Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Don't Beat Yourself Up Guide to C-Sections

I didn't really have a birth plan as such. I kinda went with the flow. Went to one ill fated birthing class at the hospital that was all group drama and weird pictures of 70s people giving birth in the nude (the husband too? Wtf?). I just reckoned well you know what? They have to come out. It's going to hurt. But they will just come out eventually. And I will have a baby. Ace.

Cue a few months later. After a sweep, my waters popped rather loudly in bed and I went into labour. We did the whole rushing to the hospital thing. Then the hospital did the whole "sod off you've got hours to go you loon" a few times. And after very many hours of water dripping everywhere around my house from my privates, I went into be induced. A few hands up later. And it transpired? My girl was breech. The git. And an emergency C Section ensued. To get all the proper scientific jargon about cesareans please read here.

Poor sod. Every boyfriend will be told she came out arse first.

To prepare yourself for an emergency C Section just be mindful of the following things. It happens very quickly. Hence the word 'emergency'. They ask you to sign a disclaimer form with lots of very scary things on it. But don't worry. This happens with even the most minor operation so please don't start weeping like my husband did. Also don't try and take your clothes off to put on scrubs like my husband did. That's just silly. Regardless of all your thoughts and longings for a lovely home birth. Or listening to the soundtrack to Les Mis whilst your little one is brought into the world. An emergency C Section is to get you to have a baby as safely as possible. It is a necessity. There is nothing you can do to make it otherwise. Sometimes? Things do not go to plan. And that's OK.

After my girl was brought into the world arse first. I was a little sad. I was sad there wasn't that moment where you feel like a hero pushing this huge thing out of a rather tiny hole. I was sad that my husband couldn't see her little head (or bum) crowning. I felt like a failure. Some of the rather helpful comments since have been the 'hilarious' banter "well you're not a real woman as you didn't even give birth". Along with the odd Mum in a baby club saying "Oh of course! You don't know what it's like to give birth". Sigh.


In that exhausting post birth haze I began to feel really sorry for myself. But with the benefit of hindsight I now truly believe each birthing experience is different. And we really must stop all this one upmanship when it comes to our gory nether regions. Whether your labour is one hour or three days. If your baby is born into a beautiful watery environment or pulled out by a surgeons hand. Surely all that matters at the end of the day is that everything is OK? It's not ideal to have your stomach cut open, but it is necessary.

Things to remember if you do have to have an emergency C Section are the following:
  • I'm not going to lie. It does smart a bit. I found the feeling to be a strange tugging sensation and then for the next 24hrs I was off my feet. But they soon get you up and in the shower. Recovery is like any operation. You're going to be sore. But I am presuming it is no more sorer than your privates being stretched.
  • Post birth don't be a big old martyr and try and be super woman. You have had major surgery. If you need help as your new baby has puked everywhere and you know, can't move your legs yet? Press that buzzer and ask for help. 
  • Everything post birth is the same. You still have the doom that is lochia. So you can tick that 'normal birth' box for that! Tell that to them down the bloomin baby club! Actually don't. It's gross.
  • You will be staying in hospital an extra night to recover. Try not to be too upset by this. See it as the chance to ask those last minute questions before you go home. And even try and have a little rest if you can (laughs at the thought of a rest with a newborn).
  • Remember for six weeks you won't be able to drive. I was HORRIFIED by this but in reality? For the first six weeks with a new baby it is good to stay in. Make the most of being spoilt and looked after. Don't go around vacuuming and doing loads of washing. Believe you me. When my husband had a back operation he milked it for all it was worth. So you do the same.
  • Be kind to yourself. Hey things didn't go to plan! But both you and your baby are safe so really that's all that matters. It might not seem it at the time when you rip your birth plan into a million pieces. But it really is.

I gave birth four days ago. I have had major surgery. I AM GOING TO THE SHOPS SCREW YOU.

I did non of the above. I cleaned the house like a mad woman and subsequently had to go to the doctors when my scar went a bit how, shall I say it politely 'unusual'. Went out all the time (down the shops, not out out) and felt a big old massive failure. Almost apologising to people for 'only' having a C Section. Do not do that. It's daft.

You may in time come across the very rare n*b that tries to out do you with their 'horrible tearing of their privates story'. Dismissing you for your easy (HA) birth. You have one of two routes 1) pull down your pants and show them your huge scar - but if you are in a soft play this could result in arrest or 2) smile sweetly and agree. All the time in your head thinking of your lovely and beautiful baby that you saved by not giving birth the 'normal' way. Oh and calling them a tw*t under your breath.

The next post in this series will be Mum Alison from the fab blog Complicated Gorgeousness
She has give birth 'the normal way' three times and will be chatting all about her experiences. 

Click and like my Facebook Page for more updates!

58 comments:

  1. I had an emergency csection with my first after the little git got wedged in the birth canal. I had no idea things would happen like that - but they did & after when I read about csections I was like WTF? You can't lift a kettle? Erm, there's a screaming baby next to me - I don't see midwives running to pick him up so I think books and the net are OTT. I was up and about next day & like you walking, cleaning etc. I had elective section with the twins & I'm so happy I did as both my births were nothing less than perfect. I'm happy with both and all the ones who think I'm too posh to push? Yeah right mate! There was a massive silver thing on the ceiling and believe me I saw EVERYTHIN going on down there - there's nothing posh about that!!

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    1. I saw that too! And the second time around I kid you not? I made the man hold a blanket over my head so I couldn't see it! Ha ha ha ha x

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  2. Here here lovely. I've been in a baby group with a woman who made a stupid comment, some people are tits. Having a child is a wonderful thing, not the method. Love this xxx

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  3. I totally get this having just had an emergency section with my third. After 2 natural (ish) births I can tell you it's not the easy option! I was at baby massage the other day listening to all the water birth/hypno birth stories. When I said I had a c section they all looked at me like I was an alien and moved on lol! X

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    1. Ha ha ha! It's not the most exciting of stories to relay is it? x

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  4. It so true the pressure other people/you put on yourself. My first was a section and I was offered a section for second, but I said I would try 'normal'. In labour with my second, after many hours and much swearing, they had to pull him out with the forceps. But I am thankful for the NHS without whom probably neither I nor my boys would be here! Safety first!

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    1. Safety first is a fab motto! I love it! x

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  5. Fab post. I haven't experienced a section, but I'm much of the opinion that it doesn't matter how they got out, it's that they got out safely! X

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    1. Exactly - Alison is doing one on 'normal' labour this week so maybe you will be able to relate to that one? x

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  6. A round of applause for pretty much every point made. 5 years later, I still get upset that I had to have a section, particularly because we'll be having no more and I'll never feel that 'puuuush'. BUT we're here and it couldve been oh so different... I absolutely hate, with a passion when new sections are discussed with a sympathetic tone. So WHAT?! I still gave birth!! Stuff you! And with or without complications, I'd go for elective another time. Not that there'll be another, as I said. Despite not having the experience, I would always go for elective for too many reasons to go into here. Too much negativity surrounding sections...

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    1. There is and I do think that it could be because of posh and her making out it is dead simple and things. I had an elective as I was convinced I was going to tear my stomach open like a loon. Elective is much nicer but still not easy! x

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  7. Very well put lovely! I had a c section and actually couldn't move for about a week. My mum had to shower me as I couldn't get in and out of the shower for myself! There was nothing easy about it!

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    1. Oh blimey you poor so and so! Good old Mum looking after you! x

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  8. Great post love. I was a c section baby and there's no way it was easy for my mum. 'Normal' births don't seem to happen in my family. I had been going for 38 hours when they started to prep me for a section. Then there was a hold up in theatre so as last effort I had two docs and two midwives hauling the Tot out of me through the lower exit using various instruments of torture. I'll not be making a birth plan this time - as long as everyone ends up happy and healthy that will do me :)

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    1. Good call! I think birth plans are amazing as long as everyone is fully aware they can screw up at any moment! x

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  9. Just saw your post on fb- someone said you weren't a real mum??? What an absolute idiot! Love this, you are a fab mum and it doesn't matter how she came out. x

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    1. Ah he is a nob - and believe you me got a good old piece of my mind! x

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  10. Everything you're saying is so true! I had a "normal" birth first time round, and it was the most traumatic thing I ever went through. So for my second pregnancy - after discussing my options with my consultant - I opted for an elective C-section, and it was the best thing I could have done. It was a really calm and nice experience (granted, this is obviously different with an emergency section), and I only have the best memories of my son's birth, as opposed to my daughter's. And I have absolutely no regrets. You don't get a medal for pushing the baby out whichever way, and who cares anyway? The most important thing is that they arrive healthy and happy. But even though I know that it was the right decision for me, I still can feel other Mums looking down at me for not giving birth "properly" with Alex, and even more so since my C-section was elective, and not "even" emergency. I've learned not to care now though. Giving birth is such a personal thing - what riles me though is that everyone seems to think that it's ok to give their opinions about C-sections. Well, keep them to yourself, I say. Home birth or hypno birth is the worst thing I can possibly imagine for myself, but if I met someone who did this, I would NEVER think it's ok for me to say that and judge. Each to their own. We have beautiful babies to show for nine months of nurturing them inside us - that's what counts, not how they came out. :-) x

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    1. You are totally right - you shouldn't judge regardless of how someone gave birth. I too had an elective with my second and it is a much nice experience and there is no rushing and you know what is going to happen. An emergency one is pretty hardcore! x

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  11. Love this post and completely agree - baby will come out one way or another! x

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  12. Excellent post! I

    've been meaning to blog about this and the VBAC I had with my second.

    My first was emergency c-section and he got stuck (turns out he was 9 whole bloody pounds!!!)

    I felt like such a failure after, I was the only one in my NCT group that didn't give birth "naturally" and to top it off couldn't breastfeed either!

    Having been through both, a c-section is most definitely NOT the easy option.

    Us mums are mad though - I was also walking, cleaning and washing when I should have been resting too!

    X

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    1. We are mad I was like come on we need to go out and over every bump in the road my stomach hurt! It was ridiculous! Ha ha ha x

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  13. Great post. I had all three of my kids the 'normal' way, but I know I would have said yes to a caesarean with two of them had it been offered. As you say, the key thing is the safety of the baby and the mum and sometimes that means coming out of the sunroof! There's so many people that have c-sections, it surprises me that anyone would judge it in a negative way.

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    1. Alas the world is full of odd people who lack social skills! So they have no issues with saying whatever pops into their heads! x

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  14. I have given birth both ways. Through an emergancy csection and 3 vbac (or normal way births but after my section). I will in all honesty tell you. A section is not in anyway the "easy" and I tell that to mothers at play groups and soft plays that try to put other mums down. I would choose a normal birth any day of week to a section but like you say, section is so you can get baby here in the safest way for mum and baby.

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    1. Oh I love hearing both sides of the story as obviously I have nothing to relate to! Four babies - you are a ruddy hero bab x

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  15. I just feel so lucky to have my two, when so many people have difficulties, that I really struggle to see how they got here is of any importance! Fab post love xxx

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    1. Thanks bab! Maybe now it's time for number three???? x

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  16. I'm the same as Katie - how they got here is totally irrelevant to me! As you say chicky, as long as they are healthy what does it matter really! I went a bit cray about getting up and out after i had Noah, and ended up back in hospital with a really serious infection. We women are psycho sometimes. We really need to go a bit easier on ourselves! Fab post lovely xxx

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    1. Oh no. One are defo psycho some of the if not all of the time! Sorry about the infection. My scar went horrible. Oh how I wept x

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  17. Some people are so stoopid! I'm with the others - by hook or by crook (or forceps or drugs or surgery) that baby has to come out! Then the real journey starts! Great post and great idea

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    1. So stoopid! Glad you liked it lovely lady. That means a lot x

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  18. This is a brilliant post. I waited for so many years to have my babies that when it came to actually deliver them, I couldn't have given a shit HOW they were born. I was just so grateful that they had made it to a point when they could be born.
    Granted, I was disappointed not to have the whole 'birth experience' — how many of us witnessed the girl in the red bikini, in the birthing pool on OBEM and wished for a labour like hers? I know I did...

    But as my babies were transverse and breech, it wasn't to be and I had a planned C-Section.

    And it was AMAZING. Calm, incredible and nothing short of extraordinary... a day that I'll never, ever forget.

    Incredible how many women I know, who have a 'natural' birth, have had ventouse, forceps, an epidural or — worse — an episiotomy, to help deliver their little ones. Non of these are 'natural'. And personally, I prefer the thought of being cut across my bikini line than from my girlie bits to my bum-hole. BOTH are going to smart a little and make your eyes water.

    If I had my time again, I would choose a planned section. I healed quickly and my babies were born healthily, with no trauma or drama. And that is really what the birthing process — how ever it happens — is about. To deliver a healthy, live, baby into the world. How it occurs is utterly irrelevant.

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    1. I know the girl you mean in the bikini top! That has really made me giggle. I had an elective one and that was so much more of a peaceful experience. Thanks for your comment x

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  19. Love your writing. I feel lucky to have had two natural births and hopefully heading for a third any day now because from what friends have told me I had it much easier than those who had sections!!

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    1. Oh! Good luck!!! I am very very jel of your number three! x

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  20. I had a planned C section, and am having another in a few months time (my choice!) and agree with you about people becoming judgemental about it, WHY people WHY? and yep, not being able to do as much/still bleeding and feeling sore is still pretty crap anyway!

    A good read!
    Lauren | Belle du Brighton x

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    1. Sometimes people can me meanies. Glad it went well for you! And hope you're loving being a Mum! x

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  21. I love this post, both of mine were "natural" births but with my first she was back to back. Was in labour for two days and almost had to have a forceps delivery,she was born with cord around the neck and whisked off for air, so I didn't get to hold her straight after she was born. I also had a epidural, had an induction drug (can't rem the name) and an episiotomy. So lots of "interventions" with my "natural" birth. If I was told at any time that I needed a c section to get my babies into the world safely I would have signed on the dotted line. It is all birth.

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    1. Oh how traumatic! Glad everything went well! It most defo is birth. Just in very different ways! x

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  22. Great post. I had a planned section as my baby was breech and it was a great experience, if anyone commented I just say it was the safest way for us both and that's all that matters.

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    1. Brilliant. What is it with these babies wanting to come our arse first??? x

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  23. What a fabulous post and fantastic reading for any mum-to-be. I have no experience of a c section, but completely agree, being a mum is bloody hard no matter which way they were born. I have also just laughed at loud at your husband stripping down to wear the hospital scrubs!!!! x

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    1. Oh god it was so embarrassing but did lighten the mood. He was just sobbing and taking his trousers down whilst the doctor looked on gobsmacked! Ha ha ha! x

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  24. Thanks for writing this post!!! I had an elective c-section with both my little ones as they were both breach and couldn't be turned. First time round it was a shock as we didn't find out my little boy was breach until 39 weeks and so I was booked in the next day to have a section. Second time round I really wanted to have a natural delivery but as luck would have it my little girl was breach too and after trying everything to turn her without success in I went for another section. Like you say though they have to come out some way and the most important thing is that they're arrive safely. It is frustrating though when you get the odd comment from someone asking if you were "too posh to push!!!" :( xxxx

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    1. Oh god too posh to push but it certainly ain't posh when you are sat in your own blood not being able to move for a day and night. So gross! What is it with these breach babies??? x

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  25. I loved reading this because I can relate to every single point. I also went to the shops 3 days after giving birth - to M&S of all places! What a loon. Why do we never listen? I hope that some people listen to your post though because I agree with all your points. You may feel like a failure but you are not - nature took its own course and that's fine. I had 3 of the things!

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  26. Thanks for your great post. I had two sections, the first one at 35 weeks under general anaesthetic and the second after ten hours of labour getting nowhere. For ages afterwards I felt a failure for not pushing a baby out (breastfeeding didn't work either) and was thinking about this only today, eleven years after my first section. You're absolutely right that a healthy baby delivered safely is the most important thing. When deciding how to give birth the second time round I found lots of negative comments about sections given by the NCT which could be very upsetting to some women who had one through no choice of their own.

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  27. Do you know? I feel better after reading this. I had a 'normal' birth first time and section second (little bugger was also brech. I will NEVER let him forget that!) but I've felt so down about everything and I'm sure it's to do with feelings if failure and what people say.
    I am not to posh to push, I just wanted a baby with aneck which, let's face it, may have been damaged if I hadn't had a caesarean. The third option to people is to slap them and give them a mouthful ;)
    Thank you x

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  28. Great read :) and puts it all in to prospective. I have had 2 emergency c-sections. With my son I only laboured to 6 cm before being rushed down but with my daughter I really tried to push her out! Laboured all the way and pushed for over an hour to then be told my only option was a section. I beat myself up about it massively and felt like I wasn't designed to have babies! How stupid! Of course I was! I havev2 beautiful perfect healthy children and that's all that matters.

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  29. I love this so much. Birth happens, we all get through it, it shouldn't be some kind of "well if you weren't pushing a wildebeest out of your vee-jay-jay for three weeks solid and didn't have stitches from your bum right up to your armpits then your episiotomy wasn't as bad as mine" competition. My "natural" birth ended up with a failed epidural (I swear that anaesthetist wasn't wearing anything under his scrubs...), placental abruption and a huge clot of blood flying off the vacuum-thingy and ending up on the Dr's face. Real classy. Les Mis didn't even get a look in! But a beautiful happy healthy baby girl was all that mattered. Couldn't breastfeed properly (thanks cancer treatment) and so onto formula... And she's still beautiful, healthy and healthy. There's just too much Mum-guilt pushed around. Now, where did I leave those smarties...?

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  30. Completely agree!! Out out and safe and sound!! Very funny post - thank you!

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  31. WOW!! It's like you said, you can have as elaborate a plan as you like, but at the end of the day, you may have no say at all about how it happens!
    This is so well written, hilarious and completely serious, as only you can do! It's a really insightful, helpful post. Well done you for putting yourself out there and getting it down!
    As for all this 'wonderful pushing experience'!!! I've yet to talk to anyone who really 'remembers' anything about it... If we did, there would be no second children! ...But yes, everyones experience is different. No two are EVER the same. Not from one child to another, not from one mother to another, totally irrespective of the method, the surroundings... WHEN will we just get off this comparison wheel and just listen to each other!!

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  32. I had an emergency section with my 3rd child only 5 months ago, it was not any problems with my son but me being an awkward woman and have an APH not nice let me tell you. After 2 normal births i found it hard to sit round as i was up and about straight away after. I was told off routinely by everyone as i could not stop doing housework or sneaking off to do the shopping lol oh and being told if i do not stop doing things i would be watched 24 hours (i did however move my whole bedroom round 2 weeks after lol). I did once upon a time think that a section was an easy birth but after nearly dying, get sliced and diced and being kept in bed for a week i absolutely would take my hat off to anyone who has a section. It actually takes more out of you then a natural delivery!!

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  33. You are very lucky to live in the UK.Here in the USA where I am from C Sections are done very differently. Many hospitals strap the mom's arms down to the Operating Table and you are ignored by the OR staff. But in The UK where my friend had her C Section she said it was different. Her arms were free throughout and she held both her husband and the nurses hand and they gave her the baby to hold right away. Here in the US they don't let you hold the baby until you are wheeled to recovery because your arms are strapped down. I don't know why the USA is so far behind with maternity care.

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    1. I have never heard of arms strapped down.
      I have had 3 C Section in Ireland and no part of me was strapped to anything.
      Any reason why they do it in the US?

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  34. Great post. I haven't had a c-section so can't comment informedly, but just wanted to wholeheartedly agree that the notion that you "haven't given birth" if your baby was delivered surgically is total CODSWALLOP. Did a baby come out of you? Yes. So you've given birth. What cockwombles to suggest otherwise.
    I was offered an elective c-section with my first because of my own medical issues, and immediately people started talking like it was a soft option. With full-on pregnancy hormonal rage I did blow up at a couple of poor sods - having had a laparotomy in the past, I know that major surgery is not a soft option, and no mother should be made to feel less than for having made the brave decision to do right by her child.
    Well done you for putting this out there. Absolutely love your blog.

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