The gorgeous Melissa Gordon with her children Grace (6), Jack (5), Kate (23 months) and Nina (4 weeks). Melissa has had quite a variety of birth experiences. With her first, she was very scared of the pain of labor and knew going into it that she wanted an epidural, feel nothing and get the baby out vaginally. The epidural slowed everything down, and she had to have induction medication and almost a cesarean. They were able to use the vacuum to get her out safely which caused some pelvic floor damage for Melissa. She was ultimately very happy with how it all went. With Jack, she decided to approach birth a different way and used hypnobirthing to manage her fear and the pain. She had a beautiful drug free labor at home and only transferred to the hospital 30 minutes before Jack was born without complication. With Kate, she decided that her previous birth was such a success they wanted to have a water birth in a family birthing center rather than the hospital. She used hypnobirthing again, and her husband caught Kate, which was wonderful. However, Melissa couldn't get out of the bath after her birth, and it was determined she'd damaged her pubic symphysis quite severely. She couldn't walk for 5 months and was ultimately diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and Arthritis. They'd always wanted four children, but Melissa wasn't sure she could endure another pregnancy and delivery. They got pregnant by surprise and on the recommendation of 5 specialists and lots of research decided that rather than have a natural birth she'd have an elective cesarean. Nina was born by cesarean at 37 weeks bringing her birth experience completely full circle. Melissa says she would have loved to have a natural birth, but you can't always predict the outcome, and the outcome for her family has been perfect. She's had a difficult time recovering from her surgery due to her chronic pain but it's going well now, and she's starting to feel better. Melissa has been able to breastfeed all of her babies without issue. She chose to participate in the project to show her children that they don't need to aspire to be something that's impossible, who they are is perfect.
pelvic floor damage
The lovely Liz Bird with her daughter Sadie (3) and son Campbell (10 months). Liz's first pregnancy was lost to miscarriage at around 11 weeks. She was aware that she'd had a subchorionic hematoma but wasn't mindful of the fact that it would lead to the loss of her baby. Liz was devastated, and took her time to grieve, she sought treatment and credits her faith to getting her through it. Once she was feeling better, they decided to try again and conceived Sadie. Liz had really awful morning sickness which caused her to lose quite a bit of weight and have a difficult time. Her pregnancy was without complication otherwise, and she felt great about the changes in her body. She chose to give birth at a birthing center and was very much looking forward to the support of the midwife she'd built a relationship with. She ended up going into labor a week early, and her midwife was on holiday, so she had the support of backup staff. She labored about 19 hours with 2 hours of pushing but never felt quite ready to. While Sadie was born without complication, Liz had quite a bit of pelvic floor damage and went through about 6 months of physical therapy before she felt she could sit down comfortably. She was able to breastfeed without issue but was incredibly sleep-deprived. Sadie did not sleep well and nursed about every hour on the hour through the night. Liz was losing weight rapidly and was generally unwell. When Sadie was about 14 months old, they went to a center for a week to help her learn how to sleep better and just days into the stay she slept through the night, and Liz started to feel much better. She was able to conceive again with Campbell without issue. She had a lot of morning sickness again but chose to take medication this time so that she could feel well enough to keep up with Sadie. She was much larger during this pregnancy and says she got a lot of comments from strangers wondering if she was due very soon or expecting twins. The comments and her size made her feel bad about her growing body and she was really struggling to enjoy the things she did in her previous pregnancy. She planned to deliver Campbell at home, but his arrival was unexpected. She woke up in labor around 2am one morning but didn't actually acknowledge it was time. She worked through contractions and very soon her water broke and her boy arrived just after 3am. Her midwives and support hadn't had a chance to arrive yet, so her husband caught him and brought him up to her chest. Even though she had a fast labor and delivered a much larger baby, she physically felt wonderful after her birth. Breastfeeding is going beautifully this time as well.