The lovely Jessica Pilton with her daughters Alannah (4), Tiffany (2.5) and son Mason (10 months). Jessica's first pregnancy was a bit of a surprise and she felt like her body went into a bit of shock. She had a lot of pelvic girdle pain, felt quite sick and could barely walk. At about 15 weeks things got a lot better and she felt that she was then able to get excited about becoming a mum. She was given a pregnancy and parenting book by a friend, read it as the truth and decided to follow it's methods without really looking further. She had planned to birth in hospital and labored at home in a lot of pain over a few days before they would allow her to come in. Once there she got an epidural and was given an episiotomy without her knowledge or permission. While Alannah was born without complication Jessica was not pleased with how things had gone. Once home she found herself to be a distant parent because she thought she had to be. Having her daughter scheduled with breastfeeding and crying it out since day one. She became pregnant with Tiffany when Alannah was just 6 months old and knew she wanted to do things a bit differently. She very much credits the village of mothers she's connect with online to help her become the mother she is today. For her second birth she wanted to do things more naturally and used gas and pethidine to help her through. She brought her daughter earth side on all fours and was able to breastfeed right away. Jessica started to become a more gentle of a parent and by time her son was born really felt she'd come into her own. She chose to deliver Mason at a birthing center with midwifery care and enjoyed this care model and birthing experience most of all. Jessica is still breastfeeding Mason and says that after years of feeling embarrassed by her large breasts she is finally learning to embrace body. She feels that she's learned and grown so much as a mother since her first daughter was born and credits the community of women who have supported her for so much.
The most wonderful Michelle Gay with her daughter Ainslie (4.5 months). Michelle's pregnancy with Ainslie was a bit of a surprise but things went very well from the onset. She is a nurse who works at a private hospital so she just imagined she'd stick with that health system but after a friend had encouraged her to hire a doula, she decided that the public system might be a better fit for her. She chose midwifery care and ultimately hoped and planned for a homebirth. All of her prenatal visits were done at home, but as she got closer to term, she began to have issues with her blood pressure. It was determined that she'd need to deliver in the hospital. She fought an induction and was able to get things going with two rounds of acupuncture. She'd planned to stay away from medications but ended up having gas and ultimately a light epidural after 22 hours of labor and exhaustion setting in. Her waters were broken, and her daughter had meconium in her fluid, which meant she'd have to be confined to bed with constant monitoring rather than laboring in the water and shower. She had counseled that she may need vacuum assistance but was able to push her daughter out on her own in just 15 minutes fully supported by midwifery care and she got an hour of uninterrupted skin to skin with her daughter right away. Michelle says that she grieved not being able to deliver at home, then not delivering without medication, then not being able to have freedom of movement during her labor. However, what she's had the hardest time with is not being able to breastfeed her daughter. She nursed and nursed her daughter's first few days, but she wasn't gaining weight. A midwife told her she needed to gain 5oz in two days or she'd have no choice but to give her formula. It was then that Michelle learned she had insufficient glandular tissue. She scrambled to get donor milk after having tried everything from pumping after nursing round the clock, domperidone, fenugreek, water and lactation biscuits to build supply. Within hours, she had liters of donations coming in. Michelle grieved not being able to nurse and at around 10 weeks had a bit of a breakdown and wanted to relactate. She went through the realm of domperidone and fenugreek and building supply again and in 5 days time was able to get Ainslie to latch with an SNS. She was thrilled and felt that she had finally figured it out but after a short period, Ainslie began to refuse. Michelle has been able to continue feeding her daughter donated breastmilk and hopes to carry on as long as possible. Michelle chose to participate in part, to share the story of her daughter's arrival and her struggles with breastfeeding but also to promote positive body image. She's struggled with her own image especially after struggling through a troublesome relationship in which she was body shamed and told to lose weight. She dieted and lost weight and once she got out of it got stuck in a cycle of binge eating. Now that she has a daughter she finds it more important than ever to embrace her body as it is and love it for all it has accomplished.
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 beautiful Tania Truong with her son Jayden (4) and daughter Mia (2). Tania had a very easy pregnancy with Jayden, but his birth was another story. She was in labor for 39 hours. After 24 hours, the midwives decided to break her water as she was 7cm dilated and they were yet to break. As soon as the midwife broke her waters, she went back to 4cm, which was devastating. Tania only had gas to help her through which for the last hour of labor caused her to vomit repeatedly. She also shocked all the midwives when she was completely silent through labor and giving birth. Tania’s doctor didn’t arrive until 15 minutes before Jayden was born. The doctor cut her a couple of times without telling her or giving any anesthetic as her son was being born which was upsetting. With Mia’s pregnancy she had a bit of morning sickness but was otherwise healthy until she had some bleeding at 26 weeks pregnant. She was rushed to the hospital but was later cleared. When labor started, it was only about 24 hours. When she got to the hospital, the midwife didn't think she was in labor and gave her two options to have some pain relief or an internal exam to see if she was dilated. Tania picked the internal and to the midwife's surprise, she was at 4cm. She was told to walk around to drop the baby's head. She got out of bed, walked from one side to the other and her waters broke naturally. She walked around the corner to her birthing suite where the midwife checked her again, and she was 9cm. From there on, a few pushes and Mia was born. Tania says that motherhood is amazing and absolutely the best thing to happen to her. Tania has recently lost 45 kg through diet and exercise in part to be healthier for her children.