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

Birth Story | Rachel Campbell welcomes Indigo after 5.5 years of fertility challenges and with the help of her sister

Although we are ‘birth focused’ here at The Birthing Institute we are also doing our best to help families across the whole perinatal period. I believe that bringing a sense of value to the whole motherhood journey is critical to the restoring balance on our planet. Of course, everyone’s journey begins with fertility.

I have taught numerous fertility yoga workshops over the years and have taught hundreds of couples She Births® who have been down the IVF path. It can be absolutely heartbreaking to see families struggle with this element and I always take my hat off to them when the choose to prepare with us. It can be such a big leap to go from an often highly medicalised process, that very often shakes our personal confidence, to preparing for a more natural birth experience.

One of our wonderful mums, Rachel Campbell joined me at my She Births® course in January 2017 with her husband Pete. They have a very unique story to tell that will touch your heart – not only through because of their amazing fertility journey that proved successful after 5.5 years with the help of her sister, but also the beautiful birth story of little Indigo.

I hope you enjoy reading and learn more about the wonderful work Rachel does, so you can share that with other friends who may need support.

Nadine xx

 

Rachel’s pregnancy journey took almost six years, but as she says in the end, despite everything, daughter Indigo’s timing was absolutely perfect.

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:

Strength, love, transformative.

Indigo was born on 11 March 2017, after 5.5 years of fertility challenges. There really are NO words to describe the journey we’ve been on – it’s been a rollercoaster of twists and turns and highs and lows – but I wouldn’t change anything. Our little miracle came to us in the perfect time and perfect way. 

Indigo is our number 1 miracle baby. After 10 unsuccessful rounds of IVF using my own eggs and years of seeing natural fertility specialists and healers, my sister Suz donated her eggs to us. We were blessed to conceive on our second transfer. Creating our family didn’t look like we thought it would – we naively assumed we’d conceive on our honeymoon 7 years ago and have 2 or 3 babies by now.

Through the ups and downs of our fertility challenges we never gave up on our dream to grow our family. Our story is 5.5 years in the making and we created a video of our fertility journey and pregnancy announcement in the hope of helping others who are struggling to conceive.

I had the healthiest pregnancy and birth because of the pre-conception care and self love that I made an absolute priority (it was the gift of my fertility challenges). My pregnancy was super smooth once I hit the second trimester and left all the IVF drugs behind. I credit my amazing pregnancy and birth with all the nurturing and care I’d poured into myself over the years of my fertility journey. I was blessed to have a wonderful natural fertility specialist, naturopath, kinesiologist, acupuncturist, masseur and energy healer. Also the organic food, the plethora of supplements I’d consumed, my meditation practice and a mindful life – it was like the pieces of the jigsaw had finally come together. I was so healthy and happy. I was finally growing a little life inside of me – words cannot describe how amazing this felt.

It was during the second trimester that I started researching the sort of birth I wanted to have. We knew we wanted to birth our babe naturally after all the IVF intervention we’d been through (I felt like this was my gift to my baby – but I was also open in my approach and realistic that birth doesn’t always go the way we want it to). She Births® was a given for me, there was never a doubt in my mind that this was the best way for me to prepare to birth our baby. I met Nadine over 10 years ago in an outdoor yoga class and her energy and what she offers the world is just so special. I’d also had many friends go through She Births® and love it – so I just knew it was a must. It really is a treasure box in birth preparation (and the men just love it too).

We hired Nadine the Doula who was an absolute godsend – a doula is a must in my eyes to help with preparing for birth and during the birthing process.

And I was extremely grateful to find Sarah Buckley and her gentle, safe, natural birth philosophy which advocates a plethora of benefits for bub and mum and this strongly resonated with me.

We actually changed from having a private OB to the public system (which was incredible and I’m so grateful I followed my gut on this one). We wanted a natural birth and my private doctor wanted to induce me at 38 weeks and talked about a number or birth interventions. At 34 weeks we made the decision to switch to the public hospital in Randwick. Seemed like a BIG decision at the time, but was definitely the right one for us.

How did you bring your baby into the world?

After switching to the public hospital at 34 weeks, at 39.5 weeks my doctor asked me to go for a scan as he was concerned about my amniotic fluid levels. The scan revealed my amniotic fluid was slightly lower than what they would medically like to see, and as a result my doctor suggested I go home and drink lots of water, get some rest and and come back 2 days later to be re-checked. My levels were much the same 2 days later and my doctor recommended induction at 40 weeks. After much research we opted against an induction and decided to continue with close daily monitoring of our baby.

Feeling a little stressed by all of this (the stats, the pressure, the hospital recommending one way when my body was telling me another), I booked myself in for a healing massage (I always find bodywork the best when I start to disconnect from myself). I also bumped into Nadine at the shops and she gave me a few words of wisdom. One of my girlfriends suggested I go home and have a glass of red wine and a curry. Initially I wasn’t sure how I felt about drinking wine at this stage of my pregnancy, but I figured one glass of organic red wouldn’t do bub any harm. So after 9 months of not a drop (the longest I’d gone without a wine in 24 years) hubby and I found the nicest bottle and cracked it – I had one glass and Pete drank the rest of the bottle. I think it might have been the nicest glass of wine I’ve ever had…

Would you believe that I went into spontaneous labour the next afternoon (I swear it was that glass of red) on Friday 10 March about 4.30pm.

Hubby was out at an appointment and I started having a few twinges – the best way I can describe it is like mild waves inside my belly that lasted for about 10-15 seconds with a 15-minute break in-between. I’d heard all the stories about labour starting and stopping and was very comfortable at this stage. I spoke with my doula and she said to just ride it out and see what happened over the next little while.

We laboured at home initially. Pete cooked a BBQ, I made a salad and we cracked another bottle of organic red wine. I had one more glass – if yesterday’s glass had been the catalyst for my labour, I really wanted to make sure this was it!

I text my doula, sister and mum giving them an update about 7pm. My contractions were lasting about 30-45 seconds every 9-15 minutes. My doula said to get some rest so Pete and I laid down, but there was absolutely no way I could sleep – I think this was when I really knew WE WERE IN LABOUR… Pete and I setup our lounge room with the fitball and other bits and bobs that we’d learnt about from our She Births® course. We worked through some deep contractions and I think it was then and there that I realised this was going to be the most challenging, amazing and rewarding night of my life.

I called my sister to come round as we’d asked her to be at the birth with us. Pete mixed me up a herbal tea with honey to help with labour and I vomited it straight up. From this moment the only thing I could stomach for the entirety of my labour was water.

My sister arrived to our house at about 11pm and we sent Pete to bed to get some much needed rest. Suz and I hung out on the fitball and she helped me through some pretty full-on contractions. Little did I know that bubs was posterior and I was not prepared for the way each contraction placed such pressure on my back. I thought I was going to feel each contraction in my belly, but for me it was just a really intense sensation in my lower back.  

Nadine, our doula arrived to our house at 1am and she was a total godsend. As soon as she arrived to the house she started breathing with me through each contraction and this helped me unbelievably – just to have someone model how to breathe and then breathe with me changed the entire scope of my labour – I really don’t know how I would have got through it drug free without Nadine. I jumped into the shower. I wasn’t sure if I could make it to the shower, but once in the shower, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it out. But I didn’t need to worry as my sister was there towel in hand ready to dry and hold me up. Out of the shower we woke Pete and went back downstairs to settle into a few more contractions. We then decided it was time to head to the hospital. Pete heated the bone broth I’d made for post labour and we packed the car. I remember feeling really comfortable as my sis drove us to the hospital. Pete and I were in the back and looking up at the sky I could see a full moon – I was so excited that our baby was going to be born on the full moon. We arrived at the hospital at about 3.15am and bumped into our midwife in the car park. As I had a contraction in the carpark I remember thinking ‘just get me to the birthing suite’.

Walking up to the birthing suite was surreal – it was so quiet with not a peep in sight (of course it was 3.30am in the morn). We settled into our birthing suite and the contractions came in waves thick and fast. I remember thinking how am I ever going to get through this?? I understand why people have drugs, no No NO… I can get through this, I know I can. I remember my doula saying… Today you get to meet your baby.

I was blessed to have the most amazing team with Pete, my sis, my doula and midwife – they knew my wishes for a drug-free birth and supported me every step of the way. I chose to have intermittent monitoring so I could freely move around the room. This caused a bit of noise with my low amniotic fluid as the hospitals preference was to have me hooked up to continuous monitoring, but I knew once I went down this route any movement would be limited and I wouldn’t be able to shower or use the birthing bath – this stuff was all really important to me and I felt comfortable with my baby being monitored every 15 mins. A doctor came into the room and asked me to sign a waiver to say I was choosing not to be continuously monitored. At this stage a huge contraction came and I had no idea what I was signing, but trusted that my people around me knew what I wanted and what was going on.

Rachel supported by husband, Pete

bath at Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick

Labour was THE MOST amazing and also THE MOST physically and mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’ve run half marathons, competed in Olympic distance triathlons and swam 2kms in the ocean and nothing comes close to the immense physical or mental strength that I required for labour. I’d created my birthing mantra’s which were like a guiding star…

Our baby’s birth transforms the soul of our new family.

I feel safe and calm. I feel strong. Birth is joyous.

They believed they could, so they did.

To be a star you must shine your own light.

It is said that women in labour leave their bodies… they travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies, and return to this world together.

We birth our baby with waves, each one bringing us closer to the shore.

The knowledge of how to birth is deep within me.

Our baby created in love will be birthed in love.

Bub was posterior and pressing on my spine so every contraction was full on, but I was determined to push through and give my baby the natural birth we wanted (this was so important to us after 6 years of IVF and a plethora of IVF drugs). Plus I’d read all of Sarah Buckley and Ina May Gaskin’s books on the benefits of a natural labour for both bub and me. We almost got there, but at the end I needed a little medical intervention. I was trying to push bub out for what seemed like hours…

At 8am I was 9cm dilated

At 9am the top of bubs head was visible

Head on view at 10.30am, but bubs descent was slow and fetal heart rate was hard to find

I think my pushing was compromised from bubs sitting on my spine and the pain in my back and my exhaustion at this point. I remember my doula saying ‘You’re about to meet your baby love’. This helped me so much to keep on going as did gazing into Pete’s eyes and the way he squeezed my hips and hands. And my sister being there every step of the way – these were the things that got me through.

I pushed and pushed until I couldn’t push anymore – her head would peak out and then slide back in. My doctor came in and was a little concerned as they couldn’t get a fetal heart rate (I think this was because bub was so low in my pelvis – I wasn’t concerned – I just had an inner knowing all was ok). But because of this and bubs sitting on my peri and not advancing my doctor wanted to do an episiotomy (epi) and get our bub out. My midwife did the tiniest epi and out she came 2 pushes later (note to self, next time I’ll use the epi-no I bought).

SHE’S HERE! Floods of emotions, tears, overwhelm, so much love as my little girl came swimming out, caught by my sis and placed straight onto my tummy.

Watching Suz catch our baby (the gift she helped us create) took my breath away.

Pete’s not great with anything medical (he did so well for the entire labour), so he wasn’t quite sure if he’d be able to cut he cord, but he did it! Pete cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating and started going white. This was a special moment to witness.

I was completely starstruck by this little person who had just rocked into our world.

Finally after 6 years almost to the day that we started on our path to parenthood, she was here and she was perfect in her own special time and way.

Pete, Suz, my doula, midwife and me were all in tears – never before had I witnessed such a miracle. 6 years of dreaming, hoping, longing, believing and knowing we would get out baby all came down to this very moment!

This was what I had wished for my entire life and in that moment when my baby girl was placed in my arms everything was perfect. She was perfect.

Our little treasure was here and we were smitten. I looked at Pete and said ‘Indigo Vera’ and he nodded with a big grin from ear to ear. Indigo was the girls name we’d had in safe keeping for 6 years and Vera, meaning ‘faith’ is my mum and great grans middle name. There were hugs and kisses all round. Kisses with my Pete – we’d done it – finally we had our Sprout. Hugs and kisses with my sister Suz – so much love and gratitude for the gift that she had given us. From the bottom of my heart I’m in awe of what Suz did for us. She is my angel, who made our dream come true! There are no words for this LOVE!

Unfortunately, reality kicked back in and I had a managed 3rd stage labour (I wanted to birth my placenta naturally, but it wasn’t to be). I was losing blood and there was a concern about me hemorrhaging. Even though having syntocin injected to birth my placenta wasn’t in my plan, I saw the look of concern on my hubby and sisters face and made the call to surrender to the advice we’d been given. I was happy Indigo was out drug free and I knew my body could cope with detoxing from the syntocinon.

Once the placenta was birthed we looked and touched it. I was in awe of this amazing organ that had been my baby’s lifeline for the last 9 months. It’s pretty phenomenal. We’d decided to take it home and plant it under a strawberry bush – return it to Mother Nature as a symbol of our immense gratitude for our baby girl. By planting our placenta with the strawberry bush, we felt that our Indigo would always feel grounded and connected to the sweetness of the earth – and this in turn would help her find her way in the world.

Next I had to be stitched up. Just one teeny-tiny stitch as I watched Pete and Indi have special skin-to-skin time… heart-explosion! My man and our baby! I had dreamed of this moment for a very long time. Pete’s cheeky grin says it all (I hope Indi inherits this).

that smile from Dad says it all

And then my sister and Indi had a cuddle – wow the special connection they had would bond them forever… I just loved watching them meet for the first time.

I sipped on my bone broth and chewed on my magnesiums tablets (the contractions in my uterus were going crazy). As soon as my stitching was finished my little girl was put on my tummy… I looked into her eyes, spellbound by her beauty. Time stood still and then slowly she started to squirm and squiggle her way up my tummy to my left breast, latching on and sucking away. She’d done the breast crawl.

This is nature at its best.

No forcing her onto the breast. Given the chance my little girl instinctively knew exactly what to do and how to do it. This was just one of the many benefits of doing She Births and having a doula. I’d watched a video and been educated on this but wow no one can prepare you for the miracle that is the breast crawl. What clever little intuitive bubs are birthed into this world.

Pete and and I then spent time watching our little Indigo feed as Suz went and made a few calls to share our news. The next hour was spent feeding and skin-to-skin as our doula and midwife got everything in order – the room was so calm, I was in a peaceful-bliss, exhausted yet ecstatic state.

After some snuggles with Indi and Pete, she was checked over and then I needed a shower to freshen up. Pete stayed with Indi and my doula and sis helped me to shower – and by gosh was it one of the best showers I’ve ever had.

The next 2 days in hospital were phenomenal. We had lots of visits from family on both sides. The grandparents, aunties and uncles and cousins were so excited to meet our little Indigo girl.

Who supported you throughout the birth?

My hubby Pete, my sister Suz, my Doula Nadine and my midwife at the Royal Hospital for women. I also had doctors pop in and out of the birth.

Out of the birthing suite I had my Village cheering me on and pouring all their love and support and healthy birthing vibes our way.

family of three, at last

Indigo with Aunty Suz

recommended reading

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

Bub was posterior and pressing on my spine so every contraction was a really intense sensation on my spine (whereas I’d always assumed I’d feel the intensity at the front of my belly). I was determined to push through and give my baby the natural birth we wanted (this was so important to us after 6 years of IVF and a plethora of IVF drugs). Plus I’d read all of Sarah Buckley and Ina May Gaskin’s books on the benefits of a natural labour for both bub and me. We almost got there, but at the end I needed a little medical intervention. I was trying to push bub out for what seemed like hours… My doctor was concerned as he couldn’t get a heartbeat so wanted to do a small episiotomy to help bub out. I also found giving in to having the syntocinon to birth the placenta challenging. I’d read a lot about this and wanted a physiological third stage labour, but the doctor and midwife were

concerned about the amount of blood that I’d lost and strongly recommended syntocinon so that I could birth the placenta as soon as possible. I looked to Pete, my sis and doula and they were in agreeance. Pete had a particularly worried look on his face so I reluctantly agreed – this was challenging for me.

What most helped you through the birth experience?

My gorgeous husband, Pete with me every step of the way. Just having him there with me was the most important and incredible experience for us to share.

My sister’s calm and nurturing presence. She had donated her eggs to help us create our little miracle, so it was important to us that she was with us during the birth.

The She Births® treasure box of tools and techniques.

My doula… when she arrived at the house and I started to breathe in sync with her – this changed everything!

My caring and attentive midwife… she knew my birth plan and was not going to offer me drugs or anything that she knew I didn’t want unless it was totally necessary…. Hello syntocin and managed 3rd stage labour.

The love and support of my Village (parents, family and friends – who I knew were all cheering me on and desperate to meet our little one).

Was there anything that surprised you on the day?

The absolute AMAZINGNESS of the female body and birth. Nothing can prepare you for the marathon and heart explosion that is birth. That feeling of gazing into my baby girls eyes and seeing her for the first time – pure love and magic! I feel like I can accomplish anything in life after giving birth. It is truly incredible and I feel so much gratitude for being blessed to experience it.

Rachel’s mum, her sister Suz, her nieces and husband Pete

family portrait

What has been the best post birth care for you?

They say ‘It takes a Village to raise a child’ and I was certainly blessed with my Village post birth. I loved my post birth experience – it was such a magical time.

My hubby was and is there for Indigo and me every step of the way. This nourished and supported our little family so beautifully.

My mum was just the best – shopping, cooking, washing, ironing and cuddles with Indigo so Pete and I could shower or take a walk together. I’ve had some of my friends ask if my mum would adopt them – she really is that amazing!

My sister, brothers, nieces, nephew, Pete’s family and my friends all played an integral role in offering post birth support. I felt wrapped in love and support – it was pure bliss.

My doula, Nadine was so incredibly supportive. She was only a phone call away and checked in on me regularly to see how I was doing. I had a few small challenges with breastfeeding, but seeing a lactation consultant and a little time to heal my damaged nipples ironed out the issues I had here.

I read an amazing book ‘The First 40 Days’ by Heng Ou. Its based on the idea that the first 40 days after the birth of a child offer an essential and fleeting period of rest and recovery for the new mother. I followed these principles and was lucky enough to have the love and support of my Village during this precious time as a new mum.

I also joined the She Births® Soul Mama’s circle where I met some amazing mama’s who are now some of my closest friends.

Soul Mamas

 

Rachel Campbell dances in life to the tune that Anything Can Be.

She is passionate about supporting women to shine with confidence and grace, as they ride the ups and downs of the fertility roller coaster. As a certified coach and fertility mentor Rachel inspires her clients to reach for the stars and really live life on their fertile journey. She offers 1:1 mentoring sessions as well as online programs for groups. Rachel has a dream to help women feel more understood, nurtured, connected and inspired on their journey to motherhood.

Meet Rachel over at sproutandco.com.au

Birth Story | The birth of Aiden – by Kim Campbell

This week’s beautiful birth story comes from Kim Campbell who completed our Online Course.

Our Online Course is becoming more and more popular, reaching more and more couples around the world, which is super exciting. Next week, we will have a special announcement about our brand NEW Online Course – stay tuned!

When preparing for birth it’s important to understand that we never really know where our journey will take us.

But every now and then, things unfold exactly as we had imagined.

Kim Campbell had one of these experiences and her  “empowering, phenomenal birth journey” is something to behold.

As she describes, the much-anticipated arrival of son, Aiden was just about perfect and exactly as she had envisioned.

‘I wanted to feel confident about birth’

After suffering four consecutive miscarriages, Kim said falling pregnant with Aiden was a time of great joy and anxiety in equal measure.

I wanted to do whatever I could to ensure the birth was not only successful, but also an empowering experience. With no family in Sydney and a husband that was working 16 hour days, 7 days a week, I felt the need to reach out and gather as much information and support as I could. I wanted to feel confident about the birth and be able to let go of any anxious thoughts,” said Kim.

Kim’s research led her to She Births online course, and held most appeal because she could fit the modules around her work and life.

“What I found most useful was the information on the specific hormones that were involved in the birthing journey. Knowing what was happening within by body during the last days of pregnancy, the birth, and postpartum helped me to understand and accept the mental, emotional and physical changes that I experienced,” said Kim.

The labour journey

Kim’s birth preparation involved lots of walking and daily yoga as well as plenty of fresh dates and raspberry leaf tea.

She carried Aiden for 40.5 weeks when after a stretch and sweep the nurse told her she was “already 3cm dilated.”

“The following day I started to feel light contractions that continued throughout the night and into the morning, which I was able to managed with the TENS machine supplied by my Doula,” said Kim.

The power of breath

Kim and her husband arrived at the hospital at midday, she found the breathing techniques the most empowering of all her birth tools.

“Not the shallow breaths you see in the movies, but long deep breaths. Counting the length of each contraction, knowing that by the 8th or 9th second it will all be over – I had my husband repeat the words “This too shall pass” which reassured me that it’s only temporary,” said Kim.

“Even the midwives were amazed at how I handled it and commented that I basically “breathed him out” and that I should “start teaching the hospital birthing classes”!”

A drug-free and very efficient labour

Once at the hospital, Kim’s labour lasted approximately four hours and was completely drug-free. She found the stage before transition the most challenging part.

I started to feel very weak and thoughts of possible complications came to mind. This was terrifying for me and I knew I had to change that train of thought. This was then followed by a rush of energy and the strength to push through,” she said.

‘It was just as I had envisioned’

Kim described her husband and doula as the “perfect team”when it came to labour support.

And when she was ready to push, Kim brought Aiden into the world in the squatting position.

“It was just as I had envisioned,” said Kim.  “We arrived at the RPA hospital at midday, he arrived at 4pm, and we were home in our own beds by 10pm the same day!”

A seamless recovery

Little Aiden had no problems breastfeeding and “latched on and started sucking” while the placenta was still intact.

Five weeks postpartum, buoyed by her wonderful birth experience Kim remains delighted by her new life as a mum.

“I’ve had enough energy to be venturing out and about since week one, showing the world our healthy little boy,” said Kim.

“I’ve been recommending She Births® to everyone who has asked about my birth, and will continue to recommend it to any new mama’s to be!”

The Birth of Poppy – by Sarah Hoffman

We have a beautiful birth story to share with you this week from Sarah Hoffman. Like many women, Sarah was fearful of childbirth… until she discovered She Births®. She put everything she learnt during the course into practice and “had the most amazing fearless and painless birth experience.”

It’s interesting that Sarah notes that people said she was ‘lucky’ to experience the birth that she did. But it’s definitely not as simple as that! Tough cards can always be dealt on the day but Sarah educated herself, put in the hard work of preparing both body and mind and had a great team around her. It’s the same in all areas of our life, and absolutely applies to birth.

Sarah sent us a lovely thank you note, but we wanted the juicy details – scroll down to read the full story!

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you! For as long as I can remember I’d always had a massive fear of childbirth and when I fell pregnant I was petrified – I remember at the first doctor’s appointment telling them that I wasn’t a hero and that I would be taking all the drugs I could get!

After lots of googling I came across She Births® and I was intrigued. I started to believe that maybe I could have a natural, positive birth experience. Before I attended your Weekend Course I went through all the online resources and started to prepare for the birth. The course itself was incredible and I left feeling really inspired. I did everything you advised and it really paid off!

I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Poppy on 17 August. My labour was 6.5 hours from the first contraction to when I got to hold her in my arms – I only just made it to hospital in time – literally with 15 mins to spare! So I didn’t get the water birth I had envisaged but it didn’t matter – I had the most amazing fearless and painless birth experience.

She Births® completely changed my thinking on childbirth and opened my eyes to a whole new world. I’m still in awe of what I achieved and what all women can achieve if they get educated, believe in themselves and trust their bodies.

Through She Births® I was put in touch with (your new She Births® Educator on the North Shore) Ellen Turchini who became my Doula – she was amazing and I feel so lucky to have had her on my birth team. I’m forever grateful to you for helping me experience my greatest achievement to date. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

 

Love and gratitude,
Nadine xxx

THE BIRTH OF POPPY – BY SARAH HOFFMAN

How did you prepare for birth?
I started preparing for birth quite early in my pregnancy. For as long as I can remember I had a fear of childbirth, so when I first found out I was pregnant I was slightly petrified and just assumed that I would take all the drugs available. However, as I started researching and getting educated I decided I wanted to attempt a natural birth – but I knew that in order to achieve this I would need to eliminate my fears (I learnt that it’s the fear that creates the pain!). We are bombarded with horror birth stories from friends and the media and so I realised that I would need to shut those out and surround myself with more positive stories. I started listening to a podcast which shared amazing birth stories, I listened to birth affirmations and I did lots of reading which normalised the birth process and helped me to overcome my fears.

After we signed up to She Births® I started going through the online resources – watching the birth videos and reading the notes. I followed everything that we got taught over the weekend course – I got acupuncture, saw an osteopath, had massages, listened to the meditations and visualisations and drank lots of raspberry leaf tea! I also stayed fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy – I walked lots and did regular prenatal yoga and reformer Pilates which definitely helped!

I viewed labour as similar to running a marathon – if I wanted a positive result then I would need to prepare both physically and mentally just like I would if I was training for a big race. Some people say that I was lucky to have the birth that I did but I don’t think that’s entirely the case – I really wanted a natural birth without interventions and so I worked hard for it. I’m just so grateful that it paid off!

How did your labour start?
I never had any signs that labour was approaching, there was no show, no water break, no cramps and no Braxton hicks. I woke up at 1am with contractions lasting about 45 seconds and coming 3 minutes apart. Although they were regular and consistent they were very mild so I just assumed it was probably the start of pre-labour which could go on for days! I didn’t want to wake my husband Chris if it was indeed a false alarm so I headed to the living room and used a heat pack and tried to get some rest. At 4.30am I woke Chris, spoke to my Doula Elle, had a hot shower and then got the tens machine working. Elle arrived at 5.15am and confirmed I was in labour (I was still questioning whether it was the real deal!) and that we would be meeting our baby today!

How did you bring your baby into the world?
Just before 7am I had a couple of contractions that were really intense – I lost focus, swore during them and doubted myself. At this stage I thought I was probably only a few centimetres dilated and wasn’t sure I would be able to manage hours more. Prior to these the contractions had been very manageable with breathing, movement and massage. Immediately after those intense contractions I had a strong urge to push. We then realised that I was a lot closer then what we thought – it was a mad rush to get out of the house as we hadn’t finished packing the hospital bag!

There was no way I was sitting in the car so I got in the boot on all fours and spent the 10-minute trip trying to resist the need to push. When we arrived at the hospital I literally ran into the birth centre (looking like a mad woman with just a t-shirt on and no shoes!) and climbed onto the bed where they checked me and confirmed that they could feel the head and that I could start pushing. I remember telling the midwife that I wanted a water birth but was told that there was no time! At 7.35am, after about 10 minutes of pushing little Poppy entered the world – I’ll never forget that amazing moment!

Who supported you throughout labour and the birth, and how?
My husband, my mum and my Doula. I had always wanted my mum to be present at the birth and luckily by coincidence she happened to be staying at our house the night I went in to labour – otherwise she would of missed it entirely. Although unfortunately she actually ended up missing the birth as she was parking the car! I tossed up with the idea of getting a Doula throughout my pregnancy but after attending She Births decided I definitely wanted one. I found Elle through She Births which was great as it meant she was familiar with the She Births principles. Elle was a huge support not only to me but also Chris – I know he is very grateful that she was there!

What most helped you throughout the birth experience?
Blissful belly breaths and strong massage – both tools that we learnt at She Births®. Also, just the presence and support of my birth team.

Describe your birth in 3 words:
Surprising. Beautiful. Empowering.

 

Photo by Erica Massingham

Birth Story: The birth of Cole

Empowering. Wondrous. Life-changing.

 

There is a common misconception that second and third births are quicker and easier. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It depends on many things – what you have been doing these last few years and so many other circumstances that come into play. Birth is a psychological process as much as a physical one.

Mostly I find that pre-labour can actually go on longer with subsequent births – which usually has to do with the first baby being taken care of, and mum allowing her body to go into labour. And sometimes we have spent so little time taking care of our bodies in subsequent pregnancies that we miss out on critical chiropractic and physiotherapy support leading to mal position. We forget that it’s critical to get back into ‘the zone’ of birth with our She Births® book and visualisations and talk with our partner about the upcoming changes. If you have done She Births® before remember that you can always sit in on a course a second time, or do the online program for revision.

This week’s birth story comes from Alena who gave birth to her third baby Cole in England. Alena’s story is a great example of how you can prepare the body and mind for a beautiful birth when equipped with the right tools and knowledge. It shows us that with each birth you are given an opportunity to learn something new about yourself, and to travel even deeper into the process and transformation each time. Alena was deeply committed to learning – she was humble in her preparation for birth even though she had done it twice before. She read more and continued researching birth all throughout pregnancy, and it paid off beautifully.

We LOVE hearing your birth stories so please keep them coming – either via facebook  or email. In sharing them with our community you help us educate and inspire others.

Love and gratitude,

Nadine xxx

I am an Australian living in Bath in England, and have just had my third child, Cole – born 29 December 2016. My first two were born in Australia and I completed She Births with Nadine back in 2012 before the birth of my second.

How did your labour start?

Being 44 (almost 45), I was considered “high risk” and despite a very healthy and straight forward pregnancy was being advised by obstetricians (called ‘consultants’ here in the UK) to induce at 38 weeks. In the hope of starting my labour naturally I went about doing all things ‘natural induction’ from specialist massage, acupuncture, sex, spicy foods as well as an Ayurvedic protocol designed by Dr Gowri Motha involving special oils in special body parts (!) to just resting, meditating and visualising whilst doing lots of practice birth positions, breathing and stretches, as well as using an epi-no to prepare the vagina and prevent tearing. What followed was a very slow onset of labour – a ten day ‘latent phase’ of low level, stop-start contractions at home. Some were so strong I had to breathe through them…leaving me unsure if I was in labour or not.

At 38 weeks I went to the local public hospital for a sweep. My induction had been booked for the next day, and the midwife said that my membranes were ‘ripe and bulging’ and that I would likely go straight to having my waters breaking without the need for any pessaries, that prepare the cervix for induction.

The following day the labour ward was very busy and so I was not called in that morning, as expected. It was strange to be at home expecting to be called and waiting to go to the hospital to have my baby. By the afternoon, the ward had settled down and I got the call to come in to begin induction.

Once admitted, I requested a room on my own (so I could get into the zone without distraction), which thankfully was available and I was examined.  It was decided that we begin with the milder hormonal pessary and give it 24 hours to work. My husband and I had our other two kids being minded at home by grandparents so we settled in. He was on a mattress on the floor, and I was in the bed.

The following evening, after not much change, they advanced to the stronger pessary and gave it another 6 hours to work. There was some monitoring of contractions, but they were relatively mild. Well, in fact, they were quite strong on the monitor and high range, but I could not feel them much. I think my uterus had been doing so much practice for the week prior that I had become accustomed…and my natural endorphins had been building up. Like we learnt at She Births® this can be an advantage of a longer pre-labour.

By midnight of that second night, the cervix was soft and ripe and I was ready to go downstairs to the birthing suite. It was very exciting, and again I had a flutter of nerves and anticipation as we packed up the room to go meet our baby. To say the build up had been long is an understatement. Preceding this story, was a three-and-a-half year fertility journey.

The midwife returned. The birthing suite was too busy. She would check again in the morning. The good news was we got to rest overnight after a very tiring few days of ups and downs.

By 8am the next morning it was all systems go, I had been booked into the birthing suite and we went downstairs with our essential oil vaporisers, music lists, and funky rugs in hand. The midwife showed me into a bog-standard hospital room. My heart fell. I asked if they had any other rooms available. We were shown into the most wonderful space. It had a birthing couch, a view of a green courtyard, a birthing pool bigger than any I’d seen before in a room off to the side and one of those cool chairs with long strips of canvas hanging above so you could sit learning forward to contract. No hospital bed to be found. Mats all over the floor.

This will do nicely, I said.

Next step, water broken, monitoring. Not much action. I went for a walk through the hospital which was just plain weird. I needed to be back in my nest. As soon as the monitoring stopped, my contractions started (no surprises there). I was out of the thinking brain and into the ancient, birthing one. My midwife had read my 2-page birthing plan diligently and was basically just sitting back and wandering in and out of the room by this stage, so it was just me, my husband and doula mostly.

About an hour after the waters were broken, contractions began in earnest.

How did you bring your baby into the world?

Moving from the birthing chair to the birthing couch, which was helpfully pressed up against the wall, I found the best way to handle the contractions once I got tired of dancing around the room, was on my side pressing my hands against the wall with the doula or my husband pressing against my lower back – that’s where most of my sensation was. I breathed (as I had practiced the She Births breathing) and made sure my mouth was wide-wide open on the out-breaths to keep all my diaphragms relaxed.

I was determined to only let the body push and do no active pushing, so I had asked the word to be omitted from the room. It worked excellently! By the time the baby was crowning I asked the midwife what to do and she just kept repeating, just do what your body tell you. It was the best advice. I got up on my knees at the end of the bed, leaned forward onto my husband’s shoulders, who was kneeling on the floor, and squeezed his neck. He got a quite intense massage while I breathed the baby out! I reached down instinctively to feel what was happening and touched the bubs head which gave me a great rush of hormones and drove me on. Nearly there, I thought.

In the last moment, I only found out weeks later, Cole had the cord around his neck. The midwife sat beside me and used a doppler (hand-held monitor) and realised the heartbeat was slightly reduced for the first time during the birth. She said, if you were going to do any pushing, now would be the time on this next contraction. So the very last contraction, I did one active push and out he came. I remember thinking at the time that it was curious that she turned the baby around before handing him to me once I lay down. She never mentioned the cord, not even once.

The head midwife on the ward that day was called in to watch the final stages. She told me I had restored her faith in birthing women. It meant so much. Still gives me chills remembering that. I think she really needed to see this.

Who supported you throughout labour and the birth?

Midwives, husband, doula (and my women friends all over the world with their thoughts and encouragement in the days preceding).

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

It’s hard to say. Possibly the expectations or birth starting being delayed by hospital busy-ness? Honestly, it was pretty amazing.

What most helped you through the birth experience?

The breathing and the support – both the hands-on (husband and doula) and the hands-off (midwife) kind. I had also done a LOT of preparation, for months, maybe even years. Deciding to go for a birth kneeling upright and forward, and with no active pushing, as well as preparing my body and mind for that, is perhaps the best thing I did. I spoke to a lot of people, read a lot of books and articles, wrote about things, researched things, and most of all was my own strongest advocate throughout the pregnancy – including standing up for myself in the face of skepticism from the occasional hospital doctor. I did say no a few times to medical advice, but always armed with properly researched, peer-reviewed and evidence-based information.

What did you learn about yourself this birth?

I learned that…

 

  • I am able to tune-in to my body and its messages – it can be simple and easy to understand if I am present in the moment and to what is happening / how I’m feeling
  • I actually have absolute confidence in this ability from training myself and physical / mental and spiritual preparations I had done prior to the birth
  • If I surround myself with the right people (who are also prepared and conscious of their presence), they can hold the space for me to be in my body and allow it all to happen
  • Being honest with myself about the stories I had told myself about the preceding births and being open to what I needed for this one were key processes leading up to the birth
  • Coming into it with knowledge, gratitude and flexibility helped me greatly
  • Anything is possible

 

In what way was this birth different to your others?

 

  • I did not consciously/deliberately push, rather allowed my body to do its own pushing until the very last contraction
  • I was in the UK, not Australia
  • I had a very experienced doula
  • My husband had ‘one under the belt’ and was a bit more prepared
  • There was less intervention medically and no doctors involved, only a very non-interventionist midwife
  • I did far more physical preparation (Ayurvedic oil pessaries, acupuncture, breathing practice, epi-no, yoga, massage, visualisation etc)
  • I was older (44)
  • I was more relaxed
  • I did a lot more research and asked a lot more questions of the doctors and the hospital, even meeting with the head of department to spend an hour asking questions about their induction policies and processes (knowing that would be likely)
  • I brought a lot more into the room – oils, music, rugs etc to create more of a nest
  • I requested the room I wanted and spoke up for myself, also told my support people what to speak up for
  • I had a long and thoroughly well-considered birth plan
  • I had an unmanaged third stage (after-birth)
  • I was not lying on my back for any of the delivery
  • I went into it with absolute faith in my body

 

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:

Empowering. Wondrous. Life-changing.

Alena has a natural parenting blog that inspires mums to feel healthy, organised and present www.soulmamma.org and you’ll find her on instagram @soul_mamma_

Photos by Olivia Moon Photography