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Episode 480

Sea – MGP, physiological birth, positive birth story, Indigenous, planned postpartum

Sea shared her first three physiological births in episode 304 and today she returns to tell us all about her fourth pregnancy and birth. Little Leia was a big surprise but Sea took it in her stride - as most mums of four do - and managed to get in the MGP program at Cairns Hospital which gave her access to the spacious rooms in the birthing suite. She stayed active throughout her pregnancy, consciously planned for postpartum so she had the support to stay home for six weeks after birth and experienced a beautiful waterbirth. This episode is a powerful reminder that birth can be quiet, calm, gentle and positive.

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Listen to Sea’s first three births in episode 304.

“Leia was a big surprise; I was seven weeks when I found out I was pregnant. Luna is 7, Lilikoi is 5, London is two and Leia is almost seven weeks. I told everyone early on and to be honest, no one was shocked. I got into the group midwifery programme again which was really lovely. Cairns Hospital also has a birth suite for the MGP programme and all the rooms have a queen bed and birthing pool so I was very excited to give birth there.

“I always forget how awful the first trimester is; I don’t vomit but I feel really nauseous and I’m exhausted and this time those symptoms lasted till 20 weeks. Physically I felt like I was really healthy and strong but I noticed that my tummy was heavier a lot earlier. I planned a natural waterbirth but as always I reeducated myself and was open to all possibilities.

“At the 20 week scan they could see that the ureter was a bit dilated on the right kidney and that meant I had to have a few extra scans. It continued to be dilated throughout the whole pregnancy but because the amniotic fluid was staying normal they didn’t think it was affecting her kidney function. Part of me was a bit worried but because the doctors weren’t particularly worried and the amount it was dilated was on the smaller side, that gave me reassurance that it was probably going to be fine.

“Pregnancy isn’t a physical hindrance for me so I still run and hike and do everything I usually would. I started doing birth preparation three or four weeks before my expected due date; practising my breathing techniques, repeating affirmations and visualising her birth. I was really focussed on my postpartum; making sure I had people supporting me with the older kids, prep some meals so I felt nourished and I spent a lot of time making sure the house was in order so I didn’t have to leave for 4-6 weeks.

“My braxton hicks started a lot earlier and as it got closer to my due date they were strong but they wouldn’t build. Every time I wondered if it was labour starting. My due date came and went so when I was 41+1 I asked my midwife Anna to come over and give me a stretch and sweep; that was about 5pm at night. It wasn’t particularly uncomfortable and my mucous plug had come out earlier that day so I knew things were progressing. We got the girls into bed at about 7pm and contractions were coming pretty consistently but I was breathing easily through them.

“I went to bed about 8:30pm and I was sleeping and waking lightly to breathe through contractions. By about 11:30pm I got up and my contractions were lasting about 40 seconds and coming every seven minutes. At midnight my sister was with me, reassuring me. I gave Anna a call to let her know and she encouraged me to give it another three or four hours. At 1:30am I had a contraction that required me to calm my body and face and that was when I thought I should probably go to hospital.

“When I get to hospital my body knows it can do what it needs to do. I had two contractions walking from the car to emergency and then another two on the way to maternity. The midwives encouraged me to go into a room so I laboured in there and my husband was pressing into my lower back. Anna got to the hospital at 2am and we went into the birthing suite and I got straight in the shower. I was really comfortable and the water felt great. I got in the bath once it was full – it was about 2:20am then – and I felt really calm and I could feel her head coming down. I had one more contraction and breathed and let her start coming out. Her head was still in the membrane and I just sat like that for a while, waiting for the next contraction. And then her body came out and she was here. She was born at 2:45am.

“For me the most comfortable place to birth the placenta is on the toilet so I did that, had a shower and then got into bed to give her a big feed. I birth really quietly and it’s such a beautiful experience. I was quite prepared for the after pains but they only lasted for two days and my bleeding wasn’t very heavy and it didn’t last for long. My milk came in quickly too but I didn’t feel like I had a huge hormonal drop but I also had a great support network in place.

“We were home at 7am and the girls got to meet her before they went to school and daycare. I was a bit worried about London because she’d just turned two but she’s obsessed with Leia; it was so nice to see her. I love getting home, eating yummy food and being able to sleep and rest without being monitored. Leai was feeding well and had lots of wet and dirty nappies so it was a really easy transition.”

Topics Discussed

Indigenous, MGP, Physiological birth, planned postpartum, positive birth story

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