For those of you who like that sort of thing here is her "birth story" for the rest of you, scroll down, the cute pictures are at the end!
Once again Neonatal teleportation had let me down by failing to be invented, and so, on the allotted day I walked into the operating theatre for my pre-arranged c-section. I felt fairly calm, actually for some reason, my main thought was surprise that there were windows. I suppose it's fairly obvious, if you think about it, that daylight is unlikely to cause an infection. But the last time I was in theatre it was 2am and dark. I dont think there was a window but I was half deranged from pain and exhaustion and really didnt care about the view. This time it was late morning and the sun streamed in as I climbed the steps and sat on the table, trying not to expose my backside in the hospital gown. Like somehow my bare behind might shock the people about to crack open my abdomen and rummage in my womb.
|One bump ready to go|
Perhaps another reason that the windows were such a surprise was that we'd been in a series of windowless rooms since before dawn. First there was the waiting room, three anxious couples on plastic chairs, all waiting in line for the surgeons knife. Then my name was called and we were moved to a little triage room to don the gown, hairnet and particularly fetching thigh high surgical stockings.
We were in there for hours, my lovely midwife arrived (more on her in another post) and I was visited by an anaesthetist to talk through what would happen, another midwife to get my consent to collect the cord blood and yet another to ask for the umbilical cord for medical students to practice on. Recycling is not just for bean tins! We had been second on the list (because we got there second) but just as I thought it was nearly our turn we were bumped to third because of a more complicated case. A bit stressful as I really wanted the surgery over and done with and really really didn't want to get moved to the next day but just when F went off to find a coffee a midwife arrived to move me to the theatre prep room.
So we found F and then set about waiting in another small room. This time I was visited by the surgeon for the now much repeated conversation:
Medical person: So tell me what happened last time
Me (breif summery of E's birth)
Medical person: Gosh, that sounds awful. So you didn't want to do that again then?
At least all the waiting gave me time to get a picture of F in surgical scrubs, although it took him a while to figure out the hair net. Then, just when F nipped to the loo a surgeon arrived to move me into theatre.
So we found F and walked across the corridor to meet our new baby.
|My very own George Clooney|
Once up on the operating table a spinal anaesthetic was administered, I'd not been looking forward to this bit after a battle to get the epidural in last time, but I guess it's a lot easier for all involved when the patient isn't contracting. F held my hand, the midwives offered encouragement and after a bit of fiddling about the aneasthetist found the right spot. I didnt once have an overwhelming urge to call her a f**king b**ch, so that was an improvement and then I lay down, waiting to go numb.
It only took a few minutes, spinals are much quicker than epidurals and once they were sure I wouldn't feel any pain a blue screen was put up and the surgery began. The screen is for sterility and also to stop the patient seeing their own belly sliced open, although this wasnt entirely effective as I was able to watch everything in the reflection in one of the lights! I could roughly make out what they were doing and could feel them tugging at my belly but was in no pain. I was shaking a lot, a side effect of the spinal but I was expecting that so it didnt worry me. In fact i didnt really feel scared at all, F sat by me, checking I was ok and very soon the surgeons announced that the baby was about to be born.
When E had been born she was silent. F stood up and peered over the blue screens to tell me that she was a girl and then she was whisked away before I had even seen her. I lay sobbing on the table convinced something awful was happening, it wasn't, but no one thought to tell me that. When I eventually saw her she was cleaned and wrapped up, she had to be held in front of me as I couldn't get my arms out to even touch her.
This time it was very different. The blue screen was dropped and I saw my new baby being born, another little girl, but this one was was crying boldly, wonderfully, before she was even fully in the world.
|A brand new person|
She was taken by my midwife, this time someone I knew and trusted, who quickly checked her over and then brought her to me. My arms had been kept free this time and the midwives carefully rearranged my gown so that M could be snuggled into it with me. While the surgeons continued their business of tugging and stitching I lay oblivious, grinning at my new little girl.
Amazingly she tried to wriggle up for a feed. I hadn't believed babies really did this especially at only minutes old, after E had shown so little interest in feeding and having heared so many times that c-sections make breast feeding harder. She had to make do with cuddles for a bit though (feeding wasn't really possible in that position).
Finishing up the surgery took a bit longer than expected. Unfortunately there was some scar tissue and adhesions left over from my last c-section so it took a while to sort that out and close me up, I lost some blood in the process and it was the only point where I did feel a bit worried but everyone seemed perfectly calm and with M less than an hour old, F finally got his cuddle as he carried her through to the recovery room with me not far behind.
Once in recovery and propped up a bit M was straight in for feed, and I got a cup of tea and a snack (it was now gone 1pm and I'd been nil by mouth since 2am). M was checked over again and the midwife brought over the placenta to show us. Yes you read that right, the placenta. It was gross but quite interesting, also slightly alarming just how excited the midwife was about it! The cord blood lady popped in to say they had got enough blood to bank. Then, just when F had popped out to the loo the porter arrived to move me to the ward.
So we found F, (again).
I ended up being taken to the antenatal ward as postnatal was full, but this was rather good luck as it meant mine was the only baby screaming in the night. I felt rather sorry for all the pregnant women having to listen to her, although less so for the women in the bed next door who snored deafeningly all night. The problems with scarring and blood loss meant I had to spend two nights there so they could make sure I didn't need a transfusion. I'd been hoping for just one, after last time I almost dreaded the ward more than the birth (long story) but this time Fred was able to stay with me and the staff, even the night staff, were actually nice. One midwife, who brought me painkillers in the middle of the night asked if there was anything else she could do. Joking I said "make the baby sleep!" and she replied "ok" wrapped M up and carried her away. I awoke some time later to find her fast asleep beside me! Being in for two nights also meant I could start my recovery with a bed that could sit up for me. A c-section is very disabling for the first few days and I think I would have struggled in a normal bed.
So after two days of blood pressure monitoring half a ton of my mums homemade fudge and my mother in law suplimenting the woeful hospital food with pâté and blue cheese, I was allowed home. All things considered I'd still have preferred the teleport but the entire experience was immensely better than last time and more importantly than that I had had my beautiful healthy little baby. I even felt well enough to care for her and actually enjoy these first chaotic, sleep deprived weeks.
Oh and when I was moved from hospital to home, F hadn't just popped out somewhere!
|E cuddles her new little sister|
|Trying to get a nice posed photo of a 3yr old and a new born|