Giving birth is typically an event for celebration. It is the creation and giving of life that is so beautiful and raw it channels an inner primal being within us that we never knew existed.
For many women it will be the single most fulfilling life experience they will ever have and second only to the uninterrupted sleep they will never have again.
If the talk about the birds and the bees has ever taught you anything it would be that birds and bees don’t mate and babies come out of a woman’s penis fly trap. Come to think of it, this is probably the reason why the general population get their knickers in such a twist over the Natural Vs Caesarean… C-Section debate, because we only ever grow up being told that’s how you have a baby, by pushing it out of your vagina. With that being said, of course, people will form negative views about caesarean birth, because it is not the educated normality.
The reality of a caesarean birth
Whilst I congratulate and commend those sisters who pushed their beautiful babes into this world through their wondrous baby cannons, I’m here to tell you that C-Section births can be as beautiful, courageous, scary, brave and as amazing as vaginal births and that they too should receive praise because slicing through abdominal muscles and the uterus, being held open by metal instruments then having hands shoved into your insides to pull out your baby and placenta before being stitched up like a favourite pair of ripped jeans and expected to be on your feet walking around within 8 hours is pretty hardcore too.
At 3am Monday 21st of October 2013, my waters broke. I had contractions all throughout the day and my husband and I were excitedly timing them until they were longer and closer together but they stopped suddenly at 4.30pm. 17 hours later they had not progressed. Our baby was not protected by amniotic fluid for such a long period of time that he would have been at risk of infection so we went to the hospital and I was put on an antibiotic drip overnight. The next morning my contractions finally started again and my husband was called in to be by my side, it was now Tuesday 22nd October. It was 24 hours since my waters broke but my contractions still weren’t progressing enough to full dilation so the doctors put me on Oxytocin to encourage them along and booooy they were encouraged, even more so than a gifted child forced into piano lessons. They were so unbearable I made the doctor give me an epidural. Don’t judge, this is my battle.
By 4.30pm, now 37 hours since my water broke, I was able to begin pushing but after an hour of trying with all my might (and by this stage, I can assure you there was no fear of shitting myself whilst pushing), there STILL was no freaking baby!
Turn the baby with forceps? Nope. Turn the baby manually? Nope. NOTHING worked.
“Ok I’m calling it. Your son is refusing to budge but he can’t stay in there any longer it’s been too long already so it’s becoming dangerous for his health and yours, we’re going to have to do this the hard way. I’m so sorry.” My doctor sounded defeated. I was fucking exhausted, shattered, desperate and despite being in a room full of people I also felt so completely vulnerable and alone. Even with my husband standing strong by my side squeezing my hand with love and support and not letting go, I still felt so alone.
Do. Not. Want. A. Caesarean.
Unless you have had a c-section (or any other type of emergency surgery in which you are aware of your surroundings), you can never truly understand the fear that shot through me in that moment. If it weren’t for the audience in my room peering into my lady box I would have bawled harder than a teenage girl hearing the announcement of Zayn leaving 1D.
I didn’t have time to process that I was about to have a caesarean. I was wheeled into theatre, strapped to the bed and curtains put up across my tits blocking the view of my precious baby bump before I had the chance to reason with my inner demons. I was shaking and crying out of fear, petrified that when the doctors cut into me I would feel every sensation of that scalpel carving into my flesh and muscle, that they might slip and injure my baby or that my body wouldn’t cope with the stress or the drugs and I’d slip away into death’s embrace before I could meet my son, before I could kiss his sweet head and put him on my breast. I was petrified that I would die on the table forcing my husband to raise our boy without a mother, making my husband a widower at the birth of his first child.
How. Fucking. Horrible.
I could feel tugging sensations and then I heard the first wails of our son before he was shown to me over that god damn curtain. I know the doctors were talking me through every step trying to comfort me but I was deep in a world of fear so very far from the table I was strapped to, I couldn’t hear them, but I heard my baby.
It was 6.50pm that same day and far from the newborn romance or movie type scenes of a vaginal birth baby being nestled on your chest covered in vernix as you cry tears of joy and triumph kissing their head and gazing into your partners eyes with a telepathic connection of “we made this”, our son was brought to my face wrapped up in the standard hospital blanket for a quick photo opportunity then taken away for cleaning and measuring. I was left with my guts exposed and shivering uncontrollably feeling so cold my body ached, which is a side-effect of the anaesthetic drugs, while nurses placed layers of warm towels over me to no avail. I put on a brave face but I was screaming inside “Where the hell is my baby?!”
No thanks (but thanks because my god the pain) to those anaesthetic drugs, I slipped into a sleepy world of c-section-birth-fearing hell sleep. Those fears I was playing in my head on the operating table now seemed so real whilst floating around in my subconscious, the crappy after effect of having an operation I suppose because that’s what a caesarean is, it’s an operation, not just an easy way to have a baby as many people believe (YouTube it if you dare).
When I awoke I instantly felt the desire to heave like a 17 year old girl after her first night shooting tequila.
WHERE. DA FARQ . IS MY BABY?!
Finally, there was my husband and there was my beautiful baby boy in his arms. I was in the recovery section of the theatre ward. Still badly affected by the drugs it didn’t even occur to me to put our baby to my breast until the nurse uncovered my chest, took our son from my husband and did it for me. #firstmumfail.
He fed well. #firstmumwin.
With that, I was told I could go back to my room. Our son and my husband disappeared down the hall together with a nurse leading the way, leaving me on my own in a bed with a bag full of vomit sitting by my shoulder.
When I was finally wheeled into my room by two lovely female orderly’s struggling with the weight of the bed (after what felt like eternity), there he was wrapped up like baby Moses in his hospital room nursery cot and my husband standing over him like a proud lion protecting his cub. The nurses checked both our vitals and left us alone together for the first time in over an hour since our son’s arrival.
Before long it was nearing 11pm, now 43.5 hours since my waters broke. I was done. No amount of new baby euphoria was going to keep me awake. We did it, our son was here, now dear husband and every other person within earshot, leave me alone so I can SLEEEEEP.
But I didn’t sleep.
I spent the next however many hours alone with my son on my chest staring at his beautiful face and breathing in his newborn baby smell, just me and my son. I created this perfect being (with my husband).
I created life.
Now, do you remember what the point of my story is?
We all come through hell and back battling every pain imaginable and personal demons to rival Satan at his worst but the end result is the same…
We create life.