The Positive Planned C Section
The Birth of Snow - The Positive Planned C Section
“D-day, or c-day, or even b-day!”
I don’t feel I can call my story a birth story due to the nature of it, but that’s ok - it’s the day my daughter was born and what an experience it was.
I never really thought about the birth, I just knew that it was a necessity for my baby to come out. I didn’t dread it, but it certainly wasn’t thought about and mainly purposely ignored. After my first taster of hypnobirthing, I was suddenly EXCITED about giving birth, and my controlling nature subsided - I was ready to embrace my body in all its natural birth glory. After the full bun in the oven course this only intensified and we (myself, my now completely converted husband and our bump) felt ready for a hypnobirth.
I practised everyday and read the two books from cover to cover, got my diffuser on, found my music and got as much light touch massage as possible. I was becoming more and more relaxed about my pregnancy and we even changed our plan to have an all natural water birth in a birth centre. My up breathing helped and eased me through any pregnancy stresses we encountered - like reduced movement and hospital visits -but I knew my baby knew what she was doing. The down breathing helped me with braxton hicks, even the dreaded pregnancy wind! Man that was intense, and I feel I perfected the down breath!
However around 32 weeks a routine midwife appointment uncovered that my baby was breech, so I was sent for a scan to confirm. We tried all the upside down positions which was hilarious! Gravity and a heavily pregnant woman? You can only laugh. Even acupuncture couldn’t coax this little lady round and we were scheduled for an ECV. If like us you’ve never heard of this it’s a manual manipulation of the baby from the outside, and again came the gold dust that was the breath, light touch massage and sensorial triggers to calm me down.
We were scheduled to ‘turn the baby’ and went in a few days later as the wards were so busy. In this time, I was greeted with horror stories from friends and family of someone they knew that had had the same procedure and again, in came the techniques I had learnt to block them out and believe that my body, and my baby, knew what they were doing.
Cue the big day, in a gown, starving hungry and frankly feeling a little anticipation. The doctor wrapped his hands around my bump and started to twist. My up breathing along with my birthing partner whispering in my ear and tickling my arm saved me and got me through this procedure. It went absolutely fine and there was no need to worry, but it certainly didn’t work and she did not budge, quite happy where she was. I was scanned again and there was my feet first breech baby dancing on my bladder, meaning an elective c-section was the only real option for both of our safety; so here we come. We knew the exact date, and time, we’d meet our baby - which felt like quite a strange thought, and still does really.
At first it completely devastated me, my natural water birth was well and truly out of the window but again, having learned my body and my baby knew what they were doing, we embraced the change of plan and was grateful we found out early and not half way through labour. This was definitely the moment we realised the hypnobirthing didn’t just prepare us for the baby, it made us a stronger team than ever - we could do this!
Suddenly 3 weeks later it was d-day, or c-day, or even b-day! I was already hungry when we got to hospital, not being able to eat and now not being able to drink since we got to hospital but the anticipation and some lingering fear were in my stomach instead. It was actually quite entertaining sitting there with my gown on, my fancy socks and an empty cot, our baby’s first nappy along with her first outfit; it was happening. The breathing techniques certainly helped in this waiting period deal with the anticipation; our baby was coming and even though it wasn’t our ‘perfect birth’ we were laughing, hugging, smiling, ecstatic - it definitely gave me the injection of oxytocin I needed.
A man dressed in scrubs came to retrieve me, they were ready, but was I? Firstly, they asked a 4’11, 39 week pregnant lady climb up onto an operating table; humour certainly helped break the husband-less tension I was suddenly faced with! He was only behind the other door whilst they got me prepped, but it was tough, the first moment I felt I couldn’t do. My deep breathing helped the injections and spinal block be inserted into my back; I had done the hardest bit - or so I thought...
The spinal brought uncontrollable shakes and some nausea, which wasn’t welcomed when I was laying down unable to move. Hypnobirthing taught me to ask questions and be a part of my birth in what ever method we had. So I asked if this was normal and advised that I felt sick. Completely normal, completely ok and a little anti-sickness injection; sorted. I had never felt so much in the room and so out of the room.
I had never welcomed the presence of my currently scrubbed up husband so much, and when he walked in the tears started to flow. I could only focus on the tears and the most intense involuntary shakes of all time. My husband used the hypnobirthing techniques we had learnt and within 3 breaths, I was back in the room.
He later said it was “one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen”, and reminisced about how I “transformed” in moments from a shivering wreck to a strong, in control, calm lady who was ready to meet her daughter.
Good job because a screaming baby was just presented to us and we actually forgot why we were there. Who’s baby was screaming? Well that was ours, our little girl. Elation, fear, happiness, calm but I was still on the table and I couldn’t move, because there was a baby placed on my chest. Her skin was on my skin and they weren’t the same thing anymore. It was all too much so she had skin to skin with her papa whilst I stared at the roommate I had been sharing everything with for the past 39 weeks.
We were wheeled through to recovery where she instantly started breastfeeding - the one thing I thought I wouldn’t be able to do with a section and here I was. I asked why she was feet first breech and could it mean there was anything wrong with me - nope, I was fine and there was nothing stopping me from having a ‘normal’ birth next time.
However, my section wasn’t exactly straightforward. There was a vein right where she had come out so I had lost a lot of blood that needed attention, and they found some cysts that they had removed during surgery. Was this the reason she knew I needed a section? I certainly believed so - my baby knew what to do and the birth that would be safest for both of us.
So, all the scary part was over, our team had a new member and we started our life as a family. Again, it wasn’t the start we planned or prepared for but was it still a ‘hypnobirth’? Undoubtedly.
The course prepared me, and us, to question things, embrace our situation and work as a team - so that’s what we did and it worked. These practices didn’t stop there either, I truly believe it’s taught me how to breastfeed, stay strong on the hard days, be a mother, and overall helped us be a very, very happy little family.