Nathan’s Mumma says…
I tried everything to get my son to come out of his own volition. I bounced on that birthing ball for 4 hours (and gave myself backache), I ate more than my fair share of fresh pineapple and hot curries. I had my husband drive down bumpy roads and go on long walks (not very far you can walk at 38+ weeks pregnant), I never actually drank the raspberry leaf tea that my friend bought me (put a drop of squash in it too was her advice). Did any of this work? Erm…no. At 40 weeks we were told
“oh he’s a big boy isn’t he”
Marvellous, just marvellous. We waited another 4 days and saw our consultant, who performed a sweep, to be told I wasn’t doing much. GREAT. Booked in for induction at 41 +5 weeks expecting him to appear before then. He didn’t. My husband took a half day off work and we drove to the hospital for our 4pm appointment on the induction suite. At our local hospital the suite is a room with 4 beds, 2 on each side, with a bathroom at the end. Settled into my bed for the night we saw the midwife who did yet another sweep (oh they’re such fun, don’t forget to relax and breathe) and deposited the pessary. Hooked up to the foetal heart monitor for the next 2 hours, I chased our baby round my tummy to get the required continuous trace. My husband was sent home at 11pm to “get some rest”, and I chilled out to wait for the contractions to start and my baby to arrive.
I read my book, listened to my ipod, sent texts, surfed the internet, listened to the teenager in the bed next to me loudly discussing on her phone who knew she was being induced due to pre-eclampsia (take earplugs with you) I catnapped, I shared jelly teddy bears with the midwife. At 1am I started to get Braxton Hicks quite regularly. At this point you are asked to tell the midwife, which I did. She hooked me back up to the monitor and we watched as the Braxton hicks caused the baby’s heartbeat to drop. Not a good sign. At 3am, the midwife did yet another internal examination (have gas and air for this number so close together) and declared that I still wasn’t going anywhere.
4.30am and the consultant and his wingman appeared, he too did an examination. He gave me 3 choices: leave it for another 15 hours and see what happens, go to theatre and TRY to break my waters, or go for a c-section. It was a no-brainer for me with a baby already in distress.
2. Ipod (fully charged) www.apple.com/uk
3. Book or magazines
4. Mobile phone (fully charged)
Now it gets interesting…caesarean sections. Mine was considered emergency but not a ‘crash’ c-section. We needed to be ahead of the electives but it wasn’t a run down the corridor job. Once the decision was made it all happens quite quickly. The anaesthetist came down and spoke to me, told me about the spinal block I would be given to numb me from the chest down. That I would be awake throughout and my husband would be by my side. Then the scrub nurse from theatre came (and this was by far the most mortifying moment for me) and asked how tidy I was down below. I wasn’t sure and she proceeded to tell me it was ‘a bit untidy’ (bikini wax is essential before having a section).
Once shaved appropriately I headed to theatre on foot, met the surgical team and went into theatre to have my spinal. It really doesn’t hurt at all (and I’m a wimp). You start to go warm and numb quite quick and they check really thoroughly that you can’t feel anything. You never feel the catheter going in (to collect any wee). They even asked if I would like any music playing, I asked for Christmas carols (much to the anaesthetists delight)… the most uncomfortable bit was them pressing down on the top of my bump to get him out when I couldn’t take a deep breath. Baby arrived pretty quickly after that, it’s the stitching up that takes the time.
Section babies don’t always cry straight away because they don’t get squashed and react by taking a breath. Only a few seconds passed before he did mind you. He was taken off to be weighed and measured (4.4kg/9lb 11oz) and then handed back to his daddy. An hour in recovery speeds by with cuddles and trying breast feeding (see post by Leyton’s mumma) and you’re soon on post-natal ward. Hooked up to drips and blood pressure cuffs but you don’t really notice.
You can’t get out of bed until your spinal wears off and you’ve had your catheter out, but to be honest you really don’t want to. In between feeds, nappy changes of the most vile nature and first visits of grandparents the day flies by. Husbands/partners aren’t allowed to stay with you overnight which I personally think is a gigantic problem. You can’t move, which means the staff have to help you with everything and they’re busy enough as it is. Another set of hands is essential after a section and who better than daddy? But no, so the bell button is a godsend to ask for someone to pass you the baby, and help change him, and help feed him. You sleep if you’re lucky, I napped with one hand on the baby’s tummy until 7am when Jamie was allowed back in.
24 hours (and a disturbed night) later and you will hopefully be free of drips etc. You are brought breakfast and are encouraged to get up for a shower (yes that quick) which is a painful experience. Take your time getting out of bed, try to stand as straight as you can, take it slowly, don’t drop ANYTHING on the floor. It’s the best shower ever! You will still bleed post-partum even after a c-section and no, your regular towels won’t be enough, you do need maternity towels. Anything lower on your tummy than massive granny pants is just painful as they rub on your incision, I bought standard white big knickers from a supermarket as I didn’t want to be wearing disposable pants, uh paper pants no thanks. You are asked to measure your urine output by weeing in a cardboard tub and to record how much you drink and wee. Oh it’s so glamorous. On your second morning you have to get your own breakfast, that’s a challenge with a painful wound and a baby in one of those plastic cot things, but the more you can do the less time it takes to feel better. Like getting out of bed, it hurts – its difficult but do it without help if you can.
After attending a discharge meeting (watching a 20 minute dvd telling you not to shake your baby) and agreeing to the physio exercises and possibly blood thinning injections (to prevent a deep vein thrombosis) you are good to go. 2-3 days after having major abdominal surgery you and your baby should be allowed home, there is no cut off point in time to be discharged. You just need the doctor to sign you off (challenging in itself to find one).
My top tips for coping with a C-section:
- Have a bikini wax before you go to hospital
- Use maternity pads not regular towels
- Don’t drop things on the floor
- Take big ‘granny’ pants
- Ask for help, with everything and anything
- Drag out the time your partner is there
- Walk as straight as you can, as soon as you can
- Do everything slowly
- Hold your tummy when you cough/sneeze/laugh
- Do as much as you can for yourself
Some good places to buy induction & caesarean survival essentials: