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positive birth stories

Birth Story of Redemption


“Redemption: Koen James

Stalking your Instagram and drooling over all things Birth!

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I wanted to share my story:

After experiencing a hospital birth and an at home intervention free birth I have such a deeper connection with my body and the things it is capable of. I find myself being in complete awe over what the woman’s body can accomplish by watching, scrolling, and reading stories into the wee hours into the early morning. An indescribable feeling.

Those who attended the birth of my first born would tell you it was unforgettable in the worst of ways. Two years ago, I was riding passenger on the way to the hospital to be induced. My husband and I discussed during our drive how delighted we were for our lives to change to a family of three to avoid the anxiety we felt. After a short ride we arrived to small talk and routine work: readying IV's, retrieving a catheter, sterilizing the area, the whole nine. Luckily I was contracting on my own the use of pitocin was unnecessary and went directly to breaking my water. Before leaving my room my doctor quickly questioned me about the need of an epidural. Although my pain was fear driven, I was young and naive, I insisted.

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Seconds after receiving the epidural I was reaping it's effects. I became so nauseated I couldn't bare to speak. I was begging for relief as they injected a dose of phenergan into my IV. Little did anyone know I was severely allergic to the medicine. I couldn't see. I couldn't talk. I began to black out. I woke up for a split second patting my chest in hopes to convey something was wrong. My nurse was frustrated unaware of the situation she got two inches from my face yelling "USE YOUR WORDS" repeatedly. All I could do was grab her arm with a frail grip before passing out again. My condition was worsening when I awoke for a second time. I remember looking up to my husband holding my hand, telling me it would be okay, as he began to tear. Everyone was being rushed out of the room as a team of doctors scrambled through the door. I didn't know it but my heart rate was dropping.

 Awake for a third and final time, it was over but now it was time to push. I was exhausted and still confused, I thought the oxygen they had me on was their attempt to put me to sleep. In between surges, with what little energy I had left, I was fighting to remove the mask. Two hours of nodding in and out, I remember asking if it was almost over. Anything that could have gone wrong, did. I was ready to be holding our baby boy. A tiny six pounds and twelve ounces, he was finally here. Relieved we're both okay, I still look back and break a little inside unable to recall the birth of my first child. 

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Once we became pregnant for the second time we knew, wherever we delivered, we would not opt for any interventions. It wasn't until the third trimester we started weighing out our options of where we would welcome our newest addition. I knew I didn't want to be in the same environment I was with my first, scarred from the experience we lived previously. It wasn't until then we discussed a home birth. No pokes and pricks, being in the comfort of home, I wouldn't have to find a sitter for our son, it appeared to be a dream. This is what I wanted. 

It was a day after my due date when my water broke as I was laying our son down for a nap. I immediately alerted my midwife, Rebekah, who was attending a birth of another mother. I then called out to my husband and informed him we would have a baby soon. We went about the rest of our day normally, trying to do the odds and ends in order to prep our house for birth. I continuously encouraged my husband to get as much rest as possible before going to bed myself.  

I was filled with mixed emotions as I attempted to close my eyes. Although this was my second birth it was very much my first. I didn't know what to expect as I had no previous experience other than reading what I could online. I woke up early Sunday morning with consistent contractions. I began timing them before I carefully crept out of bed trying not disrupt our son to go wake my husband on the couch. I could tell he had gotten little to no sleep. As I started to explain I needed his help timing my contractions he told me he didn't go to bed until five that morning.. it was three. Nodding in and out we averaged my contractions two minutes apart while lasting thirty five seconds. 

Keeping my midwife updated she decided it was time to head my way. They arrived just as the sun was making an appearance through the trees. She had brought along some back up, Paige a student midwife, as the rest of her team was still with laboring mother before me. As we got aquatinted my contractions stayed two minutes apart while lengthing in time. I was checked at five centimeters when Rebekah asked if I felt comfortable with her leaving to attend her previous engagement. I gave her the thumbs up as I tried to get comfortable for the labor ahead. 

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I was stretched across the couch when Paige encouraged me to get into a more baby friendly position to help descend him further into the birth canal. I put a pillow under each knee and squatted down while leaning over the seat cushions. I could feel my contractions intensifying as I was overcome by intolerable back pain. My husband would try massage me while Paige squeezed my hips, but it was doing more harm than good. I couldn't be touched. All I wanted to do was lay down. 

I crawled back up on the couch surrounding myself with pillows in every direction to give my body some ease. With each wave I would reach out to my husband and pull on his shirt until it passed. I had been laboring in the living room for a short couple of hours, since my midwives arrived, when I decided I wanted to try a new method of comfort and relax in a hot bath. Before stepping into the water, Paige checked me in between six and seven centimeters. She called Rebekah to inform her of my progression. Minutes away from reaching her destination she asked if she needed to turn around. Since my dilation appeared slow Rebekah continued on her drive.

My son was still asleep in the room next to me when I got into the bath. I immediately turned on the cold water. I was refreshed with the cooling sensation through the marathon my body was running. At this time my contractions were now a minute or more long. The pain I felt in my back had me paralyzed. I could do nothing but scream. I managed to wake our son from the howls I released through each surge. As much as I wanted him there I knew I couldn't comfort him like he wanted me to, so we quickly called for reinforcements. My husband attended to his side while Paige poured water over my forty week belly and reminded me that I could do this. I wasn't in the tub for ten minutes when I told her I needed to push. No one was expecting me progress the way I had. She asked me slightly confused "You need to push or feel like you want to push?" I shouted "HES HERE". 

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Before getting up to notify Rebekah, she wanted me to promise I wouldn't push. I knew it was no promise I could keep. Our son's ride arrived relieving my husband back to his former duty of being by my side. I had one more contraction in the tub when I demanded we make a run for it. I was caught in the hallway by another surge before reaching the couch. Rebekah was too far away. She would never make it back in time. It was just the three of us. With Rebekah absent, my husband and Paige rushed to get everything ready for the arrival of our newest baby boy.

I was already pushing as I watched them grab the rest of the necessities. I beared down against Paige who was positioned at my feet. Through all the pain I had felt that morning I was at such peace while pushing. With two more thrusts he was here. I lifted him up to my chest and rubbed my fingers across his face. He had the most perfectly round head and that beautiful burgundy after birth color. My husband cut the cord while I took everything in that I had missed the first time. I finally got the birth I had been longing for. I thanked my body for overcoming my mind and showing me what I was truly capable of.

I questioned myself on if I should write my story when I was reminded, I gave birth at home, after a traumatizing first experience, without any interventions, and that itself is a success. I could and I did and this time I remembered. 


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Was your birth upsetting or traumatic? Do you have more questions about processing your birth and need help healing? Arrange some time to chat with me. I’d love to answer your questions and help you heal and get yourself back - I have a program specifically got you, that can also include this revolutionary and last natural healing modality called Clarity Breathwork.  Helping women heal from birth trauma is one of my passions and areas of expertise. So is preventing it in the first place.

This is why excellent childbirth education is a must, why planning for your birth is so important today, and is a major reason why I created my Love Your Birth course. It is a comprehensive online course that teaches women what they need to know about planning and carrying out the birth that they want in all settings - the hospital, birthing center or at home. It’s a course on how to have a holistic, healthy pregnancy for the body, mind, and soul - and is how I have guided thousands of women and their families in my midwifery practice for over 21 years. It contains a rolodex of my favorite resources with over 200 of the best books, movies and supplies I use personally and professionally with my clients, family & friends. Even diving into a fraction of this list will have you feeling empowered and prepared for conception, pregnancy, postpartum and parenting...It includes resources on improving and even ensuring ensuring healthier pregnancy and birth outcomes than the status quo, and preventing and healing from birth trauma so prevalent in the modern world!  Be prepared to do some research on your own, but knowledge restores your power. I also help you prepare your mindset for such a task, to debunk myths, and to reframe any current ideas or conditioning about pregnancy and birth that can use a change in perspective or that are simply incorrect and do serve you. After finishing the course, the idea is that you are now able to create and have the healthy, beautiful and empowering pregnancy and birth that you want - so you can ROCK your birth! It is a course that is recommended by doctors, midwives, and other professionals around the globe!

You can get a free nugget from my course - all about creating your ideal birth plan here. A huge part of preventing birth trauma is getting clear your birth preferences, knowing the pros and cons about all the tests and procedures, all the interventions your may be faced with, so you can make informed decisions - rather than simply give over your body, your choice and voice to your health care providers and institution you choose.


Birth Story: Beautiful Homebirth, Awesome Midwifery Care, Happy Mama...and the Little Doula in NZ


The birth of Alexander Eric 9th August 2017

I am finally getting round to putting my birth story on paper, nearly ten weeks later! I have been meaning to of course since the first week that Alex was born, but you know how it is, too much effort and thought having to go into it! But I have thought enough is enough let’s get it done, as I’m looking through the labour and birth photos and think they are amazing and I am amazing that I finally got my home birth/water birth yay!

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On Tuesday morning, the 8th August I woke up feeling rather sorry for myself after another sleepless night from pain in my pelvis, heart burn-you name it,  but also because I was feeling uncomfortable in my belly that was different from the tightenings that I had been having since the second trimester! We had planned to go out to Rangiora and visit my mum and hang with her as it was Tuesday café day but I said to my daughter Lily-Rose, who is seven and is homeschooled, that lets just stay in bed today and not go anywhere! But I thought if this was early labour starting then the last thing I wanted was to be at home waiting around for something to happen, much better to keep busy; so off we went and over the course of the day I complained to my mum that my tummy was starting to get a few niggles of something, and we had a laugh that I would probably go into labour that night because of all the washing I had drying inside due to the miserable Christchurch weather, and not having a dryer! Or a washing machine!! (as we were still waiting for some of our things to arrive from Australia after moving back home in June to be closer to family while we have this baby). Anyway, nothing much happened over the day but by the time we got home and having dinner I was starting to get irritated with my tightenings which were still spaced apart. I couldn’t even concentrate to watch Game of Thrones with the hubby that night because one- I had to reply to an important email about my exemption to homeschool and they wanted further information which if I didn’t do at that time then I may not ever get it done; and secondly because the tightenings were starting to get more uncomfortable, where I had to start focusing on my breath. I didn’t really say to the hubby and daughter that this was it because it was still early days; and also I knew that my daughter would want to stay up with me as we had been talking about labour and birth for what seemed like forever, watched all the water births on you tube, and had been preparing for the birth together by making the birth mat, and getting the pool ready that week (yes I took a while to get organized because I didn’t feel ready-I definitely wasn’t like with my first when I was ready emotionally long before then!!).

Eventually I went to bed as I was so tired, and I started to listen to my Hypnobirthing Australia affirmations and Surge of the Sea track with my ear phones, but lying down trying to sleep wasn’t going to happen so I went out to the lounge where time rushed by and things started to get more intense. I lay down on my side as much as I could and breathed through the tightenings, listening to the hypnobirthing tracks still. I ended up using the gym ball and hot water bottle to help get me through it, and eventually I felt like I wanted to get into the pool but I didn’t want to get in too early like I did with my first, as was thinking this labour may be long and drawn out like hers was! I texted my midwife sometime after 3am on the Wednesday morning asking her if I should hop into the pool as I was worried that I would get in too early. She then texted back asking me if I was in labour and how far apart the surges were- I replied that yes I am in labour and I hadn’t been keeping track of the tightenings but probably 3-4 in a ten minute period. She then replied that she was coming over.

I didn’t want her coming all this way and be in early labour so I said to check me when she got here and if not far along then to go home again. Not that I was being unwelcoming, only that I didn’t want everyone here if it was going to be long and drawn out (thinking it would be like Lily-Rose’s birth). Molly my midwife arrived at 4am, and noted that I was in labour and that I didn’t need to be examined as I was going to have this baby at some stage, and encouraged hubby Clay to fill the pool up. I still insisted on an internal and I was 9cm!!!!! I caught on to her feelings of panic? Maybe it was fluster? Anyway it was then that I thought holy moley I really am having a baby, and texted my mum, student midwife Catherine and birth photographer Sharon that it was time to come over. Molly had already rang her back up midwife, and Sharon by the time I came back out to the lounge where the pool was filling thanks to hubby.


I decided to stay out in lounge but I only had my affirmations on in one ear, once back up midwife Tamara arrived at nearly half four I was starting to feel like I was getting out of my “zone”. I hopped into the pool but was unable to really hear my birth tracks via the laptop, as I didn’t want my phone to accidentally fall into the pool! By the time 5am arrived, everyone was here that needed to be here. Baby’s heart rate increased to 170 while I was in the pool because it was super hot and I was super hot so it was time to hop out for a bit, I stayed in the lounge and we rang my sister via messenger video and she supported me this way for a bit but I felt like everything had stalled even though I was still getting regular and intense tightenings, there was so much pressure and I begged Molly to break my waters, (as a midwife myself I would recommend avoiding interventions but I was desperate and knew that if this happened then I might have a baby sooner!!!). She declined to do this! I hid out in my room for a bit and it was then that I should have started getting in my zone again listening to my affirmations but for some reason I thought that would be anti-social (note to self-don’t worry about pleasing anyone when your in labour!!) so I didn’t end up really listening to them again, which was silly as it was that which helped me get to 9cm in the first place! I requested Molly to do another internal at about 6am because come on yes I was getting impatient, it had been two hours since I was 9cm and where was this baby?! I still had a bit of cervix in the way and that it would go, Molly reassured me that all was ok and to carry on! Carry on! By this stage I said to my mum, I am going to hospital if something doesn’t happen soon! I guess you could say I had had enough!! By 7am I had convinced Molly to break my waters, which she did thank goodness as I was ready for that epidural! She pushed the bit of cervix out of the way with the next contraction and I felt baby move down which is when I started to feel like I was losing control, and started freaking out! And making a lot of noise, which worried my daughter! Molly convinced me to hop back into the pool but I was feeling like I didn’t want to move really at all! But thankfully she convinced me and it was amazing enveloped by such warmth, but pity I was having shooting sciatica-type pains down my thighs each tightening which was not ideal! I was on my knees using the side of the pool and hubby’s hand to get me through each tightening. My sister Agatha in Australia was called again at this time and the phone set up next to the pool, her voice helped ground me and she talked me through it as I started to bear baby down (she’s done this eight times so I knew she completely understood the feelings of panic that I was having!). With my first I didn’t get to experience what pushing a baby out felt like due to a spinal and an assisted birth, so what a shock it was when I felt baby’s head moving down, I was trying to breathe through and be nice and quiet but I didn’t care anymore and why was this baby taking so long to come out!!! Once I focused on moving baby down with my breath and bearing down (as taught in the Hypnobubs online Hypnobirthing Australia course), then it wasn’t long until crowning and oh my goodness now I know what that feels like I will never forget it!!! Once baby’s head had been out for a few minutes Molly said it was time to push the body out but I couldn’t and I told her it was stuck! Once she got right inside and unhooked his shoulder from under my pubic bone, I had a surge of adrenaline shoot through me as I realized that this was shoulder dystocia and was potentially life threatening situation for my baby. My calm and experienced midwife got baby out and I rolled over to sit in the water and there I saw my baby, mum had voiced out that it was a boy! A boy! But at that point I was super relieved that he was out, that he was crying and it was all over!!! Born at 8.03 am, four hours after being 9cm!!!

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Molly knew about my previous postpartum hemorrhage so I didn’t stay in the pool for too long, and I was helped out, pushed the placenta out but with lots of clots and walked over to the couch (the joys of being at home!), where my bleeding was monitored, but ended up agreeing that I needed to have oxytocin needle into my thigh to control my moderate bleeding. Cord was cut by his daddy, and me and my baby boy Alexander (named after my dad) had skin to skin, then the first breastfeed where he latched like a gem 30 minutes after birth. I ended up having a 2nd degree tear that Molly sutured, yes I didn’t have to go anywhere but just stay in my lounge! Had a cup of my Artemis Pregnancy tea which is good for postnatal as well, and munched on an apple, I was happy it was all over and that I got to stay in my house with everyone around me. Thankful for my mum and sister that were there, my hubby of course, my wonderful birth photographer Sharon from Bloom Photography NZ, my midwife Molly for being so chilled, and Tamara and Catherine. And especially to my darling daughter who kept me hydrated with water, and who said to anyone and everyone afterwards about how much noise I made and that I owed her $2.50 for the swearing I used (20cents per swear word apparently!).


I am so grateful that I got the home birth I wanted, it’s only now that I look back and realize how amazing I am and how the whole experience was amazing, even though immediately after I wished I’d had the nice quiet quick serene birth that I was anticipating! I felt as though I had failed somewhat, but I didn’t and I have these amazing photos (recommend to have a birth photographer, especially one as amazing and caring as Sharon!) that I just look at and think wow, this was the most challenging and intense thing I have ever done in my life but I did it! When I look back and wonder why labour stalled for so long I believe it was because I allowed myself to get out of my zone and I freaked out, and if I would change anything it would be to keep my ear phones on, stay calm and grounded, and continue my hypnobirthing affirmations. Looking at the past 9 weeks it’s what comes after the birth that’s just as challenging, but that is another story in itself! I am coming out the other end now of newborn life and I am just in love with my boy, and my daughter and I often stare at him and ask ourselves how did I manage to push this beautiful baby out, and now that’s she has recovered from it all is asking me if we will have another so she can properly watch the birth this time as she knows what to expect! x

With thanks,

Melanie S. @melanie_rose_sutton  


ALL Photos by

Bloom Photography NZ



Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

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