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Episode 232

Fiona Killackey

In this week’s episode I interview Fiona Killackey who shares her confronting experience of an emergency caesarean in London. She was discharged 24hours after birth and while she spent much of her first week at home anxious and sore, a visit from a gentle and wise lactation consultant was exactly what she needed to settle into new motherhood. After returning to Australia and setting up their life in Melbourne, Fiona and her husband spent two years trying to conceive before they explored their options with IUI and IVF. Fiona made the conscious decision to have a planned caesarean with baby Elio and under the care of her beloved obstetrician she experienced a joyful birth that she fondly remembers as one of the best days of her life.

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Fiona was living in London when she fell pregnant with her first child. She presumed it would take a while to fall pregnant – both her mother and sister had fertility challenges – so she was shocked when it took all of six weeks of trying.

“I felt really well…I didn’t feel him kick for a long time but apart from that I felt great. It was an easy, relaxed pregnancy; I was only working part-time and I read every single birth book, I listened to hypnobirthing CDs, I watched One Born Every Minute religiously, I wrote the longest birth plan and thought I was going to have the calmest birth…which I didn’t.”

Her 20 week ultrasound showed that she had placenta previa but thankfully it has resolved by 36weeks so she continued preparing for spontaneous labour. She had a stretch and sweep and later that evening her waters broke but she noticed that the amniotic fluid was a murky green colour. When she arrived at the hospital, the midwives spoke amongst themselves and decided to induce her; without communicating with Fiona at all.

Before long, the Obstetrician noticed her baby’s heart dropping during contractions and he handed Fiona a yellow document which was, essentially, a contract for her to sign because she needed an emergency caesarean.

“I remember it saying all these confronting things. I was bawling my eyes out and saying I didn’t want a caesarean. He told me he would give my half-an-hour to think about it but he came back in 15minutes and told me I didn’t really have an option; I needed to have a caesarean or my baby would die. I remember demanding that I go to the toilet…we ran into the hallway and ran down to the theatre and I went on the bed and they put the sheet up and a second later the baby was out. I remember an anaesthetist standing there wondering why I wasn’t happy.”

Her caesarean was referred to as a crash 1 emergency and when she was moved from recovery, she was placed on a ward with 15 other women and was expected to shower without assistance. Within 24hours she was discharged and while she spent a week concerned that baby Levi wasn’t feeding (and spent a night in the ER and children’s ward), a private lactation consultant offered her the gentle comfort and guidance that she needed and she ended up feeding for 11months.

Fiona, Jerome and Levi moved back to Melbourne eight months after he was born.

In 2017 she discovered she was pregnant but sadly experienced a miscarriage an eight weeks. After going to hospital, she was given the option of a D&C or tablets but she had no idea that the pain would be like birth. To make matters worse, she had to go into the hospital every few days for a week to have blood tests and had to attend the maternity clinic and sit amongst pregnant women.

“We just tried for so long and I’d seen naturopaths and acupuncturists and everyone and I ended up seeing a health coach who was amazing and she asked me why I was so against IVF. I didn’t realise I was so against it. We went to one IVF specialist who said it would only take a few months but it didn’t work. The second IVF specialist was phenomenal and after a failed IUI we fell pregnant via IVF.”

“I didn’t talk much about IVF to anyone, I feel like there’s such shame surrounding it, so I just kept it to myself. The first cycle of IVF was successful…we didn’t have many eggs, we had six, but only two survived to implantation.”

“I decided to go private because the hospital experience in London had been so bad and I just wanted one person to care for me. I just felt so ready to have my baby and I trusted my OB, she’s the most beautiful woman, Dr Fiona Cowell, she was warm and beautiful and down to earth and I knew she would do an incredible job. Every bit of care from her was outstanding.

“The night before we went to the pub and we went to hospital early, the sun was coming up and we just reflected on how long and hard our journey had been. Everyone in the theatre was so happy and it was so relaxed and beautiful.”

“Elio was able to stay with me in recovery which was amazing. Elio didn’t feed very well and I didn’t get much help because I was a second time mum and they presumed I knew what I was doing. Once home I went to all the clinics and expressed but he just didn’t want to feed and at nine or ten weeks I made the decision to switch to formula.

“My maternal health nurse had mentioned something about the sounds he was making while breathing and suggested I take him to a pediatrician. I ended up taking him to an ENT and they discovered that his nasal passages were really narrow so he was operated on three weeks later. He didn’t sleep for 15months though so we hired a sleep consultant who came recommended and by day two he slept 12 hours and we couldn’t believe it.”

Topics Discussed

Two caesarean births, Secondary infertility, Miscarriage


You can connect with Fiona over at My Daily Business Coach. The interview I mentioned with her health coach Jolinda Johnson can be found here.

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode of the show is sponsored by Who Gives A Crap. The lovely team at WHO GIVES A CRAP are offering my listeners $10 off your first subscription. Just head over to Who Gives A Crap right now and use the coupon code Birthstory to get $10 off your first subscription. That’s $10 off your first subscription purchase at Who Gives A Crap with coupon code Birthstory.

The Night Light Podcast. Night Light is next-generation, modern mindfulness that unfolds like a beautifully crafted dream, leading listeners into an oasis of the mind. Part-evocative soundscape, part-instrumental immersion with a hefty dose of powerful spoken word by some of Australia’s most prolific creatives,” Perfect if you’re experiencing postnatal insomnia, you can enjoy Night Light through all good podcast aps.

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