VBAC Birth Story | The birth of Avi – by Louise Patel

I’m so excited to share this birth story with you – not only because it’s the first birth from our HCF-Funded She Births® Trial but also because it’s a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). Louise previously birthed her twins by scheduled caesarean.

Lowering the caesarean rate in Australia is one thing, but to help reduce the incidence of a second caesarean is incredibly hard! There are numerous risk factors to weigh up with a VBAC and the increased monitoring always makes it very challenging for women.

Louise’s story is just awesome – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Here is a snippet of what she wrote after little Avi’s birth and the full birth story below. I love how healing this birth was not only for Louise but also for her own mum!


Love and gratitude,
Nadine xxx


“Avi was calm throughout with no heart rate elevation and Sunil was amazing. He was unwavering and so effective due to the practical techniques he learnt at She Births®.

My mum had been amazed by what I had learnt at the course so I asked her during the week if she wanted to be there. She was witness to the birth and felt so privileged at how things have changed in birth education – as her experiences were so different with her own four children.

Nadine, I have an enormous sense of maternal satisfaction that is hard for me to even put into words. This has been a life changing experience for both of us and we are richer as a result of it. We are so grateful that we did She Births®. You put me in touch with an intuition and knowledge that was already inside myself. It gave me permission and confidence to trust my natural instinct.”



We have a limited number of places left in our HCF-Funded She Births® Trial – if you’re a pregnant HCF member you could be eligible for a free She Births® Weekend Course. You’ll find all the details here, and make sure to let your friends know!



Milton Yoga Hub | Saturday 10 Feb | 12pm – 1pm

Join me at the gorgeous Milton Yoga Hub to find out what She Births® is all about and how the program can help you and your partner create a beautiful birth, no matter what unfolds. This session is for mamas-to-be and their partners.

Duke & Co | Saturday 10 Feb | 1.30pm – 2.30pm

If you’re a midwife, doula or women’s health specialist interested in becoming a She Births® Educator, join me to find out what makes She Births® unique, how we improve birth outcomes, what it takes to become an Educator, and the curriculum and clinicals involved as part of the training program.

RSVP to [email protected].



Acupuncture Collective is offering one FREE acupuncture treatment to all mamas-to-be who book into a She Births® Weekend Course in Sydney.

Treatments take place in a relaxed, comfortable and spacious group environment by highly skilled, qualified health professionals. There are three locations to choose from: Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction and Sydney CBD.

Find out more: acupuncturecollective.com.au



How did you prepare for this birth?

We only had a week between completed the She Births® Weekend Course and the birth but after the course I focused on things that felt important and relevant to me. This included the breathing techniques and when they were to be used, visualisation of the birth from start to end, learning the physiology of the uterus and role of the naturally occurring hormones and the stages of labour and what roughly to expect. I do yoga regularly but I began to spend more time in baddha konasana and upavistha konasana and the squat positions. I also took on a few more refinements in my diet according to the information we received in the course.

How did your labour start?

I had been having some lower back pain from Thursday evening which I didn’t think too much about. My twins had become clingier the longer I was pregnant so I was spending a lot more time carrying them around so I put it down to this. I went about my usual routine going to yoga in the mornings both on Friday and again on Saturday and had spent most of Friday wandering around the markets carrying the kids and shopping. The pains on Friday night woke me up from sleep on a few occasions.

On Saturday the pains were coming more frequently so I called the hospital where they told me to eat and rest for two hours then call back. By the time I called back the pains were coming every five minutes but I still did not think I was in labour, it was too early! I assumed I had overdone it the last couple of days and purely went for a check to get my husband off my back! When walking up to the hospital, I had to stop three or four times with contractions that were taking my breath away. When I arrived at 3:15pm they put Avi and I on a monitor and did a fibrinogen test and established I was in premature labour. I was 2cm dilated. I was given nifedipine to stop the labour with no success and then given steroids to prepare Avi’s lungs. By 6:55pm I was fully effaced, Avi was born at 7:15pm!

How did u bring your baby into the world? 

Natural vaginal birth at 31 + 5 weeks old.

Who supported you throughout labour and the birth?

My husband, a relieving obstetrician, two midwives, and my Mum towards the end.

What was the most challenging part of the birth? 

Right before my waters were broken was challenging as the sensation was intense. I also found the need to push confronting and different to how I expected. I felt I didn’t know how to do this so I asked the midwives to tell me exactly what to do and after a few go’s I got the hang of it. I remember hearing about “blowing out candles” for pushing but this was not the case in my situation. I was asked to hold my breath and bear down. I’m not sure if this was due to NICU doctors and nurses waiting for Avi to be born quickly so they could take him back to the unit.

What helped you the most through the birth experience?

My husband’s lower back massage and very firm pressure on my lower back during strong contractions was very effective. The back tickling in between contractions I also found very relaxing.

The different breathing techniques during the different phases of labour were great for my concentration and helping me to relax in between the waves.

Understanding the physiology of the uterus muscles and the role of the hormones and how and why these can be disrupted helped me to rationalise the sensation and enabled me to stay focused. It also helped me to visualise what my baby was doing.

The importance of resting in between contractions was also a handy tip that I found helpful.

In what way was this birth different to the birth of your twins?

It was unexpected, as opposed to my twins who were a planned c-section. I felt disconnected during the c-section experience and following the birth. I didn’t see my twins for quite a few hours and I was in a lot of pain and pretty bombed out on analgesia. My milk took a week to come in and my recovery was much longer with the caesarean.

With Avi’s birth I felt I was connected and in control all the time. I felt like I was taking responsibility and owning the situation head on.

What did you learn about yourself this birth?

To trust my instincts and that I’m stronger than I thought I was.

Describe your birth experience in three words:

Innate. Fearless. Empowering.