Confidently prepare for a positive birth experience – Join The Birth Class

Episode 439

Shuana – vulva varicosities, The Birth Class, unplanned homebirth

You can listen to Shuana’s first birth in episode 296 where she details her really positive physiological birth under midwifery care. Today she takes us through her unplanned second pregnancy which took her months to embrace considering she’d just returned to work and didn’t feel prepared for two under two. She was allocated the same midwife through the MGP programme and listened to the yoga nidra meditation in The Birth Class everyday of her pregnancy. She woke at 41+5 to mild cramps and later that evening light contractions began which she welcomed with the utmost excitement. A mere two hours later she birthed her baby girl in her loungeroom, her midwife on the phone and four paramedics by her side. Shuana also discusses the new public hospital home birth programme that has just launched on the Central Coast of NSW; a really positive step forward that makes home birth much more accessible.

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“We didn’t plan Bobbie’s pregnancy so it was a huge surprise. We thought people who had two kids under two were outrageous so we were thrown by her pregnancy. We didn’t feel like it was the right time; I’d just gone back to work, Teddy had just turned one and started daycare and I feel like I was at the stage where I was just trying to find my feet and my balance again. At that point in time I was also starting to look into becoming a doula because I was so obsessed by all things pregnancy and birth.

“I’d only got my period back two months beforehand because I was still breastfeeding. I didn’t think I was pregnant but just wanted to be sure that I wasn’t because my periods were quite irregular. We were both in shock and found it really hard to process but we decided to go with it and hope for the best. It took me a long time to feel excited and accepting of the pregnancy; it took me till about 25 weeks to feel positive about it.

“My only pregnancy symptoms were vulva varicosities which were truly awful. They were really bad and they were everywhere and I found the pain was so much worse at the end of the day. Resting and putting ice on them were the only treatments that were recommended and I found the Baremum icepack that I could wear. I messaged my amazing midwife that I’d had throughout Teddy’s pregnancy and I knew I needed that safe person and continuity of care. She wrote back and told me I would be on the MGP programme.

“At my 12 week blood test my iron levels were really low so I had an iron infusion at 18 weeks. At my 20 week appointment my midwife gave me a beautiful piece of advice. She said: when you put the baby to bed, put the mum to bed. Everynight I would dim the lights, light a candle, have a shower and listen to Jodi’s yoga nidra from The Birth Class and that was really helpful advice. It really helped me prepare for labour too so when I was listening to the nidra, I was thinking about what labour would be like.

“I really started to feel better mentally at 25 weeks; I felt so much better all of a sudden and that was roughly six weeks after the infusion. I know low iron is linked to anxiety and depression and that was definitely my experience. The Central Coast was bringing in a public hospital homebirth programme that was kicking off in October and Bobbie was due on the 15th. Genevieve my midwife asked me if I was interested and while I was interested, I also felt like I needed to think about it. However, I later found out it wouldn’t work for me as it was officially beginning on the 26th October and I was due on the 15th…..but then I had Bobbie on the 27th.

“My plan was to labour at home for as long as possible and hopefully have a waterbirth. I still had access to The Birth Class and even though so much of it was still fresh in my mind, I relistened to Rhea Dempsey’s episode, Jodi’s episode on breath and sound and Lauretta’s episode on optimal maternal positioning. I also listened to the podcast everyday; it’s just a normal thing for me to do. I also bought the book which was so amazing; even as a second-time mum I still got so much from it. I copied all the affirmations from the book and stuck them all around the house.

“The last five days of my pregnancy were really hard; I was waking up everyday feeling completely defeated as I got closer to 42 weeks. Induction was also looming as well so I really felt like the most effective thing I could do was relax so I took it really slowly and did Jodi’s yoga nidra everyday.

“I woke up at 41+5 and felt very emotional. It was about 3am and I felt on the verge of tears. I got in the shower and noticed I had a bloody show and then went back to bed. I noticed light cramps coming every half an hour and at lunchtime that day they stopped but they returned in the early afternoon.

“I got home from a wellbeing scan at 5pm and I remember getting out of the car and having my first contraction, excited that early labour had started. I was making Teddy’s dinner and getting him into the bath so I was quite distracted for the hour. I was also so excited that labour had started that I was really embracing the contractions. My mother-in-law picked up Teddy at about 6pm and she noticed that I’d had two contractions in 10 minutes but I didn’t feel like I needed to go to hospital. She later said she had a feeling that I was further along than I thought I was.

“I had a shower, put the fairy lights on, attached the TENS machine and holding the birth comb. I was trying to get some rest on the bed and Dan came in about 6:30pm to sit with me. I started timing the contractions and doing deep breathing and from about 6:45pm they ramped up and I started making oohhhh and ahhh noises. I messaged Geneveive and told her that labour was escalating and that I’d probably be in active labour overnight. Till 7:20pm I was on the bed and moaning and in hindsight I should have gone to hospital at that point but I felt like I was handling them really well. I then had a huge contraction which was the start of transition and I got on all fours, my voice went really high and my waters broke all over the bed. I literally felt Bobbie drop into my birth canal, I felt everything opening and felt her moving down.

“Dan called Genevieve while I was in the bathroom and she could hear me. She suggested calling the ambulance as we lived thirty minutes from the hospital. I remember thinking we were so fine, that I had another few hours and we would make it to the hospital. I took ten steps from the bathroom to the living area and the contractions were rolling on top of another and I felt so much pressure in my bum and could feel her moving down. I got on all fours and was holding onto the rug and asked Dan to call the ambulance. His face was white.

“I started roaring and couldn’t control the sounds. The woman on the phone told me to get on my back and I refused and then she told me the ambulance was on its way. Two ambulances arrived at 7:45pm and four paramedics walked in and they were so lovely. With the next contraction I instinctively started pushing, the fetal ejection reflex really kicked in, it was like she was just coming out herself. The paramedic told me to do a big push but Genevieve was on the phone and she told me not to push, that the baby needed to turn. Bobbie was crying and then on the next contraction she was born at 8pm. I couldn’t stop shaking and felt absolutely full of adrenaline but I was also completely elated. I was taken in the ambulance to the hospital and we met Genevieve there. It was a really positive birth but we’re not planning on having anymore babies so it was a shock that I’d made it to the birth room but never got to have my waterbirth in there. I birthed the placenta and didn’t have any tears or grazes so we left the hospital at about 1am.”

Topics Discussed

MGP, The Birth Class, Two Babies, unplanned homebirth, unplanned pregnancy, vulva varicosities

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode is proudly brought to you by Bliss Birth. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and it’s a fantastic pain relief device with no side effects unlike pharmaceuticals. I used the Elle tens in all three of my labours.

Ariel from Bliss Birth has been supporting the podcast for years and has offered a discount for you to hire a tens for 8 or 4 weeks and it comes with everything you would need, as well as the option for really fast postage if women are booking at the last minute

You can enjoy 10% off your Tens hire at Bliss Birth use code ABS23 at checkout

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