My birth story
My birth story was completely opposite to the one I had envisioned.
I wrote a birth plan. I attended all my antenatal classes and I wanted a natural birth in a pool preferably with just gas and air. My husband and I went on a hypnobirthing course and I felt really convinced that I would be able to go with the flow of labour and deliver my baby naturally.
I had researched. I had practised my affirmations and listened to my hypnobirthing recording religiously. I was in the zone and ready to get this baby out naturally. I actually looked forward to it, which is a strange thing to write about a potentially painful experience.
However, my baby had other ideas…
My baby was breech. As a petite 5ft1 woman, the consultant explained that the risks were high and the odds of a successful natural breech delivery were low. If I’m honest, the thought of trying to give birth in stirrups with forceps (the only option the hospital would allow) put me right off. And so I lost the option of a natural vaginal birth and instead opted for an elective, planned Caesarian section. That was an extremely sad time for me. I grieved for not getting the opportunity to try a natural birth in the bath one night.
So at 39 weeks pregnant, in I waddled and waited for my time slot. I walked down to the ultrasound scanner at 12.30pm to confirm that yes my baby was still breech (sigh). Then I walked from there back into theatre and sat on the edge of the bed whilst I had a spinal anaesthetic inserted. I remember the anaesthetist trickling what felt like water up and down my legs and asking if I could still feel it.
Feeling like an extra on the set of casualty, I watched the consultant and her registrar begin to carry out the Caesarian section and then I heard: “Oh that’s unusual, do you want to swap places?”
Apparently I had a huge varicose vein over the front of my stomach and the registrar did not feel confident to perform the operation. I was in good hands though so I wasn’t worried. My baby was born at 12.57pm. They did actively manage the delivery of the placenta, I had no input there.
I had a little boy. His balls were enormous which was quite a shock to see but apparently this is normal I learnt afterwards. He was swaddled in a towel and placed across my neck so I could kiss him and get some skin-to-skin contact. After a blissful three minutes he wee’d all down my neck. Charming! At least I knew his bladder was working, so I was pleased in a strange way.
Whilst he was whisked away to be cleaned up and weighed, the consultant’s registrar began sewing my up stomach. I clearly remember the consultant telling her I was a young, fit, active person who would most likely like to use her stomach muscles again and to sew me up a bit tighter. I think I got a free tummy tightening as my stomach muscles have always been weak, so years down the line now I am quite grateful for that.
I went into recovery. We had to wait for a paediatric doctor to check my little boy over as they thought he was grunting when he breathed. I instinctively knew he was healthy and going to be fine, I remember lying there with him feeling so content and blissfully happy that I had finally got to meet him.
Later I went back to a four bedded ward (no special treatment for working at the hospital). I didn’t mind. I was attached to various things and couldn’t move my lower half so was pretty bed bound that first afternoon and night time. My main problem was the venflon in my hand was catching every time I tried to push down through my hands to move. I’m not going to lie, the pain of moving following a C-section is pretty sore. I took all the pain relief drugs they gave me and didn’t bat an eyelid about it. I put my physio knowledge into practice and set to work moving as little and often as I could as soon as I could.
I was bed bound for a good 24 hours waiting for my catheter to come out. I found this extremely frustrating and made sure my midwife knew I wanted it out pronto. She wasn’t best pleased with my demands I recall. I drank as much as possible to get my catheter out and slowly, one-by-one, my attachments came down and I was free.
I had treated several ladies post C-section as a physiotherapist and the pain was their worst bugbear. Yes it is sore, but no, it won’t harm you to move. In fact moving helps you to heal. Having this mind-set helped me to move. I knew to bend my knees up before I rolled onto my side. I knew to use my upper body strength to help me roll over. I also knew to use my legs to help me stand up more than my stomach muscles as they really weren’t up for much those first few weeks post op.
I remember needing to cough/clear my throat and this ladies is mentally tough as well as physically difficult, it is painful. If you find yourself in this position, you should wrap a towel around your lower rib cage and pull the ends together to splint your chest. This helps support the chest and provide some resistance to the increased abdominal pressure you create when coughing and so reduces the pain.
I had to stay in hospital two nights. That was hard as I had to buzz for help every time little one needed something as I was told not to lift. By day three I had packed, little one was dressed and I was ready to vacate my bed for the next mother to be. I developed anaemia post-natally and this delayed my discharge waiting for the tablets.
Driving home with a newborn baby in the car for the first time was such a surreal, almost out of body experience. I felt like we needed a big tattoo on our car or a flashing sign saying ‘brand new baby on board! Keep your distance!’ And then we were home and suddenly it was like, ok what the hell do we do now?
Can you relate to any of this? What was your birth experience like? I’d love to hear in the comments below if you wish to share.
If you liked reading this keep a look out for my having a newborn baby experience story in my next blog.
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