Caesarea sections are now quite common. I had one when with my son which you can read about here. Caesareans in the past 20 years have more than doubled. This doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. The procedure is either done in an emergency or by choice and I would never judge another mother on her decision to have one. Helen from Talking Mums has shared her caesarean story with us. Read below.
My First Birth Story, the long and winding road!
We were over the moon when we had that longed for positive test for our first baby. Being a midwife and knowing what I know I was filled with the anxiety of all the possible problems.
Thankfully, my pregnancy was uneventful albeit I went in twice with reduced movements. Luckily all was ok.
My favourite bump picture
Having been a midwife for 6 years at that point, I had been at my fair share of births. From the simple and beautiful to the very traumatic and sometimes beautiful but sometimes with not such a happy ending. What would my labour and birth be like? I tried not to have too many hopes of having a completely uncomplicated experience. But secretly I tried to really believe that I could.
One cold April day I would finally experience what so many women I had cared for had. What did mother nature have in store for me?
I vividly remember starting with contractions one Friday morning. I convinced myself that the would probably stop. So I sent my boyfriend off to work. My contractions continued, frequent and regular. I did everything I could to stay at home as long as I could. I had this crazy idea that I would be one of those first time mums who walked into the labour ward at 8cm! How wrong could I be.
Time For Hospital
After arriving at the maternity unit that evening I had a 2 1/2 hr wait to be seen. Ridiculous I know. By this point I was in tears. I was in so much pain. At last I was invited into a room, popped on a fetal heart monitor and examined. Then the midwife uttered those words that no woman in labour wants to hear…’you’re only 1 cm’. Her words echoed in my head, 1 cm. The disappointment written all over my face. ‘If the CTG is ok, it’s best if you go home’ she said. I panicked, I was in so much pain how could I cope at home?
Thankfully, I think they could see how much pain I was in and allowed me to have a shot of pethidine. A short sleep and then home I went. I got home in the small hours of the morning, bereft of the hope I had. Then it happened, my waters went. It’s clear, no meconium or blood I thought. I phoned the maternity unit to hear yet more words that no pregnant woman wants to hear, ‘I’m afraid we’ve had to close the unit to admissions as we are full’. They named another hospital and luckily my boyfriend had an idea which way to go.
Once we got to the hospital, we struggled to find the entrance. You can imagine the words coming out of my mouth. At 3am on a cold Saturday morning, there was no body around to ask. As we explored we could at last see signs for maternity.
‘You’re Only 1-2cms’
I must have progressed, I longed for the midwife to tell me I was at least 5cm. (Don’t ask me why 5cm, I don’t know why. I just wanted to be progressing). I could tell by the look on her face. She didn’t need to say a word. She uttered ‘you’re only 1-2cm.
Time passed, more baths, more pain, more pacing about and another examination. Finally words I was glad to hear ‘you’re 3cm’. Although disappointed at the extremely slow progress. I knew this meant that the epidural was in sight. This is the earliest time an epidural is recommended. Before this it has the potential to slow down progress. It’s always driven me crazy as a midwife that pain is rarely acknowledged as being significant until you are in established labour! I honestly thought at this point I had an obstructed labour. My thoughts kept swaying from I don’t want pain relief but I NEED IT!
It was 11am on the Saturday morning I went into the delivery room. This was it. This was the room I might get to meet my daughter. Extremely tired and scared, a smile swept across my face. I can still see the room clearly in my mind. I was so excited. That moment seemed so close yet so far away. I had the epidural. It was pretty straightforward and rather magnificent. I was then hooked up to the hormone drip to help strengthen my contractions. My epidural, later I think had become dislodged. I had a window of pain that wouldn’t go despite changes in position. This was agony. Things were taking far too long. It took me 22 hrs to progress 4cm.
At about 9am on the Sunday morning I was 7cm dilated. My baby’s heartbeat was persistently fast. Enough was enough and I certainly didn’t need time to consider my consent to a caesarean.
Into theatre I went. Nervous but relieved that this journey was nearing its finale. The anaesthetist worked his magic. Oh my, instant relief again sent a smile across my puffy, sweaty, tired face. Now I knew that meeting my baby was so very near. I worried though. Again I recalled all the babies I’ve held in theatre. Most are perfectly fine, but small few aren’t. I couldn’t help but panic a little. I longed to see her.
Becoming A Family Of Three
We were about to become a family. I heard them report “time of birth”. Nothing was happening. I must have looked worried as the midwife reassured me they were just doing delayed cord clamping. My boyfriend and I looked at each other, tired, nervous and impatient. Then at long last there she was, lifted above the drapes like a prize trophy, 2 chunky arms, 2 chunky legs. Still a little purple but screaming (loudly), there she was our beautiful precious little girl.
The tears flowed not just from me but from my boyfriend too. What a magical moment. It’s a moment like no other. One I will treasure always. Then she was placed in my arms and my heart melted like it’s never felt this warmth before. This little human being in my arms is our daughter. In that moment our lives changed forever. She was worth the wait. We were now 3.