I had a planned c-section as my daughter was breech. I was quite pleased if I’m honest as although I wasn’t particularly worried about labour or birth I liked having a date when we knew our daughter would be arriving and I don’t feel I have missed out in any way just because I haven’t experienced a natural delivery.
The drive to the RVI was odd as it just didn’t feel real that we were so calmly driving off to have our baby. We arrived at the RVI at 7am expecting to be taken promptly to surgery as we knew we were the only planned c-section that morning but an emergency took precedence so we had an unexpected wait but the nurses were lovely and kept us informed as best they could. After a couple of hours we were taken down to theatre. The theatre reminded me of a horror film! A huge white room with a lone operating table in the middle – I don’t know what I expected but not that! I’m not hugely emotional usually but did have a moment just before I had the spinal. I think I was just overcome because of all the built up anticipation as I had been counting down to the big day for a couple of weeks by then and then being kept waiting on the day. I managed to pull myself together for the anaesthetist who then had a right drama with me having to try 3 different places in my back before successfully getting the spinal in – my vertebrae were apparently very swollen.
I was quickly told to lie down and the surgical screen was put up so I couldn’t see my stomach or legs. My husband was on my left and an anaesthetist on my right who kept spraying me with freeze spray to see if I had feeling or not. There were two doctors and two nurses. I quickly lost feeling in my stomach and legs and was invited to touch my stomach – that was one of the most horrible, weird things ever as I knew in my head I was feeling a part of myself yet I could only feel it from the inside on my hand and through my hand my stomach just felt like a slab of meat – extremely weird.
The nurses put Christmas carols on (it was December 2nd) and we were all singing away, chatting and laughing and that’s what I remember the most – how the staff all made such an effort to keep me and my husband relaxed and distracted throughout the procedure. The anaesthetist talked me through the whole thing telling me when my waters were being broken and when the doctors lifted the first of Nell’s limbs out of me – we soon heard her screaming anyway though!
We had been asked if we wanted skin to skin contact with Nell immediately following her birth but had agreed that they should do all the necessary checks on Nell first and then pass her to Mick. I think it was nice that Mick got first hold and held Nell whilst I was stitched up as he wouldn’t otherwise have had that. I couldn’t stop staring at Nell in Mick’s arms and although it was weird that I couldn’t hold her I wasn’t upset about that at all and enjoyed seeing Mick with her.
The whole thing from the spinal to Nell being given to Mick took about 30 minutes and then a further 30 minutes or so to stitch me up and take me to recovery. The one thing which upset me slightly was that I asked to see the placenta but it had been disposed of already and I was told they usually only show mothers who’ve had a natural birth. I had really wanted to see the thing that had kept Nell alive so was very disappointed by this.
Once I was in recovery I was able to hold Nell and breastfeed. I had a reaction to the morphine and had to have antihistamine – I have never itched so much in my life and that was very uncomfortable – I scratched literally all night long. The next day this has died down thankfully.
I have nothing but positive thoughts when I think back to Nell’s birth. I do think, however, that there was a lack of breast feeding support (which I got at Rake Lane instead) and I was shocked that the RVI tried to send me home 24 hours after the birth – I refused and asked to be transferred to Rake Lane where I stayed for 3 lovely nights and had so much support and guidance, which was definitely the reason I successfully breast fed and went home feeling rested and confident with my baby. I also had physio advice on how to get in and out of bed properly once I was home without the benefit of a bed that can be raised and reclined electrically and RVI had not provided this.
All in all thought it was a fantastic experience and I had a very quick recovery and am left with a lovely neat scar.