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River’s Birth

"We love thinking and talking about our pregnancy, our birth and our boy."

Jacqui and Mitch attended a hypnobirthing course with me in preparation for the birth of their first baby. During the pregnancy they found out that their baby boy had a heart disease. Following birth their son had unforeseen complications and passed away a few hours after birth. Below, these incredibly strong and inspiring parents tell us about the birth of their beautiful boy River…

Trigger Warning – Baby loss 


I have wanted to tell you about my birth, Mitch and I have separated our birth from what happened after as we truly loved that experience and want it to remain a happy memory.”

I practiced my breathing and my calm bubble space constantly in the lead up to birth. My waters broke at 3am on Friday morning and I was completely calm I showered, washed my hair, we packed up the house and headed to the hospital.


The entire time I felt very relaxed and didn’t have any contractions. Because of our boy having a heart disease they wanted us to stay at the hospital overnight and if I didn’t go into natural labour then they’d induce me the next morning, no contractions started so I had a good night’s sleep at the hospital. At 5am, the next day I was taken back to the birthing unit and they started induction at 7am with syntocinon in a drip. They asked for my birth plan however I really didn’t have one as I really just wanted to “go with the flow” and do whatever was right for the health of myself and my baby, so I just asked for dim lights, played my music which was chilled songs that I like and mentioned I wanted to try not to have an epidural and if I was to have one I at least wanted it after I was 4cm. Words like contractions etc didn’t bother me at all as I don’t associate these words with anything negative, so I didn’t ask anyone to change how they worded things. The midwife we had on the day was amazing as she was very calming.

Once the early contractions started, I liked being on the birthing ball. The midwife realised he was posterior as I was feeling everything in my lower back and there he stayed until it was time to push. They started getting more intense from 10am, I would go from sitting on the toilet to back on the ball to leaning over a chair with a pillow. I was offered gas however I didn’t want it and just focused on my breathing instead so from 10am-12pm I went from 2-4cm, Mitch said my breathing was amazing. I did say to the midwife I was considering an epidural but she and Mitch both said I was doing so well and to keep going and so I did.


It started getting quite intense so the midwife suggested getting on the bed. I went on the bed lied on my side and she gave me peanut ball and I held on to the railing, this position really opened up my pelvis. From 12.30pm-2.00pm I went from 4cm-7cm here the midwife taught be how to use the gas which I then used for this entire time which certainly took the edge off, although I didn’t use it well for every contraction. During the intense contractions there were moments I had thoughts of “I can’t do this anymore” which I didn’t let myself say out loud, moments of wanting to just go to bed and wake up and deal with it later, moments where I literally forgot how to breath but my best moments were when I actually managed to only think of my breathing and think of my bubble place.

After some time, I started naturally pushing and the midwife was telling me to try not push but I was ignoring her as it felt so natural to push. She could tell I was still pushing so they checked me and I was good to go! They asked what position I wanted to be in but I actually felt comfortable being on my back, they moved the bed up so I was in a more sitting position.


I was pushing from 2.30pm. This was my favourite part of labour, the pain had lessened and I was so excited to be so close to the end. They guided me on how to push and I loved that I felt like I was completely in control since I could feel my contractions and the team would say you let us know rather than telling me. I was so close to getting him out on my own however just couldn’t quite get there so they got a doctor in to do an episiotomy which didn’t bother me. I didn’t feel the local anaesthetic go in and didn’t feel the cut which was 3cm, after this I was able to push him out. He was born at 3.11pm. The feeling was just so surreal and relieving they put him straight on my chest and Mitch got to cut the cord after delayed cord clamping.


For me it felt like I held him for the longest time however I was told it was only very brief. I will be forever grateful for that cuddle and kiss before they had to take him from me and start operating on him in the room with us.


During the entire birth Mitch was an amazing support for me. I loved having him close by and during active labour loved having him just holding my leg and just constantly told me to breath and that I was doing really well. During my pushing he was so emotional crying from how proud he was of me and how happy he was. He has been saying how in awe of me he is and that it was his proudest moment.

It truly was the best moment of our lives.


Thanks again for your class, I am so glad I did it before giving birth as lots of those tools helped me get through it and helped me reach one big goal of mine which was to not have an epidural.


My biggest note to people would be that from when we first found out about River’s heart disease at 19 weeks, we were extremely upset for our boy, however we never let this effect our pregnancy. We stayed so positive, never doubting that he wasn’t going to be ok and just wanted to continue giving him the safest home to grow inside my belly. Our biggest focus was to surround him with love and positivity. Even though we lost our boy which is far from what we or anyone at the hospital expected, we still appreciate all the positive emotions we had during pregnancy and how connected to him we were. We love thinking and talking about our pregnancy, our birth and our boy.


We’ve been surrounded by incredible support from family and friends during this time which is helping get us by.



Jacqui and Mitch would like to say a particular thanks to Westmead hospital – the pearl midwife program was amazing and the heart centre at Westmead as well as our cardiologist have been so good to us pre and post birth.

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