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Episode 201

Bannie Williams

Bannie suffered terrible morning sickness during her pregnancy which she had under the care of a private Obstetrician. Bannie, a yoga teacher and owner of @fortgreen yoga studio in Melbourne’s north. Crippled with nausea and vomiting in her first trimester, she was physically and mentally challenged by the rapid changes to her body and was relieved when her second trimester gave her renewed energy and strength. She practised yoga throughout her pregnancy, flowing through asanas with newfound flexibility (thanks to a burst of relaxin), bonding with her baby and creating mental space and awareness that she would utilise in her labour. She birthed in the private hospital under the care of her obstetrician and went home after four days with a deep appreciation for her body and its innate power. Inspired to support pregnant women and new mothers, she is currently training to be a pre and postnatal yoga teacher.

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“We didn’t want to put any pressure on ourselves so we were hesitant to admit we were officially trying to fall pregnant. Instead we just said we’d see what happened and a week later we conceived,” says Bannie, who still seems shocked by how quickly she fell. Her baby, Daphne, recently turned one and she admits that reflecting on her pregnancy and birth is a lovely opportunity to reminisce.

Five days before her period was due – which was like clockwork – she did a test that was negative. She didn’t think any more of it but when her period was late she was confused and a few days later she wondered what was going on. The next test she took confirmed her suspicions.

“It was strange…I was in a bit of a shock…it wasn’t one of those elated moments but more of an overwhelming shock. When the news sunk in overnight I started to get excited, thinking about all that was going to be.”

She minimised her practise in the first trimester and seemingly disappeared from her bustling business as she was bedridden with vomiting and nausea. Having also studied nutrition, she was incredibly challenged by her limited diet of dry crackers and admits it was quite a dark time. Her GP referred her to Dr Peter England at St Vincent’s Private and after a bit of research she felt confident in her decision to see him throughout her pregnancy.

“I felt amazing in the second trimester, I was strong and energised and I was going to yoga classes 5-6 days a week, walking a lot, eating the foods I enjoy and I felt great. I was high on life! I was really aware of not having too many expectations for how I wanted to use my breath awareness and breathing techniques during the labour. I had a toolbox that I could refer to throughout the birth; yoga kept me mobile, I didn’t have any fluid retention, I did a lot of squats and I used it as a bonding experience with my baby. But mostly I was creating mental space which definitely helped me throughout the birth. Yoga during pregnancy was more of a mental release than a physical one.”

Bannie lost her mucus plug and had a bloody show at 38 weeks and the next night she started experiencing period pain.

“By 1am things started to get intense; they weren’t too bad but they were strong enough to start timing. My contractions in those early stages were irregular in length but close together and they didn’t really fit the early labour framework that I’d been told about so I wasn’t sure if they were real. I got up to go to the toilet and my waters broke so I knew it was on.”

Bannie and her husband, Nick, made their way to the hospital and arrived at 3am. When she was checked at 7am she was 3-4cm dilated and feeling uncomfortable and nauseous and had already vomited a few times. The midwives encouraged her to get off the bed and get moving on the fitball and although she was reluctant she was grateful for following their advice as she felt so much better being upright.

“My obstetrician was back from holidays that morning and I was so happy to see him when he walked in the room. He checked me around midday and I was 6-7cm. I was in a lot of pain and feeling quite disheartened….he told me I’d be ready to push by about 3pm. He left and then half-an-hour later I had an overwhelming urge to start pushing and I bellowed: “I’m pushing” and the midwife checked me and ran to get the OB. He came in, my feet went up into stirrups and I was so glad to be pushing, I really enjoyed it, when I was working with the contractions and knowing I was at the end. My doctor said I was at risk of tearing so he gave me an episiotomy and then a few more pushes and she was out and on my chest. The midwife helped me latch Daphne for the first time and she did really well; it was really special.”

Bannie, Nick and Daphne stayed in hospital for two nights and then moved over to the Park Hyatt for a couple of nights where they had midwife support. Bannie found it particularly helpful for when her milk came in and she was navigating the tricking first week of breastfeeding.

“I was really lucky that my feeding experience was going well although I had a strong supply and I’d wake up covered in milk during the night, I had to sleep on a towel as there was just so much milk. It was bizarre but also a good problem to have but because of that oversupply I felt really challenged breastfeeding in public, I was always at the cafe seeing friends and I’d be sitting there with a cloth over me and Daphne and I would just be covered in milk. It took a bit of time for it to settle so I could feed in public, not too long, thankfully.”

Bannie is now training to be a pre and post-natal yoga teacher and is particularly passionate about supporting women in their transition to motherhood. “I hope to offer a space where they can come and bond with their baby and be in tune with their bodies…and then take that connection into the birth.”

Topics Discussed

Yoga in pregnancy, Breastfeeding oversupply, Private obstetrician, Episiotomy

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