I am sorry to say that I was one of those people who thought that a C Section birth was not a ‘real’ birth or a ‘natural’ birth. I remember rolling my eyes at women who were ‘too posh to push’.
Not to say that I didn’t have respect for the existence of C Section as a practice. Of course I realized that it was a necessary and life saving procedure. I just didn’t feel like it should be the ‘go to’ for so many people.
There are so many things that I have sat in judgement of merely because I hadn’t experienced them and therefore didn’t truly understand. Infertility is an equalizer and an educator. It really does make you think about things in ways that you didn’t realize you were capable of thinking. It has also made me a better, less judgmental person in all aspects of life.
As I have mentioned before, I was diagnosed with having a Unicornuate Uterus and therefore I spent a lot of my pregnancy concerned that I was going to run out of space and go into labor prematurely. I joined a wonderful Facebook group and soon saw that the success rate of carrying to term was very good. It made me feel a lot better but didn’t change the fact that once my LO reached a certain size the chance of his being able to go head down went to virtually zero.
Sure enough my son lounged in my uterus with his feet in his face and his bottom on my bladder for almost all of my pregnancy. A very stubborn breach baby!
Scheduled C Section it was. And I did feel cheated out of the birth experience I had dreamed of. I wanted the water birth, the doula and the self hypnosis, not the blue cloth, surgeons knife and spinal block. Knowing that birth doesn’t often go according to plan, I resigned myself to my fate, learned a lesson about my prior judgey self and set about making an alternate birth plan.
There is nothing more surreal than going to bed knowing that the next day you will be a Mother. After all the pain, the procedures, the heartbreak and the longing, I was going to be a Mum!! Of course I barely got a wink of sleep.
I remember the car journey to the hospital at 5.30am vividly. It was a hot summer day and the sun was rising. I was terrified of the surgery but so joyful that I would meet my son in a few short hours.
Prep for a C Section is intense. Showers with disinfecting soap, IV line (which they couldn’t get in due to my tiny veins – ouch!), ultrasound to check baby was still breach then off to the OR where they did the Spinal. Nobody is allowed in the room with you until after the spinal so that was scary for me. The anesthesiologist was amazing and talked me through everything. My surgeon (whom I had hand selected based on his reputation for being a perfectionist) was also wonderful and talked me through what was about to happen. He even sang me a song!
Once the spinal was done my Mother was brought in. The sensation of losing your legs is horrible. I’m not gonna lie… I found the whole thing terrifying. The tugging and pulling, each second felt like 5 minutes. I had no idea how much sensation there would be. There was no pain but I felt like a corpse. My Mother talked me down and my anesthesiologist talked me through it. Finally after what felt like 3 hours my son emerged and his high pitched screams filled the room! He had what is known as a ‘gentle c section’ which means that he had pushed himself out of the incision rather than being tugged. The cord clamping was slightly delayed too and my placenta was saved for me and encapsulated later that day.
Unfortunately both of our temperatures had dropped significantly during the birth and he had to be placed under the heat lamp for a few minutes whilst we were both warmed up. They held him up for a moment so I could see him under the heat lamp but I didn’t see his face again for an hour. Once they put him on me, under blankets, I wasn’t allowed to look at him as we had to be kept warm. I didn’t mind. My son was on my chest and I could feel his little movements from the outside. He was so familiar to me. I was filled with endorphins and overwhelming, completing love.
It took a while to stitch me up, I went through the shakes (before my son was brought to me) but it was finally over and I left the OR one blissfully happy Mother!