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

Caesarean Birth Story | The Birth of Harvey – By Maree

Giving birth always ask something of us – no matter which way it goes (caesarean or vaginal) – because it is a rite of passage. And rites of passage require change, transformation and are always challenging in one way or another.

Our unique She Births® tools and principles are applicable to all birth scenarios.  Read on to find out how Maree utilised our She Births® breathing and visualisation techniques and a positive mindset in the beautiful birth story of her son Harvey – delivered by caesarean…

In our NEW caesarean information pack for She Births® couples, we provide useful content to help every family embrace their baby on their birthing day with the greatest love and connection – because that is what it is all about! Who we are being on the day is far more important than what is happening. It is our feelings, our emotions and our love that gets transmitted and imprinted on birthing day for not only us, but our babies too.

Love and gratitude,

Nadine xxx

P.S. If you experienced a caesarean using our She Births® techniques, we would love to hear from you. Send us an email.

 

Maree’s caesarean birth was not part of the plan, but her ready acceptance of her birth journey only increased the joy of her son’s arrival.

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:

Intense, magical and so much love!

How did you prepare for birth?

My birth preparation consisted of completing She Births®, reading books, relaxing and doing anything that made me happy to release oxytocin e.g. mediation, getting the baby room ready and spending time with family and friends. Looking back, it was an awesome time despite being uncomfortable waddling around.

How did your labour start?

It was about 10pm and I woke up as my waters broke. When I first went into labour I was 36 weeks and 5 days. My obstetrician had predicted that I wouldn’t go into labour before 38 weeks, so I didn’t even have my bags packed. It would have been comical to see my husband and I running through the house frantically packing while trying not to slip with my waters gushing everywhere.

How did you bring your baby into the world?

I had a long and very intense posterior birth. I used all the breathing techniques from She Births® which helped sooo much with the pain. I definitely got in touch with my inner goddess, channelling all my focus into getting bubba out.

However, as he was posterior and I wasn’t progressing past 9cm, I ended up needing a caesarean.

The most positive aspect of my birth was I was really content about it. If it wasn’t for She Births® I would have been really disappointed by this outcome as I really wanted a natural, vaginal birth – but the course empowered me to go with the flow. It gave my husband and I the tools to make the best decisions possible given our birthing circumstances on the day.

Who supported you throughout labour and the birth?

My darling husband Paul, my amazing obstetrician Matt, and my unbelievable midwife Trish! They were phenomenal and so supportive through the whole birth.

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

Definitely when I ended up choosing to get an epidural and it didn’t work. Mentally, I think that made things so much more intense. It then led me to a crossroads and I needed to come to terms with needing a caesarean when 12 hours into labour he wasn’t coming anytime soon.

What most helped you during labour and birth?

Definitely the She Births® breathing techniques and visualisations.

What did you learn about yourself from your birth experience?

I am powerful beyond measure, I am strong, brave and so positive.

Anna’s Birth – ‘She Births® taught me skills for labour and successfully breastfeeding’

I had a great She Births® experience. Partially because of the skills I learned, I was able to have a drug free, natural birth, even with a posterior baby. I recommend She Births® for couples looking to make their pregnancy and birth a sensual experience. My husband and I enjoyed a Weekend Course with Nadine […]

Birth Story | Posterior Baby Wisdom – by Johanna Carr

We hope you enjoy this week’s birth story from She Births® mum Johanna Carr. Johanna readily admits that things didn’t work out exactly as planned – when does life ever? But she also says that giving birth was the most amazing experience of her life.

I love hearing all of your birth stories, but in particular, I love reading these slightly more complex births that require navigation, discussion and sometimes a bit of medical assistance. This is where the metal really hits the road.

Although I often feel exhausted after attending a posterior birth, I see these births as a blessing for both the baby and the new family. Leroy was lying posterior plus a compound presentation i.e. his hand was over his head which places a very big ouch on one’s bottom! I also needed the epidural and syntocinon to help him out.

Babies have their own intentions with birth and their own karma. We do our best to clear the way for them. Over the years however, I have come to believe that posterior babies choose to take the alternative routes in life, and never the standard path of the majority. I would love to know what you think is true from your experience. If you had a posterior labour maybe let me know in a few years’ time.

Much love and gratitude,

Nadine xxx

P.S. Have you registered for More than Milestones 2.0 – it’s a free online video series featuring 20 expert interviews (including me!) designed to help build your confidence for pregnancy, birth and parenting.

We have NEW locations launching in 2018!

You can now find a She Births® course near you if you’re in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, and even Singapore!

Outside of the capital cities – within NSW, we have Educators spanning across the South Coast, Central Coast, Newcastle and Orange. We now have a wonderful new Educator in Geelong, Victoria, and we’ve got Gold Coast and Sunshine Coastcovered!

Stay tuned for more new locations in the new year.

 

Birth Story | The birth of Nash – by Johanna Carr

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:

Empowering. Amazing. Fulfilling.

How did you prepare for the birth?

To be perfectly honest, labour terrified me. And all the stories my mama friends shared with me made me feel even more afraid. It felt like a completely unknown world.

Doing the She Births® course with Pru made a world of difference, it gave me the courage to understand and know that we were meant to labour, that are bodies are built for it.

After the course, I wanted to prepare for my labour by relaxing. So once I finished up at work at 35 weeks, I went to my favourite beach everyday and walked down the stairs around the headland and back up the stairs. I would take a book, my beach chair and towel and half way round the headland would sit and have a read, watch the waves and practice my breathing.

My partner would practice positions and do acupressure on my pressure points every second night also.

How did your labour start?

My waters broke at 7pm on Monday night, while I was lying on the couch getting a massage from a friend. The contractions started soon after and were approximately 4-5 minutes apart. They got intense really fast and I was a bit surprised at how much discomfort I was in, so early in the labour.

I had it in my head that I would have this lovely early labour stage where I would get a break in between my contractions and I could gently sway and breathe through them before things got a bit more intense. Not quite. After about 30 minutes of contractions I got hooked up to the TENS machine, but I didn’t find it helped enough, so I jumped in the shower and had the water running down my back. This was the most comfortable place for me at home.

My midwife came around at 11pm because I felt things were progressing quickly, the contractions were getting closer together and more and more intense. She checked and I was only 2cm dilated and she suggested we stay at home as long as I possibly could. That only ended up being another hour.

The hospital is only 10 minutes away, I knelt on the back seat looking out the back of the car and had 7 contractions between home and the hospital. I wanted to jump straight in the bath. Even though I knew there was a chance it might slow my labour, that was where I wanted to be. I started on the gas and jumped in the bath.

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

It turned out my baby was in a posterior position so I had awful back pain. I tried swaying and belly breathing. While my partner was wonderful doing his best to support me during every single contraction, but it just wasn’t cutting it.

I agreed to sterile water injections – boy did they hurt! I think they were the worst moment of my labour! They helped with the back pain for about 30 minutes but then it was back! Apparently this is not usually the case, most women get a solid 4 hours relief.

At 4pm my contractions were only about a minute apart and a minute long. I wasn’t getting a break to recover and go through the next one. I tried Morphine next, which helped take the edge off, but when I found out I was only 3cm dilated, I broke.

I was exhausted, I was in pain, and felt that I had pushed myself as far as I could. I begged for an epidural. (I had done a couple of times prior to this but when they would check if I was sure and I would cry and say no.) This time, I really wanted it.

I got the epidural and it ended up being the best decision and the best thing for me in my labour. It very quickly took the pain away, however thankfully I was able to still move quite well and feel each contraction, but no pain. It was a much-needed break.

How did you bring your baby into the world?

Due to my baby’s posterior position, the doctor started talking about a caesarean but I instantly said no. They gave me the option of a hormone drip with syntocinon in it, which helps make contractions more effective and in turn can help bub turn. I was determined not to have a caesarean.

Baby did what he needed to do and at 11am when they checked he was in the right position, I was 10cm dilated and ready to start pushing. I got up on my knees on the bed as this is the position I was hoping to deliver in and pushed for an hour.

At this point the midwife called the doctor in who checked and advised me that I wasn’t getting him out on my own, and they would need to try the vacuum. I said no to this and he said that if I didn’t allow them I would probably end up having a caesarean. I said a big no to the vacuum and he gave me one more contraction to try and push bub out.

I gave it my best and the doctor surprisingly lit up and responded with “okay then let’s do this”, a couple more pushes and he told me to slow down and breathe and advised they would need to do an episiotomy. He rushed my partner down to deliver and on the next push I felt Nash’s head move through and heard a little cry.

This moment was such an incredible one. It was the first moment where it fully dawned on me that I was about to meet my baby! On the next contraction my partner delivered him and brought him straight up to me for cuddles. We were both blubbering messes and for the next 30 minutes or so. I had, not even a second, for anybody in the room other than my partner and baby. I fixated on my baby Nash. He weighed 6 pounds exactly and was absolutely perfect.

I felt so empowered after my birth. It didn’t play out exactly the way I had hoped for but it was the most amazing experience of my life. I’m so thankful for She Births®, as it gave me the strength going into labour that I could do it. It also made my partner aware of how much he could do to support me throughout labour, which was incredible. And I had the confidence to question suggestions made by my doctor that I wasn’t comfortable with.

I was in a massive love bubble for about 2 weeks after labour where I just felt nothing but this immense love for my partner and our beautiful baby boy. I still feel every bit of that immense love. I never imagined labour and becoming a mother would be so fulfilling.

 

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Eden’s Birth – I felt like I had my very own doula in the house!

My partner Shelley and I are so grateful to have been recommended Nadine and She Births.

My joy of finding out we were expecting our daughter Eden quickly turned to fear and anxiety for me about the labour and birth, I was fearful to say the least! I remember a few stages early on in the pregnancy where I physically felt nervous when I thought about the birth, my expectations were low, and I thought I would suffer immensely. Despite these feelings, I hoped for a natural birth. I was terrified of the thought of being induced, having an epidural and worst of all a Caesarean (so basically there was a LOT of fear).

I think the most reassuring parts of She Births for Shelley and I was that Nadine incorporates medical knowledge with meditation, yoga and spirituality. No one has ever told me they went to a birthing class where they learned in depth each stage of labour, what it feels like, what to expect and how to manage contractions with meditation and breathing. We learned all of this with She Births. When the time came I physically and mentally knew what to expect and there was absolutely no fear.

Eden had been in the perfect position the week leading up to her due date, but during prelabour at home we could tell something wasn’t quite right. The contractions were all in my lower back, often the pain difficult to manage and contractions were very erratic, sometimes a few minutes apart and next a whole hour. Had I not done the She Births class I would not have known what was going on, but sure enough when we went in for a check with the midwife she confirmed what we had suspected. Eden had turned posterior sometime since our last midwife check up a few days prior. Off we went home armed with our She Births techniques to try to entice Eden to face the right way again! I felt like I had my very own doula in the house! Shelley was so amazing she applied acupressure to points to assist posterior presentation and coached me with my breathing techniques every time there was a contraction. At one point I actually felt Eden twist around and I thought she had gone back into position because the next two contractions felt different! But unfortunately soon after I felt her moving again and it was back to the same contractions in my lower back.

After four days of this I felt in my mind and my body that it was time to leave home and go to hospital and sure enough within half an hour of getting there my waters broke! That’s when the contractions really amped up and I utilised the She Births breathing techniques which helped pain management. I was absolutely exhausted after an hour and having such a long prelabour so we asked for an epidural.

To be honest I didn’t feel like a failure asking for this because I physically knew that my body had taken enough and that I wasn’t going to last during active labour with Eden in posterior presentation. I actually felt empowered that it was my decision to make and had come to it on my own without the coaxing of medical staff.

The J breaths or “coffee plunger” breaths Nadine taught us were perfect when it was time to push. Eden’s heart rate had dropped dramatically so the obstetrician came in to discuss our options. Eden needed to be turned immediately with the vac and I needed to push while it was being done. I remember her saying how calm both Shelley and I were.
I specifically remember her saying how well I was pushing and that she had not seen anyone push that well after an epidural, so I told her about J breathing!

Looking back I can say with honesty that I had no fear throughout the whole labour and birth. Even though Shell & I didn’t have the exact birth experience with Eden that we first planned, we both felt that things would have been really scary for us without the knowledge we gained with She Births. I think it is really important to point out that partners are really involved and informed just as much as the birth mother and are encouraged to have an active role in the labour and birth. Shelley felt really involved and connected with Eden and I throughout. She didn’t feel helpless and helped me to make informed decisions.

Afterwards we were so amazed by how we coped and even though I felt like I’d run a marathon I was able to see how beautiful Eden’s birth had been. I wasn’t unprepared or shocked by the experience because I had been well armed with knowledge and had learned to meditate and breath my way through the difficult stages.

Now we have this amazing, calm little soul in our lives who came into the world with two calm mummas!

Thanks Nadine!
Love Bec, Shelley and Eden xxx

Jasper’s Birth – The humanity of She Births®…the impact on our relationship

Hi Nadine,

I am writing to you this time with the happiness of hands filled with our fresh little newborn born.

On Saturday 20th Dimitra gave birth to a gorgeous little boy of 4.0 kilos, 59cm that we know as Jasper Finlayson.

Her labour began late Thursday/early Friday and was prelabour until about 3pm Friday afternoon. Contractions gradually got stronger and longer as we practised the fantastic exercises you armed us with. We laboured at home for hours with calming music and candles, while using acupressure points that Dimitra found to be very effective with the increasing intensity. Her waters broke at home at about 11pm that night and so we decided to go in.

We also had to glorious pleasure of having her cousin Diana in the room with us who was marvellous for our She Births energy. Dimitra laboured for hours through the night with such composure the midwives were shocked at how dialated she was. She quite easily dialated to 9cm and 10 during contractions but unfortunately Jasper was posterior and couldn’t move into position notwithstanding her efforts. He had been posterior late through 3rd trimester and acupuncture and some home techniques had helped him move, but he couldn’t quite make it around when it mattered.

Both Dimitra and Jasper were so calm all throughout until 1030 on Saturday morning when exhaustion took over and contractions began to slow down. As less happened her cervix began to swell and so a vaginal birth was becoming less achievable. With all attempts made, we agreed to have a caesar to get him out to the world and we finally had some beautiful skin to skin time (both of us) and he has been breastfeeding consistently since!

I cannot sing enough praises for the techniques, mentality and humanity of She Births and what you provide for expectant couples. It prepared us both so immensely that Dimitra was the image of a loved and relaxed labour. Though the final step was not the ideal finish, it was the step that gave us our baby boy and Dimitra is happy with that decision.

Thanks again for everything your teachings have done for our baby and our relationship during pregnancy and forever after.

Many thanks,
Jasper, Dimitra and Andrew

Miraculous Natural Posterior birth & a change of OB

Hi Nadine

 

Just a quick email to let you know that Alan and I had our baby boy in the wee hours of Saturday morning (today is day 5 – first day home).

 

I had a fully natural birth, utilising various active birth techniques. It was a surprise posterior(!), so a fairly challenging labour, but an amazing experience for us. Alan was an absolutely amazing support and my doula, Briony Howland, provided just the right things that I needed.

 

You might recall I was concerned about pressure to induce at 40 weeks (because I am 40yo) – I changed OBs at 38 weeks. Bubs came on his own at 40+4 (I chose not have a stretch and sweep either). Just to toot my own horn – my (new) obstetrician told me that he considered it a privilege to be at the birth and that he learnt something from it – he seemed impressed that I reached down to receive the baby and with the dialogue I had with the baby (the ob has a 90% epidural rate and, the hospital has an 80% epidural rate – I am not sure how many posteriors he has seen pushed out without intervention before?). While I did have a minor tear, this was probably only because he was posterior and it is likely there would have been no tear if he was in normal position.

 

Unfortunately, POWP hospital did not allow me to use gel heat packs! (I brought my own). I found their stick on heat packs useless; so the only relief for the back labour was the shower (with only a single shower head, not double – although I was aware of this prior. The bath they had was also too small to provide relief, as expected). Although that hospital was my choice, they really need to improve their facilities to support natural birth …

 

As the birth was getting close, and I was a bit rattled by the issues with the previous obstetrician, I continued with your visualisations and also looked at the positive She Births birth videos. I had done other courses/read books that supported natural birth and I was very vocal, and used a lot of repetitive mantras.

 

I have had some early issues with feeding (probably not assisted by the hospital midwives unfortunately), but am receiving support from the hospital LCs, so am turning the corner.

 

Julia xo

Isla’s Natural Posterior birth – Worth travelling interstate

Hi Nadine,

I’ve been meaning to send you a quick email to say thank you for She Births since my daughter was born in April but am only just getting around to it now!
My husband Lachlan and I attended your She Births weekend in Feb and our baby girl Isla was born on April 27. Mostly I wanted to thank you for all the knowledge you gave us and the confidence to be able to have the natural birthing experience that I really wanted.

My labour was 34 hours long and Isla was posterior so it was very very intense but I managed to stay at home for 30 hours and arrived at hospital 5cms dilated and 4 hours later our baby was born with no drugs or gas (yay!) and no intervention. We had a physiological third stage (which was perfect and I have no idea why anyone wouldn’t do the same- it was so easy and natural), and we didn’t cut the cord until it had stopped pulsing. All of which we learned at She Births!

My midwife and the student midwife who attended were so impressed and amazed at how natural and easy (although I definitely wouldn’t describe it as easy…!) Isla’s birth was and how quickly I was able to jump out of bed and insist on going home (7 hours later)! They had never done a physiological third stage before and were so happy and grateful to have been a part of our birth.

I really feel that She Births gave me the knowledge and power to insist on what I wanted for my baby’s birth and to believe that I could do it. Lachlan also had complete confidence in me and in the decisions we had made because of everything he had learned over the weekend, which was so vital!

So thanks again Nadine, it was definitely worth the trip to Sydney from Melbourne to do the course!

Here is a photo of Isla today at 5 months.

Love Liz, Lachlan and Isla

Xavier & Cairo’s Natural Twin Birth – The right team & the right skills

When we fell pregnant with our first child we planned to have a home birth. A beautiful, romantic, divine home birth. We engaged Sheryl, our amazing midwife, and began to prepare to welcome our child into our home in November 2013.

I was going to be in Bali teaching yoga for two months in my second trimester, and we’d decided to decline the 12 week scan. It all seemed a bit complicated to arrange before I flew out and the pregnancy seemed to be progressing normally. I was happy, healthy and not experiencing any unusual signs or symptoms.

Off I went to Bali, and day by day my belly got bigger.

At 15 weeks my husband came to visit me. I was so excited to show him my little tummy. I was really beginning to show. I remember saying to him that I thought I looked big for 15 weeks and that my mum hadn’t shown until she was nearly 5 months along. As the days passed I began to wonder if there was something wrong? Perhaps I had gestational diabetes and the baby was getting really big. I spent hours on the internet scanning for images of other women at 15 weeks pregnant to see if there was anyone with a belly as big as mine. I contacted my midwife and between us we decided that it was just really hard to tell if I was bigger than ‘normal’. Perhaps it was just the way I was carrying.

At 18.5 weeks (still in Bali) I sent Sheryl a message saying that I felt HUGE and that I wondered if there could be two of them in there. It was a bit of a joke, as the students on the teacher training program I was working on kept saying “Are you sure it’s not twins?”. I dismissed the possibility of twins because there were no twins in my family and just thought that I must have been carrying my whole pregnancy out in front. Little did I know that’s not quite how it works with identical twins. They don’t run in families the way that fraternal twins do. Identical twins are a miracle.

Two days after I arrived back in Australia, at 20 weeks, we had our morphology scan to find out the sex of the baby.  We were so excited we could barely contain ourselves. The sonographer began to scan and I looked at the screen. It was the first time I’d seen an ultrasound of our baby and I was thrilled. An arm, a leg, another arm, another leg, a head, there were tiny body parts everywhere. While I was excitedly calling out the names of each body part, my husband was staring at the screen and then at the sonographer and then back to the screen. He has an 11 year old son, and from memory, he was pretty sure that a baby didn’t look that messy on an ultrasound. At the same time as Tim started to become concerned, the sonographer put down the ultrasound equipment and put her hand on my arm. My heart dropped into my shoes. The first through that popped into my head was that she was going to tell me there was no brain function. That the amazing little human, who I’d become so attached to, who I’d been feeling move around, was not viable. That there was something horribly wrong. As she held my arm she said “You know there’s two of them in there?” Tim and I looked at each other and screamed in delight! Then we swore and screamed and yelled, and then I felt like I needed to be sick. Twins, we were having twins. Spontaneous, identical boys. A 1 in 3,000 chance. This was so cool! I’d wanted a baby for such a long time and now I was having two! At the same time!

I called Sheryl as soon as I could speak. She guessed straight away what I was going to say. We were all jumping out of our skins with excitement! But carrying twins made my pregnancy high risk. Our little boys shared a placenta, but had two separate sacs (mono/di twins). It’s not the most risky configuration for twins, but it does carry it’s own potential difficulties. We spoke with Sheryl and decided that in order to preserve the sanctity of home birth and not chance becoming a bad news story, that we would move our birth to a hospital. We were blessed to be guided to The Royal Women’s Hospital in Randwick where we were cared for my the most amazing team.

Knowing that I was making the right decision for the birth of my babies didn’t lessen the grief I felt about letting go of the home birth that I so dearly wanted. I had visualised the most beautiful setting in our living room. Candles, low light, a birthing pool, and my baby in my bed with my husband. I cried. I cried a thousand tears for the loss of my home birth, for the fact that we would be giving birth in a hospital room with a machine that goes bing. I grieved the loss of intimacy as our birthing team of 3 turned into a circus of 10. But with Tim and Sheryl by my side, I decided that I would turn this around. That despite the fact that I was going to be in a hospital room I would create a home birthing ambiance. That I would, with the assistance of Tim, Sheryl and our OB Andrew, advocate for the most natural, intimate birth I could.

23 weeks arrived and I had another ultrasound. My cervix had begun to shorten. 5cms to 2.5cms in 3 weeks. I began to panic and I was referred to the Maternal Foetal Medicine department at the hospital for further monitoring. We wer

e now going to be scanned every two weeks. I cried again. I hadn’t wanted to be scanned so much. In fact I had only wanted to have one, maybe two scans during my whole pregnancy. But we made the decision that we needed to scan regularly to make sure the boys were ok. The risks of Twin to Twin Transfer Syndrome (TTTS) and my shortened cervix were too high for me to decide to decline further scanning.

At this point I decided that I needed to get really pro-active. We’d just attended the amazing She Births course and I knew that if I didn’t start to really ask questions and get organised, that there would be more surprises, so I wrote our birth plan. One plan for a natural birth, one plan for the C-Section delivery of twin two and one plan for the C-Section deliver of both babies. Sheryl helped me work through all of the points that needed to be reviewed and we had meetings with the teams at the hospital. There were about 4 drafts of the birth plans before we all agreed on how we would proceed. We went through every detail, in detail. I asked why and what at every point along the way. I was determined to understand everything on the hospital’s standard procedure sheet. I had some powerful and really constructive conversations with both the team in Maternal Foetal Medicine and my OB.

In the end I agreed to a lot of the standard procedures (including induction at 37 weeks), but I refused the epidural, which is administered with twins to help if an emergency delivery of twin two is required. My OB provided me with several other options and explained the risks of not having the epidural in great detail, but I was determined to feel everything.

At 37 weeks the day came to be induced. We tried several more natural options, including a foley catheter and artificial rupture of my membranes to get things started, but nothing was happening. At 11am we started the syntocinon. Nothing happened until 2pm. Then it was on. My contractions were in full swing. I told Tim to call Sheryl “and tell her to be here by 3pm!”. I was in established labour and it was intense. The contractions rolled one into the other with no breaks.

The syntocinon had been turned off once my contractions were established, but it had done it’s job. The contractions became stronger and stronger, with no breaks, and I began to loose my grip on things. I was in the warm pool but I was freezing cold. Sheryl and Tim were pouring more and more hot water in but I was still freezing. The midwives decided to take my temperature. It had spiked from 37 to 39.5 degrees. It turns out that the group B Strep that had shown up in a swab prior to the labour had taken hold. We think it may have been because my waters were broken early in the day. Either way, that had been my choice and looking back I still wouldn’t have done it any other way. I wanted to exhaust all of the natural options first.

By this point I was inconsolable and the contractions continued to roll on. I had thrown all of the monitoring equipment across the room and was refusing to put it back on. In my head I was begging someone to offer me an epidural. I remember that I kept saying it was too much, that there were no breaks. But no one did offer me the epidural and I would’t ask for one out loud.  If I was at home there would have been no epidural, but there wouldn’t have been any syntocinon either. What did get offered was the gas, and I took it. It gave me something to focus on that wasn’t the intense rolling contractions that seemed like they would never stop.

Apparently no one except me was that happy with the fact that I’d thrown the monitors away and was refusing to put them back on, so they called in the OB to do an internal to check how things were progressing. I was fully dilated. Not only had I been delirious with a super high fever, I’d been going through transition too. No wonder I had thrown the monitors!

Xavier was born head first at around 7.30pm. My amazing husband caught him as he came out and placed him on my stomach. I was elated. I’d just birthed the first of my two little boys and he was perfect.  It was perfect. I felt strong and I’d listened to my body, only pushing when I felt the urges. After a few minutes of Xavier being out, Tim cut the cord and Xavier was wrapped in a blanket for me to hold. I offered to breastfeed him, but he must have known that I was going to be very busy again soon. I remember Tim taking our little boy on his arms and going to sit in a chair nearby. This is my most vivid memory from the birth. I remember looking over and seeing my beautiful tiny little baby in the arms of my big strong husband and knowing that he was safe. As soon as I saw that my little boy was safe I knew I was ready to birth again.

The room was full of excited people, there’s quite a team when twins are involved, but I called them all to order. I had another baby to birth and I needed to concentrate.

With Andrew’s guidance I began to birth our second boy. He was posterior and breech, and I distinctly remember Andrew telling me that I needed to work with the baby to turn him. With each push I visualised little Cairo turning. And with each push he did. He turned a little more each time, and then he was with us.

Natural Twin Birth  – After 5 hours of intense labour, both little boys were in the world and on my chest. They began to feed almost instantly, and so did I, as Sheryl fed me chocolate. I was in heaven.

I was quite positive about my ability to successfully birth my boys prior to the course, but afterwards I knew I had everything I needed and would be able to birth my babies in the way that I wanted to. No matter what happened along the way.
I used a lot of sounding. Long low sounds through out. The massage and acupressure were great during the labour, but the most powerful tool by far was the birth preferences template. Because we were having twins we were able to plan for a vaginal birth, 1 x vaginal and one C-Section and a double Caesar. The planning process allowed me to process and surrender to the flow of the moment.
Tim felt more empowered after the course. He felt that he had practical tools to use during the labour to help me. Absolutely. We’re a team anyway, but She Births helped us to shape our expectations of each other and allowed us both to be engaged throughout.

We stayed in hospital for the next 3 days with wonderful care, until we decided that we were ready to bring our boys home. Bringing our children into our home for the first time was a wonderful moment. Exhausted and relieved we all crawled into bed and rested, just like I had wanted to.

Despite some complications along the way, this birthing experience was the single most empowering and extraordinary experience of my life. I’m glad that we chose to birth our twins in hospital in the end. We needed the support that they were able to provide. I’m also really proud to have advocated for myself. I asked the hard questions, had the difficult conversations and was well informed. This helped me to make the choices along the way that made my birthing experience so magical.

I would like to thank the team at The Royal. They helped us to create what I call my home birth in hospital and it could not have been more perfect. It would not have been possible without our wonderful midwives, Sheryl and Jo and our inspired OB Andrew. Special thanks to the team in Maternal Foetal Medicine who had to endure some pretty tough questioning and to Michelle our third midwife, who came in at the change of shift and captured some of the most amazing birth photos I’ve ever seen.