me that everything was fine. My waters broke about 4am and then I hopped in the pool and had a feel and I had a massive cervical lip…it was the same deal as Sebastian, so I lay back so the weight of the baby is off the cervix and finally it was gone…she was only two knuckles back, so close.
I wanted to breathe her out and she wasn’t coming down at all. I didn’t notice but John said afterwards that the midwives were starting to get a bit worried. They p
ut the doppler on and her heartbeat was decelerating and the back up midwife got up in my face and told me I just needed to do the work.
“They got me out of the pool, I pushed on all fours, one leg on the side of the bath, nothing. I lay on my back on the bed…a midwife holding each knee and as she came out, she had the cord wrapped around her 7 times – once around each leg, once around each arm, the belly and then twice around the neck. I was shocked for the first two weeks; I couldn’t believe she was a girl! I named her Arwin.”
Vacuum delivery, Doula, Three births, Waterbirth, Miscarriage, Home birth
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