Prepare for your birth journey today with our birth class

Episode 314


In today’s episode Lizzie shares the story of her pregnancy and birth with baby Bill. At a 35 week scan, she learnt that Bill had a cleft lip. Lizzie and her husband, Liam, allowed themselves two weeks to process their shock and do their research…after that they were counting down the days till they could meet their new baby. Lizzie takes us step by step through her eventful labour and every stage is punctuated by lots of laughs. You’ll love this informative and entertaining episode. 

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“I was born in Newcastle, at the same hospital that I gave birth to Bill. I’m so glad we went public; I was low-risk and I got into a midwifery care program where I saw a team of midwives. Preparing for birth became my full time job. I was listening to the podcast before I conceived and I became obsessed with it; listening to other stories made me feel like I was really ready to have a baby. During the second trimester I got really serious about birth preparation so I did The Birth Class and Calmbirth; they flowed well together.

“We found out about his cleft lip at 35 weeks. There was no indication on his 20 week scan. We thought the baby was lying transverse so they decided to do a scan and they picked up his cleft then. Liam was with me and I was really glad we were there together. We knew what it was but it was a massive shock. Because it hadn’t been picked up on earlier scans, they presumed that it would be quite small and it was.

“We were referred back to the hospital where they did further scans; we definitely knew it was his lip but we wouldn’t know about his palate until after birth. It didn’t affect the birth at all; I was still low-risk but we knew that once he was born, we would make decisions based on how his cleft was. After birth we were told we’d meet up with the cleft team and go from there.

We were told not to google it but we did, we just wanted to know what to expect. It was really stressful; we gave ourselves two weeks to be stressed, do the research, it just put a different spin on the end of the pregnancy. And then we came to the conclusion that it would be ok, and we just went back to being excited about birth and meeting him.

Lizzie wanted minimal intervention but she was open to pain relief and intervention if it was necessary. She was two days past her estimated due date when she lost her mucous plug at about 5:30pm and spent the evening preparing her loungeroom and bouncing on the fitball. After calling the hospital the midwives told her to have a bath and relax. She had showers and baths, tried to sleep and her labour progressed as the hours passed.

“I felt like I was managing it really well. I was so excited, that was the main emotion. I was lying in bed then I would get up to move for each contraction. I didn’t feel ready to leave for the hospital but Liam felt like we should go. We agreed that he would get the car ready and make sure everything was there and he called the hospital and asked for a room with the bath. I had one more contraction and then I felt something coming out. The midwives encouraged us to call the ambulance, which we did. We later realised that it was the amniotic sac as my waters hadn’t broken yet…they broke just before the ambulance arrived. I did feel pretty nervous but once the ambulance arrived I felt fine again.

“The paramedics gave us the option of birthing at home but Liam wanted to get to hospital because we knew Bill had the cleft and we wanted the doctors to be there to assess him. It was 5am when I walked out of the house and into the ambulance. Liam came in the ambulance with me and they put the lights and sirens on all the way there. They put a cannula in while we were in the ambulance and about ten minutes from the hospital Bill started to crown. I was definitely pushing at that point. I had one more contraction in the ambulance, he didn’t come and they got me out of the ambulance and everyone parted to make way for me. We got to the birth suite and Bill was born within three minutes. I had him on the ambulance stretcher but we made it into the room.

“I was pretty shocked, he came so fast. In the moment I didn’t think about his cleft at all; it didn’t take over the fact that we were having a baby. We just said who is it? And we both saw that he was a boy and we were crying and so happy. He did the breast crawl and cramped down on my breast and that really shocked me. A paediatrician arrived – a whole group of specialists actually – and checked him out.

“Bill was born with his hand next to his face and I ended up with a 3C tear and a tear on my cervix as well. I was a bit disappointed because I’d done so much perineal massage but my midwife said it was almost unavoidable because he came so fast. They went to stitch me in the room but once they looked and noticed how much I was bleeding and how severe the tear was, they told me I needed to get to theatre. I opted to have a general anaesthetic over an epidural and once I woke up and I was in recovery, I called Liam and he told me that he was in the NICU with Bill. They were unsure how he would feed so he needed to be assessed in the NICU and they put a feeding tube in. He stayed there for four days and I stayed on the ward for four days. He had a series of tests that he had to pass in order to be discharged…just routine cleft-related things.

“I used your antenatal expressing guide and I’d expressed a fair bit of colostrum. I desperately wanted him to go on the breast but because of his palate we had to use the bottle and that was absolutely fine with me. We use a special cleft bottle that has a slow release valve.

“He had lip surgery at three months and he took the bottle so easily so we could have the surgery as early as possible. We were really nervous; it was pretty scary. We went to Sydney and Bill and I both stayed on the ward but he only had to stay one night which was awesome. We were really stressed but it wasn’t nearly as bad as we imagined. The plastic surgeon had literally zip the little lip split up. His next surgery is in September and that’s when his palate will be fixed.”

Topics Discussed

Ambulance transfer, Cleft lip and palate, 3C tear, One vaginal birth, MGP

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode is brought to you by Who Gives A Crap With kinder approaching for Ottie this month we’ve madly started toilet training. I feel like all I talk about is wee and poo. Learning how much toilet paper to use and exploring the bathroom is Otties new favourite pass time so needless to say we’re motoring through the toilet paper. Did you know that regular toilet paper wipes out 27,000 trees a day. So it’s a relief to know that we’re using WGAC toilet paper that is 100% recycled.

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