To understand why I went for an elective section you need a little back story.
C-sections are generally only spoken about in the sense that you should try and avoid one at all costs. The antenatal class we went to ( i say we went to but in reality we were late as the car broke down and then we only stayed for one of the 3 classes but thats another blog post in itself) skimmed past c-sections in around about 2 sentences. “You should avoid them” “only available in emergencies”, I have since found out this is incorrect. This little snippet is direct from the NHS UK website
Asking for a caesarean
Some women choose to have a caesarean for non-medical reasons. If you ask your midwife or doctor for a caesarean when there aren’t medical reasons, they will explain the overall benefits and risks of a caesarean compared with a vaginal birth.
If you’re anxious about giving birth, you should be offered the chance to discuss your anxiety with a healthcare professional who can offer support during your pregnancy and labour.
If after discussion and support you still feel that a vaginal birth isn’t an acceptable option, you’re entitled to have a planned caesarean.
When I fell pregnant with my first little girl in 2014 I thought I wanted a c-section, I have always had a fear of giving birth, and the thought of forceps leaves me feeling sick, no idea where it stems from but it just didn’t feel like something I ever wanted to experience. I voiced my concerns to my midwife and was told it wasn’t possible to have an elective c section and that I should have thought about that before getting pregnant. After hearing this I felt really stupid and went full steam ahead planning the ‘perfect birth’.
However, at 38 + 1 my labour started, and continued until 39 +1 when I ended up with an emergency c section as Miicahs heart rate dropped. Between when my contractions started and when she was born was a nightmare, I was taken in to hospital and it was confirmed that I was having real contractions, however I wasn’t dialating. I was told to go home and come back if they got 3-4 mins apart, after two days they got that close so I was checked again, 2cm dialated. This went on until 39 + 1 where i’m pretty sure the midwives just felt sorry for me and admitted me, the gave me some pethidine so I could sleep as I had been awake for a couple of days. The contractions never hurt they were just annoying, after a couple of hours they decided they would break my waters to see if it would get my body to dialate. It did. I had all the gas and air I could get, it was amazing.
I went from 2cm to 10cm in around 3 hours, they gave me an epidural and I was told to wait until I had the urge to push, it never came. The stopped me using the epidural (it was self adminitstering one) and said to tell them when the urge came. Again it didn’t ever happen. They were telling me to push but nothing was happening and after a couple of hours Miicah’s heart rate dropped a couple of times and we were told they would need forceps. This was about the time that I completly lost my shit.
I had been awake for the best part of a week barring a few hours kip here and there, I was a little off my face on gas and air and forceps just terrified me, lucky for me Ben stepped in and said I had specifically said that i was not allowing them to use forceps and to go for the section. The doctor agreed right away and I was wheeled down to theatre, she was out in around 5 mins. This whole time frame from them agreeing to caesarian and her being born is a bit of a blur. She didn’t cry initally and I remember saying over and over ‘is she dead’ and no one would answer me, it felt like an eternity and was hands down the worst moment of my life. After a while (I have no idea how long) she cried and she was fine and I was home the next day.
My scar felt so painful, I was expecting pain but this was horrific, my midwife said it was normal and I should carry on as I was, she removed my stitches (wire and ball) and at my week doctors check up I mentioned my scar hurt and he had a look and said I needed steroid cream to put on it. I applied the cream twice a day as instructed. At 10 days post partum I was feeding Miicah at around 11.30pm when all of sudden there was the most horrendous smell. I called Ben and said I think she needs changing so he took her off but came back and said there wasn’t a poonami as I expected. The smell kept getting stronger and stronger and I got up to go to the bathroom and felt a trickling sensation around my stomach. I called 111 and spoke to a lovely bloke who said it sounded like my scar was infected, he started off giving me some options about seeing a GP in the morning but then said the words no one ever wants to hear
“ can you see your guts?”
I started crying and told Ben to get Miicah ready becasue we needed to go to A and E. I got admitted onto the ward right away and saw lots of doctors and my consultant who explained that my scar had become badly infected internally and when my own GP gave me steroid cream to put on it, it had actually thinned the skin and caused it to burst open. I was pretty much in shock while this was being explained, all the while panicking that I needed to feed my 10 day old baby. Oh yeah, also did I mention, it was Bens 30th birthday , memorable or what!!! The doctor drew a line around my stomach where the infected areas were and it was huge, I was put on a drip and antibiotics and was told I had to stop breast feeding as the drugs I needed were not safe for a newborn. This was one of the saddest moments I can remember, I had my heart set on breastfeeding her and to manage ten days and then be told I had to stop was heartbreaking.
Fast forward 4 months (i know, we didnt mess around, havent we got a telly,etc etc ) I found out I was expecting baby number 2. My first thought was ‘FUCK’ my second third and so thoughts were also ‘FUCK’. This wasn’t a planned baby but it was very wanted and looking back I can’t imagine it any other way but the intial first week of finding out was a bit of a shock as you can imagine.
I went back to the midwife and she was also surprised to see me. At around my 12 week appointment she said ‘ I assume you will be having a natural after your emergency mess up last time’. My reply to her was ‘Am I fuck planning a natural, I want an elective and don’t tell me I can’t choose to have one because I have done my research and know my rights.’
She thought i was crazy after how badly my emergency went but my logic was as follows.
- I didn’t ever want to experience a week of contractions again because although it wasn’t massively painful it was still horrible. ( I still got a week of contractions with my planned section but thats another story)
- I didn’t want the uncertainty of a long labour and not knowing when the baby was coming, especially because I had Miicah to think about.
- Despite my only birth experience being an emergency c section, in my head it was familiar, i knew what would happen, there is always the unknown with a natural and that really scared me.
- Forceps still terrified me, more so as around the same time I had Miicah I had various friends who had natural births and told me horror stories of forceps and vontouse.
I look back and wish i had know that elective c sections were an option when I had cheeky cheese as you can bet your sweet arse I would have had one.
I did so much research after having Miicah and read various blog posts that gave me the confidence to put my foot down and make sure I wasn’t convinced otherwise by midwives and doctors etc.
I got my planned section when little fish was born and will do a full post on that another day.
I know c sections cost much more on the NHS and I will forever be thankful to the NHS for delivering both my babies safely.