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 today’s episode, Kelsey shares her three birth stories which detail her evolution as a birthing mother. In her first birth she requested an induction which led to the cascade of intervention; an epidural, instrumental birth, PPH and retained placenta. She found her first postpartum particularly challenging and when she felt ready to conceive again, she experienced three miscarriages, including the loss of identical twins at 11 weeks. In her final two pregnancies, she embraced birth education and midwifery care to prepare for physiological births which left her feeling on top of the world.
“I was pregnant on my wedding day but I didn’t know. I was quite far along when I discovered I was pregnant because I’d had some early bleeding which I thought was my period. I was on my honeymoon when I did a pregnancy test and I was quite sick and of course I’d been drinking on my hen’s night and wedding day so I was madly googling whether I’d harmed my baby. Despite this I was high on happiness and I just napped a lot.
“My GP sent me for a dating scan and I was 9 weeks + 5 days. I look back and cringe a bit because I had no idea about my care options so I asked my GP and he suggested shared care which I did. I didn’t have a hospital appointment till 20 weeks and I just felt like I was lost, not really knowing what came next or what I had to do.
“I asked for an induction quite early – at 40+4 – and they agreed to it. The only reason I wanted to do it was because my family was visiting from overseas for my sister’s wedding. I went in late in the day and they put the cervical gel in and encouraged me to sleep and then through the night they put the foley balloon in to help dilate the cervix. At 9am the next morning they broke my waters and I was hooked up to the syntocinon drip. I wanted an epidural but I didn’t feel like I needed it at the beginning but by early afternoon I agreed to it.
“When it came to pushing I had no idea if I was doing it right because I couldn’t feel a thing. The obstetrician gave me an episiotomy but he still wouldn’t come so he was born with vacuum-assistance. I lost quite a lot of blood and was very faint so I have very foggy memories of that part of my birth. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even hold Walter. I also had a temperature and so did Walt so they took him to special care. My placenta wouldn’t detach despite me having the injection so they tugged on the cord and it broke. I was vomiting and shaking and there was so much I don’t remember.
“Walt was in special care for four days but they were never really worried. I stayed for four days too as I needed antibiotics. The midwives were encouraging me to feed Walt every three hours and they topped him up with formula, too. They also encouraged me to pump but I found it really difficult.
“I was so happy to be home but once we were settled I started feeling really down and I was so fatigued, more than I’ve ever been in my life. I found out at six weeks that I had fractured my tailbone so I was really sore. I have always been very maternal and thought that would continue into postpartum but I didn’t feel maternal at all and it was really hard. I thought I was going to be so good at it and asked my mum: why aren’t I good at this? I also couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding and I grieved that so much and everyone around me was encouraging me to formula feed so I found myself sneakily breastfeeding. There were just so many emotions in the first few months and combined with sleep deprivation I was just so overwhelmed. I remember thinking that it was all normal for new motherhood; I only wanted to see my mum, I didn’t want to go out, I feared the night and I remember being so relieved when the sun came up. I also had such a strong anxiety around his sleep and that he slept in his bassinet. I feel bad now that Walt just didn’t get the best of me but I also know he’s not lacking in love, he’s fine.
“I fell pregnant again and I had an early miscarriage and then I felt there was a pressure to conceive again. Not long after I was pregnant but I was spotting and I miscarried again. I later discovered that I ovulate very late so I started taking progesterone after I ovulated to extend the luteal phase although it was medication that my GP prescribed very reluctantly. Four or five months after my second miscarriage I conceived identical twins which was a huge shock. I went for a second scan at 9 weeks and they were MCMA twins which are the most high-risk because they share a sac and a placenta. From that point on I was excited but I was also very anxious. I wasn’t bleeding at all and there were no issues so when I went to my third scan to meet the maternal foetal medicine specialist and that’s when I found out there were no heartbeats. The specialist reiterated how risky this form of twins was throughout the pregnancy and that I would have been on bedrest in hospital from 26 weeks. I immediately felt like I needed a D+C and he organised it for me that afternoon. A few weeks later I was having a lot of pain and they found retained product so I had to go back for a second D+C. It was really traumatic.
“I felt like I just needed to conceive again and I knew the likelihood of falling pregnant after a D+C was quite high. When I fell pregnant again it was Chloe and she had a strong heartbeat. I saw my wonderful GP again and she reassured me that too many scans weren’t a good thing but she agreed to a 6, 10 and 12 week scan.
“Someone had told me about Perth Pregnancy Centre which is a community midwifery clinic that offers continuity of care but they don’t come to the birth. I did that and had one midwife throughout which was really nice. I did hypnobirthing and I loved it…some of the recordings were bit much but the education was amazing and it was through that course that I learnt about the cascade of intervention which is exactly what unfolded with Walter’s birth.
“I was adamant that I wouldn’t be induced and I went into spontaneous labour at 40+3. I was at the park with Walter and I started getting very mild contractions and we went home and I started timing them and they were consistently three minutes apart. The app was telling me to go to the hospital but I wasn’t even sure I was in labour, I was talking completely normally. I tried to have a sleep but I was too excited so I bounced on the ball and my mum came over and she was so keen for me to go to hospital.
“I wish I hadn’t gone in as early as I did. By the time I got there and they checked me I was only 3cm so they monitored me for half-an-hour and all of a sudden my contractions were so much more painful. At about 9:30pm I got in the bath but it was really small and I couldn’t get comfortable so I got out and put the TENS machine on, not knowing that you need to start it early. I asked for an epidural and my mum was like: why don’t we use the gas + air? and it did help a lot. I was transitioning and sitting on the ball and felt Chloe drop into the birth canal and my waters broke. I couldn’t sit anymore so I just screamed for an epidural and the midwives just suggested they check me. They could see there was meconium in the waters so they emphasised how important it was for me to start pushing. I kept saying no until one of the midwives stood beside me and reassured me that I could do it. Chloe was born soon after and was crying but they had to check her airways and then within a minute she was on my chest. I was high as anything; I could have had one hundred more babies at that moment. She latched straightaway and while they’d given me the syntocinon injection the placenta wouldn’t budge so I had to go to theatre so they could manually remove it.
“We were ready to start trying again when Chloe was one. I took progesterone again and I conceived three months after we started trying but I miscarried. We tried for a few more months but nothing happened so we decided to take a break because we had a few holidays planned. But then we fell pregnant.
“I tried to get into the family birth centre but I couldn’t get in because of my placenta issues. My GP wrote me a referral to the women’s hospital because they supported water births and I was adamant that that’s what I wanted. I did The Birth Class and it was just amazing, especially Jodi’s episode on breath and sound which I listened to over and over again. My husband is super anxious and he was so scared in Chloe’s birth and he never clicked with the hypnobirthing so I had my sister’s supporting me for Florence’s labour. I also hired a doula who did a lot of education with me.
“I was 40+3 and I had been having a lot of braxton hicks so I was unsure whether I was in labour but by dinnertime I knew it was on. The contractions were really close together and long but not painful. By about 11pm they spread out and I was really worried that I’d called my sisters unnecessarily. I had the TENS machine on and I was anxious about the drive to hospital and decided to go in, even though it was probably a bit early.
“I was 3cm and the midwives encouraged me to walk a few laps around the hospital. I was curb-walking and I was having to stop regularly and my doula suggested we go back up to the ward. I lay on the bed using a peanut ball and I was moaning so they checked me again and I was 7-8cm. I went into the beautiful birth room and I had to get a cannula in my hand because they were concerned about retained placenta. I then walked towards the bath and I could feel her head and I looked up and made eye contact with my doula and she just started telling me I was safe. My body just started pushing and I was holding her head and she was born on the next contraction.
“My student midwife and doula advocated for me to have an hour after birth to try and birth the placenta and I tried every position but it just got to the point where I needed to go to theatre. I had expressed colostrum and my sisters gave it to Florence while I was away.”
Epidural, Induction, Miscarriage, PPH, Progesterone, Retained placenta, The Birth Class, Three babies, vacuum-assisted birth
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