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Recapping the 1st Birth Without Fear Conference in Australia!

Recapping the 1st Birth Without Fear Conference in Australia!

Saturday, 26 May 2019 was day of the first ever Birth Without Fear Conference in Australia. Held at the Northside Conference Centre in Crows Nest in North Sydney, it was an amazing day of excitement and inspiration!

We want to share with you some of the special moments that just happened to be caught on film by Andrea Edwards of Sugar Plum Photography!

The conference began with Birth Without Fear founder January Harshe giving her husband Brandon a peek at the audience from nearly 8,000 miles away via the marvel of modern technology!

The first speaker of the day was Anthea Thomas, CH.t, HBCE, HBFC. Anthea is a Faculty Member and trainer for the HypnoBirthing® Institute in Australia. She is a Global Presence Ambassador for Parenting 2.0, Director of the Australian Birth and Parenting Network and runs HypnoBirthing International in Australia.

She spoke about topics such as HypnoBirthing, mind/body connection and the removal of fear in labour and birth, pre-perinatal psychology and the importance of pre-birth bonding, and changing the current birthing climate by educating parents to lead the change.

The next speaker was Rebecca Mar Young. Rebecca runs the Red Tent Health Centre in Bondi, NSW, Australia with her best friend Naomi Abeshouse Benko, where they treat and care for women through their most vulnerable times using acupuncture and Chinese medicine, having done so for over ten years.

Rebecca spoke about the fourth trimester. As she explained, in China there is a rich history of mothering the mother after childbirth that’s called “doing the month” or the Golden Month. Rebecca taught why it’s golden and how much this ancient art of caring for the mother is so relevant for women today. She explored the benefits of women nourishing themselves and their babies together and how it can be integrated into life for a better post natal period that will set women up for being a strong and healthy mothers.

When the morning session concluded January held a VIP session where she spoke to the attendees specifically about self love in her unique, inspirational, motivational way.

During the break, attendees mingled in the lobby and visited our amazing vendors, all of who played a part in making the Birth Without Fear Conference in Sydney possible!

After lunch, attendees were broken up into groups of eight for the Harmony Circle. This is one of the most asked about parts of every Birth Without Fear Conference, and the answer is never simple and direct.

However, these photos show you just how much the Harmony Circles can create a special unity that didn’t exist before.

Once the Harmony Circle concluded, January took the stage as the conference’s keynote speaker. January is known for speaking openly and honestly about her experiences throughout six pregnancies and births, as well postpartum, self love, self care, and mental health.

 She didn’t disappoint, giving attendees that raw honesty that she and Birth Without Fear are known for!

When the conference ended, there were plenty of hugs and pictures taken!

January is returning to Australia in 2019 for a Birth Without Fear Conferences in Brisbane, QLD on 16 February and Melbourne, VIC on 23 February. If you missed coming out to the Birth Without Fear Conference in Sydney, please join us in Brisbane or Melbourne!

Say It: “I Am Magical As F***.”

Say It: “I Am Magical As F***.”

Life can be hard, disappointing, frustrating, depressing, and scary too. But the moments of utter joy like when you hold your child for the first time, moments of intense love like a lovers embrace, and moments of childlike wonder and awe like meeting beautiful, strong, intelligent elephants make this life worth living for.

This mama and her adopted sister were rescued from Thailand and they co-care for mums 7 year old girl and one year old baby boy (seen in photo).

The similarities between human and animal is more similar than we like to believe.

I sat there soaking up the kisses I received from auntie elephant and moments watching baby boy nurse from his mothers breast while sister waited on them before exiting the space.

Yep, magical as fuck.

And so are you. Say it: “I am magical. I am magical as fuck.” And keep saying it until you remember and know this truth. You, my friend, are beautiful, magical, and powerful. You always have been.

I’m totally planning an elephant tattoo now.

Much love,
January

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #37: Birth Without Fear Australia Conference Recap

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #37: Birth Without Fear Australia Conference Recap

January and Brandon return from their brief hiatus to recap the Birth Without Fear Conference in Australia that took place in Sydney at the end of May! They discuss the reality of January going to Australia alone for a week while Brandon stayed home with the kids, preparing for a conference overseas and how January’s grandmother helped improvise some of the conference preparations from 8,000 miles away, the speakers, and the impact the Harmony Circles at every Birth Without Fear event have on the attendees. They get sidetracked by Brandon’s weird ass giggle and some Game of Thrones talk, but they manage to refocus nicely for your listening pleasure!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on iTunes!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on Google Play!

Subscribe to the Harshe Podcast on Stitcher!

Click here to download Episode #37: Birth Without Fear Australia Conference Recap!

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Considering certification as a childbirth educator but haven’t quite found the right fit yet? Interested in creating inclusive classes where birthing people can become educated about their options and patient rights?

If you’re eagerly nodding your head along to one or all of these questions, we got ya! Become a childbirth educator with Doula Trainings International‘s Childbirth Edu Training program. 

https://www.doulatrainingsinternational.com/dtis-childbirth-edu-training-program/ 

The online platform will take you through certification requirements, tracking your participation progress for your own review of the curriculum and corresponding teaching guide, required scholarly reads and required videos.

https://www.doulatrainingsinternational.com/dtis-edu-childbirth-education-different/

This training is available for both conference attendees and those only seeking Childbirth Education Teacher Certification at DTI’s inaugural Born Into This Conference on July 12-13 in Austin, TX. What you would normally get in our 3 month online program, you will get in this 2 day in person training. You’ll walk away ready to go!

Check out WeAreDTI.com for more details!

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January and Brandon will end the 2018 event schedule with a Birth Without Fear Conference in Phoenix, AZ on November 10! Early bird registration for Basic and Partner tickets is now open! Register a BWFConference.com!

The 1st Birth Without Fear Conference in Australia!!!

The 1st Birth Without Fear Conference in Australia!!!

Saturday May 26, 2018 was the first Birth Without Fear Conference in AUSTRALIA!!!

It was a huge success and we can’t wait to come back!!!

A post shared by Kayla Rees (@kayla_rees85) on

Got to catchup today with these awesome women at the @birthwithoutfear Sydney conference!!! Thank you @januaryharshe for your total awesomeness 😘 and it was so cool seeing my Doula sisters @doulawisdom and @withloveformama you gals are the best ❤❤❤ #birthwithoutfear #birthwithconfidence #hypnobirthing #hypnobirthinginternational #sydney #doula #2lifedoula #childbirtheducation #Repost @doulawisdom ・・・ It was sooo great to spend the day in Sydney at the @birthwithoutfear conference 🙌🏼 @januaryharshe is so friendly and inspiring. She glows inside and out 😍 Thanks for the fun times @2lifedoula and @withloveformama 💕#birthwithoutfear #doulawisdom #birthwithoutfearconference #loveismyfilter #selflove❤ #doulalife #oxytocinboosting

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Can’t even put into words… what a journey, so many moments shared throughout the years, of words shared at exactly the right time, of rewriting of old beliefs and stories! Mama J thanks for all you do in this world, it’s so important, inspiring and uplifting. Thankyou for opening up my mind, heart & soul to a life full of love I could have only dreamed of. For shedding light on dark times, the importance of self care and not giving a shit about what anyone thinks. Thank you for opening me up to possibility and allowing me to hear the whispers of my soul and know that it’s more than ok to have a big family and it’s ok to not be “done” I am forever grateful for the impact you’ve had in my life! #youdoyouboo #birthwithoutfear #birthwithoutfearconference @birthwithoutfear @januaryharshe

A post shared by With Love, For Mama (@withloveformama) on

Today was so surreal. I have followed @birthwithoutfear for years! I think I first discovered BWF as a student midwife and being obsessed with reading women’s birth stories. I came across the blog and then Instagram and just fell in love with the love and acceptance promoted. The no agenda, we love you no matter what your birthing choices are message was such a revelation for me and it really helped shape me as a midwife and I encourage all my clients and friends to follow these accounts in the hopes they feel the same positivity towards birth and their bodies. Also personally, I have always struggled with body image/acceptance. I have been fat, skinny and fat again and that shit really messes with your relationship with yourself and your body. @januaryharshe message of self love and self care really resonated with me today, and has over my years of following her. And I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you January for helping me understand mothers perspectives better, for making me a better midwife and mostly for helping me feel at peace with myself. . . . . #birthwithoutfear #birthwithoutfearconference #birthmatters #choicematters #selflove #selfcare #midwifelife #bodypositive #mgp #blissbirth

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Birth Without Fear Conference in Sydney, NSW, Australia – May 26, 2018

Birth Without Fear Conference in Sydney, NSW, Australia – May 26, 2018

find your village, birth without fear, january harsheGet ready to join January Harshe for the first ever Birth Without Fear Conference in Australia! We will be celebrating the eight year anniversary of Birth Without Fear, in Sydney, and we want you to come help us celebrate!

Register for the Birth Without Fear Conference in Sydney, NSW, Australia here!

This will be an intimate day of inspiration, support, and validation the likes of which January Harshe and Birth Without Fear have become known for. When the event is over, you will leave with a sense of empowerment that you can do anything you put your mind to!

Registration will open at 9am AEST and this is where you will receive a Goodie Bag with some of January’s favorite items! We will have coffee, tea, and definitely need unicorn cake and goodies to celebrate!

Register for the Birth Without Fear Conference in Sydney, NSW, Australia here!

The Birth Without Fear Conference will then begin at 10am AEST (10:15am Global Standard Momma Time) with January Harshe offering her signature brand of inspiration on the topics of pregnancy, birth, postpartum, self care, self love, and body positivity throughout the entire day.

Further details on the Birth Without Fear Conference, including the schedule, guest speaker(s), and a VIP ticket option will be announced soon, so make sure to follow January and Birth Without Fear on social media for those updates!

Register for the Birth Without Fear Conference in Sydney, NSW, Australia here!

TICKETS:

General Admission $99.00 USD

VIP Add On: Coming Soon

*Lap children are more than welcome to this event. 

**Pictures may be taken, but video recording will not be allowed.

***Schedule and venue are subject to change.

****All ticket sales are final. No refunds. Transfers allowed up to 30 days prior to the event.

find your village, birth without fear, january harshe

Arlo’s Birth Story

Arlo’s Birth Story

I was 38 weeks and 1 day, and it was it was 2:30am on the morning of my husband Jeremy’s birthday. I was trying to sleep when my cat, Sparky, crept up to me and purred as I patted her and she snuggled into my tummy. I adjusted my hips slightly and suddenly felt a ‘pop’ inside me. I jumped out of bed and, sure enough, felt the liquid that meant my waters had broken.

I stood at the end of the bed, and roused Jeremy. “Sorry, but I think we’ll be having this baby on your birthday,” I said. We had both agreed that this was the only day we didn’t want the baby to come, so Jeremy could still have one day that was just about him! I guess that was the first lesson – babies come when they are ready and he must have been ready!

Jeremy jumped up and found a pad for me. It was only a small amount of fluid, but it was enough for us to think that it might be a bit green. It was very pale and we weren’t really sure. We started getting a few things together and rang my mum at 3am to tell her to start heading down. She lives nearly two hours away and was our ‘plan A’ to care for our two year old, Jasper, in a very complicated list of alternative plans which depended on when and how I went into labour.

Things were very calm for us at home. I hadn’t had any contractions, just the occasional crampy feeling, much like a Braxton Hicks, but nothing I had to concentrate on at all. We left it a little while and rang our midwife, Jo, at about 3:45am. We let her know what had happened and that we thought the fluid may have been green, but we really weren’t sure. She asked us to come in to the hospital and meet her at 5am so she could check the fluid, just in case. We rang our neighbour, Mel, who was also part of ‘plan A’, so she could come and be in the house for Jasper, just until my mum arrived.

Before I left, I had some very, very mild tightening that I wouldn’t even classify as contractions – just a crampy feeling again, without much need to focus on them. I got a little teary with some mixed emotions when we left Jasper at home – his life was about to change in ways he couldn’t imagine and I felt sad for him knowing he would have to adjust to not being the baby of the family any longer, but also excited that he would have a little brother to share his adventures with.

We arrived at the hospital at 5am and walked into the examination room. Jo met us and asked me to lie down on the bed for 20 minutes so she could check if the fluid really was green. As soon as I lay down, the contractions began. They were immediately intense and extremely uncomfortable. I wasn’t able to move around and I really struggled to deal with the intensity of them just lying still.

After 20 minutes Jo checked and confirmed that the waters were green, which indicated they contained meconium, which can mean that the baby may be distressed. She also confirmed that I was 5cm dilated and would be having this baby soon.

I remember finally being able to roll onto my hands and knees and crying into the bed that I wasn’t ready. He was two weeks early and I just didn’t feel ready to deal with what lay ahead in the next hours, and the next months. Jeremy and Jo reassured me that I was ready and the next contraction came, which took all of my focus to deal with.

We agreed to head to a birth suite, but sadly, not the one with the new birth tub. I was meant to be one of the very first women to have a water birth in that hospital’s new purpose made baths, but because of the meconium, I wouldn’t be allowed to get into the water.

I was now having very strong and painful contractions which felt like they were very close together. No-one was timing them, but I could only take a few steps before another one would stop me in my tracks. I required extra monitoring, again because of the meconium, so on arrival at the birth suite I was fitted with a mobile monitor, so thankfully I could still move around. It was a little annoying though, because it wouldn’t stay in the right place, so Jo would have to readjust to make sure it was just the monitor and not a problem with the baby’s heart rate.

I was kneeling over the bed and really struggling with the pain. Jeremy was pressing a heat pack into my lower back, which helped a little, but any breathing I was doing wasn’t helping me at all. I felt like I was trying to escape from the pain in my body rather than breathing through the waves like I did in my first labour.

As per our ‘birth preferences,’ the midwives suggested sterile water injections. This worked almost instantly with my first labour and was well worth the intense stinging as the water was injected. Unfortunately, this time it didn’t work at all. On reflection, the pain was very intense and all-encompassing, whereas in my first labour it was very specifically in my back.

We moved into the shower so I could have the hot water run on my back. This offered some relief, but I really wasn’t dealing well with the pain. I think maybe we had been in the hospital just over an hour. I spent some time trying to find a position that I could manage the pain in, but still felt like I was trying to get out of my body and away from the pain.

It was some time when I was in the shower that the baby’s heart rate dropped into the 90’s and stayed low for a while. There was some concern from Jo, but there were no suggestions to make any urgent changes. My waters seemed to break a second time around now – and not just a trickle like I had at home, either!

My body started feeling like I needed to push. Jo checked me and I was at about 8cm with a small lip of cervix. I tried as hard as I could not to push – such a challenge! My body was doing what it wanted to and I had to try with every ounce of my being to go against it. Jo managed to push back my cervix and I was able to work with my body and begin to push my baby out on the birth stool. His head very slowly emerged after only a few pushes. When the next contraction came, I pushed again, with all I had. But, my baby didn’t move. His shoulders were stuck.

The emergency buzzer was pressed and, within seconds, the room was full of people – more midwives, a paediatrician or two, and an obstetrician. It was quite amazing the speed at which they were able to get to me. All this time, I understood that he was stuck and I was watching Jo – her face was one of serious concentration, but certainly not panic, which I am grateful for.

Two midwives moved my legs up and back, into what’s called ‘The McRoberts manoeuvre’, while Jo manipulated the baby slightly, and I pushed with everything I had. Thankfully, this was enough, and out he came, with the cord around his neck. He was placed onto my chest, but I was told not to stroke or rub him (in case he startled and breathed in the meconium which may have been in his mouth). He was very floppy and not breathing or moving. Jo quickly cut the cord, and my baby was taken over to the table. The paediatrician intubated to remove any meconium from his throat, and placed the oxygen mask over his face. Jeremy and I were watching this happen and it felt like hours, but in reality was probably less than a minute. Suddenly Jeremy yelled out “He’s opened his eyes!” and we were both filled with relief as he started to cry. It was just before 7am.

Meanwhile, I had a minor haemorrhage and was given sintocinon to speed up the delivery of the placenta, which was slightly ragged. The bleeding abated and I was able to lie on the bed and my baby was given back to me for a skin to skin time. He was 9lb, 12oz!

I was shaking and felt quite shocked at how fast everything occurred and it probably took a good hour or two before those feelings began to subside and I was able to focus properly on our new son. He had been delivered less than two hours after arriving at hospital and having my first real contraction. What a birthday present for Jeremy! (And quite a surprise for his parents who rang a little later to wish him a happy birthday!)

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We stayed in hospital to be monitored, but all was well, so we were able to go home the next day to begin life as a family of four. Three days later, our two year old son Jasper made the decision for us to name him Arlo Thomas.

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Although pretty much nothing went according to my birth preferences, I always felt informed, supported and cared for by Jo and the rest of the team who helped to ensure he arrived healthy. I feel so lucky to have had such amazing care, especially in the public hospital system in Australia.

shannonFinal Photo by Shannon Langbecker

A Fast {Unexpected} Home Birth

A Fast {Unexpected} Home Birth

My home birth I always wanted…

She’s dropped. Its 3 1/2 weeks till my due date; I’m a little disappointed because I’m pretty tuned in with my body. I wanted her to come full term – a nice 7pounds she would be, the doctor said. I knew she wouldn’t last in there any longer than a week, this pregnancy was exactly the same as my first, except this little miss felt lower!

I rang my family, told them if they wanted to be here when she was born, it would be best to come ASAP.

My sisters were there the next day, my eldest (Trudie) flew from another state. I researched home birthing and self-examinations, I had a feeling I was going to need it. We spent our days plotting around my island and my home. We even went to the mainland to do shopping (bit of a mission sometimes).

My Braxton Hicks were progressing into my back; they weren’t painful, just very uncomfortable.

It’s just before 8pm, two days before Trudie is flying home. Bless her heart; she has a way of making things happen! I’m on the toilet for the 100th time that day, she tells me, “You better have this baby before I go home miss. I flew all the way up here”.  Her magic words! “I know, I’m telling you she’s going to come before you go!”, I replied.

I exit the toilet and make my way to the couch (3 meters max), briefly converse with my younger sister. I’m feeling light headed, so I put my foot on the couch and proceed to sit down on my folded leg.

Pop!!!

Well I thought I heard pop, I definitely felt it. I look at my sister in shock,

“Did you hear that??”

“Hear what??” she said.

That’s when I feel the flow… I quickly get off my recliner to stand on the white tiles, drop my pants and there it is – dark green fluid.

My eldest sister stops washing dishes, I remember her saying, “I’ll call the ambulance”, as I went to sit on the toilet.

As soon as my waters broke, my contractions were STRONG, HARD AND FAST.

We rang the ambulance at 8:05pm. I was told to make my way to the bed as I couldn’t sit on the toilet anymore, so I waited for my contraction to ease before moving. It never did. I got off very slowly, and then I got relief. I quickly waddled to my bed, and laid down on my side, tried to rest and breathe deeply.

Trudie came in still on the phone to 000, informs me she needs to do an examination. I’m in labour, but that’s still weird!!!

I say no, I can do it myself.

I remember reading about dilation and what it would feel like, that part I completely forgot. I felt something round, and hard. “I can feel her head”. Not sure if anyone believed me in that moment, but hold on, this where it all gets very fast!!!

Here comes a big contraction, back onto my side I go. I’m informed the ambulance has arrived. I didn’t really care; I just wanted to slow things down, it all happened so fast I missed it.

I’m not going to move, as contractions are sending my mind into a storm, I can’t think straight.

I’m under my bedroom lights which radiate heat (its Christmas summer in Australia), so the heat is making me vomit. My 3 year old is by my head, but I’m struggling to keep my cool. She ends up in the lounge room engrossed in cartoons with ice cream, where it’s nice n calm. The ambulance officer enters my bedroom; I’m relieved I’ve met the man before. Especially when I’m dropping my pants for another examination, this time the pants stay off but I get a towel to cover my butt which is baring all!!! No time for embarrassment.

He instructs me we have to get downstairs and onto the stretcher. I think he’s crazy. I could barely talk but I managed. “You will have to carry me,” I said. This baby would not stay in there if I’d gone vertical. I knew this. He agreed and went downstairs to set up his stretcher, etc. While he was down there, I was still having contractions on top of each other. Next minute I’m on my back, with a head in view. Kelly, my youngest sister, runs outside and yells down to the ambo, “We can see a head!!!” Hope my neighbours enjoyed that bit, hahahaha!

He changes tactics and grabs the birthing kit, and runs back upstairs, forgot a valuable tool, had to do the trip again. He was getting a great workout! Meanwhile, everything is happening so fast, no one hears my calls for water, or pain relief. So instead, I yell, I had water within seconds and a green stick shoved in my mouth (by the time that took effect, it was too late). A big contraction comes and the need to push. Then the need stops as I’m crowning.

My first birth went a lot differently, I pushed her out in one push; I didn’t know better. This birth was complete opposite, very fast labour and slow birthing process.

Now I am back to crowning, no contraction but I’m still pushing. I just want to push her head out for some relief (once again I didn’t know better).

“Do you need to push???” the ambulance officer asked.

“No” I answered, defeated.

“Then don’t push or you will tear,” he said.

“It’s a bit hard when there’s a head there,” was my reply.

“I know”, was his answer.

Do you really Mr.Ambulance man??

I feel a contraction straight after, one more big push and she was out… RELIEF.

I keep asking if she is OK, and finally my sister says, “Yes, she’s fine, you can hold her.”  I lift my head, open my eyes and take my tiny, 5pound, 8ounces baby girl in my hands. She fits perfectly there. She’s so little. So precious. So perfect. SO MUCH LOVE.

I put her against my breast, but she didn’t want to feed yet, she wanted to look at me.

Hello Rubii-Rayne. She can’t see me, but she knows I’m there, she can feel our bodies still touching. She can hear my voice saying how much I love her and I’m so glad that she is here. She was born around 8:30pm but we’re not exactly sure on the minute. My placenta came an hour and half later.

Unfortunately we ended up in hospital that night as safety protocol. I’m one of those people who won’t complain, but I was cold, hungry, in pain and very alone with a new baby. I was so emotional and needed a hug so bad.

She had some jaundice that left her in a few weeks due to me constantly feeding her and flushing her system out.

I’ve breastfed for 6 months now and I’m so proud. I don’t know about everyone else, but it was hard those first 4 months. Now it’s the best part of my day! I love birthing and being a mum 🙂

She was born December 18, 2012. My name is Rebekka-Rae Gooley and I birthed without fear. Except I feared I would need a new bed after it all.

Ruby

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A Natural Hospital Waterbirth {Delayed Cord Clamping, With Pictures}

A Natural Hospital Waterbirth {Delayed Cord Clamping, With Pictures}

[Thank you Jessica Douglas-Monks for sharing your story and beautiful pictures with us!]

I had been having pre-labour pains and contractions since 37 weeks, so by the time Arya’s due date rolled around, I was well and truly ready to have her.

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On the Monday morning I was having some sharp pelvic pain and some semi-consistent contractions so I went in and saw my midwife Leila so she could check me out. As soon as she had a feel for Arya’s head, she told me that her head wasn’t even engaged despite the fact that it had been the week before, so the pain I was feeling was Arya trying to get her head back in position! I nearly cried!! I was soooo over being pregnant and running around after my sick, 15 month old, I just wanted to have my baby!!

So I went home and told my husband (who had stayed home that day, as he works an hour away and we thought something might be happening) that I was going to try castor oil.

We went and bought some castor oil and I took it at 3pm. I had no action until 7pm, when I had to go to the bathroom once and that was it, so we sat and watched tv for a while and by 9pm I started to have some consistent, strong contractions!

I live 2 minutes from the hospital, and I was always wary of going in too early, and wanted to labour at home for as long as possible anyway, so I went and took a shower then went to bed, because I wanted to make absolutely sure I was in labour (as I’d had so many false alarms!).

By midnight I was about 98% sure I was genuinely in labour, so we called my midwife and let her know (she lived 45 minutes away) and I also called my mum to come and stay with our daughter, Evie.

Mum arrived not long after I called her and by 1.15am my contractions were only a few minutes apart and getting stronger, I was happy to stay home but mum was anxious for me to go so we left for hospital!!

Leila arrived at about 2am and things were still very calm, I was just breathing through my contractions using the hypnobirthing breathing techniques, so the room was pretty quiet! Leila ran the bath but asked if she could check me, given that I was still doing pretty well and Arya’s head had not been engaged earlier in the day (she didn’t want me to get into the water too early).

When she checked me, I was surprised to find I was only 4cms, given that I was 2-3cms a week before and my contractions were feeling quite strong!

When she was checking me, Leila gave me a quick sweep and said she would leave us for a while before I hopped in the bath. I was happy with that because I still felt like I was probably a while off having Arya. Well, within a short period of time (not sure exactly how long) I said to my husband that we needed to get into the bath because things amped up very quickly!!

I was still able to breathe through my contractions , but they were beginning to really hurt, and Leila could tell things were getting a move on rather quickly.

At this stage it was about 3am, and Leila told Dave he should probably call our photographer because it seemed like Arya was not too far away. Kellie, our lovely friend and photographer arrived within about 20 minutes and not long after that, I had a great big, involuntary push!

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I told Dave and he called out for Leila, saying I wanted to push, to which I apparently replied “No, my body wants to push, I don’t!!”

After that, things happened very quickly, I had a 9 minute second stage!! I had maybe one or two more involuntary pushes and Leila got the mirror underneath me and said she could see Arya’s head, and that she had hair! (I was happy!)

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I could no longer really breathe through the contractions, I was quite uncomfortable by this stage and was waiting for the ‘ring of fire’ but it never came! I asked Leila if I could push and she said if I felt another contraction, I could breathe her down gently, so I immediately started because it felt like I was having continuous contractions by that stage and she came out almost all in one go, straight after my waters – no one was quite ready for her! My husband was supposed to catch her but it happened so quickly that I caught her myself!

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After I had caught her, we waited for me to birth the placenta naturally, which happened very easily after about 15 minutes, and then we just waited for the cord to go white and floppy so my husband could cut it. My midwife also believed in delayed cord clamping so she put the placenta in a dish and sat it on the edge of the bath, above Arya and I so that it had the best effect possible. One of the coolest things was when the cord was looking quite empty and Leila told me to just feel it to see if it was still pulsing, and it was! Such a cool thing to feel while it was still connected to Arya.

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It was important to me that we waited until the cord had stopped pulsing and was clearly empty of cord blood because I had done quite a bit of research this time around on delayed cord clamping and decided that it was something I really wanted to do. 

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I was very happy to have got through the whole labour and birth without any drugs or interventions and it has given me a lot of confidence going into any future births which I hope are all water births with physiological third stage and delayed cord clamping.

All in all I feel very lucky to have had the birth that I did, not only did it give me a beautiful, healthy little girl but it went exactly how I wished it would and I felt absolutely amazing afterwards.

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Arya Ruby came into the world at 3.59am on Tuesday, September 4th 2012, which was her estimated due date!

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More photos here: Kellie Crosier Photography

Birth Photostory | Rebecca Colefax Photography

Birth Photostory | Rebecca Colefax Photography

“This beautiful family of 5 just became a family of 6! Labour was very fast and extremely powerful – but mummy was strong, empowered and courageous. A wonderful inspiration to her daughter who was present throughout and was the best little birthing assistant I’ve ever seen.

This birth was an amazing experience for me as a photographer for this was the first time I’ve attended a birth in Australia where not a word of English was spoken the entire time, yet I still understood everything. Just goes to show no matter where you come from or what language you speak – in birth we all speak the same language – LOVE!

The placenta image might be too much for Facebook… but I just love it so had to send. The blue tint is the refection from the blue birthing pool.” Rebecca Colefax Photography

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The midwife is the wonderful Anne from Precious Life Midwifery Service in Noosaville, Queensland.

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