a story of healing after grief – a homebirth after caesarean

This is the story of Madeleine’s birth – written by her mother Belinda. I had the honour to document this journey for them and I hope you are as inspired as I was by Belinda’s strength & courage and the support she got from her husband, Darren. 

My labor and Madeleine’s Birth

It is hard to know where to start this story because it really begins with the birth of my first daughter Jemima.  After laboring for 36hrs with Jemima, Darren and I exhausted, decided to have a cesarean birth.  We were exhausted, shocked and had nothing left to give.  Neither of us had it in us to fight the system.

After Jemima’s birth I realized some hard truths about our maternity system.  Realized that I had spent my strength and courage trying to fight a system that didn’t support natural birth.  I was no less courageous for her birth, but one only has so much energy to give at any time.  I didn’t expect to take it so hard.  I guess I had thought prior to birth that if it was necessary that I would deal with anything to get my healthy baby.  I think that is where everything came unstuck.

You see when I looked back I didn’t think any of the interventions were necessary.  Neither I, nor Jemima had ever been in distress, except for Jemima, when I was laid flat on my back with the syntocin going full blast.  After she was born, with apgars of 9 and 10, instead of spending my time gazing at her lovingly, I spent my time in a haze of grief.  I woke at nights to feed my beloved child and stayed awake wondering “what if”.  What if I had known more.  What if I hadn’t said yes.  What if I had not let anyone worry me about going “over due”, after all my grand mother had gone to 43, 42 and 41 weeks with her pregnancies……  It just hurt so much.  Mostly to realize that I felt totally betrayed by the system.  I am a nurse.  I thought I would be looked after by the system that had helped me look after so many others.  Not mothers specifically, I wasn’t a midwife, but I believed in the system.  I believed in what we did.  After Jemima’s birth I realized that the system I believed in, didn’t believe in womens bodies like I did.  I came to see how protocols interfered with birth in a substantial way.  They interfered with Jemima and I, even though neither of us showed any signs of sickness….. My choices on how I birthed in the public health system were all taken away from me, because I didn’t hurry up and birth!  In the end I had taken some herbs, which ended up in a home made intervention born of panic.  I had given myself the induction that I was so scared of.  It ended in a long and drawn out labor that tired us both out and achieved nothing.  When I came out the other side, I realized some hard truths. There was a light bulb moment for me.  How could the hospital support me in a birth in the future, that they didn’t actually believe in?  I didn’t believe that they could.  So began my journey.  I researched and examined and came to the conclusion that they best chance I had of being supported in a VBAC birth was to do so at home with an independent MW.

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read more about these moderful VBAC dolls here

Suffice to say Darren was terrified.  Many nights of tears and outpourings of the heart over 2 years brought us to the realization that Darren was terrified of a home birth and I was terrified of a hospital birth.  It was a really long road for us to face and hurt us and our marriage deeply.  However I believe it was my husbands abiding love for me that helped him come to a place where he could accept my desicion, because I was immovable.  Either we would do it my way next time, or we wouldn’t be doing it again.  As I was the one to face the birth, Darren offered his love and support by facing his fears and offering his support of me at home.  He said nothing to me that was negative during my pregnancy about home birth, at my request and only occasionally sought solace with me, for comfort of his fears.  He truly expressed his love for me in this way.

During the previous yearr to my pregnancy I had come across a MW in our local area by the name of Rachel Reed (author of the fantastic blog Midwife Thinking).  She was a UK trained MW and university lecturer.  I knew that she “got” what it was that I believed in about birth.  When I first got pregnant in early 2011 I contacted her at 5 weeks pregnant and asked to speak with her.  She agreed.  We lost that pregnancy and then were lucky enough to conceive within 6 weeks of the miscarriage.  I had a due date of 4/01/2012.  Once again I asked Rachel to see me during my pregnancy and she agreed.  We started to meet when I was 16 weeks pregnant,  I think after I had had a nt u/s scan and seen my gp for blood tests.  I was happy to see that she brought along her iPad for appointments and seemed very normal!  That might sound quite a funny thing to say, but I knew Darren would roll his eyes and struggle to trust a “typical hippy” home birth MW and Rachel gave him nothing to object about even though I know she is a hippy at heart. It might be useful to understand that DH is a Dr. He spent 3 yr doing anesthetics, 18months of that in obstetrics.  He had a whole set of his own fears and experiences to give credence to them.  He watched as a woman bled out on the table one time, with nothing that the hospital staff could do to save her.  He had also witnessed many near misses.  I believe that many of those problems occurred because of things done by staff to precipitate them, but it didn’t matter.  For him it was very real.  He talked about seeing me through a veil of blood when he thought about birth.  It was a very unique challenge for my dear husband, as a man, as my husband and as a Dr to trust me in this birth and to give such wonderful support despite his own very real fears.  We had agreed that he didn’t need to be in the birthing room during the birth if he was scared, because I knew I couldn’t look at his tear stained face if I was frightened myself.  On the day, you will see he really stepped up and I only saw doubt on his face one time, when things started to hurt quite badly.  I think that was less fear though and more empathy for me, his best friend and very cherished wife.  My pregnancy was pretty uneventful all up. When people asked where we would birth we told them I had booked in to Caboolture hospital.  Which was true.  I didn’t mention I had only had the two appointments before stopping from going.  Just didn’t need my whole pregnancy to be about one small risk of uterine rupture.

So my pregnancy continued normally.  Christmas came and went, as did the renovation of our ensuite J.  I think all pregnant women either move or renovate!  I had gone to 42+2 weeks with Jemima and so was prepared to wait again.  I didn’t let Daren book annual leave till I was due to be 41+2.  I had had BH contractions from about 17 weeks and as I neared the end of pregnancy they could come all day or just sporadically.  When I was 40+ 4 pregnant my dad and step mum took Jemima for the night and cared for her.  Darren and I went to the movies and had sushi for dinner.  It was just lovely.  I had BH contractions 10mins apart for about 2 hrs that I timed and they continued thru the night.  I began passing mucous plug on Sunday at 40 +4 and told my hubby and my little online community of homebirth mums, but no one else.  Monday, BH’s continued regularly and I passed my mucous plug.  I knew labor would start soon.  Darren had to do an on call shift at work and I was under strict instructions not to go into labor until he had finished.  He was off call at 7.30am Tuesday morning but had stayed down in the on call house near the hospital.

Labor-

Tuesday morning I woke up to a contraction that was a little different.  Just after I registered that, Jemima came in for her morning cuddle and then we got up.  When I went to the toilet I could see that I had a bloody show of fresh blood.  I kinda giggled to myself and realized that I was going to be in labor very soon.  I called Rachel at 7:30 when I knew she was awake having read a status of hers on fb and then called Daren at 7:45 to tell him that he would need to be aware that I was probably going to call him home from work that day.  Called Daycare and dropped off Jemima at about 9 and called Jacinta and Georgia who were going to care for Jemima and record the birth at about 9 to give them time to organize their child care.   I also told them not to come but had called them both back by 10ish I think, to say, actually just come!  I also called Darren back at 9 to say, “come home” as contractions were about 5 mins apart and getting more intense.

By 10:30 I was feeling pretty dopey between the contractions and realized I was getting high on endorphins :).  Darren arrived home and started cleaning the kitchen.  I tried to doze but it didn’t work.  I ended up propped up on the couch with a cushion to lean into.  I stopped timing contractions on the contraction master at 1054, when I realized I needed to really concentrate to cope.  About that time Jacinta arrived and I asked Darren to set up the pool.

He called Rachel to tell her that I was definitely in labor, as I hadn’t spoken to her since early morning when I let her know it “might” be on today.  She was at the uni and said she would come at 12:30 unless I needed her earlier.

So I got into the pool at about 11:30.  Darren and Jacinta brought me cold water and held my hands.  By now the contractions were really starting to hurt and I was having, to really breathe thru them.  I remember looking at the clock at about 12:15pm and hoping that Rachel would get here soon. At some point I hear the floor boards along the hall leading to my bedroom give a telltale creak that someone was approaching and opened my eyes to see Rachel making her way slowly towards me.  We spoke for a moment I think and I think she listened to me thru a contraction and made a comment about it all sounding very good.  She moved back out to the lounge room to wait for me needing her and gave Darren and I privacy.  I remember Darren telling me that Rachel was going to stay.  Which seemed kinda strange at the time, until I realized that meant that they all thought it was progressing at a reasonable pace.

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I had thoughts of requesting a VE, even though I didn’t really want to have any.  I wanted to know that this was all moving things along after my last experience.  I think that Darren went to be relieved by Jacinta at one point and I verbalized to her that I wanted to ask for a VE from Rachel and she asked my why and what would I feel if I didn’t hear what I wanted.  I used her words to encourage me to not ask at that point, as I knew a disappointing exam would be both painful physically and emotionally.  I had also asked Darren before he was relieved, so he tells me now; I was really hoping someone would agree that I should have one!  I really did have lots of doubt that I could do it, or that my body was working.  So I continued on.  I was struggling now to cope with the pain and struggling to remember to breathe thru them.   I got out of the bath for a while.  I think because I felt so incredibly tired about then.  I wanted to just lie down and was finding that to truly relax during contractions in the bath was very difficult.  So I got onto the bed.

Birth

 

That is the first point where I remember being conscious of a great difficulty to regulate my temperature.  Georgia had arrived by this time after a flat tire on the way to be with me from Brisbane.  She was there to photograph and video the birth. She wrote in my diary, that at 1:22 (I had asked the girls who were there to document just the little things that went on during the day, as I knew that I would loose track in my labor land and wanted more than just clinical notes to help me remember the day.  There are some delightful little antidotes about things that I know will always make me giggle.) I was on the bed saying I felt hot and shaky.  Apparently I asked her to get me a thermometer!  I got up off the bed after awhile and went into the shower.  There at least I could turn the taps up and down to warm up and cool off as the urge took me.  Jacinta was with me when I got out and helped dry me down.  Or at least she tried to because I remember getting out and then running back into the shower again as a contraction came.  As I did get out, a contraction took hold I was instinctively lifting my knees high and sort of striding on the spot.  I went back over to the bed and leaned against it.  Jacinta and Georgia were with me and I remember asking them if they ever just wanted it to stop?  They said yes they both had.  I remember Jacinta telling me that that was what made the baby come…

By 14:50 I was back in the pool.  As contractions would come I would try not to fight them and just go with and relax through the sensations.  I would grip, either J, Darren or Rachel’s hands thru them and push against them.  I would internally get quite shirty with anyone who tried to let go of my hands before I was ready, or stop pushing against me. At one point Rachel reminded me that I could make noise if I wanted.  I hadn’t been intentionally not making noise, but with the encouragement I started to really vocalize loudly to cope.  A sort of prolonged “ahhhh” sound with my mouth wide open.  When it got really bad I just plain yelled my head off!

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Birth-11

 When I was really struggling I would tell myself “I can do this, I can do this”. A girl friend of mine had given me the words “She thought she could, so she did”, which I would repeat to myself.  I was really struggling to believe I could though.  I have never been a fan of pain.  Never been an exerciser cos it just hurt too much.  I only did things if they were fun.  This was def not fun!  I remember telling Darren and Rachel that I just wasn’t good with pain.  Hoping that they would agree and call an ambulance for me to go to hospital.  They both sort of laughed at me and told me that I was obviously quite wrong about that.  Darren told me that I hadn’t had a single contraction so far that I hadn’t coped with.  He says I settled down quite a bit after being told that.  Although I was quite convinced that they were humoring me at that point.

I remember looking at my watch not long after 4 and realizing that I hadn’t been conscious of the time since Rachel’s arrival at the promised 12:30.  I realized I had been at this awhile now.  Maybe it was because around that time according to the notes made by Jacinta that I made my first pushy noise with a contraction. According to J, at 16:15 I made a pushy noise that made both girls sit up and look at each other.   I recall being aware that the sound was quite involuntary and remember hearing excited pattering up the hall as the girls came to check on me.  They went away fairly soon I think, but I was aware of things progressing but also of being cynical, that it would just never end

By then I think I had started to fantasize about c/s and was working out what drugs I could get at hospital.  As an emergency nurse I was very familiar with the “green whistles” that the ambulance carried and would often give to laboring women.  I thought about them often during that time!  I realized in the non-cynical part of my brain that I was probably close to fully dilated if my body was giving involuntary pushes.  My problem was that my logical brain was not closely linked to the part of me that was living the experience.  It was like there was a logical analytical observer sitting in the corner of my brain who couldn’t speak….  She just watched and made wry observations in the back of my mind….  So realizing that I was probably 9cm or more encouraged me but made me realize I couldn’t have pethadine if I was in hospital, LOL!  It would either be gas, which sent me loopy last time, or an epidural, which would be terrible as far as I was concerned!  All of this was going thru my brain whilst I continued to labor thru.  The contractions were often double peaked or come in lots of two’s or threes.  As my body began to push more often, they would consist of one intense contraction where I would bear down and grunt and then be followed by a contraction where I would moan thru and find much less intense.

At 5pm Jacinta went and picked our daughter Jemima up from Daycare. I had always had Jacinta in mind to care for her and we had prepared her for the birth by reading her the book “Hello Baby”.

 Birth-7

It talked about how the mum made lots of noise thru the labor to give birth and when asked where the baby in mummies tummy would come from, Jemima would reply “from her bottom” very earnestly.  And turn around and pock out her bum whilst patting it.  I think because of a picture in the book showing the mother from the side when the head was out. .  I remember Darren asking me what I wanted done for her when she got home.  I remember being worried that she would be freaked out by the noises I was making, cos I was literally yelling my head off by this point!  I suggested taking her to the neighbors and told Darren that I was worried she would be scared.  He disagreed and said she would be fine.  I was too deep into labour to argue with him and left it in his hands. She is a particularly fearless little soul.  So he bought her into me to say hello after having big hugs when she got home with Daddy.  She looked at me and asked if “mummy sore?”.  I said yes I was sore….  “Mummy ok?”, she asked “Yes, mummy ok” I replied.  She stroked my cheek I think and then she was gone back out to be with Jacinta, but not before spying Rachel and to our amusement announcing loudly and enthusiastically “Rachel!!”  Jacinta wrote at 6pm that during one particularly noisy contraction where I yelled “It hurts, It hurts!!” she asked Jacinta, “mummy sore?” and then told her, “Daddy help”.  J wrote, “she understands”….

6pm- Jacinta also wrote that about then that I am laboring well. “It is honest and earnest and powerful.  You are questioning yourself, but we all around you can easily see you are progressing well and quite capable of birthing this baby”.

I was really freaking out about this time. Things were really intense and I often wasn’t getting a break in between contractions from back pain and pain in my cervix, right down the front.  Rachel stepped up the fetal monitoring because I kept complaining of the lower abdo pain that wouldn’t stop between contractions.  I knew she would worry about a rupture and whilst I actually wasn’t worried about that, part of me secretly hoped she would send me to hospital and make all the pain stop.  She would question me about it, but everything else about what I was doing looked perfect.  At this point I was on my knees over the side of the tub for contractions and pushing thru more contractions than not.  I was also getting desperate.  I was desperate for someone to tell me what to do.  I asked Rachel what to do and she asked me what I wanted to do.  I replied I wanted to panic!  She said, “Well if you want panic, go ahead”.  So I did!!  I think I may have had a little cry and said, “Shit this hurts, it hurts!!”  But panicking didn’t work for me, LOL.  So I stopped pretty quickly.  It hadn’t helped, so I didn’t do it again and got back to what did and tried once again to work with my bodies increasing power.  Thru that point of my labor I remember popping my head up sporadically during the breaks and confiding my fears out loud.  It really helped to let them go.  Rachel and Darren listened and would either reassure me or shoot holes thru my fears.  It helped to let them go.  It helped to feel like I was so safe with them that I could admit some of the more ridiculous fears.  One of which was that I had been told by women of my family that we had “small hips” and that if I didn’t have babies before I turned 30, my pelvis wouldn’t “flex” and I wouldn’t be able to get my baby thru.  I was 32 at this point ;)

Birth-12

I asked to be checked sometime around 6-7pm and was encouraged to check myself.  I told them I could feel baby’s head which elicited smiles and when I showed them a measurement on my finger with my thumb how far in I had felt baby they told me I was almost there.  I only found out later that they had been looking at the distance I held my fingers open rather than the distance down my finger I was marking with my thumb.  But either way, their obvious delight at my progress gave me hope and with my courage renewed I continued.  I remember at some point in there during a pretty horrific contraction looking up to see Georgia beaming with a huge smile from behind her camera.  I remember taking courage from that too…  But once again I lost courage and asked Rachel to check me again as I had inserted a finger and could no longer feel the head hard without something soft and squishy over the top.  There was also this weird strip of flesh that seemed to float away inside me like a little finger….  So Rachel checked me whilst I was contracting and told me that she could feel baby’s head less than an inch inside.  I began to get excited in a disbelieving sort of way.  I was so hopeful and yet so scared I couldn’t do it.  It was so hard.  I was pushing quite a lot at this point and really wanted to bite down on something at this point.  I began to eye off my husband’s fingers in front of me LOL.  I was kind enough to warn him that he ought to be aware that I wanted to bite him quite badly!  He would encourage me thru my contractions till I got to the point where I couldn’t stand him talking to me during them.  I quite firmly told him to “shut up” despite the fact that it had helped earlier to have his encouragement.  I remember hearing Rachel tell Darren that this was “a good sign”.  He left me for a small while to get some food, but I remember asking Jacinta not long after he had gone “where is my damn husband?!”  He returned to me pretty quickly and I don’t know what I would have done without him.  He was my anchor.

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I continued to complain about all of the pain I had after a contraction.  Rachel ascertained that the pain was decreasing without the contractions.  She told me she suspected that I had a cervical lip pinched between my pelvis and babies head and suggested that I float on my back for a few contractions, to allow my uterus to pull that lip out of the way.  She warned me it would make contractions more intense but thought it may relieve my pain.  As I did the contractions definitely picked up another notch.  I found myself bearing down very hard and lifting my knees up to be in a floating squat as I did so.  Soon I started to feel massive pressure in my bottom.  My body was so powerful at that point.  Nothing I could have done would have stopped my body pushing that baby down at that point.  Over a few contractions I remember hearing Rachel telling Darren she could see the head.  My waters still hadn’t broken but she began talking about the baby’s hair and got a mirror so Darren could see.  He was sat behind me on the bed whilst I held onto his hands above my head.  I really got excited hearing that!  I thought, “OMG I am really going to have a baby”.

I began to feel a burning pain in my vagina during contractions but the baby’s head would retract back in-between.  Rachel reminded me to not hurry thru this and told me that the baby was stretching things slowly and that would help me.  I was marveling as I felt down between my legs that I could feel the sack inflated with fluids and the hardness of the head just behind.  At one point as the burning got intense as my body pushed my baby out, and I panicked again.  I decided it was WAY too intense and tried to push the babies head back inside!  I laugh about it now because it was so irrational, but I just decided that I just couldn’t do it.  It was too much and I wasn’t gonna do it!  That being said my body had completely taken over and was pushing this baby out!  At this rather absurd point during pushing my calf would cramp.  So I was yelling at Rachel to shake my calf mid contraction!  I was on one knee by this stage and had the other knee cocked.  Suddenly her head was out…. Mostly.  She stopped just about when my peri got past her nose and I hurt like all hell when I realized she had stopped prior to her neck where I expected some relief and so I pushed my peri down over her chin with my hands.  My waters were still intact but burst on the next contraction.  Rachel told me later that she had seen a bit of mec in the waters.  A contraction came and all it seemed to push out, was the waters.  The baby didn’t move at all and I was a bit scared.  I asked Rachel if she was stuck so on the next contraction Rachel helped me and pulled her from my body where I grabbed her and brought her onto my chest.  She later told me that the baby hadn’t been stuck but thought I would have gotten her out on my own if I had shifted position.  I didn’t mind to be honest.  I wanted help and she gave me what I needed at that time.  I had just kinda frozen with sensory overload.  Anyway more importantly….

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OMG!!!  I just had a baby!!!  I couldn’t believe it I was completely overwhelmed.  I hugged her to me and she breathed a bit moist for a moment but pinked up straight away and breathed on her own in seconds. I think I may have asked for Jemima and so she was brought in and gave both me and the…. (OMG we have another little baby girl!) ….. a kiss within a min of her being born.  I needed to get out of the pool pretty quick, just because I had refused to let them fill it with any warmer water.  So I gave the baby to Rachel as I climbed out of the pool straight up onto my bed.  I asked Rachel how did I go about pushing out the placenta and she told me “well you have listened to your body up till now, so just do what it tells you”.  So I pushed out the placenta within about 5-10 mins of birthing my baby.  I was still so completely overwhelmed.  I just couldn’t believe I had done it!!  I bagged rights after the baby was born to make the first phone call to my sister and we both just cried to each other over the phone that I had done it.

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So there you go, my HBAC of a baby girl born in the caul.

Birth stats

First contraction till birth of baby 12.5 hrs

Active labor was probably from about 11am till 7.15

I reached transition I think about 6ish, but had had involuntary pushing from about 4.15-715 but only consistently from about 6

I had two minor labia tears, either side, which now 7 days post partum don’t hurt.

My toosh is still bruised and I am taking it easy, but I had my first outing at day 3 and have had the most amazing recovery so far.

I can honestly say it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but by the same token It was soo worth it and I am incredibly proud of myself!!!  There has been a healing of my relationship with my husband, in areas that I sensed were broken, but didn’t know how to fix till now.  I think it was just about trust.  Ours had been bruised, but having our trust in each other tested and come through stronger has been a great healing for us both and I have fallen in love with my man all over again.  I couldn’t ask for a better birth, or to have been supported in a more full way.  I was completely trusted by everyone around me.  I wonder sometimes now, whether my whole life has been changed, by the massive rush of oxytocin, that I got when I birthed Madeleine.  Everything just seems brighter.

Thank you for reading my story.  I wish for every mother the support and love I received when I was pregnant and gave birth.  I hope that this inspires you to believe in yourself and surround yourself with others who believe in the strength of your body.

From Georgia – I hope you loved this birth story and next week I will share the film of Madeleine’s beautiful home birth! You can watch it here If you were inspired by Belinda’s story – please comment and let her know x

  1. gravatar for Mary Mary

    Hi Belinda, Thank you for sharing your story with such honesty. I will be birthing at home in less than two months and your story really brought up some unvoiced fears I had of my body not being able to do it (I had an syntocin+epidural last time because of mec staining and and OP labour which was classed as failure to progress) but just found it so helpful to hear that your doubts and your triumph. Thank you.

    Reply
    • gravatar for Belinda Belinda

      You are so welcome Mary. You know it is so normal to have doubts. Google midwifethinkings “feel the fear and birth anyway”. It will help you to understand how normal it is to worry and have fears. It doesn’t stop women from birthing their babies. Babies come anyway. I hope you have a truly beautiful birth. Many birth blessings xx Belinda

      Reply
  2. gravatar for Helen Helen

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I had my son by emcs nearly 5 years ago without having a chance to labour at all, and your words “haze of grief” describe exactly how I felt afterwards. He was small and we couldn’t establish breastfeeding. I felt I had failed in every way. I am currently 37 + 4 with no 2 and planning a vbac, albeit a hospital birth, and I am lucky that all the medical staff involved in my pregnancy have been very supportive and actively encouraging. Thank you again for reminding me to believe in my body. :-) x

    Reply
  3. gravatar for Samara Samara

    Hi Belinda thanks so much for sharing your story. I had an incredibly long first labour that ended in a c/s after wanting a natural birth. I was induced as my waters had broken without contractions within the hospitals time limits. I am 19 weeks pregnant with my second and have just booked a midwife for a homebirth as I just couldnt face hospital again. While your video and story made me cry uncontrollably with happiness for you, it reinforced to me how much I would love to have this experience myself. So far all is going well during the pregnancy and i have a beautiful midwife who I trust completely! All the best to your family xx

    Reply
  4. gravatar for Alison Alison

    What a beautiful story! Brings back so many beautiful memories and emotions (so many emotions) from when I gave birth to my little boy last year…things that I had forgotten up until now. Thank you for sharing your birth. Truly inspiring and something that you should be very proud of.

    Reply
    • gravatar for Belinda Belinda

      Thanks Alison :). I am proud of it. It was her birthday the day you commented. A great day of memories for me :)

      Reply
  5. gravatar for Betty Panagiotidou Betty Panagiotidou

    Congratulations, Belinda!!! For having a homebirth, especially after a c-section, for writing and sharing all these amazing experiences!!! Reading your homebirth story, filled me with emotions of empathy, delight, some moments of anxiety and fear, but joy at last!!! You must be soooo proud of yourself and your wonderful family!!! You gave me power to want even more a homebirth for my second baby! You are really specific with all the details and the procedure and that really helps a woman to understand and know what to expect in a ‘natural birth’!!!Thank you so much for sharing everything , even the ‘hard’ times and your inner fears, as that will help mothers like me who want to have a homebirth , get a bit more prepared…
    Hope you have a peaceful and delightful time with your family, lots of love and support from Greece! Thank You!

    Reply
    • gravatar for Belinda Belinda

      Betty, you are very welcome! The joy that comes from a natural birth and the knowledge that, “you can do it” is immense! Being prepared and surrounding yourself with people who truly believe in natural birth cannot be under valued. The people around you will be what inspires you or discourages you in the moment of truth. Pick those people with care. But above all believe in yourself. Women are amazing! Many birth blessings!

      Reply
  6. gravatar for Belinda Belinda

    Chera, something that helped me the whole way thru my pregnancy was the knowledge thT it is “normal” to have fears of all kinds, especially if you have tried something previously and ended up in a place you would rather not be. It meant that when I did have a fear come along in my mind, I would just think, “well that is to be expected” and if I could do something like talk it thru with Rachel I would, otherwise I would just accept that it was a normal response to have fear. It was a kindness to myself to not place unrealistic expectations on myself. It stopped me stressing about having to be a zen birthing goddess. Much joy in your journey. Be kind and love yourself as you go. Surround yourself with others who will show you love too.

    Reply
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Welcoming Darcy

If you know me you might know that there is nothing more I love than documenting births. I think this is the most incredible, special time and feel so humbly honoured when a woman invites me into that special space with her.

I was particularly excited & nervous documenting the birth of Lana Bell’s third daughter recently (especially since she’s a photographer herself – check out this heartbreakingly gorgeous photos Lana took).

Lana lives in northern NSW and I was a little anxious about making it to her birth on time. Bright and early one morning she texted me (I think it was 5am) and I leapt out of bed and sped down the highway as the sun was drying dew from leaves. It was such a beautiful day to be born I thought as I drove into Murwillumbah – the fields so green and the light so soft and inviting. Little Miss Darcy didn’t get that memo though because not long after I arrived, Lana’s contractions slowed and little Darcy decided that day wasn’t the day she would come out afterall. Lana’s contractions were slow and intermittent so we went to the beach and tried to walk Darcy out. Late that night I reluctantly decided to head home as the little lady didn’t seem ready to come out any time soon. As I drove down the highway I just knew she would come on Theo’s birthday – the only day I couldn’t leave to document the birth for Lana. And she did.

Thankfully Lana’s husband Justin was there with the camera and caught her precious first moments and meetings in this world. I visited Lana again when Darcy was 2 weeks old and captured that beautiful new baby love. I love the connection between a mama & her new baby, made me all longing for a new baby of my own.

www.littleposers.com.au

I hope you enjoy this little video of welcoming the darling little Darcy to her family; in three parts.

For all you lovelies that love a good birth story please go check out Lana’s birth story over on her wonderful birth site, My Birth, My Way.

  1. gravatar for Rebecka Rebecka

    OH GEORGIA. When she stops on the beach for a contraction, and then the waves… where did my breath go?

    Perfection.

    Congrats to Lana and her family.

    Reply
    • gravatar for Georgia Georgia

      Aw, thank you mama. I always get a special kind of happy when you leave me some love. I am so glad you liked it.

      Reply
  2. gravatar for Carrie Carrie

    Oh Georgia, that is just lovely! So special! It tells such a beautiful story without a single word. I wish you lived in California so I could have you near me when I have babies…

    Reply
  3. gravatar for Rach Rach

    Georgia, how do you always manage to make me cry? (In a good way obviously!) Any chance of you flying half way around the world for my birth in May ;) Oh if only!

    Reply
  4. gravatar for queenmumsibell queenmumsibell

    Super cute children and really lovely shots! Love the video…. great job and gorgeous baby.

    Reply
  5. gravatar for Han Han

    This is so incredibly stunning!! So flawlessly beautiful, loved every second. You are amazing Georgia!!! And what a gorgeous mumma!!!

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Priya’s Birth Story

Tomorrow is my sweet Peach’s 2nd birthday and I am imagining we’ll be too busy having birthday fun to post tomorrow. I can’t believe that this time 2 years ago I was yet to meet my girl. At this point, I had already been in labour for 18 hours and I was more than eager to meet the Peach!

On the eve of her birthday though I’ve been thinking about our journey to her birth. I find myself still processing the events that seemed to almost hurl me into motherhood. When Leigh from Marvelous Kiddo wrote about Theo’s birth story here, she entitled it ‘Welcoming Theo’ and that is how I feel about Theo’s birth, it was welcoming. I felt as though we were ready and waiting for him to arrive, his labour was calm and I was prepared mentally and physically.

I am not sure what the heck I was doing during the 9 months I was pregnant with Priya but I didn’t feel like I was ready at all, it did not feel ‘welcoming’. The whole process of her birth seemed abrupt and terrifying – not at all the natural and beautiful outcome of a pregnancy. Perhaps because I had no idea what to expect, perhaps because I hadn’t researched enough and decided exactly what it was I wanted or perhaps it was just a hard labour (and fighting the natural process before it’s even started  is hard, let me assure you!). But regardless, I am getting a little ahead of myself.

If you would like to read Priya’s exceptionally long and picture heavy pregnancy & birth story, please press ‘read more’!

Priya Grace

Read more on “Priya’s Birth Story” »

  1. gravatar for Michaela Heller Michaela Heller

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Priya, sweet little thing!
    Kisses and Hugs from Austria!

    Reply
  2. gravatar for adela adela

    hello georgia! thank you very much for your story! i have my due date in week+two days and i am expecting my little girl every day… i decided for natural birth and throughout my pregnancy i was convinced that i can do it and i looked forvard to. how my time is running out i am getting really nervous… I read your blog for almost a year and you are such a inspiration for me! the way you raise your children and the sort of mother you are is very inspirating for me! and this birth story really calmed me – everithing will be how it should be! your are great women, i admire you!
    p.s.:sorry for my english!! i am from czech republic, central europe, and i tried my best :)

    Reply
  3. gravatar for Cathrin Diez Cathrin Diez

    Thank you for sharing these amazing films, photos and your feelings with us! I’m overwhelmed! The day before yesterday my son celebrated his 16th birthday already and I do not know where all those years are…. With the present of finding this Homepage the most wonderful memories came back to me. THANKS AGAIN! All my love, Cathrin from Bavaria (Germany)

    Reply
  4. gravatar for Ellie Ellie

    Your honesty, humor, and diversity of experience provide a powerful testimony for a better next time. I’ve also written about my labor but I’m ambivalent in my retelling: lots of pain and gore to excuse my epi? Railing against feeling guilty at all? Disappointment over missing such a pivotal event in both of our lives? In the meantime, I look at beautiful photos of waterbirths, fantasize about another pregnancy and hope for a better next time. And your story helps! Lovely children, photos, and blog – happy writing!

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  5. gravatar for Ellie Ellie

    I’ve been digging through your website, and when I read that your first childbirth was not what you had hoped, I paused to search for the birth story. My little one is a year, and although I now search the web, looking for beautiful waterbirths and fantasizing about another pregnancy, hers was not so. I’ve written about it as we’ll, and I’m still conflicted: sometimes railing that I should feel any guilt at all, often making excuses, but mostly sad and disappointed that I missed (not the right word, but will have to do) such an important event in our lives. Anyway, thank you for sharing. Your frankness, humor, and diversity of experience make your story an even more powerful testimony to a better next time.

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  6. gravatar for Jenni Jenni

    My first birth was a long and painful one, not unlike your story. The difference being that our little chubby came out quite blue and both my husband and I confessed to each other later, that we had been wondering if perhaps I had some aboriginal blood in my ancestry (I’m adopted)! Seems I hadn’t read enough either! She is now 17 and not so chubby anymore and quite fair! Its very clear how much you adore your little Priya, imagine how your mum must of felt being that she no doubt adores you in the same way you adore Priya. Maybe because I am now closer to her stage in life than yours, I am looking at her face in these photos and wondering what she felt…..Just a thought.

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  7. gravatar for Errol Errol

    Oh yes Rhiannon. I was so happy and shocked at the same time. I read up on the birthing process so much but missed this bit, or simply forgot about it at the time o.O

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Theo’s Birth Story

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Georgia pregnant with Theo by Zali

Theo Mabini Brizuela
13th February 2010
10lbs 7oz
AGPAR 9/10
Delicious.

It’s only been two days and already the little details of your birth are becoming warm and fuzzy in my mind, blurring into a cloudy memory that makes my heart swell.

Just like your big sister, you came nice and late. We had suspected that you might come late so I had added a few days to your conception date to give you more time to come when you were ready. Your due date came and passed and we weren’t surprised. The weekend before you were born it was a lovely rainy weekend and your dad, sister and I thought you might come. We waited at home, the house scrubbed and cleaned, hoping you might decide to arrive. You didn’t. With your sister I had gone into labour at 41 + 6 so when that date rolled around you didn’t arrive, I started to worry you weren’t ever coming out.

On Friday evening I knew if you didn’t come the next day, I would be risked out of the birth centre for being too far post dates. I really wanted to have you in the water with our wonderful midwives so I was rolling around like a crazed woman on an exercise ball, hoping it might make you come. Sure enough once we’d put your sister to bed and I’d rolled on the ball for a few hours, contractions started coming. They were coming quite close and hard, about 5 minutes apart. I was excited knowing that this could be the start of labour. As I continued rolling and the contractions kept coming, I looked at the clock, it was 10:40 and I suddenly felt very tired. I knew what a task lay ahead of me and suddenly didn’t feel ready; I hadn’t had enough sleep to labour properly. I decided I should try and get some sleep then but it was very hard to fall asleep with the contractions coming so regularly. I told your dad I couldn’t sleep so he put on a very boring film and I was able to doze off right away. I woke a number of times throughout the night and the contractions were still coming. They had slowed significantly, to about 10 minutes apart, but still there.

I woke feeling fresh and ready for labour at 4:30 am and decided to roll on the ball again to speed the contractions back up. Within a few minutes the contractions were very close together. I knew you would be coming that day. Priya woke too and she helped me with some last minute things I wanted to do before you came. Between contractions we peeled and juiced apples so I could have a fresh juice to keep up my energy. Then we did some folding of nappies and ironed some shirts. By 6 am I woke your dad because the contractions were very close (about 3 minutes apart) and I was having trouble keeping calm during them with your sister wanting my attention. Your dad moaned and said he wanted to sleep for another 5 minutes. I got cross and told him if he didn’t get out of bed, he wouldn’t be getting a baby!

I texted your aunty Hailey and told her that she could head over soon. She was coming to film and photograph the birth and Andrew and the girls were coming to play with Priya. I told her that she shouldn’t rush and to come when she was ready. It’s a 40 minute drive from their house so I wasn’t expecting them for a while.

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While Peach and dad played in the lounge, I put on my hypnobirthing affirmations and settled in our bedroom. The hypnobirthing tracks were great and helped me really relax and get into a rhythm with the contractions. I could still talk easily between contractions and felt really excited knowing each one was bringing me closer to meeting you! Since the contractions were now about 2.5 minutes apart, I told your dad to tell Hailey to come sooner if she could. I focused on my tracks and my breathing and continued labouring while resting my head on the edge of our bed. Once Hailey arrived your dad was free to come and support me which was great, I felt so much more able with his hand to hold or him rubbing my back. This labour was very different than Priya’s, during her labour I felt like I was alone labouring. Your dad had been there supporting me, but I didn’t really let him, I found his kind words annoying and unsupportive. This time though, I really relied on your dad, trusted him and let him support me. I don’t think I could have done it without him, he was there through every contraction, massaging me, icing me, telling me I could do it.

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Hailey chatted with me a bit and started filming the labour. At 8:00 am I told your dad we should call the midwife because the contractions were so close. I spoke with the midwife Michelle and she said I didn’t sound like I was in established labour and to call back when the contractions were three minutes apart and I couldn’t talk through them. Michelle asked if I had seen a bloodstained show which I had not. After I spoke with her I went to the toilet and sure enough, there it was. I was really hot in our bedroom because the morning sun streams through our double glass sliding doors making it like a little oven. I decided to move to the spare room which was darker and cooler. Again, I laboured sitting on the floor, leaning over the bed. I began to feel quite nauseated and asked Hailey to bring me a bucket in case I needed to throw up. Not long after she arrived with the bucket I did throw up and I felt much better afterwards. It was about 8:30 at this point and I felt like I wanted to head to the Birth Centre before the contractions got any closer together and made the trip unbearable. Your dad called Michelle and she told us to meet her there but to give her a 20 minute head start as she lives a fair way from the hospital. Your dad busied himself getting our things together to take with us and I stayed on the floor in the spare room. I felt particularly bad at this point because your dad wasn’t there to support me. Soon we were ready to go into the Birth Centre and we all piled in the car. The trip seemed much longer than usual. Every time we braked the contractions felt worse and I gripped the seatbelt as hard as I could. We stopped in the Emergency bay of the hospital and Hailey and I walked up to the Birth Centre while your dad parked. I was walking slowly and contracting so we were only in the elevators by the time your dad had parked the car and caught up with us.

I felt so happy as we entered the Birth Centre and I could see our midwife, Michelle waiting in the hallway. We had a team of three midwives and I had really been hoping that Michelle would be on call when I went into labour. She had briefly been in Priya’s labour and I had really loved her and didn’t want her to leave. You are a very clever boy arriving on that day! We headed into Room 4 which was the same room your cousin Zen was born in. It’s hard to explain but there was something so exciting and wonderful about those first minutes settling in the Birth Centre. Michelle looked so excited and happy and the energy in the room felt great. It was a nice boost. Michelle offered the standard hospital procedures which she had to offer. She offered the CTG monitoring as she was rolling the machine out of the room! I really love her. She told me that the hospital would like me to have a VE but that she was happy not to do it. We did have a listen to your heartbeat with a doppler and she felt what position you were in. I knew you were still posterior (I could feel your little limbs right out front) but Michelle just felt my tummy, smiled and said everything looked great. I was happy she didn’t tell me that you were in the ‘wrong position’ as I was told with your big sister. I laboured for a little while standing and then decided to kneel over the bean bag. I had my ipod in and focused on my hypnobirthing track.

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I was quite thirsty and sipped on energy drink and icy poles between contractions. Your dad rubbed my back and Michelle rubbed my feet, it felt so good. I had a heat pack on my lower back which felt wonderful, I was very sore. I felt sick again and threw up. Michelle suggested I go to the toilet. Getting up and moving to the toilet wasn’t as hard as I had thought it would be. Though the contractions were now very intense, they felt good, they felt productive and I was really happy.

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After the toilet I came out and stood not knowing where I wanted to be. Michelle asked me if I would like to use the bath which was ready and tempting me. I didn’t want to hop into the bath too early as I really wanted you to be born in the water and hadn’t been able to stay very long in the water with Priya before I overheated. Since we’d only been in the Birth Centre only 2 hours, I thought it was a little too early to be hopping in. I’d mentally prepared myself to be labouring all day. The contractions were changing though and I decided I did want to hop in, though I still didn’t believe I was close to having you.

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As soon as I lowered myself into the water I felt downward pressure and almost like I was ready to push. I was a little alarmed as I couldn’t get over how fast things were going. I didn’t think I should be ready to push yet and told the Midwife worriedly that I felt like pushing, she smiled and said “Good”. The next contraction I couldn’t help myself, I just started pushing. In my hypnobirthing we had learnt about ‘breathing the baby out’ and allowing the body to work on it’s own. I tried focusing on the breathing they had suggested for pushing but every ounce of me just wanted to push. I was on my knees in the water gripping your dads thighs as he sat in the water facing me. Poor dad had me right in his face making the most primal of sounds. Michelle told me she could see the waters and that they were still intact, she thought you might be born in the caul. During the next contraction your waters broke with a nice big pop. I cried out “what was that!?!?” – it felt like a bullet shooting out of me, they definitely popped with force. Right after the waters broke your heart rate dropped down to 90. Michelle asked me to turn over so that she could have a better listen. I told her I didn’t want to, she told me I would and I could, she needed to listen to your heartbeat. I turned over and she checked again, your heart rate was fine.

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The next push your head came out. I remember thinking the whole time “so this is that ring of fire”. It burnt to push, but also felt so good. Michelle said she could see your head and I felt between my legs and there you were, so soft and velvety. It was the most amazing feeling touching your head. It felt like a soft wet fuzzy peach. Your body came out the next push and you were passed up to me. Your birth time was 12:06pm. Your cord was wrapped loosely around your neck, and after you were untangled, I held you. I could hear your dad sobbing as he held me from behind. I was so overwhelmed. You looked so tiny and beautiful. I kept saying to you “you’re so beautiful, you’re so beautiful”. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was, pulling you from the water and holding you straight away. I had one hand holding you between your legs and thought I could feel a penis. I thought it may have been your cord, so I did a little check and sure enough – testicles! I told your dad, “It’s a boy!” and he cried some more.

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We hopped out of the water after this so I could birth your placenta. We waited until the placenta had been delivered before your dad cut your cord. Michelle checked me for tears and I was so surprised to be told I didn’t have any! Your dad then disappeared from the room. I was starting to get annoyed that he had left and not told anyone where he was going until he returned and placed a medallion around my neck. On the back the medallion read

“World’s greatest achievememt – Birth
* Congratulations *
Georgia Peach Brizuela
For your commitment passion and love!”

My heart melted and I forgave your dad for disappearing.

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birth

After we lay together for a while we all got curious staring at you about how big you were. We asked Michelle to weigh you and we were all blown away that you were 10lbs 7oz. You looked so tiny to me. Unlike Priya, you were not chubby at all – just long – 56cm. After this, we put you to the breast and you fed. And fed. And fed. You latched perfectly first go and haven’t had much time off the breast since. You are an excellent nurser.

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Once you were fed I showered and hopped into the double bed with your dad. Your Noni and Pa arrived and wanted to see you. They also brought me a Sub which I devoured very quickly. I was starving. I also ate two muesli bars, two scones, an icy pole and some lollies. We all took the time to hold you and admire your perfect features. Your dad let all our friends know that you had been born safe and sound.

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We wanted to sleep but we also wanted to get home as soon as possible. We stayed awake so the paediatrician could come and give you a check before discharge. The paediatrician came and checked you over, wrote in your notes and said we were fine to go home. We all laughed after he left because he looked like he was 12. Michelle joked that she knew she was getting old because she kept thinking the doctors needed packed lunches. We decided we want to leave the Birth Centre and get home to your sister. Your Noni wanted me to take a wheelchair from the birth centre to the car but when they took too long to arrive, I walked instead. I felt great, walking out of there only a few hours after you were born, proudly holding you close. We couldn’t believe we were home by 4:30 pm introducing you to your big sister.

Your birth was beautiful and empowering Theo, I hope one day you can witness your own baby being born in such a rewarding way.
I love you.

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And now the video version made by my lovely sister, Hailey. It is by far, my favourite 7 mins of film.

  1. gravatar for Claudia Claudia

    I love watching birth videos! All of my six were midwife assisted homebirths, but only my second was a waterbirth. I teared up watching your daughter meet her new brother! I love your blog.

    Reply
  2. gravatar for Bonnie Shortall Bonnie Shortall

    Oh my god, Georgia. I literally come to this very blog post every once and a while and I just looooveeee reading it. I also visit the home of your blog pretty much every day to see what’s new, especially with Florin’s 365. You’re such an awesome mama. Love your heart and your willingness to share. From Bonnie, 20 year old from Ireland :) xx

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  3. gravatar for Louise Louise

    Georgia,
    When I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now 20 weeks old, I searched YouTube for “natural births” and came across your video. I was planning a homebirth and since it was my first pregnancy & birth, I didn’t know what to expect. Your birth video gave me so much courage and made me really look forward to my homebirth! It is such a beautiful video and deeply touching. I promptly decided that this is the way I wanted to birth my baby.

    Anyway, I just randomly found your instagram through another person’s feed and thought you looked familiar. Lo and behold, it was you— the woman in the youtube video who helped inspire my birthing confidence. I just wanted to share that and to thank you for posting your video for first-time natural birthing mamas like me :)

    p.s. love the blog!

    Reply
  4. gravatar for liz liz

    Amazing video….. cant stop crying…. Makes me want a third and my second is only 4 months old! ha!

    Reply
  5. gravatar for kylie kylie

    i love this so much. my eyes are filling with tears and my heart seems to have sped up to a crazy rate. i want this. more than anything i want to have a birth like this, so unlike my first.
    you are amazing miss georgia!

    Reply
  6. gravatar for Christina Christina

    Wow what an amazing birth, I watched the video your sister made and read Theo’s birth Story. I just found out on friday that my name has come up for the birth centre for baby number three due around 8 weeks time. I was looking for videos on the birth centre and seen your video, Also great I just finished reading hpynobirthing and have been listening to my birth affirmations, it is great to be able to see what the birth centre and hypnobirthing can be like. I hope that my birth is as beautiful as yours.
    thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • gravatar for Georgia Georgia

      Hi Christina, thanks so much for sharing your story with me! I am so glad to hear you’re having a birth centre birth! That’s great. The affirmations are so good, aren’t they? I hope you have a beautiful birth!

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