Effie’s Hypnobabies C-Section

Hypnobabies Student Holding newborn just after C-Section

Effie’s Hypnobabies C-Section

“I found out they’d been able to schedule me for a c-section on Saturday. I did a lot to try to get the baby to turn. Inversions from spinning babies, ice packs, the Hypnobabies track for breech babies.”

All through pregnancy I was set on trying for an unmedicated Hypnobabies birth. I’d done research for years and the program really appealed to me. I was so excited to start the home study lessons and began right at 28 weeks, followed all instructions, did the tracks just about every night, only occasionally missed a practice session. My pregnancy was completely normal and uncomplicated, but I went past my guess date (Hypnobabies term for due date). On a Thursday I was 40+2 I went in for routine post guess date checks, including an ultrasound to check amniotic fluid levels. As soon as the tech put the wand on me she said “the baby is breech”. I couldn’t believe it. She showed me and yep, head up in my ribs.

I went to the NST (part of the planned checkup). The baby’s heartbeat looked great but I was having regular pressure waves (Hypnobabies term for contractions), which I barely felt. Everyone seemed a bit surprised they weren’t uncomfortable. An intense flurry of activity followed, as it was very unclear what the plan for me was. My nurse practitioner called the hospital but the on-call OB was in a FOUR HOUR surgery. The on-call midwife said as long as my pressure waves weren’t causing discomfort I could go home. The OB who was in the office said she could do a c-section the next Monday. The NP wanted to at least check my cervix, with the plan to send me to the hospital if I was significantly dilated. I waited so long. When she checked I was still 80% effaced but only 1 cm dilated. So, I went home, with instructions not to eat or drink anything until I heard from their office, and the promise I’d hear before the end of the day. I called my husband on the drive home, I was feeling so stressed and shaky and scared.

Once home we called my parents and in laws and walked the dog. Somewhere in there I called the OB office again, and the OB who was there ended up calling me back after closing. She said c-section was essentially the only choice, she wasn’t comfortable trying an ECV so late, and that she could do it Monday or I could probably schedule with the on call OB over the weekend. I said if I could get it done earlier than Monday I’d really be happier. I tried to get to sleep. I felt like whatever pressure waves I was having slowed down. The baby got hiccups and I realized she must have turned recently—they were up above my navel when before they’d been way deep in my pelvis.

Hypnobabies Student Holding newborn just after C-SectionThe next day I found out they’d been able to schedule me for a c-section on Saturday. I did a lot to try to get the baby to turn. Inversions from spinning babies, ice packs, the Hypnobabies track for breech babies. I talked with my doula on the phone and she made me feel a lot better about having a c-section and that there was likely nothing I could have done to avoid it, especially with her turning so late. She helped me revise my birth plan into a set of c-section preferences. I went to my mom’s condo and swam in the pool, doing lots of somersaults to see if that would turn her. I didn’t feel her move. That night we went out for my mother in law’s birthday dinner. The baby was doing some crazy big moves during dinner, I was hoping maybe it was her starting to turn back. We took our dog on a last walk just the three of us. That night we had to organize all our things for the next day. We packed our bags and snacks, and I still brought my Hypnobabies materials in case she somehow turned.

The next morning I took some final mirror selfies and we went to the hospital. I was so excited to have my baby. I was hoping she’d flipped back but either way it felt so good to know she’d be here soon. We got to the hospital and they put us straight in an L&D room. I put on a hospital gown, they monitored my vital signs, and a midwife came in to do an ultrasound. Baby was still breech, and I was having regular pressure waves (which still didn’t feel especially intense to me, although they were getting stronger according to the monitor). We talked through the c-section and I ended up not even getting out my preferences list because so much of it would happen anyway. They were going to put the baby on me asap, and my husband would go everywhere with her. I asked about delayed cord clamping and they said they could do it unless she needed the NICU team immediately. I met the anesthesiologist and he was super friendly. I told him I wanted everything narrated. The OB was a bit late but when he came in I was so glad to meet him, he was very warm and friendly. I asked him about doing an ECV and he immediately got the ultrasound machine to see if he could. He said she had such little fluid he was concerned about complications and didn’t think it was very likely to work. So, c-section it was, but I felt really good that he seriously considered whether ECV was an option. They got me all prepped and wheeled me in. My husband had to wait while they prepped the room and did my spinal. The anesthesiologist told me I was fun to work on because I was so excited. I was really, really excited. They had me lie down. Right before they cleaned my stomach I asked if I could touch it one last time. It was the strangest saddest feeling knowing it was the last time I’d feel my pregnant belly. Then they put up the drape, cleaned me up, told me not to move, tested my numbness. My husband came in with two pediatric nurses. They told me when they made the first cut and when they cauterized some blood vessels, which I smelled a moment later. It was SO FAST that my daughter was born. The doctor held her up for me to see and she looked very blue, but I heard her make a small mewling sound. They immediately handed her off to the NICU team. They seemed pretty urgent and I could hear them talking about her tone, but within seconds she was yelling. They were still working hard on her which made me a little nervous but hearing that she was yelling I thought she was probably okay. It turned out she’d swallowed a lot of meconium and needed “deep suctioning”, but was fine. She had 1 and 5 minute  Apgars of 8 and 9. My husband got peer-pressured into cutting her cord (he hadn’t wanted to initially).

After that the nurses carried her over and put her on my chest. She immediately stopped crying. Everyone said how she knew me immediately. I got situated with her and she grabbed my thumb and held on. She was so, so tiny and amazing, I was already in love. They took pictures of me and my husband with her and I had no awareness at all of them stitching me up. They put her tiny bracelet with my name on it on her. At the end she and my husband left ahead of me to the recovery room, they transferred me to the bed, and rolled me back to L&D. As I got there my daughter was getting weighed and measured, and it was just a moment or two before they put her back on my chest.

It was the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me. I obviously didn’t use the Hypnobabies for managing my birthing time, but I think it did leave me in a very good headspace of being excited to meet my baby and welcoming the road there, even with a big change of plans. Later it helped with managing discomfort during recovery, especially in the hospital when nurses had to check my uterus. I’m a little sad still I missed out on a “normal” birth experience (whatever that is) but the way it happened was nice in that I had time to process and grieve for that a bit before meeting my daughter, so the day she was born was really about being excited for her and not sad for an experience I was never guaranteed. Recovery is a separate story but it was way easier than I’d feared. In retrospect it’s strange to think about how much effort I put into avoiding a c-section, it wasn’t bad at all and I’d do a million worse things to get my daughter here healthy. When she came out with meconium I felt like there might have been a good reason she flipped and wouldn’t go back, like perhaps my prodromal pressure waves were putting pressure on her cord in a bad way. Those moments of seeing and holding her for the first time were the most incredible and perfect moments of my life and I can’t imagine wanting anything about them to be different.