Birth: there's nothing quite like it, and it's clear no two birth stories are the same. Which is why we're asking everyday women and some of our favourite celebrity mums to share theirs, in Mamamia's My Birth Story series.
This week we profile author and women’s health advocate Stephanie Thompson, wife to Tom and mum to four-year-old Elsie and three-year-old Louis.
Stephanie Thompson’s traumatic birthing experience nearly stopped her from having any more children. The injuries she suffered as a result of a vacu um and forceps delivery in October 2015 with daughter Elsie, left Stephanie with a pelvic organ prolapse.
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This severe and life changing injury means she cannot stand for longer than a few minutes, lift her children or any weight above five kilograms, and that she lives with chronic pain.
“After Elsie was born and for those first few months spent in agony, my husband Tom and I decided it was a ‘one and we’re done’ situation,” Stephanie said.
“But then I remember one day looking at Elsie playing alone on the floor and thinking, but what about her? Perhaps she might like a sibling.”
Once the couple made the decision to try for a second baby, Stephanie needed to unpack what had happened the first time to try and ensure it wouldn't happen again.
They met with a number of specialists who advised the couple that there were no physical reasons Stephanie could not carry and deliver another baby.
“It took us five years to fall pregnant with Elsie but the second time around we decided that if it didn’t happen quickly, we wouldn’t keep trying as it was too emotionally and physically draining."
“Thankfully I found out I was pregnant just after Elsie turned one, then it became about finding the very best obstetrician and support team we could find.”
Stephanie began meeting with her obstetrician Dr Simon Winder every week to closely monitor the pregnancy and talk through the birthing options.
“Sometimes my appointments would go for over an hour and I had his mobile number on speed dial. Having that level of care and support was essential. I also had regular appointments with a counsellor to deal with my anxiety.”
“Physically, I actually found pregnancy to be a relief as it made the prolapse less symptomatic. As my belly grew larger outwards, my uterus and the prolapse were sort of ‘sucked up’ so it gave me a bit of a break in the first two trimesters.”