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Birth of Rowe (15-02-2021)

"It is almost impossible to put into words how incredible these two women are and just how grateful we feel to have had them by our side for the birth of both of our girls.

Jasmijn and Jenny are two of the most beautiful, caring, intelligent and genuine people we've ever had the privilege to know. They have supported me through my journey into motherhood and have enabled me to have the most beautiful, empowering and life-changing experience, not only once but twice! I will forever be thankful to them for helping our family witness how truly miraculous birth is. Our daughters may now grow with an innate respect and love of their bodies and enter adulthood free from fear of pregnancy and childbirth.

For all these reasons and more, Jasmijn and Jenny will forever hold a special place in this family’s hearts.

I was incredibly fortunate to meet Jasmijn and Jenny about a year before falling pregnant. As a perinatal and paediatric healthcare professional myself, through our shared love of all things pregnancy and babies we became fast friends and colleagues as we worked together to offer the best care we could for pregnant women, mothers and babies. Even though I often jokingly asked them to “save me a spot”, when the time finally came and I found myself expecting our first child, there was no second thought or hesitation when asking them to be our midwives.

Prior to meeting Jenny and Jas, I would have happily gone through the hospital system here in Tasmania, already aware the options were limited but confident I had the support and knowledge to hopefully have a good experience. As soon as I discovered I was pregnant however, I knew I wanted them by my side (if they’d have me!) as I truly felt this was an opportunity not to be missed. Many people questioned my decision to have a home birth for my first (“but you don’t know what you’re doing!”), but the respect and trust I had for these women was well and truly established and I knew we were on the same page from the moment we met. While I was worried my clinical knowledge could work against me, the relationship I had forged with Jenny and Jas allowed me to surrender and enjoy my journey as I truly felt safe, supported and heard with my care providers. It also allowed me to be at peace with the natural, inbuilt fear that we often experience going into childbirth as I trusted their judgment and if at any point they felt birthing at home wasn’t an option for me, I was happy to do what they recommended.

Elyn's birth was the most beautiful, empowering and life-changing experience for me. Never before had I felt so powerful or felt such love and respect for my body. I truly thought it couldn't get better than that...and then came the birth of Rowe. While Rowe's birth reminded me of the power and strength of my body, this experience filled me with a happiness and contentment I can't explain. It proved to me our first experience wasn't just luck and reaffirmed my belief in mother-centred care being so fundamentally important for good birth outcomes and a positive birthing experience. Birthing our second baby girl with my husband, my daughter and my dear friends Jasmijn and Jenny by my side, was utterly perfect.

But things didn’t end there. The postpartum support we received was incredible. Their visits in the days and weeks following the births were invaluable and really allowed us to have the best possible start in our parenting journey.

It was a choice (and an investment) I would make one million times over."

The birth of Rowe

At 39+1 weeks I woke at 3.30am with the sense that my waters had broken and when I got up to go to the bathroom felt mild but unmistakable niggles in my abdomen and sacrum telling me things were happening. Our daughter had strangely woken up around the same time, so when my husband went to settle her back to sleep, I calmly informed him he'd better blow up the birth pool as I was fairly sure I was in labour. At 4.30am I called Jasmijn to let her know things had begun and as I got up to go to the bathroom my waters well and truly broke, gushing all over the floor. We excitedly cleaned everything up, I had a shower and then jumped back into bed to rest a little longer before Elyn woke up for the day.

Elyn woke around 6.30am and like we do every morning, enjoyed coffee in bed. Well, Liam and Elyn did...I stood by the bed, pausing every few minutes to sway and breathe through each contraction. I was at first a little unsure if I should call someone to come and care for our daughter, but something stopped me and deep down I knew I wanted her with me. Elyn absolutely adored Jenny and Jasmijn and I felt so safe and supported so I was confident if Elyn needed my husband, I would be perfectly fine. At 7.10am I was managing well, but things were ramping up and I was beginning to feel rather uncomfortable with my contractions 3-4 minutes apart, lasting about a minute. Just before Jas and Jenny arrived, I told Liam he should perhaps fill the pool because I was feeling a lot of pressure in my bowel with every contraction and while I didn't remember ever feeling that during Elyn's birth, I did know that feeling the need to poo was a sure sign that baby was on the way!

Jasmijn and Jenny arrived around 8am and I will never forget how quietly they entered the room, leaving me to move through my contraction with no distraction before calmly approaching me to check the baby's heart rate, rub my back and push the pressure points on my shoulders (that Jenny knew I loved!). Everything was so calm and relaxed and in between contractions we laughed and smiled at the fun my daughter was having with everything going on around her. Jas was even entertaining Elyn with the doppler and listening to her toy’s heart beat.

I moved into the pool at 8.30am, joined immediately by my daughter who had been dying to jump in from the moment she saw it. I moved onto all fours and while trying my best to rest and listen to Elyn excitedly talk to me, I managed to firmly inform my husband to “get in the pool!” before the next contraction surged and I felt the unbelievable and uncontrollable urge to push. With Liam holding me and Elyn sitting with a front row seat on the step of the birth pool, Rowe calmly entered the world at 8.45am. Elyn watched her sister being born, even curiously poking her when her head had come out....although she was largely unfazed by the miracle she had just witnessed and definitely more interested in the flower bath-thermometer!

I turned, sat back and cradled my baby to my chest, once again completely overwhelmed by an experience too beautiful to put into words. Another baby girl! The four of us stayed in the pool for a moment, totally in awe of what had just happened. When Elyn playfully began blowing bubbles in the pool water (which was now slowly turning red!) we laughed and decided it was probably time to move to the bed. With Rowe on my chest and Elyn by my side meeting her new baby sister, my placenta was easily delivered with my husband again ready to cut the cord once it stopped pulsating. In the very same spot and in the same blissful way we enjoyed the morning after Elyn's birth, Rowe was checked and weighed, everything was tidied and then we all enjoyed another morning coffee together on an overcast and drizzly Tasmanian morning - the perfect weather to snuggle up in bed as a new family of four.

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