These days I’m the mother of a rather adventurous, loud, mad-as-a-hatter 14 month old boy who I can’t really get away with calling my baby anymore, he’s the light of my life and the reason I’m driven insane all in one fell swoop. However, when I started this blog I was heavily pregnant and for the most part a bit clueless about the whole process of becoming a parent and the changes it would bring to my life. I’ve written before about the things motherhood has taught me here and here, but all of that skips over the whole question of getting the baby out of me, a thought which absolutely terrified me (I don’t have much of a pain threshold and an addiction to One Born Every Minute really wasn’t helping).
My pregnancy was not easy; from horrible morning sickness, to obtaining a back injury, kidney infections, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, I was not having a good time of it. I even had to skip my first antenatal class, the one where they teach you how to get that baby out, because my blood pressure was too high and I was stuck on bed rest. Grumpily trying to put a good spin on it, I informed the nurse that they’d have to magic the baby out so, as they’d not shown me what to do. Indeed in the second antenatal class, which I was allowed go to, we discussed the possibility of a Caesarean Section and when they listed potential reasons a Caesarean Section may occur, myself and himself looked at each other and thought it seemed to be a definite in our case. It wasn’t something I had much of an issue with, I’d been prepared for it all along, but I didn’t really know much and there are a lot of things I wished I had known at the time.
The incredible Lucy from Learner Mama had a guide on her blog which I found to be a massive help, and I know other women have too. She’s gone on to be super fantastic and set up a whole website dedicated to being a resource to help, advise and reassure Caesarean Section mothers, whether you’re pregnant, a new mother, contemplating things like VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean Section) and HBAC (Home Birth After Caesarean Section) or just completely clueless and wanting to know more; this site is for you.
As part of the website, there is a section of birth stories which I was happy to contribute to. I’ve not gone into my birth story on this blog for whatever reason before, but now that it’s out there online, I may as well share it here. I hope that it helps someone who is thinking about their birth experience and may prove of some assistance. I know that it isn’t what a lot of women wanted, and that it seems that I’m a lot more okay with it than most, but my view on it was that it was important to get my baby out safe and my feelings on the matter weren’t important as long as that was done.
So, without further ado, here is my caesarean section tale, originally published on csectionmums.com.
Thanks Lisa for sharing your C-section journey. To start perhaps you would include how many children you have and how many were born by C-section:
I’ve got one child, a son named Eliott, and he was born by Emergency C Section in March 2014.
Can you tell me how long ago it is since your C-section occurred and a basic idea of why it occurred?
My C-Section occurred on the morning of the 24th of March 2014. I had begun induction at 37 weeks 35 hours earlier, as a result of my pre-eclampsia not playing ball with the blood pressure medication, and out of concern for both mine and baby’s health. After sampling just about everything labour can offer (failed induction, ARM, sytocin, pethidine, failed epidural, gas and air and all that for only 4 centimetres), the decision was taken to go ahead with the C Section, as my blood pressure soared and my sons heart rate plummeted.
At what point during the pregnancy / labour did you find out you would require a C-section?
At 24 hours into induction I was told that if at that check of my dilation (the fourth in 24 hours, after the gels were applied) they were unable to break the waters, they would put my name down for a planned c-section in the morning. I told them to do that anyway, after reading a lot about induction and emergency c section during my pregnancy, but they laughed and told me I didn’t want it, that every other pregnancy after (to which I said going on this experience there would be no more) would have to be a c section (not true) and refused, saying they had to try break the waters. A couple of horrible hours in, shaking from the epidural which wasn’t working anyway, I heard the monitors going mental and heard them making the decision to have a c-section anyway.
How did you feel when a C-section was suggested?
Initially (at the 24 hour mark), I was happy with that. As someone who was born by C-Section and whose mother had three of them in five years, I was okay with the whole concept – I went into the labour ward knowing nothing was going to go my way so I had no official plan to be disappointed by not going my way as such. At the 34 hour mark, with my failed epidural and sheer exhaustion, part of me felt “I told you so” since I’d asked for it ten hours earlier, the other half was in sheer panic for my baby and willing everything to be okay. I wanted him out and safe, because it was clear my body wasn’t doing that anymore.
Can you tell me a bit about what happened immediately before the C-section? (E.g. preparation, checks etc.)
I was told I had to sign a piece of paper to allow the C Section. I asked could my partner do it because I was jittery and weak but was told it had to be me. I honestly don’t remember much else apart from being moved onto the bed in the operating theatre.
How did the actual surgery go? How did you feel during the surgery itself?
The epidural again didn’t work – I don’t know why, so I could feel them cutting into me. Once I managed to convince them that it wasn’t just the normal shoving feeling of a c-section and it was actual pain, a mask was put over my face and I was knocked out, so I have no other recollection past that. My partner informed me that once that happened, they got on with it as normal and discussed things like tv programmes on the previous night and what they were having for lunch – it unnerved him a little as they were so normal about it while it was a big scary surgery for us. Thats just it, it is their everyday though.
Once baby was born were you able to keep hold of baby? How did the post birth minutes and hours progress?
I remember my baby being held up, me being woken up to see him, and then I was out again. My next memory is in recovery, I’m not sure how much later that was but he was dressed by that point. I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get initial skin on skin, but thats just how it went.
How was your recovery following the surgery?
It was tough – it is difficult to recover from what is essentially major surgery when you’ve got a crying baby to deal with and look after and get used to. The bit I found toughest was getting up and down out of the bed to the baby – it often felt like I wasn’t even back down in a comfortable position five minutes before I had to work on hoisting myself up again to hold him, feed him, change him etc. Because I had a C Section and was still suffering with high blood pressure, I was kept in hospital six days, which was really tough because at night time it really did make a difference not having my partner there to share the burden of the night feeds/changes. Breastfeeding did take some adjusting to, but there was a wonderful nurse who showed me ways to make it easier which stopped me quitting in the early days when I really felt crap about it. Nobody told me C Section Mums find it harder to breastfeed so I thought it was just me.
If you have gone on to have further C-sections, could you give a brief summary of how many and how they went in comparison to the first?
I haven’t, my baby is my one and only.
How do you feel about being a C-section Mum?
I don’t view myself as different from any other mother. I got my baby here safe and sound, and wouldn’t think of myself as lesser for not having a vaginal delivery. Those who say I am clearly have no idea what they’re talking about. Yes I’ve got a scar but it’s an everyday reminder of the day I became a mother. Yes my stomach muscles are a bit crap, but the overall prize, safe delivery of my baby, was worth it and something I’d do again if I had to in a heartbeat. It’s not about being too posh to push, it’s about safe delivery and using the medical advances available to ensure my baby is healthy and happy (which he is) and that I survived the labour in good health.
Anything else you would like to share or comment on about your C-section experience?
No, I think that about sums it up.
Thank you so much for your time in responding to these questions.
If you, or any of your friends/family is having a baby or has been through a Caesarean Section, I’d definitely recommend checking out C-Section Mums , it’s a fantastic resource and as it grows it will hopefully help lots of women with their own stories regarding their baby births.