As April is Caesarean Awareness month and both of my babies were born via c section I thought that I would share my stories with you all.
When I was pregnant with Max I fully intended to give birth naturally, as terrified as I was at the thought of child birth I was still determined that it would be as natural as possible. However, when I got to about 36 weeks pregnant the midwife suspected that Max was breech and I was sent for a scan to check. The scan showed that Max was indeed breech and I was offered a procedure called external cephalic version (ECV) where they try to turn the baby to head down position. I was apprehensive about this as I had heard that it can cause distress to the baby but the doctor put my mind at rest and assured me that they would monitor him closely and stop if there were any signs of distress.
When I went for the procedure I was offered gas and air before we even began, which just worried me even more to be honest! As soon as they started trying to turn him it was clear that he was well and truly wedged in my ribs and wasn’t going to move, so I was booked in for an elective c-section. I know that it is possible to deliver a breech baby naturally, and that sometimes they will even turn during labour but this wasn’t even offered as an option and I wouldn’t have wanted to risk it anyway.
I was terrified leading up to the section if I’m honest. I had never had any surgery or even stayed in hospital before and was really worried about the recovery too. On the day of my c-section we arrived at hospital at around 7am and went down to theatre at around 10am, Max was born at 11:02am and the whole experience was very positive. An elective c-section is incredibly relaxed and really quite pleasant. All the doctors and midwives were calm and friendly and did their very best to reassure me throughout the whole process.
After the c-section I was in a lot of pain and was offered morphine, which unfortunately just made me sick and vomiting when you’ve just had a c-section and you’re in pain is not a pleasant experience, trust me! My memory is a little hazy after this but I do remember standing up the next morning for the first time and going for a shower. I remember the blood loss, a midwife helping me waddle to the shower with a sheet between my legs and feeling incredibly weak. So yeah, there is definitely nothing glamorous about a c-section!
I went home after two nights in hospital and remember a lot of pain and discomfort in those first few days, something as simple as just climbing the stairs was a massive task. After about a week or so I was feeling really good and almost back to my normal self. I actually had staples in my incision, which apparently is not the norm and must just have been the surgeons preference. I was terrified about how much it would hurt when they were removed but actually it was fine as the area gets very numb.
After having Max I was told that basically they had no idea why he was breech. They had had a look at my uterus and it was nothing to do with the shape of it – apparently you can have a heart shaped womb which can cause babies to turn breech – but I didn’t have this. So this meant that it was looking positive that Evie wouldn’t be breech and I could deliver her naturally.
After a c-section you can opt for another section if you want but I was determined that I would give birth naturally. But, as I got towards the end of my pregnancy it become apparent that Evie was breech and she wasn’t going to turn, just like her big brother. This time I wasn’t offered ECV, I’m not sure why. I was just booked straight in for an elective c-section again. I was actually OK with this, although I did feel a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to get the natural birth that I had wanted, at least I knew what to expect with a section and it meant that we could plan around Max.
When I was 36 + 4 weeks pregnant me and James had a night away at the hotel where we got married. We had a lovely evening but I was woken abruptly at around 6am the next morning to my waters breaking, in the hotel bed! I hadn’t expected to go into labour early, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that it might happen, so I was in a real panic.
We headed straight to hospital as I was early and because we knew that she was breech, we couldn’t risk her trying to come out just yet! The hospital checked me and confirmed that my waters had definitely gone and they told me that they would get me in to theatre to deliver her as soon as possible. I wasn’t experiencing any pain or contractions at all despite my waters breaking, so although I now needed an ’emergency’ c-section I wasn’t really a proper emergency if you know what I mean. This was on a Sunday, there was only one surgeon available and he was on standby as there was a lady delivering twins. She had to go to theatre in the end, so I was waiting quite a while.
Finally at 3:39pm Evie arrived. It was a very different experience to with Max, I felt very faint and ill whilst in theatre, luckily the anaesthetist sorted that out very quickly, it’s like magic! And because Evie was classed as premature because she born at 36 weeks she was taken straight away to be check over. She was only 5lb 6oz too, so very small.
I remember feeling very faint again whilst in recovery. I didn’t experience this at all with Max so I think perhaps it was just the shock of it all, as we weren’t expecting her to come so early!
My recovery with Evie I found was much easier and quicker, I think partly because I’d been through it before and partly because I had two babies to look after now so I just had to suck it up and get on with it!
So there you have it, two very different c-section stories but I think they show that birth, no matter how it happens, isn’t easy. The media seem to like to glamourise cesareans and it isn’t like that at all. I do admit that the experience with Max as very relaxed but the recovery is anything but pleasant. C-sections are NOT the easy option and women that deliver their babies via c-section are no less amazing than those that deliver vaginally. I for one am proud of my scar and proud of what my body has been through.
Ps. We always laugh at my scar because Evie’s scar actually starts along the same line as Max’s and then randomly goes up, as though the surgeon slipped! And although it doesn’t look as neat as it could, I kind of like that there’s two scars, it means I know which one belongs to whice baby and I love that.
Interested in reading more from Emma then head over to her blog
Fancy reading more birth stories in our caesarean awareness month. READ HERE