Laura's elective caesarean birth experience

Laura gave birth to baby Phoebe by caesarean birth on 17th February 2020.

Laura with baby Phoebe and midwife Nadia

Pregnancy

My pregnancy wasn’t the smoothest due to my blood pressure fluctuating throughout and at around 30 weeks I was given medication. My baby was also breech with her head lodged in my ribcage which became very uncomfortable at the end. My sense of smell was so heightened that I couldn't go into kitchens (I didn’t go in my own for 20 weeks) or restaurants as the smell would make me sick. I had to carry something strong smelling with me at all times such as perfume on a tissue in case I came across an unexpected smell that I didn’t like. However, I loved every minute of my pregnancy. She definitely kept me on my toes and it was amazing seeing my bump progress and feeling her movements right before I fell asleep at night. It’s something I will cherish forever.

My birth plan was to have no birth plan. With my blood pressure and her position, I knew there was a possibility things may not be straightforward. I was also aware of how creating a birthing plan of dreams and it not being feasible could impact on my mental health after the birth.  I put all my energy into making sure I kept going for as long as I could, resting when I needed to and making sure all the signs I had were of a happy and healthy baby.

Birth of baby Phoebe

My labour was an elective C-section. I had been admitted to hospital due to my blood pressure on the Thursday. On the Friday morning the doctor came to visit and gave me the option of trying to turn the baby. I was open to many things throughout my pregnancy but this is something that concerned me. I’m not sure why but my gut instinct told me that the baby hadn’t moved for a reason. She had always been breech and while she was happy I didn’t want to disturb her. I then decided to have my baby by caesarean birth on the Monday. It was the longest weekend ever.

I spent all of Monday morning crying in fear. I’d never had surgery let alone a major one that would bring life into the world. When I arrived at the hospital as a blubbering mess all of the staff were so understanding. I got to meet different members of the team beforehand. They all told me their role and this really helped calm my nerves. Once in the theatre everything wasn’t as daunting. I loved the feeling of the ice spray, the spinal tap did not hurt as much as anticipated and calmness came over me. Once they started I had a case of the giggles and I remember wanting to rub my face constantly as it was itchy. As the baby was about to come into the world I remember looking up and seeing the surgeon right above me. It turns out the baby wasn’t quite ready for the world and put up a bit of a fight. We were all laughing due to the suspense of wanting to meet her and her being stubborn. Eventually she came out and I felt instant relief physically and mentally. Then the cry came (a little delayed but we were well prepared for this with it being a C-section) and me and my partner burst out crying. She was finally here and healthy.

My baby girl is called Phoebe and she was born on the 17th February 2020 weighing a lovely 6lb at 37 weeks gestation. I will hold onto that relief I felt when she was placed in my arms for the first time forever. We had lots of skin to skin in the golden hour and the rest feels like a massive blur.

Throughout my pregnancy I saw both Donna and Sue. They were both amazingly supportive. Any questions I asked they answered no matter how big or small. I always looked forward to my appointments for that reassurance and to talk about both the highs and lows of pregnancy. I saw Sue and the beginning of my pregnancy and she came for a visit after I had given birth as I had a concern about my scar. I remember her saying it looked beautiful. I will never forget that moment as it was just what I needed to hear. I saw Donna many times towards the end of my pregnancy, often weekly and she was great at understanding my worries and helped me through the final weeks when my body began to struggle. It was Donna who sent me to the hospital for a check and then I left with a baby. I never got to see her afterwards and I will never be able to thank her enough for the moments I had in her room where she passed me tissues to wipe my tears and let me listen to baby for reassurance.

In the hospital my midwife was Nadia and she was exactly what I needed at that time. I was a crying mess but she made sure I got myself together for the baby's arrival. Afterwards she helped me get out of bed and as promised didn’t let go of me. She cleaned up buckets full of my sick that seemed never ending. She also gave me tips for breastfeeding and supported us through the first feeds. I shall never forget Nadia!

Laura’s message to women who are due to give birth by caesarean birth is:

Make sure you rest afterwards. Listen to your body and while it's good to get moving it’s also important to remember you have had major surgery and listen to your body. Keep on top of painkillers and stay hydrated!