I’ve written before on here about my C-Section, about being a caesarean section mother and about the opinions others may have on the topic. However, looking over my C-Section story which I’d put up here the other night I realised that I’d left a lot of the details up. That piece was initially published as an interview for a different website and so it wasn’t fully fleshed out. So, I got to thinking, and now have the full 35 hour long ordeal of fun which ended one era and started another. Since April is Caesarean Awareness month in the UK, I thought it was a good time to share my experience.
My C-Section occurred on the morning of the 24th of March 2014. At 37 weeks pregnant, I had begun induction 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 babyâ€™s health. Iâ€™d been told that after a day of my blood pressure not reducing while on the highest dose of medication they could give me that it was time to â€œhead downâ€ – I was headed to the High Dependency unit. That was grand, it was a room with two beds in it, there was another woman there for some of the time but for most of it, I was alone. Me and the midwife who seemed to be in position as jailor making sure I didnâ€™t move as Eliott was on a trace for the entire thing.
Gels were applied at 9pm on the 22nd of March. By 3am there was still no sign of any dilation, so they applied yet another set. The midwife in the mean time kept telling me I needed to nap. I felt like telling her to feck off as I was definitely feeling cramps – and as someone who hadnâ€™t had a period in 10 months, I was fairly grumpy about it, and convinced that THIS WAS IT. It wasnâ€™t.
Around half four they gave me pethidine, which definitely made a difference to my mood. Cramps be gone, but yet again, nothing was happening, except now I really wasnâ€™t allowed be unhooked from the machines.
An internal at 9 (theyâ€™re always such a pleasant way to kick off your Sunday morning) showed that another set of gels would be needed – talk was had of breaking my waters but apparently they were so far back that it would be undoubtedly leading to a C section so the decision was made to apply more gels and go from there and review again at 4pm. Boredom and frustration had kicked in – partly due to a midwife making a comment about pre-eclampsia babies being quick labours, and here I was all these hours later with nothing stirring and stuck on that bloody machine.
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 didnâ€™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. I was brought down to the labour ward and they used what I could only describe as chopsticks to break my waters – Iâ€™m informed that they were definitely not from a Chinese takeaway but rather proper medical instruments but they did turn me off for a while! Contractions started coming quick and fast after that point. Not fun.
Apparently not fast enough for my midwife. She mentioned we would need syntocin to make my contractions stronger because they werenâ€™t working. In my head they were strong enough, thank you very much, but she insisted that if we were to get this baby out, it was a necessary step. Theyâ€™d handed over the gas and air at this point so I was still willing to comply as long as she didnâ€™t take that away. D has informed me that I was having conversations with myself while high on gas and air – as I recall it, it was a two way conversation with him, but apparently it seems I wasnâ€™t waiting for a response and was making up the responses myself. About nothing. As you do. Thankfully, unlike the one other time Iâ€™d had gas and air, I didnâ€™t feel like I was going to puke on someones shoes. Thanks for little mercies.
Syntocin was not my friend. If I thought the contractions were coming quick and hard before it, they were horrible after it. I begged the midwife to let me off the bed (and the bloody trace) so I could bounce on a birthing ball – she wouldnâ€™t let me off the trace but I was allowed on the ball until we realised it was interfering with the trace reading. Back on the bed I go. The gas and air was doing nada. I begged for the epidural. Theyâ€™d told me Iâ€™d have to make it to three centimetres, and when they checked me I was only at 2 – my reaction had them giving it to me anyway.
Everything went quickly from there, a lot of it is a haze. The anaesthesiologist arrived and administered the epidural. They injected, it hurt and then I started to shake, which they told me was normal but to me felt anything but.
A couple of horrible hours in, shaking from the epidural which wasnâ€™t working anyway, I heard the monitors going mental and heard them making the decision to have a c-section anyway. Elliottâ€™s heart rate had plummeted, my blood pressure was climbing through the roof and they all seemed to be getting a lot more worried looking. They did a fetal blood test from his scalp, to check that he was getting enough oxygen as he seemed to be in distress, and at that point they were able to tell me that he had a good head of hair but needed to come out now.Â I remember asking if D could sign the papers for it for me because I was in so much pain and shaking and told it had to be me – I honestly doubt it looked anything like my signature but it sufficed. I was wheeled into the operating theatre, D was kept outside to gown up while they prepared me, epidural was topped up (it didnâ€™t work) and then D was back standing next to my head.
I could feel them cutting into me. The pain. I told them, they told me some discomfort was normal. I insisted, and D insisted, and then they put the anaesthetic into the line and out I went.
I was woken up to be shown my baby boy – a hazy memory in my head – before being put back out again.
I woke up in recovery where I was properly introduced to my son, Eliott, born 7.05am 24th March, absolutely tiny at 2.5kg (5 lb 8oz), and life began proper.