I had never given much thought to the actual birthing process during my first pregnancy; I just assumed everything would be “normal” – I would have a “normal” pregnancy, followed by a “normal” birth. Mother nature had other plans for me.
Apart from the usual nausea and vomiting, my first pregnancy began in a very “normal” way, although I must caveat that because I never experienced that glow that is much talked about during the second trimester – I looked awful for the entire 39+1 weeks that I was pregnant.
By about week 28, I was referred to a consultant because there was a high quantity of protein in my urine, which, together with a raised blood pressure, is a tell-tale sign of pre-eclampsia. I had to see the consultant twice a week for basically the rest of my pregnancy, and I was connected to a CTG (cardiotocography) machine on each visit – I don’t think my employers were best pleased about this arrangement. Long and short is that by the beginning of week 39, my consultant confirmed pre-eclampsia and recommended that I be induced because the only real cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery of the placenta. Fair enough. I still assumed that I will be having a “natural” birth which would be aided by some hormones to speed up the process before I developed full blown eclampsia. Before induction, a doctor (God bless his heart) decided to do one final scan. Lo and behold this baby of mine was a transverse lie so basically her back was blocking the birth canal and there was no way on earth I would be able to have a “natural” birth and live to tell the tale. Anyway so what was a pretty calm situation became “You will need an EMERGENCY C-SECTION!!” I was numb. I would have to be cut open before this baby could come out.
One thing I have to say at the outset is that, although I thought I would have a vaginal birth, I had never drawn a birth plan and hadn’t romanticised the whole process – water births, hypno births, you name it. Phew. That was lucky. I would have been extremely disappointed otherwise. Anyway, the thing with a c section is that you are awake when the surgery is being performed – I didn’t know this! After the epidural was inserted into my spine (I broke the first needle by the way) I basically lay on a bed stark naked whilst the medical team did what they had to do. As I hadn’t been fully prepared for this whole experience, that bikini wax I promised myself didn’t happen and a midwife had to make my lady garden presentable. O the shame!
I have heard stories about being “too posh to push” but I promise you there is no glamorous way of having a child!! Lying starkers on a slab is not exactly glamorous is it?!!
By God’s grace I gave birth to a baby girl. The delivery itself was quick, even if weird. I could feel the movements inside me but there was no pain; such a bizarre experience. I happily announced the arrival to friends and family. I found it very interesting that our people were so interested in whether I had a vaginal birth – I mean – shouldn’t we just be happy that mummy and baby were well? I had some strange comments from some women who alluded to the fact that a woman is not a real mother unless she has experienced labour and vaginal birth. Snide and unwelcome remarks followed. They really surprise me because the act of childbirth is only the start of the motherhood journey – you do not determine a good mother by looking at the means with which she had her child; I look forward to the day when those archaic thoughts linger no longer.
Fast forward 2 and a half years and I was about to have my second child. This time I elected for a c section (I already had the scar so didn’t see the point of wrecking my hoo-ha! – my husband appreciated this decision too). I dolled myself up and went to the hospital to have my baby! It was surreal!
Long story short, I am a mother of two and I have never experienced labour or pushed out a baby from my vulva…but that doesn’t make me less of a mother than any one else.
One thing I will say though – the recovery from c-section is no joke!! It took me about a week to be able to stand straight without pain killers! It was all worth it in the end of course but I just want to let you know that the c section is not an easy way out!