As a new mummy of 35 years young, I’ve heard many a birth tale over the years. I used to love listening to my stepmum tell her three birth stories, hooting with laughter at her memories of 25 students taking it in turns to peer up her cervix, and of grabbing her first husband round the throat when he dared to suggest (mid-contraction) that she might not want any pethodene. I was gripped from an early age.
When it was my turn and I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait to experience labour and childbirth. I felt it almost my birthright to go through this important step of womanhood and I honestly felt no fear at all. I wanted my birth story.
Weeks into my pregnancy, I met up with my lovely friend, Mama Mim, who was visiting from sunny Sydney. Mim mentioned that she’d used hypnobirthing techniques with her recent labour, and after reading up on the concepts behind it, I was absolutely convinced that it was the best way forward for me and my baby. I thoroughly bought into the whole shebang – after all, women in remote parts of Africa have been birthing babies for centuries without epidurals and using the F word – and after they’ve had their babies, they just get on with their day!
I couldn’t find a hypnobirthing practitioner in my area, so I bought the CDs and books that teach you how to self-hypnotise as you go into labour. I lapped them up, and would happily sit on the train to work every day, mentally going through my affirmations and teaching myself how to relax. I was genuinely excited and looking forward to birthing my bab (they say birthing in hypnobirthing, they also say surge rather than contraction – an effort to make the language more positive and natural).
Anyway, despite my almost evangelical preaching about the merits of hypnobirthing to anyone with ears, and my constant daydreams of me, gently breathing my baby out whilst listening to whale music, pink and glowing in the water, smiling serenely, my Little J had slightly different plans…
At 34 weeks, I had a scheduled midwife appointment. Now, in the run-up to this date, I was quite convinced that my baby was breech. I could feel his head shoved up high under the left side of my rib cage, and even though friends told me that heads and bums feel similar in utero, I just…knew. This was confirmed at my appointment and I was sent for a scan.
At hospital, I was told that I had several options.
1. To have the baby naturally in this breech position.
2. To have an ECV to turn the baby and see if it worked.
3. To opt for an elective Caesarian.
I decided to try the ECV, and after having done some research, I decided there and then that I’d have a section if it didn’t work. Although the consultant left the decision entirely down to me, she did tell me afterwards that she felt that my choice was the absolute best and safest option for both of us.
In the weeks leading up the the section, I tried all the bum-in-the-air rocking, tipping myself upside down on the sofa – you name it. The ECV didn’t work either. The baby was NOT for turning.
So, in a nutshell, that was the end of the hypnobirthing! Ha ha! So my hippy-dippy beautiful hypno-water birth with soft music and candle lighting turned into an elective c-section. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum…
Now, I know some people may be surprised to hear me say this, but even despite the lack of panpipes and candles, my birth-day itself was the most magical experience of my life. I can imagine that an emergency section is VERY different, but a planned one is really rather nice. I didn’t even feel the epidural needle, and after 45 minutes of tugging and pulling, my baby was placed on my chest by a burly, tattooed, Mancunian surgeon. I have never experienced a more powerful rush in my life and I fell in love instantly with my beautiful little boy. My husband and I still talk about it in detail eight months on. It was just fabulous.
And, it turns out that I made the right decision regarding the section as Little J’s head was stuck fast! He’s done his own thing to this day 🙂
For my next baby, I’d be more then happy to have another Caesarian if needs be.
How about you mummies? Did your birth plans work out? Or did your baby have other ideas?
Check out my lovely friend Mama Mim’s birth blog, who – as per my story – used hypnobirthing for her first baby and it worked! http://bit.ly/1qFoDT6