- KHAILA -

Khaila shares her journey into the world of motherhood for the first time, with the wonderful natural birth of her child... 

 

2.00am

 I woke up in a daze realising that I hadn’t felt the baby kick all night. Usually I would get a swift kick (or ten) to the bladder to remind me that heavily pregnant women don’t usually make it through the night without a trip to the toilet.

 

I sat there continually checking the time and waiting for that almighty kick. 15 minutes went by and nothing, 30 minutes – still nothing. I moved from the bed to the shower to see whether the warm water would change that. It was then under the water I felt my first ‘pain’. And when I say ‘pain’ it felt like very mild period cramping. It kept coming and going every 3 minutes.

 

We had done birthing classes and the hospital told us to expect labour to start with contractions 10 minutes apart and when you got to 3 minutes it was time to head to the hospital. As I was already having contractions at 3 minutes apart I woke up my husband and phoned the hospital for instructions. Because I was not in pain the hospital advised to call back once the contractions were stronger.

 

For the next hour or two I threw up twice and had my husband pack up the car. I phoned the hospital back to advise contractions were stronger and they told us to come in. This was it. Today was the day we would find out if we were having a little girl or boy and I would be able to eat sushi again (the pregnancy cravings were at an almighty high). We only live 15 minutes from the hospital, but sitting in the car on a contraction is definitely hard to do – even for such a short trip! My husband offered to drop me at the front doors and then go and park the car but I refused to let him leave my side. So there I was, waddling toward the hospital in my night gown and my giant maternity pad, stopping for every contraction, using any available wall, pay station or railing I could find to lean up against. My dignity was slowly leaving my body.     

 

 Once we arrived at the maternity ward I was quickly offered a bed and the midwife checked dilation.

“2cm!”

“What? No that can’t be right? Can you check again?”

“Definitely only 2cm, would you like to go home and come back later?”

I knew there was no way I was going to get back in the car and sit on another contraction! I advised her that I wanted to stay so they took me up to another floor and gave me and my husband a room to “relax” in. At this point we had nothing with us other than my husband’s phone. In our haste we had left everything in the car. Our bags, camera, music – everything.

6am

By now it was about 6am and a tea lady came around with breakfast for us. People tend to give hospital food a bad rap but I can tell you in that moment it was the best tasting bacon I have ever had.  My husband was alternating between rubbing my back and then quickly feeding me in between contractions. I was uncomfortable by this stage and telling my husband that I was going to need an epidural. He reassured me that I can do this and won’t need one. (This is what we had discussed. I told him no matter what I say let me know I don’t need an epidural). The nurses were coming and going with heat packs which really helped with the pain. In the lead up to this day I had done a hypnobirthing class so I was really just trying to focus on my breathing. I found it helped to keep the room dark and keep my eyes closed.

 

10am rolls around and I insist to my husband that I’m going to have to go and do a poo. He says he will go get a midwife and I tell him that it’s definitely not the baby and that I just need to use the toilet. A midwife comes in and tells me that it’s “go time”.

“Wait, I have to do a poo first”

“That is your baby’s head – we need to get you to the delivery suite”.

 

I was wheeled downstairs to the delivery suite in a wheelchair and you could hear screams of pain coming from the other rooms. This didn’t deter me.  I remained calm and once wheeled into my room hopped into the shower. I knew the water would help with the pain and I just wanted to relax as much as possible. They must have phoned my obstetrician at this stage to let her know I was ready to deliver. Because here I am, naked, sat on a medicine ball under the shower and another obstetrician comes in and introduces herself and lets me know she will be delivering my baby as my obstetrician couldn’t make it. She joked that it’s not the most comfortable way to be introduced to someone you haven’t met before but at this point a marching band could have entered the room and I would not have cared. When you are that uncomfortable any sense of dignity goes out the window.

 

The obstetrician got me up on the bed and advised it was time to start pushing. The pushing felt good and almost made the pain go away. That was until the head was crowning. It honestly felt like someone was holding a flame underneath me that could not be extinguished. Then to have to hold the head there until another contraction came was ‘fuck’ worthy. This was the only time I swore and I think a few ‘fucks’ may have slipped out. Once that head comes out the shoulders and body literally fall out.  

12pm

12pm on the dot and I had my baby GIRL on my chest. All three of us were crying and it was in that moment that I knew what unconditional love was. It was just the three of us and we were forever going to be a family. I have never felt more proud of myself than in that moment.

 

I ended up needing 2 stitches because of a minor tear, which the obstetrician did right after the placenta came out. My husband started messaging the family to let them know of the safe arrival of our baby and by 3pm we had almost all the immediate family at the hospital (and I had my sushi!) We spent the next 5 days in the hospital learning all about breast feeding and caring for our baby.

 

Childbirth for me was definitely a positive experience and something I would consider enjoyable in a weird way! I guess that’s why we will be doing this all over again in November this year…

HARPER LILLI BUCHANAN


Thank you for sharing your journey Khaila, its completely inspiring, and we are so glad it was a positive experience for you- and don't worry if there is any occasion that calls for a few "fuck!" calls- it's childbirth. We can't wait to hear how your second experience turns out!  Follow Khaila on instagram! @mumma_bear

- MELISA -

Melisa shares how Hypnobirthing assisted her in delivering her first child into the world.


My beautiful girlfriends including Lisa called my pregnancy "the unicorn" because apart from feeling tired at the start and at the end, the rest of my pregnancy I felt amazing, I truly loved every minute and was fortunate enough to not experience most pregnancy symptoms. I did everything possible during my pregnancy to prepare for my birth. I ate very healthy the entire pregnancy,  I exercised 1-2 times per day with jogging, swimming, yoga and in particular focused on opening my hips and assisting my baby into a good position. I was living remotely at the time so didn't have access to birthing classes so instead did hypnobirthing daily and read two books "Birth Skills" and "A Labour of Love" which educated me and helped me prepare my body and mind and most of all empowered me. I stuck notes all over my bathroom mirror and read them daily about having a natural birth and I also wrote how I thought my birth was going to go and read it daily. I also used an epi-no pelvic floor trainer and then in the last few weeks of the pregnancy used it to stretch  the perineum which can reduce tearing and or prevent and episiotomy. 

The day before our due date, my husband Nathan had the day off work and we spent the day relaxing at the beach, we then went to some twilight markets and had dinner at our favourite Italian restaurant before heading home for an early night. I was sleeping and started feeling very mild period-like pains and the baby was moving around lots. At exactly 12 midnight I woke up and felt a big pop, I contemplated what it was for a few seconds before running to the toilet and thankfully my waters broke there. I didn't want to wake Nathan just yet in case it wasn't the real deal, but obviously my excitement was too loud and within minutes he had woken and I told him our baby is coming but to go back to sleep and I'll wake him when the contractions start. I tried to get back into bed but was up again straight away, I went to the bathroom and called my Mum to tell her the news. My mum who lives in another state advised I should get in the car and go to the hospital. I decided to call the hospital and the midwife there told me to go back to bed and call her in the morning if nothing had progressed. As soon as I hung up the phone my contractions started, they were mild like period pains. The small hospital we were birthing at was an hour drive away, Nathan got out of bed and we decided it felt right to make our way to the hospital. We packed the car and I laid on the back seat and listened to my Hypnobirthing cd. The whole drive I felt calm and just when I started getting a little uncomfortable and my contractions started to increase we arrived at the hospital. 

On arrival at 1.45am we went to the birthing room and met the midwife Jo for the first time. Nathan put on our music and Jo dimmed the lights and suggested I try getting into a few positions to help with the contractions. I had envisaged during my pregnancy that I would birth on all fours or in the bath, so I first decided to try out the mattress on the floor on all fours but instantly I was extremely uncomfortable as it hurt my stomach to be hanging, so I quickly had to change positions. Jo did an internal and I was 3-4cm dilated. I vomited a few times and then found standing leaning on the end of the bed was the only position I was feeling comfortable in during the contractions. Gratefully I had been lucky enough to watch my sister give birth to her first son and I thought to myself my labour was going very similar to hers and felt I kind of knew what was coming next from her experience. Jo suggested Nathan rub the lower part of my back and showed him how to with oil, which felt great. She then left us to ourselves which was also nice. After a while we got in the shower which felt amazing and was a great relief. After a while my legs were getting tired and so was I. I had started using sound on my exhale but my breathing wasn't slow enough or rhythmic, so I decided to get out of the shower. I tried to lay down on the mattress on the floor but only lasted a few contractions and had to get back up to standing. I wasn't able to use any positions I thought I would like, the fit ball, on all fours, swaying, stomping, the bath, sound, all I could really do was stand, lean and try to control my hard and fast breathing. I'm not exactly sure how close my contractions got but I would guess from the time I arrived at the hospital they were roughly 5 minutes apart and stayed that way for my labour, which allowed me time to prepare for the next one and rest in between.

"I started to think I'm not sure I can go through one more contraction and the pain is getting too much, when with the next contraction I felt the need to push but didn't want to excite myself..."

I started to think I'm not sure I can go through one more contraction and the pain is getting too much, when with the next contraction I felt the need to push but didn't want to excite myself. I let the feeling come for a few more contractions before I told Nathan to go get Jo. When Jo came back I told her I wanted to push, she did a few other things for a while and told me to stop pushing. Finally when a break through contractions came she did an internal and found I was fully dilated. I continued to push through contractions and Jo was guiding me through them telling me to hold the baby's head there to let it slowly stretch, the baby's head would then go back in. After about 3-4 pushes, Jo told me to keep pushing and I was getting tired and thought "I really want this baby out now!". The burning stretching feeling and the pressure of the baby's head was so intense. With a final push the baby's head popped out and It was such a great relief having the head out but I didn't want to keep pushing. Jo was telling me to squat down to get the rest of baby's body out but my legs were shaking uncontrollably so she had to push on me to keep me down in a squat. I really wanted it to be over and the baby out so I thought I'm just going to keep pushing and gratefully out came the baby's body. What a relieving, incredible feeling. I dropped down to a mattress on the floor and had the baby put on my chest. It took me a while to realise I hadn't even checked the sex of the baby yet, and there we found a little boy after 9 months of being convinced it was a girl. Our prompt little man was born at 4.31am on his due date on a rare lunar eclipse blood moon at Margaret River, WA


OPIE JAY LICKFOLD

Our prompt little man was born at 4.31am on his due date on a rare lunar eclipse blood moon at Margaret River, WA


I am so blessed to call Mel a friend and can truly tell you, she is "the unicorn". We were both pregnant at the same time, and whilst I was spewing, swelling, cramping- she was bouncy and simply glowing. I was so in awe and still am, she handled her pregnancy and birth with serious, positive dedication. So proud of you Mel and your beautiful little man. Mel, Nathan and Opie are currently travelling through Australia showcasing their compassionate lifestyle, you can follow along on instagram @meli_licki

- LISA -

I appreciate my body for how incredible it is, birthing a child is the truest process of alchemy.

When I first found out I was pregnant a cacophony of emotions rushed through me all at once. Amongst the joy and surprise and happiness there was definitely "fear" and "apprehension" as well. Before even taking the time to truly embrace what was happening to me and marvelling at the awesomeness of it, I was frightening myself with the fear of the unknown, and the idea of excruciating pain. I knew I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and focus on the positive aspects and I recalled a friend mentioning Calm Birth to me, a quick search on the internet led me to a local midwife Tracey and I will be forever grateful to my friend for mentioning the word "Calm Birth". 

Through the classes my partner Simon and I became acutely aware that this pregnancy was not just about me, not just about the baby, not just about Simon... It was about all of us. A journey to becoming a family and that even though I would be the one delivering the baby, I was not on my own. Calm Birth taught us that I had to let go of the fear and embrace what my body was made to do, my body has all the tools necessary. My body, my baby, my partner, my mother, my midwives- we were all in this together, I was not alone and I was more than capable. 

Simon and I listened to the meditations nightly and practiced our breathing and visualizations until it became second nature to simply "slip" into that world where all that existed was my breath. When our due date came and passed I was advised to book in to be induced. Through the Calm Birth classes I was aware of what was involved and as I had no risk factors decided to wait as long as I could in hope of having as natural a birth as possible.

"I can't explain exactly what I felt but the best way I can try and convey the feeling is like a "Gut instinct."
I knew, I somehow knew that my baby was so close to coming on his own..."

I went in to be induced on Monday the 17th, I can't explain exactly what I felt but the best way I can try and convey the feeling is like a "Gut instinct", I knew, I somehow knew that my baby was so close to coming on his own. I told the Midwife that I didn't feel comfortable having the induction today, she was very empathetic and did a "Wellness scan". The test showed plenty of fluid around the baby and a strong heart rate, so they said I could re-book in for Wednesday the 19th, waiting any longer would be going beyond hospital recommendations. That afternoon it rained, in fact it poured. I went outside on my balcony and danced in the rain. I felt connected to Mother Earth like she was cleansing me and preparing me for what was to come. Tuesday the 18th, I spent the day with my parents and Simon. We went for a long walk on the beach which included some squats and jogging. I looked at myself in the mirror, held my belly and said "This is it, it's time. If we want to do this our way and together you and me, today is the day, otherwise Wednesday they will take you out". After dinner that night I felt a tightening like no other I had felt before. I quietly timed myself and after repetitive lower cramp like pains coming every 10 minutes I alerted my family. 

 I was calm and focused. I immediately fell into my breaths, whilst Simon and my family made our home a quiet and comfortable space like we had planned. I laboured at home from 8.30pm - 12.20am, when I felt a contraction strong enough that made me feel like I needed to be in the hospital.

When we arrived at the Hospital the strength of the contractions had increased and as we pulled up I vomited, and the nursing staff rushed out a wheel chair for me. I told her I could walk and with a thick American accent the nurse said "Oh honey, you are gonna need you're strength". So I sat and was wheeled to the delivery suites. Inside the suite I kept breathing, moving around and generally felt calm and in control. I was so focused on counting my breaths I didn't notice time creeping by. 

By 5.30am our midwife (the incredible and lovely and charming and wonderful Tracey) offered to break my waters to assist progress, which I agreed too. Immediately the contractions came faster and stronger. I went into the shower and continued to focus on my breaths holding onto Simon and moving around as much as we needed too. My mum held the shower head on my lower back which I found soothing. 

By 6.30am I was moved into the bath to have my planned water birth. In the Calm Birth classes it was mentioned that during "transition" stage I would may have the urge to get up and leave and just want to "go home". I distinctly remember saying to Simon, "I'm transitioning to the final stage, I know because I want to go home". Simon was able to remind me that this was important and meant we were close to meeting our baby. However, due to a cervical lip although I had a strong urge to push and two hours had passed no baby had arrived. I was tired and exhausted and feeling as though I was ready to give up. My mother, Simon and Tracey continued to remind me of my low breaths and to visualise, this helped tremendously. While waiting for the Doctor to arrive I was moved onto the bathroom floor and asked to stop pushing and let my body take over. This was the moment I truly realised that my body was in control here, I was along for the ride. Not pushing felt so bizarre, when every fibre and muscle in your body is working to push the baby down. It was harder not to push and these moments on the bathroom floor were my greatest test. The Doctor arrived to help the baby pass over my lipped cervix, at this stage I had no medical intervention but was offered the gas to help  take the "edge" off. The moment the baby moved passed the lip the urge to push was more intense than ever. 

 We moved from the bathroom to the birthing suite again where I felt like i gained a new strength and energy and an even bigger desire to push. I was able to move around and change positions and in no time I felt the burning stretch which was mentioned and although it was a new pain it gave me the biggest surge of energy because this time I KNEW that I was so close, and sure enough Tracey was soon telling Simon to come down for his big moment. Simon had decided he wanted to be the one to first touch our child, and put him on my chest. As I lay on my side holding my mothers hand Simon says "I can see him!" and I felt more determined than ever and out he came into Simon's arms and onto my chest on Wednesday the 19th of November, two hours before our planned induction. 


Wylie Joshua Boyles


Although our birth plan was to have a water birth, I am completely fine with how our baby came into the world. For the most part I felt completely calm and focused, and for those moments I didn't I had such a great support team who reminded me to breathe and focus on the outcome. I have such a wonderful respect to all mothers no matter how they bring their baby into the world, each way is challenging and fulfilling, but having had a natural vaginal birth I feel in such awe of the women before me and the strength we have to endure the marathon of giving life. I appreciate my body for how incredible it is, birthing a child is the truest process of alchemy. 

- ASHLEY -

Ashley is a beautiful, strong mumma from the mighty USA. Ashley is sharing her journey into motherhood for the third time.

After a failed induction, Ashley's first child Bry, was born via cesarean section, her second child Oliver was also delivered by cesarean. When Ashley found out she was pregnant for the third time she was determined to have a natural, vaginal, homebirth.


The Friday before our baby was born, I awoke to contractions at 6:30am. They were intense, but not too painful, and lasted about thirty seconds. As time passed, they got increasingly more painful, but were still only thirty seconds long and were coming every half hour to an hour. I decided to get up and get ready for work to try and distract myself. We were planning on having breakfast with two of our heritage guitar reps (I work with my husband and in-laws at lightning Joe’s guitar heaven) and I didn't want to miss out on the meeting. I arrived at breakfast in pain, but I got through it and went to work afterward anyway.

About an hour before I was supposed to be off, the contractions became even more painful (ha, painful! if I’d only known what was coming my way just a couple days later, I would've laughed at these contractions) and called my midwife to see if I could come in an hour early to get a cervical check. I left the shop and headed to her office thinking, 'this could be it!' but came to find that I was 30% effaced and only a fingertip dilated. She told me that things are progressing, but slowly, and that's normal. Deflated, I decided to go home and rest. When I got home, I took a hot shower, got in my jammies, and laid down for a nap. I probably slept for about four hours and when I woke up, the contractions were gone. Later on that night though, they came back and I had them every half hour all the way through the night. And that is how Saturday and Sunday went for me; early morning contractions that tapered off until night-time when I would have them every half hour throughout the night.

Monday I was scheduled to have a biophysical profile scan done and my midwife was coming over to do another cervical check. Since I was attempting a vba2c (vaginal birth after two cesareans) and was a day and a half from 42 weeks, my midwife suggested I get it done to make sure everything looked fine and measured normally. All through the day I would have a contraction every hour or so that were big and lasting about forty five seconds. I even had two during the scan! Then my midwife came over, told us that I passed the scan, and did a cervical check. I was about 60-70% effaced and 1-2cm dilated, so she did a membrane sweep. Within twenty minutes I was already having contractions. Like the real deal contractions. I was now officially out of prodromal labour and in early labour so out came the contraction tracker app that we downloaded two months prior.

Between contractions I got my son Oliver ready for bed, kissed my daughter Bry goodnight, and tried to rest. During this time I remember feeling so calm and at peace. I think I felt that way because I was finally able to experience labour naturally and I was in the comfort of my own home surrounded by the people that meant the most to me. That, and I was finally on my way to getting this freaking baby out of me! The contractions were about 6-7 minutes apart and lasting around forty five seconds to a minute, but around 10:30pm (already labouring for almost four hours) they became longer, stronger, and closer together. Around midnight my husband called my midwife gave her the 4-1-1 (contractions that are four minutes apart, lasting at least a minute, for at least an hour straight) and she told him that now would be a good time to set up the birthing tub. So my husband went to work on setting that up, which made me feel so good that we were at that point and that I would be able to birth in the tub, the way I always wanted it for my other two babies, but never got the chance to.

My midwife came around 12:30 and did a cervical check and I was at 3cm dilated and 80% effaced and in active labour. The contractions were closer and closer together and lasting sometimes up to three minutes. All day Tuesday I laboured all over the house! On the living room floor, on the couch (where we tried to watch Ace Ventura; when nature calls), on the dining room chair, on the floor in our room, in the bed, on the toilet (which was where I did most of my labouring), in the bathtub, in the shower, in the bathroom... pretty much everywhere but the kids' bedrooms. My midwife had another midwife come over to try some new positions and get a fresh new eye on the situation.  We did belly lifts and lunges and squats of all kinds to try and get things to move along, but I ended up labouring all through another night and into a new day with tons of help and comfort from our birth assistant, friend, and unofficial doula, Jennifer, and tons of comfort and love from my husband.

Through that night though, things got pretty intense and I ended up not really sleeping at all. The contractions were not giving me a break and were too close together for me to be at all comfortable. I think another thing that was stressful for me was all the contraction tracking. Every time I had a contraction either my husband or I would have to hit 'start' then hit 'stop' and to do that all through the night when you had been labouring for more than a day already became an annoyance.

Wednesday morning at 8am while Jennifer and I were sharing a plate of eggs in bed my husband had just cooked up for us, my midwife came. I will never forget that moment. Here I was calm, happy, eating eggs in bed and Megan walks in and says 'okay, now for your favourite two words. Starts with a C and an E.' I rolled my eyes, threw my head back, and Jennifer looked at me in a confused way. Cervical exam. For me, those things were worse than my contractions! It’s not that Megan was rough or horrible at them; I just really, really hated them. But, she checked me and I was at 6cm dilated and 90% effaced! 

During a really insane contraction I felt this huge rush of fluid and my midwife said;
"Oh, Ashley! Your water just broke!’
I let out a big sigh of relief and she said
"You've never been a six before! Ashley, you've never been this far along! You never got to have your water break naturally!'

I burst into tears. It was amazing to hear that my body was doing what it needed to do all on its own to bring this baby earth side and that I was at a point I had never been at before with my first two babies.Within an hour I reached the transition stage of labour, and was at 8cm, 90% effaced, and soon after, the pushing contractions started. It was the most insane feeling ever! The contractions I had been experiencing, though painful, were easy enough to breathe and moan through. I felt like I could control my pain level even though I couldn't control the contraction. But with these, I couldn't control anything. It was insane to have my body bear down without my willing it to and it sort of scared me. I was feeling really empowered, though, at this point, and feeling like I was so close to delivering my sweet boy. Megan told my husband to start filling up the tub and as soon as it was ready, I got in. I have to say; for me, the birthing tub was not what I had hoped it would be. It felt nice being in there, but I envisioned it being much more helpful with the contractions (maybe because I was already in the transition phase of labour?) and more relaxing. Now, I wasn't expecting a spa-like experience by any means, but I was hoping for more relief. However; I stayed in for a good hour and tried some different positions that the tub made easier to get in, but I really just couldn't vibe with it, so I got out and laboured some more in bed and on the toilet. Within the two hours of pushing, my contractions slowed down, so I got another of my favourite words-cervical exam.

This is where my heart sank and things started to get scarier for me. I was told that my cervix had swollen down to 6cm with all of the pushing and that baby had changed positions into not such an ideal one, had gone from a +2 station to a -1 station, and that I needed to stop pushing. I was heartbroken. I thought, 'how can one just stop pushing when one’s body is doing it for them?' I blew raspberries after raspberry to try and stop them, but they just kept coming, stronger and stronger. I tried lunges and squats, got back in the tub, sat in the bath, walked, laboured on my side, and got back into the tub again. I was checked again after half an hour and still no progression. At that point, after labouring for 41+ hours (not to mention the three days I was in off and on prodromal labour) and not being able to stop these pushing contractions, coupled with the fact that baby was now pushing on my pubic bone with each contraction and my cervix swelling and swelling, I was also at a point where I was letting out a long and high pitched, bloodcurdling scream with each contraction that I could not control-I was done. Done. Done. as I kneel in the tub with my husband stroking my hair and the surge of each contraction I was so wishing away, I looked up at Megan and Jennifer, presumably with the biggest puppy dog eyes I could muster up, and muttered, 'I’m done. I can't go any longer. I can't do this anymore. I'm tired, so tired. We need to go to the hospital. I need to get this baby out of me. I’m so sorry you guys. (Looking at my husband with tears streaming down my face) I’m so sorry honey. I’m sorry. I just can't go on. I’m so tired.' Jennifer and Megan left the room to discuss and suggested my husband and I talk about it to make sure that’s what we wanted to do. We talked, I cried and apologized, and said that I needed to go and he agreed and reassured me that it was okay, he understood. He kissed me and held me and helped me through the continuing contractions. All the while I was asking when we could go and Jennifer came in to let me know that Megan was calling the hospital and letting them know we were coming. We got me out of the tub, got me into a bra and dress, gathered up my nonchalantly packed hospital bag, because, you know, I wasn't going to end up at the hospital, and got me into the van. My mum had been there all morning hanging out in the living room waiting to help and be there when I transitioned into the second stage of labour and delivery, so she followed us, along with Megan, and Jennifer stayed behind to clean things up.

Let me tell you. That ride to the hospital was the worst experience of my entire life. The worst! Why doctors and hospitals tell expecting mums to wait to go to the hospital until they have contractions that are close together and lasting a long while is beyond me. They should all be shot! I had never been so uncomfortable, miserable, upset in my whole life being strapped into a seat while having insane and scary contractions and being able to feel every pebble in the damn road for twenty minutes. We walked through the lobby with me screaming loudly and moaning like a madwoman. That continued in the elevator up to the labour/delivery floor, probably scaring the crap out of the lady that took that brave ride with us and through the hall to the room. Luckily, they had been waiting for me and got me in right away. Just before I got into the bed, as I was taking my sandals off, I had another big contraction and fluid came out with some meconium in it, which worried everyone. I got into the bed and everything happened so fast: I’m in the bed, they're poking vein after vein to try and get an IV in, I’m being hooked up to the monitor, there's beeping, people are talking, my midwife is asking questions, my mum is at the foot of my bed crying, they put an oxygen mask on me, ask me about creams and vaccines and all sorts of stuff, and then there he was... Dr. Kromhout. My saving grace. I was so relieved to learn he was the on-call Dr for the day. He delivered Oliver and I had never felt so at ease with a Dr as I did with him. He came over, knelled down, took my hand, looked me in the eyes and greeted me. He asked me how I felt, what I wanted to do, gave me his concerns and what they could do for me (epidural, wait 1-2 hours, see if I progress or get me in for a cesarean) and awaited my response. I looked up at him and breathed, 'just take me in for a cesarean'. And off I went.

They wheeled me into the delivery room; I got my spinal by a very kind and concerned (for me) anaesthesiologist. Chit chatted with Dr Kromhout, because that's how he is-super chill-and asked for a clear curtain (they didn't have those so I got a curtain with a window), they set me up and in came my husband and midwife. I was so thankful that Dr Kromhout allowed Megan in the room. She not only was able to take photos for us, but she continued her midwifery care by giving me support I didn't get to have with my previous cesareans and that put me at even more ease. After a couple jokes of asking if I wanted a fancy designer cesarean section with florals and curly q's and me asking back if I could please get a tummy tuck this time (sometimes, in situations that are beyond your control and ones you need to succumb to, you need to have good spirits and laughs), my baby came out in a huge surge, loud and in charge and beautiful as ever. My husband got to hold him right away and he was then placed on my chest for some skin to skin, then my husband took him again and once I was all closed up (generic incision and no tummy tuck, darn it!) we got to go to our room for recovery. My husband did skin to skin right away, and then I got to nurse baby. He nursed almost the whole time we were in recovery! I was so thankful for no nursing complications since that can happen sometimes when you have a caesarean or even just a vaginal hospital birth. They weighed him and measured him and did his cute little footprints and then we got to go to the room we were to stay in the next three days.


Joseph Andrew.

My third baby came earth side march 2, 2016 at 2:20pm weighing 8 pounds 5 ounces and 21.5 inches long.

Born at 42 weeks gestation, he certainly took his time coming into this world, and we were beyond anxious to meet him.


All I can say is "wow", what a warrior. I had been following Ashley's journey on Instagram for sometime before Joseph was born, so I was really praying for her to have the safe, vaginal delivery she so desired. It seemed God and Joseph had other plans, but I am so proud of you Ashley, you laboured for so long, stayed positive and when the time came to make tough choices you put your and Joseph's health and safety before your own desires and that is beautiful. Vaginal birth after any cesarean can have its risks, but you tried and did a wonderful job. Congratulations on the arrival of Joseph! 
Love, Lisa. 

You can follow Ashley on Instagram @daoust.tribe she also has a new insta @realmomsofinsta