47 episodes

A podcast featuring Australians sharing their journey of vaginal birth after caesarean. Through sharing and learning from each other's lived experiences the podcast is designed to empower and educate those whose VBAC journey may have just begun, help all expecting mums achieve a more natural birth if that is their intention, and better inform birth professionals about one's journey to a VBAC.

VBAC Birth Stories Melissa Merino & Stephanie Cannavo

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.8 • 66 Ratings

A podcast featuring Australians sharing their journey of vaginal birth after caesarean. Through sharing and learning from each other's lived experiences the podcast is designed to empower and educate those whose VBAC journey may have just begun, help all expecting mums achieve a more natural birth if that is their intention, and better inform birth professionals about one's journey to a VBAC.

    46 | Sammy's posterior labour VBAC following an emergency caesarean with a posterior baby; Birth Trauma, PNA, MGP, Private Midwife, Doula, Tandem breastfeeding, Public Hospital

    46 | Sammy's posterior labour VBAC following an emergency caesarean with a posterior baby; Birth Trauma, PNA, MGP, Private Midwife, Doula, Tandem breastfeeding, Public Hospital

    Today we meet Sammy who is a mum of two living in Brisbane Queensland who is a trained doula and high school music teacher. She tells us of her first birth which ended in an emergency caesarean. Sammy, like 1 in 3 Australian women experienced significant birth trauma as a result of what happened and this birth went on to change the course of her life- inspiring her to help other women by providing emotional and physical birth support to those in need.

    We hear of her journey towards her VBAC, what tools she accessed to assist her towards her second birth and what she did differently to ensure a more positive experience.

    Sammy teaches us that sometimes the most important tool is within us- our ability to listen to our own intuition and to believe in our bodies ability to birth.

    We thank you Sammy for sharing your very personal birth stories with us. We hope you all enjoy and learn a lot from this episode.

    Connect with Sammy on Instagram @sammygriffinbirthsupport

    ~ Notes ~

    Sammy's website: https://sammygriffinbirthsupport.com

    Doula & birth photographer: https://www.olivejuicelifestylephotography.com

    Resources:
    Jane Hardwick Collings https://janehardwickecollings.com/pregnancy-ecourse/
    Ten moons (book)
    The Birth Map https://www.bellabirth.org/the-birth-map.html
    Rhea Dempsey- Birth With Confidence (book)
    Pam England - Birthing from Within (book)

    Post Natal Depression/Anxiety and birth trauma support: If you or anyone you know is affected by PND symptoms particularly at this time of COVID-19 please don't hesitate to contact the following support networks.

    The Gidget Foundation
    https://gidgetfoundation.org.au/get-support/

    PANDA
    https://www.panda.org.au/info-support/pandas-national-perinatal-anxiety-depression-helpline

    Beyond Blue
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support

    Cope
    https://www.cope.org.au

    **VBAC Birth Stories features women's lived experiences. It is not intended to replace medical advice. Should you have any concerns during your pregnancy please always consult your healthcare provider.

    Please connect with us on Facebook or Instagram: @vbacbirthstories

    • 1 hr 25 min
    45 | Rosie's 2 VBACs following pregnancy loss and an emergency caesarean; Medical termination, Chorioamnionitis, Premature birth, Epidural, Gestational Diabetes, Precipitous Birth, Calmbirth, Private OBGYN

    45 | Rosie's 2 VBACs following pregnancy loss and an emergency caesarean; Medical termination, Chorioamnionitis, Premature birth, Epidural, Gestational Diabetes, Precipitous Birth, Calmbirth, Private OBGYN

    In today's episode we speak to midwife and Calmbirth educator from regional Victoria, Rosie. Rosie has had four very different birth experiences.

    This episode has a trigger warning as we do discuss pregnancy loss.

    Rosie's first birth was a medical termination at 23 weeks following a rare diagnosis her daughter was given at her 20 week scan. Rosie tells of the often unspoken guilt and complex grief that comes with this form of loss. The gravity of her experience caused her to reflect on the ways in which the system in general can treat birth and how important it is to acknowledge the emotional aspects of it, whichever form birth may take.

    When Rosie fell pregnant again she chose to be looked after by a private obstetrician in a public hospital setting due to the absence of continuity of midwifery led care in her area. Her son was born at 35 weeks in a birth that ended in a Category 1 emergency caesarean at 34 weeks, It was discovered she had developed Chorioamnionitis, an infection of the lining of the membranes. Her son needed to go to special care and Rosie was separated from him for some time.

    After this birth Rosie went on to have two VBACs; the first involved an assisted delivery with forceps and her second was a precipitous labour which was documented as being just 26 minutes all up, including the birth of the placenta.

    We thank Rosie for sharing her very personal and unique birth experiences and for her honest reflections on all of them. We know her insights from her personal and professional experience will bring comfort and knowledge to our listeners.

    Rosie's Calmbirth Education website: https://www.babiesballarat.com.au
    Instagram: @babies_ballarat_calmbirth

    ~ Notes ~

    Post Natal Depression/Anxiety support: If you or anyone you know is affected by PND symptoms particularly at this time of COVID-19 please don't hesitate to contact the following support networks.

    The Gidget Foundation
    https://gidgetfoundation.org.au/get-support/,

    PANDA
    https://www.panda.org.au/info-support/pandas-national-perinatal-anxiety-depression-helpline

    Beyond Blue
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support

    Cope
    https://www.cope.org.au

    Pregnancy Loss:
    https://www.bearsofhope.org.au
    https://rednosegriefandloss.org.au
    https://miscarriagesupport.org.au

    **VBAC Birth Stories features women's lived experiences. It is not intended to replace medical advice. Should you have any concerns during your pregnancy please always consult your healthcare provider.

    Please connect with us on Facebook or Instagram: @vbacbirthstories

    • 1 hr 10 min
    44 | Amy's twin VBAC following infant loss after emergency caesarean at 36 weeks due to placental abruption; Breastfeeding challenges, PICU, Gestational Diabetes, Posterior and Breech baby, Public Hospital

    44 | Amy's twin VBAC following infant loss after emergency caesarean at 36 weeks due to placental abruption; Breastfeeding challenges, PICU, Gestational Diabetes, Posterior and Breech baby, Public Hospital

    This week Amy and her mum Janene a midwife join us to share her extraordinary three birth stories. Her first a vaginal birth, her second a caesarean birth, and her third a VBAC with twins.

    This episode has a trigger warning as baby loss is discussed.

    Amy's first pregnancy was thankfully straightforward with a positive induction experience followed by a vaginal birth under Midwifery Group Practice at her local hospital. Having her mum's guidance she was well informed ahead of time, however she was faced with breastfeeding struggles following her first birth and the positive birth experience was marred by the passing of her father from Motor neurone disease, a battle he had fought for many years.

    For her second pregnancy Amy was planning to have a homebirth through her hospital's birth center homebirth program and looked forward to this experience. However at 36 weeks her pregnancy took an unexpected turn. Amy experienced a concealed placental abruption and she was taken for an emergency caesarean.

    Her son Arlo was born premature but healthy and she was discharged from hospital, but at five days of age they returned to hospital as his health began to deteriorate. It was found he had contracted a common cold virus. Arlo was airlifted to Westmead Hospital in Sydney from Newcastle and in the coming weeks Amy and her husband would stay by his side while he was fighting for his life.

    Amy tells of the unspeakable grief of losing Arlo and the 29 days of his life which was cut short far too soon. Amy tells of navigating this difficult period and of the family, her church community, and the hospital staff who helped her.

    When Amy and her husband Sam felt ready to welcome another baby Amy prayed for twins and incredibly her prayers were answered. Amy's rainbow babies were born via VBAC, and she and Janene tell of twin A emerging direct posterior and twin B being born breech and en caul.

    Thank you so much Amy and Janene for reaching out to us to share your difficult yet remarkable and heartfelt journey. We know your story will be a source of comfort and inspiration to our listeners.

    ~ Notes ~

    Birthing Multiples Naturally: https://www.facebook.com/groups/418436544869922/?ref=share

    Birth Photographer: https://katekennedybirthphotography.com

    Books:

    Birth Skills by Juju Sundin with Sarah Murdoch
    http://www.jujusundin.com

    Your Baby Your Birth by Hollie De Cruz

    Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support:
    https://www.bearsofhope.org.au
    https://rednosegriefandloss.org.au
    https://www.sands.org.au
    https://miscarriagesupport.org.au
    https://www.gidgetfoundation.org.au

    **VBAC Birth Stories features women's lived experiences. It is not intended to replace medical advice. Should you have any concerns during your pregnancy please always consult your healthcare provider.

    Please connect with us on Facebook or Instagram: @vbacbirthstories

    • 1 hr 35 min
    43 | Kasey's drug-free VBAC following an emergency caesarean due to a Bandl Ring; Induction, Posterior and Obstructed Labour, Epidural, Breastfeeding struggles, Allergies, Episiotomy, Public Hospital

    43 | Kasey's drug-free VBAC following an emergency caesarean due to a Bandl Ring; Induction, Posterior and Obstructed Labour, Epidural, Breastfeeding struggles, Allergies, Episiotomy, Public Hospital

    Today we hear from Kasey who lives in Melbourne with her husband and two daughters. In her first birth she experienced the rare complication of a bandl ring and was taken for an emergency caesarean despite reaching full dilation.

    We speak about what it's like to be a young mother in your twenties when your peers are all doing different things and how this can affect friendships. We also speak about her challenges with her oldest baby's allergies and breastfeeding and what a difference the right support and education can make.

    In her second pregnancy Kasey was determined to go into labour spontaneously and avoid an induction completely, as her experience with it in her first birth was not a positive one. Kasey talks about the pressure she faced to book in a second caesarean even though she was perfectly suitable for a VBAC.

    Knowing that she was being met with resistance Kasey talks about what she did differently to ensure she had the best chance of avoiding another caesarean.

    ~ Notes ~

    Bandl's Ring:

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Bandl%27s+ring

    M. Reyad & M. Quinn (2008) Pre-term uterine constriction rings and their consequences, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 28:4, 447-448, DOI: 10.1080/01443610802138106

    **VBAC Birth Stories features women's lived experiences. It is not intended to replace medical advice. Should you have any concerns during your pregnancy please always consult your healthcare provider.

    Follow us on Facebook or Instagram @vbacbirthstories

    • 1 hr 19 min
    42 | Nadima's drug-free VBAC with a 4kg baby following an emergency caesarean after induction; 51 hour labour, MGP, Public Hospitals, Hypnobirthing

    42 | Nadima's drug-free VBAC with a 4kg baby following an emergency caesarean after induction; 51 hour labour, MGP, Public Hospitals, Hypnobirthing

    Today we meet Nadima who lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children. Nadima, like many of us, never imagined she would have a caesarean so when she was wheeled into theatre for an emergency caesarean this naturally came as a shock to her. She was booked in for an induction at 37 weeks due to earlier concerns with her baby's heart rate, but she actually never got to experience labour. Although Nadima doesn't describe her first birth as traumatic she knew immediately that she did not want to go through another caesarean if she could prevent it in any way. You'll hear how she prepared herself mentally and physically for her second birth which was a 51 hour long labour, and how her VBAC unfolded with her nearly 4.2kg baby.

    ~ Notes ~

    VBAC Australia Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/342851302473349

    **VBAC Birth Stories features women's lived experiences. It is not intended to replace medical advice. Should you have any concerns during your pregnancy please always consult your healthcare provider.

    Please connect with us on Facebook or Instagram: @vbacbirthstories

    • 41 min
    41 | Zara's experience of uterine rupture and emergency caesarean following a planned caesarean for breech; ECV, Birth Trauma, PND, Low iron levels, Prodromal Labour, Augmented Labour, Posterior baby, MGP

    41 | Zara's experience of uterine rupture and emergency caesarean following a planned caesarean for breech; ECV, Birth Trauma, PND, Low iron levels, Prodromal Labour, Augmented Labour, Posterior baby, MGP

    Today we meet Zara from central Queensland and talk to her about her two births. Zara's VBAC journey began with Darcy who was a planned caesarean due to his breech positioning. The caesarean itself wasn't traumatic, but it was what happened afterwards that left Zara feeling like she could not go through childbirth again. She experienced post natal depression following this birth.

    Zara's heart eventually opened to the possibility of having another baby and when the time came she felt a deep desire to have a VBAC, doing everything in her power to give herself the best opportunity including securing continuity of care through her local hospital's midwifery group practice (MGP). The end of Zara's pregnancy presented some challenges which Zara admirably rose to, but once labour was underway Zara experienced what we all are aware of going into labour after caesarean, but feel hopeful won't happen to us- a uterine rupture.

    A uterine rupture can occur in any labour but it is more common in women who have a scar on their uterus from a previous caesarean.

    •We are told 1 in 200 or 0.5% of women labouring after one caesarean will have a uterine rupture, which means about 99.5% of women won't.
    •There have been other studies that have found the uterine rupture rate to be even lower, for example 0.2% and 0.1%
    •An Australian study, Dekker et al 2010, went even further and found that the risk of uterine rupture during VBAC was 0.15% in spontaneous labour, increasing to 0.88% in an induced labour with prostaglandin and oxytocin, and 1.91% in an augmented labour.
    •Of the women who do experience a uterine rupture, 6% of those are considered catastrophic, therefore 94% are considered asymptomatic, and this is what Zara experienced.

    While Zara's story doesn't end with a vaginal delivery she speaks about how she is finding peace with this and the fact that she would do it all over again despite her experience. Her advice to believe in yourself, to educate ourselves about uterine rupture and to understand the risks is inspiring. We hope that her story is a valuable and informative resource for you all on your VBAC journey and a useful tool in understanding what can transpire during uterine rupture in labour.

    ~ Notes ~

    You may connect with Zara on Instagram @zaramartin__

    Studies quoted and associated links can be found in the following article by Dr Rachel Reed:

    https://midwifethinking.com/2016/06/15/vbac-making-a-mountain-out-of-a-molehill/

    Post Natal Depression/Anxiety and Birth Trauma support: If you or anyone you know is affected by PND symptoms particularly at this time of COVID-19 please don't hesitate to contact the following support networks.

    The Gidget Foundation
    https://gidgetfoundation.org.au/get-support/

    PANDA
    https://www.panda.org.au/info-support/pandas-national-perinatal-anxiety-depression-helpline

    Beyond Blue
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support

    Cope
    https://www.cope.org.au

    **VBAC Birth Stories features women's lived experiences. It is not intended to replace medical advice. Should you have any concerns during your pregnancy please always consult your healthcare provider.

    Please connect with us on Facebook or Instagram: @vbacbirthstories

    • 1 hr 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
66 Ratings

66 Ratings

CourtneyR2903 ,

The most amazing resource!

Thanks Mel and Steph for bringing this podcast to the world! What an amazing resource. I listed religiously while preparing for my VBAC and the information and stories shared helped me immensely on my VBAC journey. They also helped me feel like part of a community of amazing, strong women, fighting for their right to birth naturally. I cannot thankyou both enough for the time you put into this podcast and now recommend it to all my pregnant friends regardless of if they’re on a VBAC journey or not. I was lucky enough to get my VBAC 7wks ago yet I’m so addicted I’m still listening!

Laureneve90 ,

Super Informative

The first episode I have listened to is the episode with Hazel Keedle, which was such an informative introduction to VBAC. I thoroughly enjoyed this chat and I am looking forward to listening to more positive VBAC birth stories as I prepare for my own VBAC over the coming months.

ebats88 ,

Love this podcast

I have found this podcast so informative and entertaining. The hosts are great at allowing women to tell their stories and the stories are so diverse. I look forward to each podcast

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