Podcast Episode #98

Birth Story: Emergency Caesarean, Breastfeeding Challenges, Egg Freezing with Liz

This c section birth story is with Liz who shares an honest recount of her emergency c-section due to a last-minute breech presentation.

Liz shares her journey to becoming pregnant, including how she chose to freeze her eggs. Liz talked us through her c section step by step, which she reports was quite a positive experience.

Liz also openly shares her challenges around breastfeeding. And Liz, like many of us, expected to fully breastfeed and wasn’t prepared for the challenges she faced.

And stick around because Liz provides lovely advice to pregnant and new mothers who might be listening today.

To listen to this c section birth story with Liz, click the link below.

Episode Links

Free Pregnancy Workshop

FitNest Mama Website

FitNest Mama Instagram: @fitnestmama

Podcasts mentioned:

Maternal Assisted Caesarean Birth
Hypnobirthing for a Caesarean Birth

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Birth Story: Emergency caesarean, breastfeeding challenges, egg freezing with Liz

Transcription

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that this transcription was completed with computer voice recognition software. Quite often unanticipated grammatical, syntax, homophones, and other interpretive errors are inadvertently transcribed by the computer software. Please disregard these errors. Please excuse any errors that have escaped final proofreading.

INTRODUCTION

If you are pregnant or you’ve recently had a baby, this podcast is for you. I am your host, Kath Baquie. A physiotherapist working in women’s health and a mum of three. Join me each week as we dive into all things pregnancy care, childbirth and postnatal recovery. Helping you have a wonderful pregnancy and after birth experience. And don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any episodes.

KATH BAQUIE

Well, hello there! It’s great to have you here for another episode of the FitNest Mama Podcast. Today I am chatting with a lovely FitNest Mama member Liz, who has a baby boy named Evan. Liz’s story is really honest recount of her emergency caesarean birth, which occurred as a result of a last-minute breech presentation that was picked up. So, Liz shares her journey to becoming pregnant, including how she chose to freeze her eggs. Liz talks us through her C sections step by step, which she reports all in all was quite a positive experience. And I do often feel birth stories often really do dive into vaginal births. And we really go on a journey with the person who’s had the baby but I’ve often feel caesarean birth stories, the actual C section sometimes glossed over a little bit.

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So, in this story, though, Liz really does take us on the journey with her step by step through her C section. And something else that Liz was really open about her challenges around breastfeeding. And Liz, like many of us expected to fully breastfeed, and she wasn’t prepared for the challenges she faced, and she ended up switching to bottle feeding at I think it was one week postpartum. So, stick around because Liz does, she’s really open and honest. Like it was an honour to speak to Liz in today’s episode. And thank you, Liz, if you’re listening, it was amazing to chat and do stick around because Liz does provide some lovely advice to pregnant and new mothers who might be listening today.

Before we do dive into this episode, I would love to invite you to come and join us inside FitNest Mama. So, if you found you’re not exercising as much as you’d like to during pregnancy and post pregnancy, perhaps you’re busy or you’ve lost the motivation to exercise or you’re not sure how to best be looking after your body. Or perhaps you’ve got the pelvic girdle pain and the abdominal muscles separation and you’re not sure about the best exercises for you. Or you’d like to get back into running after birth and you want the best Kickstarter possible, then FitNest Mama is for you. Join us for these convenient short easy workouts that you can do from the comfort of your home whilst your baby sleeps or whilst your toddler runs around causing havoc or the end of a long day at work. Simply head to fitnestmama.com as f-i-t-n-e-s-t-m-a-m-a.com. And the link is in the show notes. Alright. Let’s get into this episode.

Liz, thank you so much for joining me today on the FitNest Mama Podcast. It is an absolute honour to talk to you today all about your birth story. So, thank you.

LIZ

Thanks for having me.

KATH BAQUIE

So, Liz, can you give us, you don’t need to give us a massive bio. But could you just let the listeners know who you are like what sort of Motherhood journey are you on? Do you have one baby, two babies? Whereabouts do you live? That sort of thing.

LIZ

Yeah, no worries. Well, hi, everyone. My name is Liz. I was a 38-year-old woman when I first found out I was pregnant with my first child. So slightly older mum. Andrew and I, well, I actually, firstly, I wasn’t really sure whether I was going to have a child in my life because I was an older mum and I had failed relationships. And then I froze my eggs at 35 thinking just sort of a bit of an insurance policy. And then I met someone fantastic and then it sorts of just all worked out for me. And we’ve got pregnant relatively quickly because it was always in the back of my mind. Especially don’t a woman’s biological clock. Tick tock tick tock but so I always had that in the back of my mind, but we were really, really lucky. And we didn’t have any issues. So, I didn’t need to tap into my eggs, or anything like that, which hopefully I’ll be able to donate to research. And yeah, I initially, I wasn’t, you know, once I found out I was pregnant, we, I was really, really cautious for the first probably up until 20 weeks, I didn’t want to jinx anything. And I was actually really quite sick for the first roll from six to nine weeks was horrific. With all day sickness, I don’t know why they call it morning sickness. And yeah, and then things got better post 11 weeks, and I had a really brilliant pregnancy, post the all-day sickness. And I really do attribute that to being as active and trying to stay active. And that’s where your program really came into it actually.

KATH BAQUIE

Liz, you have just given us so much that we want to just dive into. So, I’m going to cut you off there because I would love to know a little bit more about the egg freezing journey, because I’m sure there’s a lot of mums who are listening who want to become pregnant. And that’s just a really interesting, like what you mentioned, it’s what a lot of women go through. So you hadn’t found a partner and you got to 35. And you just thought, I need an insurance policy. Is that what you were thinking?

LIZ

Yeah, and listen, the whole, like, I had a few failed relationships, but I never sort of thought, I want to meet someone and boom straightaway for pregnant because you don’t really know someone until a couple of years and you need to live with them. And I just didn’t want that pressure. And egg freezing was relatively I had a girlfriend that had actually done it. And she told me about the process. And she had some fertility issues. So that’s why she went down that path. But then I sort of thought to myself, I’m in a position where I actually can. And I don’t want to add extra pressure. Because what if I don’t meet someone till 38, 39, 40? Whatever the scenario could have been? And I thought I can, and I will. So, for me, that was really an I call it an insurance policy, but the chances of egg freezing and then a child being born from that are still relatively small. But I think I just thought I can do it. So, I definitely will. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

And how was that process for you in terms of the actual freezing of the eggs?

LIZ

Yeah, so the process for me was actually good. It was anyone that’s gone through IVF I believe it’s the first portion of IVF. So, you get to the you have I think it’s two weeks or 10 days of injections and ultrasounds. That’s the word I’m looking for, ultrasounds to make sure that your follicles are getting bigger, and they know when to actually procure the eggs. So, for me, I mean, I work in the health field, so and I did half a Bachelor of Nursing. So, I can imagine for someone that is not in the health field, it would be really, really overwhelming. So, you know, just doing subcutaneous injections, understanding all the names, knowing like there are certain times where you’ve got to take some of the injections, exactly 12 hours apart, I can really understand that it would be really, really tough for some people. But I think because of my background, and I had a few friends that had gone through IVF, and one that had done the egg freezing prior. So, I was able to ask a few people. And I don’t know, I just went in with an open mind. I think maybe perhaps if I had been doing it with the intention for IVF, my mindset would have been not more serious because I was serious about it. But there’s more writing on that. I’ve had friends that have had IVF issues, and I can’t even imagine to understand the mental load that would be.

KATH BAQUIE

So how long does the process take from start to the egg, like from start to finish? So, from start of the journey to actually having the egg’s frozen.

LIZ

So, whenever you, well, first of all, you’ve got to decide which clinic you want to go with. I went with a clinic that their motto was trying to ensure that every single woman from what anyone with anywhere where they who they treat, they don’t just treat in Melbourne, their motto was allowing it being able to provide a service I should say to women that come from all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds. So, it was relatively cheaper. And it was a woman, a doctor who was a pioneer in the area in IVF. And she started up there so I thought I would definitely want to go with her because I just liked her motto. And it didn’t take me too long to get an appointment with her. I think it was only like a month or two. You go in for the appointment. And I sort of knew a little bit about the process and you have to do counselling with egg freezing. That’s I think it’s actually law in Victoria, where they sort of you know, just go through all these different things. And then. So, I reckon from the moment that I decided I wanted to do it to the time that my eggs were procured, I reckon it was four months. And I think I was planning on going away at one point, or it was Christmas time. So, I thought, let’s do it in January, where there’s no issues with public holidays and things like that. And egg freezing, I only needed a day off work to actually for the procurement of the eggs. So, it wasn’t a major surgery or anything like that. So, it wasn’t a long process. But I do know that over COVID, egg freezing has just, I think I read a stat that it’s 300% more than, it just gone through the roof.

KATH BAQUIE

Wow.

LIZ

Yes.

KATH BAQUIE

So, when you froze the eggs, did you feel different? Like when? Between freezing your eggs and then meeting Andrew, is it?

LIZ

Yep.

KATH BAQUIE

Did you change in terms of, did you feel more relaxed? Or?

LIZ

That’s a really good question. Because I did say at the beginning that it was like an insurance policy. But it wasn’t playing on my mind that much. I actually had the I didn’t have a vision of me having a life with children, or it wasn’t, it would have no now having him. It’s completely different. But whether I found that I went onto that path and was able to successfully have a child, or maybe I would not have met someone in time, I didn’t want that weighing on me. And I just thought of whatever life throws at me, I’ll just take, you know, having a child is, you know, there are childless couples that have such a meaningful life. And I don’t think that it’s having a child is everything. I love the fact that I have a child and I can’t imagine my life without him. But I did think that my life was amazing as it is, and whether or not someone came into it was just whether I suppose up to timing. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

And when did you meet Andrew? How old were you?

LIZ

I was so I was I think I was 34. Just before my 35th birthday, I had procured the eggs. And I met Andrew when I was 36. Almost 37. Yeah, pretty much 37 Actually, yeah. And then COVID came, we moved in, and it was sort of COVID was bad for so many people. But for me, it accelerated our relationship, because we had never spent that much time together. And we moved in together. And it was actually it was, oh no, I don’t want to say this because I know it was so hard for so many people. But it was a good time for us. And yeah, then we’ve, I think we, so in three years, Andrew and I have met, moved in become engaged, bought a house and had a baby. So, we really, really smashed it out.

KATH BAQUIE

And was he on the same page in terms of having a baby? Or was it planned or unplanned? Or how did that…

LIZ

It was definitely weighing more on me. Because I because of because of the fact a woman has to worry about her biological clock, which really irritates me because men just have no idea. He never thought that we would, there would be an issue. But I think, again, me being in the medical side of things. I know that things can go wrong, and fertility issues maybe I don’t believe I’ve spoken about with men in particular. So, I felt like he was a little bit naive. And we were we definitely communicated a lot about what the neck our future would be like. And he always knew he wanted children. And I actually didn’t think that we would fall pregnant as quickly as we did. So, I thought we would be trying for at least six months. But luckily, we really felt pregnant quite quickly.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, amazing. Okay, so you had a rough first half of the pregnancy, you said 20 weeks or?

LIZ

Well, I shouldn’t say rough. It was between, say, six to 11 weeks more. More so, six to nine weeks. I had really bad all day sickness. And I was I didn’t want to take any drugs because I thought no, I’ll just ride it out. But then I thought no, I really cannot. I’m not enjoying this at all. And I had to work, and I wanted to do all these other things. So, I thought that once I started taking the medication that really helped, and then from 11 weeks that I didn’t need the medication anymore. And I was really hesitant to tell everyone initially I was pregnant because not that I didn’t want to jinx it, but I know things can go wrong. So, I didn’t tell people to all around 20 weeks, my family my nearest and dearest knew, but it wasn’t sort of broadcast out till 20.

KATH BAQUIE

Liz, what is your profession? I don’t actually know this.

LIZ

I’m a Health Information Manager. So basically, I or my role, there are different career paths in it. I read the medical record all day and I transcribe procedures and diagnosis into codes. So, it’s sort of like a narrative and that information gets sent to the department of health and the hospital’s get funded that way. But it’s also used for data and different types of research and things like that. So that’s yeah, that’s what I do.

KATH BAQUIE

Amazing. Okay, so what stage did you join FitNest Mama, how many weeks pregnant were you?

LIZ

I reckon I was probably about 12 or 13 weeks pregnant.

KATH BAQUIE

And what made you join FitNest Mama?

LIZ

I was, because all my sporting stuff had stopped during COVID. And I had, I felt quite sick at the beginning, I sort of wanted to get back into it. And I thought this is really a need movement. Movement makes me happy. My mood is totally different with movement. And I just didn’t want to be lazy. So, I think I saw an ad for it. And I thought this is absolutely perfect. And I love the fact because I couldn’t, there was a lot of times where I couldn’t make the live classes. So, the fact that it was recorded was really, really good for me. And I probably didn’t realize, I also love the resource part of it, because I was someone that I wanted to soak up as much knowledge as I possibly could for this journey. And I was telling you this before we press record, but nothing can ever prepare you for this journey. And I think as getting as much information as possible, is so important to making sure you have an informed pregnancy and you’re in control. I don’t like not being in control. And I really do feel like Knowledge is power.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Amazing. So, you’re referring to the birth the birth resources inside?

LIZ

Yeah, yeah. Just the different and the different speakers like, there’s a few favorited speakers that are gone, I listened to during my pregnancy. And I’ve gone back at the point where, because it’s a little bit different for me, like, I might have listened to different podcasts and stuff. But when I wasn’t there, at that time, I sort of didn’t really soak it up. Whereas, you know, for example, even starting solids now, so I’m going back to the solids material, and things like that when I was having issues, but I didn’t have really many issues if you sleep, but when I wanted to know more info or went to those kinds of resources.

KATH BAQUI

So for those who are listening, we have every month there’s a new guest speaker inside FitNest Mama. And there’s a paediatric dietitian, you know, starting solids, pregnancy resources after birth recovery resources. So that’s what Liz is referring to, alongside the birth support. So apart from FitNest Mama, what else did you do to help yourself prepare for birth?

LIZ

Yeah, we did birthing classes, unfortunately, because of COVID. The hospital didn’t offer them. Well, actually, someone communicated to me that we did and then they didn’t. And then they were, and we had gone off and done it privately. That was really good. But I think, for me, trying to talk to my friends that had children was really, really important for me. With hindsight, I actually think the best way to deal with more so the newborn side of things, because everyone talks about the whole pregnancy. But really, the fourth trimester I think is the one that is the hardest. So, I really do think the best advice for anyone is spend as much time with someone that’s had a baby if you can, because that’s probably the best way to deal with the fourth trimester.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, to soaking up the everyday life sort of thing.

LIZ

Yeah. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

Absolutely. Pregnancy and birth last for nine months. But having a baby lasts for you know, the rest of your life.

LIZ

Yeah. And it’s so relentless. Like, after becoming a mother, I appreciate my own mum so much more 100% every other woman out there that’s struggling a zillion things. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Okay, so, moving, so, let’s fast forward to because I actually don’t know what type of birth you had. You might have mentioned it inside our Facebook group. But I admit, I have forgotten, and I actually liked that for these birth stories, because I don’t care what sort of birth story you had. Because some people say to me, Oh, it’s a bit boring. I don’t want to I don’t think anyone will appreciate it. And I’m like, no, that there is no boring. There is no good birth story. There’s no bad birth story. Like every birth story is unique. So, I don’t care what sort of birth story it is. I just want to hear leading into your birth.

LIZ

Yep.

KATH BAQUIE

Talk me through those days in the lead up like okay, was it? Yeah, were you having a vaginal birth?

LIZ

I had always planned, and I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would end up having because this area, I just, I didn’t know I was ignorant to the fact a friend had actually said to me, Liz, you’d have no, you don’t really, it’s out of your control most times. And I thought, no, no, no, I’m going to have a natural birth. I’ve prepped for this, my body’s ready. And I did, well, I went into natural labour. So my actual waters broke on the Friday night. And I had called the hospital. And of course, no one knows if it really is your water’s breaking.

KATH BAQUIE

Where were you at the time?

LIZ

Well, that was a Friday, and I had done a workout. I had done a FitNest Mama workout during the day, and I was just on the couch. And I sort of felt like a gush of fluid. And I thought, oh, is that like a is that discharge? What is it? So, I quickly went to the toilet, and I had like a panty liner on and I thought, oh, no, no, this is definitely not discharge. And then I had lost my mucus plug, so called the hospital, they said come in, and now we’ll assess what’s going on. And I went to the hospital, and they picked up a pad that I had put in a little zip bag, because they said bring it in. And she looked at it and she picked it up and went that this is so heavy, this is 100% your water’s breaking. And I hadn’t actually started contracting yet. So, I suppose my body did it vice versa. And they put me on the CTG machine, which is the machine that monitors the baby’s heart rate and etc. And I started contractions Andrew was with Vinnie was trying to tell me something funny. And I had felt the first contraction and I went to stop talking to me, because I don’t know what’s happening. But that was the first contraction when we got to the hospital. And they sent me home. And of course, COVID meant that there were so many babies being born that with a public hospital, you have to go until you go to the hospital when you are into really, I shouldn’t say severe second stage, but you’re really far into your birth. So, I went home that night, and my contractions were really far apart. And then once 11:30pm came till say 5:30am I was having contractions every 10 minutes. And morning came and I stopped contracting.

KATH BAQUIE

So how did you handle that overnight? If we 10 minutes.

LIZ

I’m really regretting now with hindsight that I didn’t put on the 10s machine because I didn’t actually know I thought is this. It wasn’t such intense pain. I was able to handle it. I didn’t get any sleep, but I was able to handle the pain. And it was, you know, probably say 30-35 seconds of pain. And for a while I was like Is this my contractions? Is this not? And then when it stopped at 5:30 I thought all maybe, maybe it’s not because I was walking around and it was fine. And that that day my mum was over. And she sorts of thought it wasn’t right me being at home. And I was having contractions that during the day, but they were really like one every hour. And then I went into hospital because I had reduced, I didn’t feel the baby and then in hospital in emergency, the lady palpitating my stomach sort of thought, oh, this seems like a breech presentation. And in my head. I just thought nah, this is that’s not right. He’s definitely not breech. So anyway, we went up and of course, it was a breech presentation. And then literally within an hour, I was in the delivery suite, and he was born. So, it actually happened really, really quickly. From the moment we went back to the hospital the second time, I just thought we’d go I’d get pain relief; we’d make sure that he was okay. And I’d come home and then I was induced, actually, I was booked in for an induction on the Sunday. Because once your waters break, they don’t let you go. I think it’s longer than 36 hours. And yeah, so it was really quick when we got to the hospital the second time.

KATH BAQUIE

and how were you feeling when they said it’s breech?

LIZ

It’s funny because as soon as she said to me, we do not deliver breech babies vaginally at this hospital. I had a bit of a relief because I thought how am I going to go through another day of those contractions because I hadn’t slept? And how will I be able to push a baby out? But then three weeks later, I sort of felt a bit ripped off that I didn’t get to have the vaginal birth story, but it is what it is.

KATH BAQUIE

Ah, don’t feel ripped off. You’ve got a beautiful story.

LIZ

Yeah, it was. I mean, ultimately, he was he came out fine. And my recovery was really, really good from the ceasar. But I had I felt like I had done all this prep work and yeah, but I mean, if I may go back for a second. And it might be a VBAC. I don’t know. But yeah, he we both were fine. And that’s the main thing.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Oh, that’s great. And going into the caesarean. How were both you and Andrew feeling at that point? Can you remember?

LIZ

Yeah, I was actually we were both relatively calm. I sort of knew that. Once she’s confirmed, it was breech, I had an idea that we wouldn’t be progressing to a vaginal birth. And I think because it happen so quickly. I didn’t have time to feel anxious or anything like that. And Andrew was surprisingly really, really good because I thought that he would freak out with the thought of going into theatre and things like that. But he wasn’t at all. I definitely think that had we had time to sort of process a little bit longer. Maybe he would have been a bit more anxious. But I think because I read about any major medical…

KATH BAQUIE

The feeling, but also what actually happened.

LIZ

Yeah. To be honest, it really didn’t.

KATH BAQUIE

So, talk me through step by step what happened in the caesarean. I always feel with birth stories if someone has a vaginal birth, we get taken on an absolute journey from you know, when they’re first going to contractions when the baby’s delivered. And then caesarean birth stories are often sort of brushed over in terms of step-by-step process so I would love to know. So, she’s taught they tell you that your baby’s breech, take us step by step. You can remember like through, yeah, through how you’re feeling, but also what actually happened. You mentioned that you did a bit of birth preparation through the hospital, did you do any birth preparation that you would knowledge for caesarean or an emergency caesarean?

LIZ

Not really, I totally didn’t think that I would have a C section. So, I didn’t do any research. The birthing, the birthing classes that Andrew and I did cover C sections. And from my job, I was aware of what a C section was, but it was totally not in my mind at all that I would have a C section. Which kind sight. I wish I sort of had prepared a little bit better, maybe or just had the the idea that potentially, it could go that way.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? And I think sometimes if you’re not mentally thinking about that pathway, like I know, I’ve done a few podcast episodes on preparing for caesarean and I can link them below in the show notes. But unless your mind is in that zone, which it sounds like you weren’t which I’m sure is normal for all most people. Even though you hear the information, you don’t hear the information if you know what I mean.

LIZ

Yeah, I totally know what you mean. And because he was a surprise breach, like maybe had I had it been picked up earlier on because I was a public patient. So, from 20 weeks, you don’t have any ultrasounds if you’re deemed low risk. And there was no, there weren’t any there wasn’t any issues. Whereas it might have been if he was indeed a true breech from earlier on, it might have been picked up in the private sector because they do more ultrasounds post 20 weeks, but and palpitating, it’s actually really difficult sometimes to for someone, a midwife to feel a head versus a bomb. So, which I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that until I was actually in hospital talking to one of the midwives. So yeah, and I could have, I could have asked for an ultrasound, but I just didn’t know actually.

KATH BAQUIE

Exactly.

LIZ

You don’t know what you don’t know.

KATH BAQUIE

Thanks for sharing. Liz.

LIZ

Yeah, so once she confirmed that I had, we will breach and she did that Biron ultrasounds, she then wanted to check how far she did a vaginal examination, and I was four centimetres. And so, I was like, okay, these contractions wherever you go, that’s great. And then basically, they come in that she came in again, and they go through the risks, because of course, caesarean is surgery. Well, major surgery. And then literally, from the moment of the ultrasound to I reckon it was 30 minutes later, I was being wheeled into theatre, there was a potential for me to be second on the list. But I think they just said, well, you’re going to go in first. So, there’s no waiting. So that’s why it was so quickly. Usually, depending on the hospital you go to and the urgency of other cases, that might not be the case, but I didn’t have to wait long, which was good. And then they gave me a spinal. So I went in first to the theatre and the theatre room is very, very cold. And I think the staff at the hospital, I birthed at Royal Women’s, and they were communicating to me 100% of the way, you know, the anaesthetist who was putting the spinal in was telling me that you know exactly what they were doing, which was really helpful for me, because I like that kind of information. And they made me feel really, really comfortable. But I can remember feeling freezing. And I remember actually getting a contraction when I was hunched over, and I said just stop for a minute because I can feel this contraction. It wasn’t a, you know, I had progressed to four centimetres, so it wasn’t, you know, too far into the second stage. But once the spinal they knew that the spinal had worked, then Andrew walked in with me. And there’s a sheet over you so you can actually see your abdominal area and I know that you’ve done a segment on the caesarean assisted births.

KATH BAQUIE

The maternal assistant caesarean section.

LIZ

Yeah. So, this one was different because there’s a high sheet, you don’t see anything. And Andrew was to my left. And basically, you know, they mentioned that you’re going to feel some tugging and pulling, and you do a little bit, but you’re anesthetize, so you couldn’t feel any pain or anything like that. And there was lots of people in the room, there was the anaesthetist, then there was a consultant, then there was two registrar’s actually doing the caesarean and Andrew, and then they definitely speak you through the pulling. And I actually feel like, we’re in there for, say, 15 minutes. We weren’t in there for a really long time. And then there’s the whole Lion King moment when they pull the baby out, and they show you. And I knew we were having a boy, but Andrew didn’t. So, I really made sure I wanted to make sure to look at his reactions.

Something that people may not know is the staff are really great. And they take photos for you. Because obviously the woman is, you know, she can’t do much. And the support person is so focused on the baby and her. So, they took photos 100% of the way. So that was all captured by the staff, which I thought was really great, because I look back at that moment now. And I can see Andrew’s face. And you hear the baby cry, which was amazing, because I thought I just want to hear him cry just to know that he’s okay. And then they went off and they did the checks on him. And then they ended up bringing him to my side. And that’s when we had our little first moment. And then they were obviously doing what they needed to do with my abdominal area and then went to recovery. Yep. And recovery, that’s where it gets a little bit foggy. They did give me Evan and we tried to attach him to the breast. But that is a little bit shady. So, I don’t know if that was the anaesthetic. I didn’t feel like we got a really big moment there. And then the next moment, next thing that I remember is being in the room with him. And we actually had Evan was hypothermic and hyperglycaemic. So, he had low blood sugar levels. So probably say, three hours post birth, they came in and did some checks on him. And they discovered that he had low temperature hypothermic, and he had the low beta cells. And they called him a call and he had to go to special care nursery. Now I 100% No, I was under the effects of the drugs because I didn’t freak out. And I am aware of what a make call is. And had I heard that there was some kind of a make call. I know I would have panicked in real life. So, I was 100% too high to realize, but yeah, he was in special care nursery for a couple of days. And then he came back with us once things stabilized.

KATH BAQUIE

So, he was there for a few days was he?

LIZ

Yeah, so he was, the day, the night he was born at midnight he was in special care nursery. And yeah, then he was there too. So, he was born on the Saturday. And then he came back to us on the Monday.

KATH BAQUIE

So, what were you doing in between, like in that time before the feeding?

LIZ

Yep, so I really wanted to breastfeed, that was definitely a goal of mine. So, I was going every three hours to special care nursery and all feeding. Because of his low blood sugar levels, they had to give him a they had to bottle feed him to keep his sugars up. And I’m not sure if that was ever the one of the reasons why we weren’t successful with breastfeeding. But yeah, because I suppose a bottle is easy as enough to work for it. But yeah, basically, I think it was 11 hours postdoc, I was going up to special care nursery every three hours. And even though it was really tough the first time. I do think that aided my recovery.

KATH BAQUIE

So how are you getting up there?

LIZ

The first time Andrew took me in a wheelchair, and then this each time after that was I was walking up there very slowly.

KATH BAQUIE

Okay, so that was, correct me if I’m wrong, but that was quite early to be getting out of bed after a C section.

LIZ

Yeah, the midwife actually said to me on the Sunday, your, your recoveries improved so much because you’ve been so active. Because they came out, so, everyone was born at 7:47 pm on the Saturday. And then the next morning at around 11 o’clock, I got up, they took my catheter out. I had a shower, and then after that we went to go see him, but I wasn’t walking. I was wheelchaired there. And then probably from one o’clock that day from one o’clock on the Sunday I was up every three hours walking to him, and it was a very slow walk. But that really did help me and one of the midwives did say the fact that you’re moving so much is a really good sign.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. So in between him going to special care nursery and you’re going there. Like were you feeding? Were you worried about, I’m sorry, were you pumping? Were you worried about him? How are you feeling?

LIZ

Yeah, for the first night, because I was so drugged up, the nurses were expressing the colostrum. And that was really helpful. And then the Sunday I was trying to do it, but I wasn’t very good at it. So, I always had got assistance. Like my milk really didn’t come in. It didn’t really come in at all was it probably took me say four or five days, but I was trying to breastfeed, I was trying to attach to do as much skin-to-skin time as possible. I didn’t feel like I had great breastfeeding education in hospital. I again, this is probably my own ignorance. I thought breastfeeding would be easy peasy. But I really found it difficult. It was one of the probably the second hardest thing that I found difficult in the journey. And in hindsight, I wish I had prepared myself more. But again, I was just I thought it’d be easy.

KATH BAQUIE

Also, harder if you’re if Evan was in special care nursery, and yeah. So, you that was the second most difficult thing, was it? What was the first most?

LIZ

Oh, I think, yeah, the first one, I think was just dealing with the mental fog afterwards. I remember leaving the hospital thinking these people were going to let me take him home. Like, I’m not prepared for this. I really, and I had thought I wasn’t nervous coming up to the birth, I really did think that we were prepared. But again, I just I think this is such a life changing moment. And it’s great to be as prepared as you can be pre-birth. But I think I was just not used to the fog. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

Okay. And you might have said this, but when were you able to take Evan home?

LIZ

We were discharged, Saturday, Sunday, three nights. We were discharged after three nights. Yeah, but he came back into our room from special care nursery after two nights.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Right. And you kept trying to breastfeed there with the support?

LIZ

Yeah. I didn’t feel like there was great support. Yeah, I think if, and maybe I should have asked for more help. But I did feel like they were so bombarded with babies at that particular time. And that was very, very busy for all public hospitals. And there were exceptional circumstances with COVID. But yeah, I’ll I ended up breastfeeding for a week. Before I just said, this is just too hard. Yeah. And in hindsight, I sort of wish I had, I’ve seen a lactation consultant earlier, I had planned to see a lactation consultant a week post birth. But by that point, damage had already been done. I had nipple trauma, and it was too hard to even put a pump on to express and yeah, yeah. So, we made the decision to formula feed.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Hindsight is a lovely thing isn’t?

LIZ

It certainly is. It certainly is.

KATH BAQUIE

And that’s the whole thing with motherhood, you’re doing your best in the time, like, in the moment. So, you did an amazing job. Was it 100% formula feed after that point?

LIZ

It was and you know, what, actually, I take back, I think the first the hardest thing for me was breastfeeding. And then I think the second hardest thing was dealing with the mum guilt that I had when I decided to formula feed. And to any mother out there who does end up going through with formula feeding, exclusively formula feeding and don’t sweat it. I know, I really was so difficult, I had such a difficult time accepting it. And I felt like a failure. But now he’s thriving, it was better for my mental health. And sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Everyone knows that breast is best. Yes, we know that. And sometimes it just doesn’t work.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. And fed is best.

LIZ

Yeah, absolutely.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. And was it, do you think it was mostly you applying that pressure to yourself? Or do you feel like this might be a difficult question to answer, but where do you feel that pressure was coming from?

LIZ

Oh, it’s a really good question, because I just applied most of that guilt to myself. But I do think that there is you talk to any midwife in hospital or, you know, even I’ve listened to a particular midwife in one of your resources. And the whole talk was pretty much about breastfeeding. You know, when a lot of us actually do formula feed, and everyone knows, like I said before, you know, breastfeeding is, it’s natural. It’s the best option anybody have, but what are the best method, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. And I think people have to accept it. The lactation consultant who was really, really helpful for me, I was expecting to get a lot of slack off her. But, you know, she really was so supportive.

KATH BAQUIE

That’s great to hear. Yeah. And just going back to FitNest Mama, I remember it might have been you. But I know there are a couple of mums, definitely more than a couple, I’m sure but a few mums in your boat. And every so often I put a call out, like, who do you want to hear from what expert speaker you want? And I do remember someone saying, I would love support for formula feeding, not breastfeeding. But you know, when, how, to introduce formula feeds and all the rest. And we and I think that’s one of the beautiful things about a living breathing membership is I do remember getting a paediatric dietitian, and that video is still up, where she said, you want me to talk about breastfeeding? I’m like, no, no, no, this session just about bottle feeding just about formula feeding. So yeah, look, it sounds like it was a real challenge for you. But I’ve seen Evan, and he was in a class earlier today. He’s, he’s a very heavy, thriving little boy. Gorgeous. So, you seem to have come to peace now with it. How long did it take for you to come to peace with bottle feeding?

LIZ

I think it probably took me a month and a half like, I can’t. It’s a really hard feeling to try and articulate. It was an embarrassment. Maybe it was, I was disappointed in myself that I wasn’t able to. And it was just one I had said to everyone, you know, I’m going to breastfeed. But yeah, I think it was more just the disappointment. And also, that time, you know, skin to skin, it’s nice time. I sort of thought in my head, I had this idea in my head that, you know, all women can do it. But I just found it really, really difficult. And I just do that, for the sake of my own mental health. I had to make that decision.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Liz, thank you for sharing that experience with us with the bottle feeding and the breastfeeding challenges, because I know it’s a very personal thing. And I really do appreciate your honesty on that topic. So, thank you. Now diving into before we wrap up, because I would just love to hear about your physical recovery after the caesarean, like how did your body feel, and how was the pain or any discomfort and how you moved and those sorts of things once you’re at home.

LIZ

I have to say, my recovery was great. It really was, I can’t knock it I stopped the strong opioids in hospital. Just be an, I think it was because I was going to special care nursery. So much after that my body was used to movement and that kind of stuff. I really, for the first six weeks, I didn’t do anything, I was, you know, resting as much as I possibly could. And I was so exhausted even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able to, and also a ceasar is major surgery, so I wanted to be kind to myself. But yeah, my I didn’t feel a huge amount of pain. And again, my story was different, maybe how to progress more in my stage two of labour, and really exhausted my body. It might have been different, maybe because you know, it was only the early stages. So, I do appreciate that some women have gone it’s when it’s a real emergency caesarean, they might have had a different journey. But yeah, my post op journey was really, really good. And I do really feel like it was because of the movement. And also, I was I was quite fit pregnant. So, you know, I had exercised, you know, the whole apart from the first say nine weeks or maybe 13 weeks actually, I had really tried to exercise three to four weeks, three to four times a week.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, you’re just a star. So, we’ve got the live and recorded classes inside FitNest Mama and you’re a star member Liz, you’re always there smile on your face. “Hi.”

LIZ

I tried and get there. I mean, sometimes it’s really, really hard and it is hard to stay motivated. But I know that I always crave that endorphin rush afterwards. That’s what always brings me back because sometimes I really can’t be bothered. But I know the feeling I’ll get afterwards.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. And sometimes you get that, well, you often get that feeling after even 10 minutes. So, often it’s not, it’s never a matter of not having enough time. I believe everyone’s got time. It’s just a matter of fact, brushing your teeth. You just got to do it because there’s so many benefits like health and mental health as you said, you’ve just felt better afterwards. So, what are your goals now? That you’re, you know, seven months down, Evan’s seven months old, what are your goals in terms of where do you want to be at in a year’s time? That sort of thing?

LIZ

Yeah, well, I’m back playing netball and I’m doing Pilates. So, I’m on mat leave now. So that’s easier to coordinate, I do you realize things are going to have to pick back a bit when I go back to work because of just juggling wherever knees and etc. So, I, my goal, and this is something that’s really important to both Andrew and I is we want to maintain our level of fitness. You know, we don’t want to, we want it to be the same kind of become unfit. I want to prioritize my health. I think that’s really, really important. And that’s through, not really much of a great eater, but I really feel like my physical activities, my number one priority. The benefits for me, in terms of mood is a huge, and I think it will allow me to be a better mum.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Okay, amazing. So, you’ve shared your journey about freezing eggs. Yeah, emergency C section, your breastfeeding challenges, bottle feeding journey, your recovery after a C section, it’s been an amazing story you’ve got to share. So, thank you so much, Liz. To finish off with, do you have any final parting words for pregnant women listening or new mums listening to this podcast today?

LIZ

I knew you would ask; I definitely knew you would ask this. And I thought I’d have this awesome answer. But I would say just to be as prepared as you can be. Knowledge is key. And I think also really your village around you. Because I think you’re really just really, really important you feel so vulnerable after birth, whether it’d be a good birth story or a not so good birth story. Having the village around is really, really important. And just be kind to yourself. Women are amazing. Anyone that can Gary are babies amazing. And I think, yeah, be really, really kind to yourself, because it’s such a long journey. And it’s a big deal for your body. So, yeah, just be kind to yourself.

KATH BAQUIE

I love that. Thank you so much, Liz for sharing your incredible story today. I really do appreciate it. It’s been lovely listening. So, thank you.

LIZ

Thanks for having me.

KATH BAQUIE

We’ll catch you soon.

And before I sign off, remember my team and I will be putting together the show notes for this episode with all the links including the links to the podcast on Preparing for Caesarean Births, and The Maternal Assisted Caesarean births, too. So, check out the show notes for this episode or head to fitnestmama.com/podcast. That’s it, ladies. Have a fabulous day everyone and I look forward to you joining me next week for another episode of the FitNest Mama Podcast.

Thanks for listening to the FitNest Mama Podcast brought to you by the FitNest Mama Freebies found at www.fitnestmama.com/free. So please take a few seconds to leave a review, subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And be sure to take a screenshot of this podcast, upload it to your social media and tag me, @fitnestmama so I can give you a shout out too. Until next time. Remember, an active pregnancy, confident childbirth, and strong postnatal recovery is something that you deserve. Remember our disclaimer, materials and contents in this podcast are intended as general information only and shouldn’t substitute any medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. I’ll see you soon!

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