Birth Stories - Rhia Stanger

Birth story from Rhia Stanger

I just wanted to say Thank You for creating your course!

I did the online version as I live in a remote community 2hrs from the Wodonga maternity hospital. My first birth ended in a C-section at 38wks due to vasa previa and minor placenta previa. I was devastated and determined to have a natural birth for my 2nd however during an appointment with the hospital I was told that I would HAVE to book in for another C-section as my pregnancies were too close together (17 months between birth dates)!

 

It was the knowledge that I gained during the She Births® course that gave me the strength to make an informed decision and find myself another option.

 

I ended up searching for and paying top dollar for an Obstetrician that fully supported my VBAC. It meant traveling 4 hours to Canberra for appointments and I had to relocate at 37weeks to appease the ‘just in case factor’. It was well worth it in the end, my Obstetrician met me at the hospital when I arrived in labour, and basically acted in my defence when hospital policies were against me (eg. they refused me a fit ball, a bath, and tried to make me lay still on a bed to get readings from fetal monitor for over an hour). I called my OB and he ensured I got everything I needed. I was amazed that in my search for an Obstetrician that the person I found that fully supported me was a man (not that I’m a man hater, it’s just I felt like having an all woman entourage with the exception of my husband). My midwife was also male. It was funny, I laboured for all of International Women’s Day, surrounded by men and couldn’t have felt more supported.

My daughter Siobhan was born on March 9th 2018 at 3:30am, after a successful VBAC after 29hrs of labour, the gestation was 40wks and 3days. Again, hats off to my OB, there was no pressure from him to induce. Additionally throughout the pregnancy I was asked by my GP, ‘how long will he let you labour?’. This was an interesting concept, my natural thought was, ‘well how long is a piece of string’, you know, doesn’t it just take as long as it takes?… Anyway, the comment made me nervous so I called the OB, he said that it was an archaic attitude towards birth, that I would labour for as long as I needed to. It is so interesting what an impact an ‘off the cuff’ remark can have, which is what I believe you were getting at in the interview that was edited quite noticeably, everyone has an opinion about pregnancy and birth and they seem to want to share these for better or for worse. Unfortunately pessimistic comments often result in undermining the confidence a women has in herself.

So again, thank you!. . . Thank you for helping me to realise that I have a voice; I can ask questions and I will make my own decisions!

 

Kind regards

 

Rhia

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

 

 

 

 

VBAC Birth Story | The birth of Avi – by Louise Patel

The birth story of Avi

Innate. Fearless. Empowering.

This is the birth story of baby Avi as told by his mother, Louise Patel.

It took Louise some time to be convinced that baby Avi was really coming!

After all, it was only one week before what would be a super-fast arrival, that she and her husband had completed the She Births Weekend Course.

One week before she’d completed the She Births Weekend Course.

“After the course I focused on things that felt important and relevant to me. This included the breathing techniques and when they were to be used, visualisation of the birth from start to end, learning the physiology of the uterus and role of the naturally occurring hormones and the stages of labour and what roughly to expect,” says Louise.

A yoga devotee Louise says she also stepped up her practice and began to spend a lot more time in baddha konasana, upavistha konasana and the squat positions.

“I also took on a few more refinements in my diet according to the information we received in the course,” says Louise.

Labour begins (very unexpectedly!) at 31.5 weeks

The following Thursday Louise says she started experiencing some pains. The busy mum of twins put them down to how clingy her toddlers had become.

“I was spending a lot more time carrying them around and I put it down to this. I went about my usual routine going to yoga in the mornings both on Friday and again on Saturday and had spent most of Friday wandering around the markets carrying the kids and shopping,” says Louise.

On Friday night the pains startled Louise in her sleep and by Saturday they were coming every five minutes. Despite the decreasing time between pain sensation, Louise still did not reaslie she was in labour.

“It was too early! I assumed I had overdone it the last couple of days and purely went for a check to get my husband off my back!”

Waters were broken

On her walk to the hospital, Louise said the pain started taking her breath away:

“When I arrived at 3:15pm they put Avi and I on a monitor and did a fibrinogen test and established I was in premature labour. I was 2cm dilated. I was given nifedipine to stop the labour with no success and then given steroids to prepare Avi’s lungs.”

Louise says by far the most challenging part of her labour was right after her waters were broken:

“The sensation was intense. I also found the need to push confronting and different to how I expected. I felt I didn’t know how to do this, so I asked the midwives to tell me exactly what to do and after a few go’s I got the hang of it, says Louise.

“I remember hearing about “blowing out candles” for pushing but this was not the case in my situation. I was asked to hold my breath and bear down.”

A natural vaginal birth

Louise’s support team were her husband, midwife and her own mum.

As the contractions increased, Louise found her husband’s lower back massage and firm pressure on her lower back very effective.

The different breathing techniques during the different phases of labour were great for my concentration and helping me to relax in between the waves.

“Understanding the physiology of the uterus muscles and the role of the hormones and how and why these can be disrupted helped me to rationalise the sensation and enabled me to stay focused. It also helped me to visualise what my baby was doing… . By 6:55pm I was fully effaced, Avi was born at 7:15pm!”

“I was taking responsibility and owning the situation head-on”

Louise describes Avi’s birth as “unexpected” and has taught her to trust her instincts.

“I’m stronger than I thought I was …  My twins who were a planned c-section. I felt disconnected during the c-section experience and following the birth. I didn’t see my twins for quite a few hours and I was in a lot of pain and pretty bombed out on analgesia. My milk took a week to come in and my recovery was much longer with the caesarean,” says Louise.

“With Avi’s birth I felt I was connected and in control all the time. I felt like I was taking responsibility and owning the situation head on.”

Louise could not have been more pleased with her birth experience and credits the She Births course for the confidence it gave her to trust herself:  

“I have an enormous sense of maternal satisfaction that is hard for me to even put into words. This has been a life changing experience for both of us and we are richer as a result of it. We are so grateful that we did She Births®. You put me in touch with an intuition and knowledge that was already inside myself. It gave me permission and confidence to trust my natural instinct.”

Birth Story: The birth of Cole

Empowering. Wondrous. Life-changing.

 

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

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

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

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

Love and gratitude,

Nadine xxx

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

How did your labour start?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This will do nicely, I said.

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

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

How did you bring your baby into the world?

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

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

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

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

Who supported you throughout labour and the birth?

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

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

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

What most helped you through the birth experience?

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

What did you learn about yourself this birth?

I learned that…

 

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

 

In what way was this birth different to your others?

 

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

 

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:

Empowering. Wondrous. Life-changing.

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

Photos by Olivia Moon Photography

Axel’s Birth – Could I actually enjoy my birth?

My second birth was hotly anticipated. Would he come earlier than my daughter, being my second? I was taking no chances. Since my daughter was eight days over, I decided to tell everyone that our son was to be born two weeks later than expected to take the pressure off. It turned out to be a very good idea indeed!

 

Eight days came and went with no sign of our new arrival. Not a twinge, not even a pang. I was getting a little worried at that point. I had learnt so much from my first birth and took it all with me to prepare for our second. I changed my support team to include my sister who was training to be a midwife and who I was emotionally connected to, my hubby would be by my side and I completed another childbirth education course (this time with my sister and this time it was She Births®).

 

It was inspiring and explained why I should go off gluten and sugar to minimise gut inflammation: something that I had during the first birth. I learnt more about good positions and moving my hips and re-learnt how to train my mind. I read countless positive birth stories, listened to uplifting music and watched films. Every other day I was listening to birth meditations by Nadine Richardson. They were gentle, calming, connecting and inspiring. There was this one particular clip out of the film Orgasmic Birth that really took hold of me. It was a lady in a birthing tub having an orgasm as she was birthing.

 

That notion of it being so incredibly pleasurable was exciting. Could I actually enjoy birth? Could that be my story? I didn’t know but I felt a wave of confidence envelope me. Something had been lit that couldn’t be extinguished. I knew it was possible as there were so many stories out there of it being empowering and amazing. I wanted that more than anything but also knew I had to let go of that too. Deep down I was still worried and concerned and I wondered, could I feel those feelings at the same time as holding my feelings of excitement and pleasure – was that going to work for me? Only time would tell.

 

I started mildly contracting at a friend’s BBQ in the afternoon and it continued at the engagement party of my cousin. I was ripping up the dance floor with my three-year-old and really enjoying myself. I knew that this was the beginning of pre-labour but that it could go on for days – as that’s what happened the first time. The more I danced the more they came on. Later that night they petered out and the next day I was not in labour. Monday afternoon I visited the hospital to have my second sweep, I was 2 cm. This was progress I thought, considering last time it took such a while to get to that stage. I was happy.

 

The hospital staff were worried though, because I was now ten days over and they were keen to induce me. I had very recently had my waters checked and they were fine. I had an ECG done again and was told that my baby was stressing by the very mild pre-labour contractions so they kept recommending I be induced immediately. I started to panic and cried. I wanted to do the best by my baby as well as me. It was such a delicate balancing act and it seemed like my chance at a drug-free birth was slipping away.

 

I asked for another doctor’s opinion. I rang a midwife friend who said that if my baby was distressing now, how would it be when the contractions ramped up in an instant with the drugs. This made sense to me and so I decided that I’d like more time. I knew that the research showed that more monitoring of babies didn’t equal better outcomes for mothers and babies. I said that to the Doctor who agreed that was true. I was given until 730am the next morning to be in labour.

 

Labour started again that afternoon. We put the music channel on the TV, which was playing many of my old favourites. I was dancing away, getting those contractions going, with my hubby and my little girl by my side. It was a good feeling. But by 7pm I could tell it was all starting to taper off again. I called my dear friend who runs the Red Tent Health Centre with me and asked her to make the journey to my house to give me acupuncture. She came and gave me the strongest treatment. It worked. I had been getting acupuncture every other day by this point but this was the treatment that sent me over the edge. My hubby and sister were using acupressure on me, which felt amazing. In between contractions I was also lightly massaged to increase those feel-good endorphins.

 

It was such a great feeling to be in labour and managing it and enjoying it. Every contraction was bringing me closer to my baby. I used my voice a lot, singing “mmmmmm” and “ommmmmmm” through each wave. As it became darker, candles were the only light that remained and it felt just right.

 

After roughly four hours I felt I couldn’t go on. I started to panic and didn’t want to continue with it all. I was breaking down, crying, really letting go…. Could this be transition I wondered? Or am I just making that up?

 

It was transition! Soon I felt the urge to push and that was the moment we bundled me into the car and I literally roared like a lion out the window until we got to the hospital.

 

Our gorgeous baby boy was born an hour and a half later at 230am (just five hours shy of the induction date and time). Phew!

 

He was placed on my chest and it was the best feeling in the world (just like it had been to hold my daughter for the first time). I was on a high and didn’t come down for weeks and weeks. I remember thinking “yeah – lets do that again!” Was it an orgasmic birth? I’d have to say – without a doubt – yes!

 

_______

 

Rebecca Mar Young is a Red Tent Mum and director of Red Tent Health Centre and Red Tent Mums online education.

 

Rosie’s Birth – Different second time round

Hello lovely Nadine, I have been meaning to message you for a while hope you are well?

We had a beautiful daughter Rosie on 06th Sep 2014 & I had a really positive & rewarding birth experience this time around.

The yoga, breathing, positive outlook, tens machine & Sleety’s fab massage all really helped!

Thank you for your fabulous yoga & She Births course, I am always recommending new pregnant friends to you & hope to get to yoga again at some point soon.

Lots of love Georgia, Sleety, Molly & Rosie xxx

Oscar’s Birth – VBAC wisdom

Our first baby was born via emergency c-section in May 2012.  It was a case of me being naïve and undereducated and simply going along with what my private (and very expensive) obstetrician recommended. Intervention lead to more intervention and I had a really horrible time with my post birth recovery.  It was at least 4 months before I could get out of bed/a chair/the car or even climb the stairs in my own home without pain.  It wasn’t until almost halfway through my second pregnancy that I realised how traumatised I was from this first birth experience, and went through a difficult and stressful process of changing care providers from private obstetrician to public midwifery.  I hired a doula and enrolled in the She Births course.
My partner David and I really enjoyed learning from Nadine.  The information provided helped us secure the belief and knowledge within ourselves that my body could birth my baby.  Oscar was born in October 2014 via a beautiful drug free water birth, where I laboured for about 8 hours at home prior to arriving at the hospital in transition and just about ready to push, and bub was born 1.5 hours later.  Throughout the labour at home, I reminded myself of the positive affirmations in the SheBirths meditations – I thought of my cervix thinning and opening, the uterus contracting, my baby facing the right way and moving himself down, slowly stretching the skin and perineum.  Blissful belly breaths helped me get through each surge. Without the She Births course I wouldn’t have been as prepared or reassured that what was happening inside my body was exactly what my body was meant to be doing… it also allowed my husband to feel secure in how he could help during the labour.
Recovery has been so much easier this time round – I only had some external grazing and a small internal tear that didn’t require stitching.  This VBAC journey was so empowering and has given me a new found belief in myself and my body.  I highly recommend this birthing course so that you too can be well enough informed to be in the driver seat of your birth experience.  Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do it – YOU CAN… that your baby is too big to push out – FALSE… or that a c-section is easier/safer – NO!!!… you can birth your baby naturally!  Find care providers and surround yourself only with people that believe in you.

 

Amanda & David Bernstein

Ava’s Birth – Listening to your intuition

Hi Nadine,

I just wanted to let you know that I gave birth to the lovely Ava last Friday!  Both her and I are doing well and Olive is just so beautiful to see as a big sister.

We did our She Births course way back in July 2012 before the birth of Olive and I was so grateful for the She Births course once again!  I had been reading the book we got during the course as a refresher and so many things were invaluable.

Learning about the Inner and Outer resources was great – and I listened to the meditations and visualisations in the lead-up to the birth and then had them on repeat in the birthing room at the hospital.  They were really good at getting me into the space I needed to be in.  The acupressure points were great too and we took along our ‘orgasmatron‘ head thingy for in between surges – that was so good this time around.  The blissful belly breaths were so helpful for getting through the contractions and staying calm – I’ve been using them to get through some painful early days of breastfeeding too!  The other great thing I used from the course this time around was the BRAND method of questions to ask when interventions were offered.  This was really empowering and a great tool to deal with the pressure you feel in the birthing room.  The Dr framed things as though we didn’t have a choice so it was great to have this technique to take some power back and make sure our decisions were informed…and ours!

We had a 2 minute second stage!  I had a strong urge to lie down on my side, the midwife tried to insist I just sit on the edge of the bed but I knew I needed to lie down.  I had been pushing for 40 minutes and had just been told that they had made a mistake in saying I was fully dilated, there was still some cervix on one side and some of the membranes.  I felt deflated and exhausted at this point and had to get my head around the fact that I wasn’t pushing anymore and had to go back to my belly breaths and finish dilating.  So I laid down to rest and when the next surge came I felt her head coming out!  I think I yelled ‘I need to get this leg up!’ and got to my knees and she came out without me pushing!  Rog caught her beautifully and put her on my tummy.  It was amazing and I didn’t tear at all!  Wow!  What a difference the recovery has been so far with no tear.  Later on my midwife (who couldn’t be at the birth) said that me lying down on that side must have allowed the membranes to move out of the way and the cervix to fully dilate.  Case in point for listening to your own intuition during labour!

So I wanted to say thank you again…I went to an ABA meeting on Tuesday morning this week with Ava and the topic was Active Birth.  With the things I learned in She Births I was able to contribute a great deal to the discussion and I really enjoyed it – I would love to be working with couples and educating them about their options and the resources available to them.  I know both Rog and I found it so empowering and it brought us together on the childbirth journey which was brilliant.  Rog had a role to play and it was a team effort bringing our children into the world.  Chatting with Rog about it last night I think he would also be great with the guys on the course.  He has a real passion and enthusiasm which comes across when he speaks.

Thanks again Nadine and hope to hear from you soon.

Kate, Rog, Olive and Ava

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

Edie’s Birth – Much more practical and thorough than calmbirth

We did Calmbirth the first time round and Otis’s birth was vaginal but assisted with forceps and epidural in theatre.

She Births provided me with a really different and practical approach to my daughters birth.  I knew at each stage of my pregnancy what I should be focusing on; my nutrition, what to ask of my medical carers, how to prepare my body and visualise the best birth possible for my whole family.  Especially towards the end of my pregnancy, it was so useful to have the checklist of how to check in with myself, my partner and know how I could support myself as I neared the big day.  The best thing SB gave me was the ability to visualise my daughter’s journey out of the womb and into my husbands arms.  This one simple exercise of learning how the body opens and prepares to deliver a baby got me through my labour with the birth I had always dreamed of.