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The Birth of Elsie.

Just wanted to let you know bub arrived safely at 38 +4 weeks on the 27th February (luckily before all this crazy coronavirus hit).

I'm so excited to say we had a natural vaginal birth with no interventions, the exact birth I wanted it still gives me goosebumps, I'm so happy and proud of myself and my support team.

I very unexpectedly went into spontaneous early labour the night before she arrived, ( I say unexpectedly as I was at the gym earlier that day haha, and had no real signs of labour until it began). Surges started at about 9pm and continued to become more frequent, after a chat with a midwife and making sure I was in early labour we applied a TENS machine which was so amazing. I had my hypnobirthing tracks playing through

headphones and was using my breathing techniques and enjoying the experience. I really feel that using what I learnt allowed me to stay at home for so long, I felt so confident and excited to meet my baby. 

I laboured at home for almost 13 hours and arrived at hospital the following morning with my surges about 2 -3 min apart. I did get checked once on arrival (but the midwife did ask me if I wanted to) and was 4cm dilated. I was moved to an amazing birth suite with an incredible and supporting midwife (and my partner Blake). I continued to labour in the shower with my fit ball, once my surges became about 1 min or less, I began to really labour in my back which was more pressure then I had been feeling, so I asked to use the gas. Unfortunately I didn't feel it really did anything, but it was great in the way of regulating my breathing and gave me something to really focus on. I then wanted to change positions so I moved to the bed in a kneeling position for bub to arrive. My waters broke naturally just before I began to bear down, my midwife never told me to 'push' she was amazing and just let me do my own thing.

My body just did what it needed, I will never forget that transition into bearing down - it gave me an amazing surge of energy to birth my baby. After a short 16 minutes my beautiful daughter 'Elsie Dawn' was born - weighing  a perfect 3.1kg and 51cm long.

Unfortunately I did have a second degree tear but it really didn't worry me at all, and after a few stitches I really didn't notice it much. It was nothing like I had imagined a tear to be.

We had immediate skin to skin but my cord was actually really so short bub could only lay on my tummy. We waited and had delayed cord clamping, there was no rush and the cord was totally white before my partner cut it. I also got to feel the pulsating cord which was amazing too. We could finally do the breast crawl and bub latched great (to be continued...). With the marginal cord insertion on my placenta the doctors had wanted me to have the Syntocinon (synthetic oxytocin) injection as they stated it was due to higher risk of haemorrhage when birthing the placenta. We kindly refused the injection, and asked for at least 30 min to see if it would pass on it's own, luckily it did very easily after about 10 - 15 min with no issues at all. When we got to look at the placenta, the cord was definitely attached on the lower half of the placenta but was not too close to the side - it was a thick strong healthy cord. I really wish I could have known this while being pregnant, unfortunately I was never really encouraged that the cord was positioned and doing fine, only that baby was growing normally. The upside of having a marginal cord was that I got to see bub every few weeks at the ultrasound which was amazing and comforting as well.  We had great breast feed straight after her birth but unfortunately that did not continue. We were having a lot of difficulty with her latching, the midwives were very encouraging and helpful but bub either could not open her mouth wide enough to latch, or would latch and it would be so painful. My nipples became damaged from trying so much and bub was becoming very distressed which made me feel so terrible and upset.  My lovely midwife suggested hand expressing which I had no idea how, so she patiently did it for me, teaching me as she went and we were able to start syringe feeding bub the colostrum. This made a huge difference, she became settled and content, I have never felt so relived in my life. The following day I saw a lactation consultant who gave me a plan to go home with, bub was checked for tongue tie and any issues but was fine so our plan was to express via pump and bottle feed until my milk came in and my nipples healed. I felt a little down and defeated about not being able to feed bub on the breast but at least felt confident that she was getting what she needed via bottle.  Unfortunately bub didn't get any better at latching and the constant pumping was wearing me down. I remember sitting on the lounge and just crying. We booked another appointment at the lactation clinic and we tried a nipple shield, bub latched straight away and fed like a dream, so the new plan was to use the shield and slowly wean her off which worked like a charm with help from the lactation clinic. They were so amazing and helpful even when I would get so flustered, I would really recommend going to one for the support - mine ran every second day and you didn't need an appointment. It was a long journey but now at 8 weeks old we have both got the hang of things and doing great - so proud we didn't give up!!  Just wanted to say thank you for giving me the knowledge, tools and confidence to not fear birth of our baby but also have the natural birth that I wanted. Also my partner Blake did amazing, so happy he had the knowledge to advocate and support me, he was just perfect - I could hear him talking to the midwife and I was so proud of him knowing exactly what I wanted. I literally could not have had a more perfect birth! Thank you again Karlee, Blake and baby Elsie.

Congratulations Karlee and Blake! I am so happy that you were able to achieve the positive birth that you were working towards.

Birth story and photos shared with permission.

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