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"I felt so empowered to have birthed my baby without any drugs or medical intervention" An

Birth Story of Vin Levi 7.09.2016

Mick and I are so excited to announce the birth of our precious, perfect little man, Vin Levi Bruton. Born Wednesday 7th September 2016 at 6.29pm, weighing 5 pounds 8 ounces and measuring 48cm long.

This is our birth story...

I am currently lying in my hospital bed At 5.20am Thursday 8th September, the morning after my perfect little man arrived into the world. I decided to write my birth story now and continue to add to it so I can remember every little detail (well most - some may need the help from my husband)!

Throughout the entire pregnancy Mick and I were very focused on achieving the most positive, natural and special birth possible for our little baby. Myself seeing first hand the positive effects meditation can have on pain relief (my mum suffered brain tumours and often meditation was her only saving grace when nothing else would work - not even the strongest of pain meds)... We decided to try hypnobirthing.

Going in as first time parents neither of us had any idea what to expect out of the whole pregnancy and birthing experience, but we knew we wanted it to be as positive as possible so were very careful to block out any negative birthing stories to ensure we could create the one that we wanted.

At 25 weeks we had our hypnobirthing classes with Shari Lyon from Belly to Birth. We ended up having the hypnobirthing classes privately rather than in a group scenario due to Micks shift roster not lining up with any of the class dates. The private class ended up being absolutely amazing, being able to learn everything that hypnobirthing and Shari had to offer in the comfort of our home was a great experience! The biggest thing that we walked away from our hypnobirthing classes for both Mick and I was the education about birth from start to finish. What hormones are released, what these mean, what interventions are offered and how this can interact with your body and baby and especially the relaxation techniques of how to get through labour and birth as naturally as possible. We both walked away from the two day course feeling (dare I say it) prepared and excited for what was to come!

For the duration of the pregnancy we really committed to practicing our techniques and keeping that positive and empowered mindset. I would listen to my positive birth affirmations everyday on my morning walk and would practice my breathing and meditation alongside my yoga. Outside of hypnobirthing I really believe that the relaxation of the meditation and gentle stretching of the yoga really helped my body start everyday feeling great.

Diverting a little bit off track but I feel it's so important to mention the importance for me to stay fit and active throughout my pregnancy. Taking all misconceptions of body image aside, this was important for me to remain happy, healthy and positive. From 12 weeks pregnancy I started personal training sessions with Tamara Murphy from the Ultimate Body Personal Training and I continued to attend her classes all the way up until 36 weeks. Having a trainer who specialises in pre and post natal fitness was such a reassuring thing and I felt comfortable and confident the whole way through.

I was exceptionally lucky throughout my entire pregnancy from start to finish. I did not suffer from morning sickness or any other of the side effects that can come with pregnancy. In saying that when I did feel a bit off or unwell I would always try and pro actively change how I was feeling. By no means I am saying this will work for everyone but it sure helped me!

As this was our first baby we decided to trust our medical care with who we believed to be the best obstetrician available - Dr Adam Bush. From our very first consultation we left feeling so happy, relaxed and confident. Dr bush had the most gentle bedside manner and is so experienced and knowledgable we always felt confident with his advice and decisions.

As our pregnancy was running very smoothly there was little to discuss in most of our appointments, however being able to see Bub on the ultrasound at each appointment was so reassuring. At our 29 week check up we found out that Bub had turned into the breech position (meaning he was legs down, head up - the wrong position for a natural birth). Dr bush very calmly explained what all this meant and gave us lots of advice on natural methods to turn Bub such as yoga stances and moxa sticks. At each of our fortnightly appointments as Bub was quickly running out of room it was looking less and less likely Bub was going to turn to head down on his own meaning we had to discuss the possibility of a schedule c-section. This was so far from our birth preferences and definitely not what I wanted, at that moment I was feeling a bit defeated and upset that I had wasted all this time practicing hypnobirthing to not even be able to deliver naturally. By our 36 week appointment when we had almost come to terms and accepted that we would be booking in for a c-section bub had decided to turn to the perfect position for a natural birth, well you would imagine my excitement! Everything was back on track..

By this time we were up to our weekly appointments with Dr bush. At 37 weeks we had our measuring scan to see what bubs estimated birth weight was going to be. To our shock Bub was only measuring at less than 5.5 pounds, which put him in the very low birth weight for his gestational age. Over the next couple of weeks this was very closely monitored by Dr Bush to ensure Bub was still growing and getting all the nutrients he needed from the placenta. By 39 weeks Bub had only grown 50grams in a two week period and unfortunately this was not enough.

On Tuesday the 6th September we went in for our follow up appointment with Dr Bush who explained the necessity for bub to be delivered sooner rather than later; as he was going to grow more once born and feeding. Obviously the health of our little man was our number one priority and with this in mind we were booked in for the next day to be induced.

Dr Bush was very supportive of our birth preferences knowing we wanted as natural of birth as possible and as such we went ahead with artificial rupture of membranes (or braking of the waters). I was already 1cm dilated and my cervix had started to thin naturally so there was no need for any other induction/intervention.

Now we are getting to the exciting bit…

At 7.15am on Wednesday the 7th September we excitedly made our way to the hospital to be admitted for induction. I have never been more totally excited in my life! To my surprise I was very calm, I kept saying to my husband, “It feels like Christmas morning as a child and we have to wait for the parents to wake before we can open our presents”.

Once admitted we were shown to our room and our birthing suite. The Mater hospital was amazing and to have our own rooms that we could go between throughout the day was so good. We made our way to the birthing suite to be monitored on the ECG and by 8.30am Dr Bush has arrived to perform the ARM. The whole process was over in about 10 minutes and was only slightly uncomfortable.

From here we were encouraged to go out and get a coffee and go for a walk while we waited for labour to progress. We had to come back every 2 hours to be monitored on the ECG. We were both feeling very relaxed and excited about what was to come, we went for an hour long walk at the marina and talked in anticipation for what we had ahead of us. By 12.30 Dr Bush came for his first round of check ups and although contractions had started they were only coming roughly every 5 minutes and were very bearable. Due to bub being so tiny we could not risk labour to be too long. As I was very strongly against the use of the syntocinon drip we agreed to be re-checked at 2pm.

It was time to get serious, this is where I really delved into the hypnobirthing techniques I had learned to try and get things progressing. I set up my scent diffuser, put on my relaxation music and massaged by belly with Clary Sage while really focusing on my breathing. It was incredible how quickly using these techniques changed my labour. I went from minimal contractions to very regular strong contractions every 1.5 minutes. By 2pm I was 4cm dilated and progressing very well through labour, meaning we had avoided the syntocin drip!

As contractions strengthened I really focused on my breathing to get through them. My husband couldn't believe that I could go from totally normal and chatting away to completely centred and focused through my contractions. By 4.30pm things really started to intensify and I could feel myself going through transition; I got very shaky and a bit nauseous. By this stage I was totally centred, just focusing on breathing and relaxing my body. I had another ECG at this time, laying down was the worst! During my 10 hour labour I could not bear to sit or lay at all, so I would walk and sway through my contractions.

The midwife suggested a shower at 5.30pm, I don't think I was even in the shower for five minutes when I said to my husband "I think it's time, I feel like I'm ready to push". Knowing that Dr Bush was due to come back to check on me at 6pm the midwife asked if we wanted to wait for the check as I still seemed quiet relaxed. I asked the midwife to do the check as I literally felt like I was holding off from pushing. After examination the midwife was surprised that I was fully dilated. She called the doctor and I got into my birthing position.

It's amazing how your body completely takes over, one particular affirmation comes to mind "your body and your baby know how to birth"; I kept reminding myself of this and worked with my body by bearing down through contractions.

Whilst in active labour everyone's voices sort of sounded muffled, my husband and midwife were quietly encouraging me however the only voice that cut through was that of Dr Bush. This really proved to me the importance to have someone that you trust completely to assist you with your birth.

After only 14 minutes of pushing my beautiful son was in my arms. He was so perfect and from that moment I felt a flood of emotion and overwhelming love that I cannot explain. They say there is nothing stronger than a mothers love, well that is certainly true!

I delivered my placenta within a couple of minutes after Bub.

We then had almost 2 hours of skin to skin where both my husband and I were able to soak up every amazing feeling that comes with being a new parent.

(other than the initial breaking of waters). I always wondered how people could say that birthing was a 'beautiful' experience, however I am now one of those people.

I am so grateful by how lucky I was throughout my entire pregnancy and birth. I honestly believe that being fit, healthy, positive and prepared were what made the whole experience so amazing!

There are so many horror stories about pregnancy and birth and that's why I wanted to share my positive experience. I hope that by sharing my story a soon to be mum can know that it is possible to have a beautiful birth and it's something to look forward to not be scared of!

One of my biggest lessons through my pregnancy is that every body is different, never base your experience on that of another, focus on creating your own perfect story!

Now to go an soak up as many newborn cuddles as I can!

Angie & Mick 💕

Gladstone, Central Queensland

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