C-section the easy option?
For me – no, was it the safest option – yes!
I’ve had three babies, all perfect pregnancies, I loved being pregnant –my body just doesn’t like giving birth!
My first pregnancy was perfect, my waters broke naturally at just under 42 weeks, (I was booked in for an induction the following day) and that was really when the problems started, my baby didn’t like being in labour, his heart rate dipped every time I had a contraction, my labour was long and I was progressing slowly, I had a syntocin drip to speed things up and after 30 hours I eventually got to 10cm dilated, all the time my baby remained distressed at each contraction – doctors took blood samples from his scalp which confirmed this and it was decided that I go to theatre to attempt to push but be prepared for a surgical intervention – this quickly turned into an emergency situation as my babies heart rate dropped significantly and an emergency c-section performed, my baby needed resuscitating and not hearing that initial cry a baby makes when its first born stayed with me for a long time, I heard nothing, I just saw panic. This was not what I expected when I walked into the hospital the previous evening, this was not my birth plan, but, my baby was delivered in the safest way. Recovery for me was slow, I lost a lot of blood and was in hospital for 6 days and needed blood transfusions. My baby was 9lbs9oz, I could barely lift him as I was in so much pain. Once home, I was unable to drive, advised not to lift anything heavy than the baby until my 6 week check-up, I became reliant on my husband and family as a taxi service/cleaners.
We had a gap of 6 years before I fell pregnant again, part of me was scared to get pregnant, scared to let my husband near me as I suppose I was traumatised by my first experience of childbirth.
When I fell pregnant for the 2nd time I was advised to have have a planned C-section, it was suggested that I could go for a natural labour again but the medical staff couldn’t rule out that it would result in another emergency C-section…..my child bearing hips served me no purpose! As I was also still “scared” by what had happened first time it was also decided for my state of mind to have a planned C-section, this way I would know exactly when the baby would be delivered, I could plan support in terms of my husband and family again. The doctor at my first scan was great in explaining exactly what would happen in the planned delivery, he wanted me to be less anxious and try to enjoy the pregnancy and not worry about the delivery. It was made clear that as I was having a 2nd c-section I would need to have another c-section if I fell pregnant again and that it was also limiting my family size (3 is the recommended maximum number c-sections as the risks to bladder damage/complications increase significantly) and I would need to leave a gap of at least a year to allow my boby to heal. The pregnancy was perfect again, but, as the due date got nearer and friends and family started to constantly ask me was I excited – the answer was no, once the baby was out I would be, but I wasn’t looking forward to delivery at all! On the day the medical team were amazing but there was nothing they could say or do to reassure me, I could not stop shaking and wanted to be out of the theatre as soon as possible. I remember the anaesthetist asked my husband what I was saying, he just shook his head and said he wasn’t sure, he didn’t want to say… I was saying over and over again, “get it out of me and get me out of here”. I was convinced it was going to turn into an emergency again. The c-section was slow as it appeared I had a lot of scar tissue from last time, but my little girl was delivered and the journey of recovery began again. This time I was in hospital for 48 hours, but again I was anaemic. Once home I relied heavily on family to help me around the house and to do the school run every day as I had a 7 year old at school (the school was not in walking distance). I remember initially crying a lot in frustration that even trying to stand up, reaching to get my baby out of the moses basket would hurt so much in the area around my stitches. This time was a quicker recovery but I’d say at least 2 months until my stitches/stomach muscles felt anywhere near normal.
I loved being a mummy and we were fortunate to get pregnant with a 3rd baby. Again perfect pregnancy but the same anxieties came at the end of the pregnancy and in theatre. Again I couldn’t stop shaking, I had developed some irrational fear of something going wrong and that I had two beautiful children at home and vowed I would never put myself through an “optional” surgery again. This time the delivery and recovery were quicker though I still needed to rely on family for six weeks until I could drive again, I was again anaemic but felt I recovered quicker and wasn’t in as much pain afterwards. The frustration this time came with having a 23 month old who still wanted cuddles from her mummy, I couldn’t pick her up or play with her like she wanted me to.
For me a caesarean isn’t an easy option, it is a hard physical recovery, its major surgery and it impacts on family/siblings, and it can be traumatic if it’s an emergency, but, sometimes it’s the best option and the safest option for a mum and her baby, part of me still wishes that I had been able to give birth naturally but I quickly remind myself that I have three healthy babies and it doesn’t matter how they entered the world, they are here.
My one real regret after being advised to have planned C-sections after the first emergency C-section was “limiting the family size” – I love being a mummy and would have desperately loved to have had another baby, but after many conversations between myself and my husband we decided it was not safe for me to do so, my body couldn’t handle it – I’d lost blood after each delivery, the increased risk of complications were too high for me, I have three beautiful children and however desperate we were for another baby we couldn’t do anything that would be a risk to my life, and another pregnancy would be. I even briefly researched surrogacy, but decided that we should just be thankful that we were fortunate to be able to have three children and focus on enjoying them and not being sad that we didn’t have a fourth…..