Birth story - Alys and baby Mali

I looked into hypnobirthing fairly early on in my pregnancy. I had a complete fear and aversion of any intervention and was of a mindset that I was absolutely not having an induction or caesarean!

I began dreaming of my ideal birth, I even considered home birth, however at around 23 weeks when reality hit I made the decision to opt for the midwife led unit at our local hospital knowing that this was best for my anxiety.

I was fortunate to have a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy, apart from a little spotting during the first trimester. Because of this we got sent for an early scan at 6 weeks where everything was checked and we got to see little beans heartbeat. However, on the scan they did pick up that I had a bicornuate uterus or heart shaped womb as they commonly named it. As you can imagine I went and consulted Dr Google filling my mind with all the worst case scenarios. Yet, by our 12 week scan it was no longer visible to the sonographer and my pregnancy continued along smoothly without it being mentioned. Until...

We went at 30 weeks pregnant for a 4D Scan, something I’d booked early on in pregnancy so family could come see baby too. But baby wasn’t playing ball and was all cuddled up to her placenta in the breech position. Never mind, we got to go back the next week to try again...nope still breech. At this point it wasn’t much of a concern (over the next few weeks I was to hear the infamous line ‘plenty of time to turn’ more times than I care to remember). The weeks went by and the midwife appointments passed and each time she remained breech.

By 36 weeks this becomes a ‘problem’. I remember being told breech babies ‘aren’t allowed’ and wondering well can you tell that to our baby please!
We were sent for a number of scans and inevitably offered an ECV, the standard treatment to turn baby into the correct position. When I arrived at the hospital for the scan I’d been of the mindset to decline the ECV as I’d read of the low risks associated with the procedure. However, after discussion with the consultant and using my BRAIN we opted to try.

The first ECV was unsuccessful, another attempt was offered which we accepted but also asked for a c section date so that I could mentally prepare myself. I went away and tried absolutely everything from spinning babies, to acupuncture, to seeing a chiropractor. When we returned the following week she was still breech and our second ECV was again unsuccessful. At this point I burst hysterically into tears realising that I’d now be facing the c section I’d dreaded! I think the midwife must’ve taken pity on me because we were offered one final go with the ‘expert’ consultant. But yet again baby would not turn. The consultant discussed our options and was open to vaginal breech birth, however yet again using my BRAIN we decided that a c-section was the correct option for the safety of our baby and for my anxiety.

The positive birth pack and book helped me plan a beautiful and personal c-section where me and my partner were able to feel involved. We asked for ECG electrodes to be placed on the backs of my shoulders so I could have skin to skin, we created a playlist, took photos and videos, and had the screen lowered at the time of birth. Unfortunately, for a ‘planned’ c-section nothing quite went to plan. When I was cut open my bicornuate uterus was found to be the cause of all the failed ECVs. Baby’s head was in the left horn and her legs up in the right which meant it took a great deal of manoeuvring to get her out and she was shocked by the experience. Unfortunately we couldn’t have delayed cord clamping or my partner cut the cord as she had to be whisked away quickly for a few puffs of air. Thankfully after a minute she had responded and we were able to have our cuddles with our daughter.

I am so grateful to all the staff in theatre that day - they were amazing! And gave us the most beautiful experience. I want to thank the positive birth pack too for helping me accept a c-section was the best option for us and helping me make it a personal experience in which we felt involved in - the affirmations were still up around our house weeks afterwards!

Here are some pictures of us with our daughter Mali. I hate to think what sort of birth we’d have had without the positive birth pack.



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