The internet is crammed with new mums sharing their birth stories these days, so I thought it was my turn.
Warning This blog contains graphic content, more over sharing than normal (possibly) and goes on a bit…!
Let’s see where we left off…I was about a week away from my planned induction that was scheduled to be on Monday 10th July. Ben and I went to Chelsea & Westminster with a ridiculous amount of luggage, anticipation and snacks. We were put on a 6 bed ward and quite quickly told the plan had changed – obviously. I was due to have a normal induction where a gel is given to stimulate labour of 48 hours. It was decided that the gel wasn’t a good idea given the state of my heart so we got told that we got to skip that bit and go straight to the action. We just needed a labour ward bed to free up. However, hours passed and we realised that (quite rightly!) due to the lack of urgency in our case, we were at the back of the queue and kept getting trumped by women already in labour – how rude!
The night passed. Ben slept on a airbed and we listened to the screams of women in labour all night long. Soothing…!
The next day at 7.30am we were moved to the labour ward and given our snazzy room. Remember at this point, I’m not in labour in any way, just my normal heavily pregnant self, raring to go! We showered and got ready for the big day. Just a short while later we were introduced to our 2 midwives and the doctor gave us the plan. And then we got going – manually breaking my waters. Not a nice experience and I won’t go into detail. Long and short of it – it wasn’t easy, there was a long stick and a hook involved.
Then it was time to start on the hormone drip that would induce my labour. All good. About 4 hours passed and things were going well. I was having contractions (felt like period pains) and I was ‘moving along’ as the docs had hoped. Another couple of hours later and the pains were full on, so I had my epidural – a requirement from my heart team to reduce the stress of pain on my heart- and a lucky escape from pain! Another 4 hours, a film, an episode of Fargo, lots of snacks and I was checked again. Unfortunately I wasn’t ‘moving along’ so well. We agreed with the docs to give it 4 more hours and see if I was ready to push.
At 10.30pm, we decided the induction wasn’t going to work and I’d run out of time that I was personally allowed on the drip. So c-section it was. We were quite calm at this point and the Doctors and midwives (as they had done throughout the whole day) explained things in such great detail and clarity.
At midnight we were taken into the operating theatre and shit got real. I was petrified. Something I never saw coming. I was shaking uncontrollably and just couldn’t get my head straight. I think I was worrying about dying (they’d told me this was a very risky procedure for me because of my heart), about the pain, whether Ziggy would be OK, how Ben was feeling. And 9 months of pure anticipation built up. Just so much worry. I tried deep breathing, repeating my positive lines I’d prepared – nothing helped. Then we put on Kings of Leon…it worked wonders! Everyone in the room seemed to calm down.
“We’re cutting you now” – the words that signalled I was completely out of control and at that point, I let go. I did not enjoy the experience of a c-section. Yes I could feel every tug, dig, pull, bone crunch. The noise of the suction. But then, “Daddy, stand up”. Ben, who’d been face to face with me the whole time, calming me down (looking good in scrubs btw!) stood up and looked over the screen and I saw his face just go into shock – he could see my open tummy and half of Ziggy, who was then just pulled out! I’ve since seen a video and I can see why Ben was so shocked at the sight!
They dropped the curtain and I saw Ziggy. It was incredible. Once he was weighed (only 6lb 15!) and had a cuddle with daddy, he was placed on my chest and we properly met. He stopped crying as soon as he was on me. I’ll never, ever forget that moment. Game changer.
The rest is pretty much history. A day on the high dependency unit, 2 days on the main ward, lots of tests and doctors and midwives came and went. Ziggy is the picture of health thank goodness. My heart is stronger than anyone thought it could be post birth and we came home on Friday night.
We’re just so relieved that we’re through it after some ups and downs and scares along the way. Without the plans and the care of the Doctors at C&W and the Brompton, things wouldn’t have gone so smoothly and I genuinely believe we wouldn’t be as healthy as we are right now. More tests to go and a few things left to work out for my heart and a test for my bad heart gene for Ziggy, but we’ll be fine, I’m sure.
I’ve learnt a lot about worrying and bloody social media that I’d like to share at some point. But we’re having the best time right now and we’re going to enjoy these few weeks in the sun with Benny before he heads back to work.
I don’t want to put anyone off a c-sectoin, or scare monger. This is just my experience and on the whole, it was amazing and ridiculously safe and well controlled. I’d do it all again. I was just very, very worried which was my personal mental state and this shouldn’t affect anyone else.