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

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






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.

LOVE IS LOVE | The Birth of Luca – By Genevieve & Kate

Epic. Empowering. Emancipating. Simply amazing.

Those are words Genevieve and Kate used to describe the birth of their gorgeous baby girl, Luca.

“Luca was born naturally without an epidural and only minimal tearing (she was a big bubba). I spoke to her during most surges, knowing that each one was bringing me closer to her,” said Genevieve.

“Kate (my partner and wife) was magnificent throughout the birth and was there to catch our little girl as she entered the world. Seeing the look of happiness of Kate’s face was the one of the greatest moments I’ve ever experienced. Before I knew it, Luca was on my chest and our little family was made.”

Let’s start at the very beginning

The couple prepared for Luca’s birth by completing the She Births® Weekend Course with Nadine O’Mara.

“So many women would try to joke with me about the upcoming birth, saying things like, “Are you scared or nervous?” but we didn’t want to approach the birth with that mindset,” said Genevieve.

“I was also quite apprehensive about the birth.I was worried I wouldn’t know how to cope with the feeling of giving birth and was worried that would lead to fear and a longer birth.”

Yet the course was everything the couple had hoped for – and more.

“It was absolutely incredible. It helped us transform our vision for the birth into something welcoming and exciting. My nana always used to describe birth as “just hard work” – she had four kids – but after She Births® I was also able to visualise the experience as an empowering one that would end with a gorgeous baby girl in our arms.”

Prenatal yoga, massage, acupuncture and (lots) of visualizations, were also part of the pregnancy preparations repertoire. Along with celar birth plan, written with a midwife who was fully supportive of the couple’s wish for very little intervention.

“This helped us mentally prepare for the birth if any situations arose that required us to make decisions in the moment,” said Genevieve.

An induction

Genevieve was induced with cervidil on a Wednesday morning. She spent most of that day doing lots of walking in the fresh air and doing the visualisations.  Later that night, after dinner Genevieve described how her partner Kate made a paper lotus flower to encourage her cervix to open.

“It was funny at first but I could actually feel it working after about 5 minutes! I was trying to tell my body to start making things happen. That day was filled with lots of love and laughter. I had a show later that night around 10:30pm, so the nurse told us that we wouldn’t need any more intervention until the following morning. Good result! We were woken up around 6am and taken to the labour ward.”

Music, lights and a beautiful calm

“There was a beautiful light coming through the window of our room, which was so apt because we knew we were going to call our baby girl Luca (meaning the bringer of light). We had the BEST midwife who respected our birth plan entirely and us as people. There was lots breathing, swaying, kissing, laughter and different positions. Although the moving of positions was challenging it actually helped a lot to encourage the baby downwards.”

Genevieve said the whole supportive process was thanks to her partner and wife, Kate and their amazing midwife who supported their wish for a calm birth.

I kept telling myself that I was strong and my body could do this, and that every wave was bringing us closer to Luca, even if it seemed quite a slow process,” she said.

Zen’s Birth – Pushing before 10cm can be right!

Firstly can I say a huge apology for not touching base sooner. Zen is now four months yesterday and I am sorry we haven’t emailed to say hi and tell you all is well.

Our beautiful baby boy arrived 20 jan and came out so beautiful and calm and alert. He was touching my face and watching me the second he was out. It was amazing!!! Our daughter Amika is absolutely ecstatic she has a baby, and we have had to do some changes here as she really does think he’s her baby and we need to implement some boundaries for them both!:)

The labour was much much tougher than I expected. Actually no, tougher wasn’t the word, but longer!! My labour with Amika was over 24 hours because I wouldn’t dialate and this time it was the exact same amount of time. I went into labour the day before with quite regular and strong contractions and they kept getting closer and closer. But the issue was I had to stop my blood thinners for the labour if possible so I wouldn’t bleed too much and that meant they needed bub out in the 24 hours so I could get back on the thinners. So overnight I only dialated 1cm!!;) my body really fails at dialation!;) the doc broke my waters as we needed to get me back on blood thinners and in another few hours I had only dialated another cm! The thing was tho that during that time I was incredibly empowered….actually throughout the entire labour very empowered – thank you Nadine. The pelvic rocking was magic, and the visualisations and massage great…Daniel was fabulous and the acupressure worked a treat especially for the nausea and unlike our first labour where I vomited after each contraction I didn’t vomit once. It was my fave acupressure coz I felt like I would vomit again each contraction again but didn’t.

The issue was that I wasn’t dialating and the midwife then was saying I wasn’t in established labour (as I hadn’t reached the 4cm….!!!!) but the doc needed to speed me up for the blood thinners so he gave me the syntocinon drip and boy oh boy!!!!:) but Nadine it was fabulous. We moved thru each contraction really well and this went for another three hours. Contractions were very close together and very intense.  And in that time only one more cm! You can imagine…so by this stage two midwife changes and onto the third. I started to feel like I needed to bear down at that point and they checked me and I was only three cm. then something amazing happened. The feeling to bear down became really strong, the midwife refused to check me because I was just three cm. at the shift change I became very annoyed and told Daniel “tell them I need to shit right now!!!”;) that midwife checked me and Nadine you wouldn’t believe it…probably the most demoralising moment of my life!! The midwife gave me an internal and went “ooooh I feel the baby’s head!!!!” And Daniel and I were stoked!!! And then in the next breath she says but you are only four cms!!!!!!!!!!!! So essentially I had laboured which explains why the contractions were so intense and close together. But I just wouldn’t dialate!!

This was 4.30pm. They were very conscious of the time. I said to Daniel get them to give me the gas and pethedine. I lay down. The pethedine hadn’t even gone in yet and the second she gave it to me I said to Daniel to tell them I needed to push. Nadine with four pushes Zen came out! They didn’t even let me get to ten cms I don’t think. I had the mirror to help guide me and it was fabulous. The hardest part was feeling that the baby was nearly there but being told this wasn’t the case. Next labour (hopefully!!) I’ll make sure at that point I don’t panic and know baby is nearly here. The midwife at that point was still saying I wasn’t in established labour and had I not listened than I would have realised that panic was towards the end as u described.

Thank you so much Nadine. Everything you taught was so helpful and empowering. I meant to email when we came home and then Amika started preschool and w all my back training (and just now off blood thinners yay!!) I have only started to get online again.

I can’t say enough how helpful the course was and the tools and techniques you gave us made it such a wonderful much more empowering experience. Thank you so much. I hope this email finds you well. X

Frida’s Birth – Induction worked fine with all the earlier preparation

On Friday the 17th of October at 2.35am our beautiful daughter Frida Charlotte was finally born. On Thursday morning they induced me with gel and I was lucky that it actually worked, as it saved me from my waters being broken on Friday morning. But as this needed to be done on the postnatal ward it was a bit unfortunate as I had no real space to move in the shared hospital room and put into practice all the beautiful she births tools. We did the best we could, acupressure points, I went a lot under the shower and the breathing methods became my absolute best friend. After 8 hours then they finally transferred me to the delivery suite where it then went all very fast and within only 4 hours she was born. An absolute amazing experience and moment. I want to thank you dearly for all your love and support in the lead up – all the yoga and tips for naturally ripening and inducting really helped the process move so much more smoothly. We are settling in at home and she is pretty amazing. I feel great and am enjoying every moment.

Lots of love, Pia xx