Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My Birth Stories - How A C-Section Can Be A Positive Experience #1

I wanted to share the stories of the births of my two children because I really want to dispel some of the myths about c-sections. I also wanted to be able to reassure anyone who needs a c-section that it is certainly not the end of the world and can in fact be a really positive experience! As I'm sure I will ramble on for ages I will split the stories into two posts. This one will be about the birth of my little girl Georgia.

When I was pregnant with my daughter the last thing I wanted was a c-section. I was very much into having a natural birth and (possibly a bit hopefully considering my low pain threshold) was planning to do it all with only gas and air and maybe a bit of lavender oil. But then you know what they say about the best laid plans of pregnant women...it never quite turns out like that.

Its funny because I always had a feeling that I wouldn't go in to labour naturally. I know that I had been 14 days overdue and my mum had been induced and I had also not had any Braxton-Hicks Contractions so somehow it seemed like my body just didn't want to do it. At 41 weeks I had a sweep and nothing happened so they booked me in for induction at 41+5.

I remember that Tuesday morning very clearly. I was still hoping for a natural birth and took with me a birthing ball, a tens machine and lots and lots of snacks. When I got to the ward they put a monitor on my tummy to check the baby's heart rate. I was happily listening to my i-pod when the midwife came to check the monitor and started to look concerned. She turned to me and my husband and said words along the lines of "this doesn't look good - the babys' heart beat is not responsive". I immediately burst into tears and she snapped at me "how can I talk to you if you are crying" - what a lovely woman. Luckily the heartbeat did start to get more responsive but it set the tone for quite a bit of concern about my daughters heartbeat.

The induction process itself was not very pleasant. As I have said I am a wimp with pain and I did find it pretty painful. It was made worse but the fact that NOTHING happened at all. I didn't get so much as a contraction and I found all the waiting extremely frustrating. My mood was not helped by sharing a ward with a woman who could snore for England and yet spent most of the next day complaining to anyone who would listen that she hadn't slept a wink!

The next day was more of the same- another tablet,more painful internal examinations only to be told by the doctors what I could have told them myself - nothing was happening. However in the evening there was another concern about my daughters heartbeat. This time it was too fast. The midwife advised me to relax but that is easier said that done when it is your second sleepless night in a hospital and you are worried about your baby. By now I had had the limit of the induction drugs and if nothing happened over night the options were to go through the whole process again which could take another 3 days or to have a c-section. I was pretty clear that I wanted my baby out and safe. I know it sounds silly but my instinct was telling me that things had gone out too long and that I had to get her out. So, after chatting with my husband and parents we agreed that I would ask for a c-section in the morning.

Next morning we asked to see my consultant and I voiced my concerns. Although I got the impression they would have preferred me to have gone through induction again I knew in my heart that I needed my baby out today. I have to say they were fantastic and listened to my reasons and agreed that I would have a c-section at 1pm that day.

I think that I was probably less nervous that I would have been because I was so tired and just wanted my baby in my arms. I had been to some great NCT classes where they had role-played a c-section and also three of my lovely NCT friends had had c-sections over the previous weeks so I had an idea what it would be like.

My husband was given scrubs to get into (which I think he secretly quite enjoyed) and I was given a gown and we headed down to theatre. Once there I was prepped for the spinal injection. This was actually the bit I felt most nervous about as a needle in your spine does not sound pleasant. However I can assure you I never felt a thing. They actually give you local anaesthetic first so I honestly felt no pain just a pressing sensation. The anaesthetist was fabulous and kept telling me what was happening so I felt very much in control. The anaesthetic worked quickly and I felt a warm sensation creeping up legs as they gradually went numb and they laid me down on the table.

On the table - I look remarkably cheerful
The anaesthetist then checked that I couldn't feel anything by spraying my tummy with what was a cold spray but of course I couldn't feel the cold. Then everything seemed to happen very fast. The best thing is that the baby is taken out very quickly - usually within 5 minutes so it is not as though you are lying there for ages waiting. I felt a slight pulling sensation and there she was - my baby! The midwives weighed her and gave her to my husband who brought her over to me for a hug. I know that all the time this was going on the medical team were busy sewing me back together but we were so distracted by our new little girl that I really didn't take any notice -I was on cloud 9.

Proud parents
Everything seemed to be over very quickly I was taken to recovery holding my baby and got to feed her straight away. The strangest thing now was that I couldn't feel my legs and for some reason although they were lying flat on the bed it felt as though they were bent up which was very weird. I kept trying to move them and got very excited when I could start to move my toes.

The first time getting out of bed was quite hard but they encourage you to move around as the more you move the better it is for you and although I was sore it wasn't really enough to need strong painkillers - I just had paracetamol. I was only in hospital for 2 days and was raring to go home although I do remember that every speed bump on the way back was agony on my scar. Once home I felt like I bounced back quickly. I was able to breastfeed and bonded well with my daughter - all the things that people get told that having a c-section will affect.

So well done if you have managed to read this far but hopefully if you are someone awaiting a c-section this might put your mind at rest!

Did you have a great c-section experience or was yours not so good - I'd love to hear about it.


  1. Hi. I have had two positive emergency c-sections, I would advise anyone to opt a second time around, my body just can't give birth the natural way, but I have two beautiful girls. X

    1. I'm glad you had positive experiences too. You are right that the most important thing is that we have our children not the way that we have given birth!