Christa Buckland

BHlthSc (Health Promotion)
Childbirth Educator
Hypnobirthing Australia™ Practitioner

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Episode 3 - 5w5d - Weight gain during pregnancy

Posted by Christa Buckland on October 22, 2016 at 5:40 AM

Episode 3 - 5w5d - Weight gain during pregnancy

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Episode 2 - 5w2d - Booking my care provider

Posted by Christa Buckland on October 22, 2016 at 5:40 AM

Episode 2 - 5w2d - Booking my care provider

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Episode 1 - 5 weeks - Folate

Posted by Christa Buckland on October 21, 2016 at 11:45 PM

Episode 1 - 5 weeks - Folate

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<<Click here to download 'Foods High in Folate' handout>>

**MEDIA RELEASE** Australia set to deliver a world first for caesarean births

Posted by Christa Buckland on November 25, 2014 at 7:25 PM

An Australian childbirth education expert is set to deliver a world first for parents who birth their babies via planned caesarean. The program promises to prepare parents for a positive and empowering caesarean birth experience utilising hypnotherapy techniques!


Women across the globe are terrified of childbirth; which is not surprising when Hollywood movies and shows like One Born Every Minute make it look horrific. Even Robbie William’s recent live Twitter about his wife’s labour, although very humorous, made the whole process appear so painful. When a caesarean birth is suggested, fear can spiral out of control. Well, finally there’s a solution – and it is home grown here in Australia.


Hypnobirthing Australia™, the fastest growing national childbirth education course in Australia, has today announced the launch of ‘The Positive Caesarean Birth’ program.


Australian childbirth education expert, Clinical Hypnotherapist and program founder Melissa Splisted says, “It seems unfair to me, that parents who are preparing for a natural birth have access to positive childbirth preparation, such as our regular Hypnobirthing Australia course, however when a caesarean is needed, mothers are often very nervous and scared leading up to the birth and have had no tools to utilise in order to remain calm. Considering that approximately 30% of babies in Australia are now born via c-section; this program has the potential to help thousands of families – which is great news for mums and babies.’


Practicing midwife and childbirth educator Nicole Wyborn from Newcastle remarked, ‘I often have women crying and scared on the way to theatre. It is wonderful that parents will now have access to this preparation.’


Elizabeth Guthrie from Brisbane was one of the first mums to take advantage of the program. ‘I refused to be railroaded into a horrible birth just because it was going to be in an operating theatre. This was the only birth this baby was going to have and whilst I could do something about it, it was going to be amazing.’


Elizabeth says, ‘My anaesthetist was fascinated at how hypnosis and drugs could work together to produce such awesome results. And our Paediatrician continues to advocate for immediate skin to skin as optimum for every birth’.


Ms Spilsted said that she is amazed that no-one ever thought to provide this preparation and support to parents requiring a caesarean birth in the past. ‘When mothers are informed and relaxed – they and their baby, are more likely to have a calm and positive birth experience. The empowerment that the mother feels then flows through to parenting. It just makes sense that we do all that we can to ensure that our birth is safe, calm and a positive experience – regardless of how our baby comes into the world.’


Parents who attend the course learn how to utilise relaxation, breathing and hypnotherapy techniques leading up to and during the birth to help reduce stress levels. Baby friendly practices (such as skin to skin contact) are also discussed, however these preferences are subject to individual circumstances and medical advice.


The hypnotherapy album ‘Caesarean Birth – Calm and Relaxed’ that accompanies the course is also available through iTunes and the Hypnobirthing Australia website.


‘I am a passionate advocate for all parents having access to quality and positive childbirth education. Less fear and more joy is my motto! It is exciting to know that ‘The Positive Caesarean Birth’ program has now become available Australia-wide through Hypnobirthing Australia’s network of caesarean-trained practitioners – comprising of midwives, clinical hypnotherapists, psychologists, doulas and childbirth educators.’


For more information visit


The beautiful birth of Grace

Posted by Christa Buckland on March 14, 2013 at 9:55 AM

This is directly from Kristall's family blog here.


The beautiful birth of Grace by Kristall Wong

I don’t believe in love at first sight. My husband won’t mind me saying this as he feels the same about me hahaha – we were best of friends for years before we grew in love with each other.


Ok I lie, I didn’t used to believe in love at first sight until I had my first baby Celeste. I still remember it vividly – I had had almost 4 days of contractions on and off, I had not been eating drinking or sleeping during that time either, here I was on a bed in the hospital with a drip in my hand that was not put in right so it just made my hand blow up like a blown up glove. I was so exhausted and had complications and the doctor was telling me to push – and I had no energy. It was excruciating, exhausting and .. What’s another word that starts with E? But when I saw my daughters face for the first time, I just instantly fell in love - so completely! It was crazy to me that this little screaming pink thing which I had never seen or met before could just immediately become my whole world and that I felt I would do and give anything for her. So powerful was this love I felt for her. I felt the same when I had my little boy, Hyrum – even though with his birth I again did not get what I wanted from the birthing experience. But I still fell in love with him the same – instantly and completely.

Who wouldn't fall in love with this cutie?!


Over the years you forget about the pain and the trauma of childbirth. You just remember how much you loved them from the first time you ever saw their beautiful faces up until now- and you want to feel that again. I had heard magical tales of my sisters births in America – they plan the date they will induce her, when the contractions get painful she asks for (and GETS) an epidural – then she watches TV while the monitor says she is having contractions, she pushes when told and she gets her baby! Who wouldn’t want that after what I went through!? After I had Celeste I decided I wanted to give birth like my sister Jas! They don’t offer epidurals at my local hospital, so we went Private. Hired an obstetrician and paid a lot of money with the only intention of it being to get induced and have an epidural. I did not realise how they induce here in Australia is a lot different to how they induce in America. Here, it consisted in me having about 10-20 internals!! HAHAHAHHAHAA poor me! I HATE internals LOL I had been sucked in! It was invasive and painful. NEVER AGAIN. When I was put onto an IV to induce the contractions 2 days later, the contractions were sooo powerful – there was no nice little lead up it was just full on. So I asked for an epidural, and the midwife said it was too early and may stop the contractions if I got it too early - the next minute she said it was too late and I should be happy I saved $500 for not calling the anaesthetist out – are you kidding me?! I don’t care about $500, I had spent about $5000 out of pocket JUST to get that epidural! I felt cheated again and traumatised – and now, poor too! Oh, I can laugh about it now.. but I cried a lot back then LOL.

This is me after Hyrum was born haha! Can you tell I felt cheated??

My mother and my precious boy


Last year, my sister in law, Solange, gave birth to beautiful Ivy. She lives at my place, so she went to my local hospital (that does not offer epidurals and the one I had Celeste at) for check-ups but found she could deliver at another hospital and get an epidural. And she did. WINNER! I thought this was the solution to my problem – I could get what I wanted and not be poor. Confidently I went to my local hospitals ante natal clinic, admin said it was fine – I was happy. Then at my 20 week appointment I was told by the midwife who saw me that ‘they don’t do that anymore’ and ‘I am sorry if someone got your hopes up, but that is not happening’. I tried to tell her about my sister in law who had done it not 6 months earlier, and what admin had said, I tried to tell her what I had done with Hyrum to get an epidural – but she would not have it and just told me to forget it and pretty much just shattered my dreams. I found out also, that she was the midwife who denied me my epidural at the Private Hospital with Hyrum and is a strong natural childbirth advocate so she most likely had her own motives for rejecting my request. HAHAHAHHA I could not escape her! I was shattered. I felt so helpless and that there was nothing I could do I was just NEVER going to have it my way or get the birth I wanted. It seemed when I trusted the hospital – they traumatised me and did whatever they wanted to me. When I PAID and tried to choose what I wanted, other medical professionals would put their will over mine. It seemed helpless. Needless to say, I cried all the way to my mums house where my kids were. Its not all sad – now I can see that this encounter was an absolute blessing in disguise.


At mums, I cried to Jas about what had happened and she said her friends in Utah swear by something called Hypnobirthing and suggested I look into it. So I did. I read and read about all these HIPPIES who hypnotise themselves during childbirth – I watched videos of women giving birth and looking and being so calm. This was so different from what was on TV – and very different from what I am like during childbirth too (think ‘female Tarzan’ hahaha). Then I discovered Hypnobabies which is like Hypnobirthing – self-hypnosis, but instead of being still and stagnant, it teaches you to hypnotise yourself during contractions (pressure waves) and then walk around and move in between them and be completely comfortable and have an active birth. They also sold a home study course which was perfect for me. So I ordered it online (from the States) and started my Hypnobabies journey. Because I was going back to my local hospital where I had been traumatised with Celeste’s birth, I also looked into hiring a doula to be MY advocate and voice at a time when I am vulnerable. I found the perfect one for me online! Christa is a doula who also did Hypnobabies with her third child, like me, she is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and she lives 20-30 minutes from me whereas other doulas live hours from me. Perfect in every way!

I loved it from the beginning. It was all about doing what is best for baby and yourself – naturally and without all the interventions that I had had before that had led to complications. Believing in yourself and that our bodies are designed to give birth. I started the course when I was 26 weeks – and did each one week class over a 2 week period. Listening to the tracks was so relaxing and helped me to feel positive about myself, my body and the pregnancy. As a result, I slept soundly most every night, I did not blow up like I usually do when pregnant and felt comfortable all the way through – even though I went to 41 weeks. I was still taking my daughter to school and doing things as per normal. Usually I become a beached whale.


So my ‘due date’ came and went. I wasn’t worried about it until I went to the antenatal clinic on Friday for a check-up and was told that my birth preferences were impossible (ok really just the one about not having internals – I requested NONE hahahhaha but honestly, I had enough last time to last me 10 pregnancies! And what is the point of them??), and was pressured into taking a referral for an ultrasound and even worse, we set a date for my induction – as the doctor said I would be killing my baby keeping her there and because I was induced the last two times maybe my body could not go into labour on its own. These were all things I did NOT WANT, but my husband was with me and said if we didn’t say yes the Doctor was a stubborn old man and we would be there forever fighting. He said just because we took it did not mean we had to do it, and that we wouldn’t do it. But the thought of not getting what I wanted and being so pressured into doing what the doctor wanted shook me up, and made me feel vulnerable again and that this would end up being like my last births. She was due to be induced on Wednesday and this was a Friday. Sooo.. yep, I cried all the way home again.. what a surprise!!! Hahaha but this time I had Christa to call to calm my fears and help me feel that it would all be ok. I went home and listened to a fear clearing session Hypnobabies track and tried to get positive again. Solange came over and asked me how it went and I told her how it was the worst thing for me – it was hard for me not to be upset. That night Martin and I were playing a board game and she brought over some oil that she had sniffed and rubbed on her stomach when she was overdue with Ivy. I rubbed it on my tummy and smelled it a bit before we went to bed.


In the morning it didn’t feel like anything was happening and the oil hadn’t done anything however, at 11am I started getting waves (contractions) about 10-15 mins apart – nothing too major. We went shopping and when they would come I would just sit down and relax, or stop where I was. We came home and had lunch and I had a nap. The pressure waves continued to come, but they were not intense so I just did things normally. We had a session of Stake Conference (a church meeting) that night and I had organised to go – so I went. I had pressure waves throughout the whole meeting about 8-10 minutes apart – I was next to my husband who would time them. When they came I would just turn my light switch off and relax. Then when they finished I would drink some water and go back to listening. I was in the 4th row from the front and President Simpson can only see 4 rows in – I apologised to him afterwards if he saw me sleeping during his talk but I was actually just having contractions hahahahaha! I should have sat 5 rows back. After that, I went home and ate some warm weet-bix for dinner while Martin went to pick up our kids. I watched some of Get Smart and had a laugh and then decided I should probably go to sleep in case something happened and I needed my energy. During pregnancy I read another Hypnobabies story about a mother who slept through her contractions and had her baby at 6:12am the next morning while in the bathroom. That sounded good to me, so I would ‘tell’ my baby/body to have pressure waves through the night so I could sleep through them and then baby could come in the morning when I had energy hahahahha.. At about 9:40pm I messaged Christa that I was having pressure waves about 8 minutes apart but that I would probably be there awhile so don’t worry but just be on alert. I listened to ‘Easy First Stage’ and ‘Birthing Day Affirmations’ and rested. This was fine until about 2-2:30am when it started to be uncomfortable for me just lying in bed. Martin gave me a Priesthood Blessing that this would be fast, easy and comfortable for me. Then he ran a bath for me and we timed them and talked and laughed – then I showered and went back to the bedroom to relax. At around 3:30 they started getting pretty intense, so Martin called Christa to make her way over since she lives about half an hour away from us. She was here around 4:15am I think and this was where my pressure waves were getting more powerful. The track kept saying ‘you welcome these powerful pressure waves’ and Martin kept saying to envision my baby being here soon, but I was not enjoying the powerful pressure waves and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have a baby anymore hahahhaa.. I started to doubt myself. I started thinking about Celeste’s birth and how I felt I was at this stage for 3 days and nothing happened. I started thinking about that doctor who suggested that my body can’t go into labour on its own and I would need intervention. I started wondering how long this was going to last and if I could actually do this. Martin and Christa provided much assurance. Christa would put counter pressure on my back during waves and this eased the intensity. My mum came after 5 with our babysitters and I was asking when we should head over to the hospital. Christa said whenever I felt we should – but secretly, I wanted to just have my baby at home. I feared that going to the hospital I would most likely have to fight, and I was not looking forward to it. I wanted my fast easy birth in the bathroom! I asked if we could just NOT go, but Christa was like ‘Ummm if we don’t go does that mean you are going to have a baby here?’ I knew we had to go and replied reluctantly ‘Alright then.’ Cue: Sadness! LOL

This is me having a pressure wave in bed and Martin reading scripts and cue words to me. He was so good and I loved that Hypnobabies helps Daddys be a part of it and learn how to help mummys relax - we really did this together!


At 5:45 we started heading to the hospital – I had 3 pressure waves just on the way to the car. At the third at the car I started peeing – luckily I had brought a towel for the seat haha. I had another 3 or 4 on the way to the hospital – peeing all the while. Martin was in the backseat with me giving his cue words and talking me through. I started to get pretty vocal – it must’ve sounded bad because Mum was driving and started to speed.. poor mum! We got to the hospital and I was still having pressure waves all the way down the corridor – whose smart idea it was to put the birthing unit so far away I do not know! But I had about 3 or 4 in the corridor and I peed all the while again. Poor janitor. I remember having a pw in the foyer and a lady walked past smiling and said ‘You’ll get there.’ I remember thinking ‘Can you please leave me alone?’ hahaha – mainly because I looked like the biggest fresh – my hair was up in a messy bun, jandals, I had a lava lava on that was tied at the front and open, I wasn’t wearing a bra either hahahaa.. so fun! We got to the door of the delivery suite and Martin rang the buzzer – just then I had another pressure wave and my body told me it wanted to push – so I started to push. Unfortunately, once again, I pushed in the wrong area again and pushed something else out instead. They let us in and for some reason again decided it would be a great idea to make me walk to the other end of the corridor to another delivery room. So we walked, and pw’ed and pushed some more. When I got to the door of the delivery room, there were 2 midwives with gloves on by the bed and they told me to get on so they could check me (yep, an internal..ugh.), but I had something in my pants and there was no way I was getting on the bed – I just put up my hand and said ‘I’m going to the shower.’ This was at about 6 something. Martin cleaned me and kept the shower water running on me since that felt good – and for some reason I felt like it would be better without clothes on so I just took everything off HAHAHAHAH no shame! Poor Christa! Martin and my mum have seen it all before as have the midwives I assume. My body just took over and I did whatever felt right – it felt right to squat and the urges to push kept coming, so whenever they did I would push. I think it was only one or two pushes after I got in the shower that they saw her head coming out. One of the midwives put her hand down there to catch baby but it felt so uncomfortable I asked her to go away (again, if I had been in a ‘thinking before I acted’ state I don’t think I would have been as rude??). So instead they told Martin to put his hand down there. He asked for a glove – HAHAHHAHA my husband is so slack to me! I heard one of the midwives say ‘Ummm that’s your WIFE.’ HAHAHHAAHHA.. I remember closing my eyes and smiling and saying softly ‘Come on, baby.’ It felt like me and her were in this together and we were going to be united soon after all this work and preparation together. I gave her another big push according to what my body felt like doing and she was out – Martin caught our baby and put her on my chest. It was over! It was 6:20am. I looked at this crying baby that I held close to my chest and I just fell in love – all over again. Grace was absolutely perfect and oh so cute and just darling!

One of my 'I can't believe we just did it!' moments - on the shower floor hahaha..


It felt soooo surreal! I was just like ‘I just had a baby! I am the mother of three!’ I could not believe it was over and that it HAD been easy and fast and NOT painful at all – but very intense and powerful. My body had done it!! I was like ‘Take THAT, silly doctor!’ Without intervention, without any dumb internals (HOORAY!), without any ‘pain relief’. We waited for her cord to stop pulsating before we cut it and then we waited for third stage. Third stage was the same as second stage in intensity and Martin used Hypnobabies cues throughout it - but about 20 minutes later, my placenta naturally detached itself as well. I felt so energised afterwards and extremely hungry! Grace was 4.1kgs and I tore a little but it was so minimal that I didn’t need stitches – for the first time ever. Yay, body! My recovery has been the best of all my births as well. Isn’t the body just amazing? Hooray for bodys! Hooray for Hypnobabies!


The midwife said afterwards we should have just had her at home, since we just came to push hahaha – maybe for my next one! Now that I know that I CAN do this and I also know HOW to do this comfortably and without pain, I am already looking forward to falling in love at first sight again for the fourth time.

Yep, I'm in love!

It's NOT enough to want it....

Posted by Christa Buckland on March 14, 2013 at 9:10 AM

There are SO MANY options to help you birth naturally. It is usually not enough to just want it, you have to be prepared! Here is a basic list of some of the things to look into if you would like to have a natural birth.

1. Doula services

In my view, a doula is absolutely essential in our current society.  There is so much fear and misinformation floating around, it's no wonder so many women are having awful experiences.  A doula can be with you during the birth itself to help you through, encourage you and give you confidence in yourself.  BUT also, she can be a complete resource for information during your pregnancy.  If you have questions, she's likely to be able to direct you to the answers! And this is particularly necessary when navigating our maternity system which is full of policies, procedures, tests and (often unnecessary) interventions.  You can read about my services here.

2. Midwife care
If you want woman-centred care, a midwife is the way to go.  Of course there are some great OB's out there, but it's worth considering that OB's are specialists in complications whereas midwives are specialists in normal birth.  OB's will also generally not be there during the birth except for right at the end to catch the baby.  The optimum situation is when you are cared for during labour by a midwife you know and trust.  If you go through the midwife clinic at the hospital, or have an OB, you will be cared for by whichever midwife happens to be on duty during your birth.  To have a midwife you know attend you there are only 2 options:
- hire a private midwife for a home or hospital birth
- go through the caseload/midwifery group practice for one-to-one midwifery care (not all hospitals have this program but it is worth asking!!)

3. Hospital, birthing centre, homebirth
There are a few different options for where you birth your baby and these options differ from area to area. Some "birthing centres" are located inside a hospital.

4. Birth Plan
This is an essential tool to help communicate and discuss your birth preferences with your care provider.  A doula can help you go through all your options and provide information to help you decide. If you need help with this, contact me here.

5. Hypnobirthing
I am a HUGE fan of hypnobirthing.  Mothers who use hypnobirthing to prepare for birth, experience less pain, less interventions and generally have a better birth experience.  It's such a peaceful, joyful way to birth.  You can watch some great videos on hypnobirthing here.

6. Other birthing methods/tools
For some, hypnobirthing just doesn't sit right or fit within their belief system and that's ok! There are heaps of other tools that can help to have a smoother and more positive birth.  It's all about expectations and understanding how your body works so you can work with your during labour. I have an awesome class which covers over 50 tools that can help during the birth (including hypno-tools).  You can read about it here.

7. Books and DVDs
There are so many inspiring books to read and DVD's to watch!! I have many resources that I lend to clients and you can also find a list of my favourites here.

8. Yoga and Pilates
These are great ways to prepare your body for birth.  Yoga in particular includes breathing and meditation techniques which are very helpful and calming.

9. Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Bowen Therapy, Naturopathy, Kinesiology, Other Natural therapies
There are a TONNE of natural therapies that can help with common pregnancy complaints.  The wisdom found in these modalities will blow your mind.  The most powerful thing about natural therapies is that they acknowledge the mind-body connection and seek to treat the root cause of something rather than just the symptoms.

10. Health and fitness
Finally, it's super-helpful if you can look after yourself during your pregnancy.  EAT HEALTHY!! And light exercise can increase your chances of a straightforward birth and recovery.

Birth Story of Azrielle, the journey of a VBAC turned empowering positive CBAC!

Posted by Christa Buckland on March 12, 2013 at 5:50 AM

Christine's birth was an amazing learning curve for me. It was an honour to witness her strength and perseverance. And it was humbling to learn how to truly surrender when things aren't going to plan. I also learned about my physical limits and reflected on how I could keep my energy up during a really long labour. Congratulations Chris and Simon - you were an awesome team. Christa xxxx


Birth Story of Azrielle, the journey of a VBAC turned empowering positive CBAC! by Christine Hornstra


After my first birth where I did not know as much about birth & that the hospital system doesn’t always know best, I had decided that I wanted my labour to start naturally. My first birth ended in a cesarean section, as when the hospital tried to induce me due to my pregnancy being ‘overdue’ my son (Xavier) went into distress, just from the cervidil tape. I felt that a part of me was missing, that I had been denied a right to experience labour. All of this led me to the choices I made for my next birth.

I was sure throughout my whole pregnancy that I would not go past 40weeks this time, so as that ‘due date’ got closer & closer, I got more & more anxious! Then when it passed it was a bit disheartening! I knew that being a VBAC this time would mean that the pressure would be on if I reached 41weeks. So when I did & there was still no baby in sight I had to then decide my options. I was still set on letting my body & baby decide on when the right time would be, so I consented to going in every couple of days for monitoring. Each of these were picture perfect, my baby was very content & happy in my oven! Although this did not stop one of the OB’s trying to scare my husband & I into induction. At this stage I was only 41+5! After this experience my husband changed from being happy to follow what I wanted, to being determined that we would not be inducing, even doing his own research, so he was better informed to back me up if we had another situation like that!

My labour began on the Friday night (41+6); both my husband & I were very excited! At its peak my contractions were 5mins apart, lasting for at least 1min. So we had messaged our hospital midwife (Janelle) & doula (Christa). I felt I was coping well, so didn’t see the need for my doula to come round yet. Then just before sunrise, my contractions slowed down. By the time the sun was up, they had stopped completely! We were a little disheartened, but I had read of this happening, so tried to still be positive about the fact that we were getting closer. When the same thing happened again Saturday and Sunday night, I was starting to get really down. We had sent Xavier to stay with Grandma and Opa from the Wednesday night, as we were sure we would have had a baby by this time!

At this point I was in contact with my doula Christa multiple times a day. She was amazing at keeping me focused & giving me encouragement to stick with my decisions. On the Saturday we had another appointment for monitoring, this time we were more prepared. Christa came along with us for support & I had spoken with my midwife about the last appointment & how we felt regarding it. Luckily for us, the Ob we saw that day was much more respectful! I was getting desperate at this stage! Every natural induction method was not working! I had tried all the well known methods, including acupuncture. After 3 sessions, still no baby!

On the Sunday Xavier came back home, as I missed him too much! Once again the contractions started again the Sunday night. But on Monday morning they didn’t stop completely. They were only random, but still hanging around! I was also getting snappy with Xavier. I tried to have a lay down in the afternoon, while Xavier slept, but I was awaken by more contractions after only about 1hr of rest. When I heard Xavier waking from his nap, I decided I needed to call my husband home, as I wasn’t able to think about trying to take care of him. I knew this ment something more was happening, but after days of starts & stops I didn’t want to get my hopes up!

That night (Monday night) my contractions had been building from the afternoon & actually got regular again. This was the first time we had gotten a regular pattern since Friday night! Christa was sure this would be the night. But then once again they slowed down come sunrise! By 9am that morning Christa thought we needed to get together, so by about 10am Christa & her friend Alex (who is also a doula & a kinesiologist) came round to see if there was anything we could do. Alex asked if she could try moving my hip around. I was still getting random contractions at this time, but they were few & far between. By about 12pm, Christa had gone to drop her son off when Alex did the movement with my hip. We did one side, then I changed sides on the bed & we did the other side. Just as Alex was finished I felt bub give a really big kick, then felt a pop that was slightly painful. Then in 1 big gush I felt like someone was pouring a hot water bottle out of me, MY WATERS HAD BROKEN!! Just as Christa arrived back... THIS WAS PROGRESS!!!

Not long after I had processed that my waters had actually broken, my contractions really kicked in! There were only a couple of minutes in between each one. The loose dress I had been wearing was rather wet now, so I decided to jump in the shower to both clean off and to help ease the waves. We rang our midwife (who was now Nicole because Janelle had gone on holidays!) to let her know. She had just finished a birth, so told us she would go home for some rest and to let her know when we were heading to the hospital. We also rang Opa to come pick Xavier up, but as he was working it was going to take a little time for him to arrive. So I asked Simon to call my sister, as she was much closer and could at least stay with him if we needed to go. Xavier was having his nap while all this was going on, but not long after getting in the shower my moans woke him up. Once he saw I was in the shower he decided he wanted to join me. Simon was stroking my back to help, so Xavier decided to do the same. Just as he was doing so another contraction came & he got scared, thinking he had hurt his mummy! By now my sister had arrived & was able to take look after Xavier.

Pretty soon Simon decided it was time to go to the hospital, as my contractions were still very close together. I was well & truly into it, so had no idea if it was time to go or not! The car ride was horrible! I felt every little bump, turn, stop & start! It also felt like it was the longest car ride of my life (even though we only live 20mins from the hospital!)! By the time we arrived, my contractions had slowed down. We got into the birthing room & I did my best to find my groove again. We had requested a bath, but there wasn’t any available when we arrived. I tried the shower, but the water was luke warm at best, so got out pretty quickly & put my bath robe on (that someone must have brought with us, coz it wasn’t packed in the bag). From there I tried the bed, using the raised top & pillows to try & get comfortable. Once I found my groove I lost all sense of time & anything that was going on around me. I went with the flow of my body. I remember Christa stroking my back gently, but when my husband tried, it felt like sandpaper being rubbed over me! I can’t say how far apart my contractions were at this point, as I was well into my own little world. I asked for an exam, just to reassure myself. I was 6cm (Christa later told me she was sure she would be home for dinner!). My contractions started to slow down at one point & I was falling asleep in between. I noticed the room got darker, so knew it was getting into night time. Nicole advised me that my temperature was high & tried to get the robe off me, but I felt so cold without it on. We compromised & I took my arm out. Eventually it came off all together. Time went by & sometime later in the night I asked if there was a bath available yet. Nicole checked & came back saying there was one available, but I would have to wear the monitor belts, as there was a slight amount of meconium in the waters. I agreed, anything to be able to get into a warm bath! By midnight Nicole advised us that she was no longer allowed to stay, as she had been on for 24hrs by that time. But there was another caseload midwife for me, Geisha, who could take over. I was disappointed, but understood & I still had Christa with me. Getting into the bath was heavenly! My contractions were coming strong & regular. After a little while I started getting a feeling of wanting to push soon, I was told to wait until it felt like I couldn’t hold on anymore, then it would be time! The lower monitor was digging in with each contraction, so I asked 'if I’m feeling like I want to push soon, could I take it off?' Geisha said that was fine, as I’d had it on for a while & everything was fine. Not long after that, my contractions slowed AGAIN! So I rested in between, even falling asleep, only to be awaken by another one. They slowed down so much I was coming out of my world. I looked over to Simon & Christa who were sitting next to the bath telling me I was doing awesome, all the while struggling to stay awake! It was at that point I realised for the first time how long I had been going! But I hung in there, sleeping when I could & asking for the bath to be warmed up when I felt cool. Geisha was worried about me being dehydrated, as I had not eaten & was unable to make myself drink. My stomach just didn’t want anything in it! We tried watered down apple juice, but it just made my mouth drier & my stomach not want it more! I’d also had trouble peeing, I think bubs head was in the way (coz no matter how hard I tried to let go, nothing would come out!), so I’d had a couple of in & out catheters before the bath & asked for another one. I was definitely dehydrated, so we decided to put a drip in, to get my fluids up. After a while I started feeling better, but I realised I had lost the urge to push. I asked for a check, I was 9cms. My last check had been 4hrs earlier & then I was 8cms, could I do this for another 4hrs? Then when I did get a contraction it felt like bubs was trying to push up & out the top of my stomach (aliens movie style! :P). I was feeling something was wrong. I was also totally worn out; physically, mentally & emotionally. The choices ran thru my head: wait it out, try an epidural or have another caesar. But no matter the option, I could not shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. So I spoke up & said I wanted another Caesar. Simon tried to talk me out of it, reminding me of the recovery, but I couldn’t be swayed, something wasn’t right! Geisha came in to discuss it with me & when she realised it was what I wanted, she went out to speak with the ob. She came back in & told me that the ob on at the time was very pro Caesar for VBAC women, but if I waited 20 more minutes, the next Dr on was more pro epidural & a small dose of syntocinon. I didn’t see the use in waiting; I’d made up my mind! Christa & Simon helped me out of the bath & to dry off. The Dr came in & tried to talk me into having an epidural & getting some sleep. But I still listened to my instincts & they were telling me it wouldn’t make a difference. So for the 2nd time, I was prepped for surgery.

It was ok this time, I knew what to expect. It took a while to get me ready & into the operating room, yet my contractions did not get any closer again. From the time in the birthing suite to when they were injecting the spinal block I had maybe 3 or 4 contractions. Before I went in the ob that was going to do the op came to say hello. I was extremely relieved to see it was the only Dr who had been nice & respectful to Simon & I during our ‘post dates’ monitoring's! (Dr Cristiana) The surgery went well, I requested to keep baby in with me, to get skin to skin & delayed cord clamping. The only thing I didn’t get was the delayed cord clamping. But I did get to see her as soon as they had her out, as one of the attendees brought her straight around the curtain & showed her to us. She was all covered in goop & looking just precious! After I got to hold her on my chest, she went to the other side of the room for her checks, with daddy in toe. I could hear her crying, so I called out for Simon to talk to her. I heard him say ‘hello Azrielle, its daddy’ & just like that she stopped crying. Daddy’s little girl already!

Just before I left the OR Cristiana came up to me & told me I had made the right choice. They were expecting to have to lift her out of pelvis first, but she had already moved up, so she was easy to get out. After being engaged for over 6weeks & all the pre labour, followed by 19hrs of active labour, my cheeky little miss went the wrong way! She also told me her head had swollen & that the lower part of my uterus was close to separating. I was so glad I listened to my instincts!

Azrielle Jamie Hornstra was born 9.21am 10/10/12, 4.08kg, 56cms long, 34cm head circumference & just perfect! She wasn’t even wrinkled from being in the bath a bit too long! I may have not gotten a VBAC, but I did get everything else I needed. I was not induced; I went into labour when my body & baby were ready. My baby chose her birthday & what a date she picked! I love you Azrielle, you did an amazing job coming into this world!


Ellen's birth story

Posted by Christa Buckland on January 10, 2012 at 12:55 AM

Ellen had her baby August 3, 2011.  Here is her story in her own words :)


First of all I would like to start out by saying what an amazing help Christa was in the whole preparation and birthing process! I took classes with her and also had her present for the birth of my child and I truly believe that without her assistance and knowledge that I may have had a very different outcome from the natural birth that I had.


I was so excited to find out that I was pregnant as it was very much planned. I went into it with anticipation but I found that I encountered some struggles throughout my pregnancy. I have a history of depression and anxiety and it became so severe by the end that I truly believed that the only way that I was capable of giving birth was to have a complete epidural or a planned caesarean section. I had been taking classes with Christa to increase my ability to have a natural birth and so this frame of mind that I had left me feeling devastated and disempowered.


I continued to try hypnobirthing and meditation leading up to the birth and by learning about my body’s true capabilities and the wonderful benefits of having a natural birth, I still held onto hope that with the help of Christa and my husband that I would find my inner strength. I would also imagine my perfect birth, no more than 5 hours labour and natural.


I had been having silent contractions for a week and I was starting to feel a bit crampy on my due day so by that night my pressure waves came suddenly and strong. My husband, Regan, had gone to bed and so I decided to time them myself before I woke him up. Within that first hour I was already experiencing 1 minute contractions for 4 minutes apart. I was astounded that I was as far along as I was. I woke up Regan and he timed my pressure waves which were becoming longer and closer together. I was coping by steadily breathing and rocking on my knees. After consulting with my midwife, Jo, several times over the phone I knew that it was time to head to the hospital, I called Christa and told her to meet us there.


Once in the delivery suite I knelt on the bed holding onto the headboard as the intensity grew. This was it! This was the real thing and I went inside of myself, breathing and focussing. I used all of my energy to keep my cervix relaxed. I then decided to go to the bath as that is where I planned to give birth. Before I got into the bath I reached transition, where you feel that what is required is beyond your capabilities but is soon followed by the urge to push. It was at that time that I asked for an epidural and a C-section but Christa assured me that my body was doing everything it needed to do and that I was doing so well.


I then got out of the bath and was checked by my midwife and told that I was 7-8 cm dilated and that I was doing great. I knelt on pillows on the floor over the couch and after pushing for a while my waters broke with such great force that I was startled but also excited as I felt that it was another step closer! As I pushed, Regan, Christa and Jo massaged me which helped to relax me and if I would go to make any high pitched noises or breath faster, Christa would simply make low noises or slowly breathe and that would cue me to follow. In that dimly lit room I had only 3 people, relaxing music and a determination to push this baby out naturally! After pushing for a while they recommended that I try standing up and leaning on the bed to help the baby come so I did. I continued to use all of my energy in pushing and when they started to put a belly monitor on to check the baby’s heart rate it gave me more ambition to push harder for the health of my baby. Finally I felt the head crowning and for my own assurance I leant down and felt the baby’s head with my hand, he was coming!!! I gave a few almighty pushes and after a few minutes his head emerged. Then I continued to push and his body followed. The feeling of that little body coming out was so bizarre but the relief was amazing.


With Regan and Christa by my side, my midwife had caught Noah in her hands and as she passed him through my legs, told me to pick him up. I was scared that I would drop him as he was slippery but as Regan helped to pull him up to me I cried. I cried from the relief but more for the joy that I felt!


I had done it! I had a beautiful little boy and I had done it completely naturally and not just any baby but a 5 kg (11 lb 2 oz) baby and for my first one with a labour spanning 5 hours. This had gone against all of the things that I had heard about child birth from TV and other mums. I had heard that it is usual that your first birth will be very long and that if the baby is large that they will usually have to give you a C-section.


I sat on the bed with him and tried to breast feed him straight away with no luck but then I had a lot of chest to chest bonding which was amazing. I had fallen in love all over again and with a baby that I had only just met. After a few hours of cuddling they had to take him away to intensive care because he had fluid in his lungs but that cleared up after a few days. I felt exhausted but I felt empowered, proud, closer to my husband and so grateful to Christa and Jo for helping me to have the birth I truly wanted. I know that if I had an epidural that I would not have been able to push Noah out, I needed all of my power and feeling to be able to do that for him. I felt like I had given him the gift of life and the best start to that life that I could possibly give him.

10 things you may not hear in a hospital class

Posted by Christa Buckland on January 6, 2012 at 5:15 AM

It's YOUR Choice

Posted by Christa Buckland on October 9, 2011 at 4:50 PM

In my classes, my sole focus is to educate women about their choices for birth. Many of the things I talk about, one would not hear in a conventional hospital class. This is because, unfortunately, the hospital system is not set up to empower women but to control risks. In an effort to streamline care and minimise liability, a crucial element has been omitted from their system – supporting mothers to make truly informed decisions.

There is a significant difference between informed consent and informed choice, the former being what is most often practiced in pre- and post-natal care. Informed consent is where the caregiver provides information on a particular procedure which they are recommending. The intention is to provide all the risks and benefits of the procedure so that the “patient” (i.e. expectant mother) can give consent. Due to time constraints (or simply convenience) however, the information is often not thoroughly explained and is usually presented in such a way so as to “convince” the woman that the procedure is necessary and the risks acceptable. The focus is on obtaining consent rather than exploring options. In fact, the woman may not be aware that options even exist!

This contrasts greatly with informed choice, which involves full disclosure of all options (including options that the caregiver may not personally recommend) and an open exploration of the risks and benefits of each. By “open”, I mean that:

  • different perspectives are discussed (i.e. differing views within the “birthing community” )
  • genuine discussion is facilitated (no coercion or judgement)
  • valid information is shared (where possible, sources and studies should be cited)
  • information is presented in an unbiased manner (or bias should be disclosed)
  • where time allows, women are encouraged to do further research at home before making a decision
  • ‘Waiting’ or ‘doing nothing’ are also valid options to discuss.

The focus is on mothers making decisions based upon high quality information which they can then consider in reference to their own feelings and values. The “right” choice will be different for everyone and it is the woman who determines what is right for her and her baby. This decision-making process is far superior to the informed consent model.

There are a few key principles related to making informed (birth) choices:

  1. There are risks and benefits to EVERY test and procedure.
  2. You can accept or decline ANY test or procedure.
  3. There are vastly different views amongst birth experts (i.e. doctors, midwives, researchers etc.) as to what tests and procedures are necessary or safe and in what instances they should be used.
  4. Be aware that statistics and studies can sometimes be misused or misrepresented. For example,
    • a risk may “double” (i.e. it has increased by 200%) given a particular set of circumstances, which sounds quite alarming, but if the risk was 0.1% in the first place it has only doubled to 0.2% which may be acceptable to you.
    • Some studies are inadequately designed or controlled and therefore produce inaccurate results. Sometimes professionals mistakenly continue to cite these studies to justify certain procedures. (Check commentaries/critiques of studies to get the full picture).
  5. Make choices that feel right for you. Your intuition is just as valuable as an expert’s opinion (perhaps more so!).
  6. Finally, take ownership of your decision. When talking about your decisions, rather than saying “my doctor/midwife said I had to do x”, say “I/we chose to do x”. You do not “have” to do anything – there is always a choice. Let your words reflect the active role you have played in the decision-making process.

Information on specific issues can be sourced from books, brochures, websites, documentaries and birth professionals (including doctors, midwives, birth educators and doulas). However, getting informed takes time and effort and some people prefer to just go with the flow. That also, is your choice.

In a broader context, informed choice is about living consciously and taking responsibility for your health. This can extend to such topics as vaccination, food, clean water, disease, and sustainable living (just to name a few!). There is a multiplicity of options out there in all facets of modern living. Seek out alternate views, get informed and make decisions that are true to you and your own set of values.

[Note: In this article I have referred to the mother/woman as the decision-maker. This does not diminish the important role that the father/partner has in supporting the mother, however ultimately the choice belongs to her as these choices affect her body. Moreover, only she can claim an intuitive connection with the baby that can guide her decisions.]