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A Podcast of Mothers' stories of childbirth. Weekly interviews with mothers giving their first hand accounts of child birth in Australia. Designed to help educate and inform first time pregnant women, parents wanting to have better subsequent births and birth enthusiasts who love to hear and tell birth stories. An entertaining and heartfelt resource for pregnancy, labour and delivery and postpartum.
 
The Calmbirth Conversation Podcast explores issues of pregnancy, birth and parenting infants. Hosted by Karen McClay, director of the renowned Calmbirth® childbirth education method, midwives and experts explore topics for expecting and new parents. Calmbirth’s goal is to educate and improve the birthing outcomes for all women and their families, not just physically, but emotionally as well.
 
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VBAC Birth Stories

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VBAC Birth Stories

Melissa Merino & Stephanie Cannavo

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A podcast featuring Australians sharing their journey of vaginal birth after caesarean. Through sharing and learning from each other's lived experiences the podcast is designed to empower and educate those whose VBAC journey may have just begun, help all expecting mums achieve a more natural birth if that is their intention, and better inform birth professionals about one's journey to a VBAC.
 
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show series
 
In this first episode of the year, I chat to Kate @katebloomdoula who shares the beautiful story of her two pregnancies, including her recent twin vaginal birth. Her first pregnancy ignited her passion for pregnancy and birth and after a positive and empowered experience, she trained as a birth and postpartum doula. Her intuition was undeniably str…
 
In today’s episode, I interview Jodi Wilson. Jodi shares the pregnancies and births of her four children. As a yoga teacher and childbirth educator, Jodi brings a beautiful perspective to her interview. She even shares some breathing techniques and tools she used in her births. Whilst each of Jodi’s births was drug-free and under the care of midwiv…
 
In today’s episode we meet Kirsten who is a doula and mum of four and living in Western Australia. Her first birth in her local rural hospital taught her about consent and trauma in the birth ward and she speaks about the fact that having a natural birth didn’t ensure she was protected against these realities. The second time around she found herse…
 
In today’s episode, I interview Lauren and her mother-in-law, Donna. Lauren has MRKH syndrome and was born without a uterus so she knew from a young age that her fertility journey would be challenging. After going through IVF to retrieve and fertilise her eggs, Lauren handed her pregnancy journey over to Donna who, at the age of 50, carried Lauren’…
 
In today’s episode, I interview Leah about her third birth; an unplanned homebirth. Leah shared her first two births in episode 162 and I highly recommend listening as she details her infertility and IVF experience as well as her traumatic second birth which led to a PTSD diagnosis. For her third pregnancy, she consciously immersed herself in birth…
 
In today’s episode I chat to Theresa who speaks at length about the traditional Chinese period of confinement after birth, often referred to as the golden month. She had a private obstetrician for her first pregnancy and after induction of labour, she birthed via emergency caesarean. In her second and third pregnancies she chose midwifery care in t…
 
Today Zoë Foster Blake shares with us her two pregnancies and births of her son Sonny and daughter Rudy. Zoë openly details all the uncomfortable and confronting parts of her pregnancy and early parenting experiences, including having osteitis pubis (a fractured and inflamed pubis), gestational diabetes and nine excruciating bouts of mastitis. I kn…
 
Today we meet Sammy who is a mum of two living in Brisbane Queensland who is a trained doula and high school music teacher. She tells us of her first birth which ended in an emergency caesarean. Sammy, like 1 in 3 Australian women experienced significant birth trauma as a result of what happened and this birth went on to change the course of her li…
 
In today’s episode I chat to Libby who shares her homebirth story. Based in Governors Bay in New Zealand, Libby introduces herself in Maori and English and talks about her choice to have a termination. At the time termination was still listed under the crimes act and her treatment in the hospital system reflected that. A profound period of grief fo…
 
In today’s episode, I chat to Sammi and her partner, Lachlan, about their first pregnancy and birth. They immersed themselves in preparation and even though they planned for an intervention-free birth, they attended both hospital and hypnobirthing classes as well as a breastfeeding course so they were across all possible birth and postpartum experi…
 
In today’s episode I chat to writer and new mum, Maggie Kelly who shares her home-turned- hospital birth story. She was 30 weeks when she decided to plan a homebirth and found support and wisdom in her local independent midwives. At 41+3 she lost her mucous plus but also noticed that her baby’s movements had significantly slowed - an immediate red …
 
In today’s episode and in honour of #HomebirthAwarenessWeek, I chat to Jerusha Sutton about her two home births and her work as a doula and birth photographer. Eloquent and educated, Jerusha tells a beautiful story of pregnancy and birth and emphasises the importance of trusted and supportive midwives and doulas in the birth space. She also talks a…
 
In today’s episode we speak to midwife and Calmbirth educator from regional Victoria, Rosie. Rosie has had four very different birth experiences. This episode has a trigger warning as we do discuss pregnancy loss. Rosie’s first birth was a medical termination at 23 weeks following a rare diagnosis her daughter was given at her 20 week scan. Rosie t…
 
Dr Sarah Buckley is a GP/family physician with qualifications in GP-obstetrics and family planning. She is the mother of four home-born children and currently combines motherhood with her work as a writer on pregnancy, birth, and parenting. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, where her research is focused on oxytocin and th…
 
Ash London speaks really openly as a first time mum about her fears and anxieties in pregnancy and postpartum. Ash had to go off anxiety medication when she conceived and she was expecting her symptoms to exacerbate with pregnancy hormones but the opposite was true; she enjoyed a very calm and instinctual pregnancy. She practised yoga and meditatio…
 
In today’s episode and in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I talk to Paige who was diagnosed with breast cancer when her first baby was nine months old. Paige has the BRCA1 gene and following six months of chemotherapy she chose to have a double mastectomy without reconstruction. Upon completing three rounds of radiation, Paige’s pathology …
 
Join me today for a conversation with my sister, Hilary. She recently gave birth to her daughter, Rhoda, and I was in the birth centre from the moment her waters broke. It was the first birth I’ve ever attended and such a precious experience (although I think it confirmed that I wouldn’t be the best doula). I had a few roles on the day: support sis…
 
In today’s episode Abby bravely shares her journey with infertility. Abby was diagnosed with endometriosis at 17 but it wasn’t until she was in her early thirties that she started actively trying to fall pregnant. Her egg count and quality was excellent but her endometriosis posed significant complications. Abby takes us through the physical and em…
 
This week Amy and her mum Janene a midwife join us to share her extraordinary three birth stories. Her first a vaginal birth, her second a caesarean birth, and her third a VBAC with twins. This episode has a trigger warning as baby loss is discussed. Amy’s first pregnancy was thankfully straightforward with a positive induction experience followed …
 
In today’s episode, I chat to Emma @emmaisaacs for the second time (you can hear all about her first five births in episode 73). Today she shares the story of her home birth in LA when the pandemic was at its peak and the Black Lives Matter riots could be heard from her house. She made the decision to live stream the final hours of her labour on In…
 
Today’s episode is different from most because Em didn’t realise she was pregnant until she birthed her baby. After going to her GP in January complaining of abdominal bloating, she was encouraged to limit fast foods and take a multivitamin. A month later she was told that she was experiencing bloating due to stress. In early April, after working a…
 
In today’s episode I interview Hollie who shares her inspiring twin birth story. She speaks beautifully about her pregnancy and birth experiences, which includes gestational diabetes, continuity of care with midwives and the valuable role of passionate student midwives. Hollie’s partner, Hayley, carried their first baby and experienced a straightfo…
 
In today’s episode Tara shares her intuitive journey to motherhood and the power of family-centred birth. She was working in the air force during her first pregnancy and was denied the opportunity to have a home birth as the Defense Force policy dictated care from a private obstetrician. Her pregnancy was stressful; she experienced workplace bullyi…
 
Today we hear from Kasey who lives in Melbourne with her husband and two daughters. In her first birth she experienced the rare complication of a bandl ring and was taken for an emergency caesarean despite reaching full dilation. We speak about what it's like to be a young mother in your twenties when your peers are all doing different things and h…
 
In today’s episode, Meg bravely shares her experience with vaginismus, also known as genito pelvic pain penetration disorder (GPPPD); an involuntary spasm of the vaginal muscles which makes penetration of any kind incredibly painful. Conceiving was always going to involve extra hurdles for Meg and Steve and while it did take conscious planning and …
 
In this week’s episode I chat to Erin who lives in country ACT and discusses the difficulty in accessing continuity of care for rural and regional women. After a quick hospital birth with her first child, Erin had a very real fear of birthing on the side of the road with her second baby. She was late in her second trimester when she started researc…
 
In today’s two-hour episode I interview Kelly-Anne who shares her experience with the very rare pregnancy condition known as Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy (AFLP). Before you listen I want to let you know that it is a traumatic episode. If you are pregnant or in your postpartum and feeling vulnerable, it may not be the best time to listen. If you a…
 
In this week’s episode, I interview Amy about her two birth experiences. Her first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage so she navigated her first trimester with profound anxiety, recalling the relief she felt after the first scan, then the second and finally, when she felt her baby’s first kicks. Not one to think or prepare for birth till the t…
 
Today we meet Nadima who lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children. Nadima, like many of us, never imagined she would have a caesarean so when she was wheeled into theatre for an emergency caesarean this naturally came as a shock to her. She was booked in for an induction at 37 weeks due to earlier concerns with her baby’s heart rate, bu…
 
In Episode 15 of the Calmbirth Conversation Podcast, Calmbirth Director, Karen McClay talks to Dr Carla Brion & Nadia Parisi about the Golden Month – an in-home postpartum service they have created based on Traditional Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic practices to nourish and nurture women in the postnatal period. Dr Carla Brion is a Doctor of Traditio…
 
In today’s episode I chat to Juliet Allen about her recent homebirth. There’s a fifteen-year gap between her children so she came to her second pregnancy and birth with a profound sense of preparation and purpose. Juliet and her partner, Nick, consciously conceived and then birthed at home; they used touch and kissing to bring on surges and Juliet …
 
In this week’s episode I interview Zion, a young mum who birthed her first baby at home with the support of a private midwife and doula. She fell pregnant after a miscarriage and shares her experience of multiple early scans and her subsequent grief in discovering that her once twin-pregnancy was now a singleton. She spent much of her first trimest…
 
In this week’s episode I chat to Fizz about her three births, her NICU experience and her recent ADHD diagnosis. She was 23 weeks and 6 days when her little boy was born which, at the time, was considered pre-viability age. Little Ernie was a fighter who spent 96 days in the NICU before graduating to special care and eventually going home. Despite …
 
Today we meet Zara from central Queensland and talk to her about her two births. Zara's VBAC journey began with Darcy who was a planned caesarean due to his breech positioning. The caesarean itself wasn't traumatic, but it was what happened afterwards that left Zara feeling like she could not go through childbirth again. She experienced post natal …
 
You may already know Beth from her page Birth with Beth which is a wonderful resource for pregnant women and their support people. Today, Beth shares her story and details the challenge of the first trimester, the difficulty of Covid restrictions and the joy and hard work of bringing her daughter into the world. Based in Melbourne and accustomed to…
 
VBAC Birth Stories in discussion with Professor of Midwifery Hannah Dahlen on how Covid-19 restrictions are affecting birthing women in Australia and what women can do to make the most of their birth experience and postpartum in these trying times. We speak about the impact of birth restrictions on migrant women and their families, domestic violenc…
 
In this week’s episode I interview Jacqueline about her three birth experiences. She describes her first pregnancy as the best curveball of her life and she went on to experience a beautiful water birth after 30 hours of labour. A decade later she was with a new partner and opted to track her cycle through Monash IVF because she was having trouble …
 
In this week’s episode, I chat to Hannah who shared her first two birth stories in . In her third pregnancy, she was immediately categorised as high risk because of her history of preterm labour so she opted for a cervical stitch at 18weeks to prevent the onset of contractions. Intent on labouring without induction, Hannah focused on hypnobirthing …
 
In this week’s episode I interview Nat, a solo mum by choice. After having an ovarian tumour removed at 17, she knew that fertility issues would be something she needed to consider in the future. When she turned 30, she started investigating her options and by 32 she was seeing a fertility specialist at Monash IVF. Her first round of IVF resulted i…
 
Today Mel shares her second VBAC birth story with her third baby Emilia. Her birth was a surprise breech homebirth, which was somewhat poetic given her primary caesarean was due to her first baby being breech. Her second birth in a public hospital under caseload midwifery care was a successful unmedicated VBAC (You can listen to this story in episo…
 
In this week’s episode I interview Kylie who shares the story of her two eventful births; a surprise footling breech and an accidental homebirth. After coming off the pill and not having a period for a year, Kylie went to her GP for blood tests and an internal ultrasound. She was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and referred to a fertility special…
 
In this week’s episode, I chat to Lou about her three births. She discovered at 34weeks that her first baby was breech. After a failed ECV she sought a hospital that supported vaginal breech births and subsequently changed caregivers at 39 weeks to achieve the birth she wanted. Her second birth, under the care of midwives, was smooth and straightfo…
 
In this week’s episode I interview Keira Rumble about her long, challenging road to motherhood. After multiple miscarriages, a traumatic heterotopic pregnancy and a subsequent PTSD diagnosis, Keira discovered she had stage 4 endometriosis. She sought a new fertility specialist, was diagnosed with a rare blood clotting disorder and embarked on her f…
 
In this week’s bonus episode I interview Emily - the first of The Birth Class students to have a baby. From conceiving during the lockdown in Melbourne to birthing her baby boy in Sydney’s current lockdown, Emily shares the highs and lows of her pregnancy, including her experience learning from the midwives, doulas and birth educators featured in T…
 
In this episode we meet Jess who is a mother of four living in regional Victoria. Jess has a unique VBAC story to tell us. Her first birth was a vaginal birth in a private hospital setting- the fairly positive birth experience was somewhat overshadowed when doctors discovered her newborn daughter had a rare connective tissue disorder. Despite the c…
 
In this week’s episode I chat to Elodie about her three births. As a first-time mum she was happy to let her birth unfold without doing much preparation. By the time she was pregnant with her third baby and preparing for a VBAC2 (Vaginal Birth After 2 Caesareans) she understood the power of knowledge, embraced months of mental and physical preparat…
 
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