I used Instagram to get people to send me some questions regarding some specific topics. I thought, that way, I could create some content that at least a few people would be interested to read (which is always nice when you’ve written something). Since having Rex, one of the things that I’ve found people are curious about, is my c-section. I guess major surgery, when you’re awake the whole time, and a human arrives at the end, is pretty interesting, to some people anyway.
So, the following are some questions, that I was asked through Instagram, and, also some that I’ve been asked by friends and family. Oh yes, there are answers too. Here comes the disclaimer. These answers are from my personal experience, not everyone will have experienced the same, and I’m not saying that this is how all c-sections happen. So, take it like we’re sat having coffee, and I’m chatting to you about my experience (hopefully it won’t put you off your jam tart). Trigger warning: caesarean chat incoming…
Did you choose to have a caesarean? / Why did you have a c-section?
Even before getting pregnant, I knew I wanted a c-section. With my autoimmune conditions and age, I was always going to be high-risk. I spoke to a lot of doctors, midwives, and mothers, and decided that the safest and most straightforward way to have my baby, was abdominally.
I was given both options throughout my pregnancy; however, it turned out I was to have an emergency caesarean anyway, due to preeclampsia. I’m glad I actually wanted to have my baby that way, as I can imagine that it would be more distressing for moms who had a birth plan, and weren’t expecting surgery at all.
Were you prepared for the procedure and recovery?
No. As I said, it ended-up being an emergency c-section, and it was at 28 weeks and 4 days. Therefore, I missed out on my consultant appointments, where I could discuss the surgery and ask all my questions. I hadn’t got anything ready at all. And, I definitely had no clue what was in store; neither in a good or bad way, I was literally clueless.
How much warning did you get?
I went into hospital for my routine appointment on a Thursday, and was told I couldn’t leave as they were worried about my kidney function and blood pressure. I was told I’d be there, hopefully for 3 to 5 weeks so that I could rest and keep baby baking for as long as possible.
However, 4 days later, on the Monday, a doctor strolled in and (rather nonchalantly) said that my kidneys were failing and my blood pressure was going through the roof, and I’d have my baby at about 4 pm that afternoon. I was 28 weeks and 4 days. I was terrified. My husband was in a job interview, and all I could think was that we were going to be parents in about 5 hours.
What drugs did they give you?
I had steroids when I was admitted on the Thursday; these were to help ensure my baby’s lungs were strong and developed enough to cope outside of the womb. Right before I was due to be wheeled into theatre on the Monday, I was given magnesium sulphate. Ironically, this was to help reduce the risk of me having a seizure (things were pretty scary at this stage); however, just as I was being given the drug, I projectile vomited and blacked-out. I woke up to paramedics who had been reviving me, discussing how I’d just had a seizure.
I was then wheeled through to theatre. This is where they give you the good stuff (every cloud). The administration of my anaesthetic, was my least favourite thing about the whole experience. I’m good with needles and actually pretty good with high levels of pain. But, that massive needle going into my back, just felt weird and wrong and it’s making me feel a bit light-headed as I think about it. Urgh. It didn’t hurt, it was just, urgh. It wasn’t an epidural; they simply referred to it as “a spinal”. All I know is that it worked, and fast, and praise be for that.
Was there an aroma/smell/scent? What was it like?
All I can remember is the smell of hospital-level disinfectant and the clean-alcohol smell, that cut through the air. It smelt cold; I know that makes no sense, but, it was just very clinical. Phew!
What did it feel like?
Like someone had dropped, and lost, their keys in me, and were having a really frantic root-around to find them. Someone once told me that theirs felt like someone doing the washing-up inside them; this is also a pretty good description. Nothing hurt at all, but, I could feel all sorts of internal activity. Bonkers.
Could you see anything? Did you watch?
No. Personally, I would rather have had the anaesthetist put that spinal injection into my eyes. However, we’ve got friends who watched the whole thing with the use of a mirror. So, that is an option if you fancy it. I enjoyed the dividing screen, very much.
How long did it take?
From the point I saw the surgeon approach with the sharp objects, to the point when they held-up Rex, I would say it was about 20-25 minutes. However, I was high as a kite at this stage, and very confused, so my accuracy might be a little…off.
Could you hold Rex straight after / when he came out?
Sadly, no. This isn’t true in every circumstance. But, as he was so early; he needed help with breathing straight away. He also needed to be wrapped-up, and ready to be popped in an incubator. However, once he had his tiny breathing mask on, and was in his little plastic ensemble; he came over to meet me and I got a quick kiss, before he was rushed to NICU.
Do you have any negative feelings towards the event?
I’m a natural planner; I’m comforted by knowledge, and the ability to prepare for things as much as I can. So I was really upset and quite scared of the unknown. However, the surgery itself was absolutely fine; the team were all amazing, and I believe that it was how Rex was meant to arrive. If anything, I’m just so happy that we both survived. There was so much going-on around the situation, but, the caesarean itself, was drama-free and positive.
Who was there / in the room?
It felt like the whole hospital rocked-up to be honest. There was obviously my husband at my side (best goddamn cheerleader, that one). Then, it was a mix of doctors and nurses really. My anaesthetist was there throughout, with a nurse assisting, there were two doctors/surgeons carrying-out the cesarean, a few nurses who were handing over instruments, and taking things away. And, there was someone there to deal with the blood (there was a lot of sucking and gargling noises; it all sounded very sloshy; look, I did warn you what you’d be reading about).
There was also a small team of a 3 or 4 doctors and nurses from NICU, ready to help Rex, when he popped out. There were also people writing things. And, I’m pretty sure that there was a person, who was there with a bucket for my placenta, which they scurried-off with, after it made quite a thud when they chucked it-in (apologies if you’re eating your breakfast). Placentas are heavy, well, mine seemed heavy. Also, they may have placed it in the bucket, gently, but, it sounded like it’d been thrown and caught. Anyway, it was a big room, and there wasn’t much room left.
Right, I’ve written way more than planned. I still have a fair amount of questions left. So, there’ll be a part 2 coming on Thursday. What a cliffhanger!
Peace, love, and spinal drugs, Fay x