Cassie's beautiful birth

Pregnancy Yoga

I wanted to email you to give you my heart and body and soul-felt thanks. Our third child, Reuben, was born last Sunday night in what was the most phenomenal birthing experience of my life. And I'm not just saying it, your classes were absolutely instrumental in teaching me the skills and instincts that I have inside of me to have allowed that beautiful birth to take place.

My two previous labours were drug free, active labours. But the way I dealt with the pain was to 'match' it with an action/sound that was, in my mind, strong enough to distract myself from the pain of the contractions. My first child was breech and his labour ended in a section. My daughter was then born vaginally, but in a "push hard, swear your head off" kind of way!

Reuben's birth was unlike anything I could have imagined. We had taken the whole family to the Gold Coast for photos at sunrise that morning. I was tired from traipsing through the sand with my toddler wrapped in my back. So when my labour began at home around 1pm I rested as much as I could and during this time. I had your voice in my head guiding me through each contraction, and mentally preparing me for the night ahead. For about six hours my contractions stayed about 8-10 minutes part, and I resisted standing up and increasing their intensity until I felt I had the rest I needed (and until they started increasing of their own accord!).

Like my previous labours my contractions ramped up quite suddenly and after we put the kids to bed my husband and I left my mum at home and headed up to the hospital. I had been in the Mater Midwifery Group Program and I met my midwife and student midwife up there. (My student midwife was Cheryl Rolls - not sure if the spelling - she said she used to work for you and wanted to say Hi!). I could feel that my contractions were verging on transition but instead of yelling and banging my stress balls I just breathed through them. Forceful breathing, but just breath!

We went straight to birth suite and my midwife attached the monitor. I asked to hop down off the bed and into the floor. She happily shoved the bed aside and made space for me on the ground with a beanbag and ball. I knelt upright over the bean bag with my husband sitting on the ball in front of me and continued to let my body do its thing.

My mind was filled with all I had absorbed into my body during your classes. When I needed to yell I instead said a deep 'ahhhh'. When I hit a mental wall, even though I genuinely felt for a second that I couldn't do it, I knew that this was just one of those stages you spoke about and the thought passed as quickly as it had come. When I felt the need to push I just breathed the baby out. I felt my muscles contracting and pushing all of their own accord. Something I had never felt in my VBAC.

In three pushes, with my mind calm and in control, with my breath and my body's own power, Reuben was born ten minutes later. The monitor record in the room was less than 20 minutes long.

He was not breathing when he was born, but my midwife handed him to me straight away (literally just ignoring the hospital midwife who had come to assist and wanted to cut the cord and 'wake him up'). I held him against my skin (again the only birth I've been able to do so) and breathed into his face and watched him take his first breath with the sane calm that I felt. We left the cord to stop pulsing on its own and I delivered the placenta naturally (maybe the only time I made a conscious choice to use an active birth pose, I held behind my knee - the shakti pose? - and gave a little push and out it came. There was a true knot in Reuben's cord, but it was so long and thick that it had never pulled tight. Even during the birth. He was always meant to come earth side to us in this beautiful and healthy way.

Four hours after his birth we came home. We hopped into our own bed and my whole family slept while I let my mind bathe in the absolute beauty of what I had just experienced.

Thank you, thank you. I know I was "lucky" to have a midwife and student midwife whose own instincts and practices were geared towards this beautiful kind of birthing experience. But I had in my body all that you had taught me and found an instinct and power inside of me that I think is so often lost in our busy, modern, over-thinking world.

Witt much love and thanks,
Cassie Nguyen