I have had my fair share of operations as a child, from grommets to having a spare rib removed, and from what I can remember; I did not react well to the anaesthetic. I woke up crying and in pain every time – it was horrible.
So, when faced with the question: c-section or natural labour, my answer was always a loud and resounding: natural! Natural labour, simply because I could not face the idea of having to undergo major surgery. And let’s not kid ourselves here, a c-section is major surgery. Do you know how many layers of tissue they need to cut through to even get to the baby? And then stitch all those layers back up again? I could not imagine anything worse. Not to mention being bed ridden for the first day of your baby’s life. No, I was determined to push my baby out.
My Gynaecologist was onboard with my decision and my pregnancy was progressing well. I had no complications, picked up the right amount of weight; blood pressure was fine – a text book pregnancy. I typed up my birth plan, handed it to all the relevant people, thereby setting my plan in stone (or so I thought) and waited patiently for the big day.
Then, at around 34,5 weeks, I had some spotting. As any pregnant woman or mother will know, blood is never a good sign. My husband rushed me to the hospital where they strapped me to the foetal heart rate monitor. The result was good, everything was fine, but I had to stay overnight so that they could monitor me. The next day however, my cervix had started to dilate – this baby wanted to come early. Cue a couple of steroid injections, progesterone tablets and lots of bed rest later and my baby was still inside my belly, snug and warm, where he was supposed to stay until 40 weeks. I could go home and was ordered to rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.
Over the following two weeks, I was told that my placenta was calcifying and the amniotic fluid levels were decreasing rapidly, which meant that our Bean had to come out within the following week. He was however still lying in the posterior position and the Gynaecologist gently told me that although induction was of course an option, the chances were high that it would end up in an emergency c-section. It seemed that my determined walking (or rather crawling) around the house on all fours (yes, I crawled around the house like a baby, simultaneously arching my back like an angry cat – my husband thought I was mad) had not made my strong willed child flip. He stubbornly stayed put.
Although I was filled with fear, dread and disappointment, I definitely did not want to end up having to undergo an emergency c-section while my baby was in distress. And so, I guess, I caved – my c-section was booked.
That Monday morning, my husband and I got to the hospital ready to meet our son. We were both a bundle of nerves and eventually the time came for me to get into my hospital gown and to be wheeled to the theater. Once inside the theater, I remember thinking that it was not as cold as I had anticipated – the team of Doctors was friendly and calm, explaining everything to my husband and I in detail. The spinal block and the catheter (yes, a catheter – it was bad) were administered and my Gynaecologist and her assistant started to cut the many layers of my stomach open. It was strange, being so alert and awake, my husband sitting next to me holding my hand, while I was being cut and although I felt no pain, I could feel them tugging and pulling.
Then came the moment Al and I had anticipated for so long:
I could hear his cry before he was even properly born. As they lifted my son out of his world into ours, my first thought was that he looked exactly like the picture of his 4-D scan – with a mouth like his dad’s. My doting husband, always by my side, had eyes for his son only. He was now a dad, and such a proud one at that.
My distraught, but beautiful, baby boy only calmed down once they placed him into my eagerly awaiting arms. He knew that I was his mother, his place of safety. And there was my son, already eating his little hands. All I could feel was an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love. It did not matter, how he had come into this world, just that he had. My ray of sunshine had arrived, the dawn to my new world.