When Melissa Spilsted, Director of Hypnobirthing Australia, says “I personally guarantee you will have an awesome birth”, she’s not lying. What birth doesn’t leave the parents absolutely in awe of their new babe?
But the birth we had imagined and prepared for, was not the birth we got – far from it.
This was a planned pregnancy (like most things in our life). We spent those months while the ‘due date’ crept closer, doing Hypnobirthing classes to prepare for our 100% natural birth and reading what information we could on what to expect for the birth and after. We had planned, were well prepared, and ready.
Well, weren’t we in for a surprise!
At 33 weeks during a standard checkup with my midwife, she requested an ultrasound because bub was tracking slightly larger than average and she wanted to obtain some accurate measurements.
At the ultrasound we discovered bub was a good size, however was presenting as breech. At this stage, it wasn’t a major issue because we still had a few weeks until they would begin becoming concerned about baby’s position.
A few weeks later at another standard checkup, the midwife thought bub was still presenting breech and so ordered another ultrasound. It turns out she was and they now wanted to perform an ECV to manually turn her – the very next day. Whoa! That was too fast for me. I wanted everything natural and interrupting baby like this and performing a procedure was not within that model. I had heard the procedure was painful and I was scared. So we booked one for the following week, allowing us time to think about the procedure and explore every natural method we could in the meantime to get her to turn.
That week we did moxa, meditated, yoga positions, spoke to her (both gently and sternly!), and spent hours in the pool trying to turn her – even doing handstands!
The day before the ECV, we had another ultrasound to check the progress of our efforts in the hope we had been successful and an ECV wasn’t necessary. The lady was unusually quiet and quick. When she came back with the report, I read it over – still in breech…and what appears to be multiple loops of umbilical cord around her neck… Well, that certainly added another dimension to the situation. Somehow this ECV procedure I was so scared of initially was being pulled from my grasp as an option and now suddenly exactly what I wanted to do. In this moment we felt very hopeless.
The next day at the appointment, and just as we expected, the doctor expressed concern with performing an ECV – with the very real possibility of requiring an emergency cesarean as a result of baby becoming stressed. Oh wow, there was that dreaded c-word. I couldn’t possibly do something that risked that. That was the last thing we wanted. I was so petrified of a cesarean that I couldn’t even say the word. If I thought of it, I would cry. My mind raced – what were my options?
Before I knew it, there was my family and four medical staff in my very small room explaining the likelihood of being booked in for a cesarean. They said to have a think – they would still support us if we chose to pursue a natural vaginal birth, however a cesarean was highly recommended. This conversation was followed by a discussion with my midwife, who then recommended we speak with an obstetrician to ask more questions.
It was about a week between that time and when we met with the obstetrician. That week was full of emotional upsets. The perfect birth I had come to expect was no longer an option and I was struggling to move on. Many people tried to help, saying “you have to do what’s best for the baby” and “the only thing that matters in the end is a healthy mum and healthy baby”. But these comments didn’t help. What about my perfect birth?! What about the serenity of floating in water, my husband and I calmly welcoming our daughter into the world? Call me crazy, but I wanted to labour! I wanted to be birthed into motherhood and experience that ‘right of passage’. I felt ripped off.
I slowly came to terms with needing a cesarean. The acceptance factor for me was when I realised it would be a long and hard struggle to heal if anything happened to my daughter as a result of my choosing to pursue a vaginal birth. I didn’t want that guilt, and I certainly didn’t want to put something like that between myself and my husband. So my decision was made then (much to the relief of my husband and family).
Once the decision had been made, I didn’t look back. My husband and I discussed what we could still salvage from our original birth plan, and how I could still Hypnobirth to bring our girl into the world – calm voices, beautiful music and loving arms.
At our appointment with the obstetrician, late one afternoon, we discussed options. We had next week on her due date or (deep breath…) the next day. To not risk going into natural labour and requiring an emergency cesarean, we booked it for the next day.
That night was spent listening to soft music, camping out on the lounge room floor with takeout. My husband and I spoke fondly of the times we have enjoyed together and what we look forward to experiencing with our daughter.
The next day, 6am we were at the hospital. I was robed up and ready. Music in my ears and a sense of calm that surprised even myself! When I was wheeled into the theatre I started crying and people mistook this for being scared – I was so overwhelmed with the thought that I was about to meet my daughter!!
In the end, we had a beautiful, calm and absolutely awesome birth. Was it what we expected? No, but in life, what is? Did I Hypnobirth? I don’t know, but I will tell you this: the skills my husband and I learned from our Hypnobirthing course enabled us to remain calm and ready. It meant that even in the face of fear and uncertainty, we still felt like we had a choice and could choose powerfully. It meant that my daughter and I were safe and she was born into a calm and respectful environment, and into our loving arms – and that’s all that matters.
Now we have a beautiful daughter who continues to teach us! We have learnt that planning can sometimes be thrown out the window – and that is okay.
Djanisa and Rana, Taigum Brisbane
Djanisa asked, “Did I hypnobirth?” And I say – “Absolutely!”
They were able to remain calm and have a positive birth experience despite the change of circumstances. They were informed throughout, and made conscious decisions as parents. Djanisa and Rana – you prepared for a positive birth and that’s exactly what you got – you are hypnobirthing stars! x