C-Section Awareness Month | My Experience

Monday, 30 April 2018

If you didn’t already know, this month has been C-section awareness month. Since the girls were born last June, I have received lots of questions about mine and so I thought, following on from writing my twin birth story a post containing some of my thoughts might help a few people.

Lots of people seem terrified by a c-section (and yes they do have their complications), or seem to think it’s something to be ashamed of but despite the fact mine ended up as emergency surgery, I actually had a lovely experience.

A little backstory first:
When I first found out I was pregnant, unexpected and unplanned and at that point presuming it was only one baby… the thought of giving birth of course crossed my mind. Of course the unknown is always a bit scary but I promised myself I’d never watch an episode of One Born Every Minute ever again and my mum reassured me by saying, ‘If it was that bad, no one would ever do it again.’ So I put it to the back of my mind and got on with the next couple of weeks.

I’d lifted a massive tray of heavy mugs (long story) and two hours later, was in quite a bit of pain. It felt like the worst period pain in the world and so after a call with my doctor, he sent me for an early scan.

‘So I can see here there’s two heartbeats.’ I’ll never forget those words. My first thoughts were that J had slipped them £20 to have me on but once I got over the initial shock and realised they were all very serious, my thoughts turned to ‘sh** how am I going to push two babies out?’

One baby I’d got my head around but one baby and then another almost immediately after and then a placenta. My mind was asking a million other questions too but I have to admit, I did keep coming back to this one.

Now here’s the science bit, initially they thought our twins were momo’s which are a very risky pregnancy and delivered very early between 32 and 34 weeks usually. So we were given a bit of education of what might happen and a heads up that it’d probably be via a section. At our 12 week scan, they found a very thing membrane which meant Edie and Mabel were mo di, still risky but not as scary as momo’s.

All twin pregnancies in the UK are consultant led and if you’re currently pregnant with multiples, the best thing you can do is not to bother googling and instead just read the NICE guidelines for multiple pregnancy and find out exactly what you’re entitled to.

My consultant was amazing, she was a whirlwind of information but by the time we came out of our appointment, we knew all our options and all the facts to do with our kind of twins. I was given the option of a natural birth or a section but after looking at the figures together, we both felt a section was the safest and best option for the babies and myself.

My section was booked for 36+1 and it felt so strange to know Edie and Mabel’s potential birthdate before they were even here. Obviously, despite having a section booked, I was completely aware that if I went into early labour and there was no stopping them, then I’d have a natural birth.

We had several appointments with our consultant throughout the pregnancy and given how everything was decided but so undecided at the same time, I wrote an anti-birth plan. I still to this day, believe it was the best way.

I wasn’t prepared, I was educated. Via my consultant, I understood exactly all my options and what might or might not happen. Rather than spending my days mentally preparing myself for x, I spent mine doing pre-natal Pilates and aqua fit knowing that y, z or x were on the cards and that whatever happened I was in the best care.

So when the unexpected did happen, it wasn’t a big deal. On a routine check at 35 weeks, they discovered 3rd stage preeclampsia. Perhaps given how poorly I’d been feeling I should have gone in sooner but I don’t dwell on why I didn’t. They told me I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital and I burst into tears. It was a combination of relief and the fact I hadn’t finished getting everything I wanted for Edie and Mabel, plus I knew I’d miss my own bed.

I was then told that they’d be delivering them that night in an emergency section. All they needed to know was that there were beds in the special care unit for the girls and I’d be wheeled off to theatre.

So the real story begins:
Everything was fully explained to both J and myself but my version became a little blurry after treatment. It’s come back to me over time and obviously J filled in the blanks. They began to ‘prep me,’ wires and machines started appearing and I was poked and prodded from all directions.

I was told it would be busy and various doctors, surgeons, antitheists and their team popped into my room to say hi and they’d see me later on. Then they began treating me for the preeclampsia with magnesium sulphate. I’m told it’s not the nicest of things to begin with but I’m allergic to it – there was a call that it’d be better to risk loosing my life by treating me with it or to risk loosing me to preeclampsia.

This is wear it goes black for me. This obviously isn’t usually the case because I don’t think many people are allergic to it but I began to feel very sick and then everything just floated away. I wasn’t really there and all I wanted was a drink of water. I can hands down say, I’d would have a c-section every day of the week if I didn’t have to experience how ill and desperate I felt at that point.

Everything happened really quick and when I came back around, everyone seemed a little bit more rushed and J was sent to get changed into scrubs.

The spinal was nothing compared to the preeclampsia treatment. I had a team of three anaesthetists, one chatted to me, one put the spinal in and the other gave me a cuddle while it was happening! Despite it been an emergency, everyone seemed in good spirits!

Once the spinal was in, I felt nothing at all from the shoulders down. If you’ve ever had a filling at the dentist and they’ve numbed your mouth before – it felt similar. You know something is happening in your mouth but you can’t see or feel what.

There were lots of noises, beeps and according to J ‘a lot of blood’ (I asked him to peep over and take a look). I heard the babies cry, they were only one minute apart but they were taken straight to be checked and then brought over to me. One was given to J and our main midwife took the other twin and this was probably the only bit that felt strange. Not been able to have a cuddle and seeing someone else holding my baby. She explained that it was best for the girls to be fed straight away and as I wasn’t able to breastfeed, they took them straight into the recovery room while I was stitched up. I was asked if this was ok and I just wanted whatever was best for them.

It took about twenty minutes once the girls were born before I was wheeled through to recovery and I got to hold them for the first time. Despite been wrapped up, I felt very cold and I kept shaking. My bed was pushed up for me and I looked down at where my bump had been and it had gone.  I know lots of people say they miss their bumps… not me! I was so happy to feel a little bit like the old me again.

My section recovery was probably hindered by the fact my preeclampsia didn’t go away. Unlike most people after treatment and giving birth, my blood pressure instead continued to sky rocket. They were born on the Thursday evening and I wasn’t allowed to get up until Saturday morning and it felt so strange. My legs felt like they didn’t work anymore.

I’d read so many blogs where they’d described how brilliant you felt after having your first shower. So I was so excited when they removed my catheter and told me I could take one. It didn’t live up to expectation. I loved it and it did feel brilliant but I thought it was going to make me feel like a new woman after and it didn’t.

I still couldn’t bend, my scar ached and my head felt fuzzy. Once I was moved from my huge suite in the labour ward to another private room in the postnatal ward, I was allowed to move around myself. It was from this point on that I kept thinking, the shower didn’t work but if I could just go home then I might feel better.

How wrong I was. If I could give myself any advice or go back and do it all again, I’d stay in hospital for as long as I could. I was desperate to feel better and I’d convinced myself going home was the only way this would happen. I guess a bit like I did with the shower.

When they did finally allow me to come home, I was exhausted like most new mums. I can’t say I was in pain but I was uncomfortable however every day I felt like I improved.

Looking back on the whole experience now, the only thing I’d do differently is stay in for longer and stop moaning about coming home. That and take a camera into theatre. I’m not sure if it was because it was an emergency section or if because in the madness of it all, we forgot to take a phone in but I’m still gutted now that I never got that cliché shot of me in theatre with the girls held up to me.

Overall though, I had a lovely experience and I enjoyed my time in hospital. I’d heard so many horror stories and tales of midwives forcing people to get up before they wanted to but none of that happened to me. I was inundated with cups of tea and slices of toast, the food was mostly delicious and I was even offered massages. The midwives were wonderful, caring and considering how many hours they worked on shift, they always had time for me.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this epic tale, lots of people have asked me questions and so I hope this sheds a little more light. I’m always happy to answer anything, so if there’s something you want to know I haven’t touched on, please feel free to drop me a message.

1 comment:

  1. I have been feeling so apprehensive in the run up to my elective section (for medical reasons) but this post has really made me feel at ease. Only three more weeks to go for me!!


I love feedback, please feel free to leave a comment!
Katy x