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Knowledge is power and the more you know the better when it comes to preparing for your birth. In the Positive Birth Program, you will learn many tools that can be used to advocate for yourself and your partner, along with the knowledge around birth. Sarah & Matt's story is one that truly highlights the importance of self-advocacy and trusting your body and baby throughout the journey.

Story features - Gestational Diabetes, self-advocacy, trust, empowerment & natural birth

My husband and I attended the Positive Birth Program in July to prepare for the birth of our first child. We got a wealth of knowledge and felt empowered going into the birth. I dreamed of a natural birth without interventions and staying home as long as possible. Hearing so many people's passing comments and negative perceptions of birth I wasn’t sure I could do it and couldn’t help but have some self-doubt.

Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and not long afterwards put on insulin to manage my condition this meant my care model had to be changed from Midwifery led to Obstetrician led. They told me I would have to be induced at either 38 weeks or 39 weeks depending on my BSLs. I was not keen on induction and had read about the intervention cascade in Sarah Buckley book “Gentle birth, gentle mothering”

After attending Hypnobirthing classes, I realised it was ultimately my choice for birth preferences and I researched up the evidence and listened to the Midwives Cauldron podcast and found that WHO (World Health Organization) didn’t recommend routine induction based on gestational diabetes status as there was lack of evidence in this area.

I felt inspired to stand up for my initial birth preferences of having a natural birth and managing my condition strictly to prevent potential birth complications risks (shoulder dystocia, low blood sugar, big baby).

From 36 weeks at each weekly appointment, I was continuously pressured into having an induction, saying my risk of stillbirth will increase, however I couldn’t find any evidence on this. The closer I got to my due date the more frequent the appointments became to 2 per week and they recommended CTG monitoring x2 per week. When the doctors asked me to book an induction I said ‘no, my baby will come’ the Doctor said, ‘how do you know your baby will come?’ I knew to trust my body and my baby, and I knew to trust my body to birth my baby at the perfect time. As I passed my due date, I knew that first time mums are mostly always late and most give birth by 41+2.

On 41+1 I had my CTG appt, I was worried my waters had broken the day before as had more vaginal discharge. However, I hadn’t, my cervix was 2cm dilated and the Midwife gave a mini stretch and sweep. The doctor was persistent this time on the induction and printed off statistics for stillbirth and stated they would be higher for gestational diabetes (although wasn’t able to produce those statistics) we agreed to the induction to get them off our backs. The induction was booked for 3 days' time.

I was so happy and relieved that my baby decided to come that night!

At 11:30pm I woke up to abdominal cramping pain that didn’t resolve on getting out of bed. I went and sat on my birthing ball and concentrated on my breathing. After an hour I woke up my husband and told him I think he is coming.

We ran a bath, put some hypnobirthing tracks on. I also did a lot of pacing around my kitchen.

We called the hospital after a few hours, and they said I was in early labour and to wait until contractions were 1min and coming 2-3x in 10mins. The next phone call a couple hours later stated I was also in early labour, and they told us the labour can be up to 48hours and stop and start. I was told to keep eating, despite nausea and take some paracetamol (like that’s going to do anything!) we called them again around 5:30am they said I was in early labour and would most likely be sent home on panadeine forte. I must have sounded too calm and was able to internalise the breathing and count how many breaths I had to take before the contraction was over. We had a 40-minute drive to the hospital so didn’t want to leave too early and risk being sent home.

After 2 more hours I felt a strong urge to push! Matty called the hospital, they said I sounded like I was in pain and thought it was time to come in.

Driving in there the contractions had changed pace, not as frequent but with the overwhelming sensation to push. My husband drove in peak hour traffic with me saying “I need to push” he responded, “don’t push”. I clenched so hard to try and not push and hold on until we had arrived at the hospital. There were slow drivers in the overtaking lane and a freight train to wait for also. Somehow, we made it in record time. We parked at the emergency entrance and a PCA was there with a wheelchair, she offered to take me to the birthing suite. A few contractions came and she asked if I was in pain- I was comfortable in-between contractions and told her I felt the need to push. She responded hesitantly “I will get you there safely”

As I arrived in the birthing suite, I was swiftly taken into a room. I had my birthing preferences printed but there was no time. The Midwife asked what my plan was for pain relief, I said depends how far along I am. She did a vaginal examination and saw the head was just there, and quickly got into battle station mode. The Midwives were quickly reading my notes and yelling she has gestational diabetes; she is group b strep positive. There was no time for IV antibiotics, this baby was on its way!

They let me get into all fours position for birth but found it challenging to keep the CTG monitoring on in the right spot so got me in semi reclined position. After pushing and bearing down for 1 hour and 15 minutes my baby arrived. My baby didn’t get stuck in the birth canal and didn’t get low blood sugars post birth. I only had a 1st degree perineal tear and they put some stitches in to help with recovery.

After worrying and stressing from my visits with the Obstetricians, I had the birth I always wanted, and my baby was completely healthy.

My baby born after 10.5 hours of labour, a healthy 4.23kg.

I knew I was not a statistic, and I knew how to reduce my risks for potential complications (eating healthy, exercising well, preparing my body, and keeping BSL in normal range). I found the research I had done empowering and mentally and physically prepared me for the birth I wanted. I felt the overwhelming sense of achievement for reaching my goals, like I had just completed a marathon.

I strongly recommend couples to do the positive birth program course especially if you are wanting a natural birth. You will feel empowered and mentally and physically prepared going into your birthing day.


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