Julie’s Positive C Section Birth

On the morning of 5th October 2019 my partner & I found out that we were expecting our first child. Almost immediately, I began to research vaccination options, water births and hypnobirthing.

With the pregnancy becoming a reality, I was unexpectantly scared of the pregnancy, and more understandably, the birth & of not being ready for the big arrival.

Before we met Laura I had it all sorted in my head – I’m having a water birth, hopefully no more than gas & air (but open to all pain relief if needed) and my hypnobirthing.

Simple!!

I was amazed at the stuff Laura was telling us – who knew that you have a right to say “no” to a stretch & sweep? Who knew you could request preferred birth positions?

Who knew that the “traditional”, Hollywood movie type of delivery on your back is less helpful than others? The one that really got me though was this – you can have birth preferences when having a C-Section. I thought she was mad when she said you can still have birth preferences with a C-Section – how much say do you have when you’re
numb from your toes to your chest & in my mind, at their mercy; but she was absolutely right & due to how things panned out, I was even more grateful for having spent the time and money on the course.

My pregnancy was fairly straightforward, however, my baby decided at week 38 during a positional scan she was absolutely not ready to be engaging. She was having too much fun freely floating around in all that lovely excess amniotic fluid; apart from that, her favourite position was transverse – lying across the top of my stomach.

My baby was officially an “unstable lie” due to her constant moving around. The hospital admitted me immediately and booked me in for a C-Section in just over a week’s time. I reached for my hypnobirthing toolbag & for Laura. I used my affirmation cards, lavender pouch, visualisations, breathing techniques etc during peaks of anxiety & Laura held my hand via WhatsApp & calls all the way.

When the doctors were attempting to make decisions on my & my baby’s behalf about how we would move forward if baby did decide to engage, I had the knowledge & strength to say “no” and “I would appreciate it if you would discuss the options with me, rather than decide for me”. Additionally, I had faith in my gut instinct. All of this was thanks to doing Laura’s hypnobirthing course.

I gained further confidence in my approach when I found out a senior midwife was also fighting my corner in the background as she agreed with me.

I wrote down my birth preferences, discussed them with my partner & ensured there was a copy in my file & a spare for me. My partner was prepared and ready to create a bubble for me & him & he knew that I didn’t want anyone else speaking to me or telling us what was going on.

On the morning of my C-Section I asked if my birth preferences had been noted & was told that the team would read it before I went down to the Labour Ward. I was advised that this had been done when I arrived in the theatre. I won’t lie – I was really scared of the spinal but I was able to get into a zone of calm with the help of a hypnobirthing track & breathing with my partner. The spinal was effective very quickly & once all checks had been made my partner created our bubble. This was the last time it would be just us & he reminisced & breathed with me. He helped me to move the focus away from the room, the noises, the knowledge of what was happening to me.

I have little memory of the birth as I was so focused on our bubble which is how I wanted it. I can honestly say that my birth experience was really positive & that was due to what we learned with Laura. I can also report that our daughter’s birth was a positive experience for my partner as he felt he had a role to play.

Not only was he able to create and maintain a safe space for me, he told me the sex of our baby & gave our daughter her first cuddle.

We did it together.

Why it’s important to create a calming home environment

So, by now – you are probably sick of hearing everything to do with coronavirus, yet, there is some really important information that people should read and understand in order to help with their mental health and happy hormones during this time.

Hypnobirthing is based on science and logic and some of the skills and information that is taught in a class are useful not only for pregnancy but for every member of the family in everyday life.

Why is it so important?

Our bodies compromise of 2 nervous systems – our parasympathetic nervous system and our sympathetic nervous system with the latter being more commonly known as the ‘fight or flight’ response system. The fight or flight response was designed to help us in a life-threatening situation, yet our very clever brains just can’t fathom out the difference between real and pretend threats and therefore start to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

This basically means if your feeling stressed, for example, watching too many negative things on TV – your body begins to release these hormones (that you don’t actually at that time as TV isn’t a real threat!) need and therefore makes you feel more anxious.

Instead, we want to be in the parasympathetic nervous system which is the system of calm – the important thing to note is that you can’t be in both systems at the same time.

Particularly if your pregnant, or a new mum – this system is really beneficial not only for you but for your baby as you produce hormones such as endorphins and oxytocin which is crucial for bonding with your baby.

So what sorts of things can I do to stay in the calm nervous system whilst at home?

  • Only watch small doses of TV which will produce adrenaline like the news or TV shows are action/violence based. Instead – take the opportunity to watch your favourite shows, comedies which make you laugh and romantic films which make you feel soppy (cheesy.. but it works!!)
  • Positive Statements and Affirmations – Whether you are pregnant or not, find some affirmations that make you feel confident – ‘I am strong’ is such a powerful one – print it off, pop it on your phone, say it to yourself when your feeling particularly anxious.
  • Take a long deep breath every time your anxious – I always suggest to pregnant clients to do it every time they walk through a door frame, by doing this, you automatically settle your system back down
  • Use some of your time at home to create a scrapbook of pictures or memories – looking at those we love and memories we cherish produces oxytocin!
  • Limit your phone use and take this time to invest in self-care – a yoga class, gardening, reading – whatever you enjoy, even doing this for 10 minutes a day will massively benefit you!

If you like these ideas, feel free to leave a comment or share your own ideas – its great to hear what other people do to create their best environment, pregnant or not!

If you liked this post, why not read one of my others below.