Because as much as you want a hypno-birthing water baby, sometimes it just doesn't work like that
Nobody plans for a birth that will end in an emergency C-section. But I wish that while I was practising my golden thread yoga breathing and stocking up on Pringles, I’d taken just a few minutes to consider the possibility that my birth wouldn’t go to plan. Because it might have made what followed a little less of a shock. So whether you’ve been through it yourself, or you’re awaiting the arrival of a little bundle of screams, I mean, joy, here’s what I wish I’d known before my emergency C-section.
Without going into the mess, the day my little boy arrived, I had an induction on a tight timescale that led to an unresponsive baby, some failed blood tests and an emergency C-Section. When he arrived, Jack was fine.
I however, was not.
The days that followed were messy (physically and emotionally). I hardly left my bed. I took a list of painkillers as long as my arm and worried about the effect they would have on Jack. I beat myself up that I wasn’t recovering quicker and cried every time one of my NCT friends posted a picture of them taking a walk with their little one in their new pram, or bouncing them round in a sling.
The hardest thing of all? I felt like there was something wrong with me. I knew people who had had emergency C-sections. They were fine. They were running around with their babies. They said they didn’t remember the trauma of the birth. But how could they forget this?
Because life takes over and time really does heal everything. The two weeks (or however long it takes) of recovery will probably be the hardest you’ve ever been through but you know what? You will actually forget about it.
But in the meantime, here are some things I wish I’d known, or that I will remind myself of, if I have to go through it again…
1. Having a caesarean does NOT make you a failure.
2. You can still keep certain elements of your birth plan in action, all being well. Ask your midwife early on that if it comes to it, you’d like to have skin to skin as soon as possible. My anaesthetist went above and beyond to make this happen for me, cutting my gown open to place Jack straight onto my chest.
3. Having to ask your husband to help you go to the loo is not actually that embarrassing, when faced with everything else you’re going through.
4. The scar is really, really low down, and not that big. My bikini days are not over.
5. I actually like the scar now, as a physical reminder of how I got my beautiful baby boy.
6. It’s OK to cry every 10 minutes. Hey, your baby’s doing it…
7. Leaning on your partner, family and friends is not only OK, it’s absolutely necessary. And they don’t think you’ve failed either. They think you’re brave.
8. Everyone recovers in their own time and in their own way. If your NCT friend had a C-section and was in Tesco by the following Tuesday pushing the pram, that’s normal for her, not you.You might need a couple more weeks on the sofa – and that’s OK.
9. The manner of your birth has no bearing on your future successes and failings as a parent.
10. In time you really will forget all about the trauma of the birth and genuinely not care how your baby arrived, only that he arrived safely.
11. You think your birth is the only thing about parenting that won’t go to plan? HA. HA. HA.