My Delivery – The Story of an Elective C-Section
about a month after Freja was born via c-section I did make a YouTube video about my whole experience and included everything: the good, that bad, and the ugly. Though lucky for me not much of the latter two as I had an amazing experience. I never got around to posting the video on my blog as well as motherhood kept me plenty busy. Things have settled down by now and I finally have some time for other things besides baby and want to revive the blog a little bit while I am still on maternity leave and because I will “only” go back 80% for the first 12 months I might even have time to blog afterwards.
For the ones who prefer to watch the video, check it out here, for the ones who prefer to read the story (I promise I will try to keep it short), see below:
My whole birth story started on Wednesday, October 12th, at around lunch time. Why you are asking? That was the time I officially went on maternity leave and I went from work straight to the hospital for my pre-op check up. I had meetings with the midwife, the doctor as well as the anaesthesiologist to discuss everything important, to hand in some papers for the birth certificate as well as sign certain forms. We afterwards went home to relax, because the whole procedure took around 2-3 hours.
Thursday I spend at home “nesting”. I did laundry, ironed, cleaned up and did lots of things I wanted to get done beforehand. The original plan was to just relax but because I was quite nervous due to the epidural, keeping busy distracted me from thinking too much of the things to come. Knowing when your child will be born has both advantages as well as disadvantages. You have plenty of time to get nervous, while at the same time your are able to plan things nicely (I made sure to get all my beauty treatments in beforehand to fell “good” about myself – and who knew how quickly I would be able to go to the hairdresser/pedicure/etc. again, right?). On Wednesday they had given me a preliminary time for my surgery (1.30 pm) and told me to be in the hospital 1.5h beforehand. However they also told me I would get a call the day before (in my case the next day) in order to confirm the exact time. So at around 3 pm that afternoon the midwife called and told me: “Sarah, we moved you forward as the first c-section tomorrow morning was cancelled. Your new time is 8 am so please be here by 6:30 am.” This actually suited me quite well because it meant less waiting time the next morning.
I barely slept that night because of nerves (quite a shame because the midwife had given me two pills on Wednesday against stomach acid, which I was supposed to take the evening before and early the next morning and they helped amazingly well so stomach acid for once was not an issue to prevent me from sleeping) and got up at around 4:30 am in order to get ready. Christoffer followed shortly after and by 6 am we were ready to leave and arrived at 6:30 am sharp in the labor and delivery unit of my hospital. I was brought into a small room behind the actual labor and delivery rooms and given my “hospital uniform” – socks, a gown and a tube top for bonding afterwards. After I switched into those things a midwife came and put the IV in. Unfortunately she needed two tries and finally succeed on my right arm instead of on my left. She also started doing another CTG (the first one ever I had on Wednesday with no contractions at all), however this time the machine showed somewhat strong contractions, which put me into pre-labor. Now if those came because I was actually naturally going into labor or because I was nervous we will never find out. But it was fun to see that my body was doing something and also to feel those twinges and hear that they were indeed contractions.
At around 7:30 am (I had totally lost track of time at this point), Christoffer and I were brought up to the surgery rooms by the midwife and a student midwife. While I was rolled into the room directly, Christoffer and the midwifes had to use a different entrance and change into scrubs. In the room (or “theater” like the Brits like to call it) I had to move from my bed onto the surgery table and dangle my legs from one side and make a crooked back for the epidural. My anaesthesiologist was the sweetest and lucky enough she also had a helper (who could squeeze my hand). The first of the two shots was indeed quote unpleasant and took quite long (but I had that hand to squeeze). But it was not nearly as bad as I had envisioned it. Instead of real pain it was more a burning pain sensation. But really not bad and that is coming from a person with a VERY low pain threshold. Afterwards she told me to keep absolutely still in that position and relax as much as possible while we had to wait for the local anaesthetic to work. She told me she would need to prepare some things in the meantime anyway. I heard hear get something out of plastic (I assume the second needle for the actual epidural) and I felt her press my back. Suddenly she said though “Okay, I am done. Please lie down right away due to the muscle memory”. I was SO surprised that she had already put in the other needle without telling me and was relieved how well it had all gone.
Now the rest of the staff started preparing me for surgery. A shield was put up between my head and the rest of my belly and finally Christoffer and the midwives were allowed to come in. I tried to distract myself and told him about how it all went etc. and we just chatted away. I had seen that the doctors had come in and I think they quickly said hi but some of my memories of it all are getting quite blurry. I was kind of waiting for them so start because I thought I would feel the initial cut. Not as a painful cut of course but more like someone going over the belly with their finger. It is hard to describe but I really thought I would feel it. I was also waiting for the pulling and shacking sensation the midwife had told me about (it is when they actually get the baby out) but for some reason that never happened. Or well, I just did not realise it. I even asked Christoffer if he thinks they would start soon. He later told me that while I was asking this my whole body was shacking (due to the pulling) already and only seconds later Freja was born on October 14th at 8:09 am with 48cm and 2900g, screaming on top of her lungs. As I knew that especially c-section babies sometimes have trouble with breathing/their lungs I was happy and relieved to hear that she seemed absolutely fine. The quickly showed her to me before she was rushed next door to the paediatrician followed by Christoffer and the midwives. Shortly after they brought her back out and we were able to have some bonding time and to take pictures. But as babies get cold very easily (and due to keeping the surgery room as steril as quickly it is quite cold in there) they quickly had to bring Christoffer downstairs with her into our room for some daddy-daughter bonding time (he also got a tube top and had to take of his shirt and she was put into the top on his bare chest until I was back from surgery).
While Christoffer was taking care of Freja I was being “put back together” by the doctors´- but not without some action… FYI: Since I was a kid I used to have an AV-node Re-Entry Tachycardia, which was treated with a radio-frequency ablation back in the fall of 2013. I am fine since that surgery but still tend to have a rather high resting pulse (between 95-100) and also some palpitations here and there. It all has been checked by a cardiologist during the pregnancy but he was rather easy going and he just said that I would manage and they would take care of me during birth anyway. Not quite what I wanted to hear and because I did not want to go into an emergency c-section and have a bad birth experience I decided to go ahead with the scheduled c-section. And let me tell you – best decision ever.
I started having a quite elevated heartbeat during the second part of the surgery, ranging from 115-140 beats/minute. This was mainly due to the medication they give you in order to make your uterus retract, but also due to being nervous/the overall situation of being in surgery. The anaesthesiologist was very nice and talked me through everything and gave me additional medication to slow my heart rate down and also told me that due to my heart behaving the way it did, choosing the c-section was the best I could have done as I would have most likely ended in an emergency c-section if that would have happened during labor. Even with those little complications the surgery went really well and I was very happy about my choice.
When I was finally done they used a slide to put me back into my normal bed and rolled me down to the little room they had put us in and in which we had to stay for the first 1-2 hours after surgery. Christoffer was already waiting there with Freja and we finally were reunited as a family. I got Freja back and she was finally put into my bonding shirt and I was able to nurse her for the first time. After those 1-2 hours had passed we were moved to our final room in the maternity ward, which was a single room due to my insurance and Christoffer also had an extra bed to sleep in and stay with me during the whole stay (we stayed in the hospital from Friday the 14th of October until Wednesday the 19th, which is the norm here in Switzerland if you have a c-section). We spend the rest of the day cooing over Freja, informing family and friends (we had not told anyone about the date beforehand), trying to nurse her and getting some rest.
During the next couple of days we had some visitors and also attended some classes for new parents (one was and information class about the weeks after birth, one was a one-on-one child bathing class together with a retired midwife, on was with the pediatricians and I was also able to consult with a lactation specialist if I would have wished to do that). After initially latching three times the first day, Freja got a bit tired and did not latch again until the next morning, when a super friendly and helpful nurse helped me get her latched on. She stayed with me for almost an hour and was super patient with me (and Freja) and I strongly believe her help made all the difference and I am super grateful for her help. A friend of mine is giving birth in the same hospital within the next 2-3 weeks so I am hoping to see my favorite nurse again and thank her again for all her help.
After getting up for a super short walk the same day of the surgery I was able to get both my IV as well as my catheter out the next morning and because I felt so good I was able to take a long hot shower in the bathroom. I did sit that first day but felt amazing nevertheless afterwards. Overall my recovery went super well and I did not have any further issues and therefore we were able to leave the hospital with a healthy baby and a healthy mommy a couple of days later.
This coming Saturday Freja is already turning three months (how did that happen so quickly) and I am planning to film an update on how things went and what worked for us (in terms of routines but also things we bought) and will also write everything down for you guys. For now I have to go and rush to my pelvic muscle training course so I will talk to you later.