The birth of my son wasn’t traumatic, but it was my sister’s birth trauma that lead me to my decision to have an elective c-section. She very nearly died during childbirth and I was very close to it, to her and to the experience. In my work, I hear hundreds of birth stories a year…. I’m one of the few people who gets to discuss birth often, frankly and support new mums who may well have experienced birth trauma… but it certainly isn’t discussed enough. Our attendees feel let down… by the hospital, their bodies and most certainly they feel unprepared.
My elective c-section wasn’t so easy to get on the NHS - I was told I’d have to meet consultants, be psychologically examined and could only confirm my choice post 7 months. This all didn’t sit well with me… I was in a position where I could afford to go privately and I did.
I was as prepared for my c-section as I wanted to be. I didn’t ask TOO many questions.. there are always a lot of ‘what if’s’ with childbirth… but I understood the basics. Big needle for epidural, cut open and sewed up. The morning of my c-section went like clock work. 7am I walked into theatre and by 7.30 am my beautiful baby boy was born. I wasn’t in pain during the operation, just experienced tugging sensations that felt VERY strange. I was worried about not being able to feel my legs… but relieved the epidural wore off relatively soon after my op. I was promptly sewn back up and by 7.45am I was wheeled out to recovery.
What happened next with my son’s health problems was the unexpected trauma I experienced at birth - his lungs weren’t developed that has now lead to 2 years of ill health and chest infections. The thing is, my birth was good. It was a positive experience and one I will be doing all over again with baby no. 2.
My recovery was pretty good, I didn’t feel in much pain, but did accept EVERY offer of morphine going. I tried to take it easy on my body and as such, was lucky not to have infection, a neat scar and not much pain post operatively.
Birth brings with it the good, bad, wonderful and unexpected - but my elective c-section allowed me to feel calm, in control and safe.
I’ll be honest, I was most worried about something happening to me… I didn’t think for a moment I’d have a child that wasn’t born healthy… so I guess this time round I’m feeling fine about the birth, but have everything crossed for a healthy baby at the end of it.
What may have made my birth feel better is others being more accepting of my decision to have an elective C-section. It was something I was happy with.. but I did have to explain and justify it a lot, both before and after.