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

Can an induction birth be positive? Navaya’s Birth Story by Kimmy Smith

This week we have a great birth induction story for you. This was Kimmy’s third birth – so of course that does help things a wee bit – as muscular memory is present in all our stretchy bits

But, every birth is different and you can’t just waltz into a second or third birth without preparing. Each pregnancy is an opportunity to gain more wisdom and deepen our trust, to prepare for the expansion that is coming in our bodies, minds and hearts.

Just recently I was just at a client’s third birth and although we both thought:

“You don’t really need me there as a Doula. You have had two natural births before.”

She just had an intuitive feeling and trusted it. As it turned out this was her most challenging of labours, mainly because bub was a lot bigger.

Kimmy’s birth was also challenging as she was induced at 40+1. Kim has a history of prolapse and incontinence as she grows healthy big babies. Her team wanted to manage the damage to her pelvic floor and to reduce risk of further prolapse damage. The induction was to encourage a vaginal birth over a c section as it would be better for her to heal her pelvic floor and core. Which is what Kimmy is now a total expert on by the way. Check out her site here www.kimmysmithfit.com

What we hear time and time again is that by doing She Births you are empowered and informed to be part of decisions like this with your team.

In preparation for this birth, Kim and her husband Ryan did She Births via the new video based online course . They welcomed Navaya Maree Smith into the world 6 weeks ago.

You will also want to check out how amazing Kimmy is too! She is an ex elite netballer, ex lawyer and has built a business around inspiring mums to exercise safely during their pregnancy and to be able to create a strong and healthy body after baby through positive movement and mindset. She is part of a growing community of Mum’s who want to support other Mum’s and help make this time of our lives as special and amazing as possible. We love her work!

Third-time mum Kimmy realised she could still be suprised by birth (in a good way!) after she delivered daughter Navaya following an induction. As she explains, preparation of the mind, body and soul, is key.  

How would you describe the online course in three words?

Practical, positive and empowering

How did you prepare for birth?

This was my third birth and I was actually quite nervous. I have pelvic organ prolapse and the thought of birthing and making the prolapse worse made me quite worried. I consulted with my physio (Liz Evans of Women in Focus ) and did the pelvic floor exercises on the Fit Mummy Project App religiously each day. This brought me comfort as I was actively preparing for the birth and I could feel my body getting stronger as my pregnancy progressed. I would also combine each workout with a positive affirmation or visualisations to help build mental strength as well as physical strength. I would say something like “ I am strong and capable. I am doing everything I need to do to birth this baby”. I started the She Births online course around the mid-way mark of my pregnancy and doing it online allowed me to work through it at my own pace. I honestly used the guided meditations each night as a way of calmly building positive resilience for the pregnancy and birth.  Other ways that I prepared were; weekly acupuncture, exercise and nutrition.

Here we go

How did you bring your baby into the world?

We birthed at Sutherland Hospital and I have to praise them. They were great. I was induced at 40 weeks and 1 day. I had heard a lot of scary induction stories which made me nervous. I arrived at the hospital at 6:30AM and had my waters broken at around 7:30 – 8AM. I thought that they would break my waters and I would go into active labour straight away. But nothing happened.

So at around 8:30AM I started the Syntocinon via a drip in my arm. I started at a low dose. I had been having constant Braxton Hicks contractions since around 37 weeks, so the early stages of labour felt no different to the constant contractions I had already been having. They weren’t painful and I was like ‘this induction thing is easy!!’ So smug!

At around 10AM I was in active labour with the contractions coming in definite peaks and a lot stronger. A contraction during an induced labour feels a lot different to a normal contraction. A normal contraction follows a bell curve. It builds, peaks and falls away. An induced contraction comes on really strongly, but fades faster.

Couples that breathe together, stay together

Who supported you throughout the birth?

My husband Ryan was there actively participating in the birth with me.

We were really fortunate to be the only couple birthing at that time and so we had the entire focus of three midwives who were amazing. When I said “I think I need to push”.They said ‘Trust your body, if you want to push, push!

 

 

I don’t know if I can do this

 

 

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

Transition is where you move from being around 8cm dilated to 10cm dilated and ready to push. It’s the point where most women ask for the epidural, where you think you can’t do it and where you feel like you need to poo. I ticked all those boxes. My transition and second stage ended up being so quick, but it didn’t feel like it at the time.

 

 

What most helped you through the birth experience?

I managed my active labour using lots of the tools I learnt in the She Births course and a few of my own techniques.

Deep Belly Breathing – I breathed in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 5. Two to three breaths like that saw me through the hardest part of the contraction.

Visualisation – With every contraction I tried to visualise Navaya moving further down the birth canal and feeling one step closer to meeting her.

Exercise Ball – I used the Exercise Ball to roll my hips and allow her to move further down into the birth canal. I would also stand for the contraction and do slow squats in time with my breath. It distracted me from the contraction and helped me to feel like I was actively helping my body.

Massage – Ryan would massage my back and shoulders during a contraction. It helped to distract from the sensations in my belly. I remember saying “Harder!” Just dig your elbows in! Your pain tolerance is through the roof at this stage, so partners – go hard!

TENS Machine – This was a game changer! A friend lent me her TENS Machine and I am so glad I had it. It sends little electrical nerve impulses up your spine and basically confuses your brain as to what is going on! I placed the pads on my back and bum and would turn it right up during a contraction to help manage the pain. Sometimes I was a bit heavy handed and felt like I was electrocuting myself, but for the most part, this little machine was incredible! Highly recommend it if you can get your hands on one.

GAS – the midwives recommended I try the gas when the contractions were starting to get super strong. I hated the gas when I was in labour with Samara, it made me want to vomit. But they thought it would help to distract me and keep me focused on my breathing. It did work well for that, and I would have it for a couple of contractions and then have a break. However, it made me feel really drowsy. I think all the adrenalin of the morning had worn off.  I got up on the bed and tried to rest for a while.

Photos – I had a photo book the girls and Ryan made for me for our 10 year anniversary. I wanted to look at pictures of our family when I was struggling and know that this tiny little moment in time would be worth it for the beautiful family we were creating.

Kissing – Kissing helps to boost oxytocin – the love drug which causes your uterus to contract. Ryan and I have kissed through the contractions for all of our girls. It calms me and makes me feel grounded. Some women hate their partners during labour, but I couldn’t love Ryan more at that stage where I am so open and vulnerable.

All fours birth squat

Was there anything that surprised you on the day?

I thought when you got induced, birth happened soon thereafter. I had a 6.30 appointment so I asked mum to bring the girls in before school to meet their sister! Needless to say that didn’t happen.

I was also happily surprised that the midwives didn’t check to see how far dilated I was like had happened during my other births. They kept saying “you’ll know when you are ready”. This was great as hearing that you are ‘only x’ cms can have an effect your mindset.

 

What has been the best post birth care for you?

Rest. After my other births, especially my first, I took great pride in being back at it straight away. This time I’ve learnt the value of taking it easier and listening to body so I’m doing things slower. I’m eating lots of healing postpartum recipes from the Nourished Mummy Project App , doing the Early Postnatal Workouts from the Fit Mummy Project App and continuing with my weekly acupuncture appointments. We are also so grateful to the support from our families.

If had to explain to someone why they should do the online course, what would you say?

“The great thing about doing the She Births® Online Course is that we could do it at our own pace. We could go back over any areas whenever we needed and also engage via the Facebook Forum. Nadine was there to answer questions as we went along.” Kimmy Smith

I did it!

 

Love and gratitude,

Nadine xxx

P.S. We’d love to hear your birth story! Get in touch.

Photos credit: Beautifully captured by

@tashwhittyphotography

 

 

 

 

Birth Story | The Birth of India – by Julie Spatt

This beautiful birth story comes from Julie, who felt compelled to write down her birth story on the eve of her daughter’s first birthday. Reaching that first birthday is such a significant milestone and I wish I could give every family a trophy on that day to say: Well Done! You made it through the toughest year ever!

Julie’s story is so inspirational for all parents and pregnant mums out there. An epic love story of 5 days’ labour, her little one taken into NICU straight after birth, different doctors, etc. But Julie and Steve were able to keep hold of their ‘unshakeable positive attitude’ they had gained at She Births®.

I could not agree with Julie more in regards to parenting; ‘there is nothing straightforward about parenting and it’s full of surprises.’ Amen sister! Scroll down for the full story.

Love and gratitude,
Nadine xxx

 

The Birth of India – by Julie Spatt

Even though for the most part my pregnancy went well, throughout my entire pregnancy I was terrified something would go wrong. It had taken a long time for us to fall pregnant. In an ironic twist our daughter decided to come 6 weeks early. She took 2 years to conceive but could not wait any longer to join the world!

The hardest part of the birth, having now had a year to reflect, was that she came early.

Around 4am Tuesday morning, my waters broke at 33 weeks. We called the hospital and went in. The nurse did a swab test and the result was negative, I was sent home and told it was my pelvic floor. Feeling pretty upset all day that I would potentially spend the next 6 weeks effectively “weeing” myself, particularly when I prided myself on regularly doing pilates, was pretty deflating. So be it. I spent the day gushing water and feeling pretty weird.

The best thing about the nurse getting it wrong was that I had a great night sleep at home in my own bed, which was a real blessing.

The next morning, Wednesday, I had a “show” we rang the hospital again, went in early morning and I met my new obstetrician, as my current one was away, and was told that I would likely give birth in the next 4 to 6 days. I was instantly stabbed with adrenalin and given drugs to stop labour. The longer I could keep my baby in the better. My doctor said for every day the baby stayed in my womb meant 2 less days in NICU. Getting my head around all of this was not really possible. I went into a mental state that I think of now as an outer body experience. I wasn’t really in control of what was happening to me at the hospital nor did I know when my baby would arrive. The not knowing was difficult. Her heartbeat was strong throughout the whole experience, and until she took her first breath, her heart beat reassuringly calmed me and gave me strength.

Thursday morning my contractions became stronger around 4am, the nurse monitored me and wouldn’t let me get out of the bed. I was on my back and it was horrendous, and against all the She Births® preparation of having a safe calm space to move through the contractions, instead I was confined to a sterile hospital bed and they were hard back contractions.

Finally, I was sent to the birthing suite which was a relief at the time. I liked the midwife and my main support was my husband Steve. I am not sure how many hours we were there, but I had my first experience of proper labour, pacing, TENS machine, breathing through the contractions. I knew I could do this and it felt natural and manageable. She Births® had prepared me well.

After something like 7 hours of solid contractions, they slowed down. Steve and I lay down for a rest and passed out in the delivery suite. No baby arrived. We were sent back up to the prenatal unit. We were deflated. We thought our daughter was going to arrive that day and she didn’t, which medically speaking was a good thing, the longer she stayed in my belly the better. Psychologically it was hard, wondering when she would come. That night I tried to gather myself and my thoughts. I still think I was in an outer body experience, running on adrenalin and trying to remain calm and positive.

The next day, Friday we sat around the hospital, I was on “bed rest” and much to my horror, pushed around in a wheelchair and not allowed to leave the grounds. We mainly spoke to family and rested. I don’t remember much of Friday.

On Saturday, we woke up and the contractions started again. We started timing them and they were getting closer. I met my third obstetrician that morning and he told me I would likely have the baby that day. I begged him and said please don’t send me down to the delivery suite unless you are sure it will happen, and he was confident I would give birth that day. It also happened to be Steve’s birthday so we wondered if she was deciding whether or not to share a birthday forever with her dad.

It was around midday we were sent down to the delivery suite. The contractions seemed easier than the first false start and I felt comfortable moving around like a wild animal. I found the breathing and positions I had been practising for so long helped me through the contractions. Steve was an amazing support I certainly couldn’t have done it without him.

I recall 3 different midwives, all of whom were good. About 4 hours into the labour my cervix had not dilated as much as I had thought it would and the midwife offered Syntocinon. This was my fourth day of contractions on and off, I was frustrated that I wasn’t closer and said bring on the induction. This did speed things up and I also discovered the gas, it was a bit late in the day and I am not sure why I had not tried it sooner as I found the gas helped tremendously for relieving pain.

It was after the gas that it all sped up pretty quickly and the next thing I knew my doctor, who I had met that morning, was telling me to push. I screamed in a way I had never done before, and he told me to not push from my heart space but to feel it in my womb and push from there. I was pretty delirious by this stage but I somehow managed to breath in the way I was being told and I saw a dark head appear. The next thing I knew, my daughter was handed to me and I was allowed to hold her for some time whilst I was stitched up.

Considering she was premmie I wasn’t sure if they would take her straight away or allow me to hold her, I felt lucky to hold her for so long. She was born with no complications and healthy at 34 weeks. She weighed 2.24kg and was a good size for her gestation. Still she was premature.

My next experience was probably harder than the labour and the last four days. Nothing prepares you for NICU. Steve wheeled our daughter into NICU and I was left alone in the birthing suite. I had given birth to our daughter, it was extraordinary and I had no idea what it meant, how fundamentally my life had changed.

I saw my daughter for the first time in NICU at 2am. She was in an incubator, with a feeding tube in her nose and all the monitors attached to her. My brother had his third child born at 30 weeks, and I had been to a NICU before so it wasn’t too confronting. The hardest bit was not being able to hold her. We were told that skin to skin time was incredibly important but for brief intervals, maybe two to three times a day for no more than 20mins. Feeding was like a marathon for a baby that size so the less handling the better.

The routine over the next 2 weeks became 4 visits a day, during which we had a crash course in feeding and nursing a newborn. The nurses were amazing and they were incredibly generous with their time and knowledge. We spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in hospital, and we brought our daughter home New Year’s Day.

Going in and out of hospital was physically taxing. Emotionally it never felt right being home and my daughter being in hospital. A mother should be able to take the baby home and be with them 24/7 once they are born. I didn’t have that and there are many mothers who have much longer periods in NICU. It’s incredibly tough. On the flipside I can say what we learnt in those 2 weeks was invaluable and helped shape the way we cared for our daughter for the first 6 months. It gave us a good routine.

Our daughter turned one recently and is thriving, she is still the most beautiful creature I have ever known and the year has been incredible. I have learnt so much and above all else I have learnt to be a mother to my daughter. I think I will continue to learn what that means for a very long time.

Now when I think of the labour, that was the easy bit. She Births® did a good job of preparing me and when I think about the birth not being at all what I expected, She Births® gave me an unshakeable positive attitude towards the experience. No matter how it unfolds, birth is incredible.

The last year has taught me that there is nothing straightforward about parenting and it’s full of surprises, so the birth was just the start of the journey, which continues to get better every day.

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