MY BIRTH STORY...

IMG_1306.jpg

So, if you had of asked me 10 years ago what my thoughts were about child birth I would have screamed at the thought. We grow up watching movies where labour is some sort of torture event with legs in stirrups, screaming until you turn blue and most always on our backs. Also, the thought of a baby coming out of ‘down there’... would it ever be the same?!

mon (16 of 33).jpeg


I would of never thought labour could be done without drugs or pain relief. I write this at 4am, second night with our beautiful baby girl, Kora. Just changed her dirty poo nappy and expressing that beautiful gold milk to fatten her up and prepare her immunity for her life ahead! 

Firstly, for someone like myself who is fit and very healthy I had an idea of how I would be during my pregnancy. I would only eat SUPER healthy whole foods, nourish growing bub with only the good stuff! Although, my cravings and aversions had other ideas... I was turned off coffee during my whole pregnancy, (personally I don’t think it is good to drink while pregnant) all I wanted to eat was bread, pasta, pizza, some chocolate, sweets and hardly any vegetables during the first trimester. Into the second the thought and smell of quinoa or broccoli made me want to puke! From the second trimester onwards my diet was back on track and I was making sure I was eating lots of vegetables and whole foods, my cravings became fruit and lots and lots of oranges !!! 

05E6F9CF-562A-4750-B315-DA9E567B9CE7.jpeg


Supplements I took was a prenatal vitamin (swapped between pure natal and Chinese  herb) and DHA fish oil for brain development. I also took a labour prep tonic from week 36 from my naturopath Kylie.

On advice from a friend I started reading Ina May Gaskin’s book (Guide To Childbirth), and WOW! Everything she says and believes about birth and a woman’s ability to birth is what I thought .

Birth is a natural and beautiful thing; our bodies were made for this !! I began to do research on birth and watched varies videos on birth on YouTube, listened to podcasts (all positive stories) and natural births with minimal to no medical intervention.

4A0F6303-A3F1-420E-BD94-436133816A9C.jpg

I wanted to get my partner, Fred, involved as well and make sure we were on the same page when it came to how I wanted to labour and he understood why. I thought it was important for us to do a birth class. After searching I found She births®, founded by Bondi girl and doula Nadine Richardson. Everything I read and heard about She births® was everything I believed. I did the online course so I could re watch anything I missed or forgot and in the comfort of my home !

Also, I could choose what to show Fred and involve him!! Another reason I wanted to do a course and have the knowledge is so I didn’t stress out when I was at home when labour started and I knew what was going on within my body.

My birth preference....

My goal and what I wanted for my labour was to have as minimal medical intervention as possible. Now I was lucky... I had a low risk pregnancy, no gestational diabetes, blood pressure was fine, test came back clear for steph B and baby was healthy growing inside me. Only issue I had was low iron levels (11) which I had a transfusion for and was brought back to (83). Of course, when push comes to shove if I needed intervention I’m not going to scream and ignore any advice from a medical professional. Within reason and my belief, if intervention was necessary I would never put my baby in danger. My goal was also to have a water birth which was written on my yellow card by the midwife.

“I didn’t speak to many people about my ‘birth preference’ as most people just roll their eyes and say ‘you can’t have a birth plan etc’ well you know what! You can do whatever the hell you want!!”

mon (11 of 33).jpeg

I did a few things for labour prep which I swear helped me and gave me more chance of not being medically induced. Being medically induced heightens the pain of child birth more then so if you naturally came into labour with natural hormones being released. (source)

098CFDB8-4136-421C-BBC2-7042CC2D52F6.jpeg

At 37 weeks I started accupuncture at The Dao Health in Caringbah and my herbal tonic from Tonic Health Naturopath for labour prep!! 

I did two weeks of acupuncture sessions as well as getting Fred to press my points for 2-3 minutes most nights in between.

The birth…

A few days before my contractions I had been experiencing ‘Braxton Hick’s contractions’ which is your body preparing for labour, this went on for about 3 days on and off. This is a tightening feeling of your belly but not painful.

At around 10:30-11pm Sunday 26th of May, I had a bloody show when I went to the bathroom and period like cramps. Now this got me excited ! I didn’t call the Delivery Suite yet as I wanted to wait and not jump to conclusions. Fred was in Bed at this stage, I also didn’t want to alarm him in case it was a false alarm. My contractions started coming on hard lasting a minute and about 5-6 minutes apart... now normally you go to hospital when they are about 3-4 minutes apart! So, I knew something was happening. I also used an app called ‘contractions’ which you time how long and in between your contractions last - very helpful!!

CBB88166-7BA7-4719-9091-AC584A763E43.jpeg

I had informed Fred what was happening, he put on my tens machine for me and I laid down yoga matts in the lounge room with a pillow on the ground. The tens machine was great, although my labour pain was all in the front lower part and not in my back (this is also a good sign baby is posterior), it did help a lot throughout my labour and would highly recommend to anyone!!! (I hired mine for $50 from My Birth Partner)


With every contraction that came I would get onto my knees, on my pillow and move my hips in a circular motion around and around, this I found the best relief and apparently helps the baby descend... Learnt from my She Births® course)

I called the Delivery Suite at Royal Woman’s once this went on for about an hour and half. The lady I spoke to assured me as this was my first baby labour it could be long and to take a Panadol and rest. I knew that I couldn’t do that and with each contraction I could feel myself opening up. I called them again for the 3rd time and asked if we could come in and just get checked, the lady said it was fine. Our drive was a 40 minute drive to the hospital but at 2:30 am it’s around 30! 

We arrived at the hospital around 3am and the babies heart rate was checked and everything was perfect! I am checked for dilation and I am 3-4cm. Each contraction is getting stronger and stronger. I breathe a little bit of gas as at moments it was intense (tens is still going strong). After each contraction I would close my eyes and found myself nearly falling asleep; Fred would feed me snacks to get my energy back up.

During my whole labour I had the She Births® meditation sound track on Spotify - this helped me relax and get into the zone!!

I asked for a water birth but apparently there were no baths available or that would fit in my room, I wasn’t too disheartened as the tens machine was working well and I would have to take off the machine to get into the bath. The midwife who was looking after me, her shift had finished and it was 6:30 am, midwife Tania started her shift ! Tania noticed I had asked for a water birth and quickly checked the rooms and moved us into a bigger beautiful room with a huge bath. I am forever grateful for her moving us and her support throughout the whole experience. Tania checked my dilation and I was fully dilated which I could actually feel with my contractions, I felt my pelvis opening up!!! All up (including at home) I had laboured for 9 hours and to be honest as I was so in the zone it felt so much quicker!!

With a little hesitation I took the tens off and hopped into the warm bath which I’m SO happy I did. This baby was coming out very soon!!

I could feel with each contraction the urge to push, I tried to do my ‘coffee plunger push’ you’ll know if you do She Births®. But I couldn’t do it, I was putting too much thought into it and it wasn’t working ! I ended up pushing as if I was doing a poo (as guided by Tania) I pushed for around 14 minutes until her head came and then her body with the next contraction! Fred was right behind me helping and giving me motivation.

It was the most surreal experience I have ever had. Her head coming through felt like a little sting (like a Chinese burn) I breathed through this but once her head came out it was like my body realised a natural pain relief and the rest I couldn’t feel. The feeling is indescribable.

7202FB1C-1845-4B15-A037-B4A9B9CA4EBF.jpeg

I unfortunately had a 2 degree tear, which isn’t the worst but not ideal. I waited 3 hours to get stitched up as well which wasn’t ideal as the adrenaline and natural pain relief hormone was slowly wearing off. I had around 6 numbing needles before I got stitched which I had gas to help with the pain of that - that was the worst of it but I find breathing so important to help get your mind off pain. According to She Births® it is better to tear naturally as your muscle fibres are intertwined which is why the healing is faster than if you had been cut in a straight line.

5F3BB105-882E-4D8D-B431-FC66A8585A0A.jpeg

Kora Bowie Laatsch, Born 27th May 2019, weighing 2.9 and 49cm long.

I am super proud of myself and lucky for how my birth panned out. I am so grateful for the amazing midwives at Royal Woman’s Hospital. They are so accommodating, knowledgeable and caring. If I could give any advice, don’t be hard on yourself... no matter what kind of birth you want, if it doesn’t turn out the way you planned or wanted it doesn’t matter. As long as your baby has come into this world, healthy and happy, you have done an amazing job already!!! 

If you are interested in the She Births® course use my code monlbowie10 and get 10% off.

HealthMonique Swart