Prepare for your birth journey today with our birth class

Episode 344


In this episode Emily shares the details of her challenging ectopic pregnancy which was treated with a strong medication called methotrexate. Unfortunately the pregnancy hormone levels stayed in her body for five months which extended her grief and contributed to an anxiety diagnosis. She immediately sought professional help from a psychologist and psychiatrist and went into her second pregnancy with tangible skills to navigate her OCD and overwhelm. She was induced at 39 weeks and after opting for the epidural she required an emergency caesarean. Emily admits she felt really prepared for the birth and recovery thanks to the caesarean module in The Birth Class.

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“In 2021 we got married and I fell pregnant immediately afterwards. In week 6 I started bleeding and I didn’t know what was happening so my obstetrician asked me to come straight in but couldn’t see anything in my uterus on the scan. A few days later I had a follow up scan which is when they discovered the ectopic pregnancy in my left fallopian tube. I was referred to the local public hospital which is when I was faced with my options. They took bloods to see how high my hCG levels were and they said I could have surgical removal or the methotrexate injection and I chose the injection because it was less invasive. I couldn’t fall pregnant for three-to-six months afterwards and I had to be mindful of specific exercise, eating foods and being in the sun. The methotrexate didn’t work the first time so I had to get another injection the week after.

“My hCG levels did go down but it stayed in my body for five months which was so hard because I wanted to start trying again and I was a bit of a mystery to the hospital treating me. I would go in every Tuesday morning for a blood test and it got to the point where I had a meeting with an obstetrician where he said I may need to go in and have the tube removed. Sean and I decided to wait it out and luckily the next week showed my hCG levels which were below 5 which meant I could be discharged.

“After that my anxiety came to the forefront. I’m an anxious person and I overthink a lot of things but it was never to the degree that it was after the ectopic. I saw a psychologist and a psychiatrist and she said it was common to develop OCD thought patterns in pregnancy. It continued during my pregnancy with Eddie but I had the strategies to navigate it. First my GP prescribed me an antidepressant after the ectopic but I didn’t go on them…the psychiatrist gave me one to use in pregnancy which was safe to use up till 37 weeks but again I didn’t fill the script

“The tangible things I did were simple: labelling my thoughts and separating them from me and gratitude lists helped me break the negative thought cycle. I went to the psychiatrist in pregnancy just to make sure I was on her books in case I needed her professional support in postpartum because I was at higher risk of postnatal depression and anxiety.

“When I fell pregnant with Eddie my obstetrician gave me an early scan and everything looked good which was a relief. I saw her every four weeks and if I ever wanted the comfort of an extra scan she would fit me in. I felt more relieved when I felt him kick, I had reduced anxiety from 20 weeks but I didn’t completely relax until he was in my arms.

“I did The Birth Class and I would always have the workbook at the dinner table for us to chat about. My main priorities were to be informed, to feel safe and try and birth vaginally. Eddie was measuring quite big so my obstetrician was encouraging me to be open to alternatives. I worked on surrendering towards the end of pregnancy and when my mucous plug came out at 38 weeks I tried everything to go into spontaneous labour. I was induced at 39+2 and I was happy to go with it at that point.

“I was already 3 cm dilated so I didn’t need any cervical ripening so my obstetrician broke my waters and put me on the syntocinon drip and I started labouring. Two hours later I was having decent contractions and soon after I opted for the epidural because I was getting anxious. I really enjoyed that break but then things got a bit complicated and I had to lie on my left side. The epidural stopped working on the right side because of gravity so I switched to the right side to help even it out. Unfortunately Eddie wasn’t happy and I actually regressed in dilation which the midwife had never seen before.

“My obstetrician gave me an hour to chat about my options with Sean and to look at both options as she did think I may fully dilate in that time. I’d listened to the caesarean module in The Birth Class so it was good that I had an understanding of what to expect during the birth and afterwards. It was so quick once the decision was made and once they dropped the drape Sean announced that it was a boy.

“I didn’t know about the shakes after the caesarean; it was so intense that I could hardly hold Eddie. They gave me something for it and it dissipated once I got to recovery. I was so exhausted after such a long day, too.

“In recovery Eddie latched which was great and then we were back in the ward by midnight. I was elated and happy and it didn’t bother me that I’d had a caesarean. I was in the hospital for five days. I got out of bed on the second day and that’s when I had a shower and got my catheter out. The blood loss really scared me because I thought I was haemorrhaging because I’d had a haemorrhage in the surgery but my midwife told me it was very normal and I just needed to keep moving.

“I’ve got low milk supply so while Eddie’s latch is good, I have been bottle feeding with expressed breast milk. The lactation consultants have come out twice from the hospital which has been great and I’ve also had the community health nurse visit me. I’ve surprised myself and I’ve been okay emotionally. I do cry a lot, when Eddie cries I cry with him, and I’m dealing with the sleep deprivation but it does make me emotional.”

Topics Discussed

methotrexate, Psychologist, Private obstetrician, Anxiety, Ectopic pregnancy, One emergency caesarean, The Birth Class, Induction, Epidural

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