"From the moment falling pregnant with my third baby I was adamant that I was going to have a natural delivery. My first and second pregnancies ended in an emergency c-section then a non-elective c-section. I carried a lot of feelings of failure and birth trauma due to not having the experience I thought I would."
What Made you decide to hire a birth photographer?
I knew in my heart that this birth was going to be the birth I was so longing for and I wanted to be able to have it documented through pictures so that I could look back through them and remember that time.
I didn’t really know what to expect. I can recall in the few weeks leading up to delivery day I did have few thoughts of thinking should we be having a photographer, what if I feel uneasy, my husband really dislikes being photographed.
On reflection I have no idea why any of these thoughts even crossed my mind. Amber is so professional; she has such a calming manner about her. There are only a few moments of my labour where I can even recall Amber being in the room, there were no bright flashes, I couldn’t hear any clicking, to me it was like she wasn’t even there at all but she captured our experience beautifully.
After our baby’s delivery my husband said that he was a bit nervous about having a photographer in with us but he had nothing but praise for Amber!
Seeing our sneak peeks the night our baby was born made me swell with emotion. To see myself and husband in such a raw emotional state was so moving. Looking through our gallery and choosing out our prints made me feel all of those emotions when I was in labour, I was reliving every moment and in such awe of how well Amber had captured our birth.
When I received our prints they were wrapped in ribbon presented in a beautiful little glass box with a little gift for me as well. I was able to show my photos to my nearest and dearest and they could feel our emotion through the captured images.
I am so glad that I made the decision to capture our birth experience and so glad that I chose Amber!
This time round I did everything in my power to ensure that I was giving myself the best possible chance of achieving my vaginal birth after two cesareans (VBA2C).
I started off by joining facebook groups and reading as much information about vaginal birth after cesarean as I could find and following the Spinning Babies website. I had to educate my husband as well and make sure he was with me on all aspects of my pregnancy and delivery. I told him that he had to be my advocate and unless my life or our baby’s life was in danger that under no circumstance would we be having a c-section. I enrolled us into a Hypnobirthing Australia course with the amazing Pip Wynn Owen.
During the course my husband thought it was all a bit silly but come labour day he was so glad that we went to it and I could not have asked for a better birthing partner and advocate, he was amazing and so supportive.
Throughout my pregnancy I stayed as active as possible. I was walking everyday and doing pregnancy yoga, I started implementing things from the Spinning Babies website at relevant stages and listening to my hypnobirthing tracks. I also worked up until 36 weeks.
Trying for a VBA2C I had to attend the Next Birth After Cesarean (NBAC) clinic at King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH). So this means there is no continuity of care. Each appointment you have a different midwife and I also saw a different obstetrician each time. Prior to labour my birth team was my husband as I had no idea of who the midwife was going to be or the obstetrician! He knew exactly what I wanted; I had written a birth plan. To my amazement that was the first thing our midwife asked us if we had a birth plan. She took the time to read it and she respected my wishes and was nothing but supportive. I can’t fault any of the staff that were on duty the night of my labour.
The night before I went into labour was our wedding anniversary, so we had treated ourselves to a night of luxury at the Crown and had dinner at one of our favourite restaurants Nobu. The next morning I lost my mucous plug first thing when I went to the toilet but I didn’t really pay too much attention as I knew that you could loose your plug days before imminent labour.
I had an appointment booked to see the obstetrician at the NBAC clinic at KEMH 9am that morning so I didn’t bother ringing the midwives. At the appointment I did ask for an internal to see if I had dilated at all and I was 1cm.
We live rurally and nearly a 3 hour drive from the hospital so the OB wanted us to stay in Perth. I told the OB that we would and left. As soon as we were out of the hospital I said to my husband I cant stay up here, everything I had read about labour progression stated that being comfortable and in your own environment is what helps labour progress, so all I wanted to do was go home. So after walking around some shopping centres and car yards for a few hours we made the trek home. All this while I was having slight cramping’s but not believing that I was going into labour. Halfway home I even joked to my husband saying we will probably be travelling back up here tonight.
Once home I unpacked from our night away and did a load of washing and had some dinner. Thinking about it now I didn’t really have much of an appetite. The cramping was still the same, nothing regular but I was feeling really uncomfortable with back pain and just feeling unwell so I decided to go to bed at about 8pm. I did sleep for a little while until I just couldn’t get comfortable and woke up my husband to rub my back for me. He started timing my contractions (I was in denial that they were contractions haha) and at 10.30pm he told me to get up and said we are going to Perth we need to get to the hospital.
My contractions were 5 minutes apart. I still hadn’t finished packing my hospital bag so I was trying to get that done all while my husband was having a minor panic! This was the only time through out my labour that he did though, I told him he needed to calm down as he was stressing me out and so he did. We were in the car by about 11.30pm making our trip back to Perth.
That drive was the most uncomfortable painful long one I have ever done!
At the beginning of labour I can only describe my contractions as tight cramps. I don’t really have any words to describe contractions in active labour, they are so painful and draining. Light touch massage helped a little bit. The Entonox gas gives you something to focus on and give a sense of euphoria in between contractions but for me personally you just have to get on with it. It takes so much mental focus to try and not get caught up in the pain and just think about meeting your baby.
Something that I had said to my husband prior to labour was that if I ask for an epidural during labour don’t let me get one no matter how much I beg. One of the most vivid memories I can remember during labour, I was in the shower kneeling on the ground telling my husband I needed an epidural saying I couldn’t do this anymore and how tired I was, he was calmly trying to tell me that we would get through this but I was begging him so he left to go and speak to my midwife about other ways to help relieve the pain. I can remember looking up and Amber, our incredibly talented birth photographer grabbed my hand and said to me You are doing so amazing! That gentle hand hold and words of encouragement helped me so much. I realise now that that moment was my transition period.
As soon as our baby girl was born, I can just remember thinking to myself I bloody did it!
I did need some help from the OB as there was meconium in my waters so baby needed to be delivered with a bit of urgency and with that there were a few issues after but delivering our baby girl naturally was the healing labour that I so needed to be able to experience. I felt a sense of achievement, I didn’t fail this time. My body did what it was supposed to do!
I had a general anaesthetic with both prior c-sections so when I met my first two babies it had been a few hours after delivery, I was groggy and incoherent but still so special. Meeting my VBA2C baby was so different and new to me. I got to be the first to hold her, I got to hear her first cry, my husband got to cut her cord and I was present for all of it.
If you're interested in having your birth journey documented, you can get in touch with me here or if you're still unsure and have some questions, just do the same and ask away – can’t wait to hear from you!