Monday, 8 April 2013

Mummy Mondays: My Birth Story

I knew for most of my pregnancy that I would most likely be having an elective c-section.

I have severe anxiety and panic attacks, which left me very nervous about giving birth after having googled the complications that my thyroid disorder can cause during the process - and so an elective c section was agreed to be the best option for me.

I know that a lot of people tend to judge people for electing to have c-sections, but I personally think its only right that women have the right to choose what kind of birth is suitable for them - after all, everybody is very different and what works for some simply doesn't work for others.

I had already put off having a baby until quite late (I'm 31) because of my anxiety, and if I hadn't been quite sure that an elective c-section would be an option I may never have actually gone through with getting pregnant in the first place.

And so, from around 28 weeks - I was booked in for a planned section on 26th March.

I had to go through all of the various Drs and Consultants who tried to talk me out of it and pursuade me to try the natural way, they even offered to induce me early if it would help to ease my anxiety! But since that wasn't what my anxiety was about I knew that wouldn't help, and I stuck with the planned section.

Even with the planned section, I wasn't able to avoid the anxiety completely - around a week before the date of the section, I was really hit with panic. 

I kept waking up in the night terrified at the thought of the surgery, and panicking about what I could do - I started to wonder if perhaps natural birth would be better, and really couldn't see a happy ending no matter what way I went.

Me and my niece Lottie the day before the c section

The night before the section, I was terrified. I stayed up until around 3 am talking to my Mum about all the things I was worried about going wrong, and I barely slept at all.

When the morning came, I felt surprisingly calm - I suppose because we had to be at the hospital for 7.30 so there was a lot of activity going on as I was getting myself ready to go.

The drive to the hospital went past in a blur, and when we arrived we were taken to the ward and I was shown my bed - the main thing I remember is seeing the little empty cot and thinking how surreal it was that the baby that was kicking around in my tummy would soon be taken out of me and would be laying in that little cot!

One of the midwives came to see us at about 8.30 am, she told us that we were 3rd on the list and would probably be going to theatre at around mid day. She talked us through what would happen, and said that the surgeon and the anesthetist would be along to see us soon.

We unpacked my things while we waited, and I hung up the babys outfit on his little cot all ready for him.

A little while later the surgeon came to see me - he was lovely, and very down to earth. He made me feel much calmer.

Shortly after that the anesthetist came to see me, she talked me through the possible risks and outcomes - she mentioned that sometimes spinal blocks don't take effect on some women and in that case the plan B would be to move to general anesthetic. I hated the idea of this and so asked if it would be possible to note down that I would rather the surgery be cancelled than have general anesthetic, as I would rather give birth naturally than go under general. She said that was fine, and made a note of it - which made me feel much calmer.

At around 11 am I went to the bathroom and while I was in there, I could hear a ladies voice talking to Jon about making sure he had his camera and when he would be allowed to take pictures - I knew this meant they were ready for us, so I took a few minutes to take some deep breaths and went out.

The lady gave me a gown to change into, and she walked with Jon and I to the theatre. As we walked there we passed by my Mum who was sitting in a little reception area, she gave us a wave and we were taken into a little side room.

Jon was given his scrubs to get changed into, and the midwife put on my sexy DVT stockings.

They then told me that I'd have to go into the theatre without Jon and he would be sent in once the spinal block was done. 

The midwife took me into the theatre, the first thing that struck me was the size of the room!
I had expected a tiny, very clinical room but it was nothing like I had imagined! It was a large, bright, airy room with a radio playing and lots of people milling around and coming in and out!

I was asked to sit up on the table - first they put a drip in my hand, and then they started trying to do the spinal block - while they were doing it, one of my favourite songs started playing on the radio (Through the Barricades by Spandau Ballet) - the spinal hurt a lot more than I thought it would and it took the anesthetist a  few attempts to find the right place, I had a little quiet cry while it was happening but the song helped to calm me down as it gave me something to focus on.

Once it was done, I was asked to lay down - the table was tilted to the side and I was left laying there waiting for the spinal to take effect. I could feel it starting to make my legs heavy and I hated the sensation - this was the part I had been most afraid of!

I started to panic and after a few minutes I started to cry - once I did, everybody came rushing over to me and started comforting me! How embarrasing!

One of the senior anesthetists, Suresh, came to sit next to me and held my hand - he was so lovely and reassuring! He asked me what was worrying me, I told him I didnt like the feeling of being numb and he told me he understood that it felt strange and unnatural but that was exactly how it was supposed to feel and it would all be over with soon. 

The junior anesthetist was spraying my sides with a cold spray and asking me to tell her where I could feel it up to - once I was only able to feel it at the top of my bump, they put up the drapes and said they were ready to start.

After about 2 or 3 minutes I heard them say they had started, I was just about ready to start panicking as Jon wasn't there yet but then he walked in!

On the operating table!

Suresh handed my hand over to him and disappeared, and so I started talking to Jon about any old rubbish to keep my mind off the procedure! I remember asking him where he'd been and whether they'd made him wash his hands?! lol.

We sat making chit chat for what felt like about 5 minutes, then we heard Jan the midwifes voice saying "Hello gorgeous!" in a cooey tone - Jon & I looked at each other with expressions saying "Does that mean he's out?!"

The very first picture of Tyne - minutes old

Then about 10 seconds later we heard a cry! We both said "Awwww!" and were looking around trying to see him but couldn't, the cry got progressively louder and about 30 second later Jan walked over to us holding up our baby boy in her arms! 

He actually looked quite big and was all covered in gunk, she said they were just taking him to clean him off and weigh him etc and he'd be back in a few moments.

After about 3 minutes he was back and was placed in Jons arms - he looked so tiny and we couldnt get over how much hair he had!

Tyne and Me - taken while they were closing me up!

Jan told us he weighed 6lbs 14 oz, and we were both shocked he was so small!

Daddy crying!

After about 5 minutes, Jan came back and said she was taking the baby to the recovery room and that in a few minutes Jon would be taken out too.

They took Tyne out, and after about 4 minutes they came back for Jon and he left too.

They then told me I was all done, and took down the drapes - I looked down at my body and could NOT believe what they had just done - there was no sign of any blood or mess, infact if I hadn't known that they just cut a baby out of me I would never have been able to guess as everything looked just like it had before!

I was then moved onto a trolley, and they pushed me out of the theatre as the staff all congratulated me - I was wheeled into recovery and baby Tyne was already there in his little cot.

They handed him over to me for skin to skin, and then Jon was brought in.

Jan the midwife stayed with us and helped us to feed Tyne, and a nurse called Reenie was there to keep taking my temperature and blood pressure, and checking me over.

Jon giving Tyne his first feed

After half an hour in recovery we were wheeled back to the ward - and that was it!!!!!

I could not believe how quick the whole procedure was and how smoothly it went - the worst part was by far all the worrying I did before hand!

I recovered well, I was able to move my legs again within about half an hour, and was able to walk properly by that evening - the next morning I felt as though nothing had happened!

Tiny Tyne back on the ward

We stayed in hospital for 2 days, and I continued to feel really well - unfortunately on day 7 I had a gallstone attack and after that I was hit with really bad trapped gas which was the most awful pain I've ever known! That lasted for two days but I'm feeling much better again now, and so apart from the odd pain in my back I feel pretty much back to normal.

Tyne is settling well at home - he's just starting to become more alert through the day times and so we're hoping this means that he may start to sleep a little at night. But we don't mind if he doesn't as he's so cute we don't mind sitting and staring at him all night anyway!

In the end, a c section - although not a picnic - was definitely the right decision for me.
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