When I found out I was pregnant I was so excited however It soon dawned on me that I would have to give birth and I started to panic; all I knew about birth was what other women had told me and it sounded like a painful and traumatic experience. I looked into ways to combat my fears before they took over my pregnancy, came across hypnobirthing and booked myself and Daniel my husband onto a course with Amy.
During my pregnancy I had a lot of sickness that came and went, but apart from the sickness though it was fairly straightforward despite my high BMI causing concerns for my pregnancy and birth. As we got further along in my pregnancy we felt prepared and excited for the birth of our baby, we had been listening to the hypnobirthing tracks daily, I had been practicing my breathing techniques and we had written out our birth preferences. I was keen to have a natural water birth and after advocating for myself and talking to the right people had gotten the ok to give birth at The Horton (my local midwife led unit) despite being told I wasn’t allowed and would have to give birth on labour ward at the John Radcliffe due to my high BMI (something I was adamant I did not want).
At our 36 week scan we found out our baby girl was breech. We were offered an ECV for the following week to try and turn her which we decided was worth a try. However they were unable to attempt it due to baby being so active which caused her heart rate to be too high so we returned the following week and they were able to attempt to turn her however baby decided she wanted to stay where she was. After this we decided we would like to go home and think about our options rather than feeling pressured to make a decision then. After a week of thinking through our options and the risks and benefits we decided to book a c section for 41 weeks as it felt like the better choice for us, we were offered earlier dates but for me I felt like I wanted to leave it longer as there was some chance she might still turn back.
The day of our c section finally came and it felt like Christmas we were both so excited to meet our baby girl! We didn’t have to be at the hospital until 11 which was nice as it gave me chance to slowly get myself ready rather than rushing around. I calmed my nerves with a bath and listened to my hypnobirthing tracks before getting ready and setting off. At the hospital we were taken to a room to wait in and told we were going to be the fourth and last section of the day. The wait was a few hours and we managed to distract ourselves with some card games and a film (I even coloured in some hypnobirthing sheets given to me by Amy).
Before long a nurse came in to do the cannula for the surgery, needles have always made me extremely anxious but I managed to close my eyes, relax and breathe through this without a problem, someone then came in to do a scan to make sure baby was still breech which to no surprise she was so we were taken down to theatre. Once there I was told to sit on the edge of the bed and curve my spine so that the anaesthetist could inject the spinal block into my back, this was the part I had been most nervous for but again I closed my eyes, relaxed and used the breathing that I had practiced throughout my pregnancy I was so focused on this that I didn’t even hear the anaesthetist tell me he was done!
During the surgery I felt completely calm and relaxed I focused on my breathing, whilst Daniel stroked my hair and held my hand, we had music playing too but neither of us can remember any particular song that was playing. We had asked in our birth preferences for the curtain to be lowered so that we could see our baby be born and before long the curtain was lowered and at 5.23pm we watched as our daughter was born (she made quite the entrance doing her first poo all over the surgeon whist she was being lifted up!) I had asked for her to be passed straight onto my chest but I was shaking and crying with happiness so much I couldn’t take her so asked for the midwife to take her for a minute so I could calm down enough to hold her comfortably. They took her away for a moment and then brought her back and placed her onto my chest, it was the best feeling in the world having my baby placed onto me. I felt a huge rush of happiness and love I just couldn’t stop smiling or crying, she stayed on me whilst they stitched me up and then wheeled me down to the ward.
On the ward we tried breastfeeding and had our golden hour, I felt completely on top of the world looking at our baby girl she was just beautiful and perfect and we were both so happy to have her with us. Daniel left after the hour as visiting hours were over, once he was gone I had the legendary tea and toast I had heard so much about and spent the rest of the night staring at my baby girl (I didn’t sleep a wink as I was so high on all the oxytocin). Daniel came back to join us in the morning and when the Dr came round I asked to be discharged that afternoon rather than the next day as apart from a little aching I felt fine so didn’t see any reason to stay another night, the Dr agreed and that afternoon at 3pm (less than 24 hours after my c section) we all headed home in our little newborn bubble.
My birth wasn’t anything like the original plan that I wanted however I’m not too disappointed in this as when first thinking of my birth plan the most important thing to me was to have a calm positive experience that I felt in control of and my c section experience was exactly those things. Before hypnobirthing with Amy I would never have imagined that any birth story I wrote would be one so positive let alone a c section one! Amy not only taught me hypnobirthing tools that helped me throughout pregnancy and my c section, she gave me the knowledge that helped me advocate for myself, helped me find confidence to make informed decisions and changed my fearful negative mindset around birth into a positive one and I’m so thankful for that.