It had never crossed my mind that I would end up having a caesarean section when it came to having kids. However, all that changed when I had an extremely traumatic birth with my first born. After a quick forceps, back to back delivery, I ended up having a massive haemorrhage and lost 8.3 Litres of blood and became “high risk” for future deliveries. All the above resulted in me developing symptoms of PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) where I’ve been seeing a psychologist ever since. Throughout my pregnancy I knew that although I was given a choice, all the medical professionals were keen for me to have a C-Section to have a more controlled environment and because I had previous damage from my first birth. I had always planned to be induced early, but I then developed varicose veins which then caused more risks for blood loss and the decision of an elective section was made. I was extremely anxious about going in to have my baby. The thought of knowing the date that our baby would be coming filled me with fear rather than feeling prepared. Although on the positive side, it did allow me to have things in place, like childcare for my son. The day of the section it’s self was great...we went in at 7.30am to find out where we would be on the list. Lucky for us we were first. Even luckier because you have to fast before a section and I was already starving! Before the surgery, you get a spinal block to numb you from the chest down. Although you can still feel ‘things’, there is no sensation of pain or cold which is how they test if it’s working. You then lie back and wait for baby to arrive. We requested that our screen got dropped as I wanted to watch our baby coming in to the world. However if you didn’t want to see anything then you really can’t with the screen up. We were also lucky enough to catch the birth on film. We also requested that I got skin to skin straight away as I wanted my section experience to be as “natural” as possible. After our baby girl was born, she was quickly wiped down, a nappy was put on and then put on my chest while I was stitched up. The time it takes to have the baby is a lot shorter than I thought. Roughly about 10-15 minutes from start to finish. The process of the stitching... that took around 30-35 minutes. During that time it was all about baby cuddles and pictures and trying to convince my husband the name I picked was the best fit for our new daughter! The hardest bit of my recovery for me was not being able to tend to my 2 year old the way I used to. The pain doesn’t really start until day 2 and 3 then after that it starts to improve daily. I’m now 3 weeks postpartum and for the most part feel like me again, apart from some pain in my wound area which can be lessened with paracetamol! However, you are told to expect 6 weeks for full recovery.
My PTSD and anxiety meant that coming to terms with having a C-section was extremely hard for me. I was worried people would think I was a failure and that I took an easy option. I felt like there was a stigma against the procedure, which I’ve since discovered is only from a small minority of people. There are so many aspects of having a baby, from growing them for 9 months, to nurturing them from the moment they are born, and the delivery is just a small part of the process when you look at the big picture and everyone has been extremely supportive of my decision. Over all I would say my experience of having an elective caesarean section was a positive one. From the staff being so caring and lovely and even asking my choice for music to be playing (Blue!), to being able to watch our baby being brought in to the world and having our skin to skin contact, it was definitely the best it could have been.
Author credit: Misha Denham