April is Caesarean awareness month and it has really helped me talking to other women who have gone through what I have, to know that I am not alone and that most of my feelings are normal.
I wrote Beb’s birth story back in February (you can read it here) and I promised part two but I just haven’t felt up to writing it. It is still very raw and I still, even 12 weeks on, cry when I think about it.
However, for the purposes of Caesarean awareness month, I have decided to write it.
The night, as I had him, I stayed on labour ward which, in hindsight was a good thing. I was in my own room and the midwives there are much nicer than the ward. I even saw one who was lovely to me when I had had Boo and she remembered me and we had a nice chat.
The only pic I have after the birth of me and Beb in hospital because my face was so swollen from crying the rest of the time
When Hubster came back to visit me that night, even the consultant came in to see us because the drip in my arm was still there and I was begging for it to be removed because it hurt that much.
He promised it would be taken out in the morning.
After an uncomfortable night-ironically from the drip, not the section, we were wheeled around to the ward at 8am and they told me to get up and go and shower.
I imagined someone would help me but they didn’t. Fair enough, they were busy but it took me a good 30 minutes to shuffle my bum to the edge of the bed on my side, and slowly, slowly, ease myself up.
I got up with Bambi legs and managed to shuffle, hunched over to the bathroom.
My parents brought Boo in again to see her brother and Hubster flitted back and forth all day between the farm and us.
Opposite us in the ward were a couple and the wife didn’t speak English. Her husband was allowed to stay indefinitely because of this and, at one point was asleep in her bed as she sat in the hospital chair. How bad is that?
I felt totally exposed because they had their curtains closed all the time but the midwives kept opening mine and, because it took 45 minutes for me to get up to close them, unless my family came, it made feeding Beb quite hard.
I expected to be going home the next day but, at 5am when the staff came round to check observations, they found me to have low oxygen levels.
The reason was we had all had a viral cough since Christmas but, coupled with having been lay down for over 24 hours and the fact I couldn’t cough properly because of the incision, they were worried.
I was whisked off for a chest x-ray at 5.30am. They were concerned I had a blood clot which can happen after a caesarean. I knew it was because of the cough but they had to be sure.
They had me sit there all day wearing an oxygen mask and took blood from an artery which was not only the most painful thing ever but made blood spurt all over the bed, which was never changed.
When poor Boo came she saw her mummy in a pool of blood with a mask over her face. I can only imagine what she though.
At this point I was still hopeful to go home but they arranged for a scan which didn’t happen until 8pm that night.
It was a CT scan which shocked me. They had said scan so I presumed it would be ultrasound. How wrong I was.
I was lowered down onto the scan machine (easier said than done when you had a section 24 hours earlier) and I had iodine injected into my veins.
It was at this point they told me I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed for 24 hours so tears were running down my face as I went into the CT scanner. If they had told me before, I could have expressed all day. Another fail.
Despite the lovely scan lady saying she was going home after me and the results of the scan would be at the ward by 8.30pm, the ward staff had other ideas. Hubster waited around until 10pm to take me home but was asked to go home with the other dads (apart from the one opposite) so I cried again at the prospect of another night away from Boo in the 100 degree heat of the ward.
At 5am the next morning, a doctor came to tell me the scan had been clear and I could go home that day.
There were eight other women in my bay and the midwife who, I swear took a dislike to me, discharged every one of them before coming to me.
By the sixth woman, I lost it and cried screamed at the midwife who hurriedly discharged me-if for no other purpose than to get rid of me.
I honestly think I cried for 95 per cent of my four day stay in hospital and not one of the midwives on the ward asked why I was crying or showed me any compassion.
To be honest, I’m still not sure why I was so upset and even reading this back, my words do not do justice to the horrible time I had.
Even writing this I have shed tears, thinking back to it. It was a lonely, isolating experience. Nothing like the euphoria I felt after Boo’s birth.
The caesarean made me feel guilty and like a bad mother and, added to that, my 24 hour breastfeeding ban, I was at an all time low. Coupled with this, I was thinking about the horrible time we had actually getting to the point of having another baby.
The weight of it all sat heavily.
Added to it, Beb’s blood sugars dropped so I had to feed him formula. I felt like I had no other choice and then, after the ease of getting milk from a teat, there was no way my hungry little boy was going to go back to the breast where he had to work hard for his dinner.
I was unbelievably gutted.
I didn’t have any expectations with Boo but second time round, I did. I think this added to my anxiety. I think expectations are the downfall of mothers.
Despite society at large believing caesareans are the easy option and that women who have them are too posh to push, I would like to slap the people who make those assumptions in the face with a muslin cloth.
Natural birth is a walk in the park compared to having a major operation, being more tired than you’ve ever been in your life and having to look after a baby.
I am 12 weeks post-section now and, while ‘officially’ I should be more or less back to normal now, honestly? I feel anything but.
The fatigue seems never ending. It’s not the night feeds. I can cope with them and Beb is much better at sleeping (touch wood) than Boo ever was. I know it is from the caesarean.
I know some women have wonderful experiences of caesarean section. I do wonder though whether Boo’s lovely birth spoiled me. Had she been born by caesarean, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so bad.
Thankfully, most of the bad memories will fade. My beautiful boy makes me happy every day and the joy of seeing his big sister interact with him is lovely.
Birth is something you never forget. I just hope, in time, it is the good bits I remember rather than the bad.