The Two Week Wait
10 Questions To Ask Your Care Provider
Pregnancy After Miscarriage: How Long to Wait Before Trying Again
Bleeding In Pregnancy
Birthing Your Placenta : Active Management versus Physiological Management
When To Stop Breastfeeding | Australian Birth Stories
5 Common Postpartum Experiences
In today’s episode I interview first-time mum, Shuana, about her proactive approach to pregnancy and birth. When she found out she was pregnant she booked in with her local public hospital and was assigned continuity of care with a known midwife who fast became a precious support right through to postpartum. Shuana and her husband, Dan, did The Birth Class for birth preparation and felt incredibly confident and excited about the possibility of a physiological birth. Shuana takes us through her labour, from the moment her waters broke till when she birthed her 4.49kg baby boy, Teddy, in a moment of pure joy. This is such a positive and inspiring episode that’s brimming with birth tips.
“My partner was sick of hearing the word ovulation. We fell pregnant in the first month and we were shocked. I’d been listening to your podcast and was aware that it could take a long time and honestly, I was prepared for it to take a while. Despite our surprise we were so excited to be pregnant.”
Shuana hadn’t done any research on finding a care provider so she saw her GP at 5 weeks who confirmed her pregnancy and gave her a referral for a dating scan and 12 week neuchal translucency scan. After she left that appointment she still felt unsure about what to do so her friends encouraged her to call the antenatal clinic at her local public hospital.
“Everyone is so confused when they find out they’re pregnant because no one knows what to do next. I had no idea what my midwifery care options were yet as fate would have it, I was assigned continuity of care with a known midwife. My first appointment was at 20 weeks via telehealth and four weeks later I met my midwife, Genevieve, in person.”
Shuana had a straightforward first trimester aside from mild nausea, fatigue and constipation (very common first trimester symptoms). She admits she was concerned about how her anxiety would be affected by pregnancy but her hormones had a really positive affect and she felt incredibly zen.
“My midwife was really encouraging and supportive of me doing The Birth Class and she gave me Rhea Dempsey’s book which was so inspiring and informative. Listening to stories on the podcast really motivated me to do the research and prepare for a physiological birth and I felt really capable and confident in my ability. I wasn’t set on doing it naturally, but it was definitely my preference and when I expressed that to people I got a bit of negativity, especially because I’ve never really experienced period pain.”
In the second trimester Shuana felt incredible but towards her 30th week she suffered severe back pain and was diagnosed with sacroiliac joint pain. She struggled to walk for a fortnight but then it alleviated and she felt great again for most of her third trimester. Two days before her due date it returned with a vengeance and she was bed bound till she went into labour at 41+2.
“I woke at 6:30am and I felt a lot of wetness and I went into the bathroom and it had a distinct smell so I told Dan that I was sure my waters had broken. We were so excited that it was about to begin. My midwife met me at the hospital at 10am and she confirmed my waters had broken. I was hooked up to the CTG to track my baby’s heart rate and when I was on the bed I was getting painful tightenings. We went home because I was only in early labour.
“I wanted to try and rest so I put the tens machine on and I went between the bed and the loungeroom and eventually to the bathroom for hot water. The tens machine was a god sent, I highly recommend it and I got so much from Jodi’s episode on breath and sound in The Birth Class, I imagined myself sinking into the ground during contractions but when the pain got intense I found the bath and the shower was a relief.
“I’d been labouring at home for five hours when I had an intense contraction and rectal pressure; I felt like my bum was going to rip open. I told Dan to call Genevieve and she listened to me while I was contracting and I was moaning and making all of the noises but as soon as the contraction was over I was fine and talking. I stayed home for another half an hour before we went to the hospital. I was roaring and pulling down on the handle bar in the car but looking back that stage of labour wasn’t that bad.
“My contractions were so close together and I had four contractions from the car to the hosptial and the man at the front desk grabbed me a wheelchair and took me to the birthign suite. Genevieve took us into the birthing room and it was so beautifully set up. I instantly felt safe and calm and I was so grateful to be cared for by Genevieve. She offered to check me but I declined. Soon after I felt like I needed to wee but I couldn’t go so she checked me and the head was right there.
“I didn’t have any urge to push but I’m now sure I was fully dilated when I was at home. I was so in the zone and throughout my labour I was just focussing on getting through the contractions, breathing through them, I wasn’t even thinking I could be ready to push. My baby’s heart rate was really high and the obstetrician came in and suggested that my baby may need antibiotics because of a possible infection. I also heard him mention that he may need to use the vacuum to assist the birth.
“Apparently when he left I said: Let’s get this baby out before Mr Antibiotics takes over my birth and tries to vacuum my baby out. I got really sassy. Geneveive encouraged me to get into an active birth position on all fours but I didn’t know how to push and because I didn’t have any urge to push it was really hard. But then I remembered Jodi talking about the coffee plunger breath in The Birth Class, so I started holding my breath and pushing him down with all my energy and that was really motivating me. His head crowned and with a few big pushes I was able to birth him. Genevieve passed Teddy to me and I kept him with me for a few hours. He did the breast crawl and when he was weighed he was 4.49kg. If they had known he was that big I probably would have been induced earlier because they would have been concerned about his size. I felt really proud of myself.”
Shuana left hospital after six hours and had at-home postpartum visits with Genevieve which she admits was such a beautiful and precious part of the continuity of care experience.
The Birth Class, Positive physiological birth, Continuity of care, MGP, Active birth
Today’s episode is brought to you by Bliss Birth. Bliss Birth is founded on the belief that women’s bodies are incredible things, and that when it’s safe, choosing natural options makes for the best outcomes for mums and babies. That’s why Ariel has developed a range of products to support your natural birth experience. Introducing the most advanced natural pain management device for labour available in Australia – The Elle TENS Plus. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and it is the ultimate birth tool as it maximizes your body’s natural pain-fighting abilities. For $89 you can hire an Elle TENS through Bliss Birth. The Bliss Birth TENS Hire features; Built in contraction timer, Longer 8 week hire period, Pre-addressed, prepaid return (No printer needed). The ‘Mama Bag’ valued at $10.95 is yours to keep! You can enjoy 10% off Bliss Birth with the code AUSTRALIANBIRTHSTORIES. Head over to BlissBirth.com.au
The empowering online childbirth education program that will help you confidently prepare for birth.
Sign up to get the latest updates, freebies, podcast releases straight into your inbox
Keep listening to more amazing stories from the podcast