Prepare for a positive birth with The Birth Class

Episode 405

Keira – IVF, hyperemesis gravidarum

Keira shared her first birth story in episode 248 and today she takes us through her second pregnancy, detailing the head game of IVF, the daily challenge of severe hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and the positive birth of her daughter, Goldie. Keira was vomiting between 30 and 40 times a day in this pregnancy, she had suicidal thoughts, was bedbound and literally counted down the days till birth. She describes it as a horrific pregnancy but was also strong and capable enough to advocate for herself in the hospital system, seek the support of Hyperemesis Australia and is now sharing her story to educate others.

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“At three months postpartum with my son, I was eager to have another baby. We always knew we wanted a big family and a close gap between them. I had one embryo on ice but we knew we wanted more than one child so we decided to do another full round of IVF to hopefully get more embryos in the bank. I’ve got really bad endometriosis so I decided to do exactly what I’d done to conceive Hunter; I had endo surgery, IVF and took medication.

“When Hunter was one I had endo surgery and it was stage 4 again and then I went straight into IVF. I increased my medications in the hope that I would get more embryos and I felt like I would cope better mentally because I had Hunter. But when you’re in IVF you’re so consumed by it and I was shocked this time around how strong that feeling still was. I got burnt out really quickly and found it really emotional. I got three eggs and I was broken; I thought the whole round was a write off. On day three we still had three embryos and then we got to day five and had three beautiful embryos. It’s such a numbers game and that call from the embryologist is so excruciating.

“They implanted one embryo and then I waited for two weeks. I’m a serial pregnancy tester and it’s such a head game. I was prepping for the worst because I had HG with Hunter so I prepared our nanny for the fact that I got very sick, I employed staff for the business, I went on my medication protocol for blood clotting. I spoke to Caitlin from Hyperemesis Australia and she was a lifeline for me. I started vomiting at four-and-a-half weeks. The HG was triple the intensity of my first pregnancy.

“I welcomed it in the first trimester but I knew pretty quickly that I’d need additional medications. It was a horrific pregnancy. On top of feeling nauseous and vomiting, I was wetting myself because my pelvic floor wasn’t what I thought it was. Then I got covid and pneumonia and I was persistently coughing. I was in hospital quite regularly getting fluids and I felt like an absent parent to Hunter; it was the hardest thing, it really was such a horrible time. From mid-way through the second trimester I couldn’t function; I was vomiting 30-40 times a day, I had suicidal thoughts, I stayed in bed all day.

“This was my ninth pregnancy; it was so wanted, so having thoughts of terminating an IVF pregnancy is a dark place to be. Towards the end of the pregnancy I was vomiting blood and bile in the morning, if I went out I would have to take a spare pair of undies and pants…the anxiety I developed was horrific. It got to the point where I was resentful even when I felt her kicking.

“With Hunter it took me till 25 weeks to realise that what I was going through wasn’t normal. I was vomiting 6-10 times a day with him, very dehydrated. I told my OB how sick I was and I showed him my pukey test (you monitor how much you gag and vomit, the colour of your urine etc) and that was when I got my official diagnosis.

“When I went into hospital I really advocated for myself and outlined how severe it was. My local hospital admitted me into their hospital in the home option for HG, and that allowed me to be hydrated in my house. From that I was in survival mode. It took me till four weeks postpartum to get my appetite back.

“I’ve got a history of depression and PTSD so I was conscious of that but I also knew that the only solution was to give birth. It was literally a countdown from 15 weeks and then I begged my obstetrician to have her early. I asked to be induced at 36 weeks and when I started vomiting blood he said we had medical grounds to do that but he really wanted to wait till 37 weeks. I barely got out of bed and I wasn’t watching Netflix; I was sleeping all day and was back in bed by 7pm each night. It was such an unusual way of living.

“In my postpartum I had intense baby blues and I had to get out of the house. I had a plan to have a slow postpartum but what felt good for me was getting out of the house and not feeling confined to bed.

“I had an induction date and having that countdown was so good for me mentally. It was such a different vibe because Hunter came early and I had nothing ready. This time I was prepared. I needed the feminine energy, support and guidance of my friend Rachel and my partner was there, too. I’d had braxton hicks, I’d lost some of my mucous plug so my OB put the gel in and then I had to wait six hours. Within 10 minutes I was having contractions and six hours went by and then they broke my waters and it was on; there was no need for the syntocinon drip. Rach came in looking so glamorous and she set up the room so beautifully.

“I used the TENS machine which was incredible, Anthony was doing hip squeezes, Rach was using the orgasmatron head massager on my head; it was all perfect. I got to 7cm pretty quickly. I was at 9cm when Goldie’s heart rate was high and everyone was getting a bit concerned. I asked for the epidural and she was born within 10 minutes of me getting it. It was really calm and she came so quickly…we had a beautiful golden hour.

“It took three to four weeks to get my appetite back. I had intense baby blues for about three weeks and for no real reason. No one prepares you for the complexity of bringing home your second baby. Hunter was raised by the nanny because I’d barely been there and I missed him so much. I also had intense anxiety and I felt so broken and rattled by Goldie’s crying. The fog eventually lifted and I had a beautiful family weekend and I needed that to know I’m still his mum. I’m hyper aware of my mental health and I’m on antidepressants and having therapy through the Gidget Foundation.”


Listen to Keira’s first birth story in episode 248

Visit Hyperemesis Australia here

Topics Discussed

baby blues, Endometriosis, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), IVF, Positive induction

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