The amazing Carrie Thornton with her daughters Ellie (2.5) and Jemima (4). Carrie got pregnant with Ellie within a few months of trying. Other than some early morning sickness she cruised right along and was very healthy. She chose to have a private OB and hospital. Towards the end of her pregnancy Ellie had turned breech. Carrie and her husband discussed options for trying to get her to turn with their doctor but in the end decided that what would be would be and if she turned great, if not she'd deliver via cesarean. Ellie stayed breech and they were scheduled for a cesarean. Ellie decided to come a few days prior so Carrie got to experience a natural onset of labor, went into hospital and had Ellie in her arms within the hour. She though breastfeeding just happened but was told that she had flat nipples and couldn't breastfeed so Ellie was given formula her first day of life in hospital. Carrie continued to try at home but by about 13 weeks admitted to her husband that she had postnatal depression and the cycle of trying to feed, pump and give formula was too much so she weaned. They decided to start trying for baby number two about a year and a half later and found out at about 4 weeks. They immediately started planning and got very attached only to learn that she'd miscarried. Carrie had lost her father about 6 months prior and that coupled with this loss took a toll on her. They took a month off and conceived again straight away. She had another healthy pregnancy and wanted to attempt a natural birth this time. She found an OB who would allow her to have a trial of labor and once labor started she'd just see what happened. Jamima was a few days post dates but Carrie went into labor naturally, her waters broke but things didn't really progress from there. It was a public holiday and they were eager to deliver her so they kept upping the Pitocin and Jamima's heart rate was dropping. Carrie decided she couldn't take the stress and elected for a repeat cesarean. The midwife this time helped her breastfeed right away and she's enjoyed a wonderful breastfeeding relationship thus far. Carrie had a uterine infection just after birth and had to go back in hospital but was able to recover fully and keep her baby by her side.
The radiant Carmel Riley with her boys Angus (5), Archie (3) and daughter Matilda (1). Thankfully, Carmel hasn't had any issues with conception. Her first pregnancy was a bit full on, her hormones were ravaged, she had all day sickness and towards the end of her pregnancy, she began to suffer from migraines for the first time in her life. When she went into labor, they drove to the hospital about 40 minutes away. She had a migraine and couldn't stop vomiting. They were sent home and then went back because she couldn't keep fluids down. She had labored over a couple of days before they broke her waters and about 9-10 hours later, Angus was born. In retrospect, Carmel wishes things had gone a lot differently and feels she's learned a lot about informed refusal. In following protocol, she felt that she was given medication and interventions she didn't necessary want or need. Having been so focused on her labor Carmel doesn’t feel that they were prepared for actually being parents and taking care of a baby, especially living so far from family and friends. Carmel suffered a period of postnatal depression during this time. When Angus was a few months old, Carmel's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through a very rough battle. Carmel had an early miscarriage and then conceived Archie a few months later. Carmel was a week overdue with Archie and was induced on compassionate grounds as her mother was in her final days. Thankfully, she was able to meet him before she passed. After Archie, Carmel had to convince people that she didn't have postnatal depression, she was going through a normal period of grief having just lost her parent. Carmel lost another pregnancy to miscarriage before Matilda. She had a lot of fatigue with her last pregnancy and had to go through a lot of iron treatments. She had issues in the pregnancy with a hematoma that was growing alongside Matilda, but it resolved. Carmel was able to labor for a long time at home and was able to have a beautiful, natural, quick delivery, much different from her first two. She says she felt alert and was able to participate more in the birth and detail afterward from the delayed cord clamping and placenta delivery. Carmel has dealt with a quickness to anger as well as some anxiety and panic attacks following her last postpartum period but feels that she's getting a better grasp on things. Breastfeeding went really well with Angus, but Carmel has struggled with supply with Archie and Matilda. She's been able to work through it though and continues to breastfeed Matilda today.
The wonderful Katie Osborn with her sons Tom (2) and Ollie (14 weeks). Katie struggled with her experience with Tom. She had a healthy pregnancy, but her doctor chose to induce her at 38 weeks because scans showed that Tom was very large. After 17 hours of labor, she was deemed a failure to progress and rushed for a cesarean birth. The epidurals weren't working fast enough, so Katie had to have general anesthesia and therefore missed being present for her first child's birth. The word "fail" really stuck with Katie, and she struggled greatly afterward. Eventually, she was diagnosed with postnatal depression and took some time to work through it. With Ollie, she really wanted a natural delivery but her local hospital wouldn't give her the option to attempt at VBAC. She was booked in for a repeat cesarean but went to her doctor at 36 weeks and told him, no, she wasn't going to have one. She was bullied quite a bit by the doctor and the hospital. They told her that she was putting herself and the baby at risk and that if anything went wrong, they wouldn't be there to help her. She planned a homebirth with an independent midwife and struggled through the next two weeks. Ultimately, she and her family relocated to a town and hour away at 38 weeks so they could have a homebirth in a house near a hospital that would support her if needed. Katie transferred to the hospital at 9.5cms and had an epidural because things had stalled. She had her midwife by her side, could feel but didn't have any pain, and was so grateful for the support of her midwife. She was able to pull Ollie up herself and got her VBAC in the hospital. Katie's second birth was very healing, and she feels happier in herself now.
The gorgeous Jody Newton with her children Ellie (4), Zach (2) and Thomas (5 months). As a first time mom, Jody had a learning curve through her first pregnancy. She was healthy throughout and even though she was initially terrified of labor, she got less afraid as her pregnancy progressed and ultimately, had a beautiful delivery. She was able to birth naturally and found it to be an exhilarating experience. Breastfeeding was quite challenging at first, but she made it through to 7 months. Jody had a much tougher pregnancy with Zach after developing Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). It resulted in her deciding to have an elective cesarean due to her inability to move around. She found the birth quite nice and enjoyed knowing just when her son would arrive. With Thomas, she had hoped for a VBAC, and while she developed SPD again this time, it was much less severe and eased up as her pregnancy progressed. This birth, however, didn't go as planned. She felt she was in the wrong place for it, went to the hospital too early and wasn't able to leave the bed. She never progressed past 3 cm, which is where she was when she arrived at the hospital. Ultimately, Thomas was also born via repeat cesarean. She was disappointed at not achieving her VBAC but has found it to get easier the farther she gets from his birth. Jody was able to breastfeed Zach until she got pregnant with Thomas. Thomas is still going strong, and she doesn't plan to wean before he's ready. Jody had some postnatal depression during Ellie's first few months, in part due to her struggles with leaving her profession. She has found that with each pregnancy, she's had more joy and attachment. Jody has struggled with her self-image and body shape but wanted to do this for herself and her children so that they know that your body changing shape is normal. She was incredibly proud (nervous! but proud!) to participate.
The beautiful Melissa Beeton with her daughters Sarie (4) and Emilia (6 months). Melissa got pregnant with Sarie when she was just 18. She was 6 weeks pregnant with her at her senior formal and delivered just after turning 19. She had a pretty rough pregnancy due to symphysis pubis dysfunction and couldn't walk very well throughout her last trimester. It also made it very hard to give birth. She ended up having to be induced and then endured a cascade of interventions. Sarie was born on her due date at 40 weeks. She was able to initiate breastfeeding without issue and breastfed for 15 months. Melissa had bad postnatal depression for her first six months of motherhood. She attributed it in part to having to leave school and her friend group so early and not knowing anyone else who had entered motherhood yet. She eventually joined a mothers group and found the support she needed. She had a wonderful second pregnancy with no complications at all. She went 4 days overdue and had a vaginal delivery. Emilia was born with shoulder dystocia, likely because she was born at 11 lbs. While that was difficult, she was able to breastfeed right away and hasn't experienced any postnatal depression this time around. Melissa has struggled with her body but is finally settling into the body she has and learning to be proud of it for herself and her daughters.
The radiant Claire Rigby with her son Elliott (22 months). Claire's daughter will be arriving via cesarean on the 9th of October. Claire's first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. She conceived Elliott quickly her very next cycle. Claire had a smooth and relaxed pregnancy for the most part. She had some bleeding at 18 weeks that led to her spending two nights in the hospital, but everything ended up being okay. At around 36 weeks, she started to have some pelvic discomfort and wore a belt for the rest of her pregnancy. Claire had thought she'd have a peaceful and beautiful labor that built up slowly, but she lost her mucous plug and was immediately full on with lots of pain. She laid on the bathroom floor asking her husband for an epidural which was not in her birth plan. She ended up going to the hospital the next morning, but she wasn't progressing quickly enough, so they gave her pitocin to dilate to 9.5cms. She pushed and then discovered there was a lip in her cervix. An internal monitor revealed that Elliott's heart rate was dropping, and after 31 hours of labor, she was taken in for a cesarean. After experiencing the whole process with Elliott's labor and delivery, Claire decided from the start to deliver her daughter via cesarean and just get her out in the safest way possible. She's been a lot more tired this pregnancy and has experienced pelvic pain from about 12 weeks on. Otherwise, things have gone well. Claire breastfed Elliott until about 5 months old when her milk supply dropped off. When she was 4 months postpartum, her husband got very sick unexpectedly. What they thought was just the flu led to her finding him unresponsive. He ended up hospitalized in a coma for days with multi-organ failure. Her husband was hospitalized for a short time and ended up on dialysis. Thankfully, he has made a recovery. Claire kept it together for awhile but eventually realized that she was experiencing some postnatal depression. She's been able to seek treatment through a psychological nurse and plans to continue sessions to continue feeling better. Claire and her family are looking forward to the arrival of her daughter in just a few short weeks!