Up this week in the birth story series award winning blogger Geraldine Walsh from Over Heavens Hill is sharing her emergency c-section story.
My Emergency C-section by Geraldine Walsh
Our daughter was born by emergency c-section in October three years ago. A c-section was something I blatantly refused to imagine would ever be a possibility and saw myself giving birth naturally. Either through fear or ignorance, I decided that I simply was not having a c-section so I didn’t prepare for one at all
You would imagine that working as a senior library assistant in a maternity hospital would mean I have a wealth of knowledge on obstetrical and gynecological conditions. But once that stick screamed pregnant, everything I knew melted away and I claimed ignorance. Pregnancy and childbirth is frightening and I really didn’t need to remember complications and conditions that could make my pregnancy difficult or dangerous. After all, being pregnant is the most dangerous state a woman can be in. I didn’t need the reminder.
Throughout my pregnancy my soon to be daughter was classed as a small baby. I had very little to complain about having a neat bump and apparently I was glowing. I had awful morning sickness that only gave me a two-week break, I suffered through it, learning how to discreetly retch or vomit into my handbag on the bus to work! Despite the usual kidney infections, morning sickness and regular aches and pains and troubles of pregnancy, I managed well.
Every appointment was easy in the Rotunda Hospital as I visited my obstetrician in the Private Clinics. I realise that as I work in the Rotunda, you may consider me to be a little biased towards the Rotunda but I enjoyed my experience there regardless of how the actual birth went down. Everyone has issues with hospitals and the choice you make of which maternity hospital you go to is a big decision. For me, there was no decision. I worked there. It was beyond convenient and I trusted the staff. I chose my obstetrician much like everyone else. I googled their name and read recommendations on forums from unknown internet strangers. Of course, I had my short list but ultimately, I was very happy with my choice of consultant. As a first time mum, I was, of course, scared and nervous and decided to know little. A c-section was never really mentioned throughout my pregnancy. Everything was going OK but things don’t always go to plan.
I was booked in for an induction on my due date as my daughter to be was a small baby and my obstetrician didn’t want me to go any further than the 40 weeks. That’s fine, I thought, we’re almost there. A million women have done this before me, it’ll all work out.
The induction … was not nice. I’ll be honest I hope I never have to go through that again. Awkward, uncomfortable and painful. I was attached to the trace machine for hours, small break, back on it again, small break, back on it again. Of course, you’re attached to this machine and you’re worrying because no one else in the ward is on it as long as you are. You’re listening to this rhythmic beating and just hoping that it’s meant to sound like that. No one gives you information because answers will stress you and the baby out, regardless of the answer.
I started bleeding at midnight and was told that it can happen from the induction, not to worry and just keep an eye on it. But to me, there was just a bit too much blood to casually toss it to the side like that. I worried and worried and worried. Stage two of the induction occurred at 8am and I was still bleeding. It was unusual, I was told, but that was why I was still on the trace machine. I went through pad after pad after pad. Despite it all, I failed to progress and developed clots. I was frightened because I was bleeding so much and I prayed for my consultant to arrive and deliver our baby. My husband was incredible. He arrived back in at 8am after having been asked to leave at 11pm the night before. He kept me calm and supported me even though he was just as nervous and scared and knew just as little as me.
At 2pm my consultant arrived, and after she examined me she simply said, “It’s going to be an emergency C-Section. And now.” My face dropped. I’m sure I turned a hellish grey and I cried. This wasn’t how I wanted my first baby to be born. I feared the complications, the surgery, the pain, and everything that was unknown to me about c sections. If only I educated myself. If only I had left my ignorance at the door and prepared myself for what could be a possibility for my safety and the safe arrival of our child.
The team in theatre, my obstetrician, the anesthetist were all incredible. I had zero time to think about what was actually happening and I remember gently shaking as I sat on the table as the epidural was administered. A theatre nurse came over to me and held my hands and told me not to worry. Her poor hands were white by the time I let go; I held on to her that hard. The staff danced around me. They seemed to effortlessly glide with instruments and ice cubes as they tested if I could feel anything in my legs and. And suddenly, they ushered my partner in and he was sitting by my side, holding my hand, asking me was I OK. The tears and worry he had seen before I entered theatre were gone.
Everything was over in seven minutes. My daughter was born at 3:03pm, a time we will never forget. She was perfect and beautiful. She still is. I had a slight hiccup with vomiting on the table after the surgery but as far as I know they simply lowered the dosage of whatever drug I was on and I was hunky dory again. A devastating part of my c-section experience happened that evening when I was offered tea and toast – ah the golden chalice of tea and toast after having a baby. I had heard so much about it and I had been lusting after it. I had, after all, eaten nothing since 5pm the day before. However, three sips of tea and a bit of toast and I was vomiting again.
Having not prepared myself for a c-section brought so many complications to my first few months as a mother – pain, bonding, feeding and emotional upheaval. I often wonder, if I had prepared better for all eventualities of my daughter birth would I have been more prepared to deal with the day to day life and consequences of the birth? I admire those women who have birth plans and know exactly how they would like the birth to go and if it doesn’t go to plan. how their plan B keeps them prepared and focused at such a momentous time.
Find Geraldine uncovering the wonderful world of becoming a mum on overheavenshill.com, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
There are a whole collection of birth stories on the blog if you would like to read more. Birth stories go live every Sunday at 9pm. If you would like to feature your birth story email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.