Prepare for your birth journey today with our birth class

Episode 152

Justine Zampogna

 On this week’s episode I talk to Justine Zampogna - @justinezappa - who used hypnobirthing skills in her three natural births - one in a birth centre, one in hospital and one at home. Whilst her two births with her boys are empowering and inspiring for any woman to hear, it’s her experience with her second baby - a girl named Gigi - that will stay with you long after you listen.

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Image by Home Grown Photography

In 2015, shortly after getting married, Justine fell pregnant and experienced a very smooth and joyful pregnancy. She admits that a fear of hospitals and anything medical prompted her to book in with her local birth centre. She found solace in hypnobirthing and after taking part in a course, she discovered the power of visualisation to prepare her for a positive birth experience.

“It’s very hard for the mind to differentiate between reality and visualisation. So if you haven’t had a baby before, the only thing you can depend upon is the positive visualisation you create for yourself,” she says. Interestingly, her birth was very similar to the birth she visualised whilst pregnant, proof that it really is a powerful tool for women to use in preparation. Whilst she experienced a long second stage, her labour with baby Chase was relatively quick for a first birth and once he was born and the placenta delivered, she enjoyed uninterrupted golden hours, soaking him in.

It was shortly after Chase’s third birthday that Justine fell pregnant with Gigi. She was severely sick during the first trimester and discovered at the 10 week Harmony test that she was having a girl and yet she admits that she felt like there was something not quite right.

During the standard 12-14 week ultrasound she noticed (only in retrospect) that the sonographer was taking a long time. Two days later she received a call from the doctor who requested an immediate appointment. Justine and her husband were told that their baby had a neural tube defect and that they needed to terminate.

“As soon as I got in the car I just burst into tears…it was a lonely loss because I had imagined my whole life with her, our future together, and now we’re talking about whether we want to birth her or go to the termination clinic to have a curette,” she says.

In the days that followed Justine had to decide between a curette or birth in hospital; an overwhelming decision in a heartbreaking situation. Her sister offered wise words that helped Justine in the moment; words she will always be grateful for:

“You might not heal, or might not heal as well, if you choose to have a curette. I really think you need to birth her, meet her and said goodbye to her.”

Justine chatted with a psychologist from the hospital who gently kindly guided her through the process. She admits that taking the pill to terminate the pregnancy was harder than actually birthing her and yet the letting go that happened in the days afterward was essential for Justine as a mother.

It’s quite common for early births to be long and very painful and Justine believes this is because the mother hasn’t let go – emotionally or spiritually – of her baby.

“The mum is not ready to let go but her body is being induced…it’s the emotional resistance.

If I hadn’t let go of her before I went into labour, it would have been a very long and painful birth for me but I was induced and two hours later I felt that she was coming…I had such a beautiful experience, as weird as it sounds. I still wanted to make it an experience, I felt like she deserved a birth story too.”

Justine shared Gigi’s story on instagram in the weeks after her birth and received thousands of messages from women all over the world admitting that they had never spoke of their early baby loss because they didn’t realise they could.

“There’s so many women having to experience early births through terminations and I wanted to share that it can be a beautiful birth experience…and that these losses can be lonely but they don’t have to be. Name your baby, share their story….you should never suffer in silence.”

A few months after Gigi’s birth, Justine discovered that she was pregnant with baby Jagger; his due date was the exact same date that Gigi was born. A beautiful sign from her angel in the stars. Her home birth was exactly what she planned; a family-centred healing birth after loss. “It was healing on a deep level…there was so much love in the room.”

Topics Discussed

Three hypnobirths, Rainbow baby, Stillbirth

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