I remember reading everything I could get my hands on when I was pregnant about growing little humans in your belly. And I also made a conscious effort to block all the “noise” out, peoples’ very well-intended tips and stories that seem to come out of nowhere, so unexpected. Bringing a new little life into the world was by far the most exhilarating and scariest thing I have done. And even though I went in with an open mind (or so I thought!), my birth wasn’t the birth I had envisioned in my head.
On 4th December, baby Lila was born via an elective C-section. Trust me, when I tell you that I did not want a section at all. For the majority of my pregnancy, I had prepared myself for a natural water birth, I had bought the fake candles, I had listened to the hypnobirthing tracks every day, I had discussed birth preferences with Mark and together we had written them onto a piece of paper, I was ready.
We prepared the best we could
I vividly remember seeing the consultant midwife at the hospital and going through my planned water birth. She asked me to climb in and out of the tub, and I followed – as elegant I could master at this stage doing my best Humpty Dumpty impression – while she calmly explained how in case of emergency, if everything else failed, the hospital could always scoop me up with a net – like a giant grey whale. Now, if that didn’t instil confidence, nothing would.
My baby was transverse for the most part of my pregnancy
I didn’t think much of it until my 3rd trimester. When she still hadn’t turned, I looked for help on the internet and found out that a lot of women had babies who were upside down like mine. There were whole websites dedicated to this topic, like spinningbabies.com.
I made it my mission to turn my baby. For a whole week, I hung upside down on an ironing board, much to the amusement to anyone who came to visit during this time. And she turned! Our joy was short lived, as a few days later, the baby decided she didn’t like this head down business ( who’s idea was that anyway?!) and she much rather sleep nestled close to mummy’s heart.
“Can’t you do anything?”, we asked the obstetrician at our next hospital visit. I mean this was 2015 after all. The obstetrician told us she could attempt to turn the baby and induce me, but the chances were slim, as I was so far along and the baby had measured big throughout. Maybe I should have taken those old wives tales seriously, and not crossed my legs this much – perhaps my baby would have never been upside down?
Both of us were really upset and I was heartbroken, especially since I had done everything I could to lower the risk, I had gently exercised, seen the chiropractor, walked, ate well. I mean I had read ALL the books, how was this happening to us? That evening, Mark and I discussed our options and it was hard to admit at first, but the c-section was what was best for the baby. We had prepared as best as we could, but some things you just can’t prepare for.
My experience has changed the way of how I viewed what was best for my baby. It was very hard at first and I was blaming myself a lot, but I think I needed to go through this to see that. We all go in with our minds and hearts set on something, but for the two of us, it was important to let go and release those preconceptions. As weird as that may sound, I have allowed myself to “grieve” my birthing experience, and it took a while to get there, but I am at peace now.
You raised your baby in your body, that’s birth
I saw this great quote saying “You raised your baby in your body, that’s birth” and it is honestly the best thing I have read on the internet in a long while. My elective C-section made me a mum and I am greatful for that. I have come to realise that there are lots of ways to give birth to a baby and c-sections are one of them.