17 May C Section
“I hope this doesn’t upset you but I think we should book you in for a caesarean section.” Surely the sweetest sentence in the English Language!
Let me elaborate….
The day after my first child was born I read my hospital notes and emblazoned across the front were the words ‘Normal Delivery’. I was utterly confused…surely that delivery was not normal? Admittedly this was before the days of ‘One born every minute’ and most of my childbirth knowledge was based on ‘Little House on the Prairie’. How could they suggest I had a normal delivery? I checked with the midwife, telling her they’d got it wrong and she chuckled and walked away.
Child number 2 and I knew what was coming. I had no drugs, not through choice I may add but because of too many deliveries and not enough staff. It was another ‘normal delivery’ despite feeling I had been ripped in two, but I felt more positive and was proud of myself.
Baby number 3 was bigger than I’d expected and got a bit stuck in the final stages. It was ridiculously painful and yet still classed as a ‘normal delivery’. WHAT?
Due to the size of baby number 4 and the ‘getting stuck’ of number 3, the doctor suggested a ‘C’ section. I tried to look a little downhearted but the grin across my face and instinctive nodding gave me away. I was thrilled! No labour, no pain, no normal delivery!
Then it began…I was told of mothers who couldn’t bond with their child after a C. Section, who felt they had been robbed of a vaginal delivery (Oh Please) and their bodies were scarred for life. Let me tell you after 3 normals my stretch marks resembled a relief map of the Alps so a nice neat scar was not going to faze me.
And of course, there were the people who gently warned me that my baby could be psychologically damaged in some way due to the violence of being pulled out, although as I recall the other 3 had their own violence going on trying to escape the vice like grip of my pelvis! Another kindly soul said the baby would be repressed as it wouldn’t be ready for its prompt arrival. Others had the temerity to ask if I was too posh to push. (Seriously?)
The C. Section was booked for the Monday but, as luck would have it, on the Friday my waters broke and I rushed to hospital petrified that all my plans wouldn’t come to fruition and the planned surgery wouldn’t happen. Labour set in and the surgeon popped his head round the door and told me they had an emergency and could I wait a while. What was I supposed to say…”In God’s name save me from a normal delivery?” After a few hours the pain was kicking in and then a vision draped in blue overalls with a cute frilly cap appeared. My saviour, the Surgeon.
I had an epidural which wasn’t too bad and infinitely preferable to 10 hours of labour and then I was wheeled to the operating theatre where I was greeted by happy smiling faces and some relaxing 80s music that only added to the ambience. Don’t let me mislead you. I was nervous and shaking like a jelly. At one point I asked my husband what that white thing sticking out at 45 degrees was and I was horrified to learn it was my leg. I didn’t know it could bend that far!
To the coincidental strains of ‘The most beautiful girl in the world’ (yes really) our baby girl was born. The whole delivery was wonderful and I was in love. She was not fractious, nor disturbed by the ‘violence’ of her birth. She was a perfect little being who is adored by us and her siblings and has always readily returned that love in bucketfuls.
And what pearls of wisdom have I learned? Go with your instinct. Don’t let others worry you or put you off. If it’s felt necessary for a medical procedure to ensure your baby’s safety or of it is your birth of choice, then go with it and embrace it. I don’t feel any less of a woman for not having a natural birth. In fact I still feel quite courageous. Major surgery is no mean feat and is equally as admirable as going through labour.
Normal Delivery? No thank you!