Prepare for your birth journey today with our birth class

Episode 315


In today’s episode Jess shares her pregnancy and birth story. A history of mental illness gave her access to a continuity of care midwifery program at John Hunter Hospital where she was cared for by one midwife throughout pregnancy and postpartum. This invaluable support allowed her to navigate pregnancy and covid without overwhelm or anxiety. Together with her husband, Bryce, she prepared for labour and birth with The Birth Class and experienced a positive induction and epidural because she knew what to expect and felt confident to make informed decisions. 

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Jess was on implanon and a mirena to help with her endometriosis symptoms but once she ceased contraception she fell pregnant within one month.

“I wanted to do shared care with my GP because she’s so amazing but she was only doing phone consults because of covid. I had a bit of a bleed at six weeks and an ultrasound showed that it was a bruise on my uterus and not something to worry about. My eight week dating scan showed that everything was okay.

“I went for my 13-week scan at John Hunter hospital and I was accepted into family care because of prior mental illness. This gave me continuity of care with one midwife – she wouldn’t be with me at the birth but she did care for me up to six weeks postpartum.

“I had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 17 and had weaned off medication over the years alongside psychological help. I also don’t have a relationship with my mother so pregnancy was a trigger for me, I was definitely at a higher risk of developing perinatal depression

“I bought The Birth Class in the first trimester and Bryce and I listened to it during a trip to Sydney and back and after particularly interesting bits we’d pause and discuss it. I wanted to know what all my options were and how pain relief worked and how to stay active in labour and I really felt prepared after listening to all the episodes. I was mostly nervous about Bryce or I getting covid when I went into labour; that was my major concern.

“In my final weeks of pregnancy I had bad pelvic pain and diarrhea and braxton hicks. I also had PUPPS and terrible indigestion which means I wasn’t sleeping at night. I was against being induced because I felt like it sounded scary but in the end I was okay with it. They tried cervidil and after that, the foley catheter but it was really painful at first and they gave me painkillers. I started contracting from there; I was pacing the room and trying to move her from a posterior position. I pulled the balloon out the next morning and they asked me if I wanted my waters broken and I opted for them to do that. They encouraged me to stay active and they also hooked me up to the syntocinon drip and the contractions really ramped up but my back pain was next level. I could cope with the contractions but the back pain was intense.

“I started bleeding and I wanted to push but I was only 4cm and my cervix was really bruised. The obstetrician recommended the epidural to relax me. I wasn’t scared because I had the knowledge about what was involved. About 15 minutes afterwards I was talking again, the bleeding stopped and the pushing stopped and they encouraged me to have something to eat and have a nap. They also gave me the peanut ball and every half-an-hour they would flip me from one side to the next and it worked; she flipped to an anterior position.

“I was 10cm and ready to push and I pushed Ruby out in 17 minutes. I was on my back and Bryce was holding one leg and one of the midwives held my other leg. They gave me an episiotomy as her shoulder was a bit stuck. She came out bright-eyed and she did the breast crawl and then Bryce lifted her leg up and announced that she was a girl.

“I was quite nervous about breastfeeding because my mum couldn’t breastfeed. I’d done a lot of research but the midwife reminded me that both Ruby and I were both learning and to take it slowly. Ruby has been a really great feeder.”

Topics Discussed

PUPPS, Peanut ball, One vaginal birth, Induction, Endometriosis, Epidural

Episode Sponsor

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