I never would have thought that one of the most amazing times in my life, my second pregnancy and the beautiful, calm water birth that welcomed our son Ethan into our world would months later be discovered as being physically traumatic to my son with a case of Flat Head Syndrome (Plagiocephaly).
I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with Ethan. It was the day after my daughter, Ivanka’s second birthday – 29.11.2015. I remember this day so well because of how those two pink lines made me feel. After over a year of my husband Alex and I trying to conceive Ethan and all of the feelings that go along in that ride from hopefulness to complete disappointment, our prayer had finally been answered and we had been blessed with baby number two. I can’t explain the extreme happiness and joy that radiated through me the moment the pregnancy test showed positive. I screamed and cried with content and ran straight to my husband to share the news. It was such an amazing moment in our lives together.
From that moment I had fallen in love with another human. I didn’t know if he was a boy or girl, what his name would be or what he would look like, all I knew was that I wanted to love nourish and care for him as much as I possibly humanly could. Not a day or hour went by where I wasn’t thinking of him, he was always in my thoughts. All the plans for his nursery, the names just all the fun things in the early stages of the pregnancy were always in the back of my mind because that’s what made me feel closer to him – visualizing the nice things.
I loved going to all the antenatal appointments, it was a sense of getting to know the baby growing inside me and keeping updated with his health. I was receiving my antenatal care through my trusted GP in the very early stages and from 3 months, The Family Birth Centre – part of King Edward Hospital – in Perth. The reason why I chose the birth center was that I wanted to experience one of these highly spoken of natural water births. Whilst my daughter was born traditionally in a hospital room with me hooked up to an epidural for hours then the long hospital stay, I wanted to try an alternative birth approach that would benefit my recovery time, my body in the process of birth and being able to be back home as soon as possible with my husband and two children.
I went for my 20 weeks scan and for me this was what I had been waiting for since the day I found out I was pregnant again. I was sitting on the ultrasound chair; my heart was racing with anticipation. The lady was looking for a sign but I was the first to see it, it was a boy as bright as day! This is when it really hit home for us that we were welcoming a son into our family. How lucky we were to get one of each.
All the rest of the pregnancy went really well with no complications. I spent a lot of time bonding with him in my tummy, baby shopping and putting together a million names everyday until finally hubby and I could agree on one together; his name was to be Ethan Zander Acevedo.
I went into labor spontaneously with Ivanka at 38w so I was expecting similar to happen with the second pregnancy. Nope, was not the case. This baby did not want to come out! I was induced naturally via a stretch and sweep at 41 weeks on a Tuesday around 11am. I went home and prepared everything in hope that he would finally make an appearance within 2 days. I had light contractions all afternoon and evening but I honestly thought they were just Braxton hicks because they were not changing intensity.
At 11pm I woke up to a huge contraction that just kept occurring and increasing intensity; by 12:30am we were on our way to the birth center. Just after 1am I stepped into the birthing pool and labored in there. I had no drugs, the only thing I had was remembering the hypnobirthing meditation that I had spent months listening to, to push me through the next 1.5 hours. My favorite affirmations that I replayed in my head over and over again were “Mummy and baby working together in perfect harmony”, “Each contraction brings my baby closer to me” and “To trust my body’s innate wisdom to do what it is designed to do”.
When I was half way through pushing, I asked for the gas as the pressure was very intense and there was no break between contractions. The gas essentially separated my mind from my body; I was still in pain but my mind wasn’t focusing on it. I moved away from the ledge of the birthing pool and had my last few pushes with my husband opposite me. At 3:00am, I caught baby Ethan in my arms and bought him out of the water and onto my chest. It was truly breathtaking; there is no greater feeling than giving life to your own child and holding them for the first time as they take their first breaths.
I was so proud of what I had just accomplished.
*** To read Part II: “Flat Head Syndrome & Torticollis: Ethan’s Journey Part II”, CLICK HERE
Flat Head Syndrome / Plagiocephaly / Torticollis Perth