20th of May 2017 I gave birth to my baby, a beautiful boy, by elective c-section. The backstory as to why I had an elective caesarean – in a nutshell, it was an issue of previous spontaneous pneumothorax (clasped lungs) and potentially very large baby with the risk of shoulder dysplasia and in the end, a section was recommended as the safest and straightforward option.
So here’s the birth story.
I was on a 24-hour induction pessary and after it fell out TWICE and caused an allergic reaction I was asked to be monitored overnight. I had the most wonderful antithesis come in and explain I wasn’t allowed gas and air due to my spontaneous pneumothorax and my only medications I was offered was the epidural to be distributed right away to manage exhaustion. Two days later on the labour ward with contractions… we were told the risk of emergency c section due to receiving the epidural early on.
I then had a discussion with my husband and we decided to have an elective c section to take control of my birth and of the situation myself and our baby would be in if I did need emergency intervention.
Instead, we come to terms and decided to have a “family centred c section ” they allowed skin to skin, delaying cord clamping and I got to breastfeed straight away. I had a meeting with the operating staff in the theatre and we brought our little boy into the world calmly, and contently.
I really struggled with this in the beginning but end up using my hypnobirthing techniques, breathing and affirmations to help in any situation of birth. It was not scary and I was told everything to expect.
When I found out the risk to myself and baby with natural birth and how more than likely would end in intervention…I took control and had the opportunity to “plan” my birth and make it as calm of an experience as possible.
We were told we were to going home and come back later that week for the elective. But ended up in theatre at 5 pm that afternoon. Our lovely surgeon told us he would like to have my baby in my arms that day and rid of the anxiety shared between my husband and myself.
We had a little cubicle on the ward where the doctors and surgeons and anaesthetists would come and do their final checks on me before surgery – I was given two gowns, one to put on forwards and the other backwards so that my bare bum wouldn’t be on show as I walked to the theatre. I also was told my toenail polish had to go…(wasted money on the Pedi I got beforehand).
I had my checks (baby heartbeat, position, etc) and then the nurse put me into my anti-deep-vein-thrombosis stockings (well sexy, gardeners’ green, with a little peep toe for your toes to stick through) and shaved my lady-garden around where the incision would be made. Then I was asked the same questions about five billion times by five billion people (any loose fillings? When did you last eat? Drink? Are you allergic to anything? What’s your date of birth) and before I knew it, it was time to go into theatre.
I wasn’t nervous at all and just asked the doctors to keep talking to me…tell me stories until my husband was is in the room just so my mind was occupied when I was getting my injections.
There’s something quite weird about walking yourself into an operating theatre, with all of its lights and beeping machines and the people walking about busily with their masks and gloves on.
I remembered having to sit hunched over a cushion so that they could put the needle into my spine for the spinal block. I was still incredibly nervous, but I practised the breathing from the hypnotherapy thing and it seemed to help.
And then the curtain was going up, and the staff were having their pre-surgery meeting…
I remember the doctor do a roll call and he would say something along the lines of …
“Nurse” and the nurse would say her name “Sarah” and once the drugs hit I said aloud…
“Elizabeth”- “Patient” !!
Then entered the husband…in his cute scrubs get up. I remember saying aloud “hey doctor Cates, my fantasy?” And I requested he stroke my hair and talk to me about meeting out baby. He did a great job and later told me all he wanted to do was faint.
Then, the section itself. Everyone says, “it’s just like we’re doing the washing up in your stomach” and “you won’t feel pain, just pressure and tugging” and it wasn’t far from that. I remember them “popping my waters” and it felt as if an ocean wave has crashed onto my body but I couldn’t feel the wet just the water pressure.
It seemed like seconds and baby, but then there was sucking, lifting sensation from my body and a few seconds pause and then a huge cry!
I can’t even begin to tell you what that first cry does to you if you’ve never experienced it before. Something just utterly primal happens, even if you’re completely off your tits on drugs. Then everyone busies around, cleaning and weighing and doing baby checks, and it does take your mind off the whole sewing-up business that’s going on further down. And once our boy was brought to us all I wanted my husband to do was to hold him leaning down so I could see his face, but my husband didn’t have a lot of experience with newborns and holding them I stared at my baby boys nose and eyes the whole time being stitched up.
I’ve have had no complications, an anxiety-free and totally calm birth of our baby boy.
And then? All a bit of a blur. I was sitting topples in a room with my baby breastfeeding for the first time. Scary and unpredictable. I can not remember how or if he latched correctly all I could remember is the most wonderful feeling of love I felt for this baby. It’s rather hard to latch it on and feed it, all whilst feeling slightly out of it, with wires coming from your arms and a great big needle in the back of your hand But I couldn’t stop thinking to myself how much he looked like me…and how much he looked like my husband. It was complete and utter bliss.
I can assure you that nothing was dramatic, it was so calm. It could have been dramatic, but I think that your own mental state plays a massive part in how you experience the whole thing – you can be calm and take things as they happen or you can go in with very heightened emotions and everything will seem like the end of the world.
I will soon post about my C Section recovery…as I’m still “recovering”!
Did anyone else feel that their elective/planned section was much calmer than a non-planned?
Fire away in the comments section below!