The Birth of Mavi

Birth Story of Mavi and Daddy Doula 2018 Oggi Yusuf , by Marije Kleverlaan

When was your birth?
Mavi was born on 1st May 2018

Was it your first?

Yes it was my first birth, and Oggi’s second. He has a 10 year old daughter and being a second timer definitely
helped!. He was just so calm and knew what to do and how to support me being a first time mum.

How did you prepare for birth?

We did the She Births® course in March this year. Even though Oggi had experience, we loved the course and learned so many new things, to be able to support me having a birth as natural as possible.
Before She Births® I was not yet thinking about the birth and how the last part of my pregnancy would be. The weekend with Nadine, really shaped my wishes and dreams for my birth and also what to do before the baby would come. As I am 40, the hospital wants you to birth at maximum 40 weeks, so I wanted to try everything natural possible to bring on labour. We tried it all!

Oggi did not only cook every evening since I was 6 months pregnant, but made the eggplant parmigiana 2 times!! In massive portions, so spent hours in the kitchen looking after me and bubba. He cooked curries, made breakfast every day, and everything gluten and sugarfree of course! He gave pressure point massive, took me for walks and kept me sane generally :).

I also did the prenatal yoga classes with Nadine, that helped me connect with the little one and really communicate about birth and how we were going to do this together, the three of us.

How did you bring your baby into the world?

As I am 40, I was going to be induced at 40 weeks and 3 weeks before then, we tried to do everything we could to bring on labour naturally.
At 39+6 it was time to report to hospital and once again Oggi cooked food to ensure that I had fresh food to eat in the hospital instead of the terrible hospital food, he also carried the super heavy bag momma packed, into the hospital. Not knowing he would be doing this 2 more times! I had packed a rose quartz lamp, crystals, diffuser, healthy food, coconuts etc. And with a few “babe what did you pack it’s sooooo heavy” comments, he took the bag everywhere! Settled in hospital with cervidil.. both excited that we would meet baby soon…nothing. Tried to do the Foley’s catheter.. did not work. I was a little anxious of what was to happen next and when they said c-section, I got really emotional and Oggi was calm and collected and happy to do whatever I wanted to do and whatever felt right to me. So back home we went.

We were leaving home on Monday, enjoying our last Sunday night together, as we were definitely coming home with a baby, imagine the feeling of coming home… no baby!

On Thursday, we had to report back to hospital for another attempt at induction and once again, here Oggi prepared a spicy curry and carried our three heavy bags back into hospital to carry them back out 2 hours later as I did not want to get a c section. Once again, I felt so supported by him in my decision to do what I thought was best for me and for the baby. The hospital told us to come back on Monday so we enjoyed another last weekend alone together, and when we went to hospital on Monday afternoon, he did say “I am not coming home without a baby again”.
The catheter worked, and I had eggplant parmigiana once again for dinner, and again our room was set up with crystals, essential oils and music, as Oggi had carefully prepared 3 playlists. Momo (our baby’s nickname in the belly) up, Momo down and Momo Classical chants (on request from me). Midwives and doctors kept commenting on how nice the music was!

Tuesday morning, the catheter worked and I was taken to a delivery suite, waiting for Oggi to come back as today would be the day! We set up the delivery suite again, dimmed the lights, some nice essential oils and the music playing all day. They had to break my waters and give me syntocinon and Oggi stayed super calm and was just there. He is always the calmest person, which helps as I can be quite emotional, and he listens to what I asked. Which was the best, as I was clear on what I wanted (room is too hot, room is too cold, massage my back there, no don’t touch me, run the shower water on that part of my back, no not there, door open, door closed, water, no water) and without comment he just did what I needed whilst making jokes all the time. He let me squeeze his shoulder HARD, as the doctors kept putting me back on the bed and contractions were so much harder laying down, and was just being funny and saying that I promised him he could buy a new mountain bike, hoping that I would say yes as I was on gas! No tricking this momma! The doctors kept wanting to intervene and my doula as well as Oggi kept saying that I could do it, and I felt so confident knowing they had my back. And I truly believed that I could, because they told me I could.

The most magical moment and literal support was when my doula told me to stand up and when I was standing, I was leaning on Oggi a contraction came and in that one contraction I was able to push properly for the first time and there she was… our little girl Mavi. He wanted to catch her which unfortunately was impossible as I was still standing and leaning on him, but he did get to cut the cord!

Who supported you throughout the birth?
Oggi and my doula Lizzy Criner. Best team ever! Because of them we did end up bringing her into the world naturally!

What was the most challenging part of the birth?
From my first appointment in hospital they were telling me that I had to be induced, because of my age, which was not what I wanted to do. So with every appointment, and getting closer to the day, being “pushed” into induction. The emotional journey of getting to a point where I could accept this, was challenging. Then when we finally got there and the induction did not work, and they wanted to do a c-section straight away, we went home and spent Anzac day at home, and I wrote all of my feelings in my journal, I really
had to journal, and speak to Oggi as well as my doula, I cried all my tears and decided we would tell the hospital we wanted to have more time and wait. Of course when you decide to do that, they inform you that the risk of stillbirth is increasing etc., so it is being ok with the pressure building from the medical team vs knowing your body and believing it will do the right thing. With the support of Oggi and Lizzy, I knew that my decision of waiting a few more days was the right one. And it was… at least my cervix had opened by that time.

What most helped you through the birth experience?
My birthing team! They kept believing in me, talking to me, keeping me calm and just being there, knowing exactly what to do. I have never felt so supported!

Was there anything that surprised you on the day?
I know women are strong and amazing, but that my body could handle the “forced” contractions and that I was able to birth her naturally! Medical team could not believe it either, as usually women on syntocinon will end up with epidural and further intervention, the fact that we had gas only, was a surprise to them.

What has been the best post birth care for you?
Since then, he has been looking after us by cooking every night, keeping me calm in the first few weeks whilst I was learning to breastfeed. As he has done this before, he is just so calm and knows what to do and how to support me being a first time mum. I am sure there are times that I am too careful in his opinion, or cranky, or emotional, but he gives me all the space I need to figure out how to be a mum and how to look after myself and the baby, I could not ask for better support.

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:
empowering, love and trust

Blog| SBS Birth Wars, the behind the scenes…

Did you tune into BIRTH WARS on The Feed last Tuesday night? Catch up here on SBS Viceland and be prepared to have some of those birth buttons pressed 😉 You will also you get to see how She Births® is considered to be at the ‘forefront’ of the positive birthing movement.

I will try make my comments super quick today because I want to give space to the wonderful She Births® families who participated in the documentary. Aoife and Tom with baby Fionn and Kayla and Richard with baby Hunter were both in touch after the show to say they were disappointed in the way their stories had been told. Our community as a whole has been surprised that SBS seemed to edit towards such a negative bias.

There were some pretty crazy edits I have to agree, and a lot of what I said was used in a different context. For example, when I say everyone has an opinion about birth – it was in regards to pregnant mums being harrassed by the public about ‘how birth is meant to be and what birth is really like’ etc. Which can be a dangerous thing when you are pregnant and susceptible to influence – lost in a sea of ignorance, negativity, projections and fear.

In regards to informed consent. It’s important to be clear that there are two very different types. One occurs during the birth itself, say prior to a caregiver suggesting an episiotomy and the other is a long list of potential risks that may occur and is given to mum during pregnancy, almost like a disclaimer, so that you can make a so called informed choice between attempting a vaginal or electing a c-s delivery. Both two very different contexts that were getting a bit jumbled in the doco.

I believe VERY strongly in the former – and will talk more about this on Kinderling radio in regards to birth trauma on Wednesday 2nd October. But, I am quite reluctant to promote the latter because of the inappropriate way it is so often done. I do not believe in keeping secrets or having taboos around birth. I do not believe we should silence our negative or our positive stories. However, to give a list of the many potential things that could go wrong is not helpful for a majority, unless, you can also provide preventative education and empowerment skills for the poor mum that has just been overwhelmed by absolute terror.

For a lot of us it can feel like there is already enough negativity being shared in the general media and thus for a lot of us we are aware of so many things that can go wrong. To give information without preventative resources and guidance I believe is unethical.

That is why this week on our Private She Births® Facebook Forum page I will be joined by Lyz Evans, director of Women in Focus Physiotherapy  , who has just completed a 3 year research program tracking and measuring over 200 women with perineal and pelvic floor damage. Both Lyz and I believe that preparation is critical to preventing damage. Along with a revision of all the She Births® preventative measures we teach: pelvic floor assessments, perineal massage, patience and avoiding induction, water immersion during labour or birth, optimal positioning for the mother and our specific breathing techniques for second stage we will dive even deeper into this topic.

Prof. Dietz’ interpretation of data is definitely important to consider but in my experience the argument and data put forward by Prof. Dahlen was more convincing. At the end of the day however it seems like the She Births® data both in the public trials and in our own data collections prove that it is possible to have both an increasing normal birth rate (above 80% as the Govt suggests) while we also also reduce the rate of perineal trauma.

Here are the two very triumphant birth stories from our couples plus a comment from the amazing mum, Kate, who included her VBA2C story in the SBS doco. It is interesting that one birth story included informed consent and the use of forceps and one experienced a factioning within the hospital system, perhaps representative of the birth wars. Let’s just stay away from wars in general I say…and start to have more open and explorative conversations!

This is what the mums and dads had to say….

Kate

“I just wanted to pop over and give my two cents also. I was also interviewed for the segment shown last night, and everything I said was turned around and manipulated. They made it sound as though my VBA2C was traumatic. They put a lot of emphasis on the unfortunate emergency caesarian and really drove home how serious and urgent the matter was. While this is true, they failed to mention that the birth was also the most empowering and healing experience of my life. The trauma I discussed was from my first two unnecessary and ill-informed caesareans. They also edited specific sentences to make me sound quite irrational “her heart rate dropped…there was no emergency” – they edited out the part in the middle that mentioned that we waited 2.5 hours for surgery so… “it wasn’t an emergency”.

I’m so sad they’ve used my story of triumph and a message that trauma often comes from the way you’re treated rather than things that happen to make women even more fearful of birth. Also, there was no mention of any the risks associated with cesareans including increased risk of hysterectomy, increased risk of blood clots, increased risk of deep adhesions. I’m so sorry to hear that other stories were misrepresented as well.”

Kayla and Richard’s Birth story

How did you prepare for birth?

Richard and I read all the books you could think of. We researched any and every website we could get our hands on. We then completed our weekend course with our inspiring instructor Radha. (thanks to HCF*) 

Before attending this class I can openly and honestly say that I was absolutely terrified of going into labour. It was something that my anxiety wouldn’t let me shake and it was becoming a very big issue not only for myself but also my husband as when we spoke about things I couldn’t keep my head straight and I would panic and shut down.

During the course the amount of information I received was above and beyond expectations. I have attended so many different courses and by far was this course the only one that I sat absolutely glued onto what was being said. Not once did my mind ever wonder off and wish I was somewhere else. Instead I was so focused and wanted to continue to listen.

Radha was such a beautiful, absolutely beautiful soul who made this class just that so much better. Her honesty and her enthusiasm really fit well into our learning. She made us feel so comfortable and never once did any question be judged or was anyone afraid to ask anything (and I do mean anything).

I felt more than ready to bring this beautiful baby into the world with the help and guidance from Richard and every single thing we have taken away from our course. I would recommend this course a thousand times over to anyone.

How did your birth go?

My contractions started Saturday 18th of August and had stopped and started continuously until I went into full labor on the Wednesday night ( 22nd my due date) and Hunter was born Friday 24th August at 12:07pm.

We had a vaginal birth after a 42 and a half hour labor. We arrived to the hospital when I was unable to continue at home on Thursday. We got there at 1pm. I was only 4cm but they told me they needed to continue to check my baby boy’s heart as they were concerned.

We then heard nothing. By 730pm  I was given a shot of morphine then eventually I was offered to have gas by 11pm. They checked me again and I was only 5cm I was completely and utterly exhausted and in so much pain. Richard and I were left alone and unknowing as to what was actually happening for the majority of the birth.

My contractions were just over a minute apart and would last for 40-60 seconds. By Friday morning, while I was in the bath, the doctors tried to force me to have an epidural. I had already refused this many times, even though it was in my notes that I have a contraindication. I am unable to have one due to the risks with my intracranial hypertension.

Thankfully Richard was able to stand up to them. I was asked to leave the bath as I needed to be checked. This is when we found out I was only 7cm. By this point I had begged them for some help something/anything to help as I knew my body was giving up. I was then eventually given the drip to increase my contractions.

I was told very bluntly not to push if I felt the urge and then we were left alone again. Richard stood by my side begging me not to push until I was physically unable to hold on anymore.  I had started to push my baby out while only 7cm, this obviously caused some tearing internally and externally but within just 12 contractions Hunter was born.

It was then we found out he had actually had a stress poop on Thursday afternoon. This was only found out as the midwives were having a conversation about it while I was being stitched up. I also overheard as the nurses did a handover that I had fragmented membranes so I needed to be monitored continuously afterwards.

It was an experience that could have been managed a lot better, although having Richard by my side, I would not have been able to do what I did without his support and he wouldn’t have been able to support me without the knowledge we had learnt from the course. Richard was able to keep me grounded and we knew what stages of labour I was in during the whole process, which helped us make our decisions and kept us in control when we could be. As horrible as it was, it was still my labor and it was as natural as it could be for me.

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

Besides the whole thing hahaha – I would have to say the limited support and contact we had from the hospital. As much as I adore my husband and he honestly never left my side, it would have been a little easier on him if we had more of a support system. We were left alone for the majority of my labour which was a very daunting experience for the both of us.

What most helped you through the birth experience?

My husband and his knowledge from what we learnt in the She Births® course.

He kept me grounded and calm when I could be. He was able to reassure me the entire labor and kept me up to date with what was actually happening – I was honestly in and out of it due to complete exhaustion.

What surprised you?

The fact that they had my file, knowing the risks I had for an epidural and still they just pushed and pushed me for one and wouldn’t listen to us and what we wanted. I’m so grateful Richard was able to stand up to them.

I’m also surprised that after that many hours I was still actually able to push him out. Must have been all that good oxytocin.

What has been the best post birth care for you?

Having the support from my husband. Again I couldn’t do life without him

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:  

Horrendously Traumatic

Painful yet Doable

Totally worth it

* HCF is conducting a trial of She Births® with their members and offering the weekend course for free – click here for more information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                 

 

 

 

Aoife’s Birth story

When was your birth?

I gave birth on the 18/8/18, a very auspicious date apparently. We plan on buying some lottery tickets and rubbing them on Fionn’s head

I was 9 days overdue, I had always felt that I would go quite a bit over as my mother had been almost two weeks late with me and my sister was 2 weeks late with both her children. I was very keen to avoid an induction and discussed this with my obstetrician so we agreed that if I had not spontaneously gone into labour by the 20th I would have an induction. I was happy with this arrangement as it is a fine balance between avoiding intervention and acknowledging the risks with going over 42 weeks gestation. It also gave me a deadline to work towards and I work best with a deadline in all aspects of life!

By the 17th I was really determined to get this show on the road, that morning I visited an acupuncturist in the hope of inducing labour. Afterwards I wanted to keep the energy going so I walked down to the beach and spent a long time listening to the pounding waves using a visualisation about the sea.

When I went home I decided to try some nipple stimulation. This is going to sound completely bonkers but I had read a small study where they had stimulated participants nipples using TENS machines to induce labour, although it was a very small study, only 21 participants, of the 21 participants 15 of them successfully induced labour. I liked those odds and using a TENS seemed preferable to tugging at my nipples for 3 hours!  

By late afternoon contractions were starting to become stronger and more regular. That night, the 3 of us (including the dog) went for a walk along Manly beach. We sat and listened to the waves until we got too cold. It was a very special time as we knew this would be our last evening as a trio.

I went to bed to try to get some rest but by 2am it was getting too intense to stay in bed. I got up and laboured on my own for a while, my husband joined me a short while later to support me.

By 5am we had contacted the hospital who suggested we come in. In retrospect I wish I had stayed a bit longer but as we didn’t really have a frame of reference we thought I was a good bit further along than I actually was. I think my poor husband was worried that he would be delivering his child on the spit bridge. Oh if only we knew then that we could have driven to the Sunshine Coast by the time this baby would arrive!

How did you prepare for birth? 

From the outset my obstetrician advised that staying active and healthy was one of the best things I could do to help my chances of having a natural birth. Prior to getting pregnant I was pretty active so under her guidance I continued attending crossfit and surfing until my 7th month of pregnancy, by which time it was really awkward to lift a barbell over my bump and even with my modified surfing position paddling was proving too inefficient to actually catch any waves.

I completed She Births® early on in my pregnancy as I wanted to give myself & my husband, Tom, as much time as possible to implement all the skills we learned during the course.

My main motivation for doing She Births® was I was really terrified about the idea of giving birth. I knew that I wanted to avoid having caesarean as my sister had quite a difficult recovery from hers, but I had know idea what I could do to help avoid this. I came to She Births® looking to help me physically prepare for this but surprisingly it was the mental/psychological aspects of the course that probably helped me the most.

She Births® really opened my eyes to a whole host of other resources that I hadn’t been aware of. After the course I started doing prenatal yoga twice a week with another She Births® Educator, Radha. I was never into yoga before so I was really surprised how much I enjoyed it. Radha is an amazing teacher and her classes were much more than just yoga, she encouraged the second and third time Mums to share their birth stories with the class, she peppered the classes with nuggets of birthing and parenting wisdom, the classes really helped cement all the skills that I had learnt during the She Births® course.

One of the other mums at yoga introduced me to a hypnobirthing podcast called ‘Surge of the Sea’ that she had found helpful in her previous birth. I used the resources on the She Births® members website and listened to the visualisation pretty regularly from about 27 weeks on.

The She Births® suggested reading list contained a lot of great books but it wasn’t until I was on maternity leave that I really had the time to start reading. One of the books that I found most helpful was ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’, the book contained dozens of stories of women who had given birth at her birthing centre. It was very affirming to read all these positive stories about real women who had given birth, this really helped get me in the right frame of mind about my upcoming birth.

Once I was a over 32 weeks I started to drink raspberry leaf tea and taking evening primrose oil, from 36 weeks we started perineal massage, unfortunately for my poor husband it was not the sexy thing he had envisioned….

How did the birth happen?

I will start off by saying that if someone had told me a few months ago how the birth would unfold I would have been pretty scared about what was in store for me, but by the time I came to birthing my baby I really felt that I had developed so much mental resilience that I could really just let go, go with the flow and find the beauty in that moment.

As previously mentioned we had left for the hospital at 5am that morning. I had laboured beautifully with the assistance of my husband for most of that time however as the day turned into evening things were starting to stall, by about 8.30pm it became apparent that we needed some assistance. My baby’s heart rate was decelerating during contractions and my contractions were slowing down. My obstetrician advised that we should think about a forceps delivery. I asked her if she thought a caesarean would be safer for my baby and I, but she was very confident that she could deliver him safely without injury to me and she wanted to give me the best chance of a natural birth for any subsequent babies I might have.

I was taken down to surgery, given a spinal block and Fionn was delivered with the assistance of forceps at 21.21 on the 18/08/18

Possibly part of the reason I had needed forceps was that Fionn’s cord was very short, this meant that when he was born they couldn’t put him on my chest until his cord had been cut. When he was delivered the team realised that he had passed meconium in utero, probably a few days previous as he was quite stained, because of this the paediatrician recommended that he be taken to the special care nursery to be checked out.

This is probably all sounding very traumatic for anyone reading but I can assure you that it was anything but, I felt so confident in the skills of the care team I knew that everything was going to be ok.

Seeing Fionn for the first time was the most amazing feeling, he was the most beautiful thing I ever laid eyes on. I am still in awe about how strong and all-consuming the maternal instinct is, the second I laid eyes on Fionn I was head over heels in love.

My obstetrician is pretty nifty with the old bbq thongs, Fionn didn’t have any bruising and while I did have a tear it healed well. Within two days of the birth I was sitting cross legged on my bed nursing Fionn.

Who supported you?

My husband Tom was my Daddy Doula. He was absolutely fantastic. He kept me calm and helped soothe me with massage. He was my cheerleader when I needed encouragement. I have never felt closer or more in love with my husband than on that day.

What was the most challenging part?

Every few hours the midwives needed to trace the babies heart rate for 20 minutes uninterrupted. Unfortunately, the foetal monitor was a bit flaky and it didn’t pick up the babies heart rate if I moved so I had to lie on the bed and stay very still. I found this quite uncomfortable and frustrating as every time the monitor dropped out they would need a further 20-minute trace. Somebody seriously needs to make better foetal monitors!

What most helped you the most?

I used the whole gamut of She Births® tools during my labour. i used a tens machine throughout my labour, I started with it on quite a low setting and gradually ramped it up, this was particularly helpful when I had to stay still on the bed for the trace. In the birthing suite there was a lovely large bath and a double head shower, I love water and found labouring in these really helped me.

This may sound odd but when the contractions became more intense I started scratching my head quite vigorously. It was an instinctive response to the contractions, I’m sure it must have looked like I had nits! I found that it was a great distraction as it is an intense sensation and it creates a lot of noise in your head, so it really helped take my focus away from the contractions. My husband Tom took on the duty of chief head scratcher once I got towards the later stages of labour.

I also found myself vocalising, not in a screechy way but in a long low sound, I joke with my husband that I sounded like the ‘Whale Rider’ sound track.

What surprised you?

How little I cared about being completely naked and in some pretty awful position in front of complete strangers. I had been a bit nervous about feeling embarrassed to be naked but within about half an hour of being in the birthing suite I gave zero f**** about it!

What has been the best post birth care for you?

I was very glad that the hospital had a standard stay of 4 nights post-birth it meant that I had access to great advice and support during that very intense first few days. By the time I was being discharged I felt reasonably confident with breastfeeding and caring for my baby, I think I would have struggled had I been discharged earlier as neither Tom nor I have much experience with babies and neither of us have family close by to help out.

Describe your birth experience in 3 words: 

Empowering, loving, joyful

 

Zoe & Benji Marshall Share Their Birth Story

This week we share with you an awesome birth story from TV Presenter and NRL player, Zoe and Benji Marshall.

Zoe says that even though she was induced, which was her worst case scenario, ‘I still had an incredibly beautiful birth!’ Watch here to discover how they did it.

Medical Induction is a rough ride. The discomfort of contractions is so much more intense than during a natural labour because synthetic oxytocin does not cross the blood brain barrier, informing your brain to create endorphins as happens during a normal labour.

I love how Zoe and Benji shed light on the power of the mind, the power of preparation and the importance of re-framing as you go through birth.

They also highlight the value of a doula and how your team can guide and support you through the wildest of storms.

Birth is about breaking boundaries. It is about feeling proud of our achievements and celebrating the lessons we learn.

I hope you enjoy watching Fox’s Birth Story. Please forward on to your friends and tag us on Facebook and Instagram @shebirths.

Nadine xxx

 

 

This video and more is included as part of our brand new ONLINE COURSE! Check out our Online Program for information and enrolments.

 

DATE CHANGE! Our winter Soul Mama Circle has been postponed. It will now take place at Dharmashala in North Bondi, Thursday 5 July, from 1-3pm. Book here.

We’re getting closer to running a Soul Mama Circle with Nadine in the Inner West! Please send us your expressions of interest and any location ideas so that we can start one ASAP.

We need a space and numbers – tell us if you’re interested so Nadine can come over your way and set up a circle.

Photo: Bright Photography

 

LIVE Q&A WITH NADINE: Have you all found the new private forum page for our families yet? We’re loving it! The members only Facebook Group is a safe and comfortable space to share and ask questions and connect with our community.

Our next live Q&A session will be Thursday June 28 12-12:30pm. Please share any thoughts or questions, on the page. I’d love to see your contributions there!

 

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL? Check out the incredibleMotherloveexhibition running July 3-8 at The Creative Space, North Curl Curl.

She Births® Daddy Doula Stories | Cat and Bart Bunting

Top 10 Daddy Doulas – Must-read birth stories!

Welcome to our very special Father’s Day – Daddy Doula Awards. If this is your first Father’s Day then an extra big hug from us!

Thank you all so much for your Daddy Doula Award entries. We shed many happy tears reading your incredible birth stories, and I am deeply honoured to have been part of your special journeys into parenthood. Your partners of course, but also ALL the ‘wombs of the world’ thank you for being the amazing Daddy Doula that you are!

Without you Dad and your involvement in birth (otherwise known as women’s business) we would not have a rock to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, a couple of big biceps to squeeze into our buttocks during every contraction or even some hands to catch our baby when the midwife doesn’t make it in time. Yes, the Daddy Doula TROPHY goes to our second time She Births® Dad BART who happens to be blind (less than 1% vision), but can now add to the list of all his amazing hobbies, such as ridiculously fast skiing down steep slopes – catching babies!

We hope you enjoy reading our Top 10 Daddy Doula stories (how could we possibly choose just one winner, right?!). We have a small gift on its way to you Dad.

Thanks to our friends at BoozeBud who are offering all She Births® families 15% off BoozeBud purchases (use promo code SHEBIRTHS). This is the coolest way to try craft beers from all over the world and get it delivered to your door. Enjoy!

A huge shout out to all of our amazing She Births® Dads near and far – Happy Father’s Day to you! Have a brilliant day celebrating with your family.

If you’d like to hear more beautiful birth stories – join us at The She Births® Show this Friday in Bondi – there’s just a handful of tickets left.

Love and gratitude,

Nadine xxx

The Birth of Saya – Story by Cat Bunting | Daddy Doula: Bart

I had Braxton Hicks every night from around 4pm-10pm, 12 days prior to our arrival. Every night they would start up and I’d think ‘game on.’ Could it be tonight? And then they’d stop again! It was quite a roller coaster and I wasn’t sure when labour was going to start. It was a very emotional time, with lots of excitement and disappointment! The birth tools I’d learnt at She Births® were vital during this stage, especially yoga and meditation, to keep me sane!

The night before labour kicked in, the same pattern occurred but they actually continued through the night until around 4am, when things slowed down once again. This time, the Braxton hicks felt more like contractions. They continued throughout the day too, albeit every 20-30 minutes. I felt we were moving towards labour but we weren’t quite there.

And then, out of nowhere… at around 5.30pm, after a game of chess, boom – labour began and lasted just 45 minutes!

Click here for more and to read our Top 10 Daddy Doula birth stories.

She Births® Daddy Doula Stories | Cat and Bart Bunting

The Birth of Saya – Story by Cat Bunting

DADDY DOULA: BART

I had Braxton Hicks every night from around 4pm-10pm, 12 days prior to our arrival. Every night they would start up and I’d think ‘game on.’ Could it be tonight? And then they’d stop again! It was quite a roller coaster and I wasn’t sure when labour was going to start. It was a very emotional time, with lots of excitement and disappointment! The birth tools I’d learnt at She Births® were vital during this stage, especially yoga and meditation, to keep me sane!

The night before labour kicked in, the same pattern occurred but they actually continued through the night until around 4am, when things slowed down once again. This time, the Braxton hicks felt more like contractions. They continued throughout the day too, albeit every 20-30 minutes. I felt we were moving towards labour but we weren’t quite there.

And then, out of nowhere… at around 5.30pm, after a game of chess, boom – labour began and lasted just 45 minutes!

I was taken by surprise at the sudden onset of the serious contractions. And I didn’t quite believe it was happening for most of labour! I had my first big contraction and called my midwife, asking her to come over (we had planned a home birth). I felt I was being silly as it had only just begun but my intuition knew best…

As I put the phone down I had 5 back to back contractions. The contractions kept coming thick and fast. I ended up birthing my baby on the bedroom floor, unassisted, the midwife still en route!

My husband, Bart, was great. He made a great doula, squeezing my hips as we had learnt at She Births® – a fantastic tool! He also helped catch our baby:)

My Mum was also great at wrangling my 2 year old. He was in and out of the birth and it was really helpful to have him there, surprisingly. It kept me calm!

The speed and that meaning the midwife didn’t make the birth, hence we had no medical support. To birth our own baby was scary yet incredible.

One of my strongest memories was knowing bubs head was nearly out and feeling scared. We weren’t medically trained. What if there was an issue? What would we do? I remember thinking ‘let go’ and I handed it over to the universe. I was powerless. I couldn’t stop it and I couldn’t control it. I had to trust God had my back!

For Cat’s full birth story, click here.

She Births® Daddy Doula Stories | Heidi

The Birth of Sierra – Story by Heidi Gerberich

DADDY DOULA: HUNTER

Hunter was my Daddy Doula from the moment we started preparing for labour. He was thoughtful and articulate when it came to discussing what kind of birth we wanted and what his role would be. He coached me through the last few weeks, reminding me of times when we had summited mountains that seemed impossible to me at the time. He built this visualisation in my mind, anchoring me in times when we had physically challenged ourselves. He had thought deeply about who I am and how I would respond to this challenge. The She Births® course prepared us with so many tricks and tools that meant Hunter knew exactly how to support me during labour in practical ways.

The strongest image from our labour that hangs in my mind is of me laying in the spa in the early hours of the morning; back against the jets, surrounded by tea light candles and music I loved. My head was resting in Hunter’s hand, while he stroked my hair with his other hand. He knew how much I loved my hair being played with. He spoke to me softly and calmly, encouraging me and making me laugh. This must have gone on for hours. He was so consistent, caring and attentive. I felt so safe and loved.

When we first arrived at the hospital, I had been in labour at home for the past 18 hours. We had spent the day enjoying each other; doing yoga, cooking, chatting, relaxing. He even took me out to lunch and laughed with me as I breathed through surges in the middle of a busy cafe. I was astounded by his confidence in supporting me physically, mentally and emotionally. Once in the hospital, they performed an internal examination and determined I was 3cm along. I was hoping I’d be at least 5cm. I could have been so disheartened by this! But, not with Hunter around. He got so excited, hollering, “woooooo! 3cm! That’s the best!” He knew that I could go either be disappointed or spurred on and wanted to ensure I continued to stay positive and calm. In this moment, his positive reaction made all the difference in keeping me relaxed and focused.

Early on, Hunter set up his camera and took some beautiful photos, truly capturing the mood of the experience. When I first got into the spa, he spent the whole time holding cold towel after cold towel on my neck, shoulders and belly whilst talking to me calmly. I soon got out of the spa and retreated back to the fit ball. It was the moments I spent outside of water that Hunter truly became my lifeline. During each surge, he would use the hip pressure move we learnt in She Births® to ride it out with me. Every surge, he was right there, squeezing my hips with all he had and encouraging me to breathe. Lifesaver! During second stage, one of the things I remember so clearly was just screaming, “HUNTER! HIPS!” and he was there immediately putting all of his weight into ensuring I coped with the surges. In between surges, I remember him using the acupressure points to ground me and calm me.

One of my favourite moments was when I was in the spa and the sun had unexpectedly risen. I had just asked for the gas and was getting used to it. I started to feel incredibly high. Instead of telling me to stay calm or making me feel silly for wanting pain relief, Hunter found a way to make me laugh hysterically in between surges. He even took a ridiculous photo of me getting high, just to make me laugh. I knew having Hunter by my side would mean I would laugh in labour. I was so thankful for that.

As labour goes, it’s very much a blur. I remember him getting me onto the fitball in the shower and supporting me with one arm, while trying to push warm towels on me to keep me warm and circulate the water over my body; all while encouraging me. I remember looking up at him so many times and every time seeing a big grin and his loving eyes. He kissed me a few times and told me he loved me. He kept me going in these moments when it felt overwhelming.

Towards the end, I was so exhausted. I was finished. After 30 hours of labour, I was sure the baby wasn’t coming and that I couldn’t do it. Hunter didn’t once lose faith in me. He was by my side the entire time championing me. He was in constant communication with the midwives, ensuring our birth plan was respected and that I felt safe.

Towards the end, as I was pushing Sierra out, the main thing I remember is Hunter holding my leg and telling me how amazing I was doing and that I could do it. He was watching his little girl come into the world while also looking me in the eye, kissing me and telling me I was rocking it. I’ll never forget his face when he saw his baby girl. He was flooded with teary eyes and unexpected emotions. Yet, amongst this, he still found time to take some of the most precious photos of my first moments with Sierra. He knew how much I would love having photos of that time and instead of being lost in himself, he made it happen.

I went into labour with a husband who was dedicated and realistic. He kept me grounded. He birthed her just as much as I did. I couldn’t have got her into the world without his love, support, humour and hip pushing hands!

She Births® Daddy Doula Stories | Heidi

She Births® Daddy Doula Stories | Gretta Free

Birth of Sharma – Story by Gretta Free

DADDY DOULA: NICK

Nick was amazing in the preparation for our baby boy’s birth.

He was so inspired by doing our She Births® course… During our pregnancy he would frequently offer to practice massage and acupressure, we often had birth rehearsals initiated by his encouragement and many beautiful times together singing and chanting to our baby to come. These moments were so bonding and such a special intimacy, we all were connected in a deep and magical way.

Leading up to the birth we had a few days of pre labour that were on and off the two weeks before. He gently supported me through the unknown of those moments… Wondering if this ‘was it’ the big day! We went for some leisurely walks together and prepared our birthing space expecting to meet our Bub.

When the big day finally did arrive it was a funny morning of lots of life changing decisions and distractions for us. We accepted a job to move to the other side of the country and there was lots of organising and phone calls going on. Despite the low aching throb of my cervix and the gentle constant firmness of my belly I was largely ignoring it and getting on with my day believing it to be another false alarm! It was until about 11.30 that Nick suggested I call our midwife and describe the new sensations. She decided this was it and prepared to pack her car and drive 2 hours to us. I still was not convinced, so she advised me to have a relaxing bath and try resting. Nick decided to quickly zip out and restock the house with fresh vegetable & supplies. So I did as she advised and I listened to music whilst breathing through each surge in the bath.

When Nick arrived home I was having more frequent surges and there was no prospect of having a rest! So I put on the Tens machine whilst Nick prepared the birthing pool and our playlist, he quickly put away groceries and prepared a floor space for yoga. I decided that it was a good idea to sweep the floor of the house! Meanwhile he received a phone call about our new job. Just as he accepted the job and the moment he hung up the phone my waters broke in a spectacular shower and straight down my ugg boots in the hallway!! It was 2pm and finally at this point that I decided it was official the baby was coming! We notified our birth team and my circle of blessing-way women. The surges started coming very strongly. Nick reminded me to breath with each surge whilst he applied acupressure and massage to support me.

My support team arrived – my sister Hannah for photographing and my friend Alex to help with my son Atticus and to assist the midwife Gail who was still on the way. I got into the warm birth pool which was so comforting. Nick joined me in the pool at about 3pm. The surges were becoming very strong. He supported me between surges pouring hot water on my back and reminding me to relax as I spiralled with each surge. I could feel bubbies head coming down and felt the pressure of each surge pushing him closer to meeting us. I knew it wasn’t long now. At this point I got concerned the midwife might not make it! Nick gently assured me it would be ok.

She Births® Daddy Doula Stories | Gretta Free

Thankfully our midwife arrived at 3.30pm just as I was feeling a very strong urge to push. I leant into the cosy armchair of Nicks body whilst he supported me to rest and breath. This was my favourite position to be in. Each wave became so powerful, I felt that I needed to softly breath the baby down. To slow his progress as the head was crowning I used soft panting breaths and cleansing calming breaths between the surges. Nick gently encouraged me with his loving support. At 4.08pm with one J breath to slide his shoulders out Sharma glided peacefully into the warm water of the bath. He stretched out his body like superman! Arms above his head and back arched. He was born content and peaceful. Nick and I stared in amazement with intense love for him for 20 minutes of eternity as he rested relaxed on my chest.

Nick was my solid steady support and kept me grounded and focussed for our birth of Sharma. He knew what to do and say at each moment. For me the birth happened so fast and it was a whirlwind of intensity. Nick was there as my anchor and firm rock to hold me steadfast and in my zone. We felt like a team and he held space for me through each wave of contractions. Although the birth was absolutely amazing it was also the weeks after which showed me how strong and dedicated he is as a father. Nick singlehandedly packed up our whole house in preparation for moving to WA. He held the space between visitors and farewells and all the organisation, to allow for me to have a restful post birth month.

We are so blessed to have created the birth that we dreamt of and to have had the tools to accomplish that through the education we received from She Births®. I know Nick felt so empowered in his role in our birth.

Birth story: The birth of Claudia

How did your labour start?
I started getting very mild contractions throughout the weekend, 3 days before my due date. On the Saturday night I couldn’t sleep as I was getting up to go to the bathroom what felt like every 30 minutes. On Sunday evening about 10pm just as my husband Ben and I were about to go to bed, my contractions started to become more frequent. I was so excited it was finally happening so I stayed up instead, and within the hour dragged Ben out of bed. We brought all of our ‘tools’ into the bedroom – heat pack, yoga mat, gym ball, rebozo, the lot, and it all kicked off from there!

How did you bring your baby into the world?
After staying up all of Sunday night labouring with a heat pack on my lower back and Ben squeezing into my hips/glutes with every contraction (just as we’d been taught at She Births), we arrived at the hospital at 9am on Monday. I hadn’t slept for 2 nights and was sure that our baby must be close. When my midwife told me I was only 2cm dilated, I was devastated but adamant that I wasn’t going back home.

I desperately wanted to get into a bath but all of the birthing suites were taken so the midwife found me a room in the antenatal ward with a shower. My contractions seemed to slow down in frequency and strength and I started to doubt that I was even in labour. I was so confused! The midwives suggested I go home to rest but I couldn’t imagine staying up a third sleepless night so I told them that I was going to have the baby today and that I just needed to get into a bath.

At about 1pm they let me use a bath that isn’t normally used for birthing and I stayed in there for almost an hour but felt that my contractions had slowed down even further so Ben suggested that perhaps we do just go home. The midwife came and checked me, and I was 6cm dilated!! I couldn’t believe it, and neither could she! I was so happy! She sent us into the birthing suite which had a nice big bath and I got straight in.

One hour passed in a blur and all of a sudden I felt an urge to push and felt something come out. Ben was just about to press the emergency button as the midwife came in. I assumed it was the head and thought wow that wasn’t so bad but it was just my sack of waters perfectly intact! The midwife broke my waters and then it all got intense very quickly. Our baby girl Claudia arrived in the bath soon after! I pushed for 40 minutes, in the bath on all fours, with Ben outside the bath pressing into by hips – that was my only pain relief and it was incredibly effective!

Who supported you throughout labour and the birth?
My husband was with me the entire time (except for when he went to get some lunch from the hospital cafe). The midwife was only with me briefly when I arrived at the hospital and a few hours later to check my progress. She got us set up in the birthing suite then returned just as I was ready to push! She was amazing when it came to pushing but for everything else I was completely reliant on Ben – I hate to think what would have happened if we hadn’t done She Births!!

What was the most challenging part of the birth?
Just before I got in the bath I was questioning myself about whether I was really in labour as the midwives were saying I could go home. I was so tired I started to think that maybe I should have some morphine so that I could rest before labour really started. I began to doubt that I was strong enough to get through it. Luckily my midwife gently reminded me that in my Birth Plan I had said I didn’t want any drugs. And the pushing was definitely a challenge! That was intense!

What most helped you through the birth experience?
In the lead up to the birth I did everything by the She Births book – from eating dates, to perennial massage through to the visualisations. On the day, it was my husband that got me through labour and the hip press he had learnt at She Births!! I feel very lucky it all happened the way it did.

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:
Crazy. Surreal. Incredible.

Philip Dove: The course every family needs

Dearest Nadine,

“Thank you” really doesn’t do it justice, but then words and language could never truly express what I feel right now.

Watching Catherine embrace pregnancy, birthing and motherhood in the totally natural way that she has, has been nothing short of life changing.

I just wanted to thank you for guiding her so beautifully and for giving her the courage to be the phenomenal woman that she is. Through She Births and your prenatal yoga classes, she was able to build the mental and physical strength that she needed to fully embrace the whole experience.

You have a phenomenal product that ‘every pregnant woman’ needs, wants and deserves.
Thank you so much.

Philip

Not hippy at all…I went from a 1950’s idea of birth to actually helping and catching my baby

Were it not for She Births, I might have missed one of the most
amazing experiences of my life – catching my baby daughter when she
was born!

My wife signed us up for She Births, as she enjoyed nadine’s
prenatal Yoga at The Dharma Shala.  I went along reluctantly as the whole
thing seemed a little too ’hippy’ for my taste.

My mates had told me how useless they felt during the birth of their
children, and as a result I started the weekend thinking that i would
rather live in the 1950s, so i would not be in the room during the
birth.

She Births changed my views by educating me about the process of
giving birth.  For me, the most important element of the course was
the ’active birth’ section, as it gave me a useful role during the
labour.

Come labour-day I was involved with every contraction – applying my
novice acupressure tchniques to help offset the pain.  At the last
minute, I changed ends and caught our baby daughter.

Playing a useful part in the labour has brought my wife and I closer
together – and made me closer to our baby daughhter.  I am so glad we
spent the weekend with Nadine, doing She Births together.

I would especially recommend it to other ’sceptical’ / ’practical
men.  It gave me the desire to experience something totally different
– and I am richer for having had the experience.

Matt Johnson