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 GP and author Dr Preeya Alexander, otherwise known as The Wholesome Doctor, mum to a four-year-old girl and six-month old baby boy*.
As a general practitioner, Dr Preeya Alexander had given plenty of advice to her patients about pregnancy and birth from her Melbourne-based practice.
It wasn’t until she began her own journey to parenthood with husband Will in 2015, that she felt able to truly empathise.
“We were keen to start our family and initially fell pregnant after trying for three months,” Preeya says.
Watch: Questions about childbirth. Post continues below.
“Sadly, I experienced an early miscarriage, but we had planned a holiday to Greece and decided to stop “trying” to emotionally heal from the experience. We didn’t expect to come back pregnant with our daughter!”
During her pregnancy, Preeya suffered from pelvic girdle pain.
“The pain really got to me as I’m usually a fairly active person, other than that I felt like I could definitely relate to all my pregnant patients' concerns around tiredness, breast changes and a fluctuating sex drive!”
When it came to making a birth plan, Preeya and Will, a plastic surgeon, had the same approach.
“We both know from experience that you can’t necessarily plan everything when it comes to medicine. Our only stipulation for the obstetrician was that we wanted myself and the baby to survive childbirth!”
As Preeya was healthy with no major complications during pregnancy, she assumed - despite background medical knowledge - that the birth would be straightforward.
When she went into labour at 39 weeks and four days, Preeya called Will at work to let him know her waters had broken, then made her way to the hospital.
“Unfortunately, our obstetrician was on leave but otherwise everything seemed fine. We were initially excited to meet our baby!”
In spite of regular checks and the fact Preeya was dilating, things didn’t move quickly.
“I began with some nitrous oxide for the pain and requested an epidural a few hours later. After about 22 hours of hours of very slow progression, I felt exhausted.