We have been meaning to email you for some time to let you know how things went with the birth but only just managing to get around to it now. Life with a newborn is more hectic than I’d even imagined 😅 .. But you’ll be pleased to know we have a beautiful daughter, who is 7 weeks old today.
As you know, we had been preparing for an all natural, holistic birth with C playing the gong as we welcomed our baby into the world. However, as seems to be the case with birth, it all went a little different than we’d envisaged! … During lockdown when Homerton stopped doing home births, we switched to a private midwife so we could still give birth at home. Due date came and went; L was very happy inside me and just didn’t want to come out – perhaps she intuited there was a pandemic going on and felt safer where she was?! Our midwife was very happy for us to wait for L to take her time coming out and not induce, as long as we were monitoring her and everything looked good so we had been doing foetal monitoring and having scans to check on her progress. On 42+4 days we had a scan where they told us the amniotic fluid was low at which point our midwife said she was no longer happy to do a home birth and wanted us to go into Homerton to have the baby. She said at that stage that she believed caesarean was preferable considering that inductions very often lead to instrumental births and often caesareans anyway – which were more traumatic down the line, rather than choosing it early on. Even though I had thought I was preparing myself to be flexible, I found the sudden turn around all pretty shocking and upsetting as it felt so far from what I’d been visualising for all those many months.
When we arrived at the hospital, I was so thankful that they allowed C in (after I said I wouldn’t discuss with the doctor unless he were present as I didn’t feel able to make any decisions alone). This was entirely true! I was definitely in shock and found it hard to articulate myself or pose the right questions. C was brilliant and I know he felt empowered by what we’d learnt with you on the course about making sure we question things and take the time to make decisions that are right for us.
When we got to the hospital I had actually started to go into very early labour with light contractions. We were debating going down the induction route as I really wanted a vaginal delivery … but were ultimately unsure of whether to take that path, considering the risks. In the end, I had a sweep instead and they allowed me to stay in that night to see whether my labour progressed by the next day. It did progress – but not enough – and in the morning, I had another sweep, then my waters were broken and we waited a little more but my labour still didn’t progress to where it needed to be. In the end, the decision of whether to get induced or go for a c section was really made for us by our daughter – L’s head came back up and wasn’t even remotely engaged … so we made the decision to go for the c section. It then all happened very quickly after that and less than an hour later, L came into the world with an almighty cry. We requested and got immediate skin to skin (something the anaesthetist said she had never seen!) and L very quickly started hunting around for my nipple (amazing to witness the perfection of nature in full flow!). We even had delayed cord clamping and C got to cut the cord. It was entirely not what either C or I had envisaged but it was still incredibly awe-inspiring, deeply emotional and amazing. We even had music playing during the surgery! We are very grateful to you and the things we learnt around creating a beautiful birth. Knowing what aspects of the birth experience were important to us and having the confidence to request what we wanted really enabled us to have a beautiful experience, despite the huge about-turn from what we had dreamt of. Luckily, everyone we dealt with at Homerton was kind, respectful and helpful and we felt so lucky to get that level of compassionate care. It was really humbling and something we will never forget.
The early days of having L were certainly challenging – we had some breastfeeding issues – and getting used to the intensity of new motherhood and sleepless nights alongside recovering from surgery was tough. I also think that even though the c section felt and still feels like it was the right thing to do – and therefore a positive experience – there was still definitely some trauma involved in the whole experience. The sudden shift from our plan and being so very far from what I’d imagined had its repercussions on me. I have needed time talking it through with various family and friends and have found that each time I have, I’ve felt better. At 7 weeks, I’m now feeling so much better and stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually. L is a magical little creature, smiling and connecting so much these days and life feels much easier. I’ve just started to do my own gentle yoga – I put L in her bouncer and do it in front of her. Luckily she finds it very entertaining and amusing to watch me moving around 🥰 life is very different but certainly beautiful.
Thank you for all you taught us. We loved your classes and connecting with other like-minded souls. The affirmations and hypnobirthing tapes were constant companion for the months leading up to L’s birth and I know kept me grounded and sane during a very strange time.