I just want to start this Birth Story by letting you know that you can have a positive birth even if it ended up being something you never even imagined.
My story starts 6 days before Hector arrived – it was a Friday night and I had a day of reduced movements- this was the second time this happened and so I called the Triage ward at Gloucester who told me to come in to be monitored– we knew the drill. So, I grabbed my notes and me and my husband, Henry, made the 40 min journey to Gloucester.
And of course, whilst we were waiting, our little man was having a party in there but we knew it was still a good idea to go ahead and get check and I am so glad I did.
Everything was perfect on the monitor and we were able to go home but we needed to come back in for a scan early next week- both of us questioned this as everything was fine and I don’t really like being messed with but the midwife explained to us that it was to check that the placenta was still functioning as reduced movements can be a sign that it is working as well as it could be.
My scan was booked in for the Tuesday so again we made the trip to Gloucester and I remember distinctly laughing during the drive there that I bet he would be dancing on the screen- what a cheeky baby! It would be nice to see him again at least.
We got to the scan and about 30 seconds in the sonographer comments ‘Oooo, He’s breech!’.
At 39 weeks which was such a shock especially as at my midwife appointments they were sure he was head down and 3/5th engaged.
So, we were sent up to the triage ward- I was in utter shock and started to really worry as I know my friend had a breech baby and ended up have a C-section which was something I really didn’t want, I spent time in my 3rd trimester visualising my birth and practicing hypnobirthing techniques and was hoping for a water birth with minimal intervention .
We were met with a surgeon to go through our options which were 1. to have an External Cephalic Verson (ECV) to try and turn him so I could have a natural birth and if that didn’t work to decide to carry on with a breech birth which could be tricky to get the right team on to support me or to have an elective C-Section.
After a what felt like hours and a huge amount of upset and tears, I decided to go for an ECV the risks to our baby were low and I really wanted a natural birth. On a side note the tears were not helped by the fact I hadn’t eaten since 7am and now I couldn’t eat in case the team needed to perform an emergency C-section after the ECV!
We were able to go home before the ECV was performed so we made sure we had everything we might need so a bag for me the baby bag just in case he arrived after the procedure- and then headed back in.
When we arrived back at the hospital, we were met by such a lovely midwife team who really helped to relax me, made me laugh and made sure I felt comfortable. They also felt the bump and were totally baffled– he felt head down!
I had quite an audience for the ECV as I don’t think they get many 39 week pregnant women in for one so I had two surgeons and a trainee doctor in with me as well as a midwife- who was brilliant in talking to me whilst the procedure was going on and holding the gas and air for me- she was wonderful.
The procedure itself is painful but worth it even if your baby doesn’t spin. It feels really wrong especially as we spend all of our pregnancy trying not to knock our bumps but at one stage I had two people pushing up and down on my bump trying to get him to spin- they gave it two tries but in the end it was just too painful to keep going but as soon as they stopped the pain stopped immediately. If I was in the same situation in the future, I would hands down have the procedure again.
Both myself and Henry had both decided that if the ECV didn’t work that we would go for an elective C-Section- so it was really easy once I had made a decision to go forward with it.
Again, the team were great- they talked us through what would happen and we booked a date – 6th February 2020- a Thursday.
It felt really surreal knowing the date of our baby’s birth rather than waiting for it like the other Mum’s in our TBTBC group – we spent the evening having dinner (hurrah!) and chatting through the day. It was a long chat, where I felt sad and disappointed that I couldn’t get the birth that I wanted, Henry was brilliant and listened to my thoughts and confirmed that fact I grew our little man and he would be arriving safe is an achievement in itself and a C-Section was still a birth. We ended up chuckling that we were so grateful that Bunty, who ran the Cirencester TBTBC, took us through what a C-section would involve so we felt less intimidated and before we left to come home from the hospital she came and found us to show me the operating theatre and the recovery room so I would be familiar with it when we came back in.
What happened next is something that I hope wold never happen to anyone else but sadly in the early hours of the Wednesday Henry’s Dad died. It wasn’t unexpected but it was a shock that it happened the day before his grandson was born- so where we were meant to have a day for us to get our head around that fact I was about to have major abdominal surgery and welcome our baby boy into the world it was now a day of grieving and making sure my husband was ok. Henrys family came over to ours for the day so we could be together. Henry messaged Bunty to let her know what had happened and to find out if we could book a private room- again the Gloucester maternity midwifes were incredible they made sure we had the space after the birth to have the privacy we knew we needed and I cannot thank them enough.
We both actually slept well the night before which was down to just being emotionally exhausted but also because as I was going to sleep, I used the breathing techniques from my hypnobirthing course and it really helped calm me. I think I subconsciously used the techniques all through that day to keep me calm.
The next morning, I was a bag of nerves – I don’t like being messed with or having operations and I knew the recovery would take its time I felt quite scared and excited at the same time. To say I was a roller-coaster was an understatement but I kept myself busy- cleaning the house one last time! And Making sure everything was set for when we arrived home.
We were told we would be last on the list and so we didn’t need to go in until 11am however when we arrived, we met with our surgeon, Sophie, who then told us we could go now! Which was much better for me as I then had less time to worry. A Midwife came and got me and showed me where to get dressed and I was then walked down to the operating theatre – it all felt quite surreal.
Sitting on the bed receiving my epidural and spinal I was really nervous and used the breathing techniques to help calm me – the team were so lovely and there was a real excitement and positive vibe in the operating theatre – they seemed just as excited as me to meet our little boy. We had our playlist playing and some mini electric candles which made everything feel just that bit special.
I used my calming techniques throughout the whole birth and it was really lovely having Henry by my side. The surgical team also seemed to really like our playlist and were singling along and dancing to it- you really could forget that you were in an operation.
Hearing Hector’s first cry was the best (he was born to Elton John , Benny and the Jets) and he came straight to my chest so we could have a cuddle. I felt pretty tired and so the team then took him to be weighed and checked over whilst I had a little nap. Hector was born at 12.31pm a mere 1 hr 30 mins from when we arrived.
The reason why I put the Elective C-Section into air quotes as the title to this birth story is because I would never say that I feel that I elected for my C-section once the ECV was completed and failed we felt that it really was the only way to move forward safely however even if I didn’t choose to have it, it was still a positive experience. I was given the respect and time to make my decisions about the procedure- to have the drape up, to have a playlist and to have skin to skin straight away, our surgeon was great, she really understood it wasn’t my preferred method and made sure everything was a perfect as it could be. I was also given the space to be nervous without being judged and was treated with such warmth and kindness from the midwives and the surgical team – I will never forget and am so grateful to them.
Beth’s course was so useful especially around the different types of birth. The course helped us immensely and we didn’t even know we were going to need to know all about C-sections! I cannot recommend this course enough!
Hector’s middle names were after Henry’s Dad ‘Andrew’ and also his Great Grandad ‘Percy’ who was born on the same day.
Thanks so much TBTBC!
If you want to know about ways to have a great birth, how to stack the odds in your favour to get the birth you want and feel calm in all births then…
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