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Episode 311

Jamie

In today’s episode Jamie talks at length about her arthritis and her choices regarding medication in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Considering her health condition and the added complication of a broken back, she was labelled high risk and could access midwifery group practice care. She opted instead for continuity of care with a student midwife and had a positive experience in the public hospital system even though she saw a different midwife at every appointment. She listened to the podcast obsessively once she conceived, prepared for birth with a detailed birth plan and felt confident in her ability to make informed decisions.

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“The podcast helped me a lot. As soon as I started trying to conceive I obsessively listened to the podcast every day; it really informed me, taught me about the importance of a birth plan and taught me about all the kinds of experiences in pregnancy and labour.

Towards the end of her pregnancy covid was in full force and most of her appointments were on telehealth. Her back was most troublesome at night when she was in bed but movement throughout the day eased the discomfort. She was subsequently exhausted during the day and very ready to meet her baby. She requested a stretch and sweep and her care provider agreed.

“I lost my mucous plug and then at midnight that night I couldn’t sleep so I got up. By 3am the contractions were intensifying and I hadn’t felt the baby kick for a while so I called the hospital and they told me to come in to get checked. They put the CTG monitor on me and asked me to press the button every time she moved. Once she was moving they were happy to let me go home and labour there.

“I tried to have a nap but that didn’t work so I got in the shower and tried to ride out the contractions in there. I called the student midwives and prepared them and my sister was on the phone to me and listening to me. When I got to the hospital again they told me I wasn’t very close and suggested I go home again but I just wanted to stay.

“I got in the shower and was in my own head; I was talking to myself, telling myself I could do it, I could get through it. I had gas and air on the bed because the contractions were really intense by that stage. They put a gown on me because I was cold after the shower and honestly, I just didn’t care. When you’re in that labour zone you just don’t focus on what’s going on around you. I was on all fours on the bed and all the weird stuff started happening. The one thing I asked my partner to do was film; there were times here and there between contractions when I made sure the go-pro was set up. I wasn’t aware of transition and looking back I’m not sure how I transitioned. My partner was rubbing my back and talking to me but I didn’t talk back, I stayed in my head.

“I was loving the gas and air and my midwife suggested I get off the bed and go to the toilet. I peed on the bed. A few hours later I felt the pop of my waters and there was a big gush. Everything heightened after that and I don’t remember too much after that. All I felt like doing was pushing but they were telling me not to push. I was in active labour for five hours but I think I pushed for two hours. I was doing little pushes, it wasn’t big pushes where I was holding her. I was hanging over the end of the bed on all fours but as she was crowning she was stuck so they asked me to turn over so they could assist.

“I put in my birth plan that I was happy to have an episiotomy and they asked me and I told them to do it. They didn’t give me a local anaesthetic so they just cut me and the pain was worse; I’ve forgotten the pain of birth but I haven’t forgotten the pain of the episiotomy. Having a controlled cut made me feel better, though.

“I had my hand on her head, even when they did the cut. She was born quickly after that and I grabbed her and pulled her up onto my chest. I was stoked that I got to do that and have the birth I wanted. She whimpered but didn’t cry so they were rubbing her with the towel and then they cut the cord and took her to the resus table for oxygen until she started crying. She wasn’t breathing for two-and-a-half minutes and they pushed the button and everyone ran in. I was still quite dazed from birth. After a while they brought her back to me and I had skin to skin with her. I didn’t get stitched for two and a half hours because the obstetrician was at another birth. It was the worst feeling sitting there like that. It’s healed well but I still get some pain, often during intercourse.”

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode of the show is brought to you by milk & cookies by Jewels. A luxe lactation cookie brand that’s supporting breastfeeding mothers and their milk supply across the world.

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