The odds were against me for a natural birth. At age 48 with an emergency c-section for a breech baby 15 years previously and a long hard road to conception, with New Year’s Eve as my due date – I kept hopeful, negotiated with the obstetrician and persuaded him to let me get to 40 weeks to see if I went into labour.
As it was New Year’s Eve there were no surgeons to book me in with after 28th December and the obstetrician was not willing to let me go past 40 weeks. Obviously I had a choice whether or not to go with his advice, but he looked me in the eyes and said “I am an obstetrician. I have seen many stories and I really want you to leave this hospital with a happy, healthy baby.” At that moment I looked inside myself and I really felt that in these circumstances, nothing was worth risking my baby’s life or health for, and so I surrendered…although still keeping hope that I may go into labour before that point.
The day before my elective c-section, after giving it as much help as possible with acupuncture, reflexology, a very spicy curry and sex – I started to have very mild contractions which went on through the night and continued when we went into hospital.
They were very spaced apart and after being at many births myself, I realised it was very early labour and could have gone on like that for days…but I was so pleased to at least be feeling that deep instinctive feeling of labour, the hormones rising and to know my baby was nearly ready to come into the world naturally.
At the Whittington, I told them I was having contractions, but they said it could be very early and they weren’t strong enough to cancel the c-section. So I sat with my partner in the labour recovery ward waiting to be called to go and have my baby. We waited from 8.30am until 2pm. It was a peaceful and beautiful time.
We had prepared a c-section birth plan asking for the screen to be taken down to watch the baby emerge, for the cord to be allowed to stop pulsing before being cut and for immediate skin-to-skin with me as soon as baby was born. We were so pleased that we had done the birth plan as it made all the difference. You can also choose what music is played, although I didn’t like anything my partner suggested, so we opted for no music. During the operation, I requested that my partner, who is a professional singer, sing me a Mexican love song, which he did throughout the rest of the operation. I think that may have been a first for the doctors!
I will never forget the moment the screen went down…it was so beautiful to see our baby slowly emerging from my body. You couldn’t see anything horrible or gory, just this beautiful little boy coming out of me. I still feel like weeping every time I remember that moment. We didn’t know he was a boy so it was magical to see his little body and find out like that. (15 years ago with my other son, it was totally different, I didn’t know you could watch the baby emerge or have skin to skin.)
They then brought him straight over to me and placed him on my bare chest. When my other son was born, I was so elated and filled with love I couldn’t imagine that it was possible to feel that again, but I did, it was love at first sight and we are still all totally in love with our new baby son, Luca!
We were home 24 hours later and I am recovering quickly.
So if anyone has to have a c-section whether elective or emergency, I truly hope that you are inspired by my story to know that it can be beautiful!