I was only a teenager when I was advised that whenever I decided to start a family, I’d need to give birth via a caesarean. With the health issues I was having this didn’t seem a big deal at the time, but later I’d learn about the feeling of disempowerment by having this choice taken away from me.
After fistula surgery from Crohn’s disease, two fistula repairs, a bowel resection and autoimmune arthritis, by the time I was 25 and fell pregnant, each of my 3 specialists advised a c-section delivery.
At 30 weeks pregnant I was upset at the prospect of not having the option of a vaginal delivery but I worked through it. My daughter was delivered at 38 weeks, 5 days and my journey of motherhood began. Whilst I hated the spinal and the inactive role I felt I’d played in bringing my daughter earth side, I was instantly in love with her and the way she’d entered the world was soon forgotten.
Two years later I was pregnant again with another little girl. I was somewhat surprised as her impending birth approached at the emotions I felt just thinking about the upcoming delivery. My (quite rude and rather unsupportive obstetrician) wrote “emotional” on my chart when, through tears, I shared my sadness at having to birth via a caesarean again. Logically I knew it was the best (if not only choice) for my body, but I was still grieving for my inability to birth my babies myself.
Four years on and I was pregnant with another child, this time a son! Determined to be an active participant in the birth of my baby, I tried to make a number of changes. I discussed delayed cord clamping, which my obstetrician refused to do as he said the baby would get too cold. He did say however that he would milk the cord. He also gave permission for my husband to videotape the birth and for me to play music in the operating room. I also asked for no forceps to be used unless absolutely necessary. Like my previous birth we also elected for no Hep B vaccine at birth and for the Vitamin K to be administered orally.
Listen to the first episode of Mamamia’s pregnancy podcast Hello, Bump, where one woman takes us through her agonising pregnancy struggle, and epic birth story. Post continues after audio.
On the day of my son’s birth we arrived at the hospital at 6:30am. Starving and extremely thirsty it was over 4 hours before they finally came to take us to theatre.
Our music started. My husband went past the screen to film the birth but it meant I couldn’t even see him, let alone hold his hand. The obstetrician was talking to the other medical staff like I wasn’t even there and the anaesthetist started telling me how her son won his soccer game on the weekend. I closed my eyes and tried to block it all out. The obstetrician told me they were just breaking my waters when the next song began… the song I’d walked down the aisle to at our wedding. I smiled to myself and opened my eyes. How perfect it was that in just a few short moments our son would be born – and to such a special song! My brief moment of joy was soon interrupted when all of a sudden my obstetrician started to swear. “F*ck I hate this song!” he exclaimed, just as he delivered my son’s head… all captured on the video.