Kaleigh Holland

I'm fundraising for a great cause!

What I have learnt is that nothing can prepare you for childbirth. If you know me well, you know I like to be informed and I usually over research things. I read books, attended birth classes and delved into hypnobirthing practices each day in hopes that this would give me and our baby the best chance for a labour with as little intervention as possible. In the end, our birth experience ended up being a domino effect of medical intervention and nothing about it was calm. 

I was fortunate to have a positive pregnancy. It wasn't until the end of my third trimester that I noticed my stomach stopped growing. From 34 weeks, I advocated this to the midwives at my postnatal appointments but it wasn't until my 38 week appointment that I was taken seriously. I measured 31 weeks when I was 38 weeks gestation and was too far along to have a growth scan. I was advised to have an induction, something I was desperate to avoid.

Warning: this next part is full on but I would be doing a disservice by hiding what really happened. Initially, I was embarrassed to talk about this and ashamed of my body. If people break their leg, it's fine for them to discuss it openly but if you break your vagina, you should stay silent because "ladies don't talk about that sort of stuff". The whole point of sharing my story is to provide a real example of what some women endure so that change can take place. It is only when women start having these conversations - and seek help - that real change will come. In hindsight, I wish I wasn't so nervous about hearing the medical side of friends and families birthing stories. Although the outcome of my birth might not have changed, I am certain that I would be less shocked and have more understanding with the changes that occurred to my body. 

Being induced led to me to fully dilate in 2.5 hours, causing stress on Rory which ultimately led to an episiotomy and forceps delivery. There were several people coming in and out of my room, codes were being called over the intercom and everything became a blur. The doctors were unable to stop me from haemorrhaging and after losing 3L of blood, I was rushed off to theatre to undergo surgery. The next morning, I woke up in the High Dependency Unit, while Ben and Rory were in the Maternity Ward. The following days I was bed ridden due to anemia and received two blood transfusions to increase my hemoglobin count.

Tens days after being discharged, I found myself in the last place I wanted to be: the hospital emergency department. I was having trouble passing urine and felt a heavy, bulging sensation in my pelvic area. I was told everything was 'normal' but I knew my body and I knew something felt wrong. After doing my own research, I realised it was likely that I had a pelvic organ prolapse (POP). At my 6 week postnatal appointment, my GP confirmed this and referred me onto a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. At the time, I tried to brush it aside so that I could enjoy my time with my new baby. 

As another few weeks went by, I felt more discomfort and began to spiral into an obsession to find answers. I spent all day and a lot of sleepless nights researching prolapses and what I found were horror stories. I quickly realised that there isn't a successful fix to POP and that 30% of women's surgeries fail. Many women from around the world are suing hospitals due to surgeons using synthetic mesh, which have had debilitating effects on women's bodies.This part really angers me; why is it that people can get hip replacements or open heart surgery and yet a condition that is so common in women has no confident solution? I also read that I can't exercise anymore, I shouldn't walk for more than 20 minutes, I shouldn't lift anything over 5kg (hello, I have a baby!) and I should lie flat as much as possible. My world came crashing down. I love exercising; before I was pregnant I trained at F45 and continued low impact exercises throughout my pregnancy. I am not the type of person to 'lay around' and I wasn't able nor did I want to stop carrying my baby.

This old school mentality around childbirth injuries had a severe impact on me. The month of July was particularly bad. I was unable to control my emotions and was scared of movement. I didn't personally know anyone who has POP so I felt very alone. I tried to talk to a few close friends and family about this, but unless you've experienced POP, it's difficult to understand. I struggled with the fact that my family was overseas and I couldn't see them when I needed them most. On top of this, Melbourne was and continues to be in a lockdown from the Covid pandemic. With few distractions, I got stuck in my own head and felt little hope. Like many women other women who give birth (traumatic or not), I was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression. I am lucky that my GP was onto this straight away and referred me to a psychologist who has given me strategies to shift my thinking. 

With encouragement from Ben (who deserves a medal), I started to become more proactive as I knew I was the only person that could change my story. I did not want to look back at being a first-time mum and remember it as a sad time. I see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist (who has birthed 6 children!) who listened to everything about my lifestyle in order to create a rehab program. She gave me a clearer picture of what happened, explaining that two of my organs have prolapsed, which is likely due to right levator avulsion (the muscle being torn from the pubic bone). I now religiously complete my pelvic floor exercises and have been fitted with a pessary (internal support device) which will allow me to begin low impact exercises. Although my prolapse will likely not go away, I am hopeful that one day I will be able to live with minimal symptoms. 

The feeling that I would never be able to be the mum I wanted to be is slowing going away. I have come across stories of hope on Instagram, blogs and through services like the Birth Trauma Association. I realise that this happens to many women and they want and need to talk about it. I feel privileged that I am able to share my birth experience at all when many women are faced with infertility challenges. People endure challenging physical and mental obstacles everyday, but I am one of the lucky ones, as out of the worst experience of my life has also come the best part of my life. Thanks for reading, and please reach out if you or someone you know has experienced something similar. You are not alone xx

On Saturday, September 12, I'm joining the hundreds as we Walk N Talk to support The Australasian Birth Trauma Association. You can help make a difference. Please help by supporting my Walk N Talk. 

My Achievements

Profile pic

Raised $100

Increased goal

Created team

Created a page

Reached goal

Thank you to my Sponsors

$262.50

Dianne And Robert Holland

Kaleigh, we know how much this cause means to you. Well done for trying to make a difference for other women and their families. Stay strong.

$194.25

The Girls

Kales, you are an amazing strong women, a true inspiration to us all! We miss you dearly! Can’t wait to snuggle baby Rory and have him meet all his mates! Love always Tres, Aggs, Jen, Dee and Ange

$105

Caitlin Thivierge

You are stronger than you may ever see my love! I cannot wait to hug you and meet Rory! I love you all!

$105

Sue Hughey

Kales, I could not be more proud of the incredible woman you are. Kudos for being so brave to share your story. Love you Sweetheart.

$105

Morgan Cranley

Kaleigh - I have always admired your bravery and zest for life and adventure. You have found a true partner with Ben whom I am so happy you have to be your support during this trauma. Shout out to Ben!!! Rory could not have better parents. Thank you for your sharing this story to help educate, normalize and hopefully prevent other women from thinking they are alone. They aren’t, and nor are you. I am so proud of you!!!!!!

$105

Laura Griffin

You are such an inspiration Kales! Thank you for breaking barriers and speaking out. So proud of you!

$105

Gerolamy

$105

Dan & Donna Cranley

Dear Kaleigh , you share your mother Sue's quiet strength, resilence, compassion and tenacity to help others . Thank you for sharing your story and your triumphant recovery . We are so proud of both you & Ben & look forward to meeting Rory for real cuddles. Love,hugs ,blessings Uncle Dan, Aunt Donna , Cousin Chad💖💖💖

$105

Kat And Wade Harris

What an important message you are spreading! Thank you for sharing. You are incredibly strong and we are so proud of you! Lots of love. X

$105

Barbara And Barry Shying

Stay strong Kaleigh

$105

Kelly & Bonnie Nolan

We’re so proud of you Kales! YOU GO GIRL❗️So wise to reach out to others. Huge kudos to Ben for his support, encouragement, understanding and love❣️

$105

Andrea & David Wildsmith

Kales - So many women are going to find hope and comfort in reading your story. Rory is so lucky to have such a strong and inspiring mum like you. Thank you for sharing! We love you! x

$105

Harriss

Sending ❤

$105

John & Janette Holland

Best wishes Kaleigh. You are very brave

$105

Chase Hughey

$100

Danny Longbottom

$100

Suz And Doug

Such a brave and amazing mum. We love you and Ben as parents. So relaxed and loving. Sending you love and support x

$100

June And Don

Dear Kaleigh, We are so proud of you, and wish you all the very best

$100

Linda Hartwick

Sweet Kaleigh Lin You are about to change the lives of so many Woman. Education will Empower them to improve the standard of Obstetrical care Stand together in numbers now to change the medical professionals who care for our new moms I am so proud of you. 😘😘

$78.75

Codi & Sarah

We love you lots! ❤️

$78.75

Emily & Rhys

Thank you for inspiring us and sharing an insight into your story. We love you ❤️

$75

Anonymous

Proud of you lovely! You’re one tough woman and a beautiful mumma (momma) xxx

$57

Jenni Purdey

Thanks for sharing your story Kayleigh. Ben and Rory are lucky to have such a strong wife and mother. We can't wait to see you in person and meet little Rory. Stay strong and safe.

$52.50

Kaleigh Holland

$52.50

Vanessa Hartwick

Love you Kales ❤️

$52.50

Emily

Love you Kales! You’re amazing mama!!

$52.50

Cara & Shane

Sending all our love Kaleigh xxx Rory is lucky to have you

$52.50

Sheree Mckenzie

You poor dear ! I feel so bad for you and that your mom can’t be with you ! Your dad was over at our place yesterday showing me pictures ! Beautiful baby and the family dog is gorgeous as well ! All the best , Sheree and Scot McKenzie

$52.50

Jaime & Craig

Kales, how I wish so badly I could be there to support you. You have been so incredibly strong throughout this unexpected journey. And oh so brave for sharing your story publicly to shed some light and awareness towards a subject that many have stayed silent. I am in absolute awe of your strength and resilience especially during this pandemic. Big hugs to you (& Ben for always being an incredible support system)! Love you lots, Jaime & Craig

$52.50

Sally And Mark Shying

With love Kaleigh to you, Ben and gorgeous Rory. With hope your shared story and wonderful fundraising effort offers support to many more women suffering birth trauma.

$52.50

Dave And Ann Talbot

$50

Emi Nishiguchi

$50

Brittany F

Be so proud of your self! I am definitely am!

$50

Ali Klazinga

So proud of you for sharing your story. You’re going to help so many others!

$50

Carol And Don Cranley

Thinking about you Kaleight

$50

Ryan Perillo

$50

Emma Lorenzin

$42

Andrea And Mark Prieur

This sounds like a wonderful resource association! Glad you are getting some support!

$42

Kate Sundberg

You are so brave Kales! X

$42

Fiona & Phil Kenington

With our love xx

$26.25

Melissa & Luc

$26.25

Laura Harrison

So proud of you to share your story and your journey to healing kales!

$26.25

Janet Tucker

You have been through so much. Incredibly brave girl. Thanks for sharing your story so others can learn. 💕

$26.25

Grimes

Thanks for sharing your story. It broke my heart to hear all that you have gone through. Sending lots of hugs from Back home. All our love Debbie and Bob

$26.25

Alysha Ferguson

Being able to share your story not only for yourself but others is brave and inspiring. Wishing you all the love and strength as you continue to heal. Much love to you.

$26.25

Diane Delaney

I wish you could have your Mamma with you

$26.25

Tines

You’re doing an amazing job babe! So proud of you for taking the initiative to support this cause and share your story. We are all lucky to have you in our lives, but Rory is especially lucky to get to call you his Mama. XO

$25

Jess, Dan & Hannah Nayda

Thank you for sharing, Kaleigh! You are making a difference. I hope you, Ben and your sweet Rory are doing well. Sending all our love your way!

$25

Megan P

Hugs Kales, you are super strong. Hope to see you soon Xx

$25

Anonymous

$20

The Murrays

Amazing!! Very brave way to share your experience and create awareness for other women ❤️

$10.50

Josie Fitzsimons

You have amazing strength Kaleigh 💕

$10

Ruby Mitchell

Sounds horrific Kayleigh. Well done to you. I’m sure sharing your story was not an easy thing to do but is extremely brave and will help so many women. Lots of love x