April is C-section awareness month, a month dedicated to raising awareness and educating people on cesareans and risks and recovery that goes along with the major surgery.
With all this in mind, I decided to do a series of posts all about c-sections and my experience, starting with Frey’s birth story and the aftermath. As I’ve mentioned before, my mental health wasn’t the best after Frey was born and his delivery was a large contributing fact to this, so I did sit down and contemplate whether or not I actually wanted to write this post. But in the end I realised that it was something I needed to do to be able to really move forward and prepare myself for my second birth.
To begin, I never wanted a c-section nor did I plan on having one. My original birth plan was to (hopefully) have a water birth with as little medical intervention as possible. I even wrote down that I did not want either an epidural or a c-section unless I was advised by my midwife or doctor to have one. I was really hoping to have a natural as possible birth.
Now, when I got admitted on to the labour ward I had already been having contractions for about 40 hours, and had already been to hospital once and sent home as I wasn’t dilated enough to be admitted (My family are notorious for long labours). At this point I was excited, as a birthing room with a pool was free, which meant it looked like I was getting the water birth that I had been hoping for. Once we were in the room the midwife started filling in the paperwork and hubby ran down to grab the rest of our bags while the pool was being filled. Once hubby got back, the midwife checked Frey’s heartbeat again, and this is where everything stopped going to plan.
It turns out that Frey’s heartbeat had dropped significantly, which meant I was very quickly being taken out of the birthing room and being moved to another labour room with a several midwives and a consultant coming in and out of. My waters had to broken and I was given gas and air to help with the pain relief, which made me high as a kite, seriously, at one point I started mooing (the husband loves to bring this up every time we talk about the birth).
At this point we found out there was meconium mixed in with my waters and the midwives weren’t sure if he had started swallowing it. Also having my waters broken meant the pain level had shot up from a 4 to about a 12 and I wasn’t coping very well, so the midwife made a suggestion of an epidural, which I happily agreed to. However that also went wrong as I ended up needing two, as the first hadn’t worked properly.
Thankfully after the second epidural I was able to get a few hours sleep. While I was able to do this, the midwives where monitoring Frey’s oxygen levels, after a few hours we were told that his levels were borderline and we had two choices either wait another half an hour and check his levels again or we could do a c-section. At this point I hadn’t dilated anymore and was stuck it seemed at 4cm and had been for several hours.
I decided that at this point it would be better to get him out. After the decision was made it took less than an hour from start to finish. As I had already had an epidural it didn’t take long for the anaesthetist to work his magic and I was being rolled into the theatre. I remember lying there and asking for hubby as they were preparing everything and he wasn’t allowed in yet. I just kept asking and saying they weren’t allowed to do anything until he was in the room with me.
They got him out very quickly and had to clear his airways, as he had swallowed some of his meconium. He was then handed to his dad while I was being stitched up. I remember asking about his ears ( my grandfather has really big sticky out ears and so far all the kids and grandkids had managed to avoided inheriting them and I didn’t want Frey to be the first, he wasn’t thankfully), and just staring at him in amazement, he was finally here.
After the birth I was exhausted and once the anaesthetic had worn off I was in quite a bit pain I won’t lie. And I was in pain for several weeks afterwards, which isn’t really surprising as a c-section is considered to be major abdominal surgery. But for me the biggest impact of the c-section was mental. I felt like I had failed, that I was less of a mum because I had everything didn’t want and that I hadn’t given birth properly.
Of course I’ve now got 19 months perceptive and I know that I had given birth properly as there is no wrong way to give birth. What’s important, is that you and your baby are safe and healthy; and yes my birth didn’t go the way I wanted it to but what matters is that we’re both here happy and safe.