The Two Week Wait
10 Questions To Ask Your Care Provider
What is Informed Choice?
Pregnancy After Miscarriage: How Long to Wait Before Trying Again
Five Positive Birth Stories to Inspire You
How to Plan for Postpartum
A Quick Guide to Breastfeeding
In today’s episode Julie shares her incredibly positive first birth experience. She had listened to the podcast for years before she conceived so she knew she wanted continuity of care with a midwife in a birth centre, ideally one attached to a hospital in case she needed medical support. As soon as she found out she was pregnant she was proactive with organising her care; she saw a GP, requested a referral and made the right phone calls. She laboured at home till her waters broke and once she was at the birth centre, she used active birth positions as labour progressed and birthed her baby boy in the water.
“I’ve listened to the podcast for years and I was very determined to have a midwife as my care provider so I pursued that. I was accepted into a birth centre and most of my appointments were at home and the midwife would always stay longer chatting to me which was so lovely. There was no epidural at the birth centre but you could have gas and air or morphine. I also knew that I could always be transferred to the hospital birthing unit if I needed to and that was really comforting.
“When I was 10 weeks pregnant my blood tests showed that my glucose was 0.1 over the normal range. The hospital immediately diagnosed me with gestational diabetes from that blood test even though I hadn’t done the glucose tolerance test. It was really confronting and upsetting and it ended up being a false alarm.
“I bought The Birth Class at the end of my first trimester and listened to it twice throughout the pregnancy. Lucas and I also did two education classes at the birth centre – one was on active birth and the other was on breastfeeding – but we both felt that they weren’t as thorough as The Birth Class. I’m someone who feels comfortable with information, the more information I had, the less anxious I felt. I really looked into all of the labour and birth options so I knew what to expect if my plans for a physiological birth didn’t work out. I felt like I had a really good understanding of all the possibilities.
“I was 39+4 when I woke up to mild cramps. I went into the lounge room and was bouncing on the ball and rocking my hips. The contractions were coming every ten minutes but they were just so light and I kept track of them on the contraction timer app but then I’d delete it all because I wasn’t sure if I was in labour or not. I didn’t want to leave home until I couldn’t talk I knew that I’d have to go in if my water’s broke.
“I put the TENS machine on but I wasn’t into it so I took it off. The contractions were coming every five minutes at this stage. I got into the shower and the contractions were getting more and more intense and I really started making noise with them. I got out of the shower because the hot water had run out and I moved into the lounge room. Lucas was watching tv and I was on all fours and I had a massive contraction and my waters broke, just like in the movies. My waters filled a towel and I quickly crawled onto the tiles.
“Lucas was trying to stay calm but I could tell he was stressed. I waddled out to the car in between contractions and it was a half an hour drive to the birth centre; I yelled at him to avoid all the potholes. I wish I hadn’t sat normally in the car; I was arching my back during contractions and I could feel my baby coming down.
“I had so much with me, including your affirmation cards that I’d printed out, but I used nothing because I was so deep in labour. My midwife checked me when I arrived and while we’d discussed that it was something I wanted to avoid, she didn’t tell me how dilated I was. I took my birth preferences with me and she read that as soon as I arrived. I later found out I was 4cm once I got there.
“I was only in the birth centre for three-and-a-half hours before I birthed Logan. I was hanging off Lucas for support and he was in the shower with me and the hot water on my belly was so nice. I sat on the toilet and I remember feeling Logan’s head in my vagina and I just got off because it felt so full on. I asked to go in the bath so they started filling it and while I was waiting I noticed it was dark outside and I remember feeling like I was doing really well. They checked me again before I got in the bath and I was 7cm. I was on my front in the water but it felt best to be on my back. At one point I remember realising why people get epidurals and I told my midwife I wanted the drugs but she knew I was aiming to not have anything and she ignored me.
“I went from making sounds to experiencing the fetal ejection reflex. Lucas was holding me up from behind and he wasn’t prepared for how intense it would be. I pushed for forty minutes and feeling my baby, Logan, come through my vagina was very unusual but a relief that it was coming to an end. I really went for it and birthed his head and then he was born and I just couldn’t believe we’d had a baby.
“There was only a bit of blood in the bath. I was going to try to have a physiological third stage but I was so weak in my legs so I got out of the bath and got onto the bed and the placenta was just sitting there. I had a double bed and I fed Logan and had him on me for ages and then while I was in the shower Lucas had skin to skin with him. I had a labial tear and I had gas and air while they stitched it and then, after five hours of resting and bonding we went home.
“In my pregnancy I’d told my family that we weren’t having visitors for the first seven days, just because I didn’t know how I’d feel. It was really good because it set boundaries and prompted people to think about how they could help.”
Labial tear, Afterpains, Birth centre, One vaginal birth, The Birth Class, MGP
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