From heartbreaking loss to 'pure magic': One mum's journey through three very different birth experiences

Photo Alisia Mason Photography
Photo Alisia Mason Photography 

In this series we celebrate pregnancy and birth by inviting readers to share the story of their baby's arrival. 

Following a heartbreaking loss at 23 weeks, it took Erin and partner Dan a while to work through the trauma and heal - before finally reaching a stage where they were ready to try for a second baby. And when they were ready, little Hazel was too. 

When delivering first baby Jules in her second trimester, Erin hadn't even had the chance to attend a birthing class. So with Hazel, she made sure she was ready and prepared. 

"It opened my eyes as to how I wanted how my second experience to be, instead of going into it blind. I decided to read and research and follow people that are passionate about birth and soon realised I could craft how I wanted the experience to be.I fed my brain with different things around 'birth' and 'empowerment'. I did the calm birth course. I wrote up affirmations, I had a playlist, I had a salt lamp, I had everything around me to make me feel safe and comfortable", she explained.

All the preparation paid off and for Erin, ​the birth was wonderful - and to her request there was zero intervention. 

Erin was determined to take hold of her power as a woman and her ability to give birth.

Erin was determined to take hold of her power as a woman and her ability to give birth. Photo: Alisia Mason Photography

Welcoming Hazel into the world was, in Erin's words pure magic. 

One thing she didn't expect however, was that the birth was quite a solo-experience.

Her husband Dan was ready to go with the playlist she put together, and the affirmations she had previously asked him to read to her, but when it came down to it, she just wanted to be with herself. 

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"It was an internal experience. I shut my eyes and went inside and stayed there. I was purely relying on myself." 

After they welcomed Hazel into the world, Erin and Dan took their time in savouring every moment with their little girl. 

They were so happy, that for a little while they actually considered keeping their family as a tight nit unit of three. 

Though, as we all know, just when you think you have it all figured out, life has other ideas. 

Just after Hazel turned three, "the old withdrawal method didn't work" and Erin fell pregnant for the third time. 

Once again, Erin knew just how in control she could be of the birth, so she started preparing.

As happy as she was with her experience giving birth to Hazel, she knew she wanted to change things up this time around. 

"This time I wanted it to be so much more inclusive of Dan. We wrote a script of how we wanted it to be and we talked about the things we wanted to say to each other. I really put forward to him that I was going to be relying on him much more." 

Erin saw it as a progression of her birthing experience.

She had a terrifying first experience. Then, with her second she felt like she had a powerful independent claim over the experience. Now, she had the chance to open up and be vulnerable with her third. 

"It was a blossoming of me. The third experience was about embracing the power and what we can do."

Part of that vulnerability, was inviting her close friend and birth photographer Alisia Mason into the room, to capture it all, which she says was one of the best decisions she made. 

One other thing she knew she wanted, was the opportunity for a water birth

Erin was adamant that this time around she wanted the opportunity to experience a water birth.

Erin was adamant that this time around she wanted the opportunity to experience a water birth. Photo: Alisia Mason Photography

"With Hazel we intended to have a water birth but when we arrived, the hospital was so busy that by the time labour kicked off, we had left it too late and she was out two hours later. I couldn't even walk to the room, let alone get in the bath. So this time around, I said I definitely wanted to have the water birth." 

Early labour kicked off after Erin walked out of a quick check up with her chiropractor one morning. "He did a little adjustment and that afternoon I felt it come on and thought 'oh, I think I'm going into labour'". 

Things progressed slowly so she stayed home that night, and even managed to have a quick catch up with neighbours outside the next morning. 

"I said to them, 'I think it's happening tonight, I am definitely in labour' and they were all shocked. They said 'what, right now!?'". 

Things ramped up that evening, and once they got to the hospital it was all systems go. 

The birth pool was all set up and ready for Erin when she walked into the room, though in the moment she hesitated to get in. 

"Everything felt more intense than I remembered. I was leaning on the bed and using a tens machine. I was just so scared to take it off and get in because it was so intense."

But thankfully Dan stepped in. Knowing how much Erin wanted a water birth experience, he insisted she get in, "He started taking my clothes off me and I thought 'okay, I can do it'". 

The magic moment little Margo came into the world.

The magic moment little Margo came into the world. Photo: Alisia Mason Photography

While in the pool, Erin was laying on top of Dan who was supporting her from underneath

She had never felt closer to him, than she did in this moment. She was so thankful she was able to go through the experience fully relying on him this time around. 

"Dan was underneath me holding onto my belly. It was the closest he will ever get to experiencing birth. He said it was crazy to feel my stomach muscles clamp down." 

The midwives had later mentioned to Erin that she was so incredibly peaceful and quiet during the last stage. She was fully immersed into the experience, and into the connection she was sharing with Dan.

"I am getting teary just thinking about it now." 

Thirty minutes later, little Margo - or as mum and dad like to call her Squeaky - came out into the world.

"She just squeaked on the way out! She came out of the water and squeaked. Then when we brought her home she was always making little squeaky noises, so we just continue to call her Squeaky." 

Hazel, Margo, Mum and Dad have been in their own little love bubble ever since.

Such a strong bubble, that 'the old withdrawal method' might be forgotten about once again. "My hormones are raging at the moment, so I am like, let's have anotherrrr!" 

Erin doesn't know what the future holds, but is deep in love with her little family.

Erin doesn't know what the future holds, but for now she is deep in love with her little family. Photo: Alisia Mason Photography

Do you want to share your baby's birth story? Send details to editor@essentialbaby.com.au, with the subject: birth stories.