On Tuesday 15th November 2011 my son Milo was born.
I had planned an elective cesarean because my first birth was an emergency one and this time they allowed me the choice. Because it was planned I had to fast from midnight the previous day in case there were complications and they felt it necessary to put me to sleep. I woke up at 6am on 15th and took an antacid as instructed. We got ourselves ready and our taxi arrived at 7. By 7.30 I had been admitted and we were making ourselves comfortable on the ward. We were put in a 4 bed with 2 other women who had their babies already. We were assigned a midwife who came in to introduce herself and gave us a rundown of what we could expect. She told us she wasn't sure if we'd be first in or not yet but that we would be going down to theatre at either 8.30 or 10.30. I was scared but excited at this stage, it could all happen so quickly, very surreal.
The consultant arrived and told us we were first in and she was expecting it all to start at around 9am. She again ran through what I should expect, the anaesthetists also visited to introduce themselves. Bizarrely they got me mixed up with another expectant mum who was just 13.. funny story.. I guess I should be flattered. The midwife returned and gave me my gown and TED stockings (to prevent blood clots), she said to get ready and get out baby's first outfit to take down to theatre with me. It all seemed to be moving along really quickly and if it had stayed on course I think the whole day would have been better but unfortunately several emergencies came up and I didn't actually get called in to theatre until 3pm. I hadn't eaten and was pretty miserable by this stage, not to mention I'd had 6 hours to really freak myself out about having major surgery. The midwife came to get us, I brought my own pillow and walked to theatre. It was the single most scary experience of my life. I was not excited in the slightest, I couldn't be enthusiastic to meet my baby I was terrified. Lee was sent off to get his scrubs on and I was walked in to the anaesthetists room to have my Spinal Block. I was holding back tears and trying to lighten the mood. The staff were really friendly and helped keep my spirits up, I didn't cry. The worst part was having the cannula in my hand for the drip, that really stung. I had to sit up and hunch over to have the spinal administered. First they put in a local anaesthetic so I'd be numb, that wasn't pleasant but not too bad. Next they had to have someone hold me in case I fell as they put in the block. It's almost instant so if you're leaning forward off a bed there's a good chance your legs could give way. I felt pressure in my back and a pushing they turned me and lay me down and I could feel a warm sensation moving down my legs almost immediately. They waited a while and did several tests with a cold spray to make sure I was numb. The oddest thing is you can feel everything but you don't feel pain.
They wheeled me in to theatre which to my surprise was just another room, no harsh metal walls or anything scary looking at all.. just a room with some overhead lights set up. They got me in position and then brought Lee back in. By this point I was feeling okay, I was more worried that he would worry so reassured him I couldn't feel any pain but explained the strange sensation of still feeling the movements. They told me I wouldn't be able to tell when they started but I could, I was constantly talking to distract myself as they pushed and pulled me around. I felt a huge push on my tummy which I knew was them pushing him out and then a sucking noise like at the dentist. I've watched hundreds of birth programs and knew that was my waters which meant he was almost here. All of a sudden I felt a huge weight lift from me, seconds later he popped up over the curtain. I was so totally overwhelmed. I hadn't been able to see past the operation and hadn't prepared myself for the actual baby being born part so when he arrived it was just... huge. I didn't cry but I just felt so happy. I'd had an oxygen mask on for the operation up until then and they removed it then and gave the baby to Lee. He looked so happy and was laughing at the faces baby was pulling. He looked all pouty and mad to have been pulled out unexpectedly. It took a while to stitch me up and as they were finishing they sent Lee and baby to recovery to wait for me. He had fed him (15mls) while they waited and he dressed him before we went back to the ward. I held him and it was a totally different experience from my first birth, I felt a bond with him straight away. The sensation was coming back in my incision site while in recovery which made me nervous but it wasn't too painful. I couldn't have pain relief for 2 hours as I'd have had to have been monitored and been given oxygen so I decided to wait as it wasn't unbearable at that stage so it seemed unnecessary.
Lee called my Mum and Ella as soon as we were back on the ward as they'd been waiting all day for news. They came to visit straight away and were soon joined by my Dad and my brother. Everybody loved him (obviously) but Ella especially, she wanted to stay with us in hospital. Lee stayed the night and barely slept at all, it was a difficult first night because we were in a shared room and the other babies were fussy so we were awake a lot and I was really sore. All in all it was better than I expected in some ways and worse in others. The operation was a drop in the ocean, nothing to be afraid of just a little nerve wracking, the pain afterwards was worse than I remember. While I was resting it was manageable but I was encouraged to get up and move around early and that was bad, I was light headed and sick. However... I am writing this a week on and I feel 100% better already. It happened almost overnight so it felt as though I wouldn't feel better for months but really in the grand scheme of things.. it's still not easy now and I'm still sore but one week of discomfort for something so precious.. absolutely worth it!