Like many, my birth ‘plan’ was to have spontaneous labour, a water birth and to nail it using just breathing and gas/air. Mister man had different ideas though and was frank breech from 33w.
We researched anything that may help to turn him, and began with holistic methods – we did moxibustion most nights, along with any and all inversions! (see Spinning Babies website).
After being given our options by the hospital (C section no ECV, C section if needed after ECV, or risky vaginal birth) we used BRAIN (multiple times in every which way) to decide what was best for us. We opted to try the ECV as I was determined to try everything possible to turn baby.
I felt quite anxious ahead of the procedure and had been using my breathing techniques and relaxation audios to prepare and calm my overactive mind. This being said, I also felt positive and totally in control in that it was our choice, and it was a choice we had both fully considered and were informed about (I’m a research nerd who reads up excessively).
The staff at the hospital were amazing and once I was there, I got fully in the zone with my breathing techniques and my husband remarked how unphased I was – down mainly to the controlled breathing. I had 2 doctors try to turn baby and I’ll be frank (no pun intended), it was the most uncomfortable and painful experience I’ve had. I opted not to try gas and air when it was offered midway, but this was an option.
Controlled breathing was invaluable in remaining calm (along with crushing my husband’s hand) – the consultant felt she could try for 17 minutes as I was apparently tolerating it so well !
Whilst it was unsuccessful, I felt really proud of myself and happy that we’d tried that avenue.
There was part of me that (ridiculously) felt like I was ‘failing’ if I couldn’t deliver my baby naturally and it took me some time to get my head round having a C section.
I’d been visualising so many different birth scenarios and imagining all the different outcomes… when it came to it, I was gutted I may not get my spontaneous, natural labour I’d hoped for.
Having said this, after the failed ECV, we finalised our birth preferences and felt entirely in control of the situation and indescribably excited!! We saw all the positives in our new plan and after being given a date for the section (and keeping it secret), we had some fun with our families with them placing wagers on what day baby would be born.
The actual caesarean was T H E most amazing experience. It felt like all the Christmas Days in one! Again, I used my breathing techniques (more the night before actually) to control my nerves of the unknown, but the staff were so amazing and reassuring from start to finish, it ended up feeling like I was in surgery with a bunch of friends!
Despite it being a planned C section, we still wrote some birth preferences; one of which was to drop the drapes as soon as possible.
I’ll never forget the moment I saw my little boy’s bum enter the world…Swiftly followed by his beautiful head which was momentarily stuck near my ribs! This immediately explained why the ECV was unsuccessful.
He was quite sleepy initially and needed waking to feed, and along with my flat nips, he was struggling to latch effectively. Despite desperately wanting to get home, I chose to stay in hospital an extra night for more support with breastfeeding, and this was the best decision I could have made. Once home and feeling more confident, he was latching like a trooper and still so far so good. Not a sore nip in sight amazingly!
I’ve learnt that even if your birth ‘idea’ doesn’t go quite the way you envisaged, using hypnobirthing tools and having the right positive mindset means you can still feel so empowered and in control. Rebecca helped me to see this and was so supportive and reassuring throughout.