Written by Lisa Norman

For those of you not familiar with my story, my birth plan for my first son had not been discussed or even thought about. I knew it was something I couldn’t avoid forever. It hadn’t come up yet in the appointments that I had with my midwife so if I’m honest the thought scared me. I assumed I would be pushed down the route of having a natural birth. I’d no real basis for this assumption. I didn’t know many that hadn’t given birth naturally and with stigmas still going around about some women being too posh to push I made the assumption that a section wouldn’t be an option.

I’d not even considered that my son’s birth would be early or that it wouldn’t be my choice. I turned up for my 30 week scan and things quickly went from me being OK to me being rushed to theatre for an emergency caesarean section. It was a complete shock to the system and something I hadn’t really researched. I was at the complete mercy of the medical team to quickly and concisely tell me my options so we could contribute to the snap decisions that needed to be made.

Medical professional pushing an incubator through a hospital. Photography credit: Hush Naidoo
Medical professional pushing an incubator through a hospital. Photography credit: Hush Naidoo

I don’t regret any of it. My section went well and in terms of me and my recovery I was text book. My son was the one that was not text book. While I don’t regret the decision I have found the thought of birth hard this second time around.

The booking appointment

I arrived for my booking appointment with the midwife and forgot just how much paperwork is involved with having a baby! The full hour seemed excessive, but I was there for the duration so clearly not. There was a lot of questions to go through and the midwife was quick with some and needed more details for others. When it came to mode of delivery she assumed I would want a second section, I froze. I didn’t know what I wanted. Whenever my first pregnancy was discussed the midwife kept talking about potential red flags to my mental health and regularly asked how I was feeling right now.

After the appointment I had a moment of panic, how did I think this delivery was going to go? Was all choice being stripped away from me again? I didn’t know what to do so I called my therapist who treated me after my son was born. I explained I felt completely panicked after my booking appointment and that I didn’t have the control I thought I did. She booked me in for an appointment straight away.

The first session we went over the plan that was in place, then a brief refresher on some of the techniques I had learnt a few years prior. Lastly we went through a new plan on how to see me through this pregnancy. Immediately I felt grounded and like I had regained some control again.

Seeing the consultant

I was slightly nervous about seeing the consultant but there was no need for me to be at all, he was lovely. He looked over my medical history and confirmed that the LETTZ procedure I had done 18 months prior to this appointment shouldn’t affect my ability to try for a natural birth if I wanted one. I was so relieved in that moment that my choices were open again. I had just about resigned myself to the fact that I would be little more than a human incubator to my unborn son and that there would be lots of things I would be instructed to do.

Doctor caring for patient. Photography credit: Arvin Chingcuangco
Doctor caring for patient. Photography credit: Arvin Chingcuangco

This appointment was a turning point though! Suddenly I did have choices again and I felt more in control of my pregnancy. It felt such a relief, I hadn’t realised just how much having a choice meant to me.

I was told I would need to come back at 37 weeks with a final decision. I’d loads of time! I did some research and my mind was continuously swaying from natural to c-section.

Decision time!

The day of my appointment soon came around and I was still undecided. I felt that the COVID-19 situation was an additional factor to suddenly think about. I went into the appointment hoping the consultant would have answers that would help me make a definitive decision. He didn’t. He laid out the facts and left me to make my decision. In that moment I decided to opt for a natural delivery.

Then I went home and thought more about a section. I would have a definite date for babies arrival, I wouldn’t have to worry trying to get hold of my husband if he was on shift, it was a procedure I was more familiar with as I had been through it before, there’s a small possibility that my existing scar could cause problems meaning I would need a section anyway and the more I thought about it the less anxious I was.

I rang the hospital and apologised for changing my mind so late on. They were absolutely fine though and booked me in for another appointment. At the appointment we briefly discussed my decision change, went through the paperwork and I collected the prescription I needed. I went away with a pre-op date and a c-section date.

The new arrival

As I write this he has not yet arrived. Look out though for pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

Did you see?

Did you see the recent blog on my maternity plans this time round?