Podcast Episode #69

Birth Story Spilling The Milk: Karina

We have another birth story today from one of our gorgeous mums inside the FitNest Mama membership. Today I’m speaking with Karina about her journey throughout pregnancy and the birth of her little girl.

In this episode, Karina shares her journey toward becoming pregnant, how she looked after herself during what felt like a rocky pregnancy, the exercises she did to stay fit and the techniques she used to keep a strong mind. 

We talk about her experience with a VBAC, a prolapse after birth and her recovery. Karina also shares some great words of wisdom for pregnant and new mums so make sure you listen all the way to the end. You’re going to love this honest, raw and insightful episode.

Episode Links

https://themylksociety.com/ (Use the discount code ‘FITNEST’)

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

Instagram:@fitnestmama

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Birth story: Spilling the Milk with Karina

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. Join me each week as we dive into all things pregnancy care, childbirth, and postnatal recovery, helping you have a wonderful pregnancy and afterbirth experience. And don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any episodes.

KATH BAQUIE

Well hello there! It is lovely to have you join us this week for another birth story which is part of the Spilling The Milk Series in this podcast. So if you do like birth stories, be sure to catch up on all of them. If you keep scrolling back every four, five or six episodes or so, there is another Spilling The Milk Episode with a different mum, an everyday mum just like you. So if we haven’t met before, my name is Katherine Baquie. I’m a mum of three young girls, a physiotherapist for women and I have an online community, FitNest Mama. Which helps to provide pregnant and new mothers with the exercises, support and resources they need to feel good from the inside out as they prepare for and recover from childbirth. FitNest Mama has workouts that are tired-mum friendly, achy-mum friendly and toddler friendly that you can do in the convenience of your home, at the end of a long day, whilst your bubba sleeps, or whilst your toddler is running around causing havoc.

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So I have the pleasure of chatting to Karina today as part of the Spilling the Milk Series of Birth Stories. Karina is a mum of two she is our first VBAC birth story. So that’s a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. And she is the owner of the MYLK Society which is a premium breastfeeding clothing store and she’s also a member of FitNest Mama. So one of our gorgeous mums inside the membership. In this episode today, Karina discusses her journey to becoming pregnant with her little girl Charlotte, and she includes some information about how they tried to conceive for girl the second time round. She shares her experience with a VBAC, prolapse after birth and her recovery. Karina’s story is honest, raw and insightful. And towards the end, she has some great words of wisdom for pregnant and new mums. Right, let’s dive into this episode with the lovely Karina.

Hi, Karina, thank you so much for joining us on the FitNest Mama Podcast. We have just been paddling away for nearly 45 minutes off air and I suddenly thought, oh my gosh, we need to hit record. So thank you for joining us. Can you please introduce yourself to everyone listening and let us know a little bit about you and who you are?

KARINA

Thanks, Kath. I’m Karina, I am the owner of the MYLK Society. I gave birth six months today, actually, I have a little girl, she is my second Charlotte. We call her Coco because my son is two and a half. And I wanted to nickname her something that he can say too so yeah, the whole family can now say her name, which is really cute.

KATH BAQUIE

Gorgeous. Did you know you’d be doing that when you named her Charlotte? Naming her Coco?

KARINA

We had two names. We had Amelia or Charlotte. And it took us a few days after giving birth to really know which one to pick. I wasn’t sold on Charlotte. But everyone was telling me go for the Charlotte. She looks like a Charlotte. So I was like fine. And now she really suits the name, so.

KATH BAQUIE

Naming a baby is just such a weird thing, isn’t it? Because it’s such a big responsibility and you don’t know this little person. So did you know you were having a girl?

KARINA

Yes, we tried for girl this time round. So it was quite interesting, actually. I read all of the ways of trying to identify, you know, go for certain genders. And I made sure that when we were trying to conceive, I was doing it a few more days earlier, when I was ovulating to then try for girls. So because we weren’t in a rush to get pregnant. I was happy to kind of trial and error it. So I think the first month we tried maybe six days out of ovulation and I was happy to have a boy regardless like I love boys. I feel like I’m more of a boy mum anyway, but we did it six, six days before and it like nothing happened. So then the second month that we tried, I did it four days before and pregnant. So yeah, it was a very easy road for us. Between children. I had an IUD. So I had that taken out a few months before. And so I waited for one cycle to find out when I’m ovulating. And low and behold, my ovulation date had completely changed between kids too.

KATH BAQUIE

Wow, there’s so much to dive into there. So for those who are listening, the lovely Karina is mum inside FitNest Mama. And she’s also got this amazing breastfeeding clothing range. Did I just say that right? She’s got a beautiful clothing range for breastfeeding mums. And I just I had to get her on the podcast to hear your birth story, Karina, but I don’t actually know anything about it. So can we dive into a few more things there? Because that’s really interesting. So you had your first, did you do anything in terms of trying for a certain gender for Theodore, your two-and-a-half-year-old?

KARINA

No, no, we didn’t. So we were just trying. So I used LH sticks, and I used them on both pregnancies or conceiving journeys. I use LH sticks. So what they do is pretty much it looks like a pregnancy stick. And if you get two lines really like dark lines, then you’re ovulating. If it’s a very faint line, then you’re not ovulating. So it measures the LH levels in your body to then take the next steps, I guess.

KATH BAQUIE

Apart from trying a few days earlier than ovulation, were there any other things you tried differently with Charlotte?

KARINA

No, I made sure that my stress level levels were down. And I was very fit, too. So that was one of the biggest things that I did this time around was made sure… like I was very fit when I conceives fetal. But with Charlotte, I was just really keen on making sure I was stress free and really fit too so that my body could handle it. And so I did a lot of mind work around that too. So I made sure that like I wasn’t, you know, waking up every day like being, you know, overwhelmed of what I needed to do that day. And, you know, I made sure that I looked after myself instead of everyone else, because you need to look after yourself first.

KATH BAQUIE

Just then and as a busy mum of one and a business owner. I’m sure that, that so important.

KARINA

Yeah, yeah, that’s right.

KATH BAQUIE

So we’re going to chat mostly about Charlotte today. You became pregnant quite easily with Charlotte, how was your pregnancy journey?

KARINA

Oh it was rocky this time around. It was the morning sickness, like I just felt sick, like hangover almost for my entire trimester. So I was pretty lucky that I didn’t really get too nauseous and throat like vomity. But in my second trimester, when things started to clear up, I got bronchitis. And that stuck around for the rest of my pregnancy. I couldn’t shake it. I wasn’t put on antibiotics. I went to the GP numerous times. And they said, just you know, like rest, and it will go away eventually. But because of that, I started to get incontinent towards the end of the day, particularly because of the coughing was just nonstop. And then towards the end of the day, as Charlotte grew in my belly, it added a lot more pressure. So I just made sure that I was making sure that like I did everything that I could. So that’s particularly when fitness came in to play a lot for me, because I wanted to focus on my pelvic floor. I wanted to make sure that I was doing what I could pre labour to make sure that I didn’t have any issues on the other end. Yeah.

KATH BAQUIE

It’s good to know. I remember you joining, when you join FitNest Mama and you got bronchitis soon afterwards. And so there’s a bit of a gap for you. You didn’t attend some of the live sessions. And then I remember you coming back and mentioning you had that issue. So we were diving into a lot of like, we talked about horizontal rest. So taking the weight off that area, because you’re absolutely right, the growing weight of your baby plus the coughing can put so much extra pressure on the pelvic floor. And there’s quite a few strategies you can do to help but talk me through like how did you prepare for birth? Was it any different second time round as well?

KARINA

Short answer is yes. So I made sure that like, as mentioned before, I made sure that I was in like a really good fitness level. So with Theo, I actually started to, I like I was pretty fit. And then but throughout the pregnancy, I just got tired a lot, and I didn’t want to work out and I ended up just not, you know, doing anything, particularly probably the second half of the pregnancy. And I really felt that when I was giving birth, so this time around, I really made an intention to keep active. So I actually do powerlifting, normally. When I was pregnant, I still did powerlifting up until 22 weeks pregnant. I remember going for a run at 22 weeks with a big belly being my second, it really hurt like I get I got a very, like big pain around my pelvis after I stopped running. And that was like I took that as a sign to say, Okay, I think it’s time to start doing a little bit more low impact exercises. And that’s really when I got into fitness more because I wanted to do low impact, but also work on my entire body, which you do cover so and that’s what I loved about it. So something that was an issue for me with my first labour was my son didn’t come through like I had an emergency C section due to the fact that he didn’t get past the spines. And I didn’t want that to happen this time around. I was going for a VBAC. So I did a lot of opening pelvis exercises, particularly from spinning babies, as well. I took some exercises of them. And then also I journaled a lot more this time around to mentally because I knew what was going to happen. And you know, once you go through it, you know, it kind of sticks in this. So I wanted to make sure that I was prepared. I was relaxed for birth, I had a plan, I kind of knew what I liked and what I didn’t like. And I did, I made a list of things that I did like and didn’t like, from my first birth, so that I could better prepare this time round.

One of the biggest things, and it seems so small right now, but in at the time, and when you’re going through it, it’s kind of like the last thing you want to be. My husband has a tendency to, like not know what to say in the moment. So he was just repeating everything that the midwife was saying. And it really bothered me, like he was saying, like, you’re safe. And I was like, I know, I’m safe. Like, I’m good. I’ve got this, like, you know, I need motivational words. So this time around, I sent him some affirmations that I wanted him to say. I knew what I wanted to say. So I wanted to kind of have him reiterate what I was going through. So he’s a weightlifter. He’s a national weightlifter. So he gets competitions and things like that. So I said, can you pretend that I’m doing competition, and that you’re, you know, cheering me on? You’re saying you’ve got this, you know, you’re strong. And he’s like, Ah, okay, I can do that. Yeah, this time round. It was so much better in that sense. Like I felt more supported from that instead of like pushing him away. I was pulling him closer. I was you know, in those strong mindset on my first like, absolutely no drugs whatsoever. I wanted to do it completely natural, which didn’t happen I ended up having to get an epidural and then going into a cease an emergency C. So this time around, I was more open to anything. So pretty much as soon as I got to the hospital, I was like, can I have an IV? And I go, no, not yet.

KATH BAQUIE

Let’s rewind a bit Karina. I’m going to pull you back because I want to dive into a few things. So with Charlotter, second time around how did you know you are in labour? Like at what stage? Can you talk me through?

KARINA

So I was due on the Monday. So she was born 36 plus four. So she was a little early. My son was at 40 plus three. So he was a little later. I started feeling like cramps. And I actually woke up from them on the Thursday. So I was due on a Monday. This was the Thursday before. So I started getting cramps. And I actually woke up from cramps. And I was like, oh, what’s happening here, like something’s happening. I just don’t know what. These kind of cramps I experienced with Theo. But I experienced them for days, like four days. Whereas with hers, they came and went, and I got on with the day. And it was a very, very busy day in the business for me. I was launching some jumpers. And I My plan was to launch all the jumpers before giving birth. That was oh, so I had a lot of content that I had to create. I had to get, you know, photos done for the day. So it kept me busy.

KATH BAQUIE

So what did your day look like on that day when you had the cramping? So you woke up? You had cramping? Like, how much was the cramping impacting you?

KARINA

It kind of felt like period pain. I don’t really experience period pain a lot. But I have had it a couple of times. And it felt like that, like it just felt like, like there was not external internal pains. So I knew something like something was happening. It wasn’t enough for me to get to, you know, going to like the hospital or calling my midwife like I was comfortable. It was more that you know, things were starting. And I just knew because I had experienced it before.

KATH BAQUIE

So were you taking photos of your new jumpers? Were you actually taking the photos? Because I know that that can be quite, well I hear that that’s quite physically demanding, right?

KARINA

Yes. So at that time, like I go through phases in my business. Most of the time I get a photographer to take photos, particularly lifestyle photos, and then with the product photos, I just take them. But this time because it was so close, and I just wanted to get them out and do it. I just was trying to do everything myself. So yeah, I woke up, I had cramps and then had breakfast, sent my son to daycare for the day came home started, you know, like doing my makeup ironing or the jumpers that I wanted to wear that day, like making sure that I had like a plan in place for that day. So I took the photos around lunchtime. I edited them in the afternoon. I put them up on the side at night. I do the majority of my work at night time on the business. So because it’s quiet and yes, so I did that went to bed, all fine. Woke up again at 2:30 that morning, and I had cramping again. And I’m like, okay, day two. Here we go. It just wouldn’t stop. It was enough to wake me up and keep me up from 2:30. So I took some Panadol in the morning, I went and got my nails done. I think I remember putting a story up being like, I’m getting my nails done. And I actually think that today’s the day, like, I just have this feeling. So yeah, because there was a long list like before I like whenever I have a child, I try and get my hair done, I get you know, my eyebrows waxed. Like I just try and get everything done so that when baby comes, I don’t need to go to all these appointments. And yes, I want to get my nails done. And then I came home. And I remember it was like midday. My husband usually gets home from work at about 2:30 on a Friday. And I called him and I said I actually think you need to come home earlier than 2:30 because my son was at day-care at the time. And we needed to kind of plan around him like what were we going to do with him. So I called my parents and they were going to take him anyway. So I said like something’s going on. I don’t know what but just be on call. So don’t do anything like don’t commit to anything in the next 24 hours. So that we’re like, okay, like we’re here. They live an hour away. So it is, you know, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not too far away. But when you’re in labour, it’s a pretty foot fair distance. But it’s, they live halfway. So it’s 30 minutes to the hospital, and 30 minutes or 45 minutes to the hospital from us, like so they ended up going like moving into contractions, so they started to get more frequent for longer. And at around three o’clock, I called the hospital and I said, “Okay, I’m coming in for a VBAC.” My contractions at the time, they were five minutes apart, and lasting about 45 seconds. So normally, you want to see them going for, like 60 seconds. So I just wanted to kind of, you know, put it out there that something’s happening. Can they, you know, give me any more advice? They said, Yes, come in, we’ll check you. Because it’s a VBAC. We want to make sure that everything’s you know, fine, don’t rush, just, you know, make your way. So, at the time, my husband was training, weightlifting. So I waited for him to finish. And then I said, Okay, I’m going to go, like finish, you know, just getting my toothbrush and toothpaste and everything. And, you know, pack my bags, and we’ll go and pick up Theo on the way to the hospital and meet my parents at the hospital. So I planned all that. Just yeah, within like another hour. And because it’s a Friday, I forgot that we were going to be stuck in traffic. So luckily, we were not in a rush. So we ended up getting to the hospital at about five. We’ve probably left here at about maybe four. So it took a little bit longer. But I do remember being in the car being like, Ah, this is like it’s getting intense. Like, can we, you know, kind of speed up a little bit. And yeah, so we got there at about five. My parents, like so I just went in by myself. Matt met my parents with Theo and did the exchange. And then he came in a little bit later, I got checked at about 5:30, quarter to six, and was one centimetre dilated from all of that. So they did a stretch and sweep. To move things on. They asked me if I wanted to stretch and sweep. I said yes, I was completely opposed to it. But they said, you’re not leaving the hospital until you do this give birth. We weren’t allowed to let you go because it is a VBAC. And, you know, you’re very close, like, you know, you are you will, like you will be you’re on early, early stages of labour. So your best just to stay here. And I didn’t want to say I was strongly opposed to it. And they said, Well, would you like us to do a stretch and sweep and I said, Ah, it prolongs birth for me last time. Like it felt like that. Anyway, they did a couple stretch and swoops with Theo so I just didn’t like it last time. But because of the circumstances I said, yes. So I had one. I was put in the maternity ward in my own room. And Matt left at about seven. I told him go home. Nothing’s happening tonight. Maybe tomorrow, like come early in the morning. Hopefully, things have progressed. I’ll just, you know sleep tonight. Take a few Panadol, go to bed. And yeah, then at about 7:15 , my water’s broke. He just left the hospital. I called him he was at McDonald’s down the road. I said you need to come back. My waters just broke. Something’s going on. Like, like it’s going to happen tonight. So he came back. They checked me I was at four centimetres dilated. They said, great. You’re coming back to the birthing suite. To get back into the birthing suite. You have to be three centimetres dilated as a minimum. So I was four centimetres. So they moved me at quarter to eight. I had some big contractions.

KATH BAQUIE

How are you feeling at this stage? Everything new. Because having a VBAC, what was happening with your thoughts and those sorts of things?

KARINA

I was scared. I was so scared. I knew what to expect. Because I got to 10 centimetres dilated with Theo. And then he just wasn’t coming out, like I was pushing for an hour, and he just wasn’t coming out. So then we went for an emergency C. So this time, I just, I didn’t want to go through that. Like, I think it was also like fight or flight. I remember crying because I wanted to go home. And they were like, “No, you’re not going home.” They’re like, you need to lay the sign out to say that you’re going against medical advice. And I was just screaming, then I was like, just give me an epidural, give, can I have an epidural? They’re like, yet, when we get to the birthing suite, you can have an epidural.

KATH BAQUIE

Why do you think you felt so strongly about going home?

KARINA

I think I was in transition at the time, I really wanted. So both births, I really wanted to do a lot of the labouring at home, and not in the hospital. And that’s just because I felt more like I feel more comfortable at home. And I know that being relaxed brings on labour, I read a book, it was a phenomenal book to read. It’s all about natural births. And I read that, you know, the more relaxed, you are, almost, you know, like hypnobirthing. You know, it then gives your body the best opportunity to then do what it needs to do. So I just wanted to go home, but then by them telling me that I can’t go home, I just like felt really restricted. And yeah, in my head, I was like, what no, like, I just want to go home. Like, I even just want to go into the car, like I don’t want to be here. By the time that I got to the birth suite, I did a couple of contractions on my fitness ball. And this time around, during birth, I wanted to make sure that I kept upright for as long as possible to use gravity to my advantage. And during the time that I was bouncing on the ball to opening up my pelvic, my pelvis. I was like I think I need to push. Like I have this strong urge to push. So they said get up onto the bed. So this was at a quarter past eight at night. So my waters broke at 7:15. I moved into the birthing suite at quarter two to eight, at quarter past eight. They checked me I was eight centimetres dilated. And they were getting prepared for an epidural. So they were like, yep, will give you an epidural. And then they checked me and they’re like you’re at eight centimetres. No, no, it’s too late for an epidural now.

KATH BAQUIE

An half an hour earlier, had they said no epidural?

KARINA

Half an hour earlier, I was transitioning into the birth suite. So they were just getting prepared. They’re like it well, we’ll need to order it and you know, take some time. You know, as long as I can get my epidural, that’s fine. You know, I was, you know, I wasn’t prepared for the pain this time around because the labour with my son was you know, 16 hours. It was a huge, it was a long time in labour. Whereas this time, very short, very sharp very fast. And I sat on the bed, they checked me eight centimetres, and they’ll I will just stretch you to 10. So they stretched me to 10 centimetres, and then like okay, you’re ready to push. I pushed for 40 minutes. And Charlotte came out at 9:02 It was just crazy. They said that. That was a very fast delivery and very fast labour.

KATH BAQUIE

How was your body feeling when they said it’s time to push? Did you have the urge to push?

KARINA

Yeah, so one thing that I made sure I did this time around was I waited for the big contractions to push. You know you do you get a like a big one. And then you get a couple of small ones. So I was waiting for the big ones to then just go you know, really bear down and push and something that really helped also was the spaghetti. When you’re breathing, you need to envision a spaghetti going between your nose and coming in and out of your nostrils. So you breathe in and You pull one strand of the spaghetti up your nose, and then we breathe out. And that other side comes out.

KATH BAQUIE

We have a few different varieties of pregnancy classes and FitNest Mama. We’ve got some that are more cardio based, some that are more, we’ve got yoga classes, we’ve got Pilates classes, but we also have a group that a childbirth preparation classes and in that we practice a few strategies that you might find helpful during labour, like we don’t know during labour, what strategy you’re going to find helpful. So that’s why we go through a lot of different techniques to see what resonates with you, because what resonates with one person might not resonate with the next person, and you might think it resonates. Or you might think it doesn’t resonate. But then when you’re in the midst of labour, suddenly you realize that technique is good. So what Karina is talking about, we often do a 62nd squat, which is about this length of a contraction. Obviously, contractions vary in length, but we practice our breathing technique when we’re in a squat, because we can’t mimic an uncomfortable contraction. But we can mimic an uncomfortable squat. So we’re getting our self into a position of discomfort. And then we’re practicing this technique. So Karina was talking about breathing in a piece of spaghetti through one nostril, and then breathing it out through the other nostril. And I love the visualization aspect, it involves the breathing involves, you can even sometimes imagine how it feels. So it’s using all the different senses of your body. So that’s great to know, did you use that technique for the actual pushing, or in between the pushing?

KARINA

So in between the pushing, I used it so that I could breathe through those smaller contractions, and then wait to the bigger contractions to then push. I think that by doing that, you know, obviously, with that big push, you’re, you’re pushing the baby out more, but because her like her head kept on going in and out. So the Ring of Fire was when the baby’s heads, you know, at the crest, she just kept on coming in and out. And so she wasn’t just it wasn’t this one big push, and she was out it was, you know, a couple of pushes. And I just, I think I screamed, just get her out of me. It was actually really interesting. And they did tell me to just wait because it was so such a very fast labour. When she was there are right at the like, right at the crest there, the midwife she was like, just stop, don’t do anything, we need to make sure that we do it slowly, like real slow, because we don’t want her to just shoot out. Otherwise, we’ll tear a lot. So we’re going to really do it very slowly. And then hopefully, you’ll be fine. So I was like, Okay, and so she came out. And that was, I think one of the hardest parts of it all. Because you really want to push, you know, she’s there, you’re going to see your baby in literally a few seconds. And they’re telling me “Don’t push.” So they’re saying push, push, push, push, push, don’t push now. And for me, I was like, but I’ve got this figured. I need to and then like stop. No, by doing that. I didn’t tear at all. So that was really fortunate. And I just needed a couple of stitches on either side and internally. And yeah, I was fine.

KATH BAQUIE

You mentioned earlier that you’re feeling scared. How are you feeling? How’s your headspace during the pushing phase? Had it changed?

KARINA

Yeah, it was almost desperation. It was it was more like I just need to get her out, now. I need to really just do my do my best to try and push her out. Last time I couldn’t push like they, you know, I was pushing and nothing was happening. And I think that probably was effective this time around because I knew that that had happened to me before and I didn’t want to go through that again. I didn’t want to put in all that effort for nothing. Well, not nothing. But you know, it just wasn’t the way that I kind of pictured it. So this time around. I wanted it to be more, I don’t know, like more smooths I guess.

KATH BAQUIE

And I know that Theo’s now over two but did the pushing feel different this time around compared to with Theo and how?

KARINA

Yeah, So I just, well, she was more engaged this time, you know, she was down, she was there at, you know, whereas there was up higher, like, I felt like more of a need to push. Whereas before, I felt like it was a forcing. And I didn’t really know what muscles to contract. And you know, when people say just push it out like a big poop, I tried and nothing happened. And so yeah, I just felt like really deflated from that. So this time around, I definitely felt more engaged. I felt her and I felt by doing like, more pelvic floor too, this time around, I felt hurt, like literally hurt there to push.

KATH BAQUIE

She came out after 40 minutes or 45 minutes of pushing. How are those next few minutes and next hour?

KARINA

I just jumped on an asked to be honest, I was happy that she was, like I was obviously cuddling her, and we were doing skin on skin. But I, you know, did the I bet the placenta and that was when they push on your stomach. That’s as bad as the Ring of Fire really, like it’s they didn’t really set me up for that. A small portion of it. But when they push on your stomach to make sure that they’ve you know, the placenta is all there and that you’re going to pass that that’s yeah, it’s very different. When I gave birth to the placenta, the mid wife was saying that it was the most beautiful placenta that she’s ever seen. It looked like a flower, she said, like, what do you want to see it? And I said, No. And now I regret it. I really wish that I’d like at least took a photo of it or something. So I could see it later. But in the moment, I think I was kind of in shock that I had a baby in my arms already. Like it was just such a fast journey and experience. I was set out. Like in my mind, I was prepared to be in labour for good 24 hours this time round. You know, like, I wasn’t prepared for it to be just a couple of hours long. So yeah, I think I was just more in shock than anything. And I got to cut her umbilical cut cord. I asked Matt and Matt said, “No, I did Theo, so you can do this one.” So that was quite nice.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh, lovely. Okay, so how was your recovery been, Karina?

KARINA

Well, it’s been very different this time around. So I have a stage two prolapse. And I also, for some reason, I went to a woman’s health specialist at six weeks postpartum. And I didn’t have any incontinence after giving birth at all or anything like that. But I did feel really weak. And the reason why I felt that was because when I picked up Theo, and you’re not supposed to pick up things over five kilos or 4 kilos.

KATH BAQUIE

So hard for the toddler, isn’t it?

KARINA

It is. And when he demands to be, you know, picked up and like taking down stairs, I did that quite a bit. But I just felt different down there. So I knew something was up. So I went to the women’s health specialists and they said that I have a stage two prolapse. I have a very, very weak pelvic floor. We did a lot of pelvic floor exercises. I did that for about a month. Just I set some timers and I made sure that I did that three times a day religiously. I went back in four weeks, and they said that it’s just not getting strong at all. There’s no difference that they could tell. So I’ve been given a pessary that was actually like I still have it and it’s been phenomenal.

KATH BAQUIE

It’s like a skinny doughnut that you can squeeze it’s made of silicone like it’s bendable.

KARINA

That’s right. Yeah. And so you squeeze it, and then you insert it, and then you let go of it and it holds everything up. And the reason why I was given that initially was because I wanted to start training again. And I felt like I couldn’t even jog after, like run after my toddler. Like it was really quite bad in that sense. I just I felt like I needed to wait like I wasn’t incontinent. But I did need to you know, I had the urge to wee and I really just I want had to kind of get back into getting strong again. For the sake of everyone but I found that for me, I need to train for my mental health. And I enjoy being strong so that I can pick up things like both of my kids at the same time. And people are still amazed that I can still do that.

KATH BAQUIE

Pessaries can be, like, amazing for some women. And if you’re wondering what it is and how to what to do about it, go and see your women’s health physio, or feel obstetrician gynaecologist if they fit pessaries. Not all women’s health physios do fit pessaries. But what they’ll do is size you up. And because there’s different sizes of pessaries, depending on your anatomy. So sometimes it’s a bit of a trial and error, like you need to trial, a couple of different sizes to see what fits just like you’ve tried some different clothes sizes to see what fit. And they can make a huge world of difference if you do have prolapse symptoms and those sorts of things. So that’s great.

KARINA

Yeah. And then also because my pelvic floor isn’t where it should be, I was actually given a parry fit or something similar to a parry fit. So it’s like a 10s machine for your vagina.

KATH BAQUIE

So is that the one that offers a stimulation? Or is it more the biofeedback where you squeeze and it gives you feed, and it tells you how you’re going?

KARINA

It’s both so it mine came with a little stick that you put on the top of it. So when you insert it, and then you do when it’s not on, or when it is on, I guess, you can do pelvic floor and it will move the bar will move. And my women’s health specialist gave me that because she identified that I have nerve damage on one side of my pelvis. So and that is the reason why I have a very weak pelvic floor. I think that I’m doing it. But I’m actually not, like the muscle and my neurons aren’t like joining. So by doing that by giving me that I was able to identify when it’s actually working and when it’s not.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, brilliant. And so sometimes, like when you’re talking about nerve damage just for those listening, just like the muscles can get stretched the nerves, nerves can get in the connective tissues can also get stretched. And sometimes they do take time to heal. Sometimes they need a bit of assistance. So that’s great that you’re on top of it and doing the rehab. It’s amazing, Karina.

KARINA

Yeah. So other than my postpartum, it’s been great with breastfeeding, no issues there. Yeah, I’m getting really fit now. So I’m six months postpartum, I started training at eight weeks postpartum, I started with fitness, and started to get back into it that way. And then I started to move on to weight training and well not weight training, but body weight training, and then progressively started doing that. I then also did the catch to 5k, which is like an eight-week integration to doing a 5k run.

KATH BAQUIE

So if you’re postnatal rehab, I think it sounds like you’ve done such a great variety of exercises, you’ve looked after your pelvic floor and core with FitNest mama. You’ve been doing your strength training, you’ve been gradually building up your endurance of the walking and into the running so well done. If people are thinking, “Oh, FitNest Mama might be good for me. I’m not sure though.” Can you just say quickly how you found FitNest Mama was most beneficial for you?

KARINA

Yeah, so for me, I’m really busy. Even at the start of the year, I actually went back to work full time, as well as running the business as well as looking after toddler and you know, life admin and family. So what I really loved about FitNest is that it is really convenient. You can pick as long as you want. So you can do a fast, like a shorter training session, or you can do the standard as well. So there’s lots of variety, you can go online, you can join the sessions as well live. So it kind of caters for everyone. So if your time for, you can pick when you want to do it, if you can attend the live sessions, and then if you do the live sessions, and you really enjoyed that specific one, you can go back and redo it again. And that’s what I really loved about it. And particularly, you know, while we were in lockdown, we were put in lockdown two weeks after giving birth to Charlotte. So that gave me something to do while in lockdown, too. So yeah, that was really very convenient. What I also love about it was that it gave me a really nice, like I love a good program to work with. And you tend to give like a very good, like, start to finish of a really decent program postpartum. And also pregnancy. You know, if you’re scared to start training or start to working out again, yes, you can go in for walks, but doing everything else, like, you know, maintaining our arm strength and your squats and your pelvic floor and integrating it all together. That’s what I really liked to like, you know, it’s low impact. It’s safe. You can, like, you know, you’ve got the benefit of yourself to contact if you’ve got questions. It’s super convenient.

KATH BAQUIE

Thanks for those words, Karina. I think you’ve been our first VBAC story. So thank you for telling us your amazing story and your journey to finish off with, do you have any final words for words of wisdom for pregnant mums listening?

KARINA

I think, just don’t sweat the small stuff, you know, it’s okay to be scared to, like, have no idea of the unknown. Because as someone that also went through birth now twice, like, if we do have a third, I’m going to be as scared as the first and second time’s going through labour, but it’s only within 24 hours, and then you’ve got a baby at the end. And I guess everyone is, you know, keen to give opinions, but do whatever is right for you. So, you know, if you’re not someone that goes for daily walks and things like that, and don’t, you know, don’t force yourself, do whatever you feel is right for you.

KATH BAQUIE

Yeah, beautiful. Well, thank you Karina, so much for joining me today. It’s been an honour to be able to chat. For those listening go and check out Karina’s beautiful breastfeeding wear. Where can we find you Karina?

KARINA

Oh you can find me at the MYLK society. That’s mylk.com.au. I do have a FiNnest discount for you guys too.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh, I didn’t know this.

KARINA

Just right fitnest. F-I-T-N-E S T? You can get 15% off everything.

KATH BAQUIE

Oh my gosh. Amazing. Well, thank you Karina. Bit of surprise there for all your listeners. That’s great. Lovely to chat. Karina will chat to you soon.

KARINA

Thank you. Thanks. Have a good day.

KATH BAQUIE

You too.

Before I sign off, remember my team and I will be putting together the show notes for this episode with all the links, including how to connect with Karina and check out her lovely breastfeeding wear including her generous discount code that she provided at www.fitnestmama.com/podcast. 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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