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Episode 482

Bee – spontaneous labour, The Birth Class, sterile water injections, episiotomy, vacuum assisted birth

Bee came to her first pregnancy like most women do; with the understanding that birth is incredibly hard and painful - something to be endured. Understandably, she was terrified and not interested in hearing anyone’s birth story. Thankfully, she was accepted into MGP early on and had a beautiful, supportive midwife on her side. She also started listening to the podcast and soon realised she had the opportunity to learn a whole new vocabulary and get educated about birth, an experience that can be positive and empowering. She went into spontaneous labour and spent most of her labour at home before transferring to the birth centre. She pushed for a few hours before making the decision to move to the birthing suite for assistance. Bee’s story is a beautiful example of the power of education to make informed decisions every step of the way.

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“We’d been married for two years when we started trying. I’d been on the pill through most of my twenties so we thought it would take a while. I’d never really tracked my cycle but when I started paying attention, but we ended up conceiving on the second month of trying. We told my parents at six weeks and I told my soccer team really early on and that’s how I found out about MGP.

“I was quite terrified of birth before I fell pregnant. Anytime I spoke to my mum or certain people about pregnancy and birth, it felt like they told me it was hard and the most painful thing I’d ever do. That was my only point of reference. I told my friend I was pregnant at five weeks and she told me I had to listen to Australian Birth Stories and I was hesitant at first but then more people told me about it so I gave it a go and then you were my number one most listened to podcast on spotify wrapped. I started listening to your most recent episode and went back from there; I had no language to describe birth so I didn’t even know what to look for. That played in my favour because I was so open to listening to every story.

“My midwife – Tash – is the most incredible midwife. She works out of Concord Hospital and from the first time we met her she was so warm and kind. It was such personal care and we felt so lucky to have her. I made a commitment to have Tash as my one health professional and I really stuck with your podcast for stories. Tash really helped pace my decision making which was really helpful. I started to get quite excited by birth; learning takes a backseat when you’re an adult so it was wonderful to learn about different types of birth and the language of birth. I really enjoyed educating myself.

“I had a bit of anxiety because I didn’t have any nausea in the first trimester and I had cramping (but no spotting). My midwife told me to message her at any time of the day and she called me to reassure me. The cramps subsided after two weeks but it was unsettling during that time.

“I got to 40 weeks and still feeling quite good. My sleep was patchy and I had bad hip pain but apart from that I was really well. I’m quite a planner but Rob and I really enjoyed not having a set plan – it was like bonus time – and we hung out for a few days. On the Wednesday morning – I was 40+5 – I had a bloody show so I put on a pad and thought I’d just get on with my day. That evening there was a bit more fluid coming out so I messaged my midwife to ask if it could be my waters. I sent her a photo of my pad and she encouraged me to go to the hospital to have a few checks. I was birthing at RPA so Tash met us there and did some monitoring but I knew from that point I was on the clock. She encouraged me to go home and rest and gave me the details of a nearby acupuncture clinic to go to the next day.

“I lay on the bed at home and had my first contraction which was like going from zero to one hundred. I went straight to the bathroom and started vomiting. From then on I was contracting every five minutes or so and I continued vomiting for six hours. The distraction aspect of the TENS machine was useful and Rob continued calling Tash who was a really calming presence even over the phone. The vomiting did scare me; I was shaking and getting cold and hot which was unsettling. The contractions were coming on so quickly and were so strong but I could still talk so I really wasn’t sure if it was the right time to go to hospital.

“Rob had listened to Rhea’s episode in The Birth Class so we both knew how important support and not pity was for me when I was having a crisis of confidence. I made the decision early on that I didn’t want an epidural. I was worried about getting dehydrated so Tash encouraged us to go in so we left home about 5am. Once we were in the birth centre Tash asked if I wanted a vaginal examination and she told me I was ready to go; I was fully dilated. I spent some time in the shower and got in the bath and that’s when the back pain took over; it began to feel really overwhelming. Tash offered to give me sterile water injections and they were horrible but they helped the back pain. I got on the birth stool and there was a mirror underneath me so I could see Peggy’s head moving down. After a while I lay on my side on the bed and Tash guided me because I was finding the intuitive pushing and the strength required to be quite difficult.

“I was so depleted, having not being able to keep anything down, and I was starting to shake trying to hold the force. I pushed for a bit longer and I so badly wanted to meet my baby but I felt like I needed assistance. We made the decision to move to the birthing suite and it was such a different scene; we went from soft lighting and music to lights, camera, action. I had to get a cannula in for syntocinon and it took four attempts because I was so dehydrated.

“The obstetrician came in and talked me through my options and I was really happy to have some intervention to help me birth. They gave me a catheter because I had a full bladder and suggested an episiotomy and a vacuum-assisted birth. I don’t know where my strength came from but I gave an almighty push and her head was born. I was scared because I couldn’t hear her but the obstetrician reassured me that she would cry when her body was born. In one more push she was out. She came straight to my chest and I had this profound sense of wanting to be alone and catch my breath for a few moments.

We moved up to the postnatal ward and I spent two nights there. The midwives were phenomenal – so much kindness and grace and I leaned on them a lot just knowing they were there. Tash visited me once I got home. The baby blues came in full force; I was wearing an adult nappy, I was leaking from my boobs and my eyes and Tash didn’t bat an eyelid.”

Topics Discussed

Breastfeeding, Episiotomy, MGP, One baby, Spontaneous labour, Sterile water injections, The Birth Class, vacuum-assisted birth

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