My name is Avril Bruins, I’m a Birth Doula, HypnoBirthing® Practitioner and Hypnotherapist in Perth, WA.
Welcome to Weaving Calm. If you are pregnant, congratulations! Pregnancy, birth and parenthood is a journey filled with love and joy. The excitement of a new baby seems to connect family and strangers alike. The cornerstone of all this is the unique bond that is formed between mother, father and baby. This bond is sacred and is to be respected above all else. So how do we achieve a pregnancy, birth and baby that is calm, joyful and strengthens this family bond?
HypnoBirthing® is as much a philosophy as it is a tool for families to learn how to achieve a birth that is relaxing, fearless and calm. Marie Mongan’s method was developed in 1989 and is a complete childbirth education program for mums and birthing companions encompassing the following things, all designed to work in perfect harmony with nature and your baby:
- Relaxation techniques
- Self hypnosis
- Breathing techniques
I am an Australian Doula professionally trained to support you during your birth. It is a true privilege and honour for me to continue our relationship and nurture you and your birth companion during your birth to help you achieve the birth you have prepared for.
For more information, please contact me.
The birth of my first son wasn't traumatic for me, but he was posterior and I ended up with a third degree tear, so when I became pregnant with my second son, I was already hoping for a better birth experience. I had read many good things about having a doula so I decided to hire a doula. I told my husband that I wanted a doula and he was a bit nonchalant about it, and didn't really understand what they did but was happy to go with what I wanted. From the first email to Avril I felt immediately comfortable with her. We met and I decided I would love to go ahead and have her as an extra support person for my labour. I told my husband that she wanted to meet him too, to make sure he was comfortable with her. I think he was still a bit confused about why I wanted a doula, but he also felt at ease with Avril straight away. As the due date got closer and closer I started to get a bit stressed worrying about another potential bad tear, I was also moving house a couple of weeks before my due date, so this added to my stress. Avril was there for me on phone and email always giving me encouragement and support which helped me to stay in a positive frame of mind.
My due date came and went and I was due to be induced, which I wasn't really pleased about, but was so ready to have the baby out. I wanted to do things as natural as possible and wanted to have an active labour, which was pretty much out if I was to be induced. Luckily, the night before I started having contractions 10min apart the whole night, but then they stopped by the morning. So off to hospital I went for the induction and Avril was there to meet hubby and I with contagious energy!
I had to wait for a birth suite to become available so Avril got me walking, walking, walking in an effort to get the contractions going again and bring in labour. We walked, we talked and we laughed. It was actually just so nice feeling so relaxed and comfortable before the event.
The time came where my waters were broken and, after much discussion, I was given some time to go into labour naturally before they would put me on the drip. So again we walked. My contractions started again straight away and Avril, hubby and I walked up and down the birth suite halls only stopping for my contractions. In between contractions, all three of us were chatting and laughing. During contractions, I had hubby or Avril massaging my back or giving me encouragement.
Things ramped up quickly and the laughing and chatting really ceased while we focused on getting me through
contractions. Baby was posterior again so I really needed to focus to get through the pain. I remember at one stage being on the fit ball, holding onto hubby and leaning into him while I had Avril behind me applying warm packs and massaging my back.
Baby ended up being born a little over three hours after they broke my waters so labour was extremely hard and fast. So my labour with my first son was 13 hrs, posterior bub and ended with a third degree tear. This one was just over three hours, no epidural and while i did receive a tear, it was no where near as bad! Avril was there throughout the whole process and seemed to anticipate what I wanted. She stayed with me until I was settled in my room. Poor thing must have had a sore hand as I was squeezing her hand when they were stitching me up while hubby had his first cuddles.
The next day I was chatting to hubby and I said how I was so glad we had a doula and asked him what he thought. He actually said that she was a "necessity"! He said he felt a bit clueless about what he should be doing to help me out but she was there providing guidance and supporting him as well.
I honestly couldn't thank Avril enough for being there with the support she offered and sharing the birth of my son. I would recommend Avril without a moments hesitation!
Avril was our Doula and she helped make the lead up to and the birth of my son less stressful. She offered a calming, easy going and non-intrusive presence. I was a bit nervous and felt underprepared at times, especially as I had no family around. Avril is very thoughtful and patient, but her happiness was contagious and she gave me so much reassurance that it helped me focus on enjoying the experience and looking forward to the imminent arrival. As our doula, she helped my husband integrate purposefully into the birthing experience. Her presence at such a momentous & personal occasion was supportive, encouraging, calm, strong and joyful. She melted into the background at times, but was always there providing hands on support and anticipated things before I knew I needed them. I felt truly supported and safe throughout my baby's birth. Thanks Avril for all the wonderful intuitive things you did to help me and to welcome our beautiful baby into the world. You are one very special person.
Lee, Jake and Lachlan Macalister
Having a Doula for my pregnancy and the birth of my baby was a fantastic experience that I would highly recommend to everyone, I whished I had of done it with my previous pregnancy's.
This was my fourth pregnancy and it was the most different and difficult from the rest of my pregnancy's due to health reasons, it was quite stressful and seeing Avril in the later part of my pregnancy was extremely helpful & beneficial, she completely distressed me, allowing me to be open and ready for the birth of my baby.
The breathing techniques that she taught me along with the relaxing c.d's, visits and mediations were all fantastic tools in helping prepare my mind & body for the birth of my baby.
It was very reassuring to know that I had the support of another woman during my birth and after, and it also gave me peace of mind knowing that their would be extra support which helped my husband to relax even more. Avril is a great birth doula!
I first met Avril when my partner, Michael, and I were searching for a way to keep my hospital birth as natural as possible. I was interviewing doulas and arranged to meet Avril for coffee and a “quick chat”. Two and a half hours later, we finally stopped talking and I went home positive that I wanted this person to be a part of our journey, in one way or another.
We hired Avril as both our doula and hypnobirthing coach. Over the next few weeks, Avril came to our home to guide us through hypnobirthing exercises and instil in me a sense of faith in my own body and ability to birth naturally. She also encouraged me to contact the Family Birth Centre (despite already being 30 weeks pregnant) to see if I could be transferred there for the water birth I’d dreamed of. I did, I could, and I was. I felt so incredibly calm and confident about everything!
When the time finally came, almost two weeks past my due date, I began feeling surges (contractions) in the wee hours of a Thursday morning. On Friday night my surges were coming stronger and more frequently. I incessantly texted Avril, unsure of whether this was the “real thing.” She texted back through the night, offering tips and reassurance. She came over at 4am, right about the time my surges began to die off. When it became clear my labour was dying down, we went through a progressive relaxation script, which enabled me to finally relax and get the rest I needed, and she left us to sleep.
My labour continued to stop and start until Sunday night, when things got more serious. With Avril’s advice, I made myself a nest downstairs in our home, put on my relaxation music, lit some candles and laboured in my zone, without waking Michael until I needed his support. Around 4am I woke both he and Avril, convinced, and determined by this stage, that we were going to have a baby. Avril came round, we closed all the blinds and I went inside myself to labour into the second stage. At 7am Avril suggested we call the birth centre, and we made our way in excited to meet our baby!
Twelve hours of very calm, relaxed labour later, my labour had not progressed beyond 6cm of dilation. During this time I felt completely at ease despite having intense back labour. I had no idea how much time had passed and had very little awareness that my labour wasn’t progressing normally. I breathed through surges as Avril and Michael used light touch massage and encouraging words to keep me going. We laughed and chatted in between surges with my mum who was also in the room. I didn’t really realise that things weren’t going according to plan until our midwife informed us that my cervix wasn’t dilating the way it should have been and that we were going to have to look into taking action to help my baby make his way into the world. She advised a rupturing of the membranes, which I was hesitant about. Despite not having wanted any intervention, we chose to go ahead with the rupturing of the membranes in the best interests of the baby’s and my health. Unfortunately, the baby had passed meconium in the amniotic fluid and so we wouldn’t be able to have our water birth and would be transferred to the main hospital. I was upset, but understanding of hospital protocol and had learned, through hypnobirthing training, to face special circumstances in a calm and confident manner. I wasn’t so confident when the surges started coming faster and harder and in my moment of weakness I was convinced I couldn’t go on. My partner and Avril talked me through it and reminded me that my body was made for this, that I could do it. As we entered the birthing suite at the hospital, I went inside myself and coped with it all as best I could. Whenever I would forget to breathe or began to tense up and swear, Avril placed a hand on my shoulder to relax me and reminded me to breathe. By this time, my uterus was starting to tire and my surges were becoming more erratic. In order to get my labour back on the right path, the medical team explained they felt the only option was to try using artificial oxytocin to regulate more steady and effective surges, that I would require an epidural in order for my body to tolerate this, and that failing that we would need to consider a caesarean.
My dream birth was falling apart, all my affirmations were being challenged and my body was certainly not acting like it was made for birthing! It was hard, knowing that everything I’d wanted was going out the window, one thing at a time, but I felt able to cope with it all knowing that I had an amazing birthing team who supported me so fully and completely and that we would get through it all together. They went ahead with the syntocinon and epidural, my cervix finally dilated, we avoided a caesarean and six hours later I was huffing and puffing and pushing out my big, beautiful baby boy, who entered the world 24 hours after we had arrived at the hospital, with his cord tightly wrapped around his neck and his hand up to his face, trapped underneath the cord. This small complication had meant uneven pressure on the cervix, and therefore a delayed progress of dilation of the cervix. This small complication had thrown all my ideals about labour out the window. Strangely though, I felt okay. I felt confident that I had done absolutely all I could do to birth my baby naturally and unassisted. I felt proud that I had managed to birth him vaginally in the end. Most of all, I felt amazingly and incredibly supported by the people around me. More than once, I opened my eyes to view the world from my secret place within, and looked at the people in the room with me, knowing they were all there for me. Avril and Michael had worked so well together to ensure that I was never alone, never unsupported, never wanting for anything. They had my back, literally, every step of the way. Avril got more than she bargained for and had been awake by my side for 30 hours of pretty full on labour and she never even yawned (she might have, but she hid it well). Had it not been for our hypnobirthing classes and her guidance, I doubt Michael would have had the tools to support me in the incredible way that he did. She even supported my mum when she started to worry about me! I don’t remember much about the rooms I was in, the things going on around me or the words that were spoken, but I remember feeling like no matter what happened, I was going to be okay, because these people were here for me. I remember feeling completely surrounded by love, which is an amazing feat when one of those people is a woman you’ve only known for two months.
Still, a month on from my little man’s arrival, Avril continues to provide me with strength, understanding, knowledge and support and for all of this, I am so grateful.
Avril - our labour would not have been the same without you. I drew strength from you, partly because you were a rock and also because you were constantly able to remind me of my own strength. You made our team cohesive, you coordinated us; you are the reason I was able to see not just individuals that loved me in the room, but a support network with whom I couldn’t fail.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!