<![CDATA[The Positive Birth Collective - Blog]]>Wed, 25 May 2022 00:44:21 +1000Weebly<![CDATA[Shannon's pregnancy and birth story]]>Thu, 12 Aug 2021 09:43:34 GMThttp://thepositivebirthcollective.com.au/blog/shannons-pregnancy-and-birth-storyLocal mum and midwife shares her empowered birth experience at Cairns Birth Centre under the MGP model of care.

Shannon's pregnancy 

I absolutely loved being pregnant! I had waited my whole life to be pregnant and become a mother. Luckily for me, my pregnancy was relatively smooth sailing. I educated myself, read all the books, did the hypnobirthing course and tried to be as prepared and relaxed as possible. My goal during my pregnancy was to stay as positive as possible. I wouldn’t say pregnancy was “easy” for me, but looking at it in a positive light gave me a different perspective, which I absolutely believe helped!

From about 34 weeks gestation, I started my journey to “prepare for labour”. I had done research on Spinning Babies, which provided me with manoeuvres to begin practising to help my baby and I work together for optimal fetal positioning. This ensured baby was in the perfect position for birth. I also began practising my hypnobirthing techniques. This involved music, aromatherapy oil use and displaying positive birthing affirmation posters that I had made all around my home. From 36 weeks, I started drinking herbal birthing teas, regularly went for walks, bought a TENS machine, started expressing colostrum and practised perineal massaging - just to name a few.

Shannon's birth story

I actually ended up in hospital a few days before my labour commenced at 39 weeks with pyelonephritis aka a kidney infection. My entire right kidney was obstructed and it was causing agonising pain and back spasms. The urology doctors were so concerned which meant they wanted to operate immediately. But the obstetric doctors thought it was a better idea to induce my labour. I was in so much pain, it was awful! The last thing I wanted was surgery or to go into labour! Luckily for me, I knew my rights and could work with the doctors to come up with a more suitable plan to keep everybody happy. After discussion with both the doctors they agreed to keep me in hospital for pain management, IV antibiotics and to monitor me. Providing my condition didn’t get worse. I really didn’t want to be induced and I wanted more time for my body and baby to work together on their own terms! So I was admitted for two nights and my due date was getting closer.

I was 39+5 when I woke up in hospital and felt like things were “different” this day. I was having period cramp-like pains from around 11am, but I didn’t think too much of it. Maybe they were just Braxton Hicks? At around 12pm I messaged my sister asking her to bring in shampoo and a razor (because this was obviously a priority ). My hubby was working and I updated him telling him we still had heaps of time and to finish up work when he could. My sister arrived at around 2pm to find me in the shower and she said “you’re definitely in labour”. By this stage I knew the pre labour environment I had envisioned and prepared for wouldn’t be the same. Instead, I was stuck in a tiny bathroom alone for most of the day. The contractions were strong and so frequent. We messaged my MGP midwife and my husband letting them know what was going on. And I told my hubby we actually didn’t have as much time as I thought.

Until my midwife and husband arrived I continued to sit in the shower where I found I was most comfortable. I didn’t have any of my ‘labour tools’ and I felt completely unprepared! They arrived at the same time, around 5pm. My midwife checked my dilatation to find I was already 6cm and so we agreed to go to the birthing centre where I could labour more comfortably.

Once we arrived things were much more relaxing! I remained in the warm bath and my husband and sister made sure the room was exactly how I wanted! (Definitely important to go over this antenatally with your support people so that you don’t have to talk in labour!) I had positive affirmations, fairy lights, music and my favourite essential oils. It was perfect. I continued to labour in the bath until I was ready to push. For personal reasons I didn’t want to birth in the water.

My waters hadn’t broken until I began to push and once they broke my body just took over and the pushing was uncontrollable. I listened to my body and only pushed when I needed to. There was no coaching and I felt so empowered and in control the entire time. I remained on all fours during the pushing stage and at 10:53pm I birthed my baby and brought her up into my arms. My husband announced the gender as we were keeping it a surprise and the three of us shared the most unforgettable moment just cuddling and crying happy tears!

My take home advice is definitely do your research and trust your body and your baby know exactly what do. Educate yourself as much as possible and keep positive the whole way through. I chanted a mantra to myself through every contraction which I truly believe helped me to remain focused and positive throughout my labour. I also had the most incredible support team. Can’t suggest enough the importance of this. They didn’t leave my side. Giving me water, holding my hand, providing the occasional encouragement but most importantly just being a friendly face to look up at when ever I opened my eyes or came up for air! I had a birth photographer and I think every woman needs one! She captured magical moments and they will never be forgotten.
Photos: Natalie Caro
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<![CDATA[Directory for local mamas]]>Thu, 29 Apr 2021 02:59:02 GMThttp://thepositivebirthcollective.com.au/blog/directory-for-local-mamasThis directory is a list of facilities, resources, care providers and options available for local mothers in Cairns. 
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Pic: Bec Simpkin Photography

Public hospitals, private hospitals and birth centres

Cairns Hospital - 165 The Esplanade, Cairns 
Cairns Hospital is available for all public patients in the Cairns region who choose to birth through the public system.
  • All birthing suites at Cairns Hospital are equipped with private shower facilities
  • Some, but not all, of the birth suites have a tub
  • Birth balls, floor mats and birthing stools are available
  • Music connectivity, massage oil, diffusers, some essential oils and heat packs are also available

Cairns Private Hospital - 1 Upward Street, Cairns
Cairns Private Hospital is available for all private mothers opting for obstetric care.
  • All birthing suites are equipped with private showers and tubs
  • Birth balls, floor mats, birth chairs (higher than a standard birth stool) are available
  • Music connectivity, diffusers and some oils are also available

Cairns Birth Centre - Located inside Cairns Hospital, 165 The Esplanade, Cairns 
Cairns Birth Centre is only available to mothers in the MGP program who meet a set criteria.
  • All three rooms are equipped with private shower facilities and a tub
  • Birth balls, floor mats and birthing stools are available
  • Music connectivity, massage oil, diffusers, some essential oils and heat packs are also available

Models of Care

  • GP share care - shared care between a chosen GP and chosen hospital
  • Midwifery Group Practice - continuity of care is provided by a known midwife through pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal care. This option of care is for low to moderate risk women and numbers are limited.
  • Obstetric care - this option of care is for women with a complicated medical history, pregnancy complications or a multiple pregnancy or those who choose care under an obstetrician 
  • Private Midwifery Care - a private midwife can be used for home births or hospitals if they have admitting rights
  • Free birth - this option is for women who choose to birth without a care provider

Private Midwifery and Obstetrics

Doulas

Lactation Consultants

Physiotherapists

Chiropractors

Massage

Acupuncture

Naturopaths

Further Support

Pregnancy Yoga

Birth Photographers

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<![CDATA[Mahliha's birth story]]>Mon, 22 Mar 2021 10:02:24 GMThttp://thepositivebirthcollective.com.au/blog/mahlihas-birth-storiesLocal mother Mahliha shares her advice for preparing for birth, her two belly birth stories and her advice for recovering and caring for your body postpartum.

Pregnancy

My pregnancy tip would be to keep a diary of all your appointments with what happened, who you spoke to and confirm with your midwife or GP at every appointment.
Keep the conversation with your children and partner open and have them attend all appointments and classes with you.
If you don’t have a MGP midwife, find a great GP or build a relationship with your existing GP. I was lucky to have known my GP for nearly 10 years. He helped me with breastfeeding and asked me to visit straight after being discharged from hospital. Don’t be afraid of a male GP.
Even though this is a celebration of a woman, after having two boys, an amazing, supportive partner and an amazing male doctor, I feel I need to speak up for men when it comes to birth.

Birth stories

I’ve had two c-sections which were intended to be natural births. First time due to a breech baby and second time I had a later c-section booked so I had a chance to see if I naturally laboured before the date, however my c-section was brought forward due to COVID.
The first time I had my support person with me the entire way. The second time my partner wasn’t allowed into the room until surgery had begun.
I found that preparing my body before surgery by seeing a physio or chiropractor a week before helped me feel confident my body would be in alignment for healing and all the upcoming time I would have to spend in bed.
There’s a sheet up so you don’t see anything and you are numb from the neck down. Suddenly you’ll feel some tugging at your body and then a little cry from a beautiful new baby.
I remember being wheeled out of surgery with the baby snuggling me was so overwhelming I began to cry and thank everyone in the room for delivering my gorgeous boy.

Postpartum tips

Having my partner bring me a fresh fruit salad each day in hospital was so nice and refreshing and also lots of water!
I was on a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables early to detox from the medication.
My eldest son helped me nurse my baby while breastfeeding and learnt all about how pumps work so we had an extra pair of hands to help.
And of course always respect the mother’s wishes. Her intuition and her body knows best. The mother of the baby will always guide you. Her body will always tell her what is needed through pregnancy and healing and life with a newborn.

Labour tips

- Seeing a physio or chiro before labour can help you feel confident your body is in alignment
- Your body will always tell you what is needed through pregnancy and healing and life with a newborn
​- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables and drink lots of water after having your baby

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<![CDATA[Megan's birth prep and birth story]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2021 06:21:23 GMThttp://thepositivebirthcollective.com.au/blog/megans-birth-prep-and-birth-storyFirst-time mum Megan shares how she prepared for birth and the super speedy arrival of her little man River. 

Birth prep

Leading up to my birth I watched lots of hypnobirthing videos and practised breathing techniques that would help me calm down and hopefully also work as a natural pain relief. I researched the stages of labour and knew around 8cm would be the hardest with the ‘transition’ so I was prepared for that. I also made sure that my partner knew my wants and didn’t wants for pain relief just incase I couldn’t speak for myself. I was desperate for a water birth so got clued up on all the requirements to make sure I fit them before I went in to labour and that I signed all the water birth consent forms.

Birth story

My labour was super fast. I woke up on the morning of the August 20 at 5:30am to my waters breaking. I had no prior contractions or signs I was in labour at all. I heard the pop, let my partner know and when I stood up to go to the bathroom the waters just gushed. I called the hospital to let them know and they told me to come in so they could check me over and then they’d give me 24 hours to go in to labour on my own. Once I got off the phone the contractions started, they were one in 20 and we left for the hospital at 6am so I only really had two before we got to hospital. We arrived at hospital at 6:15, 45 minutes after my waters broke and I got out of the car, all of a sudden I was pummelled with contractions one after the other not even a minute apart and they were super painful. Once we got to labour ward they checked me and I was already 8cm! I would say it’s because of how fast my labour was going and because of the fact my contractions basically started at me being dead on 8cm that my brain threw the hypnobirthing and breathing techniques out the window! There was no build up to the super painful 8cm contractions, they just basically started at 8cm and because of how fast my labour was already going I wasn’t allowed a water birth as they wouldn’t be able to fill the pool in time. I was taken around to delivery suite, and I was there for an hour just copping the contractions on the chin with gas and air until my body lead the way and started pushing. During the time I was pushing, baby boy’s heart rate dropped from 141 to 54 and they had to get him out ASAP so I had to have a suction cap popped on his head and an episiotomy to ensure he was earthside quickly and safely. I was amazed at how much force they use with pulling while I pushed! I was anxious at this time, but my partner was my literal rock through the entire thing. He helped me cope and kept me grounded the whole time.

When he was delivered and placed on my chest, the relief I felt was immense. Due to his fast delivery, I wasn’t allowed skin to skin and they whipped him away and put him straight under the light to check him over which also meant I couldn’t delay his cord clamping which I also wanted. At the time though I was just so grateful to have my baby boy here finally and I was so excited to meet him - nothing else mattered!

All in all my labour was three hours and 12 minutes. Started at 5:30am and River George was born at 8:42am. Although I didn’t get my water birth, the labour I was gifted left me feeling empowered and so strong. I honestly felt like I could take on the world after. My advice for any anxious first time mums would be the best plan, is no plan, have your preferences but just follow your body’s cues and know that everything will be forgotten once your bundle is safe in your arms. Labour for me was empowering, once I was in labour I wasn’t scared anymore and that was a big thing for me. The key is to trust your body knows what it’s doing and all your worry just melts away in the moment.

Postpartum tips

The best thing for me in the days that followed labour were ice packs! My stitches were sore and ice packs were my saviour for about two weeks! Also it’s so cliche, everyone always says it and I always had it said to me and I used to think “yeah whatever” but seriously sleep when baby sleeps is the best advice for the early days. Once baby is delivered it’s all go go go and there’s no break, especially if you choose to breastfeed which in itself was a lot harder than I imagined. Sleeping when baby boy slept was amazing and gave me much needed energy overnight during cluster feeding periods and unsettled nights.

One thing I wish I did differently was to see a lactation consultant before birth that I could also see and consult once baby was here and you’re given so much contradicting advice at the hospital which made it all a bit confusing. Breastfeeding is a hard journey in itself when you’re new to it all and I wish I had a professional to ask questions and to seek help from when I needed. So far we’re still going strong but the extra support from someone like that would have made it all a lot easier in the beginning as I nearly gave up so many times and I’m so glad I persisted.
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<![CDATA[My birth story with Indie]]>Wed, 27 Jan 2021 04:27:01 GMThttp://thepositivebirthcollective.com.au/blog/my-birth-story-with-indieI share my beautiful birth story and the hypnobirthing techniques I used with my second baby.
Indie’s birth began as a soft, sweet slow dance. I’d had lots of promising pre-labour signs and intuitively knew I would be meeting her soon. We had been living in this sacred in-between. I could feel her arrival was imminent. My body was ready, it was just waiting on the perfect, divine timing. It was already written in the stars, I just needed to surrender. We had just put Beau to bed for the night when labour began.

I slowly swayed to my birth playlist, holding my swollen belly in my arms for the last time as each surge washed over me, soft and slow. I was using my breathing techniques, light touch massage, movement, essential oils and birth playlist and felt so calm, but also so excited. I was willing each contraction on and encouraging my body to keep going deeper into labour.

When each wave came crashing closer and started to swell in intensity, we made our way in to the birth centre where we were greeted by soft candlelight, the soothing scent of essential oils and a beautiful space to continue our slow dance together. If you're in MGP and would like to consider birthing in the birth centre, I highly recommend it. It was so beautiful and exactly how I wanted my birth space to feel.

The hours passed and we were still swaying, soft and slow, calm and controlled. I couldn’t sit or lay down, I just wanted to move the whole time. I had expected this early stage of labour to be much quicker, but I just had to surrender to the process.

​While I was in the shower, Indie's heart rate rose and we made the informed decision to release my membranes and check for meconium. The water was clear and her heart rate returned to a normal range, but she was making her way to us quickly now as I began to transition. I had to surrender to the intensity and trust my body to do what it needed to do to bring her earthside. My breathing changed and it felt instinctual to vocalise through these intense waves until I felt the urge to bear down. Again, my body led the way. She knew what to do.

With the gentle encouragement and guidance from my midwife in those very final stages of bearing down, Indie arrived into this world: 3.34kgs of pure sweetness. I scooped her up and held her close, skin to skin: soaking her up and soaking it all in. We delayed cord clamping and allowed Indie the space and time to find her way to the breast for her first feed. Her birth was all the things I had hoped for, I felt so empowered and endlessly in love. We stayed in the hospital for the minimum four hours before heading home so Beau could meet his little sister for the first time. It was wild to think he had gone to bed that night, I'd gone into labour, gone to the hospital and had Indie all before he woke up that morning.

My labour tips:

- Your body will intuitively do what feels good, such as swaying or moving. Listen and surrender.
​- Make sure your birth support person knows how to best support you, whether it's heating your heat pack, applying cool wash cloths, massage points, words of encouragement or making sure you're sipping your water. Their role is so important.
- Do the birth prep, consider your birth preferences and take control of your birth experience.
​- You've got this. I believe in you!
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<![CDATA[Brodie's pregnancy and birth story]]>Wed, 27 Jan 2021 03:45:08 GMThttp://thepositivebirthcollective.com.au/blog/brodies-pregnancy-and-birth-storyLocal mama to little Arlo shares her experience with pregnancy, MGP and a beautiful natural labour at Cairns Hospital. 

Pregnancy

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I had an amazing pregnancy and for the first time in my life I felt so comfortable within my body and really appreciated it for all that it is. Throughout my pregnancy I did a combination of gentle yoga and pregnancy yoga which helped with breathing techniques, stretching and being around beautiful women that were going through this journey with me. Otherwise I walked the dogs, occasionally did the stairs at work and did exercises on the yoga ball while watching TV at night. I do wish now that I would have focused on doing pelvic floor exercises.

I was in the MGP program (which was absolutely AMAZING)! The at home support before and after birth is the best. You feel like you are paying for private care but it's within the public system. Tip number one... as soon as you fall pregnant register to be in the MGP program (it books out fast as they can only cater for so many women).


Arlo's birth

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Having the space set up so both Christian and I felt comfortable was really important to us. Christian was prepped for when we got to hospital to put on a chill playlist, set up twinkle lights, turn off the main lights and put lavender oil in the diffuser. This made us feel at home at a place that would normally feel quite clinical. Breathing was the most important coping mechanism for me, plus a combination of the shower on my back whilst sitting on a ball and the TENS machine.

I was in labour for around 12 hours. I was determined not to have any drugs as that was just a personal goal for me (however I was open to the fact that I would have to go with the flow if need be). There were moments where I started to think "how much longer”, "I can't do this" but kept reminding myself that it would soon be over and my bubba would be here.

I was fully dilated, jumped in the bath to have the beautiful water birth that I had been hoping for and... my contractions stopped. The midwife gave me some drugs to speed things back up. Bub’s heart rate was going down with each push so they had to suction my bub out, but he came out healthy and crying and I calmed him in my arms. 

Postpartum tips

Breastfeeding was difficult for me at first. I had mastitis three times within the first few weeks and just wanted to give up. I am sooo glad that I was encouraged to push through because it's not only amazing for bubs but is so convenient and allows you to really connect. However in saying that don't put too much pressure on yourself as breastfeeding can be harder than the birth process.

My midwife visited our house daily for the first week which was so amazing. This allowed her to assist me with any breastfeeding questions, check my stitches and make sure our little Arlo was kicking goals. The after care with the MGP program was so amazing and so vital to me as a new mum. 

Recommendations for new mums:

- Write out birth preferences so your midwife and partner are all on the same page.
- Watch breastfeeding videos and prepare yourself for that (not just the birthing process) as the after birth process can be harder then the birth
- Have lots of meals prepped
- Do your pelvic floor exercises 
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