As a regular scroller on social media, and follower of other mum and parenting blogs, I’ve often read other people’s birth stories. Until now, I’ve never really told mine, although I have referred to it in my blog post, “We’re All Parents” (1).
So nearly seven years after my youngest was born, here’s the story about how the above two came into our world.
June 2010 – seven days overdue, my contractions started during the night. Unfortunately, they stopped and I woke up the next morning disappointed that it wasn’t happening after all. The following day, as soon as my husband left for work, they started again. After a few hours and various attempts to find my midwife, my husband was home and we decided we should go to the hospital. My midwife then arrived and told us to go the hospital!
A few weeks previously we had had a tour of the midwife led unit, labour ward, operating theatre etc. available at the hospital. I’d always just wanted to go to the labour ward to be as close to the drugs and pain relief as possible but had allowed myself to get talked into trying the midwife led unit. Always listen to your own heart, head, and maternal instincts!
After being on the unit for hours, nothing but paracetamol on offer, and the Doppler machine not picking up the baby’s heartbeat, they admitted me to the labour ward. As it was after midnight, my husband was sent home. I didn’t sleep a wink, on the upside, the Doppler machine was working properly so the baby’s heartbeat was registering.
The next morning, my husband was called back and I was transferred to a delivery room as I had managed to get to 7cm dilated. I was granted an epidural and after eighteen hours of contractions this was heaven! I was finally allowed a cup of tea and at lunchtime, some food. This turned out to be a mistake.
After various attempts at pushing, and about twenty-six hours of labour, it was decided to give me an emergency caesarean section. I gladly signed the consent form. I was whisked into the operating theatre at speed, some sort if medication shoved down my throat which made me gag, and within what felt like seconds, my daughter had arrived.
However, because I had eaten not long before having surgery, I was then so ill and weak, that holding my daughter seemed impossible and feeding her very daunting. I just remember sitting in bed, back on the ward, no memory of being taken back, clutching a sick bowl, this tiny stranger next to me and the staff constantly asking if I wanted to try and feed her. I can honestly admit, this start to motherhood did give me post-natal depression for a few days afterwards. Thankfully, that feeling of just wanting to run away, disappeared within days.
The following morning, I was awoken by the nurses wanting to remove my catheter at 6am! I was hungry, feeling much better, but before I was allowed to eat anything I had to attempt to shower. I could barely move due to the pain because obviously the epidural had worn off. I was given morphine, somehow managed to shower with a trainee nurse helping me, and by the time my husband came back to the hospital, I was apparently high as a kite because of the morphine!
I had so many different needles shoved in me during my stay on the ward. The epidural, then after the birth they thought I had an infection so they gave me intravenous antibiotics every few hours. Also, after surgery I had to have daily injections to prevent blood clots.
By the time I did try to feed my daughter, she was no longer interested. The nurses kept trying to make her feed, I knew we would not be discharged from hospital until this was resolved. It was no use and eventually I had to give in and let them give her formula milk.
Within two days, we were discharged home. I remember putting her down in the brand-new basket in our living room, and sitting there thinking ‘well, what do we do now?’
That was ten years ago.
A few weeks later, I had to have my stitches removed at the local doctor’s surgery as they had not dissolved as they were supposed to. Meaning my scar looked a lot more visible than it should, and remained this was for the foreseeable future.
So, moving on –
August 2013 – this is a much simpler story. I was booked for a planned caesarean section, having had one before, it’s the mother’s choice for future deliveries.
We arrived at the hospital, straight onto the ward at 7am. My bed was ready. I knew I was last on the operating theatre list for that morning, so wouldn’t be going to the theatre until midday. I’d not been allowed to eat anything since the evening before, and had been given all the correct pre-medication the evening prior. On the ward, I met the surgeon, anaesthetist and midwife who would be with me in theatre. My husband could also come into theatre if he wanted.
The porters arrived dot on midday to wheel me to theatre.
I’ll tell you what, despite the hell that was my first birth, it’s a lot scarier to walk yourself towards the operating table and put yourself on it, than it is to be in the emergency situation where you are wheeled there, epidural already in and you don’t have much of a clue to what’s happening because it all happens so quickly.
Everything was so much more relaxed though because it was planned. A totally different experience. My son was born, I was put back together within an hour, and because I hadn’t been allowed to eat anything, I wasn’t ill, so I could hold him straight away. I’d also opted for the spinal block anaesthetic on top of the epidural, which meant when the epidural wore off, I could move around pain free almost immediately. The nurses had to convince me to take some ibuprofen just in case, it was a whole new world in comparison to the first time.
As my husband sat in the recovery room holding our son, whilst I was having my stitches put in, I was dreaming of my first cup of tea!
The following morning, again they arrived at 6am to remove my catheter! But this time I went for a shower afterwards, and washed my hair with ease and then got back into my own clothes. When my husband came back to the hospital that day, I was sitting there holding my son in one arm and looking at the crossword, holding the newspaper in the other!
I had also said, from the word go, that I wouldn’t breast feed. This was just my personal choice.
Oh, and my stitches dissolved perfectly and it wasn’t that long before the scar was non-existent.
So, there you have it, two caesarean sections, two totally different experiences. We’ve all got our own stories, and we all do what’s right for ourselves and the baby at the time.
My children are now nine and six years old and as my daughter prepares to go towards her final year in primary school, this all seems like a distant memory. With each child, no matter how many you have, and no matter what your story, you discover highs and lows that you never dreamt of. Each child, and each story is totally different and shouldn’t be compared to anyone or anything else.
Always trust your maternal Instincts.
My blog ‘Maternal Instincts’ is a ‘laugh or you might cry ‘ attitude to being a mum. Real life stories.
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(1) Caroline Richardson “We’re All Parents” 24th February 2018
Much love everybody. Xx