My c-section 

Felix’s birth story

Felix is my 3rd baby and his birth story started at my 20 week scan when I found out my placenta was slightly low laying, which means it’s partly covering the birth canal, that needs to be clear to birth the baby. I was given a leaflet saying I would need a c section due to this. But I know from my yoga training that 9 times out of 10 as the uterus grows the placenta will move up and out the way, so I tried not to worry about it.

I was offered and took another scan at 33 weeks to see if it had moved. It had but still wasn’t clear enough. The consultant told me, he didn’t offer me choices at all he just told me what would happen which I found very shocking. He said he would book me in for a c section at 39 weeks, no discussion no other options that was that. He said it still had to move another 6 mm to be out the way. I was so shocked. But I did know I could be rescanned as the placenta had moved a little and still had time to move further.

So, I went back to the hospital again at 35 weeks pregnant. The scan showed again that it had moved but still wasn’t clear. The amazing consultant explained it had moved but even if it had moved the full 2cm clear, when the placenta is as close as between 2 and 4 cms to the birth canal its still classed as risky and there is a worry that there would be excess bleeding while in labour or the placenta would come away before baby is born. She explained everything so clearly and gave me the reasons to why she suggested a planned c section. She also picked up that comparing the scans that baby was growing but only 20.3grams a day and the minimum they like to see is 20 grams. So, she was worried about his growth. She suggested that we get him out at 37 weeks. I agreed with her, and I was booked in for 2 weeks and 2 days’ time. The midwife called from Macclesfield hospital to Wythenshawe and booked the date in.

I was shocked but also know it was best to get baby out if he wasn’t growing much. I changed plans to finish work and cancel plans after this date. We arranged for the older children to go to grandparents, and I spent time researching planned c sections. Friends and clients helped me prepare and to know what to expect from the birth and recovery.

I loved having a date to know when we would meet my baby boy. It was exciting and when the date came I felt ready. A few days before me and my partner Andy went to the hospital for a preop appointment on the maternity ward. I didn’t understand why it was here and not the labour ward but it makes sense to meet then team that will be looking after you as we won’t use the labour ward.

The night before felt like Christmas eve, knowing something exciting was about to happen. All the preparation coming together, everything was done, the wait was now over. The big kids went to grandparents for the night as we had to leave home at 7am, the dog went to the dog walkers also so me and Andy had a night at home on our own. We ate then I wasn’t allowed to eat after 10pm, I had a pill to take and one again at 6am with a sip of water but no food. This filled me with dread as I wake up so hungry, but excitement and adrenaline kicked in.

Everyone kept telling me it would be fine, but they don’t know. I was fearful as they are the same words people told me when my dad was ill in hospital 10 years ago, but he didn’t get better, he passed away in hospital care and I couldn’t help but feel there is always a possibility this could happen to me. Hospitals don’t feel like a safe place to me, I only go there when bad things happen, when people I love are ill. I sat with these thoughts and let them go as much as I could. This was different, yes, it’s a big operation but I am fit and healthy and I have to trust all will be fine.

And then there is Covid too, its everywhere. What if I get it after I have had an operation, or the baby gets it? The kids could easily bring it home from school, but I am stronger than the what if, we cant limit our lives or let the what-ifs hold us back.

The only thing I can do is go with it and control what I can and let go of the worry and fear.

We got to Wythenshawe hospital at 7am. I could feel baby wiggling and I was getting strong Braxton hicks. We settled in and the midwives come to see us to do checks on my and have a listen in on baby. I took out all my earing and taped up the ones I can’t get out.

Next the anaesthetist came to see us, we talked about how I was feeling and that I have a phobia of being sick and a few people have told me that they were sick during their c sections. He said to let him know if I felt dizzy as this was a sign of low blood pressure which can then lead to feeling or being sick but this is easy to avoid.

Next the surgeon come for a chat. She was so nice and I feel she really listened to me. She respected my birth preferences and said she was trying and make them happen. She was happy to birth baby slowly, let us take photos once he was partly out and to let my placenta finish pulsating before cutting the cord.

Then we waited. There were 5 ladies booked in for planned c sections that day but a list is created, and emergences would move us all down the list. I was second on this list but still had to wait. I planned a few things to do, such as keeping a diary of what was happening. I also took with me my laptop to watch some films, and an easy cross stitch so I had something to do. The last 2 ladies on the days list didn’t have their babies that day due to more emergences, they both went home and come back the next morning.

I also asked for some little syringes and started to hand express some colostrum ready to give baby. I had done this before so know how to do it and my milk was there. I also did some yoga on and around the bed which felt good. We took some nice photos and had a chat all helping me feel more relaxed.

I hadn’t told anyone what time we might have baby because people asking can put pressure on you. So I text family to say it would be late afternoon but at 10.40am we were asked to go down to the theatre. I put a gown on, I was pleased I took my own dressing gown as the hospital gowns are open at the back and you’re asked to not wear underwear! I put my slippers on, and we walked down. An emergency came in while we were waiting so we had to wait about 90 minutes but that was ok, I know that someone else needed support, we listen to the playlist my daughter had made us and as I was getting hungry so I had a little sleep. The midwife kept us informed of what was happening so I felt very well looked after.

At 12.15pm they came and got us and we walked into the theatre and met the team, so many people, 11 I counted. All there to look after me and baby. The team explained what was happening and why at every step. They went over my birth preferences again and I felt as though my choices were respected.

I had a cannula put in the back of my hand, blood pressure taken then I sat forwards on the bed while the spinal was put in. I was terrified but I sat still and focused on my breath. The team helped to lay me down but slightly on my side so not to put pressure on the baby. They put a screen up and I could hear the team talking but I didn’t take in what there were saying. My legs went numb which was very strange and I missed my feet and hoped I would feel them again. Andy was by my left side of my head holding the phone playing my playlist. I felt dizzy so I told him, and he passed the message on to the anaesthetist and within seconds I felt great again. I felt really good, I chatted to the people I could see even telling them that the ceiling was boring and they should get a massive where Wally poster on the ceiling so we have something to look at. I really can’t believe no one has suggested this before.

I felt lots of pressure, pushing and pulling on my belly and with in 15 mins of being in the room babies head was out. They lowered the screen and held my head so I could see him, Andy took photos, I wish he had filmed it but I don’t think he was ready. As baby was eased out, he grabbed on to a wire and wouldn’t let go, the midwife had to open his hand. The midwife held him for a few minutes while the cord stopped pulsating before she cut the cord and took him to one side.

I could see him to my side and Andy went to take photos as the midwife rubbed him to warm him up and get his blood going. He screamed which is good as it clears the lungs and she did some checks on him, but a hat on, a nappy and wrapped him up.

Then he was places on my chest which was a little hard to see him as he was so close to me, everyone was saying congratulations to me which was so nice but it also felt surreal.

It took about 45 mins for the after the birth part of the operation. Again, the team chatted did their checks and explained what was happening to me. Baby and Andy went to recovery in the next room, I missed him instantly. The team moved me on to another bed, that’s a total leap of trust as you can’t feel your legs and are rolled one way then the other.

I spent 30 mins in recovery being monitored continuously. I lost more blood then they like so they cleaned it and then hocked it up so it went back in to me which is amazing. I felt good. I had a drink and a biscuit, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to eat but I tried a little at a time. And I willed my feeling in my legs to come back and to my surprise, within minutes it started to, with my toes first and quickly moving up my legs, it felt like such a relief.

I had more checks, pain meds and fluids then when the midwife was happy she wheeled us while holding baby up to maternity.  Babies temperature was a little low so he had skin to skin with Andy and 4 blankets to warm him up. I expressed some more colostrum then we fed him what we had expressed a little at a time and he took it, I didn’t want to waste a drop of the golden magic milk.

He warmed up and got a taste for the milk and latched on me for a small feed. He was tired and a little sleep which is to be expected. I was still hooked up to receive my lost blood and I had a catheter still, this stays in for 6 hours post baby, which I loved, I didn’t have to get up to wee.

By 6pm I could feel all of my legs again, baby was latching on and having little feeds and warming up. I felt very well looked after with lots of checks on us both. I had a cup of tea which was amazing and the tea and toast in the hospital after having a baby is the best meal you will ever have.

I spent time wiggling my toes and circling my ankles to help my circulation move.  I relaxed, cuddled, fed and started to tell people that he had arrived.

By 9.30pm, I had my cattier removed, I was helped up and I went to the bathroom and had a wash. I put fresh clothes on and my blood loss had started. Andy changed baby’s bottom and swaddled Felix up. Then he left about 10.30pm.

I didn’t sleep much there was lots of machines in the room beeping and people moving about. Plus the lady opposite me was snoring so much all night. I kept expressing milk and I didn’t let Felix sleep more than 3 hours, I woke him to give him the expressed and try a feed.

By morning I felt a lot better, I got up and used the bathroom and made myself a brew. I won’t say I walked around the ward as it was more of a shuffle. I felt sore and ached everywhere, but I took my pain meds when they were due.

All wires were removed from me, we both had more checks and questions answered. I felt good but sweaty and hungry. I ate the hospital food but I didn’t like it and I was please I took my own snacks. I text Andy to check he was up and ask him to bring more food too.

He arrived back and we left the hospital after lunch 25 hours after having baby. It was such a relief to leave, I just wanted to be home in my own safe space. The walk/ shuffle to the car was long and slow. We had to go to the pharmacy to pick up meds first. Andy carried everything. The drive home was painful. I felt every bump in the road and I worried for baby being all crunched up in the car sea.  I sat in the back with him but still hated the drive.

Relief filled me once we were home. Shower, food and settled on the sofa and ready to meet the big kids.

I believe the preparation I did in the weeks leading to my birth have been the key to a smooth birth. I know my options and I voiced them to the team looking after me. I feel like I did birth my baby in the best possible way for us both at the time. I had some control, and I trusted the team to look after me fully. I breathed, relaxed and let go.