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Episode 357


In this episode I chat to Kellee @littlehumanlinens about her fourth pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Kellee’s first three waterbirths were really positive experiences and you can hear her discuss them in Episode 203 (linked below). When I first interviewed her she was deep in her third postpartum and experiencing severe postnatal depletion which affected every aspect of her life. Today she talks in detail about that time, the day she discovered she was pregnant again and the depth of her despair as she wrestled with what life would be like with four children. She chose to be proactive with her health and wellbeing by prioritising simple self-care habits every single day throughout pregnancy. She also planned a six-week postpartum and is now reaping the physical, emotional and energetic benefits.

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“Each postpartum stage felt progressively more difficult. I had difficulty feeding with all of them so it was easy to see that as the problem. But the reality is I was exhausted and tired to my bones, I wasn’t happy or fun, and while I had elements of depression and anxiety I didn’t feel like that fit. I stumbled across Dr Oscar Serrallach in your Discovering Motherhood course and I was ticking all the boxes of postnatal depletion. Little did I know that when you interviewed me last time, despite feeling awful, I was about three days pregnant. I’d spoken about it with my husband and we’d agreed that I wouldn’t be able to cope with another baby.

“I knew I was pregnant, I knew the feeling so well but I didn’t do a test for weeks. I just didn’t know how I was going to cope and I felt guilty for that. Matt was concerned that he would lose me in the postpartum again and that scared him. We just went in circles talking about it, all the while moving house.

“I cried a lot in the first few weeks and my GP reminded me that there wasn’t a wrong choice and I had to make the choice and move forward. I caught up with Dr Oscar again and I told him that I had to do pregnancy differently and I had the same chat with Matt. It was a huge mental shift and that’s when I started to get excited about the pregnancy. I had health professionals looking out for my wellness and they wanted me to thrive and they held me accountable…they redefined what looking after yourself means and I had to put myself first and do those things every day. He prescribed me one hour a day of self care, he wanted me to make it a daily habit. Stop multitasking, slow down, ask for help and pull in every single resource I had.

“I’d had a homebirth for my third birth and I knew it was what I wanted for my fourth. After my iron infusion at 12 weeks I had so much energy; I had clarity of thought and no brain fog and while I was tired, I didn’t push through it; I was more likely to rest and gave in to the tiredness by having an early night. I knew that all the rest I could get was going to be helpful.

“In my third trimester the aches and pains hit and I struggled physically much earlier than my other pregnancies. I saw an osteopath and that made a big difference to how I carried; I have scoliosis and my babies would always swing into a posterior position. I did some pelvic floor work and I embraced the mindset that every little bit helps.

“I thought I would go into labour at night and by the next morning I would have a baby in my arms. It was a Saturday lunchtime and I was about five days overdue and I wasn’t rushing it but I was nervous, a little bit hesitant about whether I could do it again while also knowing that it was the last time I would be doing it. My second child, Thomas, was all of a sudden feeling awful and he had belly pains so he lay down and had a sleep. I slept with him and when I woke up I got a bit of pain and they kept coming but I was just in denial. I got a decent one and I told Matt that the baby was coming. In a mad rush the kids got out of the house and they went to the extended family and I called my birth photographer and the midwives. Within 15 minutes everyone was there and things progressed really quickly; I had a baby two hours later.

“It was different though. With all the other kids my contractions were hard and fast with very little break. This time I was really intent on savouring it and I felt so supported by everyone there. I was chatting to them and then I’d have a break for a contraction. I got in the pool and transitioned and got really nauseous but it felt too soon…but I could feel Ollie moving down, I kept my face and mouth open and relaxed and it wasn’t long before he was in my arms.

“I had read a lot about the golden hour; uninterrupted skin to skin and dim lights and how that can really facilitate a good start to breastfeeding. My plan this time was to take my time and savour it and I asked my midwife to remind me of that. I moved from the bath to the lounge and Ollie took his time to latch but then when he did that stimulated my contractions and I birthed the placenta soon after.

“I didn’t do anything for six weeks; I detached from housework, parenting other kids…everything. I did nothing so I could stay in that bubble and that was possible because Matt had six weeks off work. But I needed him to remind me to just rest and feed the baby and do nothing else. He could see that I was happy and coping and the rest and naps were paying off. Postpartum can be really transformative when there’s knowledge and conversation and preparation and I’m so glad there’s more discussions about it now because it’s so important.”

Topics Discussed

Breastfeeding, Iron infusion, low iron, one homebirth, planned postpartum, postnatal depletion, Waterbirth

Episode Sponsor

This episode is brought to you by The Birth Class, my online childbirth education course.

Featuring 10 audio lessons with perinatal health specialists, you can listen from the comfort of your home when you’re relaxed and receptive to new information. The Birth Class is a conversation starter between you and your birth partner that informs, encourages and empowers you to journey towards labour with knowledge and confidence.

In The Birth Class you’ll be guided through every stage of labour and birth, including:

– the powerful role of your hormones to prompt contractions and moderate pain
– what to expect from each stage of labour; from the first contraction to birthing your baby and the placenta
– practical breathing and sound skills to help you navigate contractions and overwhelm
– the benefit of staying active in labour and how it can assist cervical dilation
– how optimal maternal positioning in late pregnancy can encourage your baby into an ideal birth position
– how to prepare for a successful vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC)
– your pain-relief options, both non-pharmacological and pharmacological
– the risks and benefits of birth interventions and how they can help or hinder labour
– typical complications that lead to an emergency caesarean and what’s involved in the process
– what to expect in the hours after birth, including breastfeeding and blood loss
– breastfeeding advice to guide you through the fourth trimester with confidence.
– and so much more.

Check out The Birth Class here.

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