A little backstory (Trigger Warning: PPD and anxiety): I gave birth to my first daughter Sienna, back in 2019. I was induced due to baby's reduced movements. Although I thought my birth was overall a positive one, a couple of things happened that left me with a bit of birth trauma. 4 months after giving birth I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety and I was looked after the Perinatal Team at my local hospital.
Pregnancy (Trigger warning: Intrusive Thoughts-Anxiety) Both my husband and I wanted to have another baby and grow our family more so around August (2021) we decided to start trying for another baby. We were very shocked (in a good way) to find out that I was pregnant the next month (sending lots of love to everyone who is trying to convince).
I only suffered with some mild morning sickness during the first trimester and horrible heartburn towards the end of the pregnancy. Apart from that, I have to say that I had a very "easy" pregnancy. I stayed active throughout the whole pregnancy and I ate a more balanced diet than my first pregnancy which really helped me. Physiologically everything was great, however, when the second trimester started I started having really intrusive thoughts that something really bad would happen to my baby. I suffered from horrible nightmares and I did not want to go to sleep as I was afraid of what I would dream of. These thoughts and dreams became so overwhelming that I started being really scared and anxious of giving birth. After talking to my midwife about it, she suggested to meet with the Perinatal Team again. I was looked after the Perinatal Team once more, due to my previous mental health struggles. The Perinatal Team suggested to meet with the head midwife of Birth Reflections as well-where you can discuss about your birth and see your previous birth notes- and talk about what "went wrong" in my previous birth and how we can make this birth a more positive one. The midwife from Birth Reflections advised to do an antenatal course that combines hypnobirthing as well as proper medical information so I could be more informed around birth. I was also seen by a consultant to discuss whether I wanted to have a c section this time as did not enjoy the induction process with my first birth.
After doing some online shopping, I decided to purchase Pip's Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Course (I was already following her on Instagram and loved all her posts about pregnancy exercise and breastfeeding).
Honestly, the course is FANTASTIC and I cannot praise it enough. It is the perfect combination of hypnobirthing and has all the information regarding birth, safe sleeping, feeding and explains all the stages of labour, how a c section is performed etc. as well as the recovery process. The hypnobirthing audios and visualisations really helped my anxious mind. I was playing them every night before going to bed and I was listening to them before the BIG DAY. It massively contributed to keep my mind at ease and I was able to manage my anxiety-along with the help of the perinatal team, midwives and my consultant (It takes a village to raise a baby and a mom even during pregnancy)
After finishing my antenatal course and along with the support of the midwives and the consultant we all sit down to discuss what the best option would be for me and my baby. I knew that I did not want to be induced again if I went over the 40 week mark and I asked if I could have an elective c section instead if that would happen. The consultant advised to not go up to 42 weeks due to my anxiety to which I completely agreed and we decided together if the baby did not arrive on her own by 41 weeks + 2 days to then have a c section. Thanks to Pip's course I was 100% ready regarding c sections, I knew who would be in the theatre with me and how to have a gentle elective c section.
Birth: I think I created a lovely and warm environment for the baby as she did not want to come out. I even had two sweeps (that I asked for) and nothing happened, I did not have any contractions or braxton hicks and apart from the big belly I did not really feel pregnant or that I was over 40 weeks. So at 41 weeks + 2 days (the 8th of June 2022) we headed to the hospital to meet our little girl. The midwives and head anesthesiologist greeted us and talked us through the procedure and wanted to confirm one more time with us my 'Birth Preferences' The anesthesiologist was very re assuring and told me that they will respect all of my preferences and asked me if I wanted to have a mirror when the baby is born and I instantly said YES.
When we were ready to go into the theatre, the whole team was very welcoming. Whilst I was getting the spinal, my husband was looking into my eyes reminding me that we were about to meet our second daughter soon. My husband was staying by my side during the whole procedure and watched the operation. It was soon go time, the team dimmed the lights as much as they could (as of course they need to perform a major surgery), the drapes were never fully up, our playlist was playing the whole time and very soon I heard the anesthesiologist saying 'are you ready to meet your baby?' as she handed me over the mirror to see her head being born, happy tears filled my face. I could then hear her say 'baby straight to mom please for skin to skin!' something that I did not get to have at my first birth. Luna Ray was born with 'Be my baby' by The Ronettes playing in the background and she was brought to my chest and it was the most euphoric moment. Whilst the team was working their magic on me and did delayed cord clamping, I was having all the skin to skin with baby who instantly went to my breast. She then enjoyed some skin to skin with her daddy and the midwife took her to clean her and weigh her (a healthy 3.5 kg!) As we were waiting to be transferred to the ward, the whole team came to talk to me about what is going to happen next in recovery but also to say 'you did it mom, well done' and asked me if this time I had a more positive experience which I thought was so lovely of them. Little things like these can really help the parents with their birth experience I think. Baby latched on my breast straight away and she was feeding the whole time while we were waiting. I told my husband that I don't think I have ever been more relaxed in my life even though I just had a major abdominal surgery-I think all the oxytocin was flowing inside me.
It was the best birth I could wish for, all thanks to the team, my midwives and Pip's course as without it I would not have the right information to have the best possible gentle c section and to be able to understand what would happen in recovery. I stayed for 48 hours and then we get to go home and introduce Luna to her big sister!
Luna is now almost 3 months and she's the happiest little bubba.
* When getting up to walk the first days/week put a pillow in your belly as it will help with any pain/soreness
* Gum is great for any trapped wind
* If people offer help-TAKE IT
* Take it easy with lifting things up the first weeks
* Buy all the high waisted underwear as you don't want any fabric going on top of your c section incision
* Eat well and hydrate (especially if you breastfeed)
p.s. have you checked out Midwife Pips Courses
The Author: Midwife Pip
Pip is a Mum, Podcaster and practicing Midwife in the UK, currently working as a Delivery Suite Sister she has a wealth of experience supporting parents-to-be through all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum. Pip has trained and worked in some of the leading maternity units, has completed a master's programme and is passionate about all aspects of women's health and wellness.
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