Baby William Quinn Allwright born on 2 August 2015, Weighing 3.7kg
Place of Birth: Vincent Pallotti Hospital
I knew before I fell pregnant that I wanted my pregnancy and birth to be as natural as possible. I hadn’t realised how difficult it is for a woman today to make that happen.
I have known Charlene for many many years (we were BFFs in primary school but had mostly lost touch since we were 10 years old) and followed her Facebook posts on hypnobirthing with interest but very little understanding. I’m always keen to get involved in everything, so when I fell pregnant I signed up for every pregnancy / birth / childcare course I could find (antenatal classes, baby workshops, first aid, preggy exercise classes, etc.) and added Charlene’s Relax into Birth course into the mix (I didn’t want to miss out on anything baby-related).
Charlene’s course changed the trajectory of our pregnancy and birth. Those two evenings made me even more determined to make every reasonable effort to experience the miracle of natural birth. Walking out of the course on the last day, my husband and I immediately agreed that we wanted Charlene to be our doula. We loved her gentle and calming presence, and how passionate she is about a woman’s ability to birth her baby.
After that, and empowered with knowledge, we had the appropriate discussions with our gynae (who had been my gynae for many years and therefore it hadn’t really occurred to me to explore his child-birth philosophy before then). He was neutral on the c-section vs natural debate. At 30 weeks into pregnancy, my baby was still in breach position. My gynae knew I was pro natural but started already preparing me for the possibility of a c-section. We asked him what the likelihood was of a natural birth and he implied that we should start getting used to the idea of a c-section. We decided that, although we would be happy with a c-section if medically necessary, we wanted to make every effort to avoid unnecessary surgery. We started exploring the option of having a midwife birth, and within a few days we had met with a midwife from the Birth Options team (and a back-up gynae who would be on standby in case he was needed) and switched hospitals to Vincent Pallotti to accommodate our new birth plan. It was a big decision to change care-giver and hospital so late in the game, but it was the best decision I could have made. I cannot count the number of times I had to explain to people (i) what a doula is, and (ii) why I would want my baby delivered by a midwife instead of a doctor, but I didn’t look back for a moment.
Charlene was there for me during my pregnancy, checking in on me and making sure I wasn’t anxious about the upcoming birth. I listened to the Relax into Birth CD on a daily basis and could picture myself in that beautiful garden with the lotus flower-filled pool. I was physically and mentally prepared for labour and I felt nothing but excitement for the birth of my son.
At 06h00 on 1 August 2015 (10 hours after leaving the office on my last day on the job), my water broke. I got hold of Charlene and the midwife shortly thereafter (I didn’t want to wake them too early, because it was likely to be a long day). Active labour hadn’t yet started, but Charlene was in contact with me all day to give me support and talk me through what to expect. I met up with Charlene later in the day and she helped me with some natural methods to bring on labour. The midwife assessed me and my baby and sent me home to wait it out or else return at 08h00 the next morning to be induced. We had our last supper and watched some TV, waiting for the action to start. Finally, at 23h00 that night I started getting my first real “surges”. Things were getting heated by 03h30 the next morning, so my husband lined up Charlene and the midwife to meet us at the hospital at 04h30.
At the hospital, Charlene ran me a bath, rubbed my back, lit candles and stayed by my side the whole time. Having your own midwife is amazing during labour, but your midwife is mostly “down there”. Charlene was “up here”, talking to me, encouraging me, giving me sips of apple juice to keep my blood sugar up, bringing me ice to suck on, and fanning me when things got hectic. She encouraged me with different positions to help with the pain and to facilitate the process along. Nobody knows how your labour is going to play out, so having someone there who understands the system and who calmly and gently reassures you makes it a loss less daunting.
My labour was not easy – I was weak from hours of nausea and struggled through about three hours of hard pushing. Charlene kept me in a good head space and kept reassuring me, while the midwives (I eventually had two midwives because their shifts overlapped and the original midwife didn’t want to leave me so far into the birth) patiently allowed my birth to unfold in its own time without rushing me. My baby was happy and I felt empowered in my labour, supported by Charlene, my midwives and my amazingly brave husband. My beautiful son was born completely naturally after 10 hours of active labour.
My birth was the most amazing experience of my life. While I know that it was a messy, painful, exhausting process, all I have is beautiful memories of that magical day. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to experience the birth that we did.
My son, William is absolutely perfect. He has been the most content and happy little man since the moment he was born.