Baby Hints & Tips

Birth stories: what to do when it doesn’t go to plan

Birth Stories: What to do when it doesn't go to planAt Baby Hints and Tips Mum’s kindly share their intimate birth stories to help others. Tiffany shares the challenges she faced and offers tips to follow when it doesn’t go to plan.

Tiffany’s Birth Story

It didn’t go at all how I had planned …

I had done this before; I was practically a pro. It’s true, it had been a while; Dylan and Tyler were 15 and 11 years old. I had remarried almost two years ago and this was supposed to be a very special experience between my soul mate and I. I had visualised and planned every detail of the event. I had my birth plan, birth ball, diffuser, and essential oils galore. My husband and I had attended childbirth classes. He was going to be wonderful and support me through it all.

The morning of Christmas eve I went into labour. My husband was nervous, I was excited. I had nothing to fear because I had done this before and I knew that it was going to be perfect. The baby’s head was not engaged, so the nurse received a telephone order to start Pitocin. I made a decision in that moment to get an epidural because, as a nurse, I knew that things were going to get rough.

Unbeknown to us, our sweet bundle of joy had flipped into breech position within 48 hours of labour. Just minutes after receiving my epidural, the doctor came in to check me and in the process broke my water. In the five minutes following that I went from 4cm to completely dilated and my son’s feet and umbilical cord popped out of the birth canal. My beautiful birth suddenly turned into an emergency with an uncertain outcome as I was rushed down the hall for my unplanned C-section.

My sweet Finnley was not breathing when he was born and I laid there watching the nurse and respiratory therapist working to get him going again. In the process, Finn ended up with a small pneumothorax and had to go off to the nursery to be observed and I was taken to my room to recover.​​

Three hours passed as my husband went back and forth between my son and I. He did everything he could to help me through those painful moments of waiting to meet the child that I had grown in my belly for nine months. He took pictures and videos to help with my curiosity.

Even as I write this now, I can’t help but to get emotional. I can’t help not to look back at that climatic moment when Dylan and Tyler were born and they doctor put them on my chest for that first time; the tears of joy that I was robbed of with Finnley’s birth.

As a registered nurse, I am puzzled why no one asked me if I was okay. Sure, they screened me for postpartum depression several times and I would tell them that I wasn’t depressed, but that I was having a hard time processing things. No one referred me to support groups that I only later found out existed.

The following things helped me, which is why I am sharing my birth story. If one other Mum out there knows she isn’t alone in her sadness, it will be worth it.

1) Please know that you are not alone! After my C-section, I was left feeling sadness, disappointment, anger, and guilt.

2) Don’t be afraid to ask people not to repeat the story over and over again. This was something that I had to ask of my husband. To him the trauma was over, his wife and baby were in good health, so it was fine to tell the story. Yet to me, every time I heard it I was back in the moment living it all over again.

3) If possible breastfeed, especially if you were separated from your baby for multiple hours. It is an amazing bonding experience and was a key factor in my emotional healing.

4) Start walking as soon as you can to get those endorphin’s going. I used old school, Walk Away the Pounds DVD’s because it was winter and I didn’t want to take the baby out in the weather.

5) Join a support group for mothers that have had cesarean births.

6) Get help if you’re feeling blue. Many women experience postpartum depression and if you are feeling depressed tell your doctor so you can get the additional support that you need. If you need immediate help call PANDA on 1300 726 306 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Do you have any additional tips to share to help others cope when labour doesn’t quite go to plan? Please comment below.

Tiffany Noone is a Registered Nurse and Health Coach. She helps mums break through the barriers to sustainable weight loss without feeling deprived. Tiffany enjoys running, lifting weights, hiking, and camping with her husband Peter, and her three boys (Dylan, Tyler, and Finnley).

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