And so it began, the moment I had never prepared myself for – an emergency c-section!
I had arrived at the hospital ready and excited for my birthing experience. Finally, after 9 months I was about to meet my little man!! I won’t go into detail what happened (you can read my birth story for that) but, within 15 minutes I was being wheeled down to theatre.
I was being lifted onto the operating table in a tiny room filled with medical staff – 10 maybe 12 people all with their own specific roles. In all honesty though, I personally thought the girl in charge of getting my nail varnish off had the hardest role… I had glitter nail varnish on and ladies we all know how much of a pig that is to get off at the best of times!! Let alone under pressure with someone telling you “ok, just take it off one finger there isn’t time for the full hand!”..poor girl! Anyway, while the poor nail varnish girl was one side of me I had 3/4 people all around me plodding and poking.. God knows how many needles/monitors were being put on me all at the same time. I just remember having to repeat my full name and DOB 1000 times!
Then the big guy arrived, the main surgeon. Mid contraction I am being told to keep as still as possible while they conducted the spinal block. – I didn’t have a birthing plan mainly for this exact reason. It never goes to plan!! But what I did say is the one thing I do not want is an epidural it was my one and only “plan”… Typical!! I think between me “getting myself in the zone” and having catheters, drips, all kinds of monitors attached to me in such a rush at the same time, I just didn’t really feel it!! (Thankfully!!).
“Can you lift your legs” I heard someone ask me. Weirdly, I really couldn’t! I tried so hard too!! – The oddest sensation I’ve ever experienced! “Now just picture rummaging through your handbag, that is how this will feel” the nurse told me.. Not too sure what I thought about that comparison!
And so the procedure began, I had a midwife above my head and my partner holding my hand next to me throughout the whole thing. I couldn’t tell you what the 3 of us were talking about but I just remember a conversation about dominos pizza… As you do mid cesarean!… We chatted through the entire procedure completely keeping my mind off what was going on down there!! I won’t lie to you, of course you do feel some tugging/pulling around. At one point I felt as though the surgeon was putting his entire weight on my ribs and I struggled to breathe for a few minutes (I later found out they had to really dig under to retrieve Spencer’s leg as he was doing the splits in there!). Within 10 minutes maybe less Spencer was born! Due to his size, they whisked him off to the other side of the room for a few minutes to check him over and those few minutes waiting to hear a cry felt like a lifetime!! Once checked over, they passed him onto me and I held him (with the help from my partner) while they put me all back together again. This part took around 45 minutes and I wouldn’t say hurt the most as it isn’t really pain as such but I most definitely felt it more!!
Once stitched up and put back together I was wheeled down to a room on the labour ward where my mum was frantically waiting wondering what was happening! Suddenly, the shivers and throwing up began! Common side effects from the spinal block and the shock of it all happening so fast and unexpectedly! This shivering went on for hours! My entire body was shivering so much I could hardly hold a bottle of water without spilling it! (Thankfully, I had packed some straws in my hospital bag after some good advice from a friend! As I couldn’t move for that first night to even lift my head to drink!)
As Spencer was not only 2 weeks early but also very small he was struggling to keep his body temperature and it was all touch and go for a while as to whether he would be taken into special care or not. The best way to get his temperature up was skin to skin contact with me. I remember holding Spencer and being sick in a bucket trying to firstly, keep holding him, secondly, not throw up on him and thirdly, try to hold the bucket still while shaking like a crazy person!
After a few hours, the medical staff were happy with Spencer’s temperature and they wheeled us both onto a specialist ward for prem babies which was then our home for the next 3 days.
That first night alone was no where near as bad as I anticipated! Due to just coming out of theatre and having a catheter fitted I was not allowed to move from my bed. I had a lovely nursery nurse assigned to me who did all the feeds and nappy changes for me through the night. We actually had a great bond and I spent many more nights up chatting with her at all times in the night while she kindly fed/changed Spencer. – I couldn’t have got through the first few nights without her! It can be very daunting in a hospital alone overnight let alone with a new baby you can’t even lift or cuddle!! I spent hours just lying staring at this baby next to me thinking “wow you have grown inside me for the past 9 months! Wow you are finally here!” To be brutally honest, I hadn’t quite felt pain like it before that first night. Everything hurt! I couldn’t take codeine as I had an allergy so all I was allowed to take was ibuprofen and paracetamol! It’s fair to say, I was extremely happy every time I saw that drug trolley lady coming my way!
I won’t bore you with any more stories about my hospital stay. I stayed there for 3 days at which point I was starting to go insane and just wanted to get home!! After promising the doctor I wouldn’t do ANYTHING for the first week and very limited stuff for the next 6 weeks, he let me go. I was handed a bag full of meds including some horrible injections I had to inject into my tummy myself for 10 days to stop blood clotting – eurgh!! I hated those things!!
That car journey home was HORRIFIC I did not prepare myself for pain like it! Luckily the hospital was only 10 minutes from our house!! I had never realised how many pot holes/speed humps there were in the roads until now. I honestly thought in that 10 minutes my wound had completely torn open and I would have to go back to get stitched up again.. It was awful! But hey, I made it home and we could begin our journey as a family in our home together finally.
The next few days the anger/disappointment started. I was utterly gutted that everything turned out how it did. I was so upset I hadn’t experienced natural child birth after 9 months of preparing for it and after starting the whole thing off to such a good start that Sunday evening/Monday morning. I was so angry – How did my midwife not pick up that he was footline breach?! How did she not realise how small he was and that he clearly wasn’t growing how he should have been?! …
Looking back now, they were silly thoughts!! I couldn’t be prouder of how I coped with something that was so unexpected and traumatic. I couldn’t be prouder of my “war wound” scar! As you can probably tell, I have had the “you were so lucky to have a c-section” comments. Almost always these comments are from ladies who have never experienced a c-section! Natural birth or c-section they both have their pros and cons and neither is the “luckier” option. 8 weeks later and I am JUST finally being able to wear normal clothing again that isn’t rubbing on my still un-healed scar, the first week I couldn’t hold my own baby… I could go on but that is a whole different rant!! The aim of this blog is to just give anyone who is booked in to have a c-section a slight insight as to what happened during mine… Of course, each will be different but it is something I wish I had read before as I really had no clue what to expect!