In this episode, I welcome Emily, a 27-year-old mother from a small town near Warwick, Queensland, who shares her compelling journey from her first traumatic C-section to a unique and empowering homebirth.

Emily talked about the challenges of managing gestational diabetes, navigating the medical system, and finding strength in her birth choices.

EP131 | Emily – HBAC after birth trauma

Emily’s Journey Through First Pregnancy diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes

Emily’s first pregnancy was in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was an unexpected pregnancy that led to an emotional rollercoaster as her plans quickly shifted.

Emily’s first pregnancy was filled with surprises and challenges. From the shock of her first positive pregnancy test to early medical visits, Emily recounts her journey with candid emotions.

She also faced misinformation regarding exercise during pregnancy, which added to her concerns.

“…the start of the pregnancy was super chilled and nothing exciting really, as you would want. So it wasn’t really until I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which whenever they do that standard time for that test, then everything sort of started to not come crashing down, but started to just rattle my birth plans and everything a little bit.”

Emily was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. She shares her skepticism about the diagnosis and how she successfully managed it through diet, despite initial concerns about needing insulin. Through determination and a disciplined diet, she managed to control her diabetes without insulin.

However, her interactions with medical professionals left her feeling unsupported and unprepared for childbirth.

“The biggest mistake was believing that these medical professionals had my best interest at heart.”

 

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EP131 | Emily – HBAC after birth trauma

Challenges and Complications in Labor

Emily planned for a natural birth but faced significant obstacles, including a broken toe late in pregnancy that affected her mobility.

Her labour became complicated, leading to a transfer to Tweed Hospital for induction due to slow progress and gestational diabetes.

She endured intense labour with artificial contractions, inadequate pain relief, and an eventual epidural after prolonged suffering.

 

Emergency C-Section and Birth Trauma

After hours of difficult labour and pushing, Emily underwent an emergency C-section under general anaesthesia. She details the traumatic experience of feeling dehumanised, lack of support, and her husband’s distress during this time.

Post-delivery, Emily faced detachment from her baby, hospital stay difficulties, and conflicting advice on breastfeeding.

 

HBAC after birth trauma – the planning

Traumatised by her first birth, Emily sought alternative birth experiences and discovered the possibility of home birth.

Supported by accounts from podcasts and social media, she found a midwife in Toowoomba who supported her VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) home birth plan.

Despite scepticism and lack of family support, she remained committed to her homebirth plan.

 

Emily - HBAC after birth trauma

The Unique “Green Whistle” Moment

“Thank God for my midwives and my husband because they kept saying, ‘just do one more contraction,’ and they just kept saying that for hours and hours.”

During her homebirth, Emily faced intense contractions and, at one point, called for the “green whistle” for pain relief.

This moment was unique as ambulance staff arrived and stood by, watching in awe as Emily continued with her labour. The presence of the ambulance staff, who typically handle emergency situations, highlighted the strength and resilience Emily shown during her homebirth.

This experience underscored the importance of having a supportive environment and the ability to trust one’s body during the birthing process.

“Can you call the ambulance to bring me the green whistle? Because I need, like, my mindset was just really bad at this point. And I was like, I can’t do it. So we ended up calling the ambulance, and, like, the midwives called up and said, we’ve got a lady having a home birth. She just wants some pain relief anyway. And then when the two paramedics turned up, they were like, right, we’ve got a woman here that’s had a previous caesarean, and we’re taking her to the hospital. And they were just like, no, like, I don’t know where you got that information from. But she’s having a homebirth and she just wants, like, a green whistle.” 

 

EP131 | Emily - HBAC after birth trauma

Post-Birth Reflection and Emotional Healing

Emily reflects on the stark differences between her hospital and home birth experiences. She acknowledges the lingering trauma from her first birth while finding empowerment in her second birth.

Emily emphasises the importance of understanding birth rights and the impact of the medical system on birth experiences.

 

Advice for Expecting Mums

Emily advises expecting mothers to educate themselves on medical procedures and interventions and to know their rights during childbirth. She underscores the importance of better birth education and support, particularly regarding the cascade of interventions.

“It’s essential to dig deeper and understand the real risks. Your insights are invaluable, and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.” 

Emily expresses her gratitude for the positive support she received during her homebirth and her commitment to home birthing for any future children, contingent on ongoing access to midwifery services.

 

Get to know more about our guest:

Emily, a 27-year-old mother from a small town near Warwick, Queensland.

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Ashley is on a mission to raise the rates of women having vaginal birth after Caesarean worldwide and empower women planning VBACs and HBACS.(Homebirth after Caesarean).

As a dedicated birth coach and mentor, Ashley works intimately with pregnant women, guiding them through the journey of overcoming fear and mindset challenges associated with VBACs and HBACS.

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