Birth story by Meagan Snook. Photography by Belle Verdglione.
Finding out I was pregnant again was so exciting. It was Easter time and I hid the positive pregnancy test inside the womb of a chocolate Easter bunny for Lee to find.
As we reminisced, looking at the images of our first child’s birth so beautifully captured by our photographer Jess from Home-Grown Photography, it was a must for me that I would have our second child’s birth also captured. I have been obsessed with birth photography and videos since my first birth. I had admired Belle Verdiglione‘s work and was so delighted that she was available. I quickly booked her in.
Meagan’s first birth: Alice
Our first child, Alice, was born in water at a lovely small public hospital. I was so happy with my labour and birth. I was so proud that I had the strength to do it without any medication. Unfortunately, as I first held Alice in my arms her cord snapped. With the cord still unclamped we both lost blood and little Alice went into shock. An emergency code was called and Alice was whisked away. Lee was asked to assist in holding a tiny air viva to her face while she received resuscitation. Lee left me in a pool of blood, not knowing if either of us were going to be OK. Lee often says, “Alice’s birth was both the best and worst day of my life”. It was extremely stressful for Lee to watch. I was so exhausted from giving birth that I did not fully comprehend what was happening around me.
Both Alice and myself recovered quickly. Alice spent a night attached to a glucose drip, oxygen and monitors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I was able to have some skin to skin contact but she was too weak to breastfeed. Fortunately I had expressed some colostrum in the last few weeks of my pregnancy which I took frozen into hospital. It was great to be able to syringe feed Alice this as a form of pain relief while she was having different procedures and tests. We were both discharged from hospital two days later.
Planning a Home Birth
The hospital closed not long after Alice’s birth due to a large public hospital opening. I knew that I wanted to have another water birth. The new public hospital has only one birthing pool, and I accepted there was no guarantee that it would be available when I went into labour. I looked into private hospitals, however found none that offered water births. The Family Birthing Centre was an option, however two of my main anxieties were travelling to a hospital in labour and who would care for Alice while I was in labour. Which led me to research home births. And I’m so glad I did!
I contacted The Nest Midwifery Practice and immediately knew private midwife Abbey Rodda would be the one to help bring my little one earth-side. Lee had hesitations but trusted in my intuition that I would make the right choice and supported me in my decision. Friends and family had concerns, especially after the complication of Alice’s cord snapping. It was an unfortunate rare incident, but I was confident it would not happen again. I investigated everything I could surrounding home births and knew it was a perfect choice for me.
My pregnancy was challenging. I suffered from severe symphysis pubis dysfunction from an early stage. I had this in my first pregnancy also and was devastated to have it return. SPD is caused by pregnancy hormones, especially relaxin, causing ligaments of the pelvis to relax. This can lead to instability and severe pain. My pain was excruciating and constant. Every movement almost bought me to tears. It was difficult to keep smiling some days. I was receiving physiotherapy, chiropractic care, attending hydrotherapy and wearing support belts but nothing made any real difference to the pain. I had to stop work very early, I could only manage to walk very slowly and short distances. I could not pick up Alice, go to the grocery store, clean the house or barely dress myself. The nights were the worst, lying down and rolling over where excruciating. I just had to just keep focused on the little miracle that I was making that would soon be in my arms.
Having a private midwife was fantastic. The care I received was exceptional. With my decreased mobility and having a toddler with me, having all appointments in our own home was so comforting. Throughout the antenatal period, we were able to get to know our midwife and build a trusting, respectful relationship.
Scroll through the next pages to see all the beautiful birth photos!