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Australian Birth Stories
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Australian Birth Stories

Author: Sophie Walker

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A Podcast of Mothers' stories of childbirth. Weekly interviews with mothers giving their first hand accounts of child birth in Australia. Designed to help educate and inform first time pregnant women, parents wanting to have better subsequent births and birth enthusiasts who love to hear and tell birth stories. An entertaining and heartfelt resource for pregnancy, labour and delivery and postpartum.
165 Episodes
In this week’s episode, I chat to Claire and Luke who are new parents to baby Beau. They talk in detail about Claire’s two miscarriages, specifically the lack of awareness surrounding the physical pain of the process. Before she fell pregnant for a third time, Claire discovered that she carries a blood clotting gene and her fertility specialist recommended blood thinning medication as soon as she conceived. A subchorionic hematoma was discovered at her 12 week ultrasound but after resolving itself, Claire felt like she could relax into the pregnancy and spent a lot of time practising hypnobirth techniques which proved invaluable for her very positive induction.
In this week’s episode, I interview Olympic Athlete Alicia Lukas who gave birth in Tokyo during Covid. Despite every effort, Alicia accepted that no amount of spinning was going to turn her breech baby so she booked in for a planned caesarean with her private obstetrician. Covid rules dictated a lot of the experience - her husband watched the birth over facetime and was only allowed at the hospital for thirty minutes afterwards. Despite the cultural differences, Alicia relished the way the Japanese care for mothers post-birth but as she says, there’s no place like home when you’re a new mum.
In this week’s episode, I chat to Clare about her two planned caesarean births. Despite severe endometriosis, Clare fell pregnant easily and sailed through the first half of her pregnancy. However, at her 20 week scan she discovered that her baby had ureteropelvic junction obstruction (UPJ) and shortly afterwards, she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Her planned caesarean was straightforward but her recovery was not; extensive adhesions in her uterus caused a long and painful postpartum. She chose a private obstetrician for her second birth and jumped at the chance to have a maternal assisted caesarean but nothing could prepare her for the shock of her baby’s hearing loss diagnosis at six weeks.
In this week’s episode, I chat to Tess who rang her local birth centre when she was six weeks pregnant to make sure she got in (hot tip for those of you hoping for continuity of care with midwives!). Like many first time mums, Tess was convinced she would go into labour early. No matter how many natural induction techniques she tried, nothing worked and she was left feeling defeated and unsure. She was booked to be induced at 41+6 but she woke that day with mild cramps and by 11am she was labouring in the bath at the birth centre. Tess takes us step by step through her labour, her long second stage and her mental and physical challenges. Despite everything, it was a strong and focused mindset that guided her to a wonderful birth. Tess went off the pill in late 2019 and fell pregnant in June 2020. She admits that she didn’t love being pregnant; her’s was not a gorgeous and glamorous instagram pregnancy.
In this week's episode I chat to Alannah about her challenging pregnancies, NICU experiences and her sheer determination to breastfeed despite the hurdles. Her first pregnancy and birth was smooth sailing so when her waters broke at 19weeks with her second baby, she felt like her world had turned upside down. A long hospital stay ensued and she delivered baby Maisey at 29 weeks before enduring the rollercoaster of NICU for 60 days. A surprise pregnancy a year later came with concerns, including the increased risk of Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) and early bleeding from a subchorionic hematoma, but it was vasa previa, where blood vessels extend from one lobe of the placenta to another and cover the opening of the cervix - that placed her in a high-risk category and prompted a caesarean birth at 33 weeks.
In this week’s episode, I chat to Yahna about her experience with shared care (pregnancy care shared between a GP and the hospital). As she explains, she believed that shared care offered continuity of care when in actual fact, she was seen by many different midwives in her third trimester and treated as a number on the maternity ward. After days of spurious (false) labour she was induced but due to a bed shortage, laboured in multiple rooms before she was given a birthing suite. Despite the upheaval of her experience, Yahna reflects on the joy of breastfeeding and the deep bond with baby Sunday, the first biological family member she has ever known. As an adoptee, Yahna admits that when she gave birth, she also gained a newfound love and respect for her birth mother. Baby Sunday was a happy accident. Yahna had been on the pill for 16 years when she decided to take a break after seeing a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. “When you’re not planning to conceive a baby, there’s a long thought process...can we afford this? Can we do this? Are we ready? With time we eased into the idea of it and became really excited.
In today’s episode I interview Steph Claire Smith who was first diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 21. She managed to regulate her menstrual cycles by focussing on health, wellness and regular acupuncture treatments and years later, fell pregnant easily. She timed her exhausting first trimester with stage four lockdown in Melbourne and sailed through the rest of her pregnancy, choosing to practise gratitude for all she experienced, despite the inevitable discomfort and challenges that arose in the third trimester. Steph admits that well-meaning messages from friends and followers regarding natural methods for induction definitely affected her mental health and she subsequently chose to be induced at 41weeks.  You can enjoy KICBUMP for free for one month. Head over to   Today's episode is brought to you by The Birth Class. After listening to hundreds of birth stories, pregnancy and birth experiences over the years (and birthing my own three beautiful boys) I have created my dream online childbirth education course. The Birth Class. Inside The Birth Class you will enjoy 9 incredibly insightful audio interviews with some of Australia’s favourite midwives, doulas, childbirth educators and yoga teachers Together we unpack: every aspect of birth, including the stages of labour, the role of the bodies naturally occurring hormones in birth, how to prepare your body during pregnancy for birth through optimal maternal positioning and how to harness your breath and sound and use active birthing techniques, how to prepare for a VBAC, What to expect in a Caesarean and lots more. The Birth Class also includes an 80-page colour illustrated workbook with transcripts of the audio interviews and a hospital bag checklist, birth preferences checklist for you to print and customise. In order to ensure you have mastered the breathing and relaxation techniques we discuss in the course, I have also included a 25minute Yoga Nidra meditation and a 5-minute breathing exercise you can practice throughout your pregnancy. The Birth Class goes on sale May 2021. You can join the waiting list now over at   .
Due to many requests, I’m delighted to chat to Teigan McKinnon in this week’s episode. You can hear Teigan’s first birth story in episode 100 but today we talk about her recent twin birth with babies Violet and Audrey. Conceived via IVF, Teigan’s embryo split in two and at her first dating scan she discovered she was pregnant with twins. After being warned of the complications of identical MCDA twins (two amniotic sacs but a shared placenta), her pregnancy was relatively straight-forward and after being induced at 36weeks, she delivered both girls vaginally with an epidural.   Today's episode of the show is brought to you by . esmi Skin Minerals is proudly Australian made, vegan and cruelty free! esmi uses a be kind to your skin approach, feeding your skin with the ingredients you need. The best part is, almost all of esmi’s wide range of products are pregnancy and breastfeeding safe! I've been loving my Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum from esmi - it's quick-absorbing and like a big drink of water for your skin. It leaves my skin feeling plump and perfectly hydrated before I apply my moisturising step. As a special treat for our community this month, esmi are offering you a FREE mini 24k Gold Nourishing Oil when you spend over $60 or more on their website. Simply enter code at checkout. This oil targets dryness, dehydration and ageing and pairs perfectly with the Hydrating Serum. AUSBIRTHGIFT code is valid for a limited time, so don't miss out. This offer is available until the 4th of June 2021.
I first interviewed Elise about the births of her three children in episode 42 Since then she has spent two years on a unique journey as a surrogate mum. She talks us through her initial calling to be a surrogate, the first meeting with the intended parents and the psychological screening required before the IVF process began. As Elise explains, it was not always a smooth, joyful experience and the challenges she faced towards the end of her pregnancy were stressful, especially surrounding Covid lockdown laws and the number of support people allowed in the birth centre. Despite the tense anticipation and the stress of the unknown, Elise’s birth was very straightforward and the moment she handed baby Archie to his mum made it all worthwhile.
In this week’s episode I interview Fiona @mydailybusinesscoach who shares her confronting experience of an emergency caesarean in London. She was discharged 24hours after birth and while she spent much of her first week at home anxious and sore, a visit from a gentle and wise lactation consultant was exactly what she needed to settle into new motherhood. After returning to Australia and setting up their life in Melbourne, Fiona and her husband spent two years trying to conceive before they explored their options with IUI and IVF. Fiona made the conscious decision to have a planned caesarean with baby Elio and under the care of her beloved obstetrician she experienced a joyful birth that she fondly remembers as one of the best days of her life.
In this week’s bonus episode I chat to the delightful Georgia who takes us through her two pregnancies and births. Her surprise first pregnancy was a life-changing shock but she took it in her stride and delivered little Tex with the support of the midwifery team at Geelong Hospital. Her second pregnancy was as smooth as the first but she went into labour at the height of the national Covid lockdown. Despite extra precautions at the hospital, her labour was speedy and she delivered baby Ivy with ease. I adore Georgia’s honesty and her detailed discussion of placenta encapsulation is a great listen for anyone considering doing it for themselves.
In this week’s episode, I chat to Marley Morgan an Indigenous woman who is raising her three children on Gumbaynggirr land. After a surprise pregnancy at the age of 26, Marley was confronted by a variety of health concerns that took a toll on her mental health and led to an ante-natal depression diagnosis. Her journey into motherhood was challenging but when she reached out to her local mother’s group she recognised the importance of a supportive village. She’s birthed three boys in four years and has consciously worked on her mental and physical health, has grown a successful business that celebrates women and motherhood and has experienced the joy of intervention-free birth with the support of midwives.
In honour of caesarean awareness month, I chat to Emma about her pregnancy and birth. Despite her intention to have a birth with minimal intervention, days of prodromal labour coupled with exhaustion, dehydration and obstructed labour due to baby’s position, led her to an emergency cesarean. Despite everything, Emma admits that she felt empowered and supported every step of the way, particularly in the depths of her labour when she felt like she was losing control and was debilitated with exhaustion. “I honestly believe that it’s not about how you birth but how you’re treated in birth,” she says.
In this week’s episode I chat to Kristin; a mother of three who let her intuition guide her throughout her pregnancies and subsequently experienced three beautiful, empowering births (albeit not without their challenges). Five miscarriages in a fifteen-month period left her anxious and fearful but once she passed the 12 week mark with her son, Toby, she settled into her pregnancy and refused to let her obstetrician class her as high risk. She took responsibility for her birth, hired a private midwife and birthed in the water at home. Kristin talks confidently and clearly about her pregnancy and birth experiences and is incredibly inspiring, especially in regards to owning her birth journey and surrounding herself with people who supported and guided her.
Sarah shares about her life with Type 1 Diabetes and the effect her diagnosis had on her conception and pregnancy. Sarah admits that she did minimal preparation for her labour and birth and while she went in with limited skills, she also experienced a severe lack of communication from the obstetricians and midwives caring for her, both during birth and postpartum. Her story is a really important one, especially for first-time mums who are questioning the significance of birth preparation and want to advocate for themselves in the hospital system.
In this week’s episode, I chat to Sonia who discovered she was pregnant at the very start of the pandemic. She spent the following eight months immersed in birth documentaries and positive birth stories, intent on creating a birth space where she could be supported by her partner and her closest friends as she laboured. She speaks softly and with heart about her home water birth, the way she roared her daughter into the world and the bliss-filled days that followed. It’s so important to hear stories like Sonia’s and to remind ourselves that with mindful preparation and a supportive caregiver, birth can be a joyous and powerful experience.
In this week’s episode I chat to @daniloxton about her fertility issues and the journey to conceiving her daughter and her twins. As a yoga teacher and a doula-in-training, Dani knows what it’s like to balance a natural lifestyle with the reality of a PCOS and endometriosis diagnosis. She required fertility treatment for her pregnancies and medication for nausea but then experienced quick and smooth deliveries for all three babies. We chat a lot about her twin pregnancy, the shock of discovering she was pregnant with twins, antenatal depression and her empowered delivery despite the unwelcome presence of an obstetrician demanding a cesarean.
In today’s episode I interview Ellesse who shares the birth of her son Bowie. Ellesse is a pilates instructor who runs her own business at Fleur Wellbeing Pilates Studio. The Covid lockdown started just as Ellesse discovered she was pregnant. She found this a blessing initially as she suffered from intense morning sickness and working from home allowed her to be sick and rest in between Zoom pilates classes. At her 20 week scan, Ellesse discovered she had placenta previa, her placenta was completely covering her cervix. This diagnosis meant that she had to stop doing all forms of exercise which was very challenging as a very active person. It also impacted her work as she couldn’t demonstrate in her classes. It was at this time that Ellesse started to mentally prepare for a caesarean birth. To find out how things unfolded for Ellesse tune into this week’s episode.
In this week’s episode, I interview Yumi Takahashi who is featured in the recent Birth Time documentary. I aim to share a variety of stories in this space and I believe that Yumi’s experience is essential listening for birthing mothers and, perhaps more importantly, for the midwives and obstetricians who care for them. In her first pregnancy, she chose her local public hospital and had unwavering faith in the system. But it was the system that failed her; she received racist remarks throughout her pregnancy, abusive treatment during her birth and was left with trauma that still exists today. When she fell pregnant with her second child, she chose a private midwife and homebirth. As she says: “My fear came from the system, from the people trying to control my body. I had no fear of birth.”
In today’s episode, Claire shares how she and her partner Steph had a home birth with their little girl LJ. As a same-sex couple, Claire and Steph used a home insemination process with sperm given to them from a very good friend. As a naturopath, Claire carefully monitored her cycles and use acupuncture to help make the process as smooth as possible. They were lucky enough to conceive on their first home transfer. Despite starting with GP Shared care Claire knew that she wanted a low intervention home birth. Claire decided to start interviewing private midwives to have a home birth and she found a lovely midwife who she and Steph connected with and they hired her for their pregnancy and home birth care.
Comments (10)

Corinna W

I love this podcast and have nearly listened to every episode, but this one was something else! They way Natalia knows to tell her story is amazing and her descriptions of the indigenous birth ritual made me have goosebumps! Exceptional listening experience!!! Love from Crete, Greece!

Jun 28th

Leone Loechner

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Aug 28th

Holly Castles

Such a beautiful episode. Definitely a tear jerker this one 😭😍 I loved hearing Stacey's story. Her voice reminds me of my late mum so it was bittersweet. The pregnancy hormones are flowing today.

Jan 2nd

Catherine Towiro

z mxmmxxz.

Dec 20th

Holly Castles

another tear jerker 😭 I love this podcast so much!

Nov 12th

Holly Castles

Im not crying, you're crying 😂😭😭😍😍😍😍 this was the most touching episode absolutely loved it! 🧡

Nov 12th

Jane Zervos

love love love this podcast! amazing work Sophie. thank you ❤

May 15th

Anna Wills

I love this podcast. I found it not long after giving birth to my second and love how mums are sharing their stories. it's a great cast to listen to each week.

May 5th

Laura Léntfér

This is my favourite podcast. Thank you so much for sharing your stories and for creating a platform that us new mummys can listen to them!

Feb 4th

Emma Lee

Wow! Thank you for sharing.

Dec 16th
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