When You Just Feel A Little Bit Scared About Birth
I’ve been a little hesitant to write this post, I’m not even sure why. I don’t know whether it’s because I feel it is a little silly, or a little too personal, or even almost in a weird way like I am tempting fate, but for some reason every time I began to write it I stopped myself. However I have had a consultant appointment today and it has made all those niggling thoughts come to the surface again- I began this blog to write about our lives, about me and my emotions, and this is something that has been playing on my mind recently.
With my eldest daughter Mads I had to have a c-section. There was no choice in that matter. She was a rare type of footling breech and my hospital just wouldn’t attempt to deliver her naturally. We tried everything to make her turn but she was breech from 30 weeks and due to her and my size, she was basically just stuck. So I was scheduled in for a c-section on Christmas Eve at 38+5 weeks (normally they don’t do ‘elective’ c-sections before 39 weeks but it then was Christmas and they didn’t want me to go into labour as there was a danger of her cord prolapsing due to the position she was in.)
Her birth was a beautiful experience. Yes of course I would have rather have had a natural birth, after all a c-section is major surgery. But the staff and surgeons were so nice and put me at ease throughout. There was Christmas music playing, the atmosphere in theatre was jovial and happy and both myself and Mr E were incredibly surprised at how quickly she arrived. It seemed like just minutes from having the spinal anaesthetic to her being delivered. The longest part was them actually stitching me up, but at that point we had our little girl and all our attention was focused on her. It showed me that a c-section doesn’t have to be frightening or a particularly scary experience, albeit a medical one. She was born at 9lb so a hefty weight and although I found the recovery hard and we had a few other problems due to her having to go back into hospital- overall her actual birth was an incredible experience.
When I was pregnant with LL, I spent practically my whole pregnancy struggling over the decision as to whether I would have a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) or an elective c-section. I spent ages talking it over with friends, looking at research online and speaking to midwives and my consultant. In the end we decided that an elective c-section was the best option for us. At the time I remember midwives saying that if we wanted a third baby, to take into account the fact that multiple c-sections become harder each one you have, but we were so adamant at that stage that we were only having two children and all that mattered was that she arrived in the world safely. I had regular growth scans and due to her size in the end they suggested that perhaps a c-section was the better option.
When I look back at her birth, it was still the most incredible thing. At the end of the day you get your baby and that is all that matters- you don’t really think about yourself. And once I heard that first gurgly, wet cry everything else just faded into the background when I met my baby girl for the first time. But the reality is actually her birth just wasn’t quite as straightforward and relaxing as it had been with Mads. Firstly there were things that just couldn’t be helped and that wouldn’t necessarily happen again. They struggled to get the epidural in and then they had even more trouble getting my cannula in- the anaesthetist kept fussing over it during the operation, taking it out of one hand and putting it in the other, then doing it again and switching hands, before eventually I had what they call ‘vein tissuing’ where basically either fluid or blood leaked and made my hand blow up like a balloon mid surgery. It was very painful and sore, even during the surgery. This resulted in me getting very panicked and feeling very sick, so much so that Mr E had to hold a bowl for me to be sick into, which isn’t easy when you are lying down and can’t move.
But those are things that wouldn’t necessarily bother me if they were to happen again, it was just one of those things. The main thing was that the operation took a lot longer due to scar tissue and I lost a fair bit of blood, nearly resulting in me having to have a blood transfusion. She was also completely stuck so had to be pulled out by forceps, which I didn’t even know they did with c-section babies. However although the operation itself wasn’t as calm, at the end of the day our little girl was here safe, we had her in our arms and we weren’t going to have any more children. I could just put it behind me and get on with raising our girls. My recovery with her was a lot better and I felt pretty normal within a week or so. Even though it wasn’t as straightforward, I still look back and feel that overall it was an incredible experience.
Life moves in mysterious ways and even though we were both pretty adamant we weren’t going to have any more children- in the end we decided if we were lucky enough then we would love to add a third baby to our family. And fast forward past all those chats about whether we should or not and those months of trying, and here I am heavily pregnant with our third baby. The baby that when the consultant said last time about thinking of whether a second c-section would be advisable in case we wanted more in the future, we both said that we were done with two children.
I had a consultant appointment at 16 weeks where they read through my notes. I didn’t realise at the time just quite how much scar tissue I have. And that said that scar tissue is apparently also fused to my bladder, all these things making my third c-section potentially a little more complicated. Don’t get me wrong, the risks are still low, but they are complicated enough that they are making sure there is a senior obstetrician in the room when my c-section is being done. The consultant was really nice about it and he said that there is no reason why it should cause any problems, but that the surgery will no doubt take a lot longer and that I may experience more blood loss.
Since 16 weeks my birth has never been far from the back of my mind. There are some days where I feel very positive about it and think it will be fine, I feel confident and like I can handle it, and then there are those harder days when I feel incredibly anxious and fearful just at the thought of it. I don’t even really know what I am fearful of, not of the surgery itself, I am going to make sure that I try and relax and take deep breaths so my heart rate doesn’t go crazy like last time. But I am just fearful of something happening to me and me not being around for my girls. It is so different than with Mads, going into something without knowing what to expect. I know have two experiences of surgery and two little girls at home who are my whole world.
As the time is drawing ever near, my emotions are so conflicted. On the one hand I am desperate to have our baby boy here now, I keep staring at the little baby clothes in his drawer and I can’t wait to cuddle him, to see what he looks like and to have him complete our family. I want to see what my husband is like with a son and I want to witness that amazing experience of my girls meeting him for the first time. I am getting to that stage of pregnancy where I am starting to get uncomfortable, my recent growth scan showed that he is already measuring 5lb ish and I still have a fair few weeks to go. My back hurts and I know all pregnant people feel like this towards the end- you just want time to fast forward and for you to have your baby in your arms.
Yet on the other hand, I am so nervous. Whenever I think about his birth it makes me get butterflies in my tummy. I have spent many a night awake tossing and turning, worries always seem worse in the lonely darkness of the night. I know the risks are low but I can’t help but feel anxious and I am a very anxious person at times anyway, I think my hormones are just heightening it and making me worry. I know it was our choice to have another baby, we knew we would have to have a c-section this time, and so really I should be more prepared.
I know more than likely everything will be fine and in a few short weeks I will be holding the final piece of our family jigsaw in my arms.
But I can’t help feeling just a little bit scared.