A few weeks ago Mamamia spoke to Alexis Hure about her amazingly calm home birth, and for an entirely different yet equally positive perspective, mum-of-two Alana Dagwell tells Mamamia about the wonderful experience she had with her two caesarean (c-section) births.
“During the pregnancy with my eldest daughter in 2012, I tried not to think too hard about the delivery itself. I was so tired and uncomfortable that I was just trying to get through the working day before tumbling into bed at 6pm,” Alana said.
“At an appointment with my obstetrician around the 30-week mark, she told me that my baby was in a breech position. As is current standard practice in Australia for breech presentation, I was booked in for a c-section at the Newcastle Private Hospital on 19 December. I admit that I felt rather happy and relieved to know that I wouldn’t be going through labour.”
On 16 December, three days prior to her scheduled delivery, Alana, accompanied by husband Brad, went into hospital with some back pains and cramping. The medical team decided that while she was in the building and experiencing mild contractions, they would bring her scheduled delivery date forward.
“Once the decision was made, I found the whole process quick and so very exciting. It took just 90 minutes from prepping me for theatre, to those first baby snuggles, and the staff were all so lovely every step of the way. I was given a spinal block anaesthetic, but remained completely conscious throughout the procedure. As they made the discreet incision in my lower abdomen to pull her out, it felt a little like someone was rustling bedsheets around over my tummy," Alana said.
“They lowered the curtain between my baby and me as she was born and it was a magical moment when we got that first glimpse of our beautiful girl. A nurse did a quick check, cut the cord and placed her on my chest all wrapped up. There is a photo of her and me just moments after her birth and I look ecstatic and relaxed, which really sums up the experience.”
Alana stayed in hospital for the next five nights and for the first 24-hours was given a drip for pain relief followed by oral analgesics. The staff gently encouraged her first to roll onto her side and then to get up and go walking the following day.
“I had a very heavy feeling in my stomach area and during that first week I did experience some discomfort, but I was so excited to be a mum and getting to know my baby girl," Alana said.
“The practical side of being cared for in hospital was amazing and I didn’t have to worry about cooking dinner or washing. It was a very gentle and supportive way to be introduced to my new role as a mother.”
As soon as Alana got home, she was able to go for slow walks and she distinctly remembers pegging a load of washing on the line after about one week. She was feeling well enough to drive within three weeks, which after confirming with both her obstetrician and insurance company, was completely fine.
Alana’s positive experience with birth first time around, meant that as soon as she had her 12-week check-up during her subsequent pregnancy, she booked in for a second c-section delivery.
“It made total sense to me. I knew what to expect and I was very happy with how things went the first time. I do believe that c-sections’ get a bad rap from a lot of people for many reasons.," Alana said.
"My mum’s generation were of the opinion that the scar was enormous and unsightly and the recovery horrific. I personally did not find this to be the case and I imagine there have been some changes in how the procedure is carried out in the 21st century.”
Alana realises that she is very lucky to live in a country and at a time where she could make decisions regarding the births, that were based on the safest options for both her and her baby.
“I am a total advocate for modern medicine and I always felt that we were receiving the very best care whilst remaining in hospital. There were experts on hand to chat to 24/7 and there was also the convenience of having meals cooked for me and the endless cups of tea! I also appreciated the strict visiting hours to ensure I got some rest every day," Alana said.
With her two healthy ‘babies’ now five and almost four-years-old, Alana feels that it doesn’t really matter how they come out, just that they come out in a way that ensures the safety and wellbeing of both mum and baby.
“Every pregnancy is unique and every woman is different so I can appreciate why other women would want a natural birth. In my case, I deferred to the expertise of the medical professionals and I feel very lucky to have had two positive birthing experiences and such great memories.”
Did you give birth via c-section? What was your experience like? Tell us in the comments section below.