My Birth Story | Guest Writer Kimberley Major

In 2015, our first daughter’s entry into the world left me feeling helpless, anxious, questioning my body and womanhood and feeling cheated of a beautiful birth experience like I’d read and heard about so many times. I was induced at 11 days past my due date and after 12 hours of labour and many attempts to stabilise her heart rate, our daughter was born via emergency caesarean. I felt like I had failed her from the outset and I fell into a spiral of anxiety, fearing I’d ‘stuff up’ with her somehow and this time wouldn’t be so lucky. After counselling, support from my husband, family and friends, a lot of self-care and empowering myself through research, we decided to plan a VBAC when we fell pregnant with our second daughter. My husband and I attended VBAC workshops, worked alongside a student midwife and wrote a birthplan – including both VBAC and repeat caesarean wishes.

My main goal for my second labour and delivery was, that no matter how she was to arrive, I would get those first precious, goopy cuddles with her that I missed with our first daughter as she arrived struggling to breathe and required a lot of attention for what seemed like an eternity. She was all cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket by the time I got to hold her for the first time in recovery, and as precious as that moment was, I knew my hands had not been the first to be wrapped around her. My other main focus in my birth plan was that I wouldn’t be by myself in theatre. Of course, if it was needed (as with our first birth) my husband would go with baby so she was not on her own. This was a huge part of deciding to have a student midwife share our journey. I had hoped I would at least have her, should my husband need to be with baby. With our first daughter’s birth, I was left in a room of strangers, not knowing where my baby or my husband were or how my baby was. So, with these two main goals in mind, we waited for our second baby’s arrival.

I was pressured early on by the visiting obstetrician who performed scheduled caesareans, to book a date for a week before my due date. I was ok with having another caesarean if it came to that, but I was not ok with not giving my body a chance to do its thing. I declined at each appointment to schedule a date in. My due date was the 18th June and, on the 15th June, I reluctantly went along to my final appointment, knowing I would need to book in the following week for a repeat caesarean if baby had not arrived. I got out of the car as my husband pulled into the car park and as I stood in the hospital carpark and waited for him to join me, I felt a sudden pop and a gush down my legs. I looked down and my leggings were drenched through from top to bottom. My body had done it.

We were about to embark on our VBAC journey!

After a quick visit with the midwives to confirm my waters had in fact broken in the carpark, we returned home where I laboured, surrounded by my homemade birth affirmations, essential oils, my big baby girl and my husband. Into the late evening, my surges intensified and were getting closer and closer together. We phoned my student midwife who had been sitting exams all day and she suggested we meet at the hospital. We called my mum and she came to stay with our daughter. Little did I know that when Daddy had put her to bed that night, it would signify the end of our breastfeeding journey together – at 27 months she was still feeding to sleep most nights but that night began a new bedtime routine for her and her decision to not have any more milky cuddles.

Things went smoothly once we were settled in the birth suite and I continued to labour through the night and into the morning, with our impending bundle happily working her way down to meet us. Not once was there concern over her wellbeing, which gave me such fuel to ride each surge, knowing she was safe and coping well. At the morning change of shift, we got a beautiful new midwife and we discussed our birth wishes with her. She was so warm and nurturing and I felt completely at ease with her. I decided I wanted to have an epidural, hoping that it would ease the insane back labour I had been having for hours and it worked a treat. I could still feel my contractions but it took the edge off the back pain and allowed me some rest time.

Just after 10am, I suddenly got stabbing pains very low down. I was in more agony than I was with contractions and when my midwife came to check where the pain was, it was at my scar. My OB was called and after a quick check of what was happening, she said I was at 10cms and ready to push but that she feared I was having a uterine rupture. A Category 1 emergency caesarean was called. I thought my first birth had been a whirlwind when it came to surgery… it had nothing on this time. There were suddenly midwives and doctors rushing in and out of the room, loud machines were placed around my legs as we were being wheeled out (as there wasn’t time to put the very classy compression tights on) and before I knew it we were in the brightly lit surgery and I felt tugging and every single movement (not pain but so much movement, which I didn’t remember from the first time) while it was happening.

Because she was basically ready to rock, they needed to really dig around with forceps in my pelvis to get her out.

Very quickly, our beautiful midwife we had shared the morning with was suddenly up at my chest and her words ring so clearly as she cut my gown from me ‘I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but I don’t care!’ She pulled my gown down and at 10.19am on 16th June 2017, a goopy, warm and perfectly healthy little girl was placed on my chest! I was the first to hold her close at just seconds old and for the rest of my life, this precious memory will be etched in my mind. I continued to hold our daughter close and feed her when she went looking for a boob while the minutes ticked by and had no idea as to what was unfolding behind the curtain. They didn’t interrupt us for any measuring or checks, we just got to hold her close and take in the fact she was here and safe. Over an hour passed by and they weighed and measured her with my husband as we were getting ready to head out to recovery.

When we got back out to recovery we were told that my scar had thinned excessively, to the point of rupture and I had haemorrhaged during my surgery. I didn’t quite process it at this time, but I was very lucky. Recovery was not wonderful as my body had a lot to heal from but my labour and birth experience was so very different to my first and it was so healing in so many ways. I felt like my body had done what it needed to this time. I got to live out the labour I prepared for for months – labouring in and out of the bath at home, with my big baby girl by my side and surrounded by my positive birth space and despite the rush in the end, the whole experience had been relaxed and beautiful (well, as beautiful as labour can be!!)

And the hugest saving grace, was that skin to skin I got as soon as she was out. For my midwife to encompass how precious and vital that was for me, I cannot put into words. She gifted me so much healing in those moments and I’m eternally grateful for that. I’m also so grateful for the fact we have this life saving procedure and that my girls and myself are safely here today because I was able to have a caesarean. I don’t regret our decision to plan a VBAC. And we came so very, very close to fulfilling it. But in the end, the whole experience was a beautiful, healing and positive one and brought us the most perfect little Everley Kate.

Eat Less Sugar… cause you’re already sweet enough! | Guest Writer “Mumma O”

Mumma O was born in 2013 when I was pregnant with my son. I’d been experimenting with raw sweets for about a year and decided I wanted to share a few of my recipes via Facebook and grow my collection. My purpose was to also better nourish myself during pregnancy as well as slowly developing recipes for my little guy once he was earth side and ready to eat. I launched my page and within a week I already had 1,000 followers. Over next 4 years I shared recipes, photos, kitchen tips and tricks, hosted numerous workshops and sampling evening, gave out samples, ran market stalls, hosted competitions and was a guest at local events.

I”ll never forget the market stall I shared with a friend at 34 weeks pregnant with my second child. I had to arrange my morning and find somebody to look after my 2 year old son firstly (I get mad mumma guilts!). It was a freak 38 degree day and we were set up on the black bitumen car park. It was so hot under our tent and these markets had recently been moved from a really successful spot. The new spot however was not so successful and I made $150 profit. 6 hours of setting up and packing up and standing in the sun (not to mention all the work it took to make all my product). That was my last market. Having raw treats in markets is a challenge in itself to keep anything from melting and spoiling, let alone being heavily pregnant and over it.

Perhaps I should of persisted? Perhaps in 6 months I would of had 100’s of followers coming each week to grab their favourite treats. Who knows? As a mother of two now I have realised I simply can’t do everything, so I focus on what I can do. I’ve never used daycare and wanted to be the mum who taught my children how to behave at the shops, how to cook, and for them to realise that things just don’t happen, we make them happen as a family and as a team. I hit 10,000 in December 2016 and am currently at 11,805.

It is a continuous work in progress and a labour of love. I’m always thinking of my next post, recipe, photo, eBook and how to broaden my reach. I have never paid somebody to assist me in my marketing to date, but it is most definitely something I’d consider. Social media sites such as Facebook for example are relying more on paid and sponsored advertising, so if I went down that road to gain maximum exposure and more reach then I would seriously consider some assistance. Facebook and Instagram have changed so much in the past 4 years. I love what I do. I love helping people make better choices. That has and always will be my mantra.

If you can afford organic superfood ingredients then that’s awesome. If you can only afford dates and coconut from Coles then that’s also awesome. Why? Because it’s still better than buying a highly processed Snickers Bar full of refined and synthetic. 2 bags of dates is $3.20. 2 bags of salted peanuts is around $4. A bag of coconut is $3. Two blocks of dark chocolate are $4 and a jar of coconut oil is $5. So for $25 (ish) you can make two slabs (40 decent squares) of different slices (which are freezable and will store for months. See where I’m going? I wanted healthier options to be accessible to everyone.

So, going back a little, my recipe collection grew from 20 recipes at the end of 2013 in my first year to 129 now in my Sweet Recipe Photo Album today. It was all trial and error, a labour of love and everything was made from the heart. It was a hobby turned into a dream and a lifestyle.

In December 2017 I launched my first eBook ‘Mumma O Basics.’ It’s pretty basic, and very basic on the eye. I love it, but, knew there was room to grow and improve tenfold on presentation and style. I’d been using essential oils on and off for 4 years and then came across Young Living which has 35 culinary oils approved by the food standards of Australia and New Zealand. I was impressed. I was more than impressed! So I switched out my old oils I used in the home and on myself and the kids and started on my Young Living journey in December 2017. In the first week of April 2018 I launched my second eBook ‘Healthy Treats With Essential Oils.’ It’s 100% better than the first. My photography skills are improving and I’m slowly simplifying the content and steps in the recipes. I never stop learning. I just wish I had a bucket of money to tip in and get everything I need. Don’t we all!

My kitchen is approved by our local council so now I take lots of private orders for birthdays, kitchen teas and the like, as well as supplying 5 cafes with healthy sweet options. Now, as a mother of two, 4 and under it’s a constant juggle. I love to keep fit as I believe a strong body assists in building a strong mind. I still teach Body Combat and Body Pump a few times a week and have a few long term clients I still personal train. Team that with being a Mum (most fulfilling AND hardest job all in one!) and experimenting in the kitchen and yep it’s busy! I am a constant work in progress. Some weeks I might make $150 and some it’s 5 times that and sometimes more and sometimes less. Overall, it grows each year either financially or portfolio wise. Mumma O will continue to build and I will continue to love and embrace my journey within it.

Mumma O love’s motivating and inspiring people to clean out their kitchens a little and to make a few healthier choices for their families. Most of her recipes consist of cheap, easy and accessible ingredients that you can buy at the supermarket.. without racing around to specialty shops and having to order from the ends of the earth over the net. She has simplified so many recipes so that the busiest of people can make it in a flash. You can find her at Facebook and Instagram.

Beauty in Small Things: My Birth of Daisy | Guest Writer Toni Gordon

Being pregnant was pretty great for me. I was lucky enough to not get morning sickness, I stopped working at 5 months, I went to yoga, ate ice-cream, watched Netflix, lazed in a hammock and snuggled with my pup. I was such a calm pregnant person. My husband who worked away was very caring and made sure that I was as comfortable as possible from afar. He’d send me flowers, and make sure that I had everything that I needed. My doctor ensured that I had to relax, as I was “high risk” with psoriatic arthritis. I was in a moderate amount of joint pain, from my hips and lower back, but I managed because hey… women have been doing it for centuries. I was really lucky. My obstetrician seemed to be very attentive, he told me “Don’t worry, I will be there through out your journey because you are high risk” As my husband did work away, and that I was high risk, we all decided on a date in which I would be induced.

(Mistake #1)

The day before my induction date, my husband flew home. I had my bags packed and we set off for the hospital. I was pretty excited to meet Daisy. Daisy was always going to be Daisy… it was a very strong lightning bolt that hit me in 2012 which was a whole year before she was even a sparkle in my eye. The day started like expected, the tried to ripen my cervix and the doctors and nurses wore my privates like an old glove. I think that was the point where I left my dignity at the door. Anyway, I was in the zone. I had no drugs, I have the song playlists, the calming lavender mist sprays, pillows, breath mints you name it, I had it I was prepared AF for the labour. I had watched every episode of born every minute and I knew there was no turning back. 8 hours passed and I was 4cm dilated.

They warned me that I may need to have a caesarian because of the risk of infection. I was fine with that, my OB would call in every 30 minutes and I was on the happy gas. I was fine. Then, the next call, the babies heart rate was dropping with every contraction, we are prepping you for surgery… I was cool, I was prepared for any which way they were going to give me Daisy as long as she was okay. They doctor care to give me the epidural. My mother and husband nearly fainted as 3 attempts to place the needle were too much to take. But that was fine. Finally after 10 hours I was getting prepped for surgery.

They took away the happy gas and as I entered the taxi rank my OB approached me and my husband… “Look, its my wife’s sisters birthday and she would be very disappointed if I wasn’t there, I am going to put you in the hands of my associate… do you mind?” WHAT THE FUCK do you want me to say? Where do you go from there? I had been in induced labor for 10 hours, 3 botched attempts at an epidural and now my OB that said he’d be there all the way through as I was high risk, was not going to see my delivery through? FINE. Go …

The surgeon that I did have was lovely, for someone that had been called in last minute and had literally just come from having his evening run. He cracked a few jokes, made the delivery and seconds later, I had this red slippery vulnerable thing on my chest. All I could think is you need to bond with this child this is the most important time. You need to breast feed right now. All I wanted to do was vomit and pass out. I just had my belly cut open and all my organs were pushed around which feel bloody terrible. Its not painful but I will never forget that feeling. The nurses ripped down my gown and latched the baby on to my breast.

(Mistake #2)

I don’t remember much for a few hours, but I remember being back in the room and having absolutely no idea what to do. I was pretty happy and success my baby was healthy. On day 3, I began to complain of an incredibly sore wound and I could hardly walk. I was sweating and became violently ill. My wound become infected, I had a super bug MRSA. I was transferred to Fremantle hospital isolation ward. My new baby and I, stuck in a cold room and everyone who came in had to wear top to toe infectious disease gear. I was isolated. My husband was in Mandurah, he came everyday but he also had to go home. This was not part of my plan… I had been pretty open to anything until this point, I wasn’t fussed how Daisy came into this world as long as she was okay. I didn’t care if I had to stay in hospital, but as long as I got to take her home.

I started spiralling into depression, They told me it was the baby blues and I needed to rest. They suggested that my husband take my daughter home. I was mortified, there was NO WAY anyone was taking my baby away from me. They told me I needed rest I refused and told them that I didn’t trust them. A nurse finally talked me into letting Daisy go into the baby ward for a night so I could sleep, I agreed and they let me sleep. After 2 gruelling weeks stuck in that shit hole, having blood tests, X-rays, endoscopies I was finally discharged.

I had a pic line and had to carry a bum bag of antibiotics with me 24/7 for another 2 weeks. I was home though, I had a whole 5 days left before my husband was due to go back to work. He was FIFO 4/1 so I was scared shitless what the hell was I going to do? The last 5 days, I couldn’t sit back and let my husband wait in me. He was doing everything and I had to learn how to do it. Because of the fact I was on such heavy antibiotics, I stopped breastfeeding. It was a huge decision, but the added pressure of it all was too much. Yes, I felt like a failure and yes I felt super guilty but I didn’t have time to dwell on it. I was now a single mum for the next 4 weeks. I remember how the air really chilled off as soon as I was alone.

A Revelation

Four years later, chilly April mornings still bring back the daunting feeling of being abandoned. The next few weeks, alone with my newborn, a daily visit from a nurse to change my Vank (Vancomycin) alone with my thoughts and the changing of season, was the perfect recipe for deep depression to slip in. I felt so alone, I felt so silly for feeling so alone. I felt like I was weak for feeling abandoned. You may think that my feelings of abandonment was from my husband going back to work?

No, they were from my doctor. The one who said he would be there through it all because I was high risk. The one who made me fill in mental health forms because I was a fifo partner and because I had a chronic auto immune disease. It was he who abandoned me. I thought of ways that I wanted to end his career. How was a dinner more important than my health or the health of my newborn? I set up a meeting. He apologised for what had happened. It wasn’t at all sufficient. But it woke me up. I realised, that there was not anyone that was going to make me feel better, but myself. I realised that my child (thank the universe) was 100% healthy and that I had to make sure that this child never ever felt abandoned or that she was a burden. It was hard, I never knew how hard being a parent could be. I was one of those women who thought that being a mum was an easy way out and a way to not work!

Yep. I was one of those. Well, there isn’t a man alive that I respect more than I do a mum. We do the best that we can with what we have with the absolute bear minimum, which is primal organic love. I could never have thought that I would be where I am now, with clear vision and goals, without have being a mother. Before being a mother, I was flippant and fickle. I swayed with the wind and was as shallow as a spill of milk. I may still be flippant and go with the flow, but there are things I will never do again and one thing I know I will never give up on and that is Daisy. Being her mother has taught me how to be patient, and to realise that things grown with time. I have also realised that the things you say today will not be forgotten tomorrow. I wish that I had some incredible thing to end with, but I don’t. I just want to say, the love that motherhood has given me is closely followed by the love I have got from fellow Mothers since.

Toni Gordon is a social media marketing & content creator. She started Left Coast Australia to showcase the best of the West Coasts people, places and products. If you would like your brand to stand out with video content that show the authentic you, get in touch.
Visit us: www.leftcoastaustralia.com
Or Email: Toni@LeftCoastAustralia.com