It’s been nearly 15 months since I gave birth to Millie via Emergency C-Section but feel like there is so much confusion around having a C-Section compared to a natural birth that for people that are thinking about getting pregnant, people that are pregnant or even people that have given birth naturally should really be filled in on.
I didn’t even prepare to have a C-Section and as daft as that sounds, my midwife had prepared me for a natural birth as I was low risk and had no signs of complications throughout my pregnancy. I hadn’t read up on C-Sections, had no clue about recovery time or anything so after being in labour for over 19 hours, you can imagine the instant shock and worry that come over me when they told me I was going to have to ‘Go to theatre’.
It’d been such a long, tiring and painful night and after an epidural, things weren’t progressing and Millie hadn’t dropped enough so she wasn’t going to come out naturally, no matter how hard I pushed. The only thing I wanted at that moment in time was my baby and so if it had to be by section then so be it but I did put up a bit of a fight. I asked if there was anything else they could do - they tried the Ventouse and that didn’t work and they also got me to push a few times, but that also didn’t work. I can just remember crying saying how much I didn’t want a C-Section but it was happening. Within 45 minutes, I was taken to surgery, Millie was born and I was back on ward.
One of the main problems you face after having a C-Section is the inability to move. You can’t sit up un-aided, your legs are still numb from the spinal block (and/or epidural in my case), you are fitted with a catheter and lets face it, you’ve just spent god knows how long having your stomach ripped open but to not be able to pick your baby up from the cot when they’re crying, or change their first soiled nappy is something that really got to me.
The midwives at Queens Hospital Burton were so helpful! Adam went home shortly after being bought back onto ward just so we could get some rest and so that he could go shower/sleep too. Those few hours were the most emotional hours of my life. I just lay with Millie on me for the first few, she fed from me twice, slept on me and also had her first bottle on me. The midwife then came to put her down in the cot and check on my wound etc. Now, I’m not sure how it works with a natural birth but you definitely loose all dignity when your catheter is being changed and you’re relying on midwives to change your maternity pad for you because you can’t move! It’s really not the prettiest of sights, as you can imagine. Back to the bad bits, when Millie was in her cot, if she was crying or was sick, I couldn’t pick her up which resulted in me jumping up on the bed to stop her from chocking on her sick (twice) and really hurting myself by doing so. The midwives had to change her nappy until I was able to stand up for longer than a few minutes and they also had to help me feed her a few times too because I couldn’t sit with her on my stomach.
Then, there’s the whole recovery time... the days/weeks, even months after the section, you struggle to sit up, to walk or move freely, you can’t drive for 6 weeks and bending over is a no-go so unless you’re prepared, have someone to help you get up/drive you, it’s a hard time to go through and the feeling of helplessness can overtake the feeling of happiness and love you had in the first few hours of giving birth.
Yes, I do wish that I’d have had a natural birth, the feeling of pushing my baby out is all I wanted at that moment, the recovery process of a natural birth is so much shorter and easier than a section and of course, you are able to pick up your baby, tend to their needs easier than you are after a section. I feel that people that think it’s the ‘easy way out’ are clueless and forget that it’s a MAJOR operation in which abdominal muscles are sliced open to obtain another human being that you have just grown inside you. It’s not as simple as slicing your finger and having it stitched back up again - although I do wish it was that simple. 15 months on, my stomach is still tender if Millie jumps on me. I’m still anxious about the scar and the tummy it leaves you with. I still regret not being able to give birth naturally but one thing I do know is that I’m happy that the doctors were quick enough to decide that an emergency C-Section was what I’d need to get my baby out quickly and safely.
Have you had a C-Section? Do you agree with what I’m saying? Or are you hoping to have a C-Section to get out of the ‘natural’ process?