At the beginning of my first pregnancy I felt so overwhelmed by the novelty and changes to come that I needed to feel medical presence and guidance around me; I was so not into the natural birth movement. At around 10 weeks pregnant (with no bump in sight) I went to take a tour of the maternity ward at University College London Hospital, and I did not even want to look at the natural birthing center! At that stage, all I wanted to see were traditional birth beds, stirrups, cables and monitors.
Then, during the second trimester, I moved close to Primrose Hill and started attending pregnancy yoga classes at Triyoga. They were taught by a (childless) teacher that looked like twiggy and was probably the most acerbic yogi you will ever meet. Nonetheless I stuck to it because I thought it was good exercise. Slowly the natural way started to become more appealing. I liked the chanting, the meditation, the exercises to turn my breech baby, the raspberry leaf tea (and Esther’s company)! I even bought (and began reading) Yehudi Gordon’s big pregnancy book. Giving birth was still scary, but everything I was doing, from yoga to NCT classes, felt really empowering. I started to believe I could really go the natural way. I even claimed (briefly) I was going to do it without an epidural! At 37 weeks, the midwives announced that my baby was cephalic; all that stuff at yoga had worked! I was proudly telling everyone how I managed to turn the baby, and how after such an accomplishment, giving birth was definitely ‘do-able’. Still I was feeling weird kicks in the wrong places, and my baby had an unusually toned ‘butt’. To cut the story short, at around 38 weeks, the very same morning in which I called the birthing center to tell them I was ready to give birth there, I found out (with a scan) that the baby was still breech. Very breech, extended breech: folded in two! Not a chance he would turn. A c-section had to be scheduled.
I was initially in shock, and felt like a failure. But then I started to look on the bright side: I knew when the birth was going to happen, I would have a 39-week pregnancy, no risks for baby, more predictability, and last but not least I could avoid the NHS and go to a posh private hospital (most private insurance companies pay for caesareans if needed).
So that’s what happened. I had a very smooth delivery, was awake the whole time and my husband stayed beside me (he even took pictures). The experience was so positive that with my second pregnancy I was quite happy to listen to the (Italian) advice that I should repeat the c-section, avoiding labour altogether for the second time! And from what my friends tell me, missing out on labour is not such a bad thing after all!