Gracie's Birth Story
It was at 8.30pm on the 15th of April when Lachlan was rubbing my feet that I felt my first contraction. It was painful enough that I had to sit up - had I just wet my pants?
I went to the bathroom and realised that I no, it wasn’t wee, my waters had just broken - it was on.
I instantly messaged Nat and sent her a photo of my wet pants. She was happy with the colour of my waters and told me to get some rest, it could be ages.
Half an hour into my rest, I realised there was no chance of sleep. I couldn’t lay down and my contractions were coming every 5 minutes.
I had sent Lachlan to bed too, because I thought I would easily be able to handle early labour by myself… I had planned to calmly set the space and even planned to make a delicious birthday cake for Gracie - LOL!
All dreams of calmly setting my space and rhythmically rocking to my birth playlist went out the window.
I was in and out of the shower, trying to find a sense of calm because this was bad…really bad. After maybe an hour of solitude I went and got Lach. I needed help with the birth pool, I’m a water baby and I just needed to be in the warm embrace of the water.
Before I got in the pool I went to the toilet and noticed that there was a lot of blood… my bloody show was much bloodier than I had anticipated.
I called Nat “there is a lot of blood” I uttered. She calmly told me she was on her way and that it was okay. So I flushed the toilet and got in the bath, and simply tried to hold on. Surely…SURELY this wasn’t early labour!
As I waited for Natalie, labouring in the tub, I began hoping and praying that this wasn’t ‘early labour’, please please please let me be in ‘active labour’.
Nat and I had discussed my birth plan and my dream of having a hands off birth. No cervical checks - because they don’t tell us much. We even discussed the things she could say if we did do a check, to make me feel like we were making progress and not to dishearten me.
I was acutely aware that due to my ability to talk and form sentences I was probably not in active labour. But I was hopeful, so as soon as Nat arrived I asked her to check me. She checked me and began telling me that rehearsed sentence designed to not dishearten me.
I was disheartened. I was upset. I was angry. This is just the beginning. How could this be just the beginning?
I felt like an animal trapped in a cage with no escape - and I needed an escape.
I remember crying, I just wanted the pain to stop. I was done. This was done. We were going to hospital.
“I want an epidural” I cried. “We need to go to hospital, I can’t do this.” I begged. I said all of this while looking directly at Lach. I distinctly remember the look on his face as he shook his head.
The plan was always that I would have to beg at least ten times before we went to hospital.
Despite this I was pissed off - “DONT YOU SHAKE YOUR FUCKING HEAD AT ME!” I screamed and threw the metal hose at him.
At this point I looked at Nat and she was calm and angelic. She said, “look, we can go to hospital, but there will be strangers and bright lights…or you can go inside yourself and find your strength and you can birth your baby here”.
It turns out that was exactly what I needed to hear. So I closed my eyes, Lach went to lay down. And minute by minute, contraction by contraction, I found my strength.
I went silent and inside myself. I held on to my combs for dear life as the earth quakes rippled through my back and stomach. For the next four hours the only words uttered inside my head was “JESUS CHRIST!”.
Nat was a saint, silently heating up the pool and switching out my hot water bottle (which was glued to my back). I would silently look up at her with puppy dog eyes and she would calmly and softy assure me that everything was okay.
This went on until I opened my eyes and saw the sunrise through the curtains, symbolising the passing of time.
It was then - seeing the sun - that I determined we were done. This baby was coming out - it has been long enough.
I consciously decided to push. I didn’t care what happened. This baby was coming.
I actually found pushing much easier than the previous part of labour. I knew that once the contraction started I had five pushes and it would be over. This helped me a lot, and gradually Gracie came down.
There was no need for cervical checks. I simply slipped a finger in and felt her head slowly but gradually descend.
Crowning was absolutely hectic. The intensity is almost indescribable. I remember in the moment I determined it was like pushing a tree out sideways.
My primal groans made my thankful we were on property and not closer to civilisation. As her head came down and out I yelled “I CAN FEEL IT RIPPING…ITS TEARING!”
After two hours of intense and forceful pushing, into a pool of shit and blood Gracie was born. All I could utter was “I did it!”. She was upside down, Nat pushed her through my legs…and I lost her in the water for a little while.
Eventually I grabbed her and she was choking on filthy water, as I contently took my time unravelling her cord and finally we helped her clear her throat - I was in no rush.
At 8.30am our daughter was born.
For about 40 minutes I held her in the bath, in awe of what just happened.
Eventually I got out of the bath and cocooned naked on our couch, wrapped in towels and blankets we rested.
My placenta was as stubborn as Gracie, determined to be birthed on its own time. So I was given a shot of oxytocin and with some forceful massage the placenta came - birth was over.
I had tea and some toast as I held my Easter baby.
Eventually I got up to have a shower so we could check out my vagina and see that everything was okay. I had lost a decent amount of blood and we already knew I tore a bit.
I sat in the warm shower for about 40 minutes, enjoying the warmth, perhaps a bit too much. As when I stood up I felt faint and apparently lost consciousness (something I deny to this day).
With much effort I crawled and was carried to our bedroom, where they checked me and determined I had a second - maybe third degree tear.
An ambulance was called when I had fainted, so we took our time. I wanted to stay home and be stitched up, but everyone thought I may had had a third degree tear in my butthole, so they wanted to make sure it was stitched in the bright lite and sterile hospital.
This turned out to be a massive blessing, as the pain of the examination and the actual stitches were significant. In the hospital I was able to happily puff away on my gas and air, totally enjoying the moment - having truly earnt my painkillers.
Eventually we came home only a few hours later and begin our lives together as mother, father and daughter.
Birth of Koda Everard Joseland-Mai
In a time of upheaval & transition, floods & pandemics, Nat arrived in our lives through pure chance (a true gift from the universe!!). With an ever-present calming nature, we realised instantly that Nat was the perfect fit for the birth of our second child. She was so knowledgeable & gentle in her approach, with time & space to make us feel valued & guided through the joys of pregnancy, birth & post-partum.
We had a beautiful home water birth of our second daughter on the 18th August 2022. In contrast to my first daughter who took 12 long hrs to arrive, I remember sitting chatting with my mother & Nat with only light contractions up until an hour before Koda made her arrival! Once my waters broke, things moved very quickly, & Nat calmly & gently supported me. I felt completely safe & empowered surrounded by Nat, my mother, sister, daughter & partner. Exactly the birth I had imagined & dreamed of!!!
We are forever grateful & in awe of the support Nat gave us during this incredible time. ♥♥♥
Cairo's Birth Story
On Christmas Eve I woke up (after having yet another sleepless night) and I could tell my tightenings were different. I had been having them on and off for the last 3 months, but they had changed and felt more like real contractions this time.
We went to bed that night but my contractions were now about 30-45 minutes apart and strong enough to keep me from sleeping, so I was awake almost all night for the 3rd night in a row. I think by this point I had only slept about 3 hours over the last 3 days.
On Christmas morning we all had breakfast and started opening presents. I was sitting on the lounge having contractions as often and uncomfortable as the night before. Not strong enough for me to need to breathe through them, but I had to stop talking while they were happening. After presents and spending a little bit of time outside, I went to our room and pretty much spent the rest of the day there. I kept thinking "I don't want to give birth on Christmas day" and I was getting frustrated that I wasn't able to spend the day hanging out with my family.
By late afternoon the waves were much closer together and strong enough for me to need to groan through them. We eventually asked Nat to come at 9pm. I was really hoping to avoid changing any of her Christmas plans so I was glad it was later at night when I needed her.
Nat arrived around 10pm and that's when things started to become quite consistent in timing and intensity. Looking back I feel like I was subconsciously trying to drag things out, and once the kids were in bed, Christmas was over and Nat had arrived, I properly let go and everything started to really pick up.
After labouring in bed for a while longer, I asked Caleb to get the birth pool ready. My mum and sisters helped him get the playroom blocked off from the rest of the house, and the pool blown up and filled. Once it was ready I hopped in and instantly felt so much better. One of my favourite parts of birth is getting in the pool - it's such a comforting feeling during a really intense time.
After being in the pool for a while my contractions started to get really intense. I was now yelling through them. Despite the fact that they were so strong, I felt like I wasn't making any progress, and I kept crying and saying I was too tired and couldn't do it. Hearing the voice of my second midwife after she arrived was such a comfort though - she was our main midwife for Elkie's birth and will always be one of my favourite people ♡
After what felt like hours of the hardest mental battle I've ever been through, my waters broke and I instantly knew I really could do it. Because Cairo was posterior the back pain was almost unbearable. I had Caleb pushing on my lower back with both hands as hard as he could while I was reaching out and pushing on the wall with all my might to counteract the pressure. My mum kept telling me that I could do it and that I had new energy, which really made such a difference ♡ I knew I was so close to meeting my baby. It took quite a number of contractions for me to birth Cairo's head, and after trying for a while after that to birth his body, I said I wanted to stand up. As soon as I did I roared him out and Caleb caught him just before he touched the water. Caleb then quickly unwound the cord from Cairo's neck twice, and passed him through to me. I stood there holding him in complete shock that I had actually done it!
I was helped out of the pool onto a mattress we had ready on the floor, and my dad and brother came in while my sisters went to wake the kids. I had made sure I couldn't see if bub was a boy or girl until everyone was with us. I checked and said "he's a boy! Nom Nom you have a little brother!" The look on Nomad's face was priceless obviously everyone would have been ecstatic either way, but I was so excited to have the boy I was so sure I was carrying ♡
My placenta quickly came, and after waiting a little bit longer, Nomad cut the cord, we had little snuggles, and then my sisters took the kids back to bed to get more sleep.
Cairo and I then got set up in bed while mum and our midwives did some tidying up. Honestly my midwives were the best! Choosing the right team for your birth is so important, and we were so blessed to have found ours ♡
Months of on and off tightenings, days of pre-labour, and the most challenging birth experience I've had - it all lead us to our beautiful boy ♡ I'm so thankful!
Having my family here was the icing on the cake. My parents were supposed to head home on boxing day and then be on standby for the birth. How convenient that everything happened in the one visit! I think bubba boy knew he had the timing just right ♡
The Birth of Esme
It was 5.45 Monday morning, 2nd day into 2023 awakening to strong and familiar Braxton Hicks surges, just with a little more punch. Excited, I went to the toilet on waking and could see the beginning of the mucous plug exiting my body. I knew we were going to meet our baby soon. Throughout the day there weren't many major changes to that. I alerted Nat around 8am and we began preparing the birthing space.
Surprised and excited this was all happening 3 weeks earlier to my previous 2 births, my partner Craig pumped the birthing pool, fitted the hose to sink and arranged the mattresses in the living area. Cameras ready, towels nearby... now time to trust my body's inner preparing. Well it was a beautiful day together, chicken soup made, games played. Expectations were inevitably high that this birth would progress just as
the previous births had. Nightfall came, Craig put the girls to sleep while I remained in the birthing area feeling for what to do. Stay up? Will it progress? I knew rest was best and keeping my mind present and calm in trusting the process. Awakening around midnight surges felt strong enough to get me up and walking... I wanted my midwife by my side from now on and assuming surges would get stronger I made my way into the birthing pool. That warm soothing water felt so good, but after the arrival of Nat and my second midwife Sunny those surges became like whispers . I knew things were slowly opening but the unknowing left me feeling exhausted.
We found a new day with inconsistent surges taking shape and doubts in trusting my body's process were creeping in. With the support of my beautiful family and Nat those thoughts quickly dissolved... massages and oxytocin loving felt like that kept my body primed for its next stage. Having felt a similar strength of contractions since earlier in the day I decided to hop back into the pool, I knew my baby was coming. I kissed the girls goodnight and had a moment for myself to feel my body's readiness. I lowered my belly under the water, suddenly a surge came that felt like a rumbling pf the volcano. Oh god did that feel good. I checked the time 7.43pm and messaged Nat to come back now. Craig knelt beside the pool and held my arm. From here I felt such a sureness and strength within me, a focus within such a loving and comforting space. The moon light shone in and Craig whispered words of strength and trust when I needed that extra help. From 8pm they were coming strong and consistently. I found my way onto my knees in between contractions as I held onto Craig's arm and we nestled in. Deep groans were made as energy escaped me during surges. “Breath it down Sammy” Craig reminded me. Teddy, our dog made his appearance by making scratches at the door and making animal sounds we'd never heard him make before. Craig wasn't leaving my side. Craig's arm placed on my uterus I felt her head descending down and a pinch as my perineum stretched. Here she comes! Next surge I pushed as I felt her head emerge from me. I was doing it! This was incredible! She lay in waiting in between surges, I reached down with one hand and felt her soft head awaiting outside the womb. There was a familiar sucking retracting feeling I'd had with with my previous birth like her head could go straight back up inside me. No way was that happening! I kept a downward energy as I felt the next surge coming and with all my might I birthed our girl into my hand, lifted her out of the water and to my chest.
She let out a cry to let me know we did it! I sat back, sighed with such blissful relief as Craig and I embraced such a special moment. I felt such gratitude for all the support of Craig's presence and words, holding the space for us, and ultimately my amazing midwife who had primed us for being prepared for the possibility of a surprise birth. Our little girl's cheek up against my chest, her little mouth finding its way to my breast latching on moments later. Nat arrived to a calm and serene home, Craig answered the door “She's here!” Nat came and sat by my side, giving me a warm embrace “I'm in awe” she said. Her calm presence reassured me instantly, as there was still the birthing of the placenta. Nat was incredibly patient as we tired moving into different positions to birth the placenta, eventually feeling that it had detached from the uterine wall, she gave the umbilical cord a tug and out it came. We nestled into our cocoon of beds laid out in the living area, the older girls awoke to meeting their littlest sister with serene excitement, in their dreamy state.
Banksi's Birth Story
On 21 February 2023 at 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant I spontaneously went into labour. It was a Tuesday
and I’d sent Sam and Stevie out so I had the morning to myself. I had a long magnesium bath, put on a face
mask, washed my hair and had a big cry. That afternoon we went on a family walk with my mum in the
hopes that a walk would get things started. It was very relaxing and calm and by the end of the walk I was
feeling some very faint cramps. We went home, had dinner together as a family and just as dinner was
finishing up, I started getting stronger cramps. I think instinctively I knew that this was the start of labour
and not another false start, so I sat on the floor and played trains with Stevie savouring the last moments as
a family of three. Sam then took Stevie for a bath and put her to bed. By some miracle, she fell asleep really
quickly which was lucky because by the time she was asleep my contractions were established. I sent a
message to Nat at 7:45pm giving her the heads up that labour had started.
I felt my energy shift and I dropped into myself almost instantly, any fears or worries I had were gone. My
goal for the labour was to keep moving, so I started walking around the lounge room, adding the final
touches to the space - turning the fairy lights on, adding oil to the diffuser, dimming the lights and starting
my playlist. When a contraction would come I’d stop, lean forward, sway my hips from side to side and
breathe through horses breath. Meanwhile, Sam was madly following our checklist, inflating the birth pool,
filling it up with water and checking all the equipment was ready to go.
It felt like things were progressing very quickly compared to my first labour (which was 24 hours). The
contractions were consistently ramping up, I was still moving, walking, swaying and breathing but I felt like I
wanted to be closer to the ground and I needed Sam to push down on my hips.
At 9pm, Sam messaged Nat to say that contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, that I was still being bossy but
unable to talk during contractions. I told Sam that it was still too early for Nat to come over.
20 minutes later, Sam made the call and Nat was on her way!
In the meantime, I kept labouring on the floor on a beanbag, each contraction felt so big and so purposeful.
My lounge room was surrounded by mantras that I’d written and stuck on the wall from 37 weeks. I didn’t
read them once during labour but they were engrained into my subconscious and I just kept repeating to
myself “open, soften, relax”, “my body knows how to do this”, “embrace every second”, “you’re doing it!”,
Nat arrived and I remember thinking, wow we’re finally doing this! I checked to see if I could get into the
birth pool and it was absolute heaven - warm and comforting. The contractions were getting stronger and
horses breath wasn’t cutting it anymore so I turned to squeezing a birth comb. Each contraction I tried to
surrender to the pain, knowing that it had a purpose. I laboured like this for another hour.
During the preparation for this birth I’d reflected on my first birth and realised that I didn’t remember
getting the urge to push until the last minutes of a 24 hour labour. We’d talked about this during my
pregnancy and I’d been worried that it might happen again, so when I got the urge to push just before
11pm I said to Nat, “I think I’m pushing!”. I went deeper into the pain and could literally feel my body
opening up and the baby moving out. My moans were loud, deep and primal. (I found out later that my
lovely elderly neighbour could hear me and he turned to his partner and said “here we go, we’re on!”).
As I felt the baby shift further down, I kept thinking about a remark I’d made to Nat earlier in the
pregnancy. During one of our appointments, Nat had felt my belly and confirmed that the baby’s head was
engaged and very low down. I made the joke that it felt like the baby’s head was only 5cm away from my
vagina opening. So during each contraction, as I felt the baby move, I was imagining that the baby’s head
only had to move 5cm. Although anatomically incorrect (haha), I hung onto this and it helped immensely in
the moments that it felt too hard.
At 11pm, my second midwife, Sunny, arrive as did my mum. My mum was there to get into bed with Stevie
in case she woke up. Up to this point, my contractions had been regular and consistent, but during this
moment they seemed to miss a beat and the next contraction didn’t come straight away. I started to worry
that maybe this was only just the start of labour and that I’d got it wrong. I thought, if this is just the
beginning, then I can’t keep doing this! I said this out loud to Nat through tears. But then the next few
contractions came and they were big. I felt a big pop as I was bearing down and realised it was my water
breaking. The intensity went up another notch and I instinctually knew the baby was close.
As I got closer and closer to crowning (something that I really feared in my first birth), Nat reminded me to
do whatever I needed to do, but if I could, to really control the baby’s head coming out. I felt a wave of
calm come over me, my mind came into sharp focus and I felt like I had full control over my body. I thought
to myself, this is the moment that counts! I stopped making noise during the next few contractions and
instead started taking long, controlled breaths. I really didn’t want to tear and so I pictured my vagina
opening and softening to allow baby’s head to slide through.
I had another big contraction and the baby was out although I didn’t completely understand how far she’d
come out. Nat used a torch and shone it into the birth pool so I could see. I looked down and my baby was
just lying in the water, half out. She had come out with a nuchal hand up by her face. It was all such a
beautiful shock and I remember feeling no pain at all. I asked if I should pull the baby up or wait until the
next contraction. So I balanced in a squat quietly having my mind blown, waiting for the next contraction. I
felt the baby kicking inside me as the last contraction came at 11:40pm. I reached down, picked her up and
lent back on the birth pool as I pulled her up onto my chest. It was so surreal and I couldn’t believe that I’d
done it. Sam was in tears and I couldn’t believe it was over and she was finally here.
After a little bit of time in the pool, Nat and Sunny helped me out and set me up on the beanbag. I was
shivering, not necessarily from being cold, but more likely from the adrenaline of just having given birth. I
was wrapped in towels and got comfortable on the beanbag with a heat pack. They put the baby on my
chest for some skin to skin, and after a little while, she threw herself onto my boob and latched as we
waited for my placenta. While we waited I had a cup of tea and a bickie (probably the best cuppa of my
I had a physiological third stage of labour and after a couple of contractions, the placenta was out. Once
the cord had completely drained, Sam did the honours of cutting it. Nat inspected my perineum and apart
from a small inside cut (possibly from the nuchal hand) it was intact! This was such a relief after the third
degree tear from my first birth.
As I laid on my lounge room floor having just birthed my baby at home in under six hours, surrounded only
by my midwives and my husband, with my toddler sleeping soundly upstairs, I said to Nat, this was
everything I had envisaged, but better. Our baby girl Banksi, was here.
Jarrah's Birth Story
It was a lovely Autum Saturday morning.
I spent it wallking, swimming and playing at the beach with my 2yr old daughter Hazel, my 11yr old Son Jade, and my partner Ryan. We then enjoyed a yummy lunch out, went home and shared a nice afternoon & evening together.
Like most nights, I went to bed with such wonder.
I was now 12 days past my "due date".
This pregnancy I was more relaxed about being past 40wks, I was more educated and I had a better connection with my body & inate wisdom.
Due to my prior births I was aware of the risks associated with medical intervention such as induction, so I did not want to take the same path.
Nat our beautiful Midwife put no pressure on me being almost 42 weeks which was very comforting. She informed me of my options.
I was happy to wait as both bub and I were healthy at our check ups.
I chose to surrender to the natural process, and I trusted that all would unfold in divine time.
And it did. It all makes sense that our Son~shine waited, it was the most perfect day and time for him to be born.
I woke up at 3.30am Sunday morning to a little wet patch in my bed. I stood up and a bit more fluid came out. I was so excited but somewhat in disbelief, mostly to avoid disappointment incase it wasn't my waters that had broke.
I woke my partner and told him.
I messaged Nat and let her know.
I then had an urge to start getting the house clean & ready, but I stopped, took a deep breath, layed on the lounge and thought ~calm down Sarah, save your energy.
I messaged my Birth photographer who lives 90 minutes away but just so happened to be staying 10 minutes away at her Mothers for the weekend.
My 2yr old daughter woke for a drink and a cuddle around 4.30am. By now I was starting to feel strong sensations so I was not able to give her much of my time, luckily she was still able to get back to sleep.
Meanwhile my partner was preparing the birth space. At approx 5am he started to inflate the pool. My Son Jade walked out to a candlelit house, we told him I was in labour. He joyfully smiled and went back into his bedroom.
The intensity of my contractions started to become very strong. My partner messaged Nat to say that I really wanted her here.
She was on her way
I felt lots of pressure, almost like I already wanted to push.
I got into the Birth pool at 5.30am.
Contractions were consistant, it felt like there was no break between. My partner was being very encouraging.
My amazing photographer Jess arrived just before 6am. My partner was by my side and I remember Jess saying some gentle words to reasure me that I was doing well.
Nat arrived at 6.10am. Her presence made me feel a sense of comfort & safety.
By now I was having a super intense experience. Moments later I started to bear down and push. Babies head came out in the water.
My past 3 births there was a short amount of time between head out and baby born but this time it seemed different. I was having a hard time and was seeking help. Nat checked and discovered that bubs shoulder was stuck.
At this point I freaked out.
Nat, Jess and my partner all remained calm.
Nat suggested that I move out of the pool to get into another position.
How on Earth, I thought!
His head was already out and I was in alot of discomfort. Nat and my partner helped me get out and and onto the nearby matress. Moments later at 6.31am our beautiful boy Jarrah was born.
The sun was rising and I was absolutely amazed how quick it all happened.
My Mother in law arrived 10 minutes later to come and get our 2yr old, not knowing we had already had our baby. What a sweet suprise.
Ryan went into wake Hazel up and shared the exciting news with her. She came out and met her little Brother.
I stayed on the matress and birthed the placenta. My second midwife Sunny was now there. Both Nat and Sunny were both so nurturing.
They set me up in bed, then cleaned up.
My partner made me my favourite breakfast smoothie, I stayed in bed for a while then had a shower. We all sat, smiled, talked, laughed and embraced such a precious time.
8am my eldest daughter Oceanah arrived with her Dad, they planned for weeks prior to pick Jade up and take him to his first footy game for the season. Oceanah got to meet her youngest sibling hours after birth. She cuddled in bed with me before leaving for footy.
10am my parents arrived who had organised a visit the day before. They had no idea that our Son was born yet, until they walked through the door to see a baby in my arms.
Another special suprise.
The rain started to fall after a dry few weeks.
My 2 eldest returned after Jades footy game. Hazel was now at her Nans.
Oceanah made me lunch, I sat in the comfort of my home with a heart full of gratitude for my family, the empowering birth journey, and the warm & wonderful pre natal care I recieved from Nat.
My first homebirth was everything I wished for, and more ♡