The Birth of Ava, February 2012

Our beautiful daughter Ava was born on Monday, weighing 9lb 6oz, 56cm long.

At the time I was 41 weeks plus 4 days pregnant and labour was induced. I was happy to carry for longer if all was well, however my waters partially broke three days prior and the risk of infection was too great to continue. We had been attending the hospital every day for monitoring.

When we arrived at the hospital I felt very nervous, almost like an outlaw handing myself over to the police. It was not what I had imagined;  I had wanted to labour at home for as long as I could, not be at the hospital from the get go. I had hoped so much to go into labour naturally – but it just didn’t happen. Infact I had most likely been in early labour for most of the week prior, with contractions on and off. I was already 3-4 cm dilated and had sprung a leak.

Given all of those circumstances, induction with the syntocinon drip was my only option. This also meant continuous monitoring throughout labour but we were able to get a wireless machine which made moving around a bit easier. We also hired a doula Tina, and she was a great support to both Aaron and I during the whole process.

Labour came on thick and fast, so I didn’t need much Syntocin and the dose was able to be reduced as my body took over.

I used the surge breathing and the J breathing techniques and this helped me have Ava in 4 hours without the use of any other pain relief. It was the most intense experience of my life and the hospital staff could not believe I was induced with Syntocin and did it without any other pain relief. Our doula believes this was due to HypnoBirthing.

The only downside was sustaining a third degree tear that required stitching. I believe this was due to Ava being such a big baby, birthing in a hospital setting (where the second stage of labour is on a time schedule) and birthing using a birthing stool. The midwife coached me to push her out and although they said this was controlled and slow – it only took an hour.

We did have delayed cord clamping, however we I could not have a physiological 3rd stage due to being induced.

Ava had skin to skin contact immediately with both of us and had her first breast feed in the birth suite. We have continued to breastfeed but have had some obstacles with her being tongue tied. We had that snipped on tuesday and attachment has been better and more comfortable.

She is a good baby and has already regained her birth weight plus 200g in the first week. We also hired a private lactation consultant which has been great to help with attachment techniques and also put my mind at ease.

I thought I was prepared for this experience, but in truth nothing can prepare you for the whole thing. It’s life changing. Initially I couldn’t come down from the birth and felt very anxious about everything to do with Ava. But I’m starting to slowly feel better and having a gorgeous little bundle of joy to look at and nurture makes it all worthwhile.

– Heather

Note from Bree: Induced labours (especially when induced with Syntocin) are renowned for being intense, fast and challenging.

Heather did an amazing job birthing her baby so smoothly and without any pain relief. As a few weeks have passed she is becoming more proud of her efforts and realising what an amazing thing her body and baby achieved together with their support team. Comments from the hospital midwives also serve to reinforce this

Personally, I congratulate Heather and Aaron on the birth of Ava and know you are already making wonderful parents!