To celebrate Caesarean Awareness Month, we asked a real mother to share her birthing story; a positively fabulous rendition of her birth whilst resulted in quite a last-minute change of plans.
A caesarean section, or C-section, is an operation to deliver your baby through a cut made in your tummy and womb.
My first introduction to the idea of having a Caesarean was at our 12-week scan when it was mentioned that my placenta was lying low. It was remarked upon then at how at ease I seemed about the idea and my reply was that baby was ‘going to come out one of two ways; the vag or the sunroof!’ For me pregnancy is full of constant variables from the point of conception, so why not accept and roll with them rather than waste valuable energy trying to fight them? Our 20-week scan confirmed that my placenta had had a change of heart and had moved, so that was no longer a concern.
Fast-forward to 38 weeks and I had been experiencing reduced movements, so as recommended I go in touch with the local Maternity Unit. Arriving as early as possible, because in my mind I was heading straight to work afterwards… the thought of staying in for any longer than a couple of hours had never entered my thoughts, let alone having a baby that day! I had left the house that morning reassuring my partner I’d keep him updated, and certain the reduced movements were nothing to worry about…
The staff were lovely and offered me breakfast whilst I was monitored, and with a hot chocolate in hand they walked me to the Labour Ward. Without realising, I had been using helpful self-talk and positive affirmations: ‘my body will do what it needs to do’, ‘I am in control of what happens to me’, which allowed me to remain calm.
From here, things moved quickly when the monitoring had detected dips in our baby’s heart rate, and a Caesarean birth was suggested. I was told I would meet my baby in the next hour. Using BRAIN which I had learnt from Hypnobirthing, I was super assertive to make sure my voice was heard and encouraged everyone around me to slow down so that I could competently acknowledge my thoughts and options. I requested the idea of an Induction and was simply told there was not enough time, as I hadn’t dilated at all and the Oxytocin drip could take days, which we didn’t have. I felt like I had asked so many questions and that every avenue had been explored, but I felt confident agreeing to a Caesarean was the right thing to do. I also made sure to talk one last solo toilet trip, I stared in the mirror and reminded myself ‘what a strong, badass bitch I was and that we were going to meet our baby today!’
Top tip: Don’t have a baby with someone who works in a Prison as it’s a nightmare getting hold of them!
Before heading to theatre (and my partner breaking all speed limits to get to the hospital) I sent a group text to our parents, something like: ‘Just heading into theatre, see you later with your grandchild!’ From here, I had my spinal block and politely requested a few extra treatments whilst I was there (turns out you can’t get Liposuction on the sly whilst you’re on the table!). I hadn’t quite anticipated how peculiar it would feel being paralysed and how far up that sensation would extend.. so I found myself focusing on my breath, and that itself was so helpful.
Wondering if my partner had made it? Just in the nick of time, actually whilst our son whilst being lifted out of my belly! Talk about Lion King moment. My wishes of delayed cord clamping and our baby being wiped clean of vernix (no amount of benefits convinced me that was coming near me!) were respected and our son went to my partner first (my wish again) and it was a really lovely moment to share.
In terms of recovery, I focused on two things (refusing to believe the horror stories and bed-bound days that laid ahead); get up and walk as soon as the spinal tap wore off, and drinks loads so that I could wee without the catheter. Of course, it was a struggle (I’m not a superhero!) but it was manageable and I kept my mindset optimistic, which I believe is a huge assistance whilst recovering. Again, I adopted my Hypnobirthing principles to help manage the pain and to motivate me to move, and remain active so that I could meet all of my baby’s needs, and mine! I ate an ungodly amount of Subway sandwiches… I’m not sure how much I can say that directly helped, but carbs’ are always a great idea.
Now, of course everyone’s experiences are so different… but honestly, my memory of our ‘unplanned Caesarean’ is one I look back on fondly, and one that gives me a real sense of empowerment. I take pride in it! I do really hope other birthers can have the same positive experience and trauma around the subject can be lessened the more we talk about it… hoping that so many more people feel positive and proud about their birth!