belly birth was amazing.
This week’s birth story comes from a lovely couple who attended a TCBS Hypnobirthing Course with Leanne Lawrence of Brighter Birthing hypnobirthing, covering Tring, Hertfordshire and surrounding areas.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us!
My unexpected but planned belly birth experience….
Raeeka had her baby 3 years ago but was inspired to share her birth story as a result social media post on Instagram about Caesarean Awareness Month in April 2021. When she came across the term ‘belly birth’, which she hadn’t even realised was a thing, it helped her to feel more positively.
We ended up having a planned caesarean due to my son being breech. I teach yoga and so had been very aware of maintaining good posture and positioning throughout my pregnancy. Our baby seemed to be pointing the right way all along. However, at 38 weeks our midwife realised he was breech. It’s possible he had been this way the whole time and she hadn’t noticed. Yet, she was a very experienced midwife. Knowing my son now (3 years old) I can imagine the stubborn commitment to doing exactly what he wanted! It’s entirely possible he just turned of his own accord. I presume that was the way round he needed to be
It was challenging to prepare for a belly birth because I was deeply grieving the birth I had hoped to have. We had no upfront complications and were hoping to use the birthing centre. I was (and still am, to be honest) deeply sad about not having the opportunity to experience labour. We had done so much preparation, including booking our Hypnobirthing course with Leanne. We were also fairly sure that we would just be having one child. I will always wish that I got the chance to try a vaginal birth, even though my birthing experience as a belly birth was amazing.
Practicing hypnobirthing, reading about caesarean birth and being informed in our decisions and having Leanne to guide us was so helpful. Through Leanne’s support, I knew it was possible to still choose a natural birth if I wanted to. With her guidance we investigated who to speak to about this at the hospital. After our discussions with our caregivers, we decided to go for a belly birth. It felt like an empowered and informed choice, rather than being totally helpless and going along with what we were told. We met with our surgeon before our birth and were able to put my requests forward for the kind of birth we wanted.
The hospital staff were amazing at trying to accommodate our wishes as much as possible. So, I had a belly birth with my chosen music playing in the background. My husband sat by my head guiding me to do some hypnobirthing. He held a lavender sachet close to my head for a relaxing smell. I focused on breathing. It felt a little weird when they lifted our baby out, but otherwise it was a really calm experience.
There was no talking during our birth and they delayed cord clamping as long as possible for operating theatre conditions (about 1 min, I think). Our son was presented to us, so we could discover whether we had a little boy or girl, rather than them announcing it to us. The surgical staff ensured skin to skin ASAP after the immediate checks that needed doing were done. Our baby boy was on my chest before they’d even started sewing me up, rooting for milk. This made me so happy, as I was a little concerned that he wouldn’t breastfeed. I wanted to be able to have at least some of the experience I had hoped for. He ended up being a milk monster and weaned fairly naturally at 17 months.
My positive belly birth experience was all because I knew I could ask for it. I had the confidence to advocate for myself and the birthing experience I wanted. This came from our Hypnobirthing sessions with Leanne and her subsequent support.
I had a fairly straight forward recovery, although having the staples taken out was a little toe curling at points. It was challenging to move around while I was healing in those first few weeks. However, after a while I felt fairly normal and my scar has healed really well.
If I were to give any advice from my experience to pass onto others it’s this. It’s ok to grieve the birth you wanted. If you have to opt for a planned belly birth and you didn’t expect to, that’s ok.
People can be quick to dismiss those feelings of grief because “you and the baby are healthy”, but processing grief is important. Hold space for that.
Also, know that your planned belly birth experience can be magical, calming, beautiful and joyful. You are allowed to ask for little things that might make all the difference to you.
While I still wish I could have tried a vaginal birth, I still remember viscerally how relaxed, calm and focused I was as my baby entered the world. It will always stay with me as one of most beautiful and memorable experiences of my life.
If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!