Firstly, hello world. Sorry that I’ve been MIA… having two under two is more time consuming than I’d imagined (what a fool) and then of course there is dreaded reflux thrown into the mix… However, we’re all well, settling into life as four and finding our way as a newly expanded family.
I’ve been wanting to write this post, to share our experience of Millie’s birth, as even though it was by c-section, it was a lot more positive than that of Bells and I hope that it will help others who are faced with the same situation.
OUR FIRST BIRTH
With Bells, I was convinced that I was going to get the birth that I wanted – a tranquil water birth where the only assistance I would need was controlled breathing. Sadly, that wasn’t to be. Following an induction and 36 hours of labour, Bells went into distress and her heart rate started to struggle, leading to us being rushed to theatre in a bit of a whirlwind.
A mixture of all of the drugs (yeah the breathing wasn’t enough in the end!?!) and the shock of what had happened meant that I walked away from the birth with very few memories. I found myself constantly turning to Dickie with loads of questions, trying to fill in blanks. The one thing I do remember clearly is that I didn’t get to see Bells being born. Whilst of course I felt love immediately, not seeing her come into the world made me feel like we’d skipped a really important part of the process. We were handed a baby and told she was ours and I remember looking at Dickie in disbelief. Looking back now, that had a massive impact on how long it took for me to bond with Bells after the birth.
WHY ELECTIVE C-SECTION?
After our first experience, I was keen to have a natural birth but Dickie was still pretty traumatised by the whole thing and really wanted to have a sense of control over things this time around (he definitely has the memories that I do not). When we found out that Millie was also measuring small and was also high risk, we decided that an elective c-section was the right choice for us…. albeit reluctantly.
This didn’t stop me from feeling ashamed, as though I was cheating in some way. Dickie would laugh at me as at each consultant’s appointment when they’d ask what type of birth we would like and I would lie saying that we hadn’t yet decided. I felt that I would be judged in some way, that they would think I wasn’t a proper mother and was taking the easy way out. Having a c-section is definitely not the easy route however and there will be another post on that to follow.
A POSITIVE C-SECTION
The great thing about a planned c-section is that you get a pre-op where you can take your birth plan and talk through all of your wishes with your consultant and midwife. This not only meant that they were able to try and accommodate as much as possible (there was no time to do this understandably with an emergency), they were also able to manage my expectations so that I didn’t feel disappointed on the day when they couldn’t do a few things.
The day of the C-Section was surreal. We both walked down to the theatre holding hands and kissed before we went in. The atmosphere in the theatre was jovial and there was plenty of chatter. It was completely relaxed, with far fewer staff than we’d experienced the first time and it felt like a really happy occasion rather than one of panic.
Personally, the most positive element of the c-section was that they were able to drop the curtain for us to witness them lifting Millie out of my tummy. Whilst that might sound gross and the fainter in me wonders how I didn’t pass out… all that we could focus on was Millie. I felt bonded to her immediately, seeing her delivered into this world, taking her first breaths and looking around in wonderment. We chose delayed chord clamping but as soon as that was done, they were able to lift her onto my chest for skin-to-skin contact and I honestly couldn’t have asked for more. I’d finally got the birth that was as close to a natural birth as I could have wished.
One thing that I will never forget though is the music. Having been told that we were able to take a playlist with us, we took the Spotify playlist from our wedding breakfast. Masquerading as being sentimental, the truth was that with an unruly toddler to contend with, I had no time to create a new playlist for the birth. I probably should have spent a bit more time going through it though. Playing on shuffle, right at the point of incision, Leona Lewis came on, as if in slow motion singing “you cut me open and I keep bleeding, keep keep bleeding”. The whole theatre erupted into laughter before changing the track swiftly.
IT CAN BE POSITIVE
I genuinely never thought that I’d find myself writing this post. Having had such a traumatic first c-section, I didn’t think it would be possible to for it to happen any other way, but Millie’s delivery goes to prove otherwise. If you’re planning an elective c-section (be that as a first birth or following an emergency c-section) rest assured that it can be positive, it can be filled with love and it can fill you with happy memories that last a lifetime. You’ve got this.