Positive Birth News

birth stories, news and articles to encourage and inspire


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Positive Birth Story – A Mother’s Love: becoming an advocate for my children

Elaine & childrenThe following is a series of extracts from Elaine’s story “A Mother’s Love” – a beautiful story for Mother’s Day. The complete story of “A Mother’s Love” is published in the Birth Journeys book.

Pregnancy, birth and the experience of motherhood changes Elaine, giving her new confidence, trust in herself and trust in birth. Elaine’s love for her children drives her to speak out and become an advocate for her family. Elaine shares the story of her second birth and the hurdles she overcomes to have the birth she wants: missing out on her preferred model of care, disagreement over the estimated due date, and a transverse baby.

Elaine handles each situation with confidence and calm determination. She takes an active role in her care, trusting her body, her knowledge and her experience.

During labour, Elaine is supported by a gentle, encouraging midwife, who reminds her to trust and let go. Kiah’s birth in hospital is calm and peaceful. 

Disagreement over the Estimated Due Date

I had learnt in the two years since Kiran’s birth that I was more than capable of dealing with anything and everything. I had realised that I owed it to my children to look after myself and to be their advocates. It was amazing really, because the ‘old me’ hated confrontation. I would usually back down and go with the flow. Since becoming a parent, I have found that I will not compromise on things involving my children.

Kiran’s (my first baby) induction played on my mind and continued to niggle at me. When he was induced (13 days post-dates) he didn’t appear to be ‘overdue’ at all. I’m sure my baby did not like this forced exit from the womb before his time. I certainly didn’t!

This time I had done my research. I knew my dates and I was prepared to stand my ground. I had kept a diary with my cycles in it. My periods were like clockwork, exactly 31 days apart, and had been for six months. I also knew exactly when we conceived – we didn’t have many opportunities with a toddler in the family!

When my calculations put the estimated due date a full week later than the ultrasound dating scan, we made our views clear.

“No, we are adamant the estimated due date is February 20 and not February 13 as the ultrasound suggests.”

“No, we aren’t budging. We know that there is a margin of error of a week anyway.”

“We do not wish for an induction based on dates as with Kiran’s birth.”

They listened and they agreed. The obstetrician even changed the estimated due date. I felt at peace and empowered. I had done my part and the rest was up to bub!

A Transverse Baby

The weeks flew past and my belly grew. Kiran thought it was hilarious when the baby kicked out at him and he loved stroking my tummy and talking to ‘his’ baby. Week 34 came and all was well. My bub was in position – head down. Week 36 came and she had turned to lie sideways. There was talk of a caesarean if she didn’t turn.

I was scared. The thought of having a caesarean and needing to be in hospital for more than one night was awful. I was so nervous about being away from Kiran. I had never been away from him before.

We were scheduled for an external cephalic version (ECV), where the obstetrician would manually coax my baby to turn. It was explained to us that there was a very small window for them to perform the ECV and be successful. We had less than 48 hours!

I jumped on to the internet, spoke to my friends and found the Spinning Babies website that had information and techniques to encourage baby to move. It was the funniest thing. I had to kneel on the couch and lean over the edge with my hands on the floor. Then I had to crawl forward on my hands so that my bottom would be higher than the rest of my body. The idea was to give bub the extra space needed to turn.

This was not easy with a pregnant belly, and even less so with a helpful toddler who thought climbing on top of me was a wonderful game. I did a few sessions of these acrobatics and we did lots of praying and prodding to encourage bub to move. I just kept talking to bub trying to persuade her to turn.

We arrived for the ECV. The midwife hooked us up for monitoring and then she said, “Hmmm, that’s funny. The heart isn’t where I expected.” The obstetrician confirmed that bub had indeed turned and was now head down. No ECV was necessary! Apparently, it was quite a rare occurrence to have a baby turn in such a short time.

I was overwhelmed with joy when I realised that no intervention was needed. Together my body and my baby were firmly in control and we were on the home stretch now.

The Birth

I focused on every breath and surge bringing my baby closer to being in my arms. There were no words. I was aware of my surroundings, but I was in a world of my own.

Soon I felt the need to bear down, so I got upright onto my knees. I visualised my uterus contracting and pushing downwards as I breathed out. With Kiran, the midwife had told me when to breathe and push. This time, I was the boss and it worked much better.

I’m pretty sure it only took five or six pushes for Kiah to be born. From the first contraction to her entrance into this world, barely two and a half hours had passed.

When Rohit caught her and told me we had a girl, I was a blubbering mess of pure joy. I wanted to call my sister and ask her to bring something pink for Kiah to wear home! I had always imagined myself with boys and never dared to believe that I might have a daughter, so much so that I had not even prepared for the possibility.

Kiah was placed on my chest and we had our first cuddles. There was a lovely sense of peace and tranquillity in the room. We started our breastfeeding journey together soon after.

Kiah did not leave my side for a single minute. We stayed in hospital for only one night and Kiran coped beautifully without me. We went home the following day – our little family of four!

Throughout my pregnancy, I doubted if I had any room left for more love, but the minute I saw my beautiful girl, I knew that love has no boundaries or limitations.

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Estimated Due Dates – choosing to induce?

In the final weeks and days of pregnancy most women feel tired, impatient and very ready to meet their baby. The waiting time may be emotional and challenging as you edge closer and closer to the moment when labour begins but when that moment will actually be remains an unknown – a mystery – and you simply have to wait. You may also feel the pressure to have an induction if your baby has not arrived by 41 weeks.

An induction may seem like an appealing and easy choice, however induction can be “like playing with fire, and many women do end up getting burnt. The problem with an induction is that women often end up on the ‘cascade of intervention’ – a road that many women regret taking, as the final outcome is often not the birth they wanted or desired.” writes Gabrielle Targett, birth educator, doula and author.

Your pregnancy is not an hourglass. The sand does NOT run out on your estimated due date.

An induction brings risks as well as benefits and it is wise to be aware of the full picture before making any decisions. An induction changes labour from a natural process to a medically managed one, requiring increased monitoring. Further medical assistance is more likely once you begin an induction because of these risks, including an increased chance of a caesarean birth. A caesarean is the usual recommendation if the induction fails, so when you choose an induction you need to be aware that you are agreeing to a possible caesarean if your baby is not born within a safe timeframe, (this timeframe will be determined by your doctor or hospital, although you may be able to have input into this).

As a guideline, it makes sense to choose an induction when the risks of waiting have become greater than the risks of an induction and all that might follow. Ask questions and share openly and honestly your concerns and thoughts with your midwife and doctor. Ideally, you will have been able to choose the most suitable carers and place of birth in the beginning and by the time you are 37+ weeks into your pregnancy you will have a relationship of trust, respect and open communication.

If you need to, seek a second opinion. It is not too late to hire a doula for extra support or even to change place or birth and care providers if you do not feel supported and heard.

If you do need an induction, it helps to know that you are making the best choice for your unique circumstances. You may find some people will question your need for an induction, offer their advice and anecdotes, or make little of an induced birth when it may have been an enormous decision for you. You may feel sad or disappointed that your wishes for birth are no longer possible.

Read up on induction and understand the process, the possible complications and what you can do to counter these or manage them. Explore the options that may be possible (but not always offered) like turning down the artificial oxcytocin once labour is established, intermittent monitoring or using a water proof doppler so you can move more easily or labour in the shower where the warm water may help with the intensity of the contractions. If you are not able to use the shower, make use of heat packs or warmed wash clothes on your back or belly. Ask your supporter to help you breathe deeply, but not to not hyperventilate, so you can consciously keep your baby oxygenated – a lack of oxygen is one of the increased risks an induced baby faces.

A positive birth depends on the way you feel and the way you are cared for more than anything else. So gather your supporters and surround yourself with strong, encouraging and loving people. Approach your new plan for birth with as much optimism as your old plan. If it has turned out you and your baby need a different path to birth, there is no shame or failure in being wise enough and flexible enough to recognise this. You can choose to handle this change in plans beautifully and you will soon be holding your baby in your arms!

For more information on induction visit Midwife Thinking – induction

Read women’s positive experiences with induction


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Estimated Due Date – Dealing with the waiting time

When your estimated due date is fast approaching it can feel like a count down to the big day. Remember that the estimated due date (EDD) is just that – an estimate – and until you reach 42 weeks you are not truly ‘post dates’. Your baby will signal to your body when it is ready for birth by releasing a hormone that triggers labour. If your EDD has become a cause for anxiety, impatience and pressure on yourself, or pressure from others to ‘hurry up and have your baby’ then take this as a signal that it is time for you to do exactly the opposite and slow down.

When people around you are asking all the time about the baby, remember they are just very excited and they do mean no harm. People really do love a pregnant belly and news of a new baby. It is exciting and sharing in the news brings joy to many people.

If these curious questioners are close to you, you may choose to tell them that you appreciate their eagerness and you will certainly let them know when your baby is born! Let them know that you would like to spend the last weeks relaxing and feeling emotionally and practically ready. Maybe they can help instead by picking up some shopping, baking a meal, looking after older children for a little while or doing some errands for you. They will feel involved and this is what they want. You will get some peace and avoid some of those outings where everyone wants to comment on the size of your belly and whether it is normal to be that big or declare that you don’t look big enough, are you sure the dates are right!

If you are able to give over your jobs out in the world to someone else then do this so you don’t have to have the same conversation with the person at the shop or the mums at school every day until your baby is born!

You may feel tired of preparing for birth and begin to feel a little lost or emotional. This is all a part of the waiting time where your body and mind are getting ready for labour and the transition into motherhood. Don’t be afraid to let go and have a good cry. Open up to your doula, midwife or a supportive friend and share how you are feeling. Allow yourself to be a little dreamy and disconnected from the rest of the world. Connect with your baby in any way that appeals to you, nurture yourself, do a little last minute nesting, and protect yourself from negative thoughts and feelings.

From women’s stories we can see how common an emotional release is shortly before labour begins. It is a great way to clear out fears, anxieties and become emotionally ready for birth and your new baby.

Try these ideas:
• Put your phone on answering machine – put the world on hold.
• Stop watching the news,
• Avoid discussions online or in real life that cause you stress or irritation.
• Have a massage, chiropractic adjustment, or other relaxing treatment that will help put your body and mind in a great position for birth
• Meditate or listen to positive affirmations. Try a fresh meditation that you haven’t listened to before. My pick is “25 Ways to Awaken Your Birth Power
• Have a fear release session with a birth hypnosis practitioner,
• Do a yoga/meditation class,
• Read positive birth stories and avoid any stories that make you anxious even if they are supposed to be positive. Only you can decide what is helpful for you to read or view!
• Read your favourite feel-good books. My picks are light hearted romantic comedies for pregnancy.
• Create an artwork about your baby, birth or becoming a mother,
• Begin a craft for your baby (you may not get to finish it!).
• Cook and freeze a celebration cake for after the birth,
• Write a letter to your baby, your mother or your partner.
Remember, nature does not hurry, but everything is accomplished.

naturedoesnot hurry