Born by caesarian section on 27th April 2015, weighing 10lb 11oz and 58cm long – no wonder I was finding things rather hard going towards the end!
Having a caesarian section has been a very different experience from the births of my other children. I had suffered a lot of anxiety throughout this pregnancy (due to a few issues with Minnie’s birth, plus the fact that I had had some health issues making it not particularly advisable to be pregnant again); plus I had had a number of issues and disagreements with the consultant (including seeing a second consultant);I barely saw the community midwife and anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a fan of hospitals and much prefer to ‘meddled with’ as little as possible, so this was a very different pregnancy – and it had taken a lot to build my confidence back up in preparation for labour (and there were still various concerns about the toll on my body), so a caesarian was a further curve ball.
It involved a lot of needles, both before and afterwards (I need to take 6 weeks of anti-coagulent self-administered jabs – very much not fun and not something I was aware was a likelihood before caesarian) and it hit me a lot harder afterwards (usually I’m up and about reasonably quickly and have left hospital within hours).
Thankfully I was able to be concious throughout the operation and J was able to sit with me (a screen was erected across my chest). It’s a very unusual feeling being able to feel someone ‘rummaging around’ your insides without any pain. I felt sad that I didn’t get to see Arthur ‘born’ and I had to wait a little while before I could hold him (due to there being the screen over my chest). I’m used to things being done very differently (baby being handed directly to me and straight onto my chest for skin-to-skin, so this was hard. He was also very quiet – no crying out – although very alert. Once he’d been checked over (clearly more of an issue after caesarian) J was able to hold him next to me, but it was still hard for me to see him properly and I couldn’t reach to touch him. It was only when I went into post-op that I was finally able to hold him (which was a massive relief).
The team were really lovely and the anaesthetist was chatty and we talked about about home education whilst I was being stitched up (she asked interested, intelligent questions, rather than making some of the more common assumptions regarding home ed). The surgeon also popped in to see how I was doing on the ward the next morning (which was nice).
Whilst I felt pretty ok directly after the operation (the returning sensation of the ability to move my lower body was very welcome) and the next morning (midwives commented on how well I was doing moving about, etc), later on I had a bit of a crash where my already low blood pressure plummeted and I ended up having an ECG and a CT scan (and again I clashed with the consultant over breastfeeding the next morning) and was struggling to stay concious, let alone pick Arthur up. J had to return to the hospital in the evening to help care for Arthur, because I barely had the strength to turn my head. J had to go home in the early hours (to relieve his parents who were looking after the other children and needed to get some sleep before work) and the midwives had to take over looking after Arthur. This was pretty crushing for me. Usually I’d’ve been home within hours of giving birth and in peace and comfort. I’ve never had to hand over one of my newborns because I couldn’t cope. But I couldn’t stay awake, let alone move, so there wasn’t much choice. The midwives were really wonderful and I’m very thankful for all of their help. Not an experience I’d want to repeat, though, and I feel very blessed that it was so very temporary – I really feel for parents who have a long separation from their children and such a vulnerable time!
Thankfully the various tests were clear (although I remain very anaemic in both iron and B12 and that’s quite hard-going, not least because there are issues with taking vitamin C supplements that would help iron absorption whilst taking the anti-coagulents) and after a couple more days rest I was able to come home and have a desperately needed bath (which felt amazing) and eat ‘proper’ food – hospital food is terrible! Also few things better than your own bed and not having to have your child sleep in a separate bassinet!
Arthur shall henceforth be known as ‘Arty’ on the blog.