It’s over 18 months since our daughter came in to the world, but I never tire of sharing how she arrived in the world! This is my gentle, or natural caesarean birth story – I’ll be posting a lot more about what a gentle/natural/woman centred caesarean is over the coming weeks
The day things started was a pretty ordinary day – I took the toddler for a haircut, then had friends round to visit in the afternoon. There was absolutely no indication that a few hours after going to bed, that I was going to wake up to my waters gushing out! I leapt out of bed (no mean feat at 38 weeks pregnant) and ran to the bathroom, grabbing a towel on the way. There was absolutely no doubt that my waters had gone – I ended up standing in the bath until the worst had passed. My husband had been woken by all the commotion, and after a quick ‘ermagawd’ from both of us, we set about getting ready.
I phoned the hospital to let them know I was coming in with ruptured membranes and was booked for a c section, while my husband got on the phone to his mum. With childcare in place between the two grannies, I had a shower, sorted my hair and double checked my bags. I then had a little cry about leaving the toddler and ignored the contractions that were quietly starting in the background. I was adamant that my hair had to be ok before we left. I’d looked like a swamp monster post birth with the toddler, so come hell or high water, I was going to have nice hair! (especially since I was two days away from an eyebrow wax and I needed my fringe to cover them!)
We arrived at the hospital at around 2.30am and were admitted to the assessment unit so they could see what was happening. They popped the ctg monitor on to monitor baby and left us for a little while till the doctor arrived. We confirmed that I was indeed in early labour, and started to make plans for delivery. Because I was having a natural caesarean, but had gone in to labour prior to 39 weeks, I was given a steroid injection to help M’s lungs. I tell you now – ouch! I am a teeny little bit wimpy when it comes to needles, but steroid injections are particularly stingy! I was cannulated and had blood taken and then we were left for a while again.
Because delivery wasn’t imminent, they didn’t want to deliver overnight if they could wait till when the day staff, and therefore two theatre teams were on. Which was of course understandable, but frustrating as we waited, not able to sleep, and me not able to eat anything apart from a few sips of water.
I was visited by the anaesthetist to discuss the spinal procedure – I wasn’t too worried about it, but they do like to go through all the risks with you! After signing what felt like 200 consent forms, and going through a million checklists to confirm that yes, I did have all my own teeth, and no, I didn’t have any prosthetic limbs, it was time to get in to my theatre gown. After being desperate all night to get to this stage, now it was happening I was thinking ‘no, no, can I not be pregnant just for one more day please?’
All of a sudden I felt very nervous at what lay ahead – no matter how much you prepare, there is still an element of the unknown when it comes to childbirth – planned or not. Would the baby be ok? Would my husband be ok in theatre? Would I be ok? Was my baby boy at home ok? What if something went wrong?
Morning came (along with a tray of tea and toast for my husband – I did not love him at that precise moment as he was tucking in!) and things started to get moving. My contractions had ramped up a good bit so it all went quite quickly from about 8am. My natural caesarean birth plan was shown to the day team of doctors and theatre staff, and I did have to clarify a few points for them. I was worried that because my natural caesarean was technically an ’emergency’ that getting all my requests met may be an issue. Thankfully after chatting it all through, there was no opposition to my ‘non-negotiables’ and we were all happy to proceed
But it was a fleeting feeling, soon replaced by excitement that in less than an hour our beautiful baby girl was going to be joining us. Who was she going to look like? How much was she going to weigh?
We were off to find out…