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Bleeding In Pregnancy
Birthing Your Placenta : Active Management versus Physiological Management
When To Stop Breastfeeding | Australian Birth Stories
5 Common Postpartum Experiences
If you need a laugh (don’t we all?!) make sure you listen to today’s chat with Amy @pickwick_and_sprout who shares her two birth stories with a good dose of hilarity. Amy admits that as soon as sperm met egg she started vomiting and she was eventually diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Her pregnancy was not the glowing kind; she was exhausted, riddled with anxiety and constantly sick. She didn’t do any birth preparation so when she turned up to the hospital and felt the need to poo, she had no idea that her baby was minutes from being born. Her breastfeeding experience was challenging and Amy’s honesty about her journey - her persistence, emotional turmoil and eventual acceptance - is empowering for those on the same path.
Image by Compass and Aperture
When Amy started thinking about having a baby, she knew she wanted to give up smoking a good six months before she started trying. No-one was more shocked than her when she fell pregnant on the first month. She admits she had absolutely no idea what to do so she went straight to her GP.
“I swear that sperm met egg and then I vomited. I had HG. It was horrid and I couldn’t keep anything down; I had no energy and I could barely get out of bed. I had no relief and so I went to the GP and she just said I don’t know if it’s going to go away anytime soon. But the world just expects you to keep going, there’s no special leave. You just have to keep going the best you can. And everyone just kept suggesting ginger which was infuriating.
“I have anxiety anyway but it skyrocketed, I was so anxious all the time…but then I felt him moving and it gave me the oomph I needed to keep going through this horrible sickness. My energy started to return at 25 weeks and even though I was still sick, the energy just made life easier. I must admit that I felt cheated; I was meant to be glowing and everyone was supposed to be thinking I was a beautiful vessel of life, not a lump of vomit in the corner, crying.
“I didn’t understand the different types of care, I just did what they told me to do in the letters they sent, I saw a variety of midwives and I just didn’t understand the process and my GP didn’t really explain anything to me. I wasn’t really in a place to take in much information anyway. I didn’t want to give myself any expectations…I just thought I’d go with it, I’d go into hospital and pop out a baby. It kind of happened like that, too.”
Amy and her husband moved house when she was 35 weeks and the following day she started getting contractions. The midwives at the hospital confirmed that she was in the early stages of labour so she was admitted to hospital, was given steroid injections and thankfully contractions eased. She got home in time for her baby shower and two weeks later she went into labour.
“I woke up with period pain and it just kept getting stronger and stronger and there was a real rhythm to it. I spent the day lounging on the couch, eating pizza shapes and napping. It was lovely until it wasn’t and I didn’t really know when to go to hospital. I really didn’t want to be alarming people if I wasn’t really in labour. I remember the car ride – every bump, turn and shake was so painful. I was blaming Kane for the speed bumps, I was so angry. By the time we got to the hospital I was in so much pain and I remember thinking I need to poo. Kane pulled into the entrance of the hospital and I got out and he went to park the car. I was walking but had to stop every few steps. I finally got to the front desk and told the lady that my baby was coming and she told me to calm down and that often first time mums get it a bit wrong. When I finally got on the bed the midwife could see the head. She told me she was going to break my waters and she put goggles and an apron on and stuck the crochet hook up and then it sprayed all over her so I was glad she had the goggles on.
“Kane finally arrived, I had a few puffs of gas not that I really remember, and apparently the midwife told me to push and I closed my legs. It hurt! Apparently Kane was holding one leg, a midwife was holding the other so I wouldn’t push them together. Emmett’s heart rate was dropping and he’d done a poo so I did one big push and he shot out and it was all over and it didn’t seem real because I’d been in there for 15 minutes.”
Amy classes with the ABA while pregnant because she really wanted to breastfeed but Emmett was born with a severe tongue tied that needed to be lasered. She expressed for three weeks which affected her milk supply but she persisted, encouraged by a community health nurse who reiterated the importance of breastfeeding. But then a new nurse took over and was frank with Amy; Emmet wasn’t putting on weight and she encouraged her to top up with formula. The result was a much happier baby and a happier mum and Amy admits that it was then that she relaxed into motherhood and really started enjoying the experience.
Juggling motherhood and her small business – Pickwick and Scout – and deciding when to have another baby was tricky, especially considering that she would probably have HG. Of course, she got through it all and Wren’s birth was far quicker than Emmett’s.
“With Wren I was getting on and off labour pains for a few days but it wasn’t ramping up. I was sleeping in Emmett’s bed one night and I started to get period pain and I thought it was go time. Within 40 minutes the contractions had gone from 0-100 and we had a 40 minute drive ahead of us but I didn’t want to freak Kane out. My waters broke all over the car and I didn’t have a towel. And then I started mooing, it was an odd sound and Kane started to get quite flustered. I just told him that driving a bit quicker would be for the best. In the meantime I could feel the head. We were five minutes away from the hospital when I told Kane I could feel the head so he called the ambulance and they told him to pull over and deliver the baby. I looked at him and told him to floor it to the hospital. Your body just kind of takes over and you can’t stop it; you can’t stop mid-push. I didn’t do any birthing classes….I didn’t know what I was doing.
“Because of covid the hospital entry was closed down and the security guard told us we were at the wrong hospital. And the paramedics on the phone suggested sending an ambulance and that was just the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Kane gets out of the car, gets the torch on the iphone, takes my bottom half off and sees meconium stained waters flowing out of me. Kane just got in the car and drove to the entrance and this doctor and a team of a midwives came out with a stretcher and they were like angels. It was the best feeling ever just having people knowing what they were doing because I was scared, I just didn’t know what to do. They wheeled me through, got me into the birthing suite, Kane was running through the doors and he just makes it and I push and Wren’s little head just popped out. I grabbed his tiny little head and I pulled an actual human being out of me and it was the coolest thing ever. He just plopped on my chest and it all went calm. Everyone left, there was one midwife there, it was great…although Kane was sitting in the chair a bit traumatised.”
Amy was determined to breastfeed but she also knew that formula was an option if she needed to use it. Luckily Wren latched well and while he did have a tongue tie, Amy just let it stretch out.
“I feel as mums we need to listen to ourselves a bit more, if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. I found a lot of comfort in a community of mums on instagram who shared their experience with me and just answered all of my questions. I’m still feeding him now and he’s a little boobie monster.”
HG, Tongue-tie, EBM, Formula, Midwife, Two Vaginal Births, Breastfeeding
You can connect with Amy at Pickwick and Sprout
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