After the birth of my first son Niko, I was in shock at how my birth had gone down. I went into my pregnancy and labour thinking I had all the tools and skills and I would need to have a perfect natural, intervention-free birth in the Mercy Family Birth Centre. My Mum had very quick labours with my sister and I that I was sure everything was in my favour to have the same. I went in to have a checkup when I was a few days overdue and the midwife checked and said, “you're 4 cms dilated! You’re going to have this baby this afternoon”. Any midwives reading this, never predict and tell a mother when her baby will arrive!
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After 36 hours of labour, an induction to speed up delivery due to ‘failure to progress past 5 cms’, an epidural, forceps and a post part hemorrhage - Niko was delivered blue and unresponsive. After my husband revealed the sex, my Mum ran crying out of the room to tell my stepfather father in the waiting room, “She’s had a boy but he’s not breathing!”
Although both Niko and I were fine after his birth, I couldn’t quite work out what went wrong. What could I have done differently, did I go into the birth center too soon? Should I have stayed out of the birth pool until later in labour? Was I weak choosing an epidural? So many questions. Niko was 4.4 kgs with a huge head and he just wouldn’t come out.
After this experience, I went into my second pregnancy and labour determined to have a much better experience. I booked into the Mercy Birth Centre again and had a lovely team of midwives who supported me the whole way through my pregnancy. I had always been interested in birth and had already watched every episode of One Born Every Minute and Call The Midwife. I began obsessing over birth stories. I found several podcasts of birth stories online and I listened to every episode I could find. I found comfort in hearing how other women had coped and the decisions they had made in their births.
After an amazing drug-free fast delivery of my second son Louis, I felt compelled to start a Podcast of Australian Birthing Experiences. The shows I had been listening to had been mostly American and therefore their healthcare systems were quite different to ours in Australia.
I started the show in May 2017 by recording my own second birth experience, followed by my sister and some close girlfriends. I wasn’t sure if anyone would listen to them. I figured worst case scenario my Mum is the only listener and at least my friends will have a nice record of their births as a keepsake.
Now 18 months on, the show is about to hit 500,000 downloads and I have a waiting list of women wanting to come on the show of over 350. Each day I receive letters of thanks from new mothers who have loved listening throughout their pregnancies and many even say they reflected back on previous episodes recalling what other women had chosen or done when faced with the same challenges in their labour.
It’s quite a juggle getting the show up each week with two active little boys at home and I’m expecting my third baby early next year. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. It feels a great honour that the women I interview entrust me to record and document their stories and I feel very proud to have created a resource for pregnant and new mothers to draw on during their journey into motherhood.
I have a Masters in Public Health with a major in international women's Health. Pre kids I thought I'd travel the world working for the WHO.
Children: 2 and one on the way
Motherhood in 5 words: A hilariously challenging & noisy wild ride.
Fav family friendly place: Wombat Bend Park Templestowe
Coffee order: Strong Flat White
Biz: Australian Birth Stories
A podcast of Australian Mother's stories of childbirth.
Blog post image credits: Hilary Walker and Jess Worrall.
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