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When birth plans change, a caesarean section birth story.

My story is one of getting the complete opposite of what you wanted, and coming to terms with that being ok in the end :)

It was the summer after my 27th birthday when me and my partner decided to start our own family, with him having two children previously, he had done things very much the 'normal' way and gone the super medical route for both so had a certain... outlook... on my more natural and free flow way of being.

That all changed when I asked him to attend the positive birthing class hosted by Kat and the PBY team! They made the TRUE normal birth sound ideal, the fact that women are made to birth babies and not be interfered with, it all sounded so perfect and right and I was so happy to find out I wasn't crazy and that non medicalized birth was possible. I wasn't sick, I was pregnant! Why would I need a doctor?! 

We quickly decided we wanted Kat as our doula to help us navigate our way to the perfect natural birth at home with minimal interference. I also have an anxiety disorder to contend with, and a medical phobia, so I needed guidance on what to expect from the unknown in order to stay level headed through pregnancy, which Kat did amazingly and her 24/7 contact with me ultimately gave me the confidence to fight for my perfect birth. And so on to our pregnancy experience:

I was due to give birth on 14th May 2023, my boy had been great the entire pregnancy, I was the absolute ideal candidate for home birthing and everything was peachy!.... up until a bad belly measurement (why are those even still a thing) caused us to "need" a growth scan at about 28 weeks or so, this snowballed into a series of medical interventions which me and my partner deftly swatted away as much as we could, like badass home-birthing ninjas. 

Things the scan threw out were the fact my son was in a slight increase of waters, only by about a shot glass, nothing concerning. All babies grow differently so we weren't concerned, even though the hospital was making out it was a HUGE concern and meant that my baby could be 'big'. Which also apparently meant I could have Gestational Diabetes. I know. I know. Classic hospitals fear mongering of alternative parents wanting to do things their own way. We put it down to them being overly cautious and we chose to trust our baby as his health was fine and so was mine. It was also far too late to do anything about it if I DID have GD anyway... So after having a long chat with Kat about my choices (including the option to opt out of anything I wasn't comfortable with) I said no to the GD test. Much to the shock and horror of antenatal staff who then proceeded to make the rest of my pregnancy extremely anxious and not the calm and positive one I had been having for so long up to that point. They really know how to pull the rug!

The big spanner got thrown when we found out he was breech, and had been for a while... Breech babies are the medical worlds most scary bedtime story, and I was terrified. But again, Kat talked me through the realities of breech babies, and that, while difficult and more risky, it was just a variation of normal. Me and my partner also attended a home birth meet at ABDA's where we met a retired midwife who had delivered home birthed breech babies just fine and we were leaning more towards going for a breech birth regardless of what hospital staff were telling us (the absolute worst possibilities obviously)

We were feeling very positive about our choice to birth breech. We did however decide to do this on the MLU in the end, just in case, as we live 20 minutes away from Leighton; and after having a tour we actually found it to be very much home away from home and a lovely environment to birth in if we weren't going to get our birth at home. 

Meanwhile, I was frantically trying to get our son to turn himself via various homeopathic and unusual ways, including moxibustion and following the spinning babies exercises every night. We also attempted an EVC procedure but it was cut short due to the cord showing close to the baby's neck. 

The stress was getting to me at this point and without Kat to turn to and talk things through, I don't know how I would have held my nerve and gotten through it all without losing myself to my anxiety about the situation. She gave me the confidence I needed to keep charge of my birth and not allow other viewpoints to sway me from that unless it was truly what I felt was best for me and my baby. For this, I will be forever grateful.

The birth:

Amazingly, I managed to get to 39+3 before my baby decided he wanted to make his earthside debut. We staved off early c sections, grim obstetrician meetings, a billion scans to confirm he was very much stuck in his position and not going to move for anything; all to get to THIS point. 

True, natural labour, started by baby himself because HE was ready, with no interference from outside sources.

And me being me, completely didn't even realise I was even in labour because I'd been experiencing quite strong Braxton's for some time, I was pretty sure that's all they were. I passed off my mucus plug as the usual gushy discharge that comes with pregnancy and ignored all the signs. Including the frequent toilet breaks and massive random nap at 2pm in the afternoon which I never do, ever. But nope, in my mind, this wasn't labour, he was four days early after all! I had loadssss of time left...

Cut to 3am and my partner has left the room to sleep because I am waking up every 30 minutes to get on all fours to ride out my super intense "Braxton's" in between bouts of sleep and watching comfort shows on my iPad. Let's just say, by the time 8am came around, I was considerably more aware of the fact I was probably in labour. I think my partner finally believed me when I crawled into the spare room on my hands and knees bawling that my back was breaking and I couldn't walk or get dressed. At that point, we were on the phone to the hospital and quickly shooting towards Leighton for our next scan (which was conveniently booked for that morning anyway). I remember absolutely nothing about the drive apart from the fact that TENS machines are a miracle and my partner was measuring my contractions at 3 minutes apart and lasting over a minute.... Baby was coming, and FAST. I was scared, but also had faith that my baby would be ok and that we would get him out safely no matter what. 

So as I hobbled into the unit, I vaguely remember holding onto the fire alarm for a contraction and being led away by my now frazzled partner . We were led into the triage room where I was scanned for the last time (thank God) and it was deemed that my son was not only breech, but also wrapped in a freakishly long cord. This is likely why he had both not descended and was breech in the first place. Poor boy was strung up in a fleshy little bungee cord and couldn't really move at all! There was absolutely no way he was going to be able to be birthed vaginally without getting stuck and potentially dying or getting brain injuries. 

In that moment, I saw two paths split off. On one path, I could be stubborn and try to get my natural birth and go with my heart over my head.  On the other, I could go with my head and have a little heartbreak. In the end, I felt that a C-section was absolutely what was best for us, and at that point I did allow medical science to do it's magic where it was necessary. 

I was rushed to theatre as an emergency, when it was found I was nearly 6cm dilated already and couldn't wait. The whole process was fluid, easy and actually very calm. I kept the positive mantra throughout that my baby would be ok and that was all that mattered. 

I lay off my face on birth hormones and fatigue, as they pulled my boy, Ulysses, from my body- sunny side up. He had three full neck wraps of cord, it was slung under and through his legs and over his shoulder as well as wrapped around his foot. I remember the surgery staff commenting that they'd never seen a cord like it! To my surgeons credit (and my partner for voicing our wants) I was even allowed a longer than average cord cut, as optimal was part of my original birth plan. I still got skin to skin and he was plonked on my chest to stare at in awe. My perfectly healthy, very well baked 7lb9 baby boy. A great distraction for the process of being sewn back up through seven layers as it turns out! 

Once I was in recovery, I was given a whopping plate of lasagne and chips (which I always thought was Michelin star grade but, thanks to Kat's great thinking to photograph my first meal post birth, actually resembled a cowpat, and we still laugh about that now)

Uly never left my side throughout. Another of my birth plan needs; he was given hours of time to get skin to skin and have his first feed unassisted and without being messed with. I am thankful for the beautiful midwives that were so nice and respectful of my needs throughout the experience.

Kat took some amazing photos of the scene that I will cherish forever, and it was so lovely to have her be a part of this very raw space, and my first staggering steps into motherhood. She made those hours feel so positive and so wholesome, our journey had reached the peak of its end and I was aided just a little extra when she and midwife Lucy managed to get me a private side room on account of my anxiety and circumstances. 

So in a weird twist of events, my worst nightmare turned out to be not so bad after all. And even though my birth did not go to plan in any way, it was still the perfect, calm, easy experience overall that I had wanted. Many of my main wants and needs were still able to be met within my C-section which isn't talked about as a possibility nearly enough!

In the days that followed coming home, I ruminated on my experience and got a little down about it as my recovery wasn't great nor quick. My saving grace was the continued support of my partner and Kat, who always insisted that I had done the right thing, because I still chose, and I fought for those extra weeks gestation for my boy, I fought for time, and I fought for our birth. Ultimately, I made the decision to opt for C-section, no one else. And I needed to own that choice.

Despite the fact that Uly is the absolute light of my life and I would go through a million c sections if it meant he was here safe... It has taken some time for me to get over the fact that he wasn't born in our home, surrounded by my family, as I had envisioned. 

But when I look at my perfect little boy, I can only feel thankful. 

Thankful that when needed and necessary, medical intervention was there for us, and probably saved my baby. 

I will always advocate for home birth where it can be possible, but now I understand how important it is to be fluid with your birth expectations, and that, in the end, your baby will write their own birth story! and a lot of the time it won't be the way you envisioned it... And that's ok, actually, because at the core of birth, is the new life we've created. And as parents, our goal is always to keep that life safe and happy, even if it means we go through some trials to get there. 

I will never regret my choice to opt for C-section, because I don't think I really had a choice. There was only one choice for me, and that was to get Ulysses out, alive, and healthy, no matter the cost to myself. I have come to terms with it and I hope that my story will help anyone facing a similar dilemma, and reiterate that you do not need to blindly follow the path given by your hospitals. You can say no. You do not need to go along with anything you aren't sure of. And you absolutely CAN change your mind at the very last minute. And everything will still be ok, because you got this Mama.

You also... might get a cool as hell battle scar to show for it .

I hope that this story finds someone in need, and I cannot appreciate Kat and the PBY team enough for their support and experience. Kat is worth every penny, and I would not have gotten what I did from my pregnancy and birth without her... 

Thankyou for reading and Happy C-section awareness month!

Thank you for allowing me to be part of your pregnancy, birth and beyond. It was a pleasure being able to support you with all the steps leading up to and during this birth, which I know wasn't what you wanted, being able to have lots of birth plans and explore what's right during the time is such a wonderful skill to have. You are a strong and amazing mama!

These words are just beautiful, thanks for sharing with everyone.

Links for more information:

Home Birth Support Cheshire ( Northwich)


Doula & Photography - Me 

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