Podcast Episode #79

Birth Story: Spilling the Milk: Hannah from Baby Brain Podcast

Every Birth story is different and unique. In this Spilling the Milk series on the FitNest Mama Podcast, we hear birth stories from different women who have experienced a whole range of births: elective caesarean birth, vaginal birth, pain relief, no-pain relief or emergency caesarean birth.

In today’s episode, I chat with the lovely Hannah, mum of two based in Sydney, Australia, member of FitNest Mama, and also co-host of the Baby Brain Podcast.

Hannah’s youngest daughter Hazel was recently born via elective caesarean, and Hannah walks us through this lovely experience that she describes step by step.  Hannah also discusses how she’s had abdominal muscle separation, and how life is with two children under 2.

Hannah describes in this birth story:

  • The journey to becoming pregnant.
  • Transition to mum of 2
  • Abdominal muscle separation
  • Elective caesarean birth story
  • Pain after birth
  • Hannah’s words of wisdom for pregnant women listening to this birth story.

Episode Links

Register for my FREE Pregnancy Workshop here.

Website: https://www.fitnestmama.com/

Instagram: @fitnestmama

Baby Brain Podcast:  @babybrain.podcast

Listen Now

Leave a review

Reviews boost our visibility to allow more people to enjoy an easier pre-natal and post-natal pregnancy.

Birth Story: Spilling the Milk with Hannah

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 mum of three based in Melbourne, Australia. Join me as we dive into all things pelvic floor and core as well as talking to different industry experts, helping you to have a healthy pregnancy, confident childbirth and strong postnatal recovery. Hit subscribe, you’re listening to the FitNest Mama Podcast. To attend to my free pregnancy mini pelvic floor and core masterclass, head to fitnestmama.com/free.

KATH BAQUIE

Well hello there! Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the FitNest Mama Podcast. Today’s episode is a beautiful one with Hannah, mum of two based in Sydney, member FitNest Mama and also co-hosted the Baby Brain Podcast where she discusses all things parenting. I highly recommend it and we’ll link the baby brain podcast and all the details for how to connect with Hannah in the show notes.

Read More

So Hannah’s youngest daughter Hazel was recently born via elective caesarean. And Hannah walks us through this lovely experience that she describes step by step. Hannah also discusses how she’s had abdominal muscle separation, and how life is with two children under two. It’s a beautiful episode I trust you will love so do stick around.

Quickly, before we do dive into this episode, I want to let you know of a free pregnancy workshop that is available. This workshop will leave you feeling more confident and empowered about your upcoming birth experience. In this session, you will learn about how to prepare your pelvic floor for birth and beyond including pelvic floor preparation, perineal massage, what it is, and how it might help to reduce your risk of perineal tears and episiotomy. As well as learn about after birth recovery essentials to help you boost that all important after birth recovery period. So as a women’s health physiotherapist, everything I share in this pregnancy workshop are things that I believe every woman deserves to know when pregnant, to really help with her birth and after birth experience. So to register, just head to fitnestmama.com/pregnancyworkshop. And the link is also in the show notes.

Alright. Let’s get into this episode.

So Hannah, thank you so much for joining me today on the FitNest Mama Podcast.

HANNAH

No worries.

KATH BAQUIE

Yes, you’ve got a lovely nine-week old Hazel.

HANNAH

I do

KATH BAQUIE

And how old is Eli?

HANNAH

Eli is now, he’ll be two in March. What does that make him? 22 months?

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, amazing.

HANNAH

Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

Two under two.

HANNAH

Yeah. So he was 20 months when she was born. So I’ve got that four-month window of claiming the two under two.

KATH BAQUIE

Milk it!

HANNAH

Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

So we’re chatting today, on the FitNest Mama Podcast. It’s part of the Spilling the Milk Series so if you love a good birth story, every four to six episodes, we have one of these. And so lucky to chat to you today, Hannah, who’s lovely member inside FitNest Mama and mum of two. And Hannah I don’t know your birth story at all. So this is all going to be news. I don’t know what type of birth? You know. How it eventuated? All that sort of thing. So let’s dive into it.

HANNAH

Yeah, let’s do it.

KATH BAQUIE

Well, first of all, how is, while we’re just chatting, how is his transition to children been?

HANNAH

It has been I think it’s been a bit easier than I thought it would be. But I was really conscious of lining myself up with a lot of support beforehand. So luckily, my parents take Eli every day for a couple of hours, which has been so good. Also, by the way, I’m just rocking Hazel in the carrier at the moment, and she started sucking her hand. So if you hear any smacking of lips, I promise that’s not me. That’s the newborn. Yeah, but I think it has been easier than I thought it would be. But again, just setting up that support. And also we had Hazel on the 15th of November. So my husband took a few weeks off work and then it was Christmas and New Year’s. So he kind of was able to be available for six weeks while I settled into everything and while I recovered from the C section so that was really helpful as well.

KATH BAQUIE

I know that can sometimes add an element of stress because you’re trying to work out the timing. Did you find second time round? Like it seems that it was much easier or less stressful? Like you weren’t worried about the time and those sort of things?

HANNAH

Yeah, I think so. Because with the Eli, I really wanted to have a baby. And so we said, alright, we’re going to start trying to figure it out when I was ovulating, had the app on my phone had it all ready to go. And we it took us three months to fall pregnant with Eli, which I know sounds really, it’s really quick in hindsight. But of course, when you first start trying for your first and you don’t fall pregnant, immediately, it’s a bit of a shock. So I spent the first few months being like, oh, my gosh, am I infertile? What’s happening? Because I guess we grew up with sex ed classes, and your kind of assume that if you even look at a penis, you’re going to fall pregnant straightaway. So and then you have six without contraception at exactly the right time, and nothing happens. So I was quite stressed out, I would say when we were trying for Eli. And then the second time around, I guess it’s a little bit easier, because you know that you can get pregnant. You’ve had a pregnancy and a baby before. And I guess there was no way for me to track things either, because my period was so irregular. So I just had to kind of let Jesus take the wheel.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, for sure. So once you found out, you’re pregnant, when you eventually found out, you’re pregnant, how out of interest, how many weeks Do you think you were when you did found out?

HANNAH

I think I was three weeks. So I reckon it was about the same time as it would have been if I was trying, which is so funny. I just had a feeling that I was, and we were watching a movie one night and I just fell asleep on the couch, which I never do. And I was thinking that’s weird. I’m really tired for some reason. And so I went and did a pregnancy test. Myles was out at the shops, and I was at home with Eli. And I just thought, Oh, I’ve got one in the drawer. Maybe I’ll give it a go. We’ll see. Yeah, and it came back positive. And it was wild. I was so excited.

KATH BAQUIE

It’s amazing. Just at the time of recording, it’s all about, you know, COVID and rap tests and all the rest. And I love doing a rap test. Like if I’ve got a boss. It it’s really hard not to test it again. And I remember that when I was trying to fall pregnant if I had a few pregnancy tests. Like I would just go through that box like no tomorrow.

HANNAH

Yeah, it doesn’t riddle you with anxiety. I feel like it does that for me because I have these anxious memories of paying on a stick and thinking Oh, my God.

KATH BAQUIE

That anticipation. Mix with anxiety? Oh my gosh.

HANNAH

Yeah, that’s right.

KATH BAQUIE

Okay, so how did life change for you when you’d fallen pregnant the second time around?

HANNAH

I think it was shocking how much it didn’t change. Because first time you’re pregnant, everybody’s like, Oh, my gosh, let me open the door for you and have my seat and are you hungry? Do you need to lay down, and then you get pregnant the second time and you’ve got a baby already and people are just kind of like, whatever. That’s kind of what I found. It’s not like I could explain to Eli, what was happening and why I was tired. And at that point in time, he was waking up at 4am in the morning, every morning, and I was still breastfeeding as well. So I would pull him into bed with me and try feed him back to sleep, which usually wouldn’t work. And I would just drag myself out of bed and be so tired. But I remember so for a lot of my pregnancy, we were actually in lockdown. So there wasn’t help around, which really sucked. And also I didn’t get that experience. And I know it sounds a bit attention seeking. But it’s nice having that experience when you walk out on the street and you’re pregnant and you have a big belly and people smile at you and they say oh, when are you due? And I got none of that because I was just at a home stuck at home with my toddler. Yeah, so I was surprised that things didn’t really change that much. And luckily, it was a fairly Cruzi pregnancy as well.

KATH BAQUIE

That’s good.

HANNAH

Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

You mentioned your breastfeeding while you’re pregnant.

HANNAH

Yes.

KATH BAQUIE

Did your breast milk change at all?

HANNAH

Not that I noticed and I think not that Eli notice now though, because I was I was thinking I’ll just let him win because I’ve heard that the taste changes or it starts to dry up possibly. But none of that that happened and he kept going and I was really keen to stop breastfeeding but yeah, so I eventually I got halfway through the pregnancy and just started cutting feeds down and eventually got to just one feed at night time. And then I was just getting that you know when you’re breastfeeding you get a bit of an eek. Like It felt a bit I don’t know I was getting a bit touched out and he was trying to position him over the bomb and he’s a big boy. Quite a big toddler. And yeah, it just got a bit too much for me eventually. So we what we did was we swapped out the night-time routine and I got my husband to go in and read him a book instead. And I guess removing myself from that environment, he just kind of forgot about it. Thank God.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. No. It can be, you know, a time when there’s a lot of unknown and sometimes mums don’t know what they should do. They want to keep feeding; they don’t want to feed. And there’s a lot of conflicting emotions. So it’s really nice to hear your experience. Thank you. So you found that life just kept going on. You had a little toddler to run around your belly just to grow and grow. Weren’t paying any attention. How did you prepare for birth the second time round? Was it different the first time round?

HANNAH

Yeah, it was a little bit. Like, again, because we were in lockdown. And also, I’m not sure if second pregnancy had anything to do with it. But I didn’t have as many midwife appointments. And Myles wasn’t allowed to come, which really suck. So I was kind of going through all of that myself. And it didn’t seem like there was too much attention on yeah, well, not too much of a focus on having those appointments. Because second time, like you’ve got this, I didn’t really have any complications or anything. The only thing I did notice, though, is every time I went for an appointment, if it was a different midwife feeling around to see where the baby was, they would always comment on how bad my abdominal separation was. Because Eli was a big boy, he was 4.4 kilos when he was born. And yeah, I think I just had a lot of fluid as well. And I was so often asked if I was having twins, and people would be like, Whoa, you’re huge. You must be due next week. And I was only second trimester. So I think, yeah, he did a number on me on my abs. And those comments kept happening throughout the pregnancy, in terms of so I knew after I knew after I had Hazel. I have some work to do, which we’ll get into, I’m sure. Yeah. And in terms of preparation with Eli, I had a C section because he got to 41 plus three. And they did a growth scan at 41 weeks, and they projected that he was 4.7 kilos, and his head wasn’t engaged. So they were kind of freaking out a little bit. And they were like, Okay, well, he’s huge, his head’s probably too big to fit through your pelvis. So they gave me a choice of we can either induce you, or we can just book you in for an elective C section. But if we do induce you, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll try and birth him and his head won’t fit. And you’ll have to have an emergency C section anyway. So I kind of thought, I’m just going to avoid the drama. And I’ll just book in for the elective C section. And I had a really, really good experience with that.

It’s not what I had anticipated. Like I had always assumed that I was going to have a vaginal birth. But yeah know, that’s what happened. And I had a really good experience. So second time around, I knew that that being my history, I had the option of trying for a VBAC or going for another elective C section. And because the babies were quite close together, and also she was measuring very big throughout my pregnancy, I had some discussions with the midwives who were very open to me trying for a VBAC. But they did kind of caution that, you know, you might be a little bit higher risk of a uterine rupture, due to her size, and also the fact that they’re only going to be 20 months apart. So there’s not enough time really for it to properly heal. So considering all of that, I decided that I would just book in for an elective C section. And so preparation was kind of just wrapping my head around what I wanted that experience to be. And I, yeah, I guess you there’s less variables, I think with a C section. You kind of I guess, maybe going into labour for a vaginal birth, there’s a few different things that can happen. And it seems quite out of your control. Whereas my experience having a C section, everything was quite controlled. And I was excited about that.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Actually, I’d like to dive into that because I feel there’s a lot of help and support in preparing for a vaginal birth because as you said, there are a lot of variables and yeah, a lot of unknowns. But I feel there’s actually less support for those women who are preparing for caesarean birth. So, I’m just totally putting you on the spot here. Even if it’s just one or two or three things, what’s three things that really helped you in the lead up to the Caesarean and during and after? It doesn’t matter how small it is? Or how you know it? Was it music or lights or talking, you know, was there anything that really helped with that birth process?

HANNAH

Yeah. I think having Myles, having my partner there was amazing because I’m very much like I don’t want to see anything or know anything about what’s going on behind the curtain. So I was quite keen on having Myles there to just kind of chat to and he could calm me down a little bit. Doing research helped as well. But in saying that I actually saw a post on Instagram recently, which was about having more of a natural style caesarean where you can see the baby coming out or even assist in pulling them out. And I didn’t know that that was an option. And they don’t really talk to you about that in the medical system.

KATH BAQUIE

Well, at the time of recording, I’ve just interviewed a lovely obstetrician about Maternal Assistive Caesarean Birth. So by the time this episode is live, it will be a few episodes prior. So if you’re interested in listening to a podcast episode about Maternal Assistive Caesarean Section, it’s amazing. Like, check out this episode. It’s great. Yeah. And I’ll link it. I’ll link it below in the show notes too.

HANNAH

Yeah, perfect. So yeah, see, knowing all of that I think would have been good. I’m not sure if I would have gone for that option. But knowing that you have the choice. I went through the public system, which I think was incredible. But I’m not sure if maybe if I had a private obstetrician, those options would have been more at the forefront. In saying that I still again, I still had such a good experience having a C section birth, and my preparation was really just kind of working on things that would keep me calm and level headed during the procedure. So thinking about breathing, and also just having a bit of a distraction, Myles making jokes next to me throughout the procedure. And that was kind of my preparation. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, interesting. So like breathing techniques, we learn, like often women do learn viganal birth. And it’s great. If you’re listening, and you end up having an emergency caesarean, you can still often use and I often teach this to inside FitNest Mama with all the childbirth techniques. And like, it doesn’t matter what sort of birth you have. These are lifelong skills, like I still use breathing techniques. When my, at the time toddler now four-year-old is having a tantrum. And so much so that my kids like, oh, mum’s doing her deep breathing. I don’t think she is happy. But yeah, I do think it’s a great skill to learn no matter where you’re at in life.

HANNAH

Definitely.

KATH BAQUIE

But almost a quick form of meditation, isn’t it?

HANNAH

Yeah. And it is. I mean, as much as the C section process is controlled, it is still a little bit nerve wracking because it’s quite a clinical setting. So you’ve got that on your mind that it’s a major surgery that’s happening. So if Yeah, anything to kind of keep you calm and relaxed is extremely helpful.

KATH BAQUIE

And did you use music at all?

HANNAH

No, I didn’t. So I’m not sure. I think this is just me like a personality thing. I’m not sure if music would really help or if it would be more distracting for me. So I don’t know, I don’t know what song I’d pick. It’s like, too many choices. And then you have that. That’s your birthing song. I went through this when we were trying to decide the song for our first dance at our wedding. I was like, I can’t it’s too much of a big decision. I can’t do it.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Someone once ask me that in one of pregnancy workshops I run, like, oh, what music do you recommend? That’s like, Whoa, I can’t like I can’t answer that deep. What sort of music do you like? Do you like calming music? You know? Would you like something a bit more uplifting? There’s no right or wrong answer. And it’s yeah, really personal. And you’re right. Yeah. For me. It was just as Yeah, choosing that wedding song was highly nerve wracking.

HANNAH

Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh, so funny. Okay, so talk me through what happened in the lead up to giving birth to Hazel?

HANNAH

Hmm. So in this pregnancy, I was actually having a lot of Braxton Hicks, which I had with the labour only in the last couple of weeks. So with Hazel, I was getting them from about 20 weeks from about halfway through. And I was very confused towards the end thinking, Oh, is this early labour? I don’t know. Because they were getting quite close together and quiet, intense. She was posterior as well. So I could really feel them. When the Braxton Hicks was happening. I was like, Oh, that’s a little bit uncomfortable in my lower back. So yeah, in the lead up, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go into labour naturally prior to the C section being booked. So we’d booked it for 39 weeks. And the hospital kind of at one point, they said oh, we don’t have any room on those dates. And I was like, Okay, what are we going to do then you got to get this baby out of me somehow. So it was a bit of shuffling around with the dates and even the week beforehand, they were saying I’m not sure if we can get you in on this one. And if not, we’ll do a different date. So I guess there was a bit of an element of almost having a natural birth experience where, you know, it’s you never know when it’s going to happen. But I was a bit worried that, oh not worried I was possibly a little bit excited that I would maybe go into labour beforehand. But that didn’t happen. So we went up to the hospital on the day that I had the booking and when I got to the hospital, the Braxton Hicks contractions were actually getting very intense, and they were getting quite close together. So I was almost convinced that I was in early labour when I was up in the hospital. And I told the midwives, and they were kind of like, oh, well, you know, you’re having a baby today anyways, so cool. But then when I got wheeled into the surgery, the obstetrician did an exam and he said, No, your cervix is completely closed, so.

KATH BAQUIE

You’re like, no!

HANNAH

I know. I kind of figures with Eli, I didn’t go into labour either. And I just wanted that experience of being like, Oh, I’m having a contraction.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh. So shame he told you, isn’t it?

HANNAH

Yeah, I know. I could have just kind of been blissfully in denial. But what I missed out on prior to birth, I made up for post birth and post birth contractions, which I had some really intense ones. And that is full on having those on top of having a C section scar. So the joys.

KATH BAQUIE

How long did they last for?

HANNAH

They lasted for a few days, with Hazel. With Eli, it was only one day. But I think it’s actually quite rare to get them with your first baby anyway, or so I’ve been told that you’re more likely to get more of them with subsequent children.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, I remember that with my third compared to my first.

HANNAH

Yeah, right.

KATH BAQUIE

Did you do anything to help with those after birth pains?

HANNAH

Just breathing.

KATH BAQUIE

Breathing, yeah.

HANNAH

I kind of felt and I would always like curl. I guess this was maybe a subconscious thing I was doing, but I would be curling my toes when they’d be happening. So I’d kind of focus on my toes and do little toe movements to kind of count my way through it.

KATH BAQUIE

So can you talk us through a bit of like, talk us through the birth story? Like I know. Yeah. Like it’s n caesarean. And like, that’s beautiful. But I’d love to know the process like you arrived in hospital? Yeah. And yeah, what happened?

HANNAH

Yeah, so I got to the hospital. First thing they do is they check your Bloods. So they’ve got a most recent blood count, just in case in the very rare occurrence that something might happen. And they need to give you a transfusion. So they do that first, we got kind of checked in sounds like a hotel, we got checked in to our, to our hospital room. And we just waited there for a little while. So with hazel, we were the second C section, elective C section for the day. So there was one woman before us. And then they came and got us afterwards. So Myles, and I were kind of patiently waiting in the room. And this was what I was having these Braxton Hicks and thinking, Oh, my God, I’m in labour. So the obstetrician did come in at one point, and he kind of felt around to see where she was sitting, I guess. So he knew prior to the surgery, and that’s when he said to me as well. He said, your muscle separation is quite bad. And I was like, Thank you. Yes. So I’ve been told but he said, if you like, I can try and bring it together during the surgery and put some stitches in to try and close that up. And I was like, wow, okay. Yes, please never heard of that happening before. But let’s see how we go. So he offered that he went off to do this other elective C section. They came back when it was time and came and got me and Myles. And so firstly, they kind of wheel you into this staging area, as I like to call it and Miles was not allowed in the room. So I think that only partners in because they this is when they do the spinal and they might freak out seeing needles going into the spine. So it was just me in there and the neath assist and some other nurses and they put the cannula in, which took them three goes which was a bit of a little bit stressful, but that’s alright. And then they put the spinal in so they get you to sit on the edge of the bed and lean forward, which of course if you’re heavily pregnant is really difficult to do. But I’m sure a lot of women have had that experience with a C section or with an epidural as well.

Yeah. And so they put that in and that’s where they kind of prep everything for you and put you back down on the bed and then once you’re ready they wheel you into the actual theatre. So at that point Myles gets brought in so your partner gets brought back into the room. So miles came back in and the curtain was up and in my experience with hazel the obstetrician was there but he also had a doctor in training. And so he was explaining to her everything that was happening, and he was like, okay, making the incision here, you need to cut there. There’s the bladder, let’s move that bladder over to the side. And I’m just sitting there going stop talking, stop talking. I don’t want to hear this.

So I was like trying to tune that out. But it was I was doing some breathing techniques. I was chatting to Myles trying to make it kind of casual and just chill. So it took them a little longer with Hazel than it did with Eli. With Eli, it was quite quick, but I think that can be common because they’re cutting through the scar tissue. So I was getting kind of pushed and pulled around a little bit, but I obviously couldn’t see what was going on because they have the curtain up. And then at one point, the obstetrician said, I need forceps. Can whoever get me some forceps and I got a little bit stressed with that, because I’d never heard of forceps being used in a caesarean birth before. So I was thinking, is there something going wrong? like Is everything alright? And it was it was only like a minute or two afterwards that she was out and she was fine. But they did. So with C section births. As I’m sure you know, they drop the curtain and do a little like Lion King moments where they kind of hold your baby up and present them to you. And I remember that being a very beautiful moment with Eli and they held him up and we looked at him and it was really cute. And then they took him off. But with Hazel, he kind of pulled her out and the curtain went down and he flicked her up, and then just kind of slid her over to the side to the midwife really quickly. And I was again thinking is something going wrong is everything okay? So it was really quite rushed. And I think everything was fine. In hindsight, I think it was possibly because he had to use forceps so he had to get her to the midwife to check that everything was fine quite quickly. But she went over to the table and she was crying, letting out these massive big cries which is really cute. And Myles cut the cord. And yeah, and then she was brought over to me. And I just couldn’t get over how much she looked like Eli. Like it was insane. They’re just clones of each other. And Eli, Eli looks so much like Myles and everybody says that they’re like, oh, wow, look, it’s just so mini Myles. And I was really hoping having a girl that she would look like me. And now she just looks like Eli.

KATH BAQUIE

Did you know you were having a girl?

HANNAH

I did. Yeah, I’m that kind of person that needs to find out straightaway. So as soon as I could do the blood test, I found out and I was just ecstatic. Yeah, yeah, I really wanted a little girl. So it was a very I would have loved 2 boys well, but very happy with very happy with Hazel. Yeah. And so when she came over to me, I’d spoken to the midwife about possibly initiating breastfeeding on the operating table, which I’d done with Eli successfully but she was a bit like, oh, well, we’re going to be in recovery really quickly. And it’s really hard to position them when you’ve got the curtain up. So we kind of discussed it and said, Oh, okay, well, that’s I was like, well, that’s fine. We can just wait to recovery. But when they put her on my chest, even though I didn’t have my boob out, she nuzzled her way down and found the nipple and started feeding straightaway.

KATH BAQUIE

Amazing!

HANNAH

Yeah, even though I hadn’t prepped anything for her to do it, she just kind of worked it out, which was so incredible. And yeah, so I was she was feeding and then I started getting these really hectic shakes, which again, I know can be a very common occurrence in a C section birth and it’s something to do I think with your body reacting to the morphine or to the spinal. So I was just yeah, like at a rave party with no music really shaky. And it was removed me out a little bit but mainly because I was shaking on top of her and I was thinking I don’t like really want her to fall off. So Myles had one arm over holding her on there. And I was speaking to the ethicist saying like, I’m a little bit worried is everything okay? And his, he was great. He was very reassuring and saying this is completely normal. This happens to quite a lot of people. And it passes really quickly, which it did. It was gone within maybe 5-10 minutes. Yes. And so they stitched everything up and took me into recovery. And she kept feeding in there, which was lovely. But I did notice at that point that she had quiet it’s not funny. I don’t know why I’m laughing she had a quite bad bruising on her face from the forceps. So yeah, that was a little bit sad to see it would have been such a harsh entrance to the world for her to just get kind of pulled out and yeah, but anyway, she was fine. There were no issues with how everything had kind of sorted itself out and the bruising went down within a day which was good. So, yeah, so we were in recovery, everything was fine, my blood pressure and everything was all stable. So I got wheeled off to my room and stayed there for the next couple of days, which was crazy. First time in a long time. I didn’t have a toddler running around. I didn’t really know what to do with myself and I was getting people were bringing me food. I had a catheter in I didn’t need to get up and go to the toilet. It was great.

KATH BAQUIE

Did you find a really different experience? Second time around and hospital?

HANNAH

Yeah, I did. Because I think I just didn’t have that anxiety that you have first time around, because you’re thinking oh, is this normal? Is everything okay? Kind of thing. Whereas if you’ve been through it before, you know, you’ve got a bit of a feel for what, what to expect, I guess, which I think made it easier for me to just enjoy the experience a bit more and relax a bit as much as I missed Eli was really nice. So a little bit of time off from the toddler.

KATH BAQUIE

I distinctly remember, when my toddler came to visit, she was 22 months old. And she ended up having a meltdown when my husband had to take her away and just I could hear her yelling down the hospital passageway. And then I remember that moment of silence. And it’s mixed with guilt and pleasure, all together.

HANNAH

You feel guilty for enjoying it. Hey, but it is so good.

KATH BAQUIE

So how was how was the pain after you’d had to Hazel?

HANNAH

Yeah, it was a lot more manageable than the first time. So the first time I won’t lie, I found it excruciating to get up out of bed, which is where the pain comes in after a C section. And I was preparing myself for that, again with Hazel. But I’m not sure what it was, I was quite a lot more active during my pregnancy with Hazel, because I was chasing Eli around, I was doing some of your classes. So I was staying quite fit and active. And I think maybe that helped as well that the recovery process seemed a little bit easier. Second time around. It was it was painful, but manageable pain, like with Eli the first time I got out of bed, I was crying. And with Hazel I kind of was just again doing some breathing techniques trying to focus on my breath. And yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

And that’s really interesting you found the pain was less second time around. So yeah, really interesting. You mentioned that you were you found that sore when you got out of bed? How were you getting out of bed?

HANNAH

With great difficulty. So I kind of, because the hospital beds, you can press a button and then it kind of sets you up, right. So I’ve done that. And I’ve shuffled my way down and slowly swung my legs over the side. I lowered the bed. So it was at a height where I could kind of comfortably tip myself off. And yeah, and so that’s how I did it. I got Myles to stand in front of me and to help me kind of hold my hands to help me up when I initially got off the bed. And then I just shuffled my way very slowly into the shower. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. Just out of interest, did you ever do a log roll? So when you’re lying on your back and you rolled onto your side, and then you pop your feet over the edge? Is that what you’re describing?

HANNAH

Yes, I did. I did do a log roll.

KATH BAQUIE

So for anyone listening, if you’re having a caesarean, log roll is the bomb where you get to the edge of the bed, you roll on your side first and then you use your arms to push you rather than using your tummy muscle. Your arms push you up as you swing your legs over.

HANNAH

Yeah, definitely. You don’t want to put any strain on those tummy muscles right after a C section.

KATH BAQUIE

Okay, so you found those early few days, better second time around and then you came home and you had a toddler in the mix. How was your recovery once you came home?

HANNAH

It was I there were a few days that I definitely overextended myself. And it’s I think that’s easy to do when you have a little toddler running around because you don’t think about it as much. And I’ve you’re not supposed to do any heavy lifting for six weeks after a C section and that is really difficult when you have a kid that wants to be picked up. So I and I’m very much like, get go. Like I like to go for walks and I like to kind of get up and be active so I found it quite difficult to tell myself to chill out a bit.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah. I was going to ask, did the obstetrician end up doing that extra tummy thing? He did. Okay, so it was that I can abdominoplasty or he just put a few clips in you’re not sure?

HANNAH

I think he just put they what they said was so we’re going to put some sutures in. Yeah, sure. I guess his stitches. Yeah. I don’t I don’t know too much about medical stuff. But yeah. So he said that he put that in and I actually recently had my check-up, my six-week check-up and it didn’t work. So my abdominal separation is pretty, the doctor said it’s severe. So she was feeling different. She said that in one section, it seemed a bit closer together, which is possibly where he put the stitches in. He wasn’t totally convinced when he spoke to me anyway, he said all organs quite, I’ll see what I can do, I can possibly do something that might make it a little bit less, less severe. So she could fit comfortably fit two fingers in one section, and in the higher section, she could comfortably fit three fingers. So she seemed to think that was, she said to me, I can fit two fingers here, which would be about four centimetres of separation. And above that three fingers, which I’m assuming means six centimetres and I guess that’s not good.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh, no, not necessarily. Was that when you were lying down resting or when you were doing a sit up?

HANNAH

When I was doing the sit up. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, so abdominal muscles separation, there’s so that for anyone listening, that’s we’re totally getting on to a whole different topic here. So that’s a ligament, the linea alba that runs up and down runs just above or below the belly button that connects your abdominal muscles together. And so if there’s a separation, that means that there’s thinning out of that ligament sometimes that’s what that’s referring to. So I guess it’s one element of your abdominal core control. It’s just one part. So you’ve still got lots of layers of abdominal muscles. There’s lots of things still there to help support your spine. This is one element that might be weaker than usual. So the size of the abdominal muscle separation isn’t the beyond indoor. It’s more about, you know, your strength and your control and how its functioning as a whole.

HANNAH

Yeah, well, that’s good. That makes me feel a bit better. Yeah. Because yeah, she did refer me on to a women’s health physio who I’ll go and see. And I knew I knew throughout the whole pregnancy, when everybody had mentioned that when they did an exam that my muscle separation was quite bad. So I knew that I’d have some work to do. And I’m keen on doing some of your classes as well to assist with that now in my recovery, but she did mention that the Women’s Health physio will use an ultrasound and they’ll be able to tell via the ultrasound in a bit more detail what needs to be done.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, so if anyone listening, if you’ve got an abdominal muscle separation doesn’t mean you have to have surgery. So if it’s sometimes all you need is to do a rehab plan to help all the muscles surrounding muscles get stronger. So hopefully that provides reassurance and even if you did end up having surgery, it’s really still great to do that postnatal rehab before and after too.

HANNAH

Yeah, that’s great. And the surgery, is that like a tummy tuck surgery?

KATH BAQUIE

Well, I think it’s different depending on what sort of surgeon you go and see.

HANNAH

Okay, sure.

KATH BAQUIE

So that’s why I was asking just because we were talking about your afterbirth recovery in that first six weeks. So I was wondering if they’d given you any extra restrictions and told you not to do anything extra? Because they put in those sutures? Yeah. Interesting.

HANNAH

No, they didn’t. Yeah. And I even told the midwife afterwards, because I had home visits with my midwife, which was great. And I had mentioned that to her that they put the stitches in and she said, Oh, really? I’ve never heard of that. So yeah, whatever he did is I guess not the usual procedure. So lucky me. Guinea pig.

KATH BAQUIE

Too funny night, so great. You’ve got that follow up, because you’re still really early days, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

HANNAH

Yeah. And she Yeah, she did say it would be if I go and see a women’s health physio and do some exercises, she thought that I’d be able to close to repair it. So yeah, so that’s good.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, brilliant. So this was all just, you just had your baby a few weeks ago. So it is still really early days, aren’t you?

HANNAH

It is and you can probably hear her little squawks in the carrier at the moment. So yes.

KATH BAQUIE

She sounded like little munchkin throughout the whole session. So if you’re listening and you can hear it, it’s beautiful. It’s a little sniffling sound. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Hannah. It’s been really lovely to hear of your experience with not only one but two elective caesareans, and it’s so great to hear a really wide variety of stories, no matter what sort of birth it ends up being. So thank you for sharing.

HANNAH

No worries. Thank you so much for having me on. I love your podcast. I listened to it every week. So very excited to come on as a guest.

KATH BAQUIE

Brilliant. And to finish off with, how did you find FitNest Mama helped you the most with your pregnancy or recovery experience?

HANNAH

I think I really do believe that the reason why my recovery was easier this time around was because I was doing those little workouts at home and going on lots of walks and being a lot more active. So for me, I really enjoyed doing the workouts for pregnancy. And using the ones that you have online that the videos so I could kind of do it in my own time. Like when I got Eli down for a nap or when I had a minute to myself, I’d quickly pop one on. And I think it’s incredible that you have some that are 15 minutes as well, because often that’s the only window of time that you have when you have kids. So you’re busy soon to be mums. So I yeah, I really, really enjoyed the pre pregnancy workouts.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh, that’s great to hear, Hannah. And to finish off with for any pregnant mum or new mum listening today, what word, again, I’m throwing this at you. But if you have a couple of words of wisdom? What would you offer? What would you say? Words of advice.

HANNAH

I think try and go in with as little expectations as possible. Because I’ve learned from my experience that especially with Eli, what you think is going to happen might not necessarily be the case and it’s not the end of the world at all. I think some women see a C section as kind of a last resort. Like if nothing else works. That’s the last resort, which is a real shame because it is a lovely way to meet your baby. And it’s a yeah, I had two beautiful experiences having C sections so my only words of wisdom would be just try not to plan too much. Make sure that you’re educating yourself I think so you’ve got the knowledge available for every kind of scenario if it does come up, but just enjoy it.

KATH BAQUIE

I love that. Thank you Hannah, and for women who are wanting to connect with you. Where can we find you because you also have a podcast, don’t you?

HANNAH

I do. So you can, if you want to connect with me on Instagram my personal Instagram is just @hannahhellyer. But I have a podcast called The Baby Brain Podcast, which I host with my beautiful friend Emma. And we kind of just talk trash, we do share some life moments. It’s a little bit of an informative slash comedy podcast and we get on some amazing guests as well, including yourself Kath, who we had on for an episode last year. So you can check out that podcast on Instagram at @babybrainpodcast, or on Spotify and Apple.

KATH BAQUIE

And would highly recommend it. These guys are great. So I will put all those links in the show notes. Thanks for coming on. Hannah. We’ll chat soon.

HANNAH

Amazing. Thank you.

KATH BAQUIE

Bye.

Thanks so much for listening to the FitNest Mama Podcast. Brought to you by my free pregnancy mini pelvic floor and core masterclass which you will find at fitnestmama.com/free. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And come and say hi, DM me on Instagram. I would love to hear from you. It said FitNest Mama. Until next time. Remember, a healthy pregnancy, confident birth and strong after birth 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 medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. I’ll see you soon!

Read Less

From The Podcast

Pregnancy & postnatal podcast library

Each episode is free and can be streamed on-the-go from any smart device!
Horizontal rest after birth
Newborn, Postnatal, Wellbeing

After birth recovery … we all experience it differently, but we all need to help our bodies recover to some extent or other. So, the all important question, how can we support our after birth recovery? Here is a super easy quick tip, that you can easily (and will love to) slot into your day….

How many newborn nappies do I need?
Newborn, Postnatal, Wellbeing

Today I chat with Sheree, Postnatal Care Specialist.  We will be discussing how many newborn nappies do I need? We will be discussing nappies in those first few days, those first few nights after birth, and how your partner can help. Sheree is a nurse, midwife, lactation consultant and childbirth educator and provides an amazing…

Using stairs in pregnancy
Pregnancy

Can I use stairs in pregnancy? This was a question sent to me via DM on Instagram @fitnestmama, and I thought that it might be a good question to do a podcast topic on. Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but it might also feel like a time when you are googling everything.  And, the…