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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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In this week's episode we speak to western Sydney mum of two, Katelyn. Like so many of us in our first birth Katelyn just wanted to experience a physiological birth in a hospital setting, but ended up agreeing to an induction. Interestingly Katelyn intuitively felt that her induction was not medically necessary and there was a good chance she'd end…
 
In this episode we meet Kate who is a mum of two living in Darwin. Kate is the daughter of a midwife so she really did have some knowledge on her side going through her first birth, but after labouring for a very long time she was placed on a caesarean pathway and although there were things about that birth she would change- she was able to bond wi…
 
In today's episode we hear our first VBAC birth story from Tasmania. Laura is a mum of two who lives in Hobart and had a swift and beautiful VBAC waterbirth at her public hospital. In her first birth she was induced for reaching post-dates and during the pushing phase it was discovered that her baby was breech. Despite the sudden way her emergency …
 
This week we sat down with Jaihden who is a Sydney based mum of two girls who experienced perinatal depression and anxiety as well as postpartum depression. She bravely shares how she navigated these periods and how the experience inspired her to give back to women going through the same challenges. Jaihden sheds light and humour on some dark momen…
 
Welcome to Season 3 of VBAC Birth Stories! In today's episode we chat to Melbourne mum of two and registered nurse, Michelle. Michelle went into spontaneous labour with her first child but was recommended to have an emergency caesarean close to the finish line of her labour, but Michelle wouldn’t say it was a true "emergency" in the sense of the wo…
 
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…
 
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 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…
 
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 …
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 …
 
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…
 
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 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…
 
Three women reflect on their COVID-19 VBAC birth experiences in Australian hospitals. Michal is a Melbourne based midwife and mother of three who shares her experience in Episode 16. Jessica is a mother of two based in Torquay whose birth is shared in Episode 19. Erin is a Perth mother of two who recently shared her story in episode 36 after she fo…
 
Today we hear from Erin who lives in Perth with her husband and two children. Erin is a Type 1 Diabetic and we hear how this affected her first pregnancy and what different approaches she took in her VBAC pregnancy to give herself the best chance of experiencing spontaneous labour for the first time, as she was induced at 37 weeks in her first birt…
 
Today we hear from Wollongong (NSW) mum of two Mara who had a VBAC with a short birth interval of only 15 months. Mara’s first birth was a deeply traumatic emergency caesarean where she reached full dilation with a posterior baby. She was determined to have a VBAC when the time came, which to Mara’s surprise happened a lot sooner than she had antic…
 
“Prepare your body and mind to achieve your VBAC and then let go of your attachment to the outcome.” If anyone knows how to fight the good fight its Sydney based mother of two and human rights lawyer, Lara. As a VBAC hopeful Lara was fastidious in her birth preparation but in the end the events which unfolded took her and her care providers by surp…
 
In this episode we meet Emma, a mum of two boys who lives in Wollongong south of Sydney. Emma is a nurse and aspiring midwife and is also a prenatal yoga teacher and has her own yoga studio. Emma’s first birth in the private system ended in an emergency caesarean after she was induced at 39 weeks. It was discovered later that cervical scar tissue f…
 
In today's episode we chat to Queensland mum of three and co-creator of the clothing brand Sunday Wild, Crystal, about her VBAC journey which began with an elective caesarean with her twin daughters. Crystal tells her story with a refreshing humour and warmth and speaks to the fact that not all elective caesareans are really wanted. During our chat…
 
In today's episode we meet Kate, a mum of two who lives with her husband near Newcastle north of Sydney. Kate's had the unique journey of experiencing three kinds of maternity care models across her two pregnancies. Her VBAC journey began with an emergency caesarean performed in Sydney while she was under the midwifery group practice continuity of …
 
In this bonus episode of VBAC Birth Stories we speak to Karen McClay, better known as the Director of Calmbirth, but a lesser known fact about the registered midwife, nurse and mother of three is that she herself undertook her own VBAC journey. We had the privilege of hearing that personal story in this interview. Karen shares the emotions surround…
 
Today we meet Renee, a mum of two from Sydney who works as a clinical dietician. She is also the co-founder of Nurture the Seed, an encompassing guide to all things nutrition to help those going through preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum through evidence-based research and nourishing recipes (see notes below for more information). In Renee’s …
 
In today's episode we meet Talia who shares with us her three birth stories, the first of which ended in an emergency caesarean following an induction for being post-dates. Although the caeasarean experience was fairly positive for Talia she still sought to achieve a VBAC the second time around. At 38 years of age she was classed as a geriatric pre…
 
Welcome to Season 2 of VBAC Birth Stories! In this our first episode of 2021 we hear from Vanessa, a Brisbane mum of two who had an accidental homebirth with her VBAC baby. Vanessa’s first pregnancy was textbook all the way through and when her waters began to leak at 38 weeks she headed straight into hospital to be assessed, and it was then she wa…
 
In this the final VBAC birth story episode of 2020 we chat to Siobhan who lives with her husband and two children in the Gold Coast. Siobhan’s first baby was presenting footling breech towards the end stages of her pregnancy and after an unsuccessful ECV (External Cephalic Version) she reluctantly signed on the dotted line accepting a planned caesa…
 
In this episode we speak to Nikii, originally from New Zealand and now lives with her partner and 3 young boys in Brisbane. Nikii experienced two emergency caesareans and then a deeply healing vaginal birth. Prior to her primary caesarean Nikii had not done any education about childbirth, and just went with the flow, which was the flow of her care …
 
In today’s episode we chat to Michela, a mum of two living with her husband in Brisbane. Michela knew before she fell pregnant that she wanted to approach birth in a way that resonated more with her life philosophies and hired a private midwife initially to support her at her local hospital’s birth centre, but as her pregnancy progressed she decide…
 
In today's episode we meet Catherine from the Central Coast of NSW. She is a mother of two boys who speaks to us about her fertility struggles and emergency caesarean which was actually a refreshingly positive experience. Her first baby was posterior and she laboured for a long time with him before being taken into theatre guided by her private obs…
 
In today’s episode we meet Hannah, a midwife and mum of two living with her husband in Brisbane. Hannah was not expecting her first birth to end in a caesarean at all, but despite a difficult and challenging labour her son’s birth was overall a positive experience. Hannah suffered an early miscarriage in-between her son and her daughter’s births, b…
 
In this episode we meet Kristi, a mum of two living with her husband and two boys in Brisbane. In Kristi’s first birth she was recommended an induction due to Obstetric Cholestasis (liver disorder presented in pregnancy which causes itchiness). Despite dilating to 10cm and reaching the pushing phase of labour, Kristi was taken into theatre for an e…
 
In this episode we meet Perth mother of two, Sophia. In her first pregnancy Sophia was diagnosed with Polyhydramnios, a condition where there is an excess of amniotic fluid. Her obstetrician recommended a c-section based on the findings of this but also the risk of shoulder dystocia given the baby was predicted to be large. Sophia begrudgingly elec…
 
In this episode we chat to Jessica who lives with her husband and two children in Torquay at the start of the beautiful great ocean road in Victoria. Jessica reflects on how she made the decision to not make a birth plan for her first birth and just go with the flow, but knowing what she knows now she wished she had prepared herself a bit better- a…
 
This week we chart the high seas with birth cartographer, author and artist Catherine Bell. A former marine biologist Catherine is now completing her PhD on ‘Birth Mapping’ which looks at how health care providers can work with birthing women to pursue mutually beneficial pathways in all birth settings. We cover: - What the difference is between a …
 
In this episode we meet Jess who lives with her husband and 3 children in Samford Valley in Queensland. All of Jess’ babies presented breech, which was the reason behind her caesarean in the first place. Yet Jess went on to experience two very different vaginal births following two successful ECVs (External Cephalic Version) which involved her babi…
 
In this episode we meet Michal, a midwife and mother to 3 boys who lives with her husband in Melbourne. Michal has had three very different birth experiences. Her most recent birth was only three months ago during the current COVID-19 pandemic where she was treated as a potential COVID-19 patient in labour due to her being ill at the time. Michal e…
 
In this episode we bring you three birth stories from Aimee Sing, mother of three living in the Blue Mountains in Sydney. After commencing her career in environmental science Aimee found her true calling in birth advocacy. She’s now the coordinator of Homebirth New South Wales and Homebirth Australia. She’s also the Co-founder of Homebirth Consorti…
 
In this episode we meet Amberley, a Registered Midwife (endorsed) who lives with her husband and two children in Melbourne. Amberley was working as a midwife at the time of both of her births. Her first birth was a planned vaginal breech birth which ended in a caesarean, and although an overall positive experience and recovery she was determined to…
 
In this episode we meet Marion, whose first pregnancy ended in a traumatic emergency caesarean following an induction due to what was termed ‘static growth’ of her baby in the final weeks. Almost 44% of women that labour will be artificially induced in Australia and Marion’s experience is a testament to the birth trauma that can be experienced as a…
 
In this episode we meet Annalise, a midwife from the Gold Coast who is a mother to three children. Her primary caesarean was an emergency following an induction at 41 weeks for being past her due date. She was led to believe that her childhood spinal surgery for Scoliosis could have played a role in the way things unfolded in that birth. When she f…
 
In this episode we meet Ashleigh who experienced three very different births in a Sydney public hospital under the caseload midwifery care model. Ashleigh suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum in her first pregnancy only. She went into preterm labour in her first birth at 36 weeks and was prepped for a caesarean after her son was showing unexplained…
 
In this episode we meet mother of two and registered nurse and midwife Emma who lives with her two boys and her husband, also a nurse, in Queensland. After working in hospitals and having exposure to a variety of emergency situations Emma had decided that she would elect to have a maternal-assisted caesarean which she describes as a fantastic exper…
 
Today we meet Natasha who is a mother of two living in Sydney. Natasha experienced an early miscarriage before falling pregnant a second time with her daughter. She laboured for three and a half days, eventually receiving an epidural and experiencing augmentation of labour with the synthetic oxytocin hormone drip. She had progressed through labour …
 
In this episode we meet Stephanie who had a triumphant unmedicated VBAC with her Dichorionic/Diamniotic twin daughters two and a half years after having an emergency caesarean with her son. The day before Stephanie's son's due date her father sadly passed away, leading her to pursue an induction in the hope of being present for her father's funeral…
 
In this bonus episode we speak with Hazel Keedle who is a lecturer at Western Sydney University, PhD Candidate, and midwifery researcher who focuses on women’s experiences of vaginal birth after caesarean. Hazel’s passion for VBAC stemmed from her own personal experience of having a VBAC only 14 months after her caesarean section. She has worked in…
 
In this episode we speak with Katelyn. Katelyn has Uterus Didelphys, which is unique as her uterus has two separate regions where the foetus can grow, meaning two uteri or two wombs with two cervices. Her first baby grew on one side and her second baby grew on the other. During her first pregnancy her private obstetrician advised her to keep her ho…
 
In this episode we speak with Andrea who had a planned caesarean with her eldest child due to a condition called Gastroschisis, where her baby's intestines were growing externally while in utero. Successful lifesaving surgery was performed on her newborn immediately following her caesarean. The neonatal intensive care unit became like a second home…
 
In this episode we meet Kate who had an emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic with her eldest daughter Elsie, and has since gone on to have two VBACs; one with Florence and another with George. The journey to conceive Florence wasn’t an easy one, it took 6 years and with the aid of IVF. During her pregnancy with Florence she was very undeci…
 
In this episode we meet Erin, whose fifth pregnancy was a triumphant homebirth following two caesareans and two previous losses, one of these a stillbirth at 20 weeks. Erin's birth with her eldest daughter was a planned public hospital birth, which ended in a traumatic emergency caesarean. For her following pregnancy she hired a private midwife int…
 
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