After a traumatic first birth involving a cascade of medical interventions, Kacey knew she wanted her next pregnancy and labour to be very different.
While there were plenty of hurdles along the way, her wish came true with the birth of her second child, James, in November.
“After advocating hard to be allowed to go naturally, I finally got my dream birth! I was diagnosed gestational diabetes diet controlled and GBS positive, with my OBGYN pushing incredibly hard for induction before 40 weeks. Needless to say, we bumped heads regularly,” Kacey shared in the Mum’s Grapevine Spring 2022 baby group.
“I had been losing my mucus plug in steady little streams, but no bloody show, with prodromal labour almost every night for upwards of three hours each. I had very light contractions in the afternoon that slowly died out. I decided to get out the breast pump for 30 minutes and then go for a big walk that evening. Contractions returned during pumping, but died after I got back from the walk. Defeated, I went to bed around 10pm.”
Luckily, it didn’t take long for Kacey’s contractions to ramp up again and by early morning it was clear this time was the real deal.
“Luke got our toddler up at 7am and took her to daycare around 8am, got fuel and came back for me. By this stage my contractions were intense, I was vomiting, and I was starting to get noisy (four minutes apart, duration 90 seconds on average). I took my last anti-nausea tablet, called the ward and then we started getting ready to go in.
“Naturally, that’s when my contractions decided to start going back to back, so I hung out in the entrance whilst Luke quietly started to panic about an unplanned homebirth. When I finally got a break we jumped into the car and were immediately greeted with school traffic and road works. Thank goodness we only lived 20 minutes away from the hospital even with traffic, as contracting in the car is wild!”
“I felt fully in control”
Then like a dramatic scene from a movie, a huge thunderstorm struck just as Kacey and Luke pulled up at the hospital.
“The weather had an eye for theatrics that day and as I’m slowly walking through the carpark in a dress it starts hailing. I’m sure I looked terrifying waddling in the rain and wind making animal noises during contractions!
“Once we made it on the ward the midwife straight away asked what my birth preferences were: no episiotomy, no OBGYN to deliver my baby (unless medically necessary), and delayed cord clamping. It was just one midwife in the room for 90 per cent of the labour. I was able to jump straight into the shower to defrost shortly after arriving.”
As her contractions became stronger, Kacey concentrated on breathing techniques and tried other natural methods to help cope with the worsening pain.
“I used my comb for focus and breathed through the lower parts of contractions, moaning through the peaks. It was such a stark difference from my previous induction that saw me scream through back-to-back contracting. I felt fully in control, with less pain and more pressure.
“At some point, I was labouring on the toilet and an OBGYN came in to discuss with the midwife the need for an episiotomy due to a suspected large baby, and the fact I had refused a growth scan at 36 weeks. The midwife was incredible, and repeatedly advocated for me and my desire to tear naturally.”
Much to her frustration, the obstetrician’s visit pulled Kacey out of her positive mindset. Desperate to get back in the zone, she then asked the midwife to check how dilated her cervix was. She was thrilled to hear she was at seven centimetres, with only a tiny lip remaining.
“I started feeling different, and desperate to get back in the shower. Ditching the comb, my body started involuntarily pushing, which was so energising. The pain from the contractions was completely gone, replaced with purpose and pressure.
“Whilst standing holding onto the shower chair I reached down and felt a massive mucus membrane that I pulled away, which turned out to be my bloody show. Barely five minutes later my waters broke, and I changed positions to all fours whilst I roared through each contraction. The water was turned off and I was able to feel my baby’s head with my hand as I pushed through each contraction. During crowning the midwife coached me through breathing, to slow down the head and reduce tearing. 17 minutes after my waters broke his head was out, and the midwife caught him as the body followed suit.
“He copped a face full of hind waters, pooed over me and covered the midwife in urine. Both Luke and I were completely shocked to see he was a boy, as we were both certain I was having another girl! I think for the first five minutes I probably said “I can’t believe we had a boy!” a dozen times.”
The home visit midwife saved my baby’s life
After soaking in the incredibly healing birth experience, Kacey and her son were discharged from the hospital six hours later.
“We had a magical night as a family of four at home before our reality came crashing down. The following morning we had the midwife come for a home visit, and she wasn’t comfortable with his respiratory rate, which was slightly elevated after a feed.
With an abundance of caution, she requested we pop back to the hospital for a once-over. Once baby and I got to the hospital, all hands were on deck for assessments. Both the doctor and consultant failed to put an IV in anywhere, having tried both hands, arms and feet. His little screams were horrific, and due to the stress his oxygen levels plummeted to the 60’s.
“He was strapped to the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine and the decision was made to access a vein in his umbilical cord to get the IV started.”
After multiple x-rays and blood tests, it was discovered little James was suffering from a suspected infection in his lungs. It took three rounds of antibiotics to clear it up.
“What was supposed to be a quick check-up turned into a nearly week-long stay that was incredibly traumatic.
“We’re so happy to be home now and are incredibly grateful for the diligence the midwife showed at the home check-up. I would hate to have known what would have happened if this hadn’t been picked up when it was. We have a number of follow-up doctor appointments with the hospital, but at this stage he’s doing so much better.
“For now, I’m focusing on separating my amazing birth experience with what followed, and soaking up the sweet cuddles with my son.”
We wish the family of four all the best for the future.
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