elective c-section

Gemma’s Real Birth Story | Abdominal birth

Where & how was your baby born? Was it as you expected and did you have any support / tools?

My beautiful strong boy was born at East Surrey Hospital, by elective c-section. I did a hypnobirthing day with my husband, with Sakina, and it was completely in sync with empowering me to make my c-section birth what I wanted it to be. I really didn’t want any intervention, I wanted an active birth, but I have Type 1 diabetes and so with the added risk of complications my birth choices were limited from the offset.

I practiced my breathing techniques, printed off my ‘oxytocin pictures’ and positive affirmations to take into hospital with me, I created my birthing playlist, I asked for all my wires on my back/arm, I communicated all of my preferences to the team beforehand – and I had a wonderful birth!

I was looked after by an anaesthetist and surgeon who were amazing, and my midwives were so supportive. They could see I was nervous and I was crying just at the sheer worry of being so out of control. But my baby was born within 4 minutes of the surgery starting, and he was placed straight onto my chest. I had a lotus birth (placenta birthed intact and attached to baby) and we had optimal cord drainage whilst they continued with sewing me back up. George fed straight away and just knew exactly what to do. He weighed a healthy 9lb 7oz! It wasn’t my first choice, but I was so glad to have had tools and skills to help me feel more in control and to feel as though I was still a part of our birthing journey, rather than having anything ‘done to me’.

lotus birth

My birth was delayed by 4 days, due to unforeseen circumstances in the hospital, and whilst I felt a odd mix of emotions leaving that first day still with bubba inside me, it couldn’t have been a more positive thing – the original surgeon and anaesthetist were on a completely different wavelength than me, they weren’t happy to support my wishes to have baby straight to me, wouldn’t initially entertain the idea of a vaginal microbiome swap, and wanted to ‘milk’ the cord. I really fought on that day to get them to allow me to do these things, because it wasn’t that they couldn’t be done, it was just that they weren’t how the surgeon that day liked to do things. This is not how any birth should be handled. I was anxious, upset and felt so vulnerable. So very far from the lovely warm bubble I was desperately trying to remain in.

Thankfully, my birth was moved to another day, with a different team of people and my experience couldn’t have been more different in the best way. In future, if I were to have another baby, the likelihood of a planned c-section is high and if I wasn’t happy with the staff presented to me I would now have the courage to request a different day/team. Because birth isn’t meant to terrify you, you are meant to be made to feel secure and supported and safe. It’s what mothers everywhere deserve as standard care!).

What are your top tips for others going through birth?

Breath, boost your oxytocin in whatever way possible, stay strong – you have a choice and it’s your body.

What aspects of your journey are you most proud of and / or did you enjoy?

I’m proud of following my instincts and managing to keep a hold of the tools that helped me calm down, even when I was most worried. I went through a birthing journey that wasn’t what I had planned for prior to my pregnancy and my son, husband and myself all worked through it and made it into the positive experience that it was (with credit to the lovely team we had in the end).

If you could do anything differently what would it be?

Speak up about my concerns about my team more. I did a lot, but in future I will just simply request another team and refuse to go through with the birth that day. I deserve the right to feel safe and supported during birth.

What helped you?

Homeopathy, breath work, my husband.

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