Charlene Cong shares her positive caesarean birth story

Most times during birth we need to have faith in nature and our amazing bodies. but when there is  a change of plan or things become complicated we must also foster faith in those around us and their very skilled hands. Faith is always there for you to choose during birth. It is the cornerstone principle of She Births® that every woman needs and yet only she can find in her own way. To birth our babies in a calm and connected way, in a proud and joyous way I suggest you find your way to faith and whatever that means for you.

One of the most fascinating and rewarding elements for us at She Births® is watching couples transform their fear of birth into positive anticipation and readiness to become parents.  Our mission is to support you in making your birth beautiful, no matter how it unfolds. With preparation, a positive mindset and commitment to participate in the the process, it is possible to create magical, heartfelt and loving births in all scenarios.

Describe your birth experience in 3 words:

Calm, positive and unforgettable.

How did you prepare for birth?

I listened to countless birth stories via podcasts, exercised regularly, and maintained a balanced diet to keep myself as healthy as possible in body and mind. We attended She Births® fairly early in the pregnancy as I was quite anxious and fearful about birth, and wanted to gain confidence as well as have access to tools that would help my husband and I feel more prepared. I followed the She Births® recommendations including practising yoga and meditation, cutting out wheat and sugar towards the third trimester, and eating dates.

However, during the third trimester, our baby’s head was measuring off the charts and he started presenting in the frank breech position. I tried every trick on the Spinning Babies website, I had acupuncture 2-3 times a week, and we also tried moxibustion every day. Our baby was quite stubborn and refused to turn, so after several months preparing for a vaginal birth, we decided to take our obstetrician’s recommendation for a planned, family-friendly caesarean.

I found it difficult to accept the idea of having a caesarean birth, especially as my husband and I had done everything we could to prepare for a vaginal birth. I then had to prepare for an entirely different birth by firstly processing my emotions and grieving/letting go of the birth I envisioned.

We met up with Radha, our She Births® mentor, for a refresher lesson and she provided me with invaluable support as I slowly accepted the idea of having a caesarean birth. I also watched numerous YouTube videos of family friendly caesarean births (some were quite graphic!), I listened to specific caesarean birth stories via podcasts, and I read many articles on the recovery process. I also contacted She Births® for a copy of their caesarean info pack.

How did you bring your baby into the world?

As our baby’s birth was a planned caesarean, my husband and I had a wonderful and relaxed morning. We enjoyed our last breakfast together as just the two of us, and made our way to hospital when it was time to check in. We played our birth playlist in the car, and we were bursting with excitement to meet our little one.

Our son’s birth was very calm and joyful – it really helped that the medical staff were also calm throughout the process, and supportive of our birth plan. The gentle tunes of our birth playlist echoed through the theatre during the birth. I visualised taking a rocky boat on a journey to an island to meet our baby, with choppy waters that symbolised the sensations of pressure and tugging that I felt during his birth. I used horsey breaths as a way to counter the strong pressure and tugging, and my husband joined in even though we both sounded ridiculous! As soon as our son was lifted up, my husband and I were lucky enough to be able to reach out and touch our baby while he was still connected to me.

Who supported you throughout the birth?

My husband was by my side throughout the entire process, starting with our journey to the hospital. He was even allowed to stay with me in the surgical preparation room as I was given my cannula, and also in theatre when I was given the spinal block.

What was the most challenging part of the birth?

The most challenging part for me was actually prior to our baby’s birth. It was initially very upsetting and scary to learn that we had to give birth via a caesarean section. I had to let go of the birth that I envisioned, which was disappointing as as I had tried so hard to achieve it. As I processed my emotions and fears, more emotional space became available to accept these change of plans and start framing our baby’s birth as a calm and beautiful journey.

What most helped you through the birth experience?

Horsey breaths, visualisation, affirmations, and knowing exactly what to expect with a caesarean section helped me stay calm and positive through the birth experience. The reason I researched caesarean sections so thoroughly was because I wanted to feel connected to the experience by understanding what was happening to my body even though I was not in control during the birth.

Was there anything that surprised you on the day?

The medical staff were so supportive and respectful of our birth plan, from the maternity ward midwives to the surgical team. We couldn’t be happier that we achieved almost every part of our birth plan!


Want more stories – see Don’t be afraid; Self-care and preparation from a c-section mama

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