This blog post was written by Sarah Bower who has kindly shared her birth story during C section awareness month in 2023. Thank you Sarah.
My due date was 5 weeks away when my waters broke at 2am on the 27th of March 2022.
Well he had decided he wasn’t going to wait any longer and wanted to make his appearance sooner. When I say my waters broke it wasn’t a trickle, it was more like a flood. Sort of like when it happens in a movie! Anyway fast forward a bit and I’m cleaned up and bags in the car on route to the hospital. We knew baby was breach at this point, we had been told at our last scan and I had opted to have him turned if he hadnt done so in the meantime. We got to the maternity assessment unit and they put the monitors on and have a look and baby’s fine however not enough waters left to be able to turn him. I was told at this point I could still deliver naturally there were options. I was admitted to the ward for observation as I wasn’t having any contractions and advised to try get some sleep in case Labour does start. I managed a few hours and woke around 7am with the tell tale cramping. I called for the midwife and once again they strapped me up to the monitors and sure enough they could see the contractions. They weren’t too bad at this point so the midwife gave me some paracetamol and said to monitor them. A couple of hours passed, maybe 2 at most and they were intensifying, so Dad to be was called back up to the hospital and we were ready to head to the delivery suite.
We were wheeled to the delivery suite bags and dad in tow around 12pm, excitement building as we knew it was time. Once there the midwife examined me and said I was at 4cm and she could feel baby’s bum and foot. Assured me that delivery would be fine this way, but there would be a few more hands on deck to help. At this point my consultant, from Foetal Medicine, had came to check me over. This was due to me being closely monitored as I have a stoma and had the stoma surgery while 8weeks pregnant.
Anyway, she asked to have a peek and examined me as well. This is when it all changed. She told me that baby had pushed both his feet out of my cervix (only dilatated to 4cm) so natural was no longer an option and they were taking me down now for an emergency c-section. To say I literally had to time to think is very spot on. There was suddenly a ton of people around me and I was trying to stay calm and not panic. I was petrified of having another surgery so soon after my stoma surgery. Less than 8 months previously. Despite all the commotion and people rushing around they themselves were calm and talked to us every step of the way. At one point Dad disappeared and was back by my side dressed in burgundy scrubs and mask. He never left my side after that.
I think at this point, in the theatre, with everyone round and equipment being opened and machines beeping my panic grew and I was shaking. The surgeon came over and told me to take some deep breaths and explained what they were going to do. I was given the epidural to numb me and I few other bits and pieces, a cannula in one hand and monitors dotted about. Once I was laid back I felt so much calmer, Dad was right beside me to my left and I had another Dr behind my head monitoring the anesthetic. They was a screen placed over my chest so we couldn’t see what was going on when they began.
The Drs told me before they started and I felt no pain. What I could feel was tugging, almost like they wee trying to pull my off the bed, but this wasn’t painful or uncomfortable. It was just a strange sensation. Within minutes of them starting they told me he was out, those few seconds feel like hours as your waiting for a cry, but he eventually let out a cry and we were told he was fine. Within a few minutes, he was on my chest with what looked like a huge orange knitted hat on his head. Orange knit was used for all premature babies I was told later. The Dr behind us took pictures for us with Dad’s phone which was great as we now have those moments to look back on.
Our little bundle had bruised feet from trying to push his way out but we were told this would go down in a few days.
Afterwards, once on the ward, all the staff were so supportive and helpful. They were on hand with pain medication and to help feed little one when I need to sleep. The pain after lasted maybe a few weeks, but eased quickly after that. I found myself holding my belly near the incision as if felt supportive. Aftercare was great, the midwife checked the incision and advised me on the right care.
Overall, I can say that having a c-section wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Recovery was quicker than when I had my first son naturally. I hope my story helps someone out there that might be scared of this option and show them it’s really not as bad as you think.