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Love reading positive birth stories? You’re in the right place! This positive birth story is with first time mum Caroline. Caroline had hoped for a water birth, but following blood in her waters she and her partner used EBRAN to decide that an unplanned cesarean section was the best choice for them. Despite saying her birth was very much ‘plan C’, Caroline also describes the moment she met her baby as ‘magical’.

I had a very straightforward pregnancy with no concerns. I was able to do my weekly exercise class (with pregnancy modifications) until 38 weeks, and walking and pregnancy yoga throughout. My plan A was a water birth in hospital with gas and air, staying active and UFO (upright, forward and open). However my birth, as Beth would say, was a two way street!

Hypnobirthing was really helpful to keep me calm and grounded as the due date came and went. I had a short walk daily and repeated the affirmation ‘my baby will come when they’re ready!’. I had a couple of false starts in the final week where I woke in the early hours with cramping which didn’t come to anything, and very frequent Braxton Hicks contractions. 

At 2am on 25th I woke with heavy period-like cramps again, but this time they came every 30 minutes for 30 seconds or so. At 5am I had a walk around the house as I wasn’t comfy in bed any more, and they gradually started to ramp up in frequency and intensity. I had a shower and ate some toast, and rang the local labour line at 8am after I’d had 3 x 60 second surges every 10 minutes for about an hour. I took 2 paracetamol following their advice and my partner hooked me up to the TENS machine which was really helpful! I lost my mucus plug and had a loose stool, but also popped a maternity pad in as there was a little more blood than I’d expected. 

At 9am we decided to go in to hospital as I was needing to be on all fours during surges, swaying my hips from side to side. The labour line said be prepared to be sent home, but it felt the right time to go. When I was examined my cervix was fully effaced and 5cm dilated, but the midwives were concerned about the amount of blood in my pad, so my plan A water birth sadly couldn’t happen and it was recommended I was attached to a CTG monitor to check baby, to which I agreed. It was a wireless monitor so didn’t interrupt my movement too much, we just had to keep adjusting the monitors as baby descended and my bump got lower! 

After a couple of hours I asked for gas and air, and at the next exam I was 7cm dilated. Sadly I continued to lose blood and clots so it was recommended that my waters were broken to check whether there was any blood in the waters. My partner was amazing and did EBRAN for me at this point as the surges were taking all my attention! We agreed to break the waters and unfortunately there was a lot of blood present. Surges really ramped up at this point and came with no break, and it was really disconcerting to feel myself passing the blood clots with each one. To add to my troubles, baby had turned back to back having been in a great position, so this probably contributed to my labour becoming harder. I’d stayed UFO so just bad luck I think! 

After this, the consultant came to see me as they couldn’t rule out a placental abruption causing the bleeding, but baby’s monitoring was perfect. I think this worry and me passing clots stopped my oxytocin and I didn’t progress any further than 7cm, and was in quite a lot of pain having coped really well up to this point with breathing for 4/7, TENS and gas and air. 
An emergency C section was recommended in case the placenta was breaking down, to which we agreed. I had to focus really hard on my breathing while they placed the spinal, as leaning forward on the bed wasn’t comfortable at all! Once the spinal kicked in it was a huge relief to be out of pain, I was very shaky but this is apparently a common side effect. 

It was a magical moment when Hugo was passed over the screen for skin to skin on my chest. We hadn’t known the sex and had asked to find it out ourselves, so the surgical team presented him to us! 

In the end, the placenta was fine, Hugo was lively and breastfed early on. The bleeding remains a mystery and was just one of those unlucky things! I have been told that there’s no reason it should happen again in a future pregnancy, which is reassuring. 

This course helped me so much, staying calm in those last few days, letting go of the things I couldn’t control, and making decisions for our and Hugo’s interests. For example, I declined diamorphine when I first started to struggle as I knew it crossed the placenta and if there was any doubt about baby’s wellbeing I didn’t want to make him drowsy. Although it was very much our plan C, we had a really positive experience and were amazingly well looked after by all the hospital staff. 

Caroline's Positive Unplanned Cesarean
Baby Hugo following Caroline’s positive unplanned cesarean

Click the link for more information about The Bump to Baby Chapter’s Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Online Course. Know what you can do to stack the odds in your favour for the birth that you want. Videos, checklists, audios & a support group all created by a midwife to get you feeling excited, prepared and confident for birth.