With her first pregnancy, Grace was lucky enough to get pregnant when ‘trying, but not trying’. She had a straightforward pregnancy and was planning to have a homebirth under the care of an excellent midwife with a lot of experience. At 38 weeks Grace’s water broke on a Monday afternoon, contractions started, they quickly became regular with 3-4 decent contractions every 10 minutes that she had to work through. Grace labored at home through the night with her husband, sister and midwife supporting her. By Tuesday morning labor was stalling and was stop and start all day. On Wednesday Grace spent the day doing the Miles circuit and having acupuncture to try and get things moving.
On Thursday, Grace opted to go into the hospital to get induced and was only 2cm. She was given Cervidil midday, progressed to 3cm and then was put on a Pitocin drip and given antibiotics since it had now been 3 days since her waters had broken. By 2am on Friday there was still no progress and it was decided that the best course of action was a C-section. At 4am on Friday (nearly 4 days after labor first began) Ezra was delivered and much to everyone’s surprise he was Breech.
As it turns out Grace has a partial bicornuate uterus which hadn’t been picked up in any scans – this results in your uterus being a heart shape with two pockets. Ezra’s head was lodged in one of the pockets so it didn’t present as a typical breech and in all vaginal examinations and palpations of baby nobody had realized.
Despite labor being the opposite to what Grace imagined, it was a very positive birth. Grace had an amazing team around her who made sure she got to make decisions and have a voice during her time at the hospital.
Grace went on to have a beautiful postpartum period. Ezra was an excellent feeder and she was cared for well by her midwife, friends, family and church.
Grace’s journey to her second pregnancy was longer than expected. After a year of trying Grace was diagnosed with secondary infertility with no obvious answers as to why. It was thought the uterus shape may have been contributing. 2.5 years in to trying Grace was booked in for an investigative surgery to see if they could snip the septum and the uterus could resume a more normal shape. A week before surgery Grace found out she was pregnant.
Grace felt anxious in the first 12 weeks as there is a high chance of miscarriage with partial bicornuate uterus as the embryo can implant into the septum and not get enough nutrients. Thankfully there were no issues and Grace had an uneventful pregnancy up until 31 weeks when she developed an “irritable uterus”. This meant hours of sore tightening’s every few days until she gave birth at 39 weeks.
This time it was obvious by 28 weeks this baby was also breech so the decision was made to have an elective C-section, however Grace was hoping to go into spontaneous labor and then have the C-section. When Grace was 38 weeks pregnant, New Zealand was put into a strict lockdown for 8 weeks. Everyone was to remain at home and not see anybody outside of their homes. It also meant Grace’s husband was not allowed to stay once she was in recovery and would not be able to see her again until she came home. At 39 weeks, Grace woke at 1am to her waters breaking, within 10 minutes she was having regular strong contractions. She went in to the hospital with her midwife and husband and by 4am Micah was delivered via C-section. Grace spent one night in the hospital and was able to go home to be with her family the next day. Grace had another great recovery and felt well supported even if it was more from afar this time around.
Grace Sheat Bio
Grace lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her husband James and two energetic boys, Ezra and Micah. She is a Speech and Language Therapist who loves getting to work closely with families in the community. In her spare time she can be found exploring all the beautiful places NZ has to offer with her family. Connect with Grace via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kellymom- for breastfeeding support
- Ina May’s Guide to childbirth
- Birth skills – Juju Sundin
- Podcasts: The Birth Hour/ Kiwi Birth Tales/ Australian Birth stories
BabyIt from Fairhaven Health
This episode is sponsored by Fairhaven Health. Fairhaven Health offers a wide range of products for fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding and women’s health. Today, we’re highlighting a product from their vaginal care line – BabyIt Perineal Massage and Postpartum Gel. BabyIt is a water-based, isotonic and paraben-free gel designed specifically for perineal massage during pregnancy, and to soothe sore tissues postpartum. Fairhaven Health is generously offering 15% off of all products with the code BirthHour15 at www.fairhavenhealth.com