If you are currently pregnant, you will be receiving all different kinds of advice (wanted or not) about giving birth. It can be helpful to be aware of what could happen during labour but if you have listened to other people’s labour stories, you will know there are never two the same. One thing I would say is be open minded and then you won’t be too surprised if things do change but hopefully your labour goes the way you plan for it to go.
I was told time and time again that my birth plan will be thrown out the window as soon as I reached the hospital and that couldn’t have been more true for me. My planned relaxed and natural delivery ended up in a c-section but I wouldn’t change it for the world as my beautiful baby girl is here, safe and happy – as am I!
At 40 weeks + 6 days pregnant on Tuesday 30th May, I went to Aberdeen maternity hospital to be induced. I had experienced no signs of labour by this point so although I was looking forward to the excitement of my waters breaking and rushing in to hospital (thank you Hollywood!), I was quite happy going in to get a little help.
When I was given a bed in the induction ward, my baby’s heart rate was monitored and it was going up and down a bit but as she was moving constantly, they think this is the reason why and they weren’t concerned. A student midwife then examined my tummy to see where the baby was lying and she couldn’t work out what she was feeling so she asked for a second opinion. Another midwife came in and said that the bottom of my tummy was soft so she didn’t think the baby was engaged and I’d have to be scanned to be sure. We found out that Mila was lying transverse (side on) and her head was actually in my left hip instead of in my pelvis. They knew by my previous scans that she was quite a big baby and there was previous concerns about my pelvis being too small to push her out.
This wasn’t ideal so I was given two options. They could try to move her head so that it was sitting centrally in my pelvis and then induce me. If they did manage to move her head – which they didn’t think they would be able to due to her size (she was squished in there!) – it could be quite painful and the chances of her head staying where it was supposed to during the duration of the labour was slim. My second option was to have a c-section.
This was not at all what I expected to hear. I had spent my pregnancy attending antenatal classes, practicing yoga and breathing exercises and doing my research about birthing tips and techniques for a natural delivery. Not once did I think to look in to what happens during a c-section, or the recovery.
However, I am naturally a very open minded person and the only thing I knew I wanted was for my baby to be delivered safely. I asked the doctor what they thought the safest option was for me and my baby and she said she’d recommend I choose to go ahead with the c-section. If her head moved out of my pelvis while I was in labour, which they think it would do, then it would turn in to an emergency situation and I’d have to be put to sleep while they try to rush to get my baby out. The word ’emergency’ did not sit well with me and I can only imagine how traumatic that would be. Greg and I both decided then that I had to go ahead with the c-section.
I was scheduled to be the third c-section the following day but I was told emergencies would be prioritised – which I completely understood. They moved me to a quieter ward as they were scared my waters might break during the night as that would also put me in an emergency situation. Greg spent the evening making me laugh and we were so excited as we knew in only a few hours we would be meeting our little cutie-pie! We really enjoyed our last moments – just us two.
The following morning was the longest wait of my life. I was told I’d be going in for the cesarean at around 1pm but that time came and went and the anesthetist hadn’t even been in to see me. She finally came at 1.30pm and ran through the procedure with us, along with all the risks involved. I was obviously aware that I was going to go through major surgery but I feel like I zoned out of that and didn’t really think about it. I suppose that’s my way of dealing with it. There was no point in working myself up as that would help no one. I focused on the thought of meeting my baby so soon. The wait was finally over!
Although the anesthetist said that I’d be going in to surgery in “about half an hour”, I didn’t actually get taken down until just before 3pm. As you can imagine, the butterflies had built up quite a bit by then. I can’t explain how I felt at that moment. I’ve never felt that way in my life. I suppose I was excited about meeting my baby, mixed with butterflies and nerves for going in to surgery. I was keeping my emotions locked away though as I had to focus for getting the epidural – which, by the way, is not bad at all so please don’t worry if you need to get one (I was most nervous about that part).
Once I had had the epidural and was numb from the waist down and Greg had scrubbed in, it was finally time to meet Mila. We were told she’d be delivered extremely quickly (less than 10 minutes) and that was so true. It felt like a minute or two had passed once they had cut me open and I asked what was happening. The anesthetist told me that the head was out. Before they started, she had told us not to expect to hear her crying as it takes babies born by cesarean section a while to cry.
Although she told us that, Greg and I both fell silent until we heard her cry. I had a lump in my throat. We were soon told she had been delivered on to my legs and they were waiting for my placenta to stop pulsating before they cut the cord. OK, that was the longest wait of my life! Finally, we heard a little cry which sounded just like a lamb and Greg and I both lost it! We felt emotion that we had never felt before. I will always remember that feeling. I couldn’t speak and struggled catch my breath. I’ll carry that moment with me forever.
As we didn’t know the gender of the baby, they lifted Mila up and put her bum in front of my face and, in between sobs, I revealed, “IT’S A GIRL!” It has been a dream of mine since I was young to have my own baby girl. That dream finally became reality. As they took Mila off to check her over, Greg went up and tried to describe what she looks like as I’d only seen her bum! I just wanted her in my bosie.
They weighed her in kilograms and showed Greg the conversion chart so we could work out her weight. They all laughed before Greg told us that she weighed a whopping 9lbs 11+3/4oz!! The surgeon told me while she was stitching me up that she never would have fit through my pelvis and I had made the right decision. Phew!
They wrapped Mila up and put her down my gown while they stitched me up and wheeled me through to recovery. I had lost a huge amount of blood. They class a hemorrhage as losing 500ml of blood and I lost 1,350ml! I was told beforehand that I’d typically stay in recovery for an hour or two but I stayed in for 5 hours because of the blood loss as I has to be monitored constantly and given a drip. As I was the only patient in the recovery ward, we were allowed to sneak in my parents and Gregs mum and sister also popped in quickly to meet the newest member of the family.
That evening I felt as if I’d been hit by a bus! I was completely drained of energy. My main concern was that I wouldn’t be able to breast feed as I was so determined that I wanted to feed myself. Greg was told he had to leave at 10.30pm which he felt quite hard as he didn’t want to leave me when I couldn’t even get out of bed (I also had a catheter fitted). Naturally, all he wanted to do was look after me and our new baby girl. I can’t fault my care at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital though as a midwife pretty much stayed with me the entire night – helping Mila latch on, changing her nappies and giving her cuddles when I needed rest.
As I had a catheter fitted, the midwives were able to see that my urine was bright orange, indicating that I was dehydrated. Before Greg left the hospital, he gave me bottles of isotonic drinks so in between my drowsiness, I downed them along with some water and by the time the catheter came out at 5am, I was back to normal again. When Greg came in, I had a shower and got ready for the day. I felt 100 times better than I felt the during the night. A shower helps everything…
A student midwife showed us how to bath Mila and she seemed to like the water. She also got her hearing test which she passed on both sides yippee! They kept monitoring both myself and Mila to check we were OK and done a blood test on me. I asked if I could go home that day and they said that it was very early as I had had a c-section but if my hemoglobin level came back fine then they had no reason to keep us in. My mum was quite concerned that I was going home too soon as they say you should stay in at least 3-4 days following a cesarean but I felt that I would feel better recovering back at home, with my husband and in my own bed. The hospital ward was so stuffy and noisy with all the crying babies.
At tea time, my blood test results came back and they were good considering the amount of blood I had lost (they said 106 but that means nothing to me). I was allowed home and I honestly felt the best I felt in a long time when I woke up the following morning. I thought I felt great in pregnancy but I must have forgotten what it felt like pre-pregnancy. Greg was absolutely amazing doing all the nappy changes, while Mila and I nailed breastfeeding. What a team!
I honestly feel like I’ve hit the jackpot with these two. I can’t imagine life getting any better than this.