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Episode 288

Emily Skye

In this week’s episode I interview @emilyskyefit about her first traumatic birth and her second accidental homebirth. Emily doesn’t hold back on sharing the details of her birth experiences, including her challenging physical recovery and postpartum depression. A strong advocate for embracing and loving your body at every stage, Emily talks at length about her severe diastasis recti and hypertonic pelvic floor and the steps she took to strengthen and heal. When she fell pregnant for the second time, she got serious about birth preparation and used hypnobirth and breathwork techniques to navigate a very fast and intense labour.

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“I never had a desire to have a baby but then I turned 30 and all of a sudden I was craving a baby, I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about it. I had a chemical pregnancy the first month and then the second month I fell pregnant. I was sick for about 20 weeks and all I wanted to eat was bland junk food and the saltiness of McDonalds.”

Emily was really conscious of going gently with exercise and embracing pregnancy modifications for her high intensity workouts. With the support of her obstetrician she continued training till 40 weeks.

“I was scared but I tried to convince myself that I was fine. I told myself I was strong and capable but I admit I was nervous. I had my heart set on a natural birth and was ready to let my body do its thing. My OB recommended an induction because I had tachycardia and my blood pressure was going up and down. Twenty minutes after the induction started I felt the first contraction and soon after I was having to make noises through contractions. It was outrageous, I was getting two contractions a minute and I had no break. They hooked me up to the machine and my heart was going 230 beats a minute and they offered me an epidural. I really wanted to do it naturally, but my opinion now is that you do what you need to do and what you want to do. The epidural took away half the pain but it definitely prolonged my labour and when it came time to push I was literally passing out between contractions.

“I remember sucking energy from the universe and I just knew I had to give it my all. My doctor gave me an episiotomy and he used the vacuum to get her out. It was like a cartoon, he was pulling with all his might and when she was born she had a cone head and I remember saying will it be like that forever? Declan was crying but I was too exhausted to cry. She was placed on my belly and I said to her Mama’s got you and I still say that to her all the time.

“Her birth affected me more than I realised at first. I think I processed it more after my second birth, to be honest. I put her on my chest and I had a lovely midwife who was helping me. I had watched all the youtube videos but I don’t think you can really prepare for having your actual baby on the breast. She fed easily and I fed her for two years. Breastfeeding is just…I absolutely love it, it’s my favourite thing to do.

“Recovery was hard, I just had no idea how intense postpartum would be. I had this idea that because I wanted a baby so badly I wouldn’t get postpartum depression…it wasn’t diagnosed by a doctor but I have a history of depression and it felt like I was there. I felt alone and isolated and sad, I didn’t know who I was anymore. They’re not true, those feelings, and you don’t have to own those feelings, acknowledge them but they’re not you and they’re not forever. I love Mia more than anything but I thought I wasn’t cut out for being a mum. The same symptoms returned at 11 months when I got my period back, interestingly.”

Emily talks at length about her severe diastasis recti (four fingers) and pelvic floor issues as well as her pain and discomfort during intercourse. She had laser on her perineal scar which she said helped significantly and she started working with postnatal specialists to slowly and correctly strengthen her body.

“There’s no going back, it’s not about getting your body back, we’re moving forward. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself but I wanted to make sure I was doing exercises properly and correctly…it really took me a year to feel like I had recovered.

“Many of the women in my family have gone through early menopause so I thought I’d start trying, but it took me a year to conceive. When you’re trying every month and you just keep getting negative tests it’s so hard and you start thinking of what could possibly go wrong.

“When I fell pregnant and started thinking about my second birth I had to realise that it could be different to my first. I knew what I could do was be proactive – do the breathwork and get informed. Having birth preferences really helped second time around and Shari, my hypnobirth instructor, really helped with that. I wanted to labour at home, my ideal was labour at home the whole time and then he comes so fast he’s born at home. That’s a lesson in not underestimating your manifestations!

“I was doing a workout in the afternoon and I had a heaviness but I was only 37 weeks so I didn’t think it could be early labour. I had an appointment at the hospital the next day and I had a sense of urgency so I was writing my birth preferences, preparing the container for the placenta so I could have it encapsulated. It was midnight and I was madly trying to get the printer fixed but I thought it best to go to bed. I had a dull period like feeling but it had been happening for weeks so I didn’t think much of it. I woke up at 2am and I had pain so I went to the toilet but there was no bloody show. I lay in bed and the contractions were intensifying a bit so I downloaded a contraction timer app. The contractions were a minute long and they got closer really quickly so I went to the toilet and I saw a bit of blood.

“I was walking around and packing my bag and I called Shari and in two contractions I felt like it had changed. I needed to get to the hospital right then and there. My waters broke, Dec was on the phone to the ambulance, I was screaming he’s coming, he’s coming, my waters went everywhere and his head was pushing out at the same time. Declan came in and when he looked at me he just turned white. I wasn’t pushing, my body was just doing it and then the paramedics walked in and the female crouched down in front of me and on the next contraction my body pushed and that ring of fire was intense but the breathwork helped so much. He came out and she put him on my chest, I turned him over because he was gurgling, I cleared his throat and said Mama’s got you.

“I was happy to wait to see if I could deliver the placenta naturally and the paramedics were happy with that. In the meantime they were putting me on the stretcher and I remember yelling out to Declan Bring me some pants! In the ambulance I really focused on breathing, calming down and latching Isaac and I managed to deliver the placenta without syntocinon. Once I was at the hospital and I’d been cared for, I had a shower and I was crying because I was just so proud of myself. I held my belly and I said thank you to my body and I apologised to it for all the times I had spoken about it negatively. It was such an empowering moment.”


You can connect with Emily and start a free trial of her program over at Emily Skye Fit.

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