Jen’s Celebration of her amazing Caesarian Birth
I have two children, both born by elective caesarean. The first was a complete surprise: after 41 weeks I went to the birthing centre where I was booked in, to have a sweep to try and induce labour. I was told to get my bag and go straight to hospital as they couldn’t feel the baby’s head in my pelvis. A scan showed my baby lying in a transverse position. After a weekend in the post natal ward for observation, I had my daughter by caesarean section at 42 weeks.
I hadn’t had time to come to terms with having a caesarean instead of the water birth I’d been hoping for. Of course I was delighted to have a healthy baby, and spent our first night together feeling ecstatic. About having had a caesarean, I told myself that it was the end result that was important, and that we were lucky to be okay and to be here. However as time went on, I began to feel that I had somehow lost out, that I hadn’t actually had a ‘birth’.
My second pregnancy gave me renewed hope for a ‘natural’ birth.
The hospital where I was booked in has a policy of supporting women who want to try for a vaginal birth after caesarean so I was feeling positive about this possibility. However, about half way through my pregnancy my baby had settled into a breech position, and he didn’t want to move. I have a bi-cornuate uterus, meaning that my womb is heart-shaped, so there is less space inside. This baby felt exactly the same as my daughter, with his head tucked under my ribs. I tried everything I could to encourage him to turn: homeopathy, upside-down postures, craniosacral treatments, acupuncture, visualisation, talking to him… Nothing worked. He was very active, but I think I knew that he just couldn’t turn around. Knowing him now I’m sure he would have if he’d had room!
Once again I faced the prospect of a caesarean section.
The disappointment, sense of failure and feelings of powerlessness were almost overwhelming. Worse still, the last thing I wanted to have present at the birth were these negative emotions, even if the positive ones might be stronger.
Amanda had said to me that I could make a choice to see the medical people involved in the birth as loving participants. I found this an incredibly empowering thought, and it helped me to change my heart and mind about having a caesarean. The day before I went to hospital, I went for a long walk. Taking time alone in the woods to reconnect with nature, I talked to my baby and to myself. I made a conscious choice to focus on the positive, on life, on love. I gave thanks that I was in a position to access medical help, and that there were so many people around me working on a good outcome for my baby and me.
Instead of seeing a caesarean as a second best option and resigning myself to it with thoughts of ‘it’s the end result that matters’, I embraced it as the best choice for my baby’s birth. I chose to focus on the birth as exactly what it is: a Birth. A process, a journey, a life-changing and life-affirming event in which I wanted all those present to be loving participants.
That night I felt just like a child on Christmas Eve, I was so excited! In the hospital I silently gave love and thanks to everyone we met. Before we went into theatre I met my surgeon, and put our requests to him – for our music to be playing, for dimmed lights and lowered screen. Nothing was any trouble, everyone wanted to help make our experience a good one.
In theatre it is current practice for everyone to state their name and position to the rest of the team; I added my name at the end. We all laughed and it helped to set a lighthearted atmosphere, but for me it was also important that I feel like an active (though not literally!) participant rather than someone who was just lying there having something done to them. My partner and I witnessed the birth of our baby boy: the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen. I’m smiling to remember it now. He was born into an atmosphere of joy, celebration and love that stayed with me for many months. My post operative recovery was really quick and I felt amazing in the weeks after the birth. I am sure this was thanks to developing a positive attitude towards having a caesarean, and realising that every birth is a Birth.