Of late I have had a lot of people give their input and question my decision to have an elective caesarean for my second birth. Constantly people ‘remind’ me that I can still have a natural birth even after having a c-section previously. And some even go as far to suggest that electing to have the baby via caesarean is an easy way out and even made disparaging comment about being “too posh to push” – insert blank stare of disbelief.
Having a caesarean section certainly was not my plan going into my first pregnancy. Honestly, I didn’t really have a plan because I knew that at the end of the day anything could happen, and it’s lucky I didn’t because I most certainly didn’t have a textbook birth experience.
During the nine months of my pregnancy I didn’t have a set idea of how I wanted it to go. I was not opposed to pain relief or interventions and I didn’t even attend the pre-natal classes because I figured the more open minded I was the less disappointed I would be should it not go how I expected. Well thank fuck for that because I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what was about to happen. At 40 weeks, I was induced into labour after suffering in my last few weeks with PUPPS (a severe skin rash). I went in on a Friday afternoon and was given three applications of gel over two days to bring on labour. By Sunday morning I had hardly had any contractions, more just some tightening of the uterus but in no way hard or painful. It was at this time the obstetrician decided to administer the drip to encourage my body into labour. From my understanding the synthetic oxytocin drip they give you will bring on contractions and labour rather quickly and not long after your body will take over and within a few hours – hey presto, BABY! Ahh no, almost 12 hours later and no baby, just hours and hours of Candy Crush and only four freaking centimetres dilated.
She insisted we needed flower crowns today ???????????? we so purrrrdy ???????? A photo posted by ✖ OLIVIA WHITE ✖ (@houseofwhite_) on
It was also at this time my little babe’s heart rate started to drop and there was concerns about the stress the contractions were having on her so they decided the only option for safe delivery was to perform a caesarean. So in the dead of the night Sunday evening the cavalry was called in, my epidural topped up (in less stressful circumstances you’d have a spinal) and I was wheeled down to the surgical ward. Within about 10 minutes my baby girl was born, safe and healthy!
My obstetrician acknowledged straight after that there was no way that she was going to fit and had not even entered the birth canal because of the awkward position she’d gotten herself into.
The hours after that were all a bit of a blur, by this stage it was the early hours of the morning, I had been awake almost three days straight (you CAN NOT sleep in a hospital with machines that ping all the time), just undergone major surgery and with the amount of drugs in my system I think you could have knocked out an elephant. So the nurses took my little babe into the nursery so I could get some rest, and my husband headed home as well to catch some much needed sleep as well. Not the most ideal situation, but trust me – at that time, I was so exhausted and delirious I had no other option.
The next day was hard as well, I still couldn’t walk as the drugs slowly wore off and holding my little one was a challenge. I also kept zoning in and out as the post-surgical pain killers really do a number on you – but if you don’t take it (which I sort of tried stupidly) then you will definitely know you’ve just had your abdomen ripped open and stitched back up.
While the recovery was not as bad as expected, I did require someone to help me with feeding and holding my baby for the week or two to come. Having a caesarean is by no means an ‘easy way out’ and given a choice and the ability to have birthed my baby naturally, that would have certainly been my option. But, that’s not always the case and we should just be grateful that modern medicine can allow us to deliver babies safely, when decades before us woman and children have died during childbirth and still do in some third world countries.
So, going into this pregnancy I knew from day one how I was going to birth this baby, and it might not be for the reasons you think. While I know every birth is different and there certainly is a chance I could have this baby vaginally, the most important thing to me this time was having a positive and empowering birth experience. I don’t want to run the risk of the same thing happening and spending the first few days unable to bond and connect with my baby.
I can assure you that I am positively SHIT scared of having another caesarean and the thought of the recovery with the added bonus of a tornado of a toddler running along behind me is freaking me out. There is no avoiding the fact that it is MAJOR surgery that you are awake during, not something you really ‘get used to’. If someone told me tomorrow that ‘hey you can have a vaginal birth no problems we promise’ then I certainly would jump at it, but sadly no.
At the end of the day, all that really matters to me is bringing a happy and healthy baby into this world – and if anyone has an opinion or problem with that, then they can look elsewhere for someone who cares to listen to it. Because I certainly don’t want to hear it.
For more from Olivia, visit her blog, House of White.
Did you have strangers question your birth choice?