My birth story

It’s been a while hasn’t it! Turns out having a newborn baby is a little time consuming and your mind is barely fit for making toast let alone writing a blog post, but here we are 2 months in, finally attempting to string some proper sentences together.

So here she is… Miss Lily Joan Grant! I still can’t quite believe it to be honest. Pregnancy was an absolute whirlwind but I actually really started to enjoy it towards the end, I loved having a bump and feeling her wriggle around inside me – I miss that. But now I have a fully fledged human to keep alive, and well, she’s bloody cute.

Anyway, how did she get here? If you read my last blog post you will see that I was planning a home water birth in front of the twinkling Christmas tree lights …. LOL NOPE! That did not happen, not even close. As was a common theme in my pregnancy, little Lily had her own agenda and she had decided that she was quite comfortable sitting up ( she was breach ). I mean, I make her right, I wouldn’t want to stand on my head for days either. We had a couple of scans towards the end of my pregnancy to check on her positioning, each time hoping she would turn so I could have the birth I wanted, but luckily I had not yet hired that birth pool because she wasn’t budging! I tried bouncing on my ball, yoga, ice packs and hot water bottles, standing on my head (ok I didn’t try that one, but I would have if I could). In the end we were left with two options – have an ECV which is a process where the doctor manipulates your bump to try and turn baby, or have a elected c section. (Technically there was a third option available too as we could have had a breach vaginal delivery. I wasn’t keen on this though, due to the hospitals lack of experience in the area I was worried that it would end in an emergency c section, which for me would have been pretty traumatic given my medical related anxieties).

It wasn’t an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination and I went back and forth between the two options for quite a while before deciding that, in my opinion, an ECV put all the risks on the baby and most people I’d spoken to who had tried this procedure found it was unsuccessful, putting you through the pain and potentially distressing baby for absolutely nothing! (But I absolutely understand why people would opt for this option if they felt comfortable doing so). In the end we decided to go for the c section. At first I was really upset about it. As I mentioned, I get major anxiety around medical procedures and a mere blood test can have me in an absolute state, so having surgery while awake was not top of my bucket list. However, I spoke to a lot of people who’d had elected c sections and sought out positive stories on YouTube and in my hypnobirthing Facebook group, which helped to change my mind set. Firstly being an organised person, knowing the date my baby would arrive made me extremely happy! No spontaneous labour in the cheese aisle at Tesco. Secondly, I knew I still had options, I could request immediate skin to skin, have my own music playing – basically make it as personal and special as possible. I had actually written a c section plan just in case. I was so happy I’d done this and that I knew my options, however when it came down to it I didn’t want half the stuff I’d written down.

So we were given the date, December 20th. I didn’t get much sleep the night before which was a rookie mistake as we had to be at the hospital for 7am! I’d been washing with the special antibacterial soap for five days prior and got up early to shower in it that morning as requested. I’d braided my hair the night before to keep it out the way and the bags were already packed and in the car. My mum met us at the hospital because I assumed that I could still have two birth partners (although only one in theatre with me) …turns out I was completely wrong and they sent my mum away (I felt absolutely awful about it and she cried all the way home 🙁 sorry mum!) Me and Jon were shown to our little section of the ward, told where the toilets were and left to our own devices. I was pretty calm, laughing and joking, I was excited and nervous but just going with the flow. I was also bloody starving as I wasn’t allowed to eat till after the procedure.

At one point once we were all settled, Jon decided to go get a coffee. Literally a couple of minutes after he left the fire alarm started going off, I tried to reason with myself that it was fine and nothing to worry about until the nurses came in and told us we had to evacuate the ward. I started to panic a little and really wished that Jon was there with me (I may have done a little cry). I felt so bad for all the other ladies who were post birth and hobbling down the corridors, pushing their babies in little plastic tubs while I sauntered down all fine and dandy – vag and stomach muscles fully intact. No sooner had they found us all a chair to sit on in the next ward were we getting told it was a false alarm and being sent back. What a drama!

Finally we got to meet the midwife Georgina who, as it turns out, had been expecting me (this is what happens when you have family who work at the hospital lol) but it was nice to know I was being looked after by someone who knew my family. I told her that I wanted skin to skin straight away and delayed cord clamping and she told me she would do her best, all being well with baby. I was given a gown and some sexy compression socks to put on. The section, we were told, would likely take place around 11am. (Which was fine except I was still bloody starving!)

A little before 11 (could not tell you exactly when) a young guy came to give Jon his scrubs and told us he would be back in a minute to take us down. More nerves and excitement kicked in at this point. He came back and said “are you ready?” But I’m not sure you’re ever ready to get cut open while awake?? We walked to theatre, having a nice chat like it was the most normal thing in the world. Jon was asked to sit outside while they prepped me and I was taken into theatre. I sat on this large metal table and realised that I’d forgotten to take my pants off. I don’t know why but it’s way more embarrassing having to take your pants off in front of a room full of people than it is to arrive without them on! Especially when you then have to hand them to the young man who walked you into theatre to put in a bag with the rest of your garments. The staff were all really lovely and made me feel at ease, we were chatting, laughing and joking which is exactly what I needed. However, unfortunately for me there was a trainee in the room which I have no issue with in terms of allowing someone to learn the job but it meant that the consultant explained everything he was doing in great detail which I really didn’t want! I tried to focus on blocking that bit out and kept talking to the guy in front of me about his missing tooth. The cannula in my hand was probably the worst bit but that wasn’t too bad. The spinal felt like a bee sting but again was absolutely fine. When they opened my gown to do the spinal the consultant caught a glimpse of my pin up tattoo and this is all anyone could talk about for the remainder of my time in there, I joked that I should have bought my brothers business cards in with me as they were obsessed!

So finally they laid me down and allowed Jon in the room. He looked a bit worried, asked me if I was ok and grabbed my hand which was probably because I was shaking uncontrollably but apparently that’s a normal reaction. I was also a little panicky as I could still wiggle my toes and I didn’t think that was a good sign (turns out the anaesthetic clearly doesn’t go that far down cause I could wiggle them the whole time and was fine). We kindly asked them to have the the screen put up as neither of us could cope with seeing that.

The section itself was so surreal, I could not feel a thing until they were pulling the baby out and then I just felt a little pulling and I kept saying to Jon “this is so weird”. I heard the midwife say, “are you ready?” (Again, are you ever really ready?) and a few seconds later she appeared at my side holding a (slightly purple) baby!! I let out a little sob and she was placed on my chest – I spent some time staring at her, holding her hand and stroking her and it was just lovely. We were then told that she was born at 11:11 which I absolutely loved! My little spiritual babe 🙂 originally I’d said I wanted skin to skin until we were moved but I was interested to know how much she weighed so they took her off me and Jon went to help them. She came back all swaddled up and had some time with Jon while they finished sewing me up. (She weighed 6.13 for those who are interested).

When they were done the surgeon told me I’d be all good to have a natural delivery next time (give me a bloody chance woman!) and also that it went really well and I had my nice figure back (I later discovered that was a lie). I was also slightly distracted whilst talking to her considering she had my blood splattered on the plastic visor over her face – not something I’m used to confronting while having a chat.

I was moved onto a different bed and wheeled into recovery where we had more skin to skin and tried breastfeeding (I can’t actually remember if she latched on here, I don’t think she did) I was also given some water finally which was like something sent from the heavens. We were in this room for about 20 minutes till they wheeled us back to the ward.

We spent the rest of the day having cuddles, taking photos of her and to be honest feeling a little confused, like did that just happen? Is this my baby?

The nurse bought me round some toast which I couldn’t eat cause it made me feel sick. This was absolutely gutting cause I was so hungry but I made my way through some colin the caterpillars and a cereal bar instead. Eventually I got to eat a jacket potato which was glorious.

One thing I wasn’t ready for and was probably the worst part of the whole experience was the itchiness. I literally wanted to rip my skin off, I could not cope! They ended up giving me a piriton which did ease it off slightly.

A few hours after the section a nurse came in and told me it was time to get up. I was nervous but willing to give it a go (I really needed a shower). Well, I did give it a go but it was a massive fail, my blood pressure plummeted and I almost passed out. They laid me back down, told me to eat some more and we would try again later.

The next time was much more successful although bloody painful. I’ve never walked so slow in my life and lets just say me and Jon have no secrets anymore after he held my wee bag and showered me.

The rest of the time is a bit of a blur, not much else of note took place just us taking it in turns to cuddle her.

It was such an amazing day but to be completely honest here I felt a little detached from the whole situation. Having a c section is bizarre because you don’t experience labour, you don’t go through this gruelling time to then have your baby come out and you’re so greatful and full of emotions. You lie down and someone hands you a baby which to be honest could have come from anywhere! You didn’t see it come out, who knows if it’s yours? I think looking back, I wish that I’d asked for the curtain to be lowered slightly so I could have seen her be born (as long as I couldn’t see too much). Of course I’m completely in love with our little Lily and am so happy with how the birth went, I just think it’s important to share the realities of this process.

So now we’re 2 months in and I fall more and more in love with her everyday! She’s starting to smile and focus and grab and she’s just the most amazing little girl. I can’t wait to know everything about her, it’s so strange to know absolutely everything and nothing about a person all at once. She’s growing nicely and was a healthy 10.3lb last time she was weighed. I spend most of my days cuddling her and I dread the day she no longer wants to snuggle into me (in fact I hope this day never comes!)

Life with a newborn is tough and I cannot deny that I struggled immensely at the beginning! (Again I think this is in a large part down to having a c section and feeling a little detached from the whole experience) but it does get better and my heart grows daily for my gorgeous little monkey.

If you have any questions about c sections or anything I’ve mentioned above please let me know! Totally happy and open to discuss anything, I know it helped me to talk to people who had been through the process before I did. (It’s probably best to drop me a message on Instagram as I’m most likely to reply there!)

Peace and love xoxo

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