My Caesarean: a positive birthing story!
Updated: Jul 29, 2018
I remember hearing about caesareans during my antenatal class and just wanting to hide. I knew a csection was a possibility as our baby was breeched the entire pregnancy, but I was hoping and praying he would turn in time. He didn’t of course, and so we had a csection booked for 39 weeks as the safest option for our baby.
After a few pre-op tests, some carbohydrate drinks, and a shower with an anti-bacterial wash, we were set to go (see our page for more info on all this). The day arrived and when I got to hospital, I changed into my theatre gown and put on my tight stockings. And then I just waited to be called down. It’s weird having a scheduled csection in the sense you know your baby is coming that day but the build up is so calm!
30 minutes before my son was born, I was just chilling out reading a magazine and trying to avoid my phone and the many messages of those waiting expectantly for news!
When I was called down, I put on my slippers and walked down to theatre whilst my husband went and put on his gown and hat. The theatre team were just amazing, laughing and joking with us from the start, and even having a sweepstake on baby’s weight and gender (another reason I’m glad we waited to find out the sex). They focused on the outcome of the csection - that we would be meeting our baby so soon.
I was nervous about the injection in my back to numb everything but in reality I think it was the least painful needle I’ve ever had and really didn’t feel like a big deal in the end. Your legs just get heavy and soon you are laying down with a ‘curtain’ up so that you can’t see anything below your rib cage.
When a caesarean is described factually using medical terms, it does sound overwhelming. If you want to know what it involves, check out the Ordinary Mothers page (or listen to Dr Alex on Love Island!). However, the reality is that if you need a csection, your job is just to lie there! You don’t see anything and you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. And then just minutes later, your baby is safely delivered into the world.
You are totally numb to the pain but you can feel the fact that things are happening - it just doesn’t feel like it’s happening to you. And the anaesthetist is up with you the whole time checking on how you feel, so I felt in control and like my voice would be heard if I had any worries at all.
I was actually in shock when 3 minutes after the surgery started, my husband told me we had a son.
I had no idea it would be so quick! It definitely took a minute to sink in that our baby was here, but looking over to then see my husband holding our perfect little boy is an image I will always treasure, as it was for my husband when he looked down to see our son being born.
The staff were more than happy to give me skin to skin straight away in the theatre but I felt too hot so my husband enjoyed cuddles whilst the team looked after me for what was then the longest part of the surgery. He treasures those first cuddles and talks about it so passionately if ever the topic comes up. My biggest fear was that that delayed skin to skin contact with me would affect breastfeeding, but I was so lucky that my son latched on straight away, and using a cradle hold I was more than comfortable.
It is annoying not being able to move yourself easily around in bed (I felt like my stomach muscles had fallen asleep!) but my husband and the hospital staff were great. I didn’t even notice my catheter when it was in, or when it was coming out really; I was just glad I didn’t have to get up to use the toilet! The physio showed me how to get up out of bed using my arms to lever myself and encouraged me to move about to help the healing process. I could only shuffle to start with but it didn’t take long until I was more steady on my feet.
I was sent home with pain killers but I can’t say I ever experienced any pain. It was uncomfortable at worst and getting up was the hardest bit. Yes I was stuck to the sofa a bit for those first 2 weeks in particular, but I just breastfed my son and enjoyed the cuddles; my husband, family and friends did the rest! With that support, I was able to let my body heal. I had to have injections in my legs for 10 days to help avoid blood clots but at least we could do this at home.
I actually couldn’t fault my experience. Mentally, I felt in calm and in control and just happy our son was going to be delivered safely. Physically I had a great recovery and it was nice having a real excuse to put my feet up in those early days and weeks! I’d looked a little at hypnobirthing and I think it’s true that if you feel informed about your birthing choices to feel at least somewhat in control, a caesarean can absolutely be a positive birth story. And if I end up with a csection in the future, I know that it doesn’t have to be something you fear.
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