The beautiful Bree Warner with her son Nate (16 months). She is due with her second right around Christmas day. Her first pregnancy was lost to miscarriage, which she found very upsetting, understandably. She'd known that miscarriages happen, but until she experienced a loss herself, she never knew the gravity at which it would affect her life. She was able to conceive again within about 3 months time and lost the pregnancy early to miscarriage again. She had a healthy pregnancy with Nate but found it was a bit harder to enjoy it due to her concerns. Bree went into labor and delivery open to accepting whatever happened whether that was natural or medications/interventions. She was able to have a beautiful natural labor and delivery without complication. Bree was able to work through breastfeeding difficulties her first few weeks and nursed Nate until he was 8 months old. Bree's current pregnancy has been healthy but a bit more taxing on her body physically. She's going into labor with an open mind again this time, ready for whatever happens.
The beautiful Bianca Casey with her girls Estelle (12), Polly-Jean (5) and Ilse (3). Bianca is currently 35 weeks pregnant with another girl, Lumina, who is likely to be born next week. Bianca had a very healthy pregnancy with Estelle, but things became complicated during delivery, and she ended up delivering via emergency cesarean. Thankfully, Bianca and baby were okay. She was able to initiate breastfeeding without issue and nursed Estelle until about 14 months. Her second daughter was born 7 years later via cesarean after another uncomplicated pregnancy and Ilse just two years after that. She had a breast reduction after Estelle and was worried it may affect her breastfeeding. While she wasn't able to feed as long, she was still able to get milk to her girls in their first few months. Bianca's fourth pregnancy was lost in her first trimester to miscarriage. She was able to cope with the loss and conceived her son Samson before she even got her next period. She felt something was wrong around 17 weeks and learned via ultrasound that he was no longer alive. Bianca feels the greatest gift her son gave her was the natural birth she'd always wanted. Bianca didn't cope well after losing Samson and about 6 weeks after his death, she spent about 6 weeks in the hospital to get herself well. All she wanted was to be pregnant again and was able to conceive Lumina without issue. She's had a bit more complicated of a pregnancy this time around with pelvic pain and some blood pressure issues. She's been more anxious as well, often checking in via ultrasound or doppler to make sure that Lumina is okay. Her doctor is willing to deliver via cesarean at 36 weeks and Bianca is eager to get her girl earth side so that she can be sure that everything is okay.
The lovely Eloyse Baker with her daughter's Darcy (3) and Madison (9 months). Eloyse had healthy pregnancies with each of her daughters and was able to have vaginal deliveries in the hospital. She was fully unmedicated with Darcy. She had much more intense contractions with Madison and used gas during the delivery. She's had successful breastfeeding relationships both of her girls. Due to her large bust, she finds it difficult to feed in public but enjoys the freedom of being able to nourish her girls at home.
The phenomenal Maddison Gore with her sons Tobi (4) and Jaxx (23 days). Maddison says that her story really began when she was 14 when her grandmother died. The two were very, very close. Not long after, her parents divorced, and it came out that her dad was gay. Her first pregnancy was when she was 16 but was lost to miscarriage. She got pregnant the second time at 18, miscarried again and got pregnant with Tobi very soon after. After Tobi's birth, she joined a young mother's group which ignited her passion for women. Maddison connected with women not yet ready to be on this journey, who banded together and talked about the things they couldn't share elsewhere. She saw that these women were much stronger than they thought and it motivated her to train to become a doula. Maddison decided that being a doula wasn't enough; she wanted to study midwifery and is currently in nursing school. Ultimately, she hopes to work with women and mothers navigating mental health issues without any stigma. Maddison split from her son's dad when he was just a year old and has been a strong single mother since. She got pregnant with Jaxx a few years later and is raising him a single mother as well. Her pregnancies have been very healthy, and she's had beautiful natural births. She retained her placenta with Tobi and was almost rushed to surgery, but they were able to get it out nearly two and a half hours later. Following Jaxx's delivery, she had a massive postpartum hemorrhage and lost over two liters of blood. She was rushed to surgery and needed two blood transfusions but has recovered very well and says that three weeks out, she's feeling great. She was able to breastfeed Tobi for his first four months and hopes to nurse Jaxx until he's ready to wean. Maddison says that she's been through a lot in her 23 years, and the perspective she's gained has allowed her to love other women with no judgment at all. Maddison's struggles with her body image have led to her creating a movement in her hometown of Geelong, Victoria (Australia) known as the 365 Day Project. She chose to participate in 4th Trimester Bodies Project because she wants to start appreciating and loving who she is.
The beautiful Bree Day with her sons Jonah (7) and Asher (4) and daughter Anneka (22 months). All three of Bree's pregnancies were very healthy, she had a bit of morning sickness each time and says that in hindsight she may have rose colored glasses regarding her pregnancy but loved it. She was induced her first pregnancy and felt that she lost a bit of control during her labor and delivery, and hoped to do things differently in the future. It took about 12 months to conceive her second son, and she had to be induced again this time at 38 weeks after a scan had revealed she didn't have any amniotic fluid. She had studied hypnobirthing this time around, along with her partner and her mum, and had a very quick and calm labor and delivery. Her third pregnancy was another induction, this time due to pregnancy-related hypertension at term. She relied on her hypnobirthing classes this time as well, and had another quick and calm labor. Bree's mother was unable to breastfeed her and her four siblings, so they talked a lot about her ability to breastfeed. It was a bit of a struggle her first 12 weeks with Jonah but she was able to work through it and nursed her second two from the start without issue.
The fabulous Kirsten Finger with her children Liam (4), Zoe (2) and Joshua (16 months). Kirsten's pregnancies and births have been quite different. Her first was planned, and she was thrilled. Very quickly on she developed pelvic pain. She found it quite difficult to manage and was worried that it would only get worse in future pregnancies. It got so bad that she couldn't roll over in bed without assistance. She thought the pain would go away right after birth, but it persisted for a bit. Kirsten was rather scared by childbirth. She became frustrated at the end of her pregnancy as she went overdue and felt very disconnected from her body as she often starts to dilate without being aware of what's happening in her body. She had a hind water link and went into the hospital for induction. She got permission to get her water broke and give her body a chance to go into labor. She was given permission but felt very much that she didn't have control over much of her labor. She had labored for 4 hours before the night shift midwife came on and she told Kirsten she wasn't doing well and needed to push an induction. Kirsten lost all control she'd had and decided that if she wanted to have that she also wanted an epidural which she'd hoped to avoid. The anesthesiologist asked if she was in transition and she thought she may have been as well but the midwife insisted she was only dilating to 5 cms. Once the epidural was in she was fully dilated and told to push. During pushing, she felt disconnected and felt nothing. She was very sad with how things went. They decided to have another baby very soon after but wanted things to be different this time. She had midwife-led care and planned a waterbirth this time. She was able to have a beautiful waterbirth following an induction postdates. Her mum caught the baby; her husband was there, and she was able to have exactly the birth she'd desired. It wasn't until after her daughter was born that they learned she had a velamentous cord insertion and the membranes had toughened up making them difficult to rupture and putting her daughter at risk. When Zoe was about 6 months old, Kirsten had a bit of a breakdown and began to acknowledge she'd been dealing with a lot of anxiety and panic attacks. It wasn't until after she had her son Joshua that she realized she very much wasn't doing well, and she pulled herself together and got treatment, ultimately choosing to take medication to help her. She calls Josh her healing baby and even though she faced another induction she was able to do it without an epidural, just gas this time, which made her very proud. She's changed her parenting methods a lot as well, keeping her son closer, wearing him and co-sleeping. She's found that catering to his needs naturally has made her more relaxed and a better parent to all of her children. Kirsten feels that she has her reserve back and can cope better when things go well. She's very proud of herself and has succeeded in taking the first step down off of her medication. She's worked through a lot of other things during this time as well related to her triggers and growth in her faith and feels that she's made a lot of positive change.
The wonderful Heidi Van Ven Rooy and her children Raffi (5), Winter (2.5) and Harlan (8 months). Heidi's first pregnancy was lost to miscarriage at 12 weeks due to a blighted ovum. She decided to stop trying after her loss and became pregnant with Raffi soon after. She was very ill throughout her pregnancy with sickness lasting all day, every day. Her waters spontaneously broke at 37 weeks, and she had a great labor lasting about 8 hours. She was able to have a natural delivery in which she felt very much supported. Heidi felt great after delivery and told her husband she could go through labor a million times over, but didn't wish to go through such a difficult pregnancy again. She fell into motherhood quite easily and very much enjoyed it. Heidi decided to try for another baby quickly but it took quite some time to conceive. She struggled with sickness again this time but did what she needed to to get through it with her toddler. At 36 weeks, Winter stopped growing and at 39 weeks they decided to induce. This labor was much more challenging, but only lasted just over an hour, which threw her into quite a bit of shock. She was shaking and felt disconnected from her daughter at first. She was worried she would drop her or hurt her that first night, and Winter screamed, likely in shock herself. Heidi had planned to have more children eventually but was surprised by her pregnancy with Harlan when Winter was about 13 months old. She struggled again with illness and accepting that she was pregnant again before she was ready. Heidi's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was pregnant and helping her mom get to treatment and deal with the stress of such an illness made her pregnancy that much harder. The stress affected her in many ways, she developed Bell's Palsy at 16 weeks, got pelvic instability and felt that every time she went to the doctor there was another issue that came up. Her iron got too low, and she had to have an infusion but developed an allergic reaction. Just after, she had her 20-week scan and was sent to a specialist who determined that there was something wrong, but they couldn't determine what. At 39 weeks Heidi had a massive bleed. Doctors thought at first it was just the start of labor, but it was determined that her placenta had actually detached from her uterine wall. She had to have an emergency induction but wasn't told at the time how extreme it was. Her labor was only about 2 hours and 15 minutes this time, but she didn't go into shock and was able to bond with Harlan right away. It wasn't until after he was out that Heidi learned her placenta had started to die, and they only had about 4 hours before Harlan would have been in serious trouble. Harlan wasn't breathing properly and needed some monitoring when he was born. He was also Coombs positive and had to have blood tests every day. At this same time, Heidi was still taking her mum to her doctors and chemo appointments. Every appointment with Harlan they learned something new was wrong, he has two holes in his heart and his neutrophils (white blood count) is low. Harlan has required monitoring but is currently in good health. Heidi's mother has had to have a full mastectomy but is currently cancer free. Heidi feels that children should be taught to see our bodies for what they really are and wants to show her children that it's okay to be proud of your body.
The radiant Trilby-Roux Dewhurst mum to Eleanor (5) and twins, Walter and Lucinda (16 months). Eleanor's pregnancy was textbook uncomplicated. Toward the end of her labor, Trilby-Roux began to have difficulty and had to have an epidural with forceps assistance. She also broke her tail bone during the delivery, which made her recovery quite painful. Trilby-Roux didn't want intervention and had a hard time with things being so intrusive. Eleanor was healthy though and didn't have any issues breastfeeding. She had hoped for her next birth to be a home birth but wasn't comfortable having twins at home. She decided to find a provider in the private sector and after some searching, she found a doctor willing to respect her wishes for a natural, vaginal delivery. She was induced at 35 weeks because Lucinda had stopped growing, but was able to deliver without any medication. She found the experience very empowering and felt great physically. Her twins spent 4 weeks in the special care nursery to learn to feed and grow. Her first few weeks at home were tough as she got in a groove with breastfeeding. She had to feed then pump, then feed then pump, and found herself pretty much confined to her couch. Thankfully she had the full support of her husband of mum and was able to focus on the twins until she got the hang of feeding. Trilby-Roux says she talks the talk to her daughter about how amazing her body is and was happy to participate to show her that she can also walk the walk.
The lovely Katherine Vanyai with her daughters Xanthe (2) and Inara (6 months). Both of Katherine's pregnancies were conceived with ovulation induction, but she was lucky enough to conceive on her first cycle. She needed assistance due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). She had inductions with both birth due to high blood pressure near the end of pregnancy. She's also struggled with low milk supply in her breastfeeding relationships.
The beautiful Shalome Doran with her son Charlie (22 months) and daughter Frankie (10 months). Shalome is also mum to Scarlet (8). Scarlet was born naturally in the hospital with intervention, which was not what Shalome had wanted. When she got pregnant again, she decided she wanted a homebirth and was able to successfully bring her youngest two into the world at home - everything was just perfect. She absolutely loves birth, that specific, empowering part of the process. Shalome has 12 months between her youngest children. She got pregnant with Frankie when Charlie was only 3 months old. Her third pregnancy was tough in that she had no energy and was still breastfeeding Charlie through it. Shalome has had great breastfeeding relationships with all of her children for the first few months but at around 4-5 months she began having issues with supply each time. She nursed Frankie the longest through feeding on demand until about 9 months. Shalome wanted to participate in the project to help continue the dialogue and confront the issues that come up when we start to shift the focus back to ourselves as women and mothers and to celebrate the beautiful things our bodies can do.