On Call Poem

Behind the scenes of the “On Call” life
Behind the scenes of the “Birth Team” life
Behind the scenes of the “support crew” life
What can you see when you look “Behind”

Plans are hard to make with friends
Plans are hard to keep with friends
I’ll be there “IF” becomes the norm
I’ll be there “IF” becomes the known

Phone watching
Time keeping
Hour gazing
Clock ticking
These things are a constant from 38 weeks, not just for you, but also for me.

I’m not flakey
I CAN commit

I’m not flakey
I HAVE committed

Behind the scenes of the “On Call” life
Behind the scenes of the “Birth Team” life
Behind the scenes of the “support crew” life
What can you see when you look “Behind”

Bags packed
Babysitters checked
Kids fed
Time checked
Time to sleep – but can’t relax – overly aware of the call I will not axe

Excitement brews
Electricity rises
Every phone call might be it
Every phone call could be it
These things are a constant from 38 weeks, not just for you, but also for me.

I’m not flakey
I CAN commit

I’m not flakey
I HAVE committed.

Mama is patient, mama is eager
Mama is calling her Doula to meet her

XOXOXO

Save Your Peri – My Top Tips!

I can guarantee “tearing” is one of the aspects most women fear about childbirth.

Most women have heard so many horror stories of tearing from here to there during birth, or being cut and then tearing anyway. Sounds horrific right?

Well, would you believe me if I told you, most of these women were probably forced to lie on their backs, had an epidural and were told when to PUSH? Or they were told they had to have an Episiotomy so had no chance to “not tear” anyway.

Would that surprise you?

Would that make YOU question what YOU could do in YOUR birth to minimise risks of tearing?

Well damn, I hope so – and that is why I am here. For you to question, research and not just say “Yes Sir/No Sir/Three bags full Sir/M’am!”

Before I get started, I know women who have had Episiotomies, tears, grazes and nothing at all. At the end of the day – we will heal!

But we need to go into birth with knowledge so we can be empowered at the end of our experience.

I didn’t tear with either of my babies.

One baby came out arse (I mean buttocks) first, and the other came out at 41+something weeks. I practiced all of the below tips and tricks.

 

1 – Perineum Massage (NO to EPI-NO)

 

You may have heard of Perineum Massage. You may have heard it will STOP any tearing.

Well this isn’t accurate.

If you do peri massage – it should give you an idea of the stretching feeling you will get when you start stretching around your crowning baby – this is by far the most important thing about Peri Massage. 

Familiarity – feeling the familiar sensation when the time comes, will be less of a shock – this will allow you to relax rather than tense up.

You shouldn’t STRETCH yourself to the point of hurting yourself, because frankly your body hasn’t got the hormones to allow you to stretch like it would when in labour.

AND for the love of god – don’t use the EPI-NO.

There has been research that has shown woman who have used this device, have had small microscopic tears. This is before labour has even begun! Can only imagine what happens to an already compromised area with tension?

Again – your body isn’t ready to stretch to 10cm when you are not in labour, so don’t force it.

 

Photo Credit – Unplash

 

QUOTE from Dr Rachel Reed

“There is a rather scary device called an Epi-No designed to use during pregnancy to stretch the perineum. The limited research regarding the effectiveness and safety of this device is inconclusive (Kovacs, Heath & Campbell 2004; Shek et al. 2011). Personally I worry about potential long term effects of repeatedly stretching the perineum to the size of a babies head. Although a woman may give birth a number of times during her life, she will usually have more than a day between each baby’s head stretching her vagina. It is also a reflection of our technocratic culture that a ‘device’ is considered to be necessary in order to prepare for childbirth.” 

https://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/perineal-massage/

 

2 – Relax and Breath

 

Practice relaxation techniques throughout your pregnancy and birth.

Relaxation breathing is hugely beneficial for yourself and your body. Let your body take over and relax into it. Trust your body wholey and soley.

In a lot of birthing classes / independent childbirth education classes and Yoga you will hear, “open Jaw, open Cervix” remembering to keep your jaw as relaxed as possible through your labour and surges will have an immediate effect on you cervix and opening. 

The best way to remember to relax your jaw is by putting your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

Keeping your hands and shoulders relaxed.

This is best achieve by encouraging your birth partner/s to stroke the inside of your hands, rather than you crazily SQUEEZING their hands like you see in movies.

Shoulder massage or even just placing firm hands down on your shoulders is a good way to keep your shoulders relaxed.

Breathing.

Filling your body with oxygen is a HUGE benefit to you and your baby through labour and birth. By oxygenating your body and your babies body – your uterus, blood, cervix and more will all be working at its optimal capacity. 

Breathing in through your NOSE to the count of 4!

1…………….2………….3…………4………..

And out through your NOSE to the count of 6 or 8!

1……….…..2……….…..3………..…….4………..……5……………6……….….….7……..……..….8……………….

 

Photo credit – Unplash

 

Nose breathing is proven to be more beneficial for brain activity, your body and your lungs. It also shows more controlled breathing when breathing through your nose for both breaths.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/255298-mouth-breathing-vs-nasal-breathing/

http://www.bigheartedbirth.com.au/the-1-big-birthing-tip-for-first-time-birthing-mamas-and-maybe-second-third-and-beyond/

 

3 – Alternative Methods to Medical Pain Relief 

 

There are many alternative methods of pain relief than what is offered in hospital. Below I have listed a few of those alternatives. 

  • TENS 
  • Acupressure and Massage
  • Relaxation breathing
  • Water Immserion

The main reason I encourage mothers to attempt birth without an Epidural is because of the effects the Epidural not only has on the hormones your body produces throughout labour, but also due to the fact you are not able to birth the way your body needs/wants to. 

In most cases when you get an Epidural you are not able to move around freely. You could be stuck on your back, unable to move much, you won’t feel your body’s contraction or when your body naturally starts to push. 

In the case of an Epidural, your provider will be watching the monitors and telling you to push when “they” deem your body is ready (according to the computers), not when “YOU & YOUR BODY” are ready to push. 

 

4 – MotherDirected Pushing

 

This is by far one of the most important aspects of minimising tearing on your perineum while birthing your baby,

You would have seen in movies or sitcoms, mothers laying on their back with their legs up in stirrups and an entourage of people shouting “PUSH……PUSH…….PUSH!” 

NO NO NO!!!

The best way for a mother to “push” or as I like to call it “bare down” is when her body literally takes over and does it without the mother having to even try. 

If you have had a physiological start to your labour (no induction, no epidural, no intervention) your body will quite literally just DO IT.

It’s quite a weird sensation, from one minute to the next, you are having a normal intense contraction/surge, and then the next minute your body just takes over and pushes……………you can’t stop it, you can only embrace it and let go. 

I clearly remember with my first born, the “urge” to push – and thinking “What in the holy hell is this, I can’t stop it” and pushing as if I was having the most amazing AGB (haha) – if anyone doesn’t know what an AGB is………..hit me up offline to this –  [email protected]

You can train yourself to “Breath your baby down”, or “Breath through” the pushing, but if you need to push? I can nearly guarantee you and your baby are ready to meet each other very very soon.

People telling you to push, screaming at you to push harder – ARE NOT in your body, they DO NOT know what is happening and finally THEY ARE NOT your perineum – so how in the world would they know when to push, or when not to push?

END RANT (for this one anyway)

 

 

5 – NO EPISIOTOMY 

 

Episiotomies – those nasty things that are nearly a “routine” cut for birthing women in hospitals.

Do yourself a a favour and just say “NO” to an episiotomy.

Firstly, if you’re cut, you’re cut. You may have never torn, but now you have been cut.

Secondly, they cut through;

  • Skin 
  • Muscle
  • Ligaments
  • Nerve Ending (Clitoris nerve endings as well)

 

Medio lateral episiotomy. Jeremy Kemp, CC BY

 

Thirdly – did you know, you are more likely to tear when you have an Episiotomy?

I give you this challenge. Take a piece of paper, use some scissors and cut a line down. Now pull the sides of the paper to mimic more tension on the paper (perinium)………….Tell me your findings?

Your body will heal a natural tear a lot quicker than it would an Episiotomy.

https://theconversation.com/episiotomy-during-childbirth-not-just-a-little-snip-36062

 

6. Upright / Active birth

 

And for my lucky last, and probably most passionate tip – it’s a whole different blog.

Being upright and active throughout your birth is so important – let me redirect you to a previous blog I have written.

 

Click Here – “Why lying down isn’t the stand up position for birth”

 

Photo credit – Unplash

I hope some of these tips have resonated with you and have warranted you to ask the question, or at least prompt you to do your own research.

 

Remember knowledge is power – and power is damn beautiful!

 

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here

For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here

If you are interested in the services I offer – please click here

 

When home-births are safer than most think!

I’m going to do this a little bit different. I want to talk to you about Home Births! 

Why not have your baby at home? 

But rather than just get into it, I thought I would write this from 3 different perspectives.

 

  • Before Babies
  • While Pregnant
  • As a Doula

 

 

VIEW ON HOME-BIRTH BEFORE BABIES

Before I had considered having my babies, my sister was having her babies.

She was hoping to have a home birth for her second birth. My immediate thought was “OH MY GOD – that’s so dangerous, just go to hospital like normal people” “Don’t put your baby at risk,” “What if something goes wrong”??

All the immediate fear based questions that come to mind when you don’t actually KNOW anything about birth, home-births, midwives, hospitals etc etc etc

Warranted all these questions came from a place of love and concern, but not once did I think, maybe I should trust my sister or maybe I should ask more questions about home births so I can understand more about why she wants to birth at home.

It was all very new to me, and I wanted what was best for my sister and her baby. 

 

 

VIEW ON HOME-BIRTH WHILE PREGNANT

With my first, I knew I would have a hospital birth. That was what I thought was the safest thing to do. Turns out even if I had wanted a home-birth, it would have been a hospital birth as my baby girl was Breech.

But throughout my pregnancy I started attending “Positive Birth Movement” meetings, and a lot of the beautiful mama’s, mama’s to be had home-birthed, or were planning on home birthing.

I soon found out a lot of women were scared of going to hospitals for birth, for fear of unnecessary interventions, being bullied by Dr’s into things they didn’t want to do, being put on a time restraint to birth their babies – all things I didn’t understand pre-babies.

There were some mothers who had previous traumatic experiences at hospital for first births and were planning to have their next birth in the comfort of their own home because that’s where they felt safest. Some mothers who had previous c/sections who were planning HBAC’s (Home birth after caesarean).

I learnt a lot from these meetings as well as from attending Hypnobirthing Classes.

  • I learnt that midwives were attending the births at home (sounds obvious but I didn’t know)
  • I learnt that they had resuscitation equipment if worst came to worst
  • I learnt they had all sorts of medical equipment that they brought to the homes
  • I realised that midwives were highly trained to attend to birthing women, and they knew what to look out for – they knew when they may need to call for an ambulance
  • I learnt that ambulance transfers can happen, but don’t happen often
  • I learnt that mothers who birthed at home felt safer than in hospital
  • Less interventions were happening at home

For my second pregnancy, I was leaning towards a home-birth, but was trying to decide whether to go to Family Birth Centre or straight out Home-birth.

So I sent off my application form to CMP (Community Midwife Practice) for both options and would decide later. 

Once I decided home-birth was the option for me, I had to convince my hubby (a whole new blog – how to convince your partner to be onboard for a home-birth.)

 

 

My main factors on choosing a home birth were:

  • Safety and comfort of my own home
  • My daughter was still a baby herself (19 months) so having her around was a big win
  • I knew the stats, and understood how safe home-births are
  • I wanted a completely natural birth – no interventions being pushed on me
  • Having to drive to hospital while in labour is not fun
  • I wanted a water birth 
  • Being able to snuggle into your own bed with your brand new baby and family by your side 

I have added a few links below – some support groups for pregnant woman wishing to be surrounded by positivity about pregnancy and birth. 

MADE BY ME BIRTH SUPPORT GROUP – www.facebook.com/madebymebirthgroup

POSITIVE BIRTH MOVEMENT 

 

VIEW ON HOME-BIRTH AS A DOULA

From a Doula’s perspective, I definitely view Home-Births as safer for those mummy’s who are wanting a physiological birth with no / bare minimum interventions.

Speaking with woman who have had home-births, their view is that the woman who have birthed in hospitals are the brave ones, not vice versa – which seems to be the usual consensus.

Unnecessary intervention rates are high in hospital settings. 

According to evidence based research low-risk pregnancies have a better chance of intervention free/ less perineal trauma either at home or a birth centre – compared to the stats for birth at hospitals.

 

 

”Findings – Twenty-eight articles met inclusion criteria, yielding comparative data on perinatal mortality, mode of birth, maternal morbidity and/or NICU admissions. Meta-analysis indicated that women planning hospital births had statistically significantly lower odds of normal vaginal birth than in other planned settings. Women experienced severe perineal trauma or haemorrhage at a lower rate in planned home births than in obstetric units. There were no statistically significant differences in infant mortality by planned place of birth, although most studies had limited statistical power to detect differences for rare outcomes. Differences in location, context, quality and design of identified studies render results subject to variation.

Conclusions and implications for practice

High-quality evidence about low-risk pregnancies indicates that place of birth had no statistically significant impact on infant mortality. The lower odds of maternal morbidity and obstetric intervention support the expansion of birth centre and home birth options for women with low-risk pregnancies.”

Stats of Home-birth 

  • 36% increase in normal, vaginal births
  • 8.6% reduction in instrumental births
  • 7.5% reduction in caesarean rates
  • 1.15% decrease in severe perineal trauma
  • NO difference in neonatal death rates when compared to birth in hospitals
  • Benefits of continuity of care
  • 13% increased satisfaction with labour and birth care
  • 12% increased satisfaction with labour prep
  • 4.1% decrease in use of regional analgesia (Epidural)
  • 3.3% increase in spontaneous vaginal births
  • 1.5% decrease in fatal loss

 

 

Midwifery 62: 240-255

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4)

Not only do the numbers speak for themselves but some other things to consider when choosing whether you want to birth your baby at home are:

  • Comfort and safety of your own home will keep you relaxed and more likely progress quicker
  • You can be surrounded by dim lighting or no lighting, which helps your birthing hormones (including melatonin, which plays a big role in birth)
  • You don’t have to drive in the car, with lots of lights, noise and potentially stress 
  • You can organise your birthing space/nest 
  • Your own smells
  • Your own comforts
  • Your loved ones you chose
  • You’re not limited to who/what and where can be at your home

 

 

If the thought of having your baby at home causes you stress or discomfort, then obviously it is not the place for you to birth. 

If being in a hospital environment makes you feel safer, then by all means that’s where you should birth your baby. 

I simply wanted to put this together to show those who may be fearful of birth at home, that it is in fact safer for a lot of mothers and their babies.

 

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here

For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here

If you are interested in the services I offer – please click here

The Birth of Malakai

22nd June 2017

Off to KEMH today again, for another check up, ECG/ultrasound to make sure baby is still cephalic and monitor heart rate etc because fluid is a bit low and I’m over 40 weeks now so you know, panic panic.

I’m bummed because even though Bub has turned from breech to cephalic I still can’t have a homebirth, due to low fluid, I’m actually devastated, not just bummed. I am going to have to move on from this feeling otherwise Bub is not going to come EVER and I am NOT being induced. Sex it is haha. 

I am home, and I feel deflated, Bub is fine, moving beautifully, heart rate is great yet I’m not only being pushed by the hospital for an induction, but now also my “stand in” community midwife …………my usual CMP is off duty at the moment. I’ve spoken to CMP and have been swayed to have a stretch and sweep, I’m ok with this. If it gets things going then WINNING. 

Stretch and sweep done. 

LETTING GO

Been crying to Aidan because I feel like it’s been a repeat of my first birth, I’ve had to fight the system AGAIN. He suggested to look into private midwife who would be willing to let us have the home birth. (Did I hear right?) This from the guy who was a big fat NO to a homebirth at the beginning of the pregnancy? I got in contact with my doula friend, who got in contact with her private midwife and we got things going. 

Sigh of relief. The private midwife told me she would be happy to take me onboard but if I went into labour tonight she wouldn’t be able to, we organised to have a one on one in the morning. 

Having chatted to Aidan and the midwife I feel relaxed again, I feel like I can breath again, and have gained the attitude of what will be will be again. 

7pm – Low and behold……………….I’ve lost my mucous plug, and not just a small amount – all of it. I know it’s not necessary going to be “IT” but I kind of know it is. Mary has been tucked into bed already so let’s see what happens. 

I’ve had some cramping, but I’ve had “some” cramping for the last week. Wait, wait, there is some more cramping………….and more……….I’m bouncing away on my birthing ball while watching a movie in the theatre room with Aidan……..I decide to time things just to get an idea………..11 minutes, 8 minutes, 8 minutes, 7 minutes. 

Yep I’m pretty sure this is it. I call my midwife and tell her what’s up, she advises to get to hospital……….I call Carla and Mum and let them know not to rush but things are happening. (Carla is my sister and my birthing partner, Mum is my amazing Mum who will chill at home and watch Mary) 

ENJOYING THE CALM BUILD UP

I have decided to migrate to our living area where I was meant to birth, and put my hypnobirthing and relaxation tracks on with all the candles lit. My surges were coming in every 5 minutes and lasting about a minute. 

After a while of getting myself in my zone, and accepting this was it – I call Aidan in to the living area and asked him to switch off the TV and be present. I wasn’t ready to go to hospital yet, I just wanted to feel safe and comfortable in my own home for a while longer.

 

 

Carla and Mum arrived – it’s 9:00pm, I’ve had 1 or 2 surges while they were here, 1 was a pretty intense one which makes me think we need to get going. It’s now that I tell Aidan he needs to call Cat the “birth photographer”, Aidan didn’t know I had organised her………….he couldn’t argue with me now, I was in labour (plan worked) hahahaha. 

Cat did my maternity/family photo shoot and they are amazing, she is amazing. So we let Cat know and got in the car for the daunting 40 minute drive to Subiaco.

MAKING OUR WAY TO HOSPITAL

Half way to KEMH and Aidan is speeding like a crazy man hahaha I think he is petrified I am going to have this baby in his beloved Nissan Patrol. He has been timing my contractions and tells me I’m having them every 2 minutes. I had actually zoned out listening to my hypnobirthing tracks. 

It’s nearly 10PM and we have arrived at KEMH. Malita (CMP- another new face and I didn’t have the pushy one) and Cat are in the labour suite waiting for us. We get in and Carla sets up my diffuser, and puts my relaxation music on. The surges are all in my belly, intense squeezes. I can’t help but reminisce about the intense back and hip labour feels when I was having Mary a short 20 months earlier. 

Malita comes over and advises due to low fluid they wanted to do monitoring, I declined and said I’m ok with intermittent Doppler checks if necessary. I also declined any internal examinations, or the canular. We promptly handed over my birth plan.

I asked whether I can labour in the birth pool. Before they gave me the go ahead they wanted to check to be sure Bub is still cephalic and hasn’t turned back to breech , if Bub is still head down all is good for me to labour in the pool. 

Bub is head down so off to the pool. I’m advised I can’t actually birth in the pool so once things step up they will get me out and we will go back to the labour ward.

THE LABOUR DANCE

The walk to the pool room wasn’t too bad, I can’t remember whether I had a surge/contraction or not. But god I remember the sheer relief that washed over my body when I lay in the water and my body was weightless – such a relief. The warm water hugging every inch of my body, and my belly floating, it was bliss. My first surge in the bath felt incredible, I could move freely yet every movement I made, the warm water moved with me and gently washed over my belly and back and nearly massaged me. 

It felt like things were slowing down in the bath and I was able to catch my breath and relax………I could breath. I had fleeting moments where I was wondering when the next surge would come and why was it taking so long. But then it would come in all its mighty glory. I couldn’t help but move with it, it’s nearly like a dance……….I sway with the intensity, the only way I am able to get relief is move with it and breath through it. And just as quickly as it rises, it falls again, moments to enjoy the calm and just breath.

 

upright birth

 

I distinctly remember one very intense contraction my sister rubbed her hands and then pushed her palms close to my face so I could take a breath in, and it was such a good breath of wild orange essential oil, the smell made me smile and it gave me my energy back, it was amazing how potent that smell in that moment was, it was just what I needed. 

Things were getting more intense, I could hear myself groaning, swearing every now and then, loosing myself to the moment. I was a lot more vocal with this labour, a lot more primal. 

Malita asked how I was feeling as she had noticed things were ramping up and we may need to move back to the room. I agreed. 

Took me a while to get the strength to stand up. And once I did I had probably the most intense surge yet………..this baby was well and truely coming, shit was getting real……….we were going to meet you soon little buddy. Once I was able to walk again we started the journey back to the labour ward, got 3/4 there and I was hit with another intense surge and I was swaying and moaning, I could hear myself as if I was having an outer body experience and in my mind I was like “whoa lady, reign it in a little, you sound like you are having an orgasm”!

 

THE FINAL STRETCH

We got into the room and I needed the toilet, god I hope I don’t have this baby on the toilet was the first thing that came to mind. BAM another intense surge while being all warrior woman on the toilet – I managed to get off the toilet and was trying to navigate my way into a comfortable position.

They were putting a mattress on the floor for me. In that moment I remembered I laboured a lot on my side with Mary so thought I’d get on the bed and try that………..worst idea ever. BAM another massive surge, baby was making his way down quickly and this position was NOT working for me. I wanted to get out of this position so much but wasn’t  able to as I was mid surge and had to somehow labour through it. I’m sure I looked quite possessed in this moment, probably the only time I felt like I wasn’t able to breath through the surge and I was just trying to get through it so I could move into the next position.

 

homebirth

 

As soon as I could I moved, we brought the bed head up so I could lean on it and I was kneeling. This was it, this baby was coming. Next surge I just felt bub drop down, my body took over and I grunted and pushed, stopped………and again, my body took the lead and it pushed.

I could feel myself stretching……….crowing……….it was a welcoming sting……….I knew that meant babies head was there, so I put my hand down to feel, it was………I could feel babies head……….and everything was still……….nothing was happening, just stretching, why wasn’t I pushing?

Why had it stopped…………and then there it was – the last almighty surge, and I swear I would’ve dropped HIM had Malita not guided him out. He came out so quickly and so wrinkly. It was a BOY. A beautiful healthy boy – Malakai Oneill. I knew in my heart all along you were a boy. So nice to meet you my little man. 

 

 

Malakai was born at 00:44am on the 23rd June 2017, 3.05kg’s and soooooo wrinkly he was like a little sharpey puppy! 

We settled in for some beautiful uninterrupted skin on skin and I breathed through some more surges while we had our first breastfeed – I wanted to have a natural third stage (birthing the placenta) which seemed to take forever. I was half an hour in when I was ready to give up. I had my baby now, and I didn’t want to keep having these surges. I asked for the injection to get the placenta out, when Carla looked at me funny and said, “Jack you’ve been riding it out for half an hour already, just get up and move and it will probably come out”.

Someone else suggested to sit on the toilet. So I got up and squatted on the bed while Aidan had his first cuddle – and for those few moments, all 3 of us were connected.

 

 

This still wasn’t getting the placenta out, so off to the toilet we trotted and 1 surge later I birthed the placenta. Such a satisfying feeling.

Now it was time to rest and enjoy newborn cuddles with my boy Malakai.

We got home before Mary woke up and suddenly became a family of 4! My heart is soooooo full!

 

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here

For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here

If you are interested in the services I offer – please click here

Why a Doula?

In celebration of Doula week, I thought it was about time I got another blog out to you lovely followers.

My chosen topic is very close to my heart. 

Why did I chose this career path? Why a Doula?

Let me take you back a few years. My first pregnancy! My little breechling Mary. Her pregnancy, her birth, the journey we took together is in short the reason I do what I do now.

I chose to go through a private OB, because I believed it would be the best care, and we had been paying maternity on our Health insurance so you know, I knew no different. I had a birth plan in mind, all natural, no interventions – practiced hypnobirthing and I KNEW exactly what I wanted! AND then my darling daughter was confirmed Breech, and that is how she stayed. 

I was given no options for my birth, no choice! Breech = C-section as far as my OB was concerned and that was that. 

With no other information given to me, except for scare tactics and “Dead Baby” statements, I started doing my research, speaking to birth workers, surrounded myself with supportive people – and made a huge decision which paved my path. 

I changed providers at 39 weeks and birthed my little Breech baby completely naturally through my VAGINA the following day!!!!!!!

 

It was through this experience I realised that women don’t get enough support through these new and sometimes scary life changing momentous moments. Choices aren’t laid out for us. The information isn’t given to us unless we know exactly what we need to ask for, and “You don’t know what you don’t know”!

I want to make a difference, I want to empower woman to make THEIR choices – not the ones they are told make.

Once I started my study to become a Doula (2 babies later) it was EVERYTHING I thought it would be, I was so full of emotion every day that we learnt, connected and empowered each other. I knew this was my path and I felt so grateful my 2 babies had lead me to something so powerful and true to me.

 

 

One of the studies that really cemented the deal for me – that really showed me how much of an impact a Doula can have was the study published by John Kennel – statuses per below

The presence of a Doula reduces a women’s need for intervention;

  • Artificial Oxytocin used 17% with a Doula, and 43.6% without a Doula
  • Epidural rate is7.8% with a Doula, and 55.3% without
  • Forceps used 8.2% with a Doula present, and 26.3% without a Doula
  • C-Section rate 8% with a Doula, 18% without.

Doula’s are there to emotionally, physically and mentally support you. We are your companion, we are your rock, your shoulder to cry on and we are in your corner – cheering you on, reminding you that you CAN do this.

We provide you with all the information needed to make an INFORMED choice, not just the information we want you to know. If you have any questions, we are there to find the right EVIDENCE based information for you – and then you can make an informed and empowered decision from there.

HAPPY DOULA WEEK!!!

 

Photo Credit – Cat Fancote

 

 

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here

For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here

If you are interested in the services I offer – please click here

Birth Story – Regaining My Power

Shontae and Luke were expecting their second precious baby girl. After a fairly traumatic first birth experience, Shontae knew she wanted a different journey this time around. She knew she could, and she knew how to REGAIN HER BIRTH!

This is their story.

I knew from the day I found out I was pregnant that I wanted this birth to be different, I didn’t want it to go the same way as my first birth.

I needed a better birth this time for myself and for this baby. Which is why we decided to hire Jackie – a Doula and we also decided to participate in Hypnobirthing classes.

The whole pregnancy went pretty smoothly with no complications apart from a low lying placenta, which did move by the 32 week check.

Wednesday the 19/12/2018.

40w1d, I’ve been having period like cramps for about a week, and had lost my mucus plug about 2 days ago. I had a hospital appointment today and knew they were going to push induction as I was past my due date. I felt confident going into the appointment as Jackie had given me lots of information and I had made up my mind that I wanted to wait until I was 41w5d before I consented to an induction.

At the appointment I was talked through all the different induction procedures. I consented to a stretch and sweep and found out I was already 4cm dilated!

Those period cramps weren’t for nothing!

I got back to my mums house where I had dropped my daughter off earlier that morning. It was around 11am when I started getting surges, I texted my partner Luke, and he left work. He went home to shower and grab a few things and then headed over to my mums house.

At 3pm we went to the shops to get a few things for my mum. As soon as we got there my surges began coming on more regularly.

We got back to the house around 4pm and my surges were getting stronger and more intense. I put the Tens machine on which took the edge off them but by 4.30pm I knew it was time to head to the hospital.

Arriving at Hospital

We arrived at around 5pm, as we walked into the hospital I had to keep stopping and really concentrating on breathing through the surges, I wrapped my arms around Luke and just closed my eyes until it passed and then continued to walk into the hospital.

I think we got into the birthing suite around 5.15pm and shortly after Jackie and our student midwife arrived.

Luke made sure the lights were dimmed, and everyone knew we were Hypnobirthing so I could stay in my zone.

I was offered gas on arrival which I accepted – although I don’t think it helped much with pain it did help me to remember to keep breathing through each surge. I had to do the routine checks upon arriving, which meant an internal exam and CTG monitoring- it felt like I was hooked up to it for ages.

While it was on Jackie was doing acupressure points on my shoulders to help with pain and she also had set up some fairy lights and put on my affirmations.

Once the CTG was taken off I found it hard to get up from the bed as I wasn’t getting much of a break between surges. Eventually I got off the bed and got down onto the CUB where Luke was helping by doing hip squeezes.

I don’t think I was there very long before I felt my body take over and start bearing down which felt like I needed the toilet so we moved into the bathroom. I don’t think I was on the toilet long before I reached down and could feel baby crowning.

Within minutes I stood up and with the next surge my baby was born and I caught her myself!

I felt incredible, strong and couldn’t believe what I had just done!

I feel like I had regained my power with this birth!

Miss Kai Ashleigh was born 6.30pm on the 19/12/2018 weighing in at 4.07kgs, only an hour after arriving to the hospital.

 

I can’t recommend Jackie enough, she gave us so much support throughout my whole pregnancy and birth. I finally got the birth I wanted and I don’t think it would have been possible without her
She went above and beyond and I’ll be forever grateful ☺️
SHONTAE AND LUKE XOXO

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here

For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here

If you are interested in the services I offer – please click here

Why Lying Down Isn’t The Stand Up Position For Birth

Were you under the impression that birthing on your back is the best position to bring your beautiful baby earthside? That is what we see on TV shows, movies right? All these warrior mothers lying on their backs, legs in stirrups and being yelled at to PUSH PUSH PUSH PUSH!!

 

Well let me tell you where that concept came from. It wasn’t always that way, mothers were more instinctual when it came to birthing, they listened to their bodies and they birthed the way that felt right.

 

Birthing on our backs manifested from King XYZ who ruled France between the years of 1643 to 1715 – he was fascinated by watching his children being born – and ordered his wives/mistresses to lie on their backs while he was watching. He disliked his mistresses birthing on all 4’s or squatting because it obstructed his view.

 

 

It was soon realised that this made it a lot easier to see what was going on with the birthing mothers and their babies. Soon enough the medical industry adopted this protocol and birthing on our backs became the norm, it wasn’t about the mother listening to her instincts anymore.

Gravity and Birth

 

Now I’d like to give you a bit of a visual. When a baby is being born, the baby has to move DOWN the birth canal right? If you are lying on your back, your baby is technically working hard to move UP!

 

Think about gravity…………how does gravity work? Now why would we want a baby to work against gravity to meet his/her mama? Make sense?

 

 

If you are birthing your baby, you really should consider birthing upright. There are all sorts of different upright positions that may work best for you.

 

Epidural?? No Problem

 

If you have chosen to have an epidural, there are ways that you can still let gravity work in your favour – or you can ask for a “walking epidural” where the amount that is administered isn’t as high so you are able to move around a little bit.

 

Some hospitals have “Throne” beds which are perfect for birthing upright while having an epidural – the back of the bed, lifts up and the bottom manoeuvres so you are able to sit upright and birth like the true Warrior/Queen you are.

So what positions are deemed to be the best for birth;

 

  • On all 4’s – get a mattress put on the floor so your knees don’t hurt – This will assist baby down the birth canal because of gravity. It’s the physiological norm for our bodies to help baby down this way.

 

  • Squatting – if you have the leg strength than this is definitely a good position to be able to get baby down down down – but once baby is crowning try and put one knee down, as when you are squatting your peri is stretching quite a bit more with the pressure of the squat and can increase risks of tearing.

 

  • Leaning over (bed/birthing ball/birth pool) – again being upright will assist with gravity – but you will have the ease of leaning over so won’t be feeling too much pressure on your wrists by being on all 4’s and you can grasp what ever you are leaning over for balance and POWER

 

  • CUB – Comfortable Upright Birth. This is a blow up birth assistance – it is in the shape of a C or U (depends how you want to look at it) you can either sit on it, lean over it and your belly leans into the opening or a lot of other ways. I provide a CUB as part of my services

 

www.the-cub-aus.com

 

  • Birth Stool – most hospital have these readily available – again, it is said that their could me more risks of tearing if you remain sitting on the birth stool once baby is crowning.

 

  • Birthing on the toilet – Yep, birthing on the toilet is a good way to have your baby – if you straddle the toilet, lean over the cistern – you’re upright, not much pressure on your legs – your partner or Doula can rub your back or do hip squeezes. I promise, you won’t drop your baby down the toilet.

 

  • Water Birth – Birthing in water has so many benefits – from pain relief, to weightlessness. Water births also lower your chances of tearing during birth.

 

There are many ways you can birth that helps with gravity, the above is just a few. Listen to your body, believe in your body to do what it is required to do to bring your baby earth side.

 

Fuel your mind with knowledge about birth and what your body does throughout birth. Knowledge is power and power is beautiful.

 

There are circumstance where you may be required to be on your back, but if you can actively be upright throughout most of your labour and only move to your back where truly necessary – your positive birth outcome can be just that, your positive birth.

 

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here

For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here

If you are interested in the services I offer – please click here

 

My Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips

Breastfeeding Tips

Breastfeeding! Well let me tell you a few things I learnt along my way. What I learnt through 3 half year of breastfeeding and counting. I am by no means a Lactation Consultant and don’t claim to be, so these are just the tips and trick that I picked up and would love to share in hopes helping others.

I had 2 very different breastfeeding relationships.

My first was riddled with challenges we had to overcome. No skin on skin, bad latch (no latch), nipple shield, supply line, low supply, donor milk – top ups, the whole shebangilang. We made it to 11 months breastfeeding. I am damn proud of that!!

My current journey with my youngest was tough at the start but we are still going 15 months later.

So without further adieu –  my top 10 tips to help establish a good breastfeeding relationship.

 

Breastfeeding

 

 

1 Demand Breastfeeding

 

BOOB BOOB and BOOB some more. Demand feed that little baby, don’t get caught up in the 3 or 4 hourly feeding schedule …………your little baby needs you, not only for food but also for comfort, or thirst, or just because he/she wants to feel connected and safe. If your baby squirms – put your boob in it’s mouths, if he/she cries – boob. If it stretches Boob………………..awake?? BOOB!

2 Water is Life

 

Have water stations set up through out the house. I swear to god, every single time I would sit down to feed, my mouth would be as dry as the Sahara desert within seconds and then I’d be in a panic because I desperately needed a drink of water and forgot it in the other room – “HELP, DYING OF THIRST OVER HERE!!”

 

Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

 

3 Expectations

 

Let go of your expectations! Expectations of yourself and your house. Don’t expect to be all Martha Stewart and answer the door in full face of make up with hair done perfectly – house clean as a whistle…………..it’s not going to happen, and if it does…………”whats your secret?’

 

4 Weight

 

Don’t get too caught up in “weight gain” if your baby is gaining then that is FANTASTIC. DR, midwives and CHN (Child Health Nurse) put a lot of pressure on your baby gaining AT LEAST 30gr a day. All babies are different, and all breastfed babies gain differently. At the end of the day a gain is a gain no matter how big or small it is. (As long as Bub isn’t losing weight you are kicking goals)

 

5 Wee’s and Poo’s

 

The best way to know if your baby is getting enough milk is by their “Nappy Output”, are they having enough wet nappies / poos? In the first 24 hours, at least 1 good wet nappy is acceptable, day 2 – 2 wet nappies, day 3 – 3 wet nappies etc until day 5, and from then on if your baby is having at least 5 good wet nappies a day – you are making enough milk. When I say “Good” wet nappy – expect the minimum to feel like the equivalent to 7 Tablespoons of water poured into a nappy.

 

 

6 Cluster Feeding

 

Cluster feeding is a REAL THING. My babies would cluster feed for up to 6 hours every night for weeks on end. It is a real thing and it’s tough as hell. They are working on your supply, it is imperative you let them cluster feed for as long as your mental health can take. (I set myself 3 hour max after a few weeks because I mentally couldn’t cope)

 

 

7 Top ups

 

If you feel you need to give extra milk – don’t introduce a bottle too early. There are other ways of getting extra milk into your little human, especially before 3 months. Finger feeding. Cup feeding. Syringe Feeding or SNS (Supply line feeding)………WHO suggested alternative milk is listed in the preferred to least preferred as per below;
Mothers Expressed milk
Donated Breast Milk
Formula

Don’t fall into the top up wormhole – it can be hard to get back on top of it

 

 

8 Nipple Care

 

Your nipples could hurt at the beginning while getting used to things, but if the latch is correct and the sucking technique is correct it shouldn’t continue to hurt. Breastfeeding is learnt. It’s a new skill that mum and baby both need to learn.

If you are getting damaged nipples, there are a few things you can do;

  1. Lather your nipple in breastmilk and air those badboys out
  2. Cool cabbage leaves
  3. Lanisoh nipple cream
  4. You can get cool gel shields
  5. Some hospitals offer laser treatment to promote healing (ASK)
  6. Give your nipples a rest to heal and pump
  7. If nothing is helping – it is worth going to a reputable IBCLC or LC to get Bub checked for ties

 

Photo by spandan pattanayak on Unsplash

 

9 Support

 

Surround yourself with people who will support your breastfeeding journey. Educate your partner about the benefits. Educate your family abut the benefits. Educate friends. People don’t know what they don’t know. Find a good support group on Facebook. The 2 below groups are full of information and are so supportive. There is always someone ready to answer a question in the middle of the night when you are struggling the most.

  1. The Gentle Breastfeeder
  2. The Australian Breastfeeding Project

 

 

10 Ask For Help – Accept Help

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People don’t know you are struggling if you don’t ask. If you are struggling and none of the above are helping  – see an IBCLC (International Broad Certified Lactation Consultant) or a LC (Lactation Consultant)

Contact me if you would like some referrals for IBCLC / LC in Perth. I am more than happy to help.

 

Image – Cat Fancote

 

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here

For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here

If you are interested in the services I offer – please click here

 

 

At least buy me a Coffee first!

Internal Vaginal Exams!

Ladies ladies ladies – lets sit down and have a chat about Vaginal Exams. Why do we need them? Why do we have them? Do we know what they are actually doing down there? It’s not like it feels good right? You know you have the right to say “HECK NO”?? Were you told that Internal Vaginal Exma’s can pose a risk? Probably not!

I wasn’t really that informed about Vaginal Exams with my first pregnancy, however I did ask for minimal exams throughout labour. Why? Back then I wasn’t really sure why, but now that I know more about them I wished I’d just said NO!

However what I do remember about them, was that I had to get on my back, spread my legs, and someone would go digging (sorry for the visual)……..THAT is not a fun time, let alone mid contraction when all I wanted to do was sway my hips and move as much as I could to get through the next surge.

Another MAJOR gripe I have about my experience is, I was NEVER once given the risks of a Vaginal Exam, just that they wanted to check how dilated I was. The fact they hadn’t informed me of the risks – really means that they didn’t get my full consent as I wasn’t correctly informed about them. TSK TSK TSK.

 

Photo Credit

BRAN or BRAIN model

Going into pregnancy/labour and birth – BRAN or BRAIN should be your first thing that pops into your head if anyone requests/suggests anything.

A lot of birthing mums are very happy to get internals, and they thrive on knowing the numbers of their progress. That’s perfectly fine and I if that’s how you feel empowered then fantastic. Go into your birth with knowledge!

B – Benefits (what are the benefits to this intervention?)
R – Risks (what are the risks?)
A – Alternative (are there any alternative methods I could use)
(I) – Intuition (a mothers intuition is probably the most important – how do you feel?)
N – Nothing (what if we do nothing?)

 

WHY DO THEY DO VAGINAL EXAMS?

It is said that for a baby to make an entrance into this world, the mothers cervix needs to be fully dilated at 10cm and shortened / thinned so the baby can come through with the presenting part (Head preferably)

So most hospital policies ask for Vaginal Exams upon admission into hospital to see whether you are in active labour. They want to check whether your cervix has dilated, shortened, whether your cervix is “Ripe” yep – they can call your cervix RIPE.

In most cases VE’s aren’t accurate enough to “Guess” when this baby will come earthside, how quickly the progress of labour will be. So the indicative statement  “you are so many cm dilated” means diddly squat. One Mother could be 2cm dilated at one check and progress to 8 cm in a matter of half an hour, yet you could have another Mother dilated at 8cm and won’t birth that baby earthside for another 4 hours.

Cochrane Review Specifically states there is not enough evidence to support VE’s
We identified no convincing evidence to support, or reject, the use of routine vaginal examinations in labour, yet this is common practice throughout the world.

 

Photo Credit

 

CERVIX

So you can have a better understanding of the cervix and what it actually does when you are in labour. Imagine a tight thick elastic band! Imagine you stretching the elastic band! It doesn’t just open does it? The thickness also thins. The more open it is, the thinner it gets.

This happens because the uterus is pulling the cervix up to thin it through the contractions you are experiencing.

 

SO WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

Well if I’m going to be blunt and paint a picture for you, I feel one of the main risks is getting the wrong information.

  • You may have one midwife come in, do a Vaginal Exam and tell you you’re 5cm. Then in a few hours another midwife comes in and does another exam, she has bigger hands, she also does her internal exams slightly different and her interpretation is completely different to that of the first midwife. Low and behold……….you’re still 5cm dilated, or even less. The interpretations of the 2 different midwives varies, their hand/finger sizes differ – and now all of a sudden it’s a panic because you haven’t progressed according to their guidelines and they start suggesting more interventions.
  • There is also risk of infection being transferred from doing internal Vaginal exams. Yes your midwife or OB may be using sterile gloves, but what about the bacteria that is getting pushed up from your vagina through the cervix?
  • There could be an accidental (or accidentally on purpose) membrane rupture. This is not only painful, but once your waters are ruptured, a lot of hospitals have you on the clock.
  • The findings of a Vaginal Exam don’t indicate what the cervix WILL do. The cervix can dialate and retract. All mothers are different, we all birth different. What my cervix does from one pregnancy to the next is different to what your does/will do. Why are we all put into the same birthing box?

 

HOW ELSE CAN THEY KNOW YOU ARE PROGRESSING?

Midwives are trained in birth. They should be able to see a mother in labour, or in transition, and just know from the way they are acting, the noises they are making – the movements, the purple line.

Unfortunately for midwives they have to suggest and follow what their hospitals guidelines say. Which more often than not, is a VE upon admission and a VE every 4 hours (But not in all hospitals)

GUIDELINES ARE GUIDELINES………THEY ARE NOT THE LAW. THE LAW IS GETTING CONSENT – SO IF YOU DO NOT CONSENT, THEY CAN NOT PERFORM THE INTERNAL VAGINAL EXAMINATION!

Below is a statement given to Rachel Reed in her evidence based blogs on VE’s by a midwife.

“It’s like a performance… at this stage of this performance what is it saying? And… it’s not what she’s saying, it’s what she’s not saying. And it’s what she’s displaying, the way she’s moving, what her body is doing in a physiological sense.”

 

In transition – photo credit – Cat Fancote

 

MY EXPERIENCE.

In my experience, when I was told how dilated I was, it took me away from my little birth bubble. I would automatically be taken out of my zone and it would take me a while to get back into it.

In my second pregnancy, my first VE was done accompanied by a stretch and sweep……….I was not once told the risks nor was I told the SS was going to be done. Stretch and Sweep had been discussed as an alternative option to an induction, and I said I would be more open to this option. But wasn’t more open to it being done right away………………Nek minute, fingers performing an internal Vaginal Exam, and Stretch and Sweep………….”You could’ve bought me a coffee first” were my words to the DR.

The thing is, it is your choice. But you need to remember it is YOUR choice. If it is not what you want you don’t HAVE to do it.

It seems to be the complete normal approach to birth these days, and I really do wonder if it is just the normal approach because no one is really being informed about it? Food for thought right?

Knowledge is power. Be empowered and do your research!

I’ve dropped a few links to give you more info so you can go into your Birth with all the information you need.

Vaginal examinations: a symptom of a cervical-centric birth culture

https://www.cochrane.org/CD010088/routine-vaginal-examinations-in-labour

 

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me here

For more great information head back to my Blog page by clicking here

The Birth That Inspired Me. Breech!

YAY – I’M PREGNANT

After a year and a half of trying to fall pregnant, I WAS FINALLY PREGNANT, and over the moon, yet a bit nervous as so many I knew had miscarried in their first pregnancy if not subsequent pregnancies.

We however couldn’t contain our excitement and told everyone before the “12 week” mark as I figured if we did suffer a loss, I would rather have the support from my family and friends rather than no one knowing.

We decided to book into a private obstetrician, we had been paying maternity on our private health insurance after all, so Private it was to be.

I had a very easy pregnancy, no real morning sickness, comfortable in my own skin, no aches or pains and other than one MAJOR “issue” things were perfect. I loved pregnancy, I loved my pregnant body and loved this little thang growing inside me. If only this baby would spin already…………..Mary was presenting Breech, so her bum was down and her legs were sticking up, she was what they call “Frank Breech”.

BIRTH PLAN and PREPARATION

I had a birth plan, and that birth plan was as natural as possible, no intervention, no drugs, no C/section. My OBI seemed very onboard with all of this. She was happy to sign off on my “Birth Preference” as she called it. I was physically and mentally prepared and had done a lot of work to get me to this point.

I had been doing hypnobirthing and going to regular meet ups to surround myself with positivity about pregnancy and birth, and didn’t want to have any fear associated with birth. I watched positive calm birth videos, looked at birth photography footage – watched documentaries about homebirths/ hospital births / breech births everything. I was armed with knowledge and I felt empowered and prepared.

THINGS WERE UPSIDE DOWN

And then I got to 35 weeks and everything started to go into turmoil. Up until now, Mary presenting Breech didn’t seem to be an issue……..the closer I was getting to “Term” the more of an issue it seemed to be.

Discussions about c/section were coming up at every antenatal appointment from 35 weeks onwards, as that was going to be my only option with this provider. I was trying EVERYTHING to encourage her to turn. Chiropractic (Webster manoeuvre) Accupuncture, moxi sticks, looking at spinning babies website, doing inversions – somersaults in the pool. You name it I tried it.

I was leaving my appointments in tears every week, and the week I had finally agreed to book a date for our c/section I was devastated. We had agreed to book at 41 weeks to give my body and my baby all the time to be ready and possibly turn. Having a c/section booked didn’t resonate well with me at all, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t “Allowed” to birth my baby the way nature intended, or at least TRY.

I had often spoken to my sister about the scheduled c/section, and also to my hypnobirthing practitioner. I started researching Breech Vaginal Births, why they weren’t the “Norm” anymore and why it was such a fight. After copious hours of research and a lot of back and forth in my mind, the final decision came from a few choice words from my sister. “Why don’t you just see how you go? Find someone who will support a breech birth and try?”

HUGE DECISION TO MAKE

So at 38+6 weeks, I called my OBI and asked whether she could refer me to someone who may support my choice to birth my baby the way she was – Breech. And she did, she called around and referred me onto King Edwards. Her words were, I’m sure you’ll be able to birth this baby breech, but I’m not comfortable with it as I’ve never seen a Breech Vaginal Birth.

I was elated and so relieved that I was going to have the opportunity to birth this baby the way I knew my body could.

LET THE LABOUR (I think) BEGIN

And so it begins………..I woke up Wednesday (31/09/2016) at about 6:30…….I was 39 weeks exactly, and felt some slight cramping, which honestly felt like period pain and I had some blood in my underpants, which I figured was the show, but I really wasn’t sure as it was just like spotting. I had final OBI appointment at 10:30 that day so I just figured I’d speak to her about what was going on.

I took the dog for a half hour walk, saying to myself this isn’t going to be a long walk, these cramps are still here and I really need to pee (AGAIN – all morning I literally would walk from our ensuite to the laundry, and by the time I got there I had to pee again) I had called My husband (FIFO) and gave him the heads up something was happening but I just figured it was pre labour and was going to be a few days before anything really happened.

Got in my car to drive to Subiaco for my 10:30 appointment. She did the usual ultrasound, confirmed breech position and discussed my decision to have breech birth with the OBI she referred me onto. I was due to have an appointment with him that afternoon. She had also advised me it was quite likely I could go into labour anytime with the signs I had discussed with her.

I decided to visit my old work while I was in Subiaco to see the girls, and I joked with one of them saying “I won’t use the stairs as I might go into labour”! Haha! Meantime I was still feeling the pains every now and then, but it was just dull ache, nothing that made me really think this was it.

I went home and went straight to bed for a rest, my mum was dropping over at 2, so I thought I’d try and get some sleep before she got to the house. I’m pretty sure I just dozed and still kept feeling this cramping. Mum came over and lay in bed with me and by now I was noticing the cramping feeling was quite regular.

YEP THIS IS LABOUR

I hadn’t thought to time them until mum said maybe you should time them as it was stopping me in my tracks and I’d really have to breath through them!

Mum ended up timing them for me and low and behold I was having contractions every 3 minutes and they were lasting 45sec to a minute! I called Linda OB and said I was in labour and what to do about my appointment with the other OB, Was told to make my way into KEMH.

I called my husband told him to get on next available flight back to Perth and then called my sister to tell her to come over. My chosen birth team was always going to be my husband and my sister.

My contractions were very regular and I would lean over and just breath through them, and practicing the breathing techniques I had learnt through hypnobirthing. I had some music playing and some hypnobirthing tracks playing. I tried the birthing ball but didn’t find it very comfortable, more comfortable standing and leaning either against the wall or over the counter and just swaying my hips with each surge.

OFF TO HOSPITAL WE GO

Carla came over at about 3:30pm, and we decided to start packing up and going around 4:30pm. Sitting down in the car was so restricting and probably the most uncomfortable part, so 45 minutes drive felt very long! By the time we got to subiaco my contractions were coming ever 2 minutes and lasting a good minute! We got to ward 4 and as Carla was signing me in my waters broke. HA! Hows that for timing!

They did and internal and I was only 1cm dialated. Gave me the option to go home or stay, we chose to stay because I had a feeling by the time I’d get home, we’d have to come back. So they left us in the room to do what we needed to, Carla was amazing! We had essential oils diffusing, relaxing music playing and were just left to our own devices which I loved!

My waters continued breaking and sort of drizzling out with every contraction and I thought it was full of blood but turned out it was filled with meconium from baby. This is very common with Frank Breech as there is a lot of pressure on their stomachs from being folded in half and the contractions pushing them – the bum is in the pelvis so the meconium comes straight out, it doesn’t pose for panic as a head down birth does. Carla kept cleaning it up and me up (gross)

Aidan finally made it to the hospital at about 8pm, it was such a relief to see him, and know he was going to be with me for the birth of our baby,

Not long after Aidan came in, the OBI came in and had to go through all the policies, advising why Breech births aren’t recommend and would prefer to do C section etc (which I was struggling to even listen to due to my surges) my options etc etc – she looked over my birth plan and did mention a few items which she said I’d maybe reconsider – they wanted to give me Synto to speed up the contractions because of breech position and she said an epidural would be recommended because of breech as well – I declined both and carried on!

She noticed my contractions were coming in thick and strong so asked whether she could do an examination – I’d dilated to 5cm so they transferred me to the labour ward.

LET THE LABOUR PROGRESS

My first instinct was to get naked and get in the shower……….I HATED it, initially the pain went away nearly immediately but as soon as a contraction came on, it was like hot knives being stabbed in my back!

I felt most comfortable standing swaying and dancing through the contractions until my legs started hurting and then I lay on my left side which seemed to work for me too, managed to have micro sleeps between contractions. I thank hypnobirthing for this, I was so relaxed through the whole labour, I could snooze.

At about 11PM my body took over and I had an uncontrollable urge to push, I didn’t even know I was doing it and then all of a sudden I’d bare down, it actually frightened me and I said, “oh god what was that”!

The midwife who was there kept telling me to stop pushing or I’d end up with a c/section…………..this was the only point in my whole labour I felt like punching someone……….and that someone was her. Aidan quickly asked her to leave and get the original midwife who had been with us back – she had been amazing. So the midwives swapped – thank goodness.

Once the midwife realised I wasn’ able to breath through the “Pushing”, and honestly, for those mummy’s out there who have experienced this, there is no way you can stop it. She finally said “right it seems you can’t breath through these anymore, do you mind if I take a look”. I had to get on my back so she could check – this was the first time I’d really been on my back and it was horrible, quite painful – when she did her check, her face said it all. My little brechling was coming out – she was “Bumming” for a lack of better words, because she certainly wasn’t “Crowning” haha

I CAN SEE THE BUM

The midwife was a little panicked and said I really had to try and stop pushing until my OB got back, the OB had gone home for a sleep………..I instinctively got on all fours and what felt like the longest 9 minutes of NOT pushing, our OB finally got there and then the sweet relief of just letting go and letting my body push and bare down as it needed to.

I remember at one stage my OB asked Aidan whether he wanted to see what we were having? (We didn’t know what gender our baby was going to be) So Aidan took a look, and because she came out bum first, it was the first thing on display…….hahah. A Vagina in a Vagina. As soon as he told me, I squealed for Joy. The only real noise I had made the whole labour.

It must have only been 15 minutes of active pushing before Mary was here! Thats not including the hour of pushing which I was told to “Stop pushing” As soon as Mary was born, I picked her up and cried and held her so tight. They had to take her away as she wasn’t breathing very well – had to give her some oxygen and she stated crying so we knew she was ok!

My sister videoed the whole birth and I find it incredible looking back on it. But now that I am more knowledgable about Breech Births, I can see there was way too much interference in her Birth. There was a lot of unnecessary pulling and hands on assistance for the birth. The main rule of thumb for Breech births is “Hands off”.

I wasn’t able to have much skin to skin as they had to take her to NICU. We had about a minute and she tried to find boob but wasn’t able to suckle as she struggled to breath.
it still feels quite raw and makes me tear up quite typing it. It was probably one of the most amazing / proud moments of my life – what our bodies can do is incredible!

They said she had a collapsed lung and had to go down for monitoring. My feelings about this are still a bit skeptical, I think had they given her the chance to have skin to skin, not cut the cord so she could have received all her oxygen rich blood from her placenta and more time with me, she would’ve have fine.

She was down in NICU for 24 hours – on antibiotics, she was wired up to O2 for no more than 2 hours, the rest of the time was just monitoring etc.

It was very hard being in my room and hearing all these babies crying and my little Mary was not with me. My heart will forever go out to mums who’s babies are in NICU for long periods of time

My Mary was born at 00:27 and they said I was in active labor for 3 and a half hours…….so it was pretty quick. From when my waters broke to Mary being born was about 6 hours

Mary is the reason for my drive to support and help women during their pregnancies and birth. She has been my inspiration to do what I do now. I am a big believer in the fact that I had this sort of birth for a reason, had I not had this experience and a Breech Birth I would never have been walking the path of a Birth Worker.

Breech is a Variation of Normal.

I have provided some links for reference in regards to Breech Research.

Research on breech birth in an upright position

What was the Canadian Term Breech trial?

 

My name is Jackie O’Neill, I am a Doula who is inspired to help and support Women through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. I strive to keep myself informed with the most up to date evidence based information and resources.

“Live your life, Love your body, Birth your way”

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