Well, let’s just say the birth was on my mind from the second I read positive on the pregnancy test. I was truly petrified. I tried to put my sheer panic to the back of my head but as my bump grew so did my fear!
I had always been convinced that I wanted pain relief and would take any drug going…Epidural, that was my plan! However at one of my routine checkups I spoke to my midwife Tracey about my birth plan, she talked to me about the benefits of hypno birthing, showed me around the home from home suite in Downpatrick Hospital and really changed my whole view on ‘the birth’, I left that day feeling so much more positive, with an I can do this attitude and went straight onto Amazon to order a hypno birthing book. I got really into it and it all made sense to me, I listened to the tracks and practiced at ‘getting in the zone’. I loved the idea of having a water birth, I could really imagine how the warm water would be an excellent comfort through labour, this became my new birth plan.
As many people stress to you at the time, it’s only a plan and very often that little bundle kicking away inside you has a completely different one….well in my case he did!
It was Sunday 7th August, I was 11 days overdue and had been given today as my induction date but due to the induction ward being so busy I hadn’t been given a time and had to wait at home for a bed to become available. I had noticed that the baby hadn’t been as active as it (sorry I called my baby ‘it’ throughout my pregnancy because we didn’t find out what we were having!) usually was most mornings so I tried all the usual tricks…cold fizzy drink/lie on side etc, but it still wasn’t as active as normal. So I phoned the EOU unit at The Ulster Hospital and they asked me to come straight in so they could monitor the baby.
We arrived at The Ulster and they monitored the babies heart beat, they struggled to read it due to an ectopic beat (apparently nothing to worry about but just the machine couldn’t read it as clearly as normal so was difficult to trace) but thankfully baby was well. While I was in EOU a bed became available in the induction ward so that was me admitted! Hubby was sent out to the car to get the bags and suddenly it all became very real that this was it!!
Up in the induction ward I was given a pessary about 3pm which would stay in for 24 hours to try and soften the cervix, I was only 1cm dilated so a long way off established labour! I found the induction ward pretty intimidating, there were six beds with some women further on than others, the odd whimper and groan panicked me, it was like being in a queue waiting for pain to kick in! It was about 9pm and the men had to leave by 10pm for the night, I thought in my head this is me in for the long haul, I’d rather hubby went home now, got well rested and was back with me first thing in the morning where hopefully things will have started! So off he went!
At 9.30pm the midwife came round for a routine check on me and the baby, again the babies heart rate was difficult to trace but the heart rate had rocketed! Within minutes the consultant was by my bedside and telling me that I was going round to the delivery ward to have my waters broken…I couldn’t believe it!! I explained I had already sent my husband home, the midwife told me to phone him and get him to come back!
I was brought round to the labour ward, in the dimly lit room the babies bed was set up in the corner…this was really happening!! The midwife was amazing, she calmed me down and made me feel as relaxed as possible, then the consultant came into the room to break my waters. I was petrified! I asked if it was going to be sore and the midwife offered me gas & air….yes please!!! The consultant told me to let him know when I felt like I was ‘floating’ to give him the go ahead, I puffed & puffed on that stuff to make sure I was definitely ‘floating!!’ I closed my eyes and tried to stay up on my floating pain free cloud as long as I could! (Gas & Air is pretty good stuff in my opinion!!) Then I felt a warm gush of water, like I’d wet myself but it just kept on coming! The consultant seemed disappointed when the waters were clear as it didn’t give him any reason for the increased heart rate. Then the decision was made, ‘we are going to have to deliver this baby by emergency c-section’. I couldn’t believe it, I felt like I had just been handed the biggest Get out of Jail Free Card!! Just as they told me my husband came into the room ‘We’re getting a section!’ I shouted across to him with the biggest smile on my face! Before I knew it I was surrounded by midwives putting surgery stockings on me, nurses removing my jewellery, getting me to sign paperwork and an anethatist putting a line into my hand (I had another few puffs of the good old gas & air for that too!) Then I was whisked off to the theatre!
My husband had to wait in another room while they got me prepped and they told me he could come in when they were ready. I sat on the edge of the bed with my feet on a chair while the anethatist numbed my back with a small injection first (it was just a sharp scratch) then he gave me the spinal block injection, I didn’t feel a thing. It was the strangest feeling being numb from the chest down but I was delighted, I was back on my pain free cloud! My husband came back into the room just as they were about to start, I was so excited but nervous and the adrenaline was making my arms shake like crazy. They put the screen up so we couldn’t see anything, I remember being tugged and moved about but again I couldn’t feel anything. The anethatist was fantastic, he talked us through what was happening and really made us feel at ease. It was coming up to midnight on Sunday 7th August and I wondered if our baby was going to be born on the 7th or 8th, they assured me my baby was going to be born within the next few minutes, I couldn’t believe it was happening all so quickly!
All of a sudden our baby was born, he was brought straight across to the baby bed in the corner of the room to get checked out. I asked the midwife ‘what is it?’, ‘a boy!’ she replied. I couldn’t believe he was actually here! I then waited to hear the cry, it took what felt like forever but it was amazing to hear him! All was well, it turned out he had completely tangled himself up in the umbilical cord and that was causing the increased heart rate. They placed him on my chest, the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. I was totally unaware they were putting me back together while I stared at him, stroking his little brow, looking at my husband in disbelief, this was our wee boy!
After they stitched me up I was wheeled round to the recovery ward nursing my precious little bundle, I kept him in close to my chest skin to skin. He was so settled just curled up in a ball, not realising that he had just made me a mummy and the happiest girl in the world.
In the recovery ward my husband nursed him while I was given a bed bath and changed into a fresh night dress, I was still completely numb! We were then left to enjoy our beautiful little boy, we decided on his name Zac Crawford (my maiden name) Winston (my husbands fathers name) Fletcher. We then phoned our families to tell them about the new arrival, we were in our own little bubble for the next few hours in total disbelief that he was finally here in our arms!
We were then moved to the ward around 3am, my husband had to go home as men aren’t allowed to stay. I felt so sorry for him having to leave us both, after such a wonderful experience and being on top of the world to having to drive home! I stayed awake the rest of the night nursing and breast feeding enjoying every second, I couldn’t have slept if I tried!
I remember seeing the daylight starting to creep in and I felt on top of the world, it wasn’t all a dream he was really here and he was mine. The aftercare in the Ulster Hospital was second to none, I couldn’t stop thanking everyone for all they had done for me and my little boy. The midwives were amazing and I got lots of support with breastfeeding.
Later that day family came up to the hospital to meet Zac, I couldn’t wait to show him off! The one downside about the Ulster is their strict visiting rules, only two members of family at a time, this meant my sisters couldn’t visit with my mum and dad which was annoying, they had to do shifts while the others waited outside.
I stayed in another night as I had to wait for 24hours before they removed the cathater, that bag was the worst part of the whole experience, not due to pain but sheer annoyance! During the night I remember getting up to change Zac’s nappy and holding him literally kicking this bag of pee across the floor because I couldn’t bend down! I was starting to feel the pain from the c-section, but I quickly reminded myself that I didn’t need to experience any contractions so I didn’t complain! I found that night hard, tiredness was kicking in and my emotions were running high, I wanted my husband there but he had to go home at 10pm. I was so glad to see him the next morning and when the midwife said we could go home that day I was delighted!
We got him dressed, my hubby fetched the car seat, we buckled him in and the three of us left for home! 💙
I would like to thank everyone involved who looked after us from both Downpatrick Maternity Unit and the Ulster Hospital, the care we received was outstanding and really made my experience exceed any expectations I ever had.
If there is anything you would like to hear more about please don’t hesitate to get in touch! I hope you found my experience helpful and an insight to how an emergency c-section can still result in a positive birthing experience.