Malakai's Birth Story | Hypnobirthing at King Edward Hospital, Perth

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Malakai's Birth Story | Hypnobirthing at King Edward Hospital, Perth

I've been wanting to blog this beautiful birth story for so long... And finally I have the chance.

I had the pleasure of doing this sweet family's maternity session, and somehow I ended up being their birth photographer too! (Last minute booking FTW!)

Lovely Jacqueline has generously shared her birth story in her own words:

22nd June 2017

“Off to KEMH today again, for another check up, ECG/ultrasound to make sure baby is still cephalic and monitor heart rate etc because fluid is a bit low and I’m over 40 weeks now so you know, panic panic. I’m bummed because even though Bub has turned from breech to cephalic I still can’t have a homebirth, due to low fluid, I’m actually devastated, not just bummed. I am going to have to move on from this feeling otherwise Bub is not going to come EVER and I am NOT being induced. Sex it is haha. 

I am home, and I feel deflated, Bub is fine, moving beautifully, heart rate is great yet I’m not only being pushed by the hospital for an induction, but now also my “stand in” community midwife ............my usual CMP is off duty at the moment. I’ve spoken to CMP and have been swayed to have a stretch and sweep, I’m ok with this. If it gets things going then WINNING. 

Stretch and sweep done. Been crying to Aidan [husband] because I feel like it’s been a repeat of my first birth, I’ve had to fight the system AGAIN. He suggested to look into private midwife who would be willing to let us have the home birth. Did I hear right? This from the guy who was a big fat NO to a homebirth at the beginning of the pregnancy?! I got in contact with my doula friend, who got in contact with her private midwife and we got things going. Sigh of relief. The private midwife told me she would be happy to take me onboard but if I went into labour that night she wouldn’t be able to, we organised to meet in the morning. 

Having chatted to Aidan and the midwife I feel relaxed again, I feel like I can breath again, and have gained the attitude of what will be will be again. 

7PM - Low and behold... I’ve had the bloody show. I know it’s not necessary going to be “IT” but I kind of know it is. Mary [toddler] has been tucked into bed already so let’s see what’s happens. I’ve had some cramping, but I’ve had “some” cramping for the last week. Wait, wait, there is some more cramping... and more... I’m bouncing away on my birthing ball while watching a movie in the theatre room with Aidan... decided to time them just to see. 11 minutes, 8 minutes, 8 minutes, 7 minutes. Yep I’m pretty sure this is it. I decide to call midwife and tell her what’s up, she advises to get to hospital. I call Carla and Mum and let them know not to rush but shit’s getting real. (Carla is my sister and my birthing partner, Mum is my amazing Mum who will chill at home and watch our toddler, Mary) I have decided to move to our living area where I was meant to birth, and put my hypnobirthing and relaxation tracks on with all the candles lit. My surges were coming in every 5 minutes and lasting about a minute. I called Aidan in and asked him to switch off the TV and be present. I wasn’t ready to go to hospital yet. The contractions were getting pretty intense now. 

Carla and Mum arrived around 9PM - I’ve had 1 or 2 contractions whilst they were here, 1 was pretty intense which makes me think we need to get going. I tell Aidan he needs to call Cat the “birth photographer” - Aidan didn’t know I had hired her... he couldn’t argue with me now, I was in labour (plan worked) hahaha. Cat did my maternity/family photo shoot and the photos are amazing, she is amazing. So we let Cat know and got in the car for the daunting 40 minute drive. 

Half way to KEMH [hospital] and Aidan is speeding like a crazy man. I think he is petrified I am going to have this baby in his beloved Nissan Patrol. He has been timing my contractions and tells me I’m having them every 2 minutes. I had actually zoned out listening to my hypnobirthing tracks. 

It’s nearly 10PM and we have arrived at KEMH. Malita (CMP midwife - another new face) is in the labour suite waiting for us, Cat arrives shortly after. Carla sets up my diffuser and puts my relaxation music on. The contractions are all in my belly, intense squeezes. I can’t help but reminisce about the intense back and hip labour feels when I was having Mary a short 20 months earlier. 

Malita [midwife] comes over and advises that due to low fluid the hospital wants continuous monitoring, I decline and say I’m ok with intermittent doppler checks if necessary, and also ask whether I can labour in the bath. They want to check to be sure Bub is still cephalic and hasn’t turned back to breech; if Bub is still head down all is good for me to labour on the bath. 

Bub is head down so off to the bath. I’m advised I can’t actually birth in the water so once things step up they will get me out and we will go back to the labour room.

The walk to the bath room wasn’t too bad, I can’t remember whether I had a surge/contraction or not. But god I remember the sheer relief that washed over my body when I lay in the water and my body was weightless - such a relief. The warm water hugging every inch of my body, and my belly floating, it was bliss. My first surge in the bath felt incredible, I could move freely yet every movement I made, the warm water moved with me and gently washed over my belly and back and nearly massaged me. 

It felt like things were slowing down in the bath and I was able to catch my breath and relax… I could breath. I had fleeting moments where I was wondering when the next contraction was coming and why was it taking so long. But then it would come in all its mighty glory. I couldn’t help but move with it, it’s nearly like a dance. I sway with the intensity, the only way I am able to get relief is move with it and breath through it. And just as quickly as it rises, it falls again, moments to enjoy the calm and just breath.”

“I distinctly remember one very intense contraction my sister rubbed something in her hands and then pushed her palms close to my face so I could take a breath in, and it was such a good breath of wild orange essential oil, the smell made me smile and it gave me my energy back, it was amazing how potent that smell in that moment was, it was just what I needed. Things were getting more intense, I could hear myself groaning, swearing every now and then, loosing myself to the moment. I was a lot more vocal with this labour, a lot more primal. 

Malita asked how I was feeling as she had noticed things were ramping up and we may need to move back to the labour room. I agreed. 

Took me a while to get the strength to stand up. And once I did I had probably the most intense contraction yet... this baby was well and truely coming, shit was getting real... we were going to meet you soon little buddy. Once I was able to walk again we started the journey back to the labour ward, got 3/4 of the way there and I was hit with another intense contraction. I was swaying and moaning, I could hear myself as if I was having an outer body experience and in my mind I was like “whoa lady, reign it in a little, you sound like you and you are having an orgasm”.

We got into the room and I needed the toilet, “god I hope I don’t have this baby on the toilet” was the first thing that came to mind. BAM another intense contraction while being all warrior woman on the toilet - I managed to get off the toilet and was trying to navigate my way into a comfortable position. They were putting a matress on the floor for me, but I remembered I laboured a lot on my side with Mary so thought I’d get on the bed and try that... worst idea ever, BAM another massive contraction, baby was making his way down quickly and this position was NOT working for me. I remember wanting to get out of this position so much but not being able to as I was mid-contraction and had to somehow labour through it. I’m sure I looked quite possessed in this moment, probably the only time I felt like I wasn’t able to breath through the surge - I was just trying to get through it so I could move into the next position.

As soon as I could, I moved. We brought the bed head up so I could lean on it and I was kneeling. This was it, this baby was coming. Next surge I just felt bub drop down, my body took over and I grunted and pushed, stopped... and again, my body took the lead and it pushed, I could feel myself stretching... crowing... it was a welcoming sting - I knew that meant babies head was there so I put my hand down to feel it - I could feel babies head, and everything was still… nothing was happening, just stretching, why wasn’t I pushing? Why had it stopped? … and then there it was - the last contraction, and I swear I would’ve dropped HIM had Malita not guided him out. He came out so quickly and so wrinkly. It was a BOY. A beautiful healthy boy - Malakai O’Neill. I knew in my heart all along you were a boy. So nice to meet you my little man.  

Malakai was born at 00:44am on Friday 23rd June 2017 - He was 3.05kgs and soooooo wrinkly (he was like a little sharpey puppy!).” 

“We settled in for some beautiful, uninterrupted skin on skin and I got to enjoy some more surges while we had our first breastfeed - I wanted to have a natural third stage which seemed to take forever. I was half an hour in to my natural third stage when I was ready to give up. I had my baby now, and I didn’t want to keep having contractions. I asked for the injection to get the placenta out, when Carla looked at me funny and said, “Jack you’ve been riding it out for half an hour already, just get up and move and it will probably come”! I got up and squatted on the bed while Aidan had his first cuddle - and for those few moments, all 3 of us were connected. This still wasn’t getting the placenta out so off to the toilet we trotted and 1 contraction later I birthed the placenta. Such a satisfying feeling. 

Now it was time to rest and enjoy newborn cuddles with my boy Malakai. 

We got home before Mary woke up and suddenly became a family of 4! My heart is soooooo full!!”


Cat-Fancote_Perth-Birth-Photographer.jpg

THE WOMAN BEHIND THE LENS

Hey there! I’m Cat - a maternity, birth and newborn photographer living in Perth's southern suburbs.

I am a mother, a wife, a sister and a friend - and I’m passionate about birth and women!! I feel strongly about supporting couples to make informed birth choices for their own unique circumstances, and I love to celebrate women for the amazing goddesses that they are! I hope that by capturing the beauty of birth, and sharing it far and wide (with permission of course) that I can contribute to the normalisation of child birth for current and future generations.

I only take on a small number of births each month {in addition to maternity, newborn bonding, and motherhood sessions} so places are limited. I love meeting with potential clients for a cuppa and a birthy chat, so get in touch if you're in Perth and interested in having your baby's birth story documented.

Cat xx

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Rex's Birth Story | Home Birth in Perth, WA

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Rex's Birth Story | Home Birth in Perth, WA

Earlier this year I advertised on my Facebook page that I had a last minute opening for a March birth. The lovely Renee saw that post and got in touch with me. We met the following week and instantly hit it off! Renee is also a *birth enthusiast* (yeah, that's a thing) and is studying to be a doula - I couldn't help myself but chat 'birth business' with her. We went over Renee's plans to birth at home with the support of her husband, doula, and midwives, and I knew it wouldn't be too long before I would be seeing them again.

On Rex's *birth* day Renee informed me around lunchtime that she had been having some early labour signs. My instincts told me that labour would pick up in the evening, so I spent the afternoon with my wildlings and double checked all my gear was ready for when I got the call. That evening Renee let me know that things were really happening and that the midwife was on her way to assess. At this point I decided there was no point waiting around and jumped in my car - I'm glad I did because it wasn't long before Renee's husband called me to let me know that things were getting serious.

As I headed up their driveway I could hear Renee vocalising through her surges and knew I should quietly let myself in and get to work. On the front door I found this wonderful hand written sign that made me giggle! (Usually I see 'do not disturb' signs on the door)

Below is Rex's birth story as written by Renee, accompanied by some of the imagery that I captured that magical night.

Enjoy,
Cat x

Home birth labour sign - Birth Photography Perth

Rex's Birth Story | as written by his beautiful mumma, Renee.

"Our second little man arrived in March during a beautiful home water birth and I wanted to share my story to encourage other women to explore this option.

By the 29th of March I was a few days past my EDD and was feeling very ready to birth my baby. I spent the day with my midwife, chiropractor and acupuncturist while my hubby nested on my behalf – making our home ready, picking up Chester, our 2 year old, from day care and buying a heap of fresh fruit for my birth team, who I hoped would be around soon.

For about 2 weeks I had been getting period-like cramps, which had intensified dramatically in the past few days, particularly whenever I went to the bathroom, so when I woke from a nap and was so uncomfortable I couldn’t sit down for dinner I wasn’t too fussed. But I soon realised this was a little different. After 30 mins they were coming every 3-4 mins for about 30 seconds, so there was definitely something going on but they felt so different to the high uterus contractions I’d had with my first that I wasn’t convinced this was the real thing.

As a ‘just in case’ we called on the grandparents to take Chester for the night and I decided to have a hot shower, when it all clicked into place and I realised that, yep, this was the real deal and it was time to make some calls to my birth team!

When I jumped out the only emotion I had was excitement. We had been preparing for this as a family for months and I had been lucky to have a lot of wonderful support surrounding me. One of the most beautiful moments came from Chester comforting me intuitively. We had been talking him through what was likely to happen for a while so he wasn’t stressed at all and just gently touched me and calmly stroked my face, it was the sweetest moment.

Candles and wine - Perth Birth Photographer

After this I completed an important part of our birth plan – lighting some candles and having a big glass of red wine – I then spent the next hour walking the hallway and stopping, leaning over and swaying my hips through each cramp, which were still quite mild. I also popped on my TENs and the cramps steadily increased in intensity while my hubby prepared the birth area.

The midwife arrived around 7:45pm and found I was 5cms around 8:30pm. It really kicked off after my examination and thankfully it was around the time my amazing doula, Monica, arrived. I had become a lot more vocal and Monica started putting pressure on my sacrum, which was an incredible relief. Monica stayed with me through each cramp as I leaned against the wall and waited for our pool to be ready.

Around 8:50pm my sounds become more deep and our midwife quickly called the 2nd midwife around indicating I was likely in transition and not far from birthing my baby. As soon as the pool temperature was ideal, I jumped in and immediately focused on relaxing between cramps and releasing any tensions I had from the last wave and just being present and mindful."

"By this stage we had quite a team, with our two midwives both having a student, Monica, Cat our photographer and my hubby."

Perth Doula - Home Water Birth - Birth Photography Perth

"I found vocalising was the best form of pain relief in the pool and as much as the water was soothing, it didn't provide the much anticipated relief I had expected, so I asked for 2 wet towels to be placed over my lower back along with Monica continuing to press hard on my sacrum."

"I tried out all sorts of loud noises, which seemed to go over and beyond the sensations I was feeling. I felt positive that my technique here was working so well but not long after, the second midwife told me to use the energy I was expelling through my voice and internalise it, with a J breath to push the pressure down and out. I immediately did this and my focus went inwards. I quieted down and started to have bigger gaps between contractions where I was able to refocus, gain some rest and know that I was close to meeting my bub. It was about 9:45pm when I had major pressure and the urge to bear down. I had felt my baby turn as he entered the birth canal and I knew we were so close."

Labouring in water - Birth Photography Perth

"My midwife was telling me to not push too forcefully and Monica repeatedly told me "it's just stretching, the skin needs to stretch". It took all my strength to not just push as hard as I could to end the intensity but the words from Monica helped me focus to avoid tearing. I had a labial tear right near my clitoris with my first and I could feel the same sensation again so I put my hand down and seemed to be push aside something that was caught. It immediately stopped burning and I think this helped avoid another tear in the same spot."

"Within 3 minutes of bearing down, twice for the head and once for the shoulders, my little boy was born underwater and pushed through my legs for me to pull him up to my chest. Immediately all the intense sensations melted away and were replaced by joy at having this beautiful little being with a huge head of hair in my arms."

Home birth - Born in water - Birth Photography Perth

"The whole experience had taken a little over 3 and a half hours and after all the routine checks by the midwives our whole birth team left and my hubby and I spent some the first few hour of Rex’s life cuddling on the couch introducing ourselves to our second little boy – and finishing off a well earned glass of wine for my hubby this time!"

"Chester came back the next day and his beautiful reaction to meeting his little brother was so sweet. Cat also returned to capture images of all of us together which I am so grateful for."


Perth Birth Photographer, Cat Fancote

ABOUT CAT

I'm a birth and motherhood photographer living in Perth's southern suburbs with my partner and our two wildlings. I'm passionate about making informed and supported birth choices, normalising birth in the media, and showing the world that ALL births are beautiful!

I only take on a small number of births each month {in addition to maternity, newborn bonding, and motherhood sessions} so places are limited. I love meeting with potential clients for a cuppa and a birthy chat, so get in touch if you're in Perth and interested in having your baby's birth story documented!

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What is Vaginal Seeding and how do you do it?

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What is Vaginal Seeding and how do you do it?

The science is very clear that the health and diversity of the bacterial and fungal colonies both inside us and on our skin, play a huge role in our health. In babies a healthy microbiome translates to a reduction in health concerns such as eczema (1), colic (2), type 1 diabetes and obesity, as well as prevention against mastitis in the mother.

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Mel's Maternity Session in Perth Hills

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Mel's Maternity Session in Perth Hills

I met Mel, her partner Joao, and their little dude Matteo at my new favourite location in Perth Hills on a warm summer evening. Mel looked gorgeous in her deep blue maternity dress that skimmed over her ripe baby belly just perfectly. Her impressively long dreadlocks drew my attention - and I'm sure you can see why. 

We chatted and chased the sun, capturing Mel's silhouette reflection in the pools of fresh water that had formed in the hollows of the rocks. Mel expressed her concern for being 'awkward' in front of the camera - but even if she felt awkward, it didn't seem to show!

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Sweet little Matteo explored the location with daddy and then joined in for a few shots.... Mumma resorted to a teensy bit of bribery in the form of sweets to draw him away from his rocky adventures for a few moments.

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It was such a lovely session. I was so busy enjoying myself that I forgot the time and we stayed later than planned - for the sake of 'just a few more shots'.

Thank you for allowing me to honour you and your baby belly, Mel.

Cat x

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