Manage episode 191483920 series 1750111
Want to find a real depth into the value of continuity of care? This episode with Aimee Sing who is currently the editor of Homebirth Access Sydney. Aimee takes us through a very informative journey here from miscarriage with bleeding episodes, working though trusting the body, caesarean, placental abruption and then a home birth with her second baby. If you really want to understand the deep processes in the fertility and pregnancy journey then this is for you! Aimee is a beautiful story teller, and shares her journey in a way to outline the importance of continuity of care. The experiences are shared with the upmost respect to each individual birth and the gifts that the family received. This is a real in depth story fuelled with love, you can tell Aimee is spreading the importance of continuity of care!
Learn more about the important work Home Birth Access Sydney is doing by supporting homebirth families and increasing awareness to better our access to this service in Australia. https://homebirthsydney.org.au
This story below is written by the hand of Aimee…
Our baby boy’s birth story really starts with his big sisters birth. After researching and planning a homebirth and finding our perfect birth team we were so excited about meeting our first baby! My pregnancy was really asymptomatic, I felt well and happy but I had some minor and some major episodes of bleeding due to a subchorionic hematoma (SCH). Still, we kept planning our homebirth and counting down the weeks before we would meet our baby. At 36+4 weeks I woke to a gush which, once I checked, I realised was actually bright red blood! I rang my midwife and said I was bleeding a lot and thought I was having a placental abruption to which she advised we head to the hospital and she’d meet us there. Our birth plans were tipped on their head and I ended up ha ving an emergency caesarean section to deliver our baby girl, Willow, safely. While for many women a homebirth caesarean (HBC) can be traumatic, for me I was really blessed in that I was upset and mourning the birth experience I had so hoped and planned fo r, but I had no trauma related to the birth at all…the hospital stay afterwards on the other hand was horrendous and I vowed never to expose myself to that sort of treatment again if I could prevent it !
Birth With Willow
In the months and years following my HBC I continued to research everything I could about placental abruption. I had many tests to try to figure out why I’d had the placental abruption, but there was no reason discovered . While this was a blessing it was also really hard as I had no reason to ‘blame’ and acc ordingly nothing to ‘fix’ to prevent it in future . The only small bit of information that I felt might explain the placental abruption was that a lack of protein (malnutrition) can result in one, and I’d gone entirely off meat and didn’t substitute it for anything throughout my pregnancy, so I started to up my protein intake for a subsequent pregnancy.
I researched everything I could about vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) and home VBAC (HBAC) , and I searched for anyone who had birthed a baby at home af ter a prior abruption , but to no avail. I watched HBAC videos and read their stories, I spoke to my midwife and women in my community and online and eventually I decided that, provided we were blessed with another pregnancy, I would be trying for a HBAC ne xt time. It took my husband and I 18 months to really decide that we would try for another baby (I was terrified of losing a baby, he was pretty scared of losing me), and after that point it took another 6 months and partially weaning my 2yo daughter to ac tually conceive! Despite doing all I would to maintain a healthy pregnancy (eating well, seeing a naturopath, acupuncturist, maya abdominal massage therapist, counsellor, kinesiologist and chiropractor) I sadly lost two pregnancies in the following 6 month s. Feeling very disheartened and confused I decided to cut almost all of the work I had been doing and to just trust my body would do what it needed if we were meant to have another baby – surrender was the word for this pregnancy, birth and postpartum per iod! W e stopped ‘trying’ to have a baby and I weaned my daughter entirely…we fell pregnant that month with a healthy, perfect pregnancy!
My pregnancy was very simple and easy once I got past the first trimester fear of losing another baby. Everything with bub and I measured and looked perfect, we avoided most of the routine procedures , though we did have scans (mainly to ease my mind regarding placental position and function). As I approached 35 weeks I started nesting like crazy – washing clothes, cleaning the house and prepping for bub, as I’d found it so frustrating being so unprepared when my daughter had arrived early. 37 weeks rolled around and I was shocked and so grateful to still be pregnant! I actually got to have a mothers blessing and experience having henna decorating my belly. My chiropractor did a couple of adjustments on my pelvis and soon after that our baby engaged. Then 38 weeks came along, and I was feeling even more shocked and blessed, everything was going perfectly this time! Over the following couple of weeks I finished work and baby moved further and further down, but I still felt totally comfortable and happy to be pregnant, not about ready to pop at all! I had a few fears surrounding birth, mainly regarding haemorrhage (I guess f rom the abruption being in my mind) , and had discussed those and what would happen if my waters broke early with my midwife, commenting that it rarely happens anyway but that I’ d like to be prepared . On the 12 th November I decided to start doing spinning babies exercises as bub was always curled towards my right hand side and I was worried that would cause issues for labour and birth – it felt really good to stretch everything out a bit.
On the 13th November, our babies due date (and the day after my and before my MIL’s birthday ), I woke up and commented to my hubby ‘I’m still too happy and comfortable being pregnant for this pregnancy to almost be over, this baby is going to be in for a while yet ’… then about two hours later at 9:30am my waters broke while I was lying down reading the ‘Birthing from within’ book! I said ‘Oh…’, and shifted and bit, felt a gush and said ‘OH!’ and ran to the vinyl area in our kitchen. My hubby looked over and said ‘is everything OK?’ and I said ‘either I’m wetting myself, a lot , or my waters just broke!’. He grabbed some towels, we mopped everything up and I was delighted to notice that the waters were crystal cl ear with little flecks of vernix ! I was so elated, hugged my hubby in excitement and rang my midwife and texted my dou la to let them know. At the same time I still felt this was so surreal, surely we wouldn’t be meeting our baby soon. I told hubby we had to keep the toilet extra clean and that if I hadn’t started contracting soon I’d start high dose vitamin C and bug beat er from our herbalist…still, I was so excited to recognise that regardless of what happened it would only be a few more days at most before we met out newest family member!
We decided to take Willow up to our local growers market and walk around a bit to see if it started anything off, and we saw lots of familiar faces while there , including a fellow homebirth mum, which was totally lovely but had me rushing away for fear of blurting ‘I’M GOING TO BE HOLDING MY BABY SOON!!!’ . While walking I kept feeling g ushes of fluid and was filling pads pretty quickly. I also noticed I was starting to have little, niggly braxton hicks. I could easily walk, talk and act normal through them, but hubby said my face turned bright red with each one, so after stocking up on some food we headed back home. I had always planned to set up my birth space and bake a cake (chocolate , at my daughter’s request) with my daughter while in labour, but once I got home I realised things were potentially starting to pick up! I thought I should rest because maybe this wasn’t the real deal and it’d fizzle out, so I asked Juz to look after Willow and went and laid down and listened to some hypnobirthing tracks to try relax and sleep. After 10 minutes of trying to do that and realising that laying down was making the braxton hicks worse, and that I was starting to need to moan through them, I came out and told Juz that we better get stuff ready. We set Willow up with a few toys, I packed the food from the markets away and my hubby helped me set up my birth space which was very basic with just affirmations (lots of them!), willow tree figurines, my birthing necklace, some stones, beeswax candles I’d made and a plant my mum had bought me for my birthday .
By the time we’d finished setting everything up I was swaying and stopping during surges, and found the most comfortable position to be on all fours with a heat pack on my lower belly. My mum called at 1:30pm during a surge and I managed to talk to her through it saying ‘I’m just having some niggles, nothing serious’ (because honestly, I didn’t know if this was the real deal!). Soon after though the only way I could manage through contractions was to rock forwards and backwards over a fit ball, vocalising with heat packs on both my lower belly and back (one of which my daughter took a lot of convincing to part with !). At 2:15pm I asked Juz to call our midwife and she listened to me through a couple of surges, said I was coping well and wanted to know whether I needed her to which I replied ‘I don’t kn ow’ (because I STILL wasn’t sure whether this would just peter out, I didn’t want her driving all the way just for me to not be in labour!). Straight after speaking with her I decided I needed my doula there to watch our daughter, I needed Juz with me for every surge and if he wasn’t there I wasn’t coping so well, so I decided to text her…4 surges later and no text sent I asked Juz to call her and ‘please just get her here!’.
At 2:45pm I told Juz I needed my midwife , I couldn’t feel bub move very often an d even though I intuitively felt everything was f ine I was still a bit concerned, t hough I’m not surprised with the lack of me feeling movements given my contractions were only a couple of minutes apart ; not much time to relax and feel a baby move! Regardl ess of whether she needed to come I also wanted to know whether I could get in the bath, thank goodness she said yes! This fit – ball – rocking business was starting to make me nauseous and I kept whimpering ‘I don’t want to vomit’ with each surge. So once I h ad the go ahead I started running the bath, and because it takes 20 minutes to fill up I decided I wasn’t waiting, I was getting in straight away and would just keep rocking and labouring in there with hot nappies instead of microwaveable heat packs. Now I think about it, I must ha ve looked pretty ridiculous in 1 cm of water rocking away in the bath, but even just having SOME water around me was helping me cope and get in the right mindset. I asked Juz to put some music on and I remember music playing for a couple of songs, but then it didn’t anymore and I honestly didn’t care, it wasn’t making the atmosphere any different for me anyway.
This is where I lost all concept of time…I remember Juz coming in and saying Jacquie was here, then after another surge I saw her feet at the door and I thought (but didn’t say) ‘where’s Annalise?’ (her daughter) . S he sat on our toilet and watched me through a couple of surges after which she commented I was d oing really well and that I must be progressing well given how I was vocalising. I think she stayed for a few surges and rubbed my back, put hot packs on and gave me a cool washer with lavender for my forehead – this was way better than I expected, I normally don’t like the smell of lavender but it was awesome! I remember Willow coming and going, at one point she was whining and I lost it and said ‘GET HER OUT OF HERE!!’ (not my best mothering moment…), but I don’t know when that was in the scheme of things . I remember Jo arriving, seeing her calm smile and all of a sudden feeling a flood of relief – my birth team was here and that meant I was going to give birth soon!! Jo checked on bub and kept saying ‘that’ s one happy baby ’ each time which made me feel wonderfully reassured and calm. I remember my mum calling and me thinking that she’d clue on that I was in labour for sure and that I didn’t want her to because I didn’t want her to be worried about me, but Juz just said ‘Aimee’s in the bath’ and left it a t that, and she didn’t ring back (but boy was she surprised when I spoke with her the next morning!!). I kept having surges lying over the edge of the bath with my head on a pillow and heat packs on my lower belly and back, and they were OK, but for some r eason it felt like they weren’t going anywhere! I all of a sudden got frustrated and decided I was getting out of the bath because it was taking too long…I remember thinking that Jo was wondering what I was doing , but I just felt like I had to get out of t he bath at that point .
I walked to the bedroom and asked for the blinds to be closed (they already were) and used the fit – ball again, rocking backwards and forwards with heat packs on my front and back
which Juz and Jo kept warming in the microwave. I thi nk I spoke with Jo about being out of the bath, saying the surges were feeling like they were progressing more outside the bath, getting more intense, and she said something like ‘that probably means we should stay out of the bath for a while’. After a fe w more surges on the floor my knees were getting sore so I got up on the bed with the fit – ball and started rocking again with heat packs on my front and back. I’ve no idea how long I stayed like this, I was very much in my own little world and I remember n ot talking much during these surges. I also remember seeing Jo timing my surges with an app and thinking how funny it was that I’d downloaded the same app that morning! After a while longer like this I decided I needed the bath again, I think I went to the toilet first and then hopped back in and it was blissful! I kept going as I had before, head on the pillow resting between surges and then using heat packs during them which Juz, Jo and Jacquie were all helping me with. Willow came in to check on me a cou ple of times and Jacquie took some photos, and there were some weird conversations that I caught tid – bits of but can’t remember anything about now! Then all of a sudden having the contractions while sitting in the bath wasn’t working, I needed to stand! S o I’d float around between contractions, sometimes falling asleep which had me thinking ‘maybe I’m close to transition’ and then doubting myself and thinking ‘no, I have forever to go here , this isn’t nearly hard enough yet !’, and as the surge came I’d stand and hold a heat pack on my front, Juz would support me and hold a heat pack on my back. This continued for a while until I started needing to put one leg up on the edge of the bath – I remember that feeling much better. Then as I was having a surge I felt something drip out of my vagina and looked down and it was a bit of mucousy blood! Jacquie noticed it and told Jo, and she came and watched me through surges for a while, but this was one of the fears I’d broached just a week earlier with her (any bleeding scares me!). A few more surges and more blood kept coming, Jo kept checking bubs heart rate and all looked perfect, but she commented that it’d be helpful to know how far dilated I was to try and figure out where the blood might be coming from. I agreed to a vaginal exam which Jo did on the bed and she told me I was 8cm (What!?! No way!). I remember thinking that not being able to move during the surges was unbearable! How anyone could lie on their back throughout labour beats me, that was the worst!
After that I got back in the bath and Jo said she’d be keeping a close watch on bubs heart rate given the bleeding (big reassurance for me anyway) , but to keep doing whatever I felt was right. I kept on as I had before, standing for the surge with one leg elevated and then laying down and falling asleep in between, but these surges were more intense. I randomly remember around this point that Juz organised for some pizza to be ordered (later I questioned what the pizza delivery person thought about my moaning away but my doula met them at the bottom of the driveway – clever!) . I remember Juz asked Jo what the time was and I said ‘NO, don’t say!’ and then said ‘hey, it’s dark, when did that happen?!’. I looked at the affirmations all around the room and the main one that kept standing out was one that said ‘surrender to the power of your body’ , and this really was all about surrender and just trusting in the process so far. I remember looking at Jo and pleadingly saying her name, I wanted her to give me a way to escape. I whimpered and told my birth team I wanted to go home to which Jacquie said something along the lines of ‘that’s the wonderful thing about homebirth, we’re already here’. I told everyone I needed an epidural and Jo told me she couldn’t give me one. I kept asking how many more surges were left and Jo said ‘just focus on this one, love, and so I kept repeating ‘just this one’ in my head with each surge, but I’m sure I asked another four or five times! Last of all I remember saying ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and Jo said something like ‘you don’t have any other option’ or ‘what’s the alternative’, and I was thinking (but not saying) ‘the alternative is that we go to hospital and pull this baby out !! ’. T hen all of a sudden , after only a few of these transitional thoughts, I remember thinking ‘hey, there’s pressure in my bum at the end of the surge’. I went with it for a few surges and noticed I was getting pushy towards the end of each one, but I was convinced this was just a weird baby – position thin g and that it’d go away soon enough…no way was I close to second stage! Then slowly the pushing urge took up the whole surge, not just the end, and I commented ‘I’m pushing’ (Jo had already noted this with Juz several surges prior). This was the most incredible feeling, it was totally overwhelming and surreal! I wasn’t pushing on purpose but my body was doing it for me, and it was seriously powerful! I was blown away by how with each surge the push would come, peak and go, and so too would the vocalising. There was a beautiful image I had on my affirmation board of a baby crowning that I kept visualising with each surge and I started getting really excited – maybe we’d be holding our baby soon! The pushing surge s kept coming and going, coming and going, and I wanted to know when it’d be over…these were incredible but intense, was it really going to end in a baby coming out of my vagina like I’d been dreaming of for so long? I remember saying ‘come ON baby, please just come out’ and also asking Jo ‘how much longer’ and her saying ‘I don’t know love , maybe see if you can feel anything’ . I reached up as far as I could into my vagina and felt nothing…I started wailing ‘there’s nothing there, it’s going to be FOREVER’, but Juz just squeezed my hand and said ‘it won’t be forever, you’re doing it, just focus on the next one’. It w as around this point that Jo recommended we fill the bath up a bit higher and with warmer water, and I noticed a thermometer had made its way in to the bath, which had me thinking that bub must be pretty close now! So the next one, and the next one, and the next one I focused on, and then I decided to check again and what do you know, there was something hard in my vagina!!! I got so excited, ‘I CAN FEEL THE HEAD’ I said, and then I demanded that Juz feel it too despite his reluctance. I was blown away thinking ‘how awesome is this!?!’ and with each surge I’d check where bub had gotten to and show Jo on my finger, usual ly with a big grin on my face because bub was progressively getting lower and lower. I noticed bub would move back up sometimes, and that really annoyed me, but then the next surge would come and it’d be even closer than before. When it got to 1 knuckle away I remember just sighing and grinning, and Jo said ‘wow, you’re so lucid!’ – I felt incredible and womanly, and despite being totally out of control, somehow I felt entirely powerful and capable. Then came a BIG surge, and bubs head started to crown – I could feel what I thought was w hat people described as the ring of fire, but it didn’t really feel like fire to me…just lots of stretchiness! Jo said to say ‘Hah, hah, hah’ and we said it together as bubs head moved further down. Jo checked on bub with the mirror and the doppler, all was going well, and then bubs head did crown and with it came a gush of blood. Despite Jo remaining really calm I could tell this wasn’t the norm, I started getting a little worried but then realised that my babies head was right there, I could see it, and whatever happened the only way it was coming was out of my vagina, so all I could really do is keep on working with my body for now. Jo tried to get the heart rate but it was behind my pubic bone, and while she kept reassuring me that this was probably why she couldn’t get it, she suggested I try to get the head out with the next surge. It felt like the next surge didn’t come for about 10 minutes…come on body, I want to meet my baby!! I gave a big (involuntary) push with the next surge and felt a rubbery feeling as the head moved through and down, and then I stared at my babies head – here’s my baby, half inside me and half out! This is crazy, wonderful and amazing! I rubbed the head full of hair and said ‘hi baby, hi’ and waited and waited for what felt like an eternity for the next surge. Jo still couldn’t get the heart rate but I told her not to worry, I could feel the baby moving, ‘the baby is pulsing’ I’d said…then the next surge came , out came the shoulders and the rest of bub and lo and behold bubs cord was around the neck – THAT’S what the pulsing had been! Jo and I scooped bub out of the water and I got to meet our baby for the first time! As I was picking bub up I realised there was a handful of something foreign there – a penis and testicles! We had a baby boy! But it didn’t matter enough to acknowledge just yet because bub was still coming into his body – he was a bit floppy and not breathing and so Jo kept asking that I rub him, but I think I was a bit too shocked to act at all the way I needed to and so Jo ended up giving him a good rub too. Willow was saying in the background ‘it’s a baby!!!’ and was trying to get into the action, and Jo had to say ‘just give us a chance to get him breathing…him or her’. In the end bub had some suction and that go t him into his body and screaming a hearty cry…and then I was just awestruck by how perfect and squishy and beautiful this little human was! Jacquie took some photos, Willow gave me a high 5, Juz stared at his perfect son (a boy, he was still reeling!)…it was seriously perfect.
Some time after that I remember looking into the water and realising I could see my legs, but only just, and that that was usually the point at which women needed to get out of the bath to ensure there was no post – partum haemor rhage going on. So we got out of the bath and into the bed to feed bub and deliver the placenta which came 45 minutes later with no troubles, though the pressure in my back when delivering that was sick, I didn’t like that bit at all! Once the placenta was born we snuggled and sat in awe of the little miracle that had just occurred, and then we separated bub from his placenta via cord burning while Willow fell asleep watching very closely. Despite managing to burn the cord all the way through it didn’t seal up as well as we’d hoped and continued to bleed a little so we tied and cut it in the end, but there were no complaints from bub at all throughout the whole process. We weighed and measured bub, and I did a wee (my goodness, that was a relief!) and then we snuggled up in bed together, just the three of us as Willow had gone to sleep and been transferred into her bed earlier.
Musings from the Aimee
“I turned to my husband and he had tears in his eyes”.
“I was always very open with our daughter with all our pregnancies”.
“My daughter said to me before our miscarriage ‘I don’t think this one wants to stay'”.
“Our daughter was really accepting of our losses, which helped me become more accepting”.
“The baby doesn’t like tomatoes mummy!”.
“I feel amazing. This pregnancy, I don’t believe I am 40 weeks already, I feel comfortable and fine”.
“Do you see that, ‘do you hear that noise mummy is making’? said our midwife, ‘she is working really hard to get her baby out'”.
“I felt so calm and centred and just kept going”.
“In transition and wanting to go home my doula said to me, ‘Thats the beautiful thing about home-birth your already here’ “
“The whole reason I processed my first with the way I did and was not traumatised is because I had my midwife Jo by my side the whole time”.
“Even if you are not going to have a homebirth, I feel its really important to find continuity of care in your journey”.
Gentle Birth gentle Mothering – http://sarahbuckley.com/gentle-birth-gentle-mothering
Home Birth Access Sydney – https://homebirthsydney.org.au
Aimee is a mother, wife, university lecturer, eternal student and lover of all things birth, babies and breastfeeding! She lives with her husband and two beautiful children in the glorious Blue Mountains. While Aimee has completed a doctorate in plant physiology, since having babies she discovered her passion lies with birth, breastfeeding and parenting. Accordingly, she has begun training to become an ABA counsellor, has recently become the editor for Birthings magazine and often toys with the idea of becoming a doula – We’ll just see what life has in store!
The post E44 – Aimee Sing – Caesarean Placental Abruption & Home Birth HBAC – Cared & Supported appeared first on The Circle of Birth.
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