Short story… when you go through all the options and stages for birth in your pre-natal classes – pain-relief, stages of labour, intervention etc – we basically gave them all a shot. Why not, hey?! The only part we didn’t end up trying was a vaginal birth. At the end of the day our beautiful daughter was born happy and healthy by emergency C-Section. Is that disappointing, like everyone assumes? No, because she was struggling and needed to come out. Was it a hard, painful and long day? Yes. Did I feel like giving up multiple times? Yes. Do we look back on it as a negative birth experience? No. Would I change it? No. Why? For two simple reasons:
Firstly, we put our trust in our incredible midwife. We were lucky enough to have the same midwife for all our pregnancy appointments, the birth and the post-birth checkups. This made the world of difference, especially as we were first time parents. We went into the day well informed about all our choices and pathways, because of all the extra education and advice Amber had given us. We also knew that Amber knew us well and what kind of support we would need on the day, as well as understanding our “birth plan”. It was very simple - finish with a happy and healthy baby, and let our midwife and nature lead the way there. On the day Amber was incredible, leading us through the all the choices, guiding us towards what was best for the baby and me, providing strength and motivation, especially at the crisis points where I wanted to stop, and she even put up with my terrible (happy-gas induced) jokes. As a result we met each new challenge, choice or change positively, thanks to our midwife. Not once were we scared or unsure, which means looking back we can only see it as a positive experience. Personally, I also learnt the best mantra for lowering my stress and pain – ‘RELAX YOUR SHOULDERS SARAH!’ I still hear my midwife telling me that at times of need!
Secondly, we wouldn’t change anything because birth is tough. Your body must move your pelvic bones apart by 10cm and that is never going to be painless. But the way your body and your baby work in unison to achieve that is just incredible and to experience that is something amazing. We put our trust in nature to do what it has done for thousands of years. For the most part that birth plan went well… But it was my body’s first time and my baby was way too comfortable in my seemingly cosy uterus (I was almost at 42 weeks), so things were slow and needed help (induction and oxytocin) and our baby was in a posterior position, which makes it harder to manage the contractions, so we utilised all available pain-relief options (TENS, shower, gas, morphine and an epidural). My baby and I worked hard together for a very long time, getting all the way to 8cm dilated. But by then she was over-worked, so we were given the exciting news, that we would be meeting our baby sooner than expected. Out she came by emergency caesarean and we couldn’t have been happier.
Overall, we made the best partnership that we could between nature and modern medicine, and we were rewarded with a happy, healthy baby girl.