A very magical c-section birth story
I recently blogged about using hypnobirthing techniques for a c-section births. How we can apply all we learn for all birth scenarios. Sharing how two clients had recently used their techniques for a c-section.
Louise, who I spoke about in this blog kindly shared her birth story with me to add to the blog. It was so beautiful it deserved its own post. So here it is in all is gorgeous glory.
I hope it empowers other women to believe they can also achieve a positive birth from a birth scenario they initially didn’t envisage.
The birth of Stanley
The arrival of our son Stanley marked the end of a very challenging five years for Edd and me. It took us 16 months to conceive, which sadly ended in miscarriage. I then needed a D&C operation which unfortunately caused Asherman’s Syndrome, a condition where the uterus walls stick together. It took two surgeries to repair. Due to the trauma to my uterus I then had four further miscarriages. The whole process was physically and emotionally draining, and took its toll on our lives for a long time.
So Stanley was extremely precious cargo. In the main the pregnancy was straightforward; we had more scans than I can remember. So while we were extremely nervous we had regular reassurance that all was well.
The birth we wanted vs the birth we needed
There were some additional risks around the birth associated with Asherman’s, and I also developed Gestational Diabetes, so we knew we would be delivering on labour ward. I made my peace with this early on: Stanley’s safety was the most important thing. However, he settled into breech position (bottom-down) from about 30 weeks and refused to budge, no matter how often I hung upside down off the sofa.
As the diabetes meant I was to be induced early, a breech birth meant a c-section was the safest option (or so we decided after looking at all the facts). This was something I had not considered. The medicalised environment of the operating theatre felt worlds away from the natural birth I had hoped for.
I had done some Hypnobirthing with my sister when she was preparing for birth, and decided on a refresher with Ali from Hypnobirthing Mumma. Hypnobirthing is designed to empower parents to make their own decisions. This can seem to be entirely anti-intervention. I was reassured that Ali was prepared to apply the principles to our individual situation, accepting that it would not be a ‘natural’ birth. Ali made several suggestions for inclusions on my birth plan that would create the environment we wanted even in theatre. This was a real turning point for me as I felt I had some control, and could shape the experience to be as relaxed as possible.
Prep before birth
Edd read the Hypnobirthing scripts to me every night for the fortnight before our scheduled date. I listened to mp3s in the day when I had a nap. I also did yoga most days with a 10 minute mindfulness relaxation at the end. All from a pregnancy yoga DVD that I had followed throughout my pregnancy. My Gestational Diabetes meant I had to walk for 15-20 mins after lunch and dinner to help control my blood sugar, which also helped me physically and mentally. Over the two weeks I felt myself becoming so much calmer and more relaxed in myself, and in how I responded to the occasional challenges of everyday life.
I wanted to have skin to skin and to breastfeed immediately. So we chose to have ECG dots on my back and my gown open loosely at the top. We asked for chatter to be kept to a minimum so I could focus on my breathing and relaxation techniques. We made a playlist of meaningful songs to us and had that playing. They even dimmed the lights around my head. Our midwife was extremely supportive, and took the plan to brief the team. We were very lucky that the staff at West Middlesex Hospital were very respectful of our wishes.
We arrived at hospital at 7am and were prepped for theatre. We were lucky enough to be first, and walked into theatre. I sat on the table as they inserted the spinal and then lay down. Feeling the warmth of the anaesthetic flood through my toes and legs. I always have cold feet so this was quite nice! I was even pretty relaxed during this due to doing Hypnobirthing scripts in advance and I was generally able to bring about a state of calm when I needed to.
Our baby was breech so they tried to turn him first. Had this been successful we would have gone for an induction instead of the c-section, but he was very comfortable where he was. I had been harbouring some hopes. This was my last chance for a vaginal delivery – but I was prepared for either eventuality and the thought of meeting our son in minutes rather than hours was suddenly very exciting.
Edd sat at my head and we listened to the beginning of our playlist, together getting very emotional that we were about to meet our baby after a five year journey. All the heartache of that time seemed at once so close, and yet about to come to an end in the most wonderful way. I barely felt anything, the occasional prickle but not much tugging and pulling as I had been prepared for. I saw our midwife preparing to lower the drapes so we could see our baby born, and felt even more like one of the most important moments of our lives was about to happen.
They birthed the legs and then lowered the drapes so we could see our baby born. I don’t clearly remember the moment he emerged but I do remember seeing his head and face for the first time, held aloft by the surgeon, elongated due to the breech position and covered in vernix, looking a bit like an alien (as I exclaimed at the time). They put him on my chest and I felt his hot, damp little body next to mine, skin to skin. I had spent so long imagining what he would look like. What combination of Edd and my features – but I hadn’t expected to be so overwhelmed by how beautiful he was. After a few moments they took him to one side to encourage his breathing as it was a little slow, and Edd kept an eye on what was happening to reassure me. After a minute or so we heard that first cry, and he was brought back to me. I fed him then and there, tucked into my hospital gown. The three of us spent the rest of the time in theatre together, his soppy parents unable to take our eyes off him.
There was only one time I felt anything during the c-section, when they delivered the placenta, but I was so focused on Stanley that it didn’t bother me. After what seemed like no time at all they had finished and I was taken to recovery.
My ideal birth would have been at home, in water. Due to all our complications I made my peace early on with a hospital birth, but there was a time when a c-section seemed furthest from the peaceful, active birth I had hoped for. Hypnobirthing helped me challenge the expectation that I would have no control. The supportive attitude of the staff at West Middlesex Hospital meant I was confident that our wishes would be honoured. The result was the most magical birth I could have hoped for. The end of one long journey in a place of peace and positivity for our new journey as a family.
Interested in booking a hypnobirthing course? What to know more?
I teach private hypnobirthing courses in and around London. Including Barnes, Cobham, Hampton, Isleworth, Kew, Kingston, Richmond, St Margaret’s, Surbiton, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham, Walton, Whitton and surrounding areas.
Pregnant at the same time as a good friend? I offer the £295 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.