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Episode 389


Following on from Elise’s first birth story in episode 208, today she shares her second pregnancy and birth with baby Bobby. Before she conceived, she experienced a prolapse for the first time and talks about the shock of it and the fear instilled by incorrect information. She finally sought professional guidance from a women’s health physiotherapist who helped her realise that she’s been doing her pelvic floor exercises incorrectly her entire life. Much like her first pregnancy, Elise intuitively knew when she would conceive and although her pregnancy was challenging - nausea, vomiting, insomnia and low immunity - she enjoyed the final weeks of the third trimester and decided at the last minute to have a home waterbirth. Elise is so generous in sharing her most vulnerable moments and reiterates the importance of trusted midwives to encourage and support you.

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“I was thinking about Bobby from the moment Pippa joined us. I always knew that Bobby would come next; that’s how I imagined my family growing. I had imagined I’d be ready a lot sooner than I was but then that time came around when I thought I’d be ready and I wasn’t. My period came back at 11 months and that’s when I felt like I had energy for anything other than my motherhood journey. Then I had a prolapse 11 months postpartum and it was quite severe and really shocked me. I’ve tried to talk about it quite a lot because when it happened I knew nothing about it and I found it quite terrifying and quite a few of the health professionals I saw instilled quite a lot of fear into me; about what it would mean for future pregnancies and births and even if I could hold my toddler. Once I saw a good women’s health physio and got my head around it all, I was amazed how quickly I regained strength and my body was feeling good again; it didn’t take long at all. It was hard at first because I had been doing my pelvic floor exercises incorrectly my whole life. It was a really simple change for me but those muscles had just been offline for me.

“One in two women in Australia have a prolapse at some point in their life. It was a shock to me but once I heard that statistic, I wondered why it wasn’t spoken about. The GPs words to me were: were you hoping to have more children? And she put so much fear into me. It wasn’t as terrifying as it all felt. Now I feel really grateful because I’ve had lower back pain my whole life and now that I’ve got a stronger pelvic floor, it has alleviated my lower back pain enormously.

“One of the main things I was doing wrong was tightening my legs and bum, too but the key was to relax everything else. I was told to see a women’s health physio after I had Pip but I didn’t. And it’s not covered by Medicare and appointments are expensive so I can understand why people don’t go, especially if they have financial pressure.

“My friend was running yoga at our cellar door and Dom and I did a yin yoga class together. We did a meditation and I had a vivid dream of a little boy and I thought I’d conceive him at the end of summer, at the beginning of March. I’m not psychic, this only happens with my babies. Over the course of summer I told a few people that I’d conceive at the end of summer. Dom and I decided that we’d wean Pip from feeding to sleep and through February I went out with friends for dinner and have a wine or two, I went on a girls trip away, it was a really lovely time.

“I had a feeling I would conceive on the 5th of March. I went home after being out with friends on the 4th and Dom and I had a wine outside and when the clock ticked over to the 5th, we conceived Bobby. Immediately I felt pregnant and we did an early pregnancy test and it was positive.

“My pregnancy with Pippa was amazing but this pregnancy was tough. I got progressively sicker and sicker; my nausea just got worse. I wasn’t vomiting till after 17 weeks and it was worse the more tired I got and I also had pregnancy insomnia. I felt like I had no reserves. I caught every bug going around; I spent so many weeks in bed. I also had pregnancy sinusitis which is caused by hormones so no medication could help. I was doing salt water and hot baths, shoving tissues up my nose and then that affected me being able to sleep. I also got a cracked rib from coughing which made vomiting and sneezing incredibly painful. My vomiting stopped for the last few weeks of pregnancy.

“I went through Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) again and I had a lovely new midwife who was great. I started to grieve not being able to connect with Pippa because I didn’t have the energy to give her and I couldn’t pick her up because of my cracked rib. With insomnia – and I wasn’t sleeping at all – I got social anxiety because I could hardly talk. I went into a dark space and that’s so unlike me.

“My blood results showed incredibly low iron in the third trimester so I got an iron transfusion and then I posted on instagram about it and so many people alerted me to the connection between low iron and insomnia which I had no idea about. Before I had Bobby I had two weeks of solid sleep and it was so good. Ten days after the infusion I was sleeping; it was absolutely connected. While I was getting my infusion it made me realise how busy it was in hospital and the next day I had a day at home on my own. I did a meditation and it got me to walk to the table and walk any fears, concerns and hopes about my birth and then tie it to a balloon and let it go. It was the first time I’d articulated what I wanted because I didn’t want to get attached to anything, to avoid disappointment. But when I actually thought about it, I was scared to lose the labour experience because my first labour was so short. I wanted a slower birth this time and I had a fear of transferring from home to hospital. When Dom got home I told him. He was shocked at first but it didn’t take him long to get on board.

“I had the same midwife and she was so happy to support me at home. It was a publicly funded homebirth but I had to buy the birth pool. I bought an inflatable spa tub online which was about $400 and it was the exact same measurements of the birth pool and it keeps the temperature of the water stable the entire time.

“I had a strong feeling about the date and I told my midwife the day I met her. That same day was a blood moon lunar eclipse and we pulled the couch out to the garden to watch it. We went to bed at midnight and I woke at 4am with a buzzing energy. I had my first contraction at 6:30am and bizarrely it was exactly the same time as I started labouring with Pippa. It was really light and slow to start and it felt similar to braxton hicks but the buzzing energy was different. By 9:30am it ramped up so Dom called the midwife.

“It was a slower labour and I felt like I could talk which I really couldn’t do with Pip. Bobby was posterior so I was labouring on the ball with the TENS machine and I really loved it. When the midwife arrived she encouraged me to jump in the water and I was in there for five hours. Maybe it slowed things down and I started to doubt and my midwife picked up on that. She asked if I wanted to be checked and when she did she told me I was full dilated and it gave me permission to drop into another head space.

“With Pippa my body pushed and she was out within a few minutes. With Bobby, it was much longer; we got through the birth playlist two times. It was much slower; there were big gaps between contractions. Bobby’s head was out and I wanted my mum there so she came in with Pip and that’s when I felt Bobby’s wriggling and he was born and I brought him up to my chest. The euphoria in the room was so beautiful; there was so much joy. When she cuddled him on the bed for the first time she whispered to him: it’s okay Bobby, I’m going to look after you. It was my favourite moment of my whole life; it was just so special.

“I had really bad afterbirth pains and I knew the TENS could help. I moved the pads to my front. They were far worse than birth and some of the contractions went for 20 minutes, it was awful. I had them for 48 hours. I absolutely loved being nested at home and it was so different from my first. I lay on the spare bed while the midwives stitched me and there was nothing scary about it; it was very calm and much nicer than the first time. My midwives had everything they needed and my mum was initially fearful about a homebirth but afterwards she was really amazed at the support that was offered.

“I had a lot of fear with my prolapse because it got really bad during pregnancy when I got sick. But, it got 150% better after birth and I wasn’t expecting it and I’m still amazed at how much strength I’ve regained. Up until a few weeks before birth I was using a ring pessary every day but I haven’t had to use it since and I haven’t had any issues.”

Topics Discussed

afterbirth pains, homebirth, low iron, MGP, pregnancy insomnia, Prolapse, Two Babies, Waterbirth

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode of the show is brought to you by my Mother’s Day sale.

You can enjoy 15% off all my online courses this week with the code mothersday15

That means that The Birth Class comes down to $211.65.

My Breastfeeding PDF Guide you can download, comes down to $24.65

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You can buy The Birth Bundle, which includes all the courses and that is now down to $296.65 and that includes Discovering Motherhood, my postpartum series.

The discount code is ‘mothersday15’ and that offer ends 18 May 2023.

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