The wonderful Kirsten Wallace with her daughter Aviana (2). Kirsten is also 33 weeks pregnant with her second, due in November. When Kirsten was 18, she was told that she had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and would never have children of her own, or if she did she would have to utilize fertility treatments to get there. Despite the warnings, she conceived without issue unexpectedly. Aviana's pregnancy was great, Kirsten struggled with morning sickness but was otherwise okay. She was born vaginally with an epidural due to her posterior position and was able to breastfeed right away. Aviana is still breastfeeding, and Kirsten hopes to tandem feed once the new baby arrives. They decided to try again very quickly so that the kids could grow up close in age. Conception took a lot longer this time and Kirsten had to rely on Clomid and other fertility treatments. She hasn't been as sick this pregnancy but has had a few complications. The baby has a single vessel umbilical cord and is measuring quite small. Thankfully he's growing steadily, just in lower percentiles, so everything is looking great this time around. Kirsten had hoped to have a homebirth but is going to deliver in the hospital with a student midwife assisting. She is hoping for a natural waterbirth this time. When Kirsten was growing up, she had family members who forbid her from having seconds and told her to suck her stomach in at age 6 or 7, things they would never have said to her brother. She doesn't feel anyone should be subjected to that and wants to set a better example for both her children.
The lovely Kim Harris with her mother Janet Rogers and children Sarah (6) and Thomas (2). Janet has two children of her own, Kim and a son just a few years younger. Janet had two very healthy pregnancies she enjoyed very much. She felt as if her body was in bloom and very much enjoyed how her body changed. Janet's delivery was natural, vaginal and her son was born via an emergency cesarean. Breastfeeding went very well with both nursing until about 18 months, and she has been an active member of both the La Leche League as a leader and the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
Kim had a healthy pregnancy with her first. Sarah was quite big at over 10lbs, so they scheduled a cesarean birth. Kim wasn't attached to a vaginal birth; she just wanted a baby, so the experience was just fine for her. Sarah breastfed without issue for her first 2.5 years but was quite demanding and didn't sleep a lot ,so Kim and her husband waited quite a long time to plan for another child. Kim was also diagnosed with sleep apnea after Sarah was born which had definitely contributed to her sleep issues. Once they felt they caught up, they decided to try again and conceived Thomas. She took care of herself physically more during her second pregnancy. She got massages and managed her sleep apnea very well. She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during this pregnancy and suspects she may have had it during her first pregnancy as well. Her gestational diabetes was aggressively managed through diet and exercise. She had a repeat cesarean with Thomas which she found very easy. Breastfeeding has gone very well, but she has plans of weaning quite soon. Kim was recently diagnosed with the BRCA2 gene and is planning to have a bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction and full hysterectomy. She's had a tough time coming to grips with all of that and has decided to participate as part of her "farewell to the breasts tour."
The amazing Caitlin Moriarty with her daughter Frieda Frances Fiona Florence (13 days old). Caitlin never expected that she would be a mother or even get married for that matter. Then, she met her husband and started to really think about building their family together. She says that a child wasn't desired to complete their family but perfectly fit into it. She's enjoying motherhood in a way that she never imagined it would be so amazing. Caitlin has begun to appreciate her body in a way that she never imagined. Growing her daughter, she was able to thank and congratulate her body and now that she's breastfeeding she's been able to applaud her breasts and appreciate them. Caitlin had a lovely pregnancy for the most part. She wasn't sick a lot but had high blood pressure throughout her pregnancy which was great in the end in that she was monitored very closely. Caitlin had planned a very natural birthing experiences but in the end, it was not at all what she'd expected. It was determined that as her blood pressure increased, Frieda's heart rate dropped. She ended up being induced, having her waters broken and ultimately delivering via cesarean. Her cesarean wasn't that rushed, however, and she was able to be awake and alert. When Frieda came out, her cord was wrapped so tightly that she was a bit gray, so the cesarean was absolutely the right choice. Caitlin says that is was a dream delivery even though it wasn't what she'd expected. Breastfeeding has been an interesting learning experience so far. Caitlin feels like Frieda knows exactly what she's doing, she's just trying to catch up and learn herself and she's been lucky to have the support of many midwives in figuring things out.
The amazing Kathryn Grew with her mother Clare Foster and her children Charlotte (2.5) and Alexander (5 months). Kathryn had two very different, quite difficult pregnancies and births. She had hip pain and sickness right through the end with both of them. She'd developed an itchy rash with Charlotte which led to her induction. She labored for three days and was threatened with a cesarean delivery if she didn't have her out by the end of the third day. Thankfully, she was able to birth her vaginally. Alexander was an induction as well as he'd stopped growing how they'd have liked but his labor and birth was just a few hours long. Kathryn has breastfed both of her babies without complication.
Clare has three children of her own, Sarah-Jane (30), Kathryn (28) and Ian (24) and two older step-children aged 40 and 37. Clare had healthy pregnancies and three natural deliveries. She also breastfed all of her babies. With such an age gap it was hard to slow down with her babies outside of their feeds. She is very much loving being a grandmother because she feels that it's her first opportunity to really enjoy those early years as she was too busy to make the most of them before.
The courageous Conor Humphries with her son Jarvis (8.5 months). Conor and her husband had struggled with years of infertility before they were able to enjoy Jarvis' pregnancy. They ultimately turned to IVF, conceived twice, and miscarried each time. On their third and final attempt they conceived both through IVF and naturally and for the first 10 weeks, Conor carried twins. She miscarried one of the babies and found it tough to enjoy her pregnancy for fear that Jarvis wouldn't make it as well. She ended up going overseas for about a month and during that time really started to show. Everything checked out well when she returned, and she felt she was finally able to enjoy her pregnancy. She loved it actually and felt really great. At 38 weeks, her water broke and by the time she got to the hospital she was at 5cms. She was confident in her ability to labor and birth naturally but ended up getting an epidural due to threats for a cesarean. It was a welcomed relief actually as she'd had pretty severe back labor. They kept on saying she'd need an episiotomy, or forceps or vacuum to get the baby but out but Conor said no and after 2 hours of pushing, her son was born. When Jarvis was 9 days old, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. He had his first surgery the day before his due date. It didn't work as well as they'd hoped, so he had another surgery 5 days later. They booked him in for another big open heart surgery, but he got sick just before so they pushed it back, and in the meantime, he got better and better, and they decided he didn't need it. Jarvis had his last surgery about a month ago and is very healthy and happy. He'll need monitoring and more surgeries down the road, but Conor is thrilled that they can live normally right now.
The wonderful Erin Fuster with her daughter Michaela (11 weeks). Erin had a perfect pregnancy other than the fact that Michaela didn't want to come out. She had to be induced 13 days post dates, they broke her waters and put her on Pitocin. Michaela's heart rate was being funny so Erin chose to have an epidural as they had her stay in bed and she couldn't move a lot. When she started pushing Michaela's heart rate dropped very low, so they used a vacuum to get her out at the very end. Breastfeeding has been without complication as well, and Erin is settling into motherhood comfortably.
The stunning Kaylie Smith. Kaylie is mum to Eddie (7) and Eamon (4). Eddie was born a year and 9 months after Kaylie married her husband, she conceived while she was on birth control and was actually quite happy about it. She was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at age 16, so conceiving without fertility issues was a gift. Her labor wasn't ideal as she was induced due to his size. Her second labor and delivery was much different, she had prepared a lot more and hired a doula this time. She labored at home as long she could and delivered just after she arrived at the hospital. Kaylie and her husband really want another baby, but she's been struggling with her health. She was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis just a month ago which has attacked her thyroid and requires her to be on medication. Getting pregnant again shouldn't be an issue but she would need quite a bit of monitoring and possible intervention to sustain a pregnancy. Breastfeeding was a bit rocky to start with Eddie due to torticollis and latching issues, but he was able to nurse until he was two and she nursed Eamon until he was three. Hashimoto's can affect milk supply as well, so it's another concern if she has another baby. Kaylie chose to participate in the project for many reasons one of which is simply to show her boys that the changes in a woman's body throughout her life are normal and beautiful.
The lovely Chenoa Trama with her children Jordan (7), Amali (5), Isaac, Dylan, Ailah (2) and Jaida (4 days). Chenoa had a very wonderful first pregnancy, and Jordan was born at home after 36 hours of labor. She breastfed without complication until he was 14 months old. Amali was conceived soon after and was also born at home after a 7-hour labor. A couple of years later they tried for number three and found out very early on that they had conceived triplets. Chenoa didn't have any complications, carried until 34.5 weeks and delivered vaginally in hospital within 14 minutes. She breastfed her triplets exclusively until 9 months and only supplemented one bottle a day until they were 15 months old. She had another healthy pregnancy with Jaida and another happy homebirth. This birth was very different from Chenoa's other children in that Jaida was 11lbs and arrived after just 2 hours of labor. She's been able to establish breastfeeding without issue and hopes to nurse as long as possible.
The amazing Johanna Campbell with her boys Ocean (3) and Phoenix (1). Johanna was born with a defective hip and had an operation to repair it when she was 8. Her surgeon told her as a little girl that she could do anything, and she has always remembered that. In adulthood, she had another scan and was told that she would need a full hip transplant before becoming a mother as the weight of pregnancy would be too much for her hips to bear. Johanna says she's a poor planner, and she had both of her boys soon after. She had healthy pregnancies with them both, with no more hip problems than usual. Both boys went post dates and were delivered vaginally with an epidural after 24+ hours labors. Breastfeeding has also gone well; Ocean nursed until 14 months, and Phoenix is still going strong. While a major hip operation is likely in Johanna's future, she's doing well right now. In fact, she just walked the Great Wall of China with Phoenix on her back.
The lovely Lyndal James with her daughters Charlie (8) and Maisie (11 weeks) and son Max (5). Lyndal also has a step son aged 4. She had pretty straightforward pregnancies without complications each time around. With her second two, she ended up in the hospital at around 28 weeks with some bleeding but it stopped on its own, and things were fine. With her first two pregnancies, she says she wasn't overly educated about childbirth and wasn't very happy with her birth experiences. She went to the hospital, and experienced intervention after intervention and they were both vacuum-assisted deliveries with epidurals. She's done some midwifery training in the interim and decided to try things differently before Maisie's birth. She hired a doula this time around and was able to labor at home for a long time. Maisie was born naturally, and they were able to go home the next day. Lyndal didn't have any issues breastfeeding but also didn't have a lot of support with her eldest two. She stopped at 3 months with Charlie and 6 months with Max. She planned to make it at least 12 months with Maisie and has had some issues with latching and weight gain but feels that they've finally hit their stride. Lyndal feels that women, and especially mothers, are rarely, if ever depicted honestly in our society in our media. She chose to lend her voice and her image as a part of changing that.