Welcome to the thirteenth instalment in the My Real Birth Story Series! This contribution has been written by the beautiful Angelique – mother of one incredibly gorgeous little boy Louis, and creator of the amazing Instagram account – @heads.shoulders.knees. 

Through her beautiful page Heads Shoulders Knees, Angelique shares gorgeous picture book recommendations for parents, and offers advice on how those books can be used to enhance kids learnings at home. She will tell you more about it in her story, however if you are looking for some literary inspiration, then make sure you follow her by clicking the link at the bottom of her story! 

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Angelique’s contribution as much as I did xxx

Let me introduce myself!

I’m Angelique. I’m a Mama to my little boy, Louis and a wife to my long time sweetheart Vince.

Before I became a mum, I was a teacher to primary school kids and I loved my job.

I am on maternity leave at the moment and because I have major FOMO, I decided to start an Instagram account sharing all of my knowledge about literacy and learning. It’s my way of still reaching out to my community and share my love for learning, while breastfeeding my boy or watching old episodes of Friends!! (Multitasking mums for the win!!!)

My account is called Heads Shoulders Knees and I share picture book recommendations for parents and educators. I describe the books and, most importantly, write ways that parents can use these stories to educate their young ones. I include craft activity ideas when it’s relevant and beautiful discussion points to open up little minds.

Books are a great way to broaden the thinking of little kids… sometimes it’s just about knowing what questions to ask or things to say.

I love words and pictures and hope to instil this same love to Louis. But before I can flood him with words and pictures he had to be born… so here’s our story!

Note: To keep things nice and concise, my obstetrician will be known as Ob in my story.

My Real Birth Story - Image (c) mummalifelovebaby on behalf of Angelique Loverso

My very last pregnancy photo – Image © mummalifelovebaby on behalf of Angelique Loverso

So labour hey? “The big dance” I liked to call it. And man was it BIG!

Friday November 25th 2016 – I woke up at 2am with contractions. Nothing major, but just some cramps.

I tried to time them and they were happening every 15 minutes or so. I tried to sleep but couldn’t relax. At 6am Vince woke up and saw me on the couch with my little note pad. Excited that our baby was probably coming that day we started the Hypnobirthing techniques we were taught at our workshop 4 weeks earlier.

Down came the lights, on went the relaxing music and the essential oils were diffusing throughout the house. I was ready to meet my little guy or gal (we didn’t know what we were having). Little did I know that it was going to be another 2 days before he made his arrival.

Later that day I went into St Vincents Private for some monitoring, because Louis hadn’t moved much in a while. Which was unlike him. Monitoring was all normal and the contractions were steadily getting stronger and stronger.

I was sent home later that day and bunkered down in bed. I put on The Hills (yes I realise that’s a really old show, but I hadn’t seen it before) and tried to chill out as much as possible.

By about 5pm my contractions amped up so strong that I couldn’t even speak!! This was it… The Big Dance! I was having 2 to 3 contractions every 10 minutes but my water had still not broken. I rang the hospital and went on in!

With my hypnobirthing folder tucked under my arm, like a bible of labour, and a “I can totally do this!” attitude, I was ready to meet my “favourite” (that’s what we referred to our baby as). It was 10pm at this stage and Ob happened to be there delivering another baby. Phew!

After an internal examination she tells me I am only 1cm dialated! ONE EFFING CENTIMETRE! Are you kidding me?! The huge disappointment I felt was unexplainable. I was given Panadene Forte and sent home to get some “rest.” Didn’t happen.

I wake up Saturday morning (day 2 of labour) and ring my acupuncturist (PS. How good is acupuncture?!!). I head over to see him. Hopefully this can get things moving. My contractions had backed off and it was bearable.

At 2pm Ob rings me and asks me to come for some more monitoring. Off we go again to St Vs. Still, my water had not broken. The monitoring was all fine so I trekked on home again.

Back under the covers, with The Hills playing on the laptop (I’m still singing the theme song!) and trying to maintain a positive attitude as this whole labour thing was taking longer than expected! I had been back and forth to the hospital 3 times already and was getting a bit jacked of it to be honest.

Ten thirty arrives and the hypnobirthing techniques are getting harder to stay focused on. The contractions have escalated and are so strong that I can’t stay home any longer. Back to the hospital I go… for the last time. I begged them not to send me home again. They agreed.

I arrive at the hospital and I am only 4cm dialated. My water still hasn’t broken and I am exhausted. I succumb to the pain and ask for some morphine to help ease it a bit.

Throughout the night the contractions are still strong, but now they’re bearable. My labour has been up and down like a yoyo for 2 days now and I am trying to just go with the flow.

At 9am the next day Ob comes to see me. I am offered to have my waters broken for me, and put on a drip to speed up the process. I reluctantly say yes because I am utterly spent by this stage. I am also recommended to consider an epidural to help me rest and recharge so I have enough energy for when it came time to push. I say thank but no thanks (Ha!).

By midday on Sunday I had reached my capacity. The gas was not helping, the second shot of morphine I had requested did nothing and I was so tired I started to feel like crying. My hypnobirthing techniques were so helpful up until this stage but by now nothing was helping! So I did it, the thing I was avoiding the whole time. I asked for an epidural. I wanted to avoid drugs if possible and in the end I had Panadene Forte at home, 2 shots of morphine and an epidural! Haha! The whole lot!

The relief was amazing, and I was able to get some rest. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

By 4pm I was finally ready to push. I was fully dilated and my angel was about to arrive. What I didn’t know is that during this long process Louis had turned and was now sitting transverse across my abdomen.

I was pushing and pushing so hard but nothing was happening. After 45 mins of pushing Ob was called in to check what was going on. Aha! A transverse bub aint going anywhere.

My 2 options at this stage, was an emergency C-section, or I allow her the chance to rotate my baby with forceps. I really wanted the experience of giving birth, so I begged her to rotate my baby safely and help me get this little bugger out! Luckily, Louis rotated easily and I was able to push again. He was engaged correctly now and all systems were go!

As Ob gently pulls out Louis, with the help of the forceps and the space created by a pretty mean episiotomy, she stops in disbelief and tells me to stop pushing. My little ratbag, had wrapped the umbilical cord around its neck 4 times! Yes 4 times!! (So proud of my little over achiever!)

Ob carefully unravelled the cord, and then after 1 more push my “favourite” had arrived.

Crying and yelling just like he was supposed to. Our little boy was finally here! When Ob held him up I was overcome with emotion. He was ours. Our little person that grew and thrived in my tummy. He snuggled into my chest and looked up at me like we had met before. The feeling was the most surreal and magnificent thing.

In the end, all the other stuff was gone. The contractions disappeared and the anticipation had dissolved. Sixty hours of labour was all worth it (sounds corny right?! #sorrynotsorry).

The family, complete - Image © mummalifelovebaby on behalf of Angelique Loverso

First Family Photo – Image © mummalifelovebaby on behalf of Angelique Loverso

Seeing Vince look at me with such pride and respect was just as good as meeting Louis. We were a family, and our labour was long and hard. But here’s the thing about labour. It’s supposed to be hard. It has mentally prepared me for life. It’s a journey I was supposed to take in order to develop the resilience and confidence to be a strong yet peaceful parent.

You see, during labour I didn’t scream, I didn’t swear, I only cried at the end and I let Louis take me where I needed to go. I figure parenting will be the same. Louis will guide us. We will learn what he needs as we go. We’ll develop a parenting style along the way.

If I could leave you with one more thing. Give yourself permission to do what you need. There are many of my girlfriends who have had totally drugless labours. I thought I would be the same.

I did Hypnobirthing because I didn’t want to use drugs too. I went to acupuncture throughout my entire pregnancy in order to have a nice and easy labour. I continued to do Yoga (I was at my normal yoga class just the night before). I meditated. I did the pelvic floor exercises. I did it all.

But in the end, you just don’t know which way your birth journey will go!

Therefore, I gave myself permission to put my hand up and say “I’m at capacity, I need help.” Sometimes, admitting that you need a hand is the hardest part. But by damn I am happy I did it. I could not have endured an episiotomy and forceps rotation without it.

Kind of like life I guess. Put your hand up ladies and say “I need help!”

I wanted to be superwoman. I wanted to be a tough and strong role model for Louis. But in the end, I taught him something equally important… self care.

Thanks so much for reading my story. ☺

PS. I want a refund from my Acupuncturist!

Image © mummalifelovebaby on behalf of Angelique Loverso

Image © mummalifelovebaby on behalf of Angelique Loverso

Image © mummalifelovebaby on behalf of Angelique Loverso

Image © mummalifelovebaby on behalf of Angelique Loverso

If you want to follow Angelique’s Instagram account for gorgeous and constant literary inspiration, as well as crafty ideas to share with your children, then you can do so here at @heads.shoulders.knees . Do it! You will love it xx 

Do you want to see YOUR Real Birth Story Published? Then fill out the contact form below and I will be in touch to let you know how you can be involved! xxx

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