On the 4th of May I went to hospital to have my baby turned manually (ECV) by a doctor as Atlas was frank breech. Frank breech means he was laying bottom down and head literally stuck under my ribs with his feet around his head. The turn wasn't successful. With his measurements through an ultrasound saying he would be a 9 pound 2 baby, and how he was positioned in my belly; the hospital professionals said a vaginal birth was not supported.
I was pretty heartbroken that he didn’t turn. I really wanted to experience what our body is capable of doing, but knew that he was obviously safe and comfortable where he was.
The following Monday, we went back to hospital to organise a planned Caesarean section. Which we decided to be on the 10th of May allowing both my mum and my professional photographer to be present for the birth.
Even with all the mental preparation and Hypnobirthing, I was nervous. I mean who isn’t when they know they are going to go under the knife? No matter what the surgery is for.
So, Wednesday evening came. My mama stayed at my home with Ashley and I to keep me company and be there with me from the moment I woke up the following day until when I was back in the ward with my baby. It was so good to have her and Ashley with me at all times.
5:45am on the 10th, we arrived at the hospital greeted by our photographer. I remember walking across the bridge saying, “I feel like I am walking the green mile; the old me is dead and gone - I am going to be a mum.”
That morning, was the longest hours of my entire pregnancy. We were booked in for 11am for a c section however, there was an emergency that took priority. Which lead me to going in at 1pm.
I had to fast from midnight so I was starving. That was all I could think about; I just wanted to eat!
I was surrounded by so many supportive people that whole morning. Gaby, my MGP midwife (who had been with me from day dot), my husband Ashley, Selena our birth photographer and of course my mum.
I was feeling pretty good until Gaby walked in and said, “Okay. It’s your turn.”
My heart dropped. I was so scared. It wasn’t really the surgery I was afraid of. I don’t know what it was. A combo I think. I really didn’t want drugs in my system. It has been 3 years without pharmaceuticals in my body - not even panadol. It was also the unknown. And the idea of being awake through the whole thing.
The moment it truly hit me, was when my photographer told my mum to say a proper goodbye to me. Which set me off because mum couldn’t be with me during the procedure. And I hate goodbyes like that. I am not going forever, don’t make it feel that way. So from walking away from her; I really had to remind myself to get into a deep state of hypnosis. Which honestly was challenging. I had my headphones on listening to music, crying and breathing. With everyone asking if I was nervous because of my tears. I just said yes and continued to focus on my music.
Then it was time to have the spinal put in. I had to leave Ashley outside and went in with Gaby. I breathed deeply and listened to my songs as the needle went in. The feeling of warmth that run through your legs is so bizarre. It’s one of those things you can not explain. Then when your legs go numb, it’s like the feeling of sitting with your legs crossed at a very long assembly at school. That intense numbness but can still feel the pressure. Then in went the catheter. I must say, I was grateful for that catheter because it was the first time in 9 months I didn’t have to get up through the night to pee!! Hahah!
Then being wheeled into theatre. Feeling numb from the chest down. This is when I started to get overwhelmed. By this time I had seen more than 20 faces that all asked me questions and touched me. The surgery hadn’t begun and I already had enough.
Then my beautiful husband sat down next to me and said “I'm here boo.” and I immediately felt calm. I started my playlist again and went inside my head and breathed.
That's where Hypnobirthing was a great investment. Learning that I was allowed to have headphones on and breathing techniques and reminding myself I was safe and loved over and over helped me. There were times where I slipped out of it and instantly I felt anxious but Ashley was there. If I told him I was nauseous he would tell a doctor straight away, same when I got starry eyed from breathing too quickly and when my hands started to go numb. He was so prompt in telling them what I needed.
They are not wrong when they say the pressure of getting baby out feels like a washing machine. It's the only way to explain it but you wouldn't understand until you experience it. They were pushing down on my ribs to get him out from his snug position.
At 2.11pm they asked me if I wanted the curtain dropped to see him and I said no. I knew if I saw him in that moment I would have lost my rhythm of breath and been screwed. They pulled it down slightly so Ashley could see him. I got a glimpse of Ashley's smile and again felt calm. That was the moment my son came earth side.
I heard his cry and calmed a little more. I still hadn't seen him yet because I was so overwhelmed. They started to stitch me up and that was when Ashley and the photographer were meant to leave. When Ashley said see you soon I instantly cried. Even thinking about it now I am crying. I didn't want to be left without my husband. So Gaby my midwife told the doctors that he was staying. And he sat back down. I cried more in relief. He stayed all the way up until I was completely sewn up.
The obstetrician came from around the curtain and told me the procedure was perfect. Nothing to fault. He said he was a big baby (4.13kgs) and was a bit of a struggle to get out from the incision cause of his chunky butt. (He got that from Ashley haha) but physically from mine and baby's standpoint it couldn't have gone better.
This is when Gaby, Selena and Ashley all had to leave so they could move me to another bed and then into recovery.
This was the most challenging part as I was moved into a room where Ashley was on a chair skin to skin with Atlas. Chilling out and I felt the urge to cry. So I did. That cry was such a release. That hour before made me realise how introverted I actually am and how much I hate being touched. About 10 faces came through the curtains to check on me. I was getting more and more overwhelmed. Ashley couldn't handle how I was so he brought Atlas to me for the first time and I cried more. More like whimpered. When I say cry guys it was no way in fear anymore. It was a release. Where your body has held up the emotions for so long (positive or negative) you then release. I couldn't talk when I saw Atlas for the first time. I couldn't even get a smile, again from overwhelment I just cried. I felt horrible that I didn't hold him but I just couldn't get my breathing into rhythm and I knew that was absolutely vital to remain calm.
Ashley gave Gaby Atlas and just held me and wiped my tears. Kept reminding me that I am safe and he loved me and I did amazing and that he's so proud of me.
I just kept crying.
By this time Ashley had messaged mum saying we were both okay but to please not touch me. That's how much I was over being touched. I didn't even want mum to touch me. I felt bad but I knew if she did try and comfort me I would of flipped it and it wouldn't have been her fault.
They wheeled me back to the ward and i saw my mum standing at the front door. She cried in relief too knowing i was okay but overwhelmed.
As soon as I got into the ward the feeling of overwhelm just stopped. I was finally alone with my mum, husband and baby to absorb the fact I just became a mum.
I did everything as natural as I could. Meaning we prolonged the cutting of the cord for as long as we could and did vaginal seeding for him. So again, the Hypnobirthing was worth it because I didn't know those were options before.
When I held Atlas for the first time I didn't get that ridiculous amount of love everyone says happens. There was more connection than ever before, and I can say I adored him from the moment he was on my chest. But I didn't feel that love like no other. Not yet anyways.
At this point Ashley's parents were here but I really needed a break and told them to come back later. This is where boundaries are key as I had just gotten calm. So Ashley went home with them to get me all the food I had made cause I was sooo hungry.
I bonded with baby and tried to breastfeed and he didn't latch. So we did some expressed feeding. Ashley came back with my food and boy I honestly didn't know if I was happier to see him or the food
Since then, I have been feeling good. I've been moving well and not in too much pain. We have found out Atlas is tongue tied so we are getting that looked at which explains why he isn't latching. But we have a plan in place which is good.
Almost 48 hours later I look back and think the experience was more positive than negative. Everyone I spoke to was lovely, the procedure went perfectly, Atlas and I are healthy. The only challenge was my own overwhelming of people. At the end of the day all the people I saw were needed. They all played an important role of safely delivering Atlas. It was my own mind I had to conquer. I was so grateful for the Hypnobirthing techniques they helped A LOT in keeping me as calm in my mind. If I can give anyone an advice for a c section is to bring music. It was a game changer. Especially if people tried talking to me I would just say “I can't hear you.” they wouldn't repeat themselves if it wasn't important.
I am adoring my little world (Atlas, get it? ) now. I love the smell of his soft hair and his little whimper when he's slowly going to sleep. I know people say babies are “time wasters” and I know what they mean by it. Except I would call it “present creators" because when I look at Atlas I am wholeheartedly present. I forget that people are messaging me online, that I have bills to pay, that my belly is tender. I just see this little dude who is staring at me.
A lot of people have asked what I am excited for most and I am excited to relearn the world again. Explain to him what stop and go means, how to walk and talk. How to use manners, to know its okay to cry, take him to museums and animal shelters, All of it.
So that's pretty much my story.
While my birth went nowhere near how I hoped for. (I knew to have no expectations going into it, but did have preferences) it was a pleasant one. It was calm when I allowed it to be calm. I was respected and supported through the whole thing. I am eternally grateful.
The last thing I will say is a massive thank you to my husband and my mum. They supported me in different ways and they were both needed.
Birth Photographer: brisbanebirthphotography.com.au
Birth team: MGP Ipswich Hospital