I would like to share my positive birth story with you as it was everything I thought I didn't want it to be, yet also the most amazing day of my life.
I was told at my 20 week scan that my placenta was low meaning there was a high chance by the time of the third trimester, I would need to have a planned cesarean section.
I had always wanted a low intervention, waterbirth and even during the fertility treatment I underwent to become pregnant, I had convinced myself all the medical intervention would be passed soon and I would have a positive natural birth.
Unfortunately despite the visualisations and positive thinking, my placenta was well a truly covering the exit!
I was terrified of having a section and found thinking about it made me fear the worst. I remember going for the pre op the day before and crying to the midwife about my fears of dying during the procedure. I was worried about blood loss as this was a potential complication of my placenta. Thankfully the midwife was very empathetic, took time to sit with me and validate all my worries and feelings and allowed me the space to express my fears. Just having someone to talk to and feel completely respected helped me relax about the procedure. I had learned some visualisations and breathing techniques during my yoga classes in early pregnancy and was able to use these throughout my pregnancy and birth to ground my thoughts and keep calm when my anxiety got the better of me and used these on the day.
On the morning of my section I was admitted to labour ward at St John's Hospital. My wife and I were introduced to all the team who would be involved in our birth. Whilst it seemed like a lot of people, everyone had a role and purpose and made me feel safe. I was able to play my own playlist of songs which I had chosen. I had used the songs during pregnancy as a way to visualise what would happen during my section. When it was playing in the theatre it helped ground me and keep me feeling calm in the moment. Once the surgery started it was only 3-4mins until my baby boy was being lifted up and shown to me. I was elated seeing him and my wife took some lovely photos of him in that moment. The midwives checked him over very quickly and he was then placed on me for skin to skin. I was worried this wouldn't be possible in the theater setting but the midwife made sure it could happen. It was a bit of a tight squeeze as the operation was still going on but he lay across my chest and wrapped himself round me like a scarf. He placed his hands in my mouth and on my cheeks! He still does this when he feeds from me and goes to sleep at night and it always takes me back to that moment. There were some complications with my surgery and as I had feared I lost a lot of blood. However the medical staff were incredible! They stayed so calm and in control that I wasn't even aware of any complications until the surgery was over and I was given a debrief by the team. Me my wife and our baby were allowed to enjoy the lovely bubble we were in and it was almost as though the surgery was happening to someone else.
My immediate recovery was good and after a few nights in hospital I was able to be discharged home.
Whilst I didn't get the opportunity to experience labour and the birth was very medicalised, it was still a truly magical experience and much less scary than I had thought it would be. I felt the medical team and midwives were so in control and they just let me relax and enjoy meeting my baby.