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 today’s episode I chat to Sammi and her partner, Lachlan, about their first pregnancy and birth. They immersed themselves in preparation and even though they planned for an intervention-free birth, they attended both hospital and hypnobirth classes as well as a breastfeeding course so they were across all possible birth and postpartum experiences. Sammi laboured for a long time at home and Lachlan talks about the support he offered, his nerves when labour intensified and the practical things he did once they got to the hospital. Get your partner to tune into this episode as it’s really lovely and informative to hear about labour from both perspectives.
Sammi and Lachlan live on the north shore of Sydney and after postponing their wedding in September 2020, they decided to start a family. Sammi fell pregnant quickly and had heard a lot of good things about the local Midwife Group Practice (MGP) programme, particularly the benefits of continuity of care with a known midwife. She was lucky enough to get accepted even though her GP was quite insistent that she go to the private hospital.
Sammi: “I had a really smooth pregnancy and had no symptoms at all. I’d been having acupuncture in my last few weeks and after my final session I felt different, I felt like I’d let go and I said to Lachlan: I’m going into labour tonight. We had a bath together and as soon as we got into bed I had a contraction – that was about 9:30pm. They were actually quite regular – about five minutes apart. At about 2am we decided to get up and watch The Inbetweeners because it’s just one of those shows that make you feel good. I was on the fitball and had my tens machine on but we weren’t really talking about the labour or the contractions as such. The contraction timer was telling us to go to hospital but I wanted to stay at home for as long as we could.”
Lachlan: “In the moment you know when it’s time to go to the hospital, something changes and it gets super intense. It was a long night, we were awake the whole night and Sammi was making a lot of interesting noises.
Sammi: “I was. Grunting made the contractions easier. I was looking at my affirmations and trying to get into that hypno zone. I tried the bath and the shower at home but it was the tens machine, being in control of it, really helped me. I loved that boost button! I recommend the tens machine to anyone. I didn’t want to talk and I didn’t want to be touched; I was focussed and there was no conversation.”
Lachlan: “The only time I got a bit nervous was in the hours just before we went to hospital when it was getting really intense and I was on the phone to the midwife but she reassured me that the baby wasn’t just going to fall out.”
Sammi: “I had a list of things for Lachlan to do when I was in labour and before we went to the hospital; feed the dog, put the meat that was in the fridge in the freezer, get the coconut water out of the fridge. He knew what he needed to do. I put an eye mask on and headphones on when we were in the car because I wanted to stay in the zone and not be worried about how long we were going to be in the car for.”
Lachlan: “I’d done a test run to the hospital but Covid made it a bit more complicated; we had to check in, wear a mask, get our temperature checked so it was a bit of a process till we got to the birth suite. Once we got in there I got to work putting the birth playlist on, setting up some candles, I made sure she had her coconut water and I closed the blinds and dimmed the lights and I put a comfy chair and the fitball in the middle of the room. Sammi rotated between the ball and the chair before getting in the bath.”
Sammi: “In my birth preferences I was thinking that I didn’t want any internals done and when we got there my midwife suggested a vaginal examination. I was 6cm on arrival and my waters hadn’t broken but they were bulging. I didn’t want an artificial rupture of membranes but I lasted about two hours before she broke them because it was so painful. I had a show just before she ruptured them and I instantly felt so much better so that was really helpful. I went straight to 9cm and then I got in the bath. I was using the comb in my hand to distract myself from the contraction pain. I was swaying my hips in the bath and the buoyancy felt really good but I couldn’t get past the back pain. I got out of the bath, which was quite challenging in itself.
“I ended up giving birth with the tens machine on with my legs in stirrups and when I was pushing there I was making really good progress. I pushed for a very long time, about 1 hour and 50 minutes. I just remember thinking: when is it going to come out? At one point I could see Lachlan and the midwife looking over at the door and I remember thinking what are they looking at? The obstetrician was there and ready to come in and intervene but my midwife knew I wanted a low intervention birth so I summoned the energy to birth him.”
Lachlan: “I think I kept it together pretty well but it is a wild experience. It was a bit slower than I had expected, the progress of pushing can be really slow. When the head comes out it’s almost surreal, he was facing me and you’re just so stunned and shocked and then the next second he was born and the midwife scooped him up and placed him straight on Sammi’s chest.”
Sammi: “The placenta was birthed after ten minutes. I did a few tiny pushes and it came out which was a relief because I didn’t want the syntocinon injection. I ended up needing stitched for my second degree tear and that was very painful so I just tried my best to keep my focus on Rory. It was so nice to come home, to be in my bed and to be a family. Initially he wasn’t latching that well but the lactation consultant at the hospital came in and she explained a few little tips to me and he eventually got it. My breastfeeding journey so far has been awesome but the postpartum season really is about slowing down and letting your body heal, especially your pelvic floor. Postpartum is such a weird time and my perineum didn’t heal for quite a while.”
Physiological baginal birth, Prolapse, Midwifery group practice, Breastfeeding
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