Confidently prepare for a positive birth experience – Join The Birth Class
What is infertility?
The Two Week Wait
Prenatal versus Postnatal Supplements. What’s the Difference?
Why are prenatal vitamins so important in pregnancy?
How to Prepare for a Positive Induction
Postpartum Essentials to Aid Your Recovery
In this episode Elizabeth shares her first pregnancy and birth experience. She had bloods done before her copper IUD was removed as she has coeliac disease and wanted to ensure her iron levels were adequate before she conceived. Having been a listener of the podcast, she was interested in her local MGP programme and ensured her GP referral was sent early. Elizabeth prepared for birth with The Birth Class and went into spontaneous labour at 41 weeks. Her labour was textbook and she explains in detail the tools she used to navigate contractions. This is a wonderful episode if you’re after a positive, physiological birth story to inform and inspire you. You can listen to Elizabeth’s early postpartum journey in episode 420.
“I had a copper IUD in so I had to have it removed in early 2022 with the plan to conceive. Getting it removed was quick and easy which was great. I’m also coeliac which is a malabsorption auto-immune disease so I knew I had to get on top of my iron and folate levels before I conceived. I started on a triple-dose of folate to be extra cautious and my GP advised me to take that along with iron prior to getting my IUD removed.
“I had my period when the IUD was removed and then I didn’t get another one; I’d fallen pregnant that first month. My GP was flattered that I had enquired about shared care but she encouraged me to look into MGP at my local hospital. I knew I needed an early referral so I got that and I heard from the hospital a few weeks later. I was amazed at the level of care they offered and I stayed in touch with my GP till I saw my midwives at 20 weeks. My first appointment was via zoom but from then on it was face-to-face. I got off that call and was so elated; it was a level of care that I didn’t expect but felt so lucky to have.
“I did The Birth Class early on in the pregnancy and I did it straight away but took it slowly. I retained the information really well and I found doing it early in pregnancy really helpful for when the birth prep appointments with my midwife came about. It got me excited from early on and it set my birth mindset and encouraged me to really trust the process. I wanted to have an unmedicated birth and I was only met with support and confidence from my midwife.
“I went on maternity leave at 36 weeks and spent the last month nesting and preparing a lot of food and that brought me a lot of joy. I did the Thompson method which was okay although I found it a bit confusing. It gave me a good idea of what to expect from a newborn and made me relaxed about cluster feeding.
“As part of my midwife appointments, we met in a hall with other mums and their midwives and we’d do a bit of birth education before going to our appointments. It was really nice being with people who were the same gestation as you and you could be honest with them and they would say: ‘yeah, me too!’
“At my 38 week my midwife noticed that my fundal measurement hadn’t changed since my 36 week appointment so she suggested a growth scan. The results showed my baby was fine so that was positive and put my mind at ease. I also had low platelets in late pregnancy and the concern was that if I wanted an epidural, I wouldn’t be able to. At the end of pregnancy they did bloods again and my platelets were back to normal which was great. From then I just tried to rest and relax.
“One day after my due date I was like: ‘where is this baby?’ There were so many unknowns in that time and I’m a planner and you can’t plan any of it so I found it hard. I was very emotional in the last few weeks. I had an appointment at 40+3 and they offered me a stretch and sweep but I declined; I just didn’t feel ready. I asked if they’d do it a few days later and they said that wasn’t a problem so I had that as a bit of an option. However, it ended up being a very busy week for the midwives.
“I wasn’t having any niggles during the night which concerned me a bit. I also had an induction scheduled for 40+10 so that was in the back of my mind. I didn’t even have a big drop in my belly. I ended up going into the birth suite for a stretch and sweep and she told me I was already 1cm and I really loved having the emotional support of her. I left that appointment feeling really great and I was a bit crampy which was a good sign. At 5pm I had a contraction and within 10 minutes I’d had three. They were short but frequent and they kept coming which was really exciting.
“I called my midwife and she was on overnight so she told me to eat some dinner and get some rest. I had my TENS machine on already at this point and she reiterated that it could take days. She really encouraged me to lie down in bed and sleep and I tried but I couldn’t. The contractions were there and they weren’t stopping. I had to go to the bathroom a lot – frequent diarrhea – which was uncomfortable. By 9:30pm I called my midwife and she encouraged me to keep going.
“I didn’t do much else but focussed on breathing and visualising and opening. The TENS provided a lot of relief for me and I didn’t want to stop so I just kept going with it. We set up a mattress on the floor and I just got lower and lower and I kicked my feet into the ground and had Jodi’s voice from The Birth Class in my head. The contractions were building in waves and then I’d have a longer break. I told my husband we’d get to midnight and then decide and at 12:30am we called the midwife. She encouraged us to come in and meet her at the hospital at 1am. I was feeling really sleepy between contractions, on the ground leaning over pillows and I couldn’t stand up. In the last part of the phone call I had a huge contraction. I got into the car and looking back I was transitioning; I was holding onto the car handle and kicking my feet into the floor.
“We got to the hospital, I had a huge contraction and then I got out of the car. I had another one and I was just around the corner from the birth suite when I felt like I could push. My husband was encouraging me to get into the birthing unit and I was standing at the counter and I was on the ground, half pushing. A midwife walked past and knew what stage I was at so she got us into a room. At this point the TENS machine wasn’t doing anything. I ripped my clothes off and got on the bed and soon after Melinda my midwife came in. I told her I needed to push and she was so calm and told me that I could do what I wanted to do. She asked me if I wanted to be checked and she told my husband she thinks I was about 8cm going off the ‘purple line’ on my sacrum. I rolled over and she checked me and she was right. My waters were bulging and that was the pressure I was feeling.
“I did a few deep pushes and then my waters broke and it was immensely relieving. Then I went back to having that urge to push. I found the pushing stage really full on; it took me a while to figure out how to push the energy downwards; I was overwhelmed with the sensation. I was leaning over the bed, gripping onto the bed because the internal power was so intense. I ended up lying on my side with my leg up and it was so much easier in that position. Within a few more pushes Margaret was born and she was on my belly (she had a short cord) and I was in complete shock. I just couldn’t believe it; I didn’t have those immediate feelings of love.”
physiological birth with MGP, Spontaneous labour, TENS machine, The Birth Class
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