After a wonderful hypnobirthing course with Jemma from London based Stilettos to Strollers, I felt equipped with the knowledge and confidence to decide to have my first baby at home.
A home birth seemed to make the most sense to me and I was very much looking forward to it. I had been busy making all the necessary preparations – from setting up the birth pool, decorating the room with fairy lights – I was ready to go!
I later learned that my baby was breech and had been throughout the whole pregnancy – which in hindsight made sense as I could feel her head under my rib the whole time!
The Midwives confirmed that there here had been an increase in breech babies during lockdown as women were increasingly more sedentary. After several scans, it was confirmed that my baby was breech, and I began looking into what I could do to turn her. Being an extremely active person, I was pretty upset about this which made me even more determined to try and get her to turn!
I tried acupuncture and burning moxa sticks, physiotherapy and all of the spinning babies’ positions (most evenings were spent hanging off the sofa upside down!) Despite all of this, and as I got closer to my due date, I was booked in for an external cephalic version (or ECV). After a rather long and unsuccessful procedure, I had a meeting with the amazing breech birth specialist at Kingston. This was when I was talked through my options and very sadly learnt that home birth would now not be possible for me.
I was really upset and also now felt like I had a huge decision to make. To have a vaginal breech birth in the hospital or a planned C section. I did a lot of reading about both, however, whilst there were lots of wonderful, positive stories, there were of course some negatives, with either option. After much deliberation, I felt like a planned C section was the right choice for me even though it was about as far away from my home birth as possible.
During this time we went into another lockdown and I was told by the home birth team that all home birth were on hold for the foreseeable future – I felt so sorry for other women but it did make me feel much better, that it now wouldn’t have been an option anyway!
Two of my biggest worries about having a c section (or belly birth) were that I hated the idea of the baby being taken out before she was ready naturally, and also the effect that it may have on my hormones and milk production. I spoke to my hypnobirthing teacher who reassured me that things are sometimes meant to be, and she sent me some great MP3s to listen to. I changed my birth plan and began felt excited and in control again.
Then, at 39 weeks exactly and 3 days before my planned c section, I went into labour. I wasn’t sure if my waters had broken or if what I was experiencing were Braxton Hicks, so after a couple of hours, we went to the hospital. I was in labour and she was on her way! I had to wait a couple of hours for the emergency c section so got to experience labour in all of its glory! Then I was wheeled into theatre and our gorgeous daughter Pandora was born at 1.45 am sharing a birthday with my brother.
So, whilst it wasn’t the birth I had dreamed of, in the end, I had the most incredible and positive experience, I loved all of it and was felt happy and relaxed throughout.
Hypnobirthing taught me how to think about a plan A/B/C/D/E and F and no matter what the outcome, how you can use all your positive learning throughout the birth and still feel calm and in control.