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What Dignity? – My C-Section Experience(s)

‘Oh, she was too posh to push.’

– the phrase I quite often heard having asked if so-and-so had a boy or a girl.

To be honest, I never really understood what it meant. I guess a c-section never really crossed my mind. I was always pretty knowledgeable when it came to babies as I grew up with lots of younger cousins being born every couple of years (Irish sure). However, when it came to actually birthing those cousins, I didn’t know much. So I always just nodded and agreed upon hearing this.

Little did I know that one day I would possibly be looked at as being ‘too posh to push.’

I’m not gonna lie, having a c-section myself never entered my mind when I was pregnant on Leticia. I mean, I got terrified at times when I overindulged in chocolate or sweets. I had read lots about gestational diabetes and thought I was gonna bring it on myself and henceforth have to have a c-section from which I had also read was harder to recover from than a natural birth. Did I actually think this was ever going to be a reality for me? Nope, not at all. Sure my mother had natural births and all her sisters did too. Why would I ever need one?

Fast forward to me being 36 weeks pregnant and at my check-up, hearing that I had gained 3kgs IN A WEEK!!! Alarm bells going off in my head. This is it! I’m in trouble. Luckily, it ended up being ok and I just got a firm slap on the wrist from my doctor (who I also referred to as my Chinese mother because she was just the sweetest woman ever – Dr Chen).

Now fast forward to three weeks later at another check-up. Check-ups in China are more frequent than here, in Ireland. They’re also a lot more thorough. So, there I am 39 weeks pregnant, in for my check up on New Year’s Eve (our anniversary), having a scan done, hearing that I am dangerously low on amniotic fluid and that I would need to be induced the next day to make sure my baby didn’t run out of oxygen. Woah!!! That escalated quite quickly.

The doctor said I had the choice of staying in the hospital that night (NYE, remember? And our anniversary. Just saying) to be induced the next day or I could go back early the next morning. So, my husband and I thought long and hard about it (maybe a 2-second thought process) and decided to go back the next day. I wasn’t gonna be induced until then anyway so why not enjoy our last night out before officially becoming parents?

Back to hospital the next day for the start of my induction. One day down and no baby, the doctors tried some other tactics that would possibly have the baby arriving the next morning. Needless to say, the next morning came and guess what … still no baby. Onto day two of the induction where they turned up the volume to get Leticia out but there was still no movement. I wasn’t even getting strong contractions. Or at least I didn’t feel them. At this point, Leticia was running out of oxygen fast so we needed to get her out and really, we were only left with one option now that all else had failed so far. C-SECTION!

We called my mother-in-law who was scared for me (I don’t think I had yet realised that c-sections are major surgeries which do actually result in death in some cases. Yes, scary!), and my mother who was just so worried about everything I had already gone through and wanted the baby to come out in the safest way possible for us both at this point.

Before we knew it, we had the anaesthetist down explaining the epidural to me and I was signing all kinds of paper work. And then I was off on a trolley into theatre, my translator shaking with nerves for me. I think I was still in denial about the severity of what was about to happen.

So the birthing plan I had somewhat organised was now pretty much gone to shit. The only thing left really was my skin to skin time when Leticia arrived. Ha!!! A spanner was soon to be put in that too. ‘You can’t do that now’, I was told. I had to wait until I was out of theatre and back in the recovery room with my baby.

I think the adrenaline rush I was on after meeting our beautiful little 7lb2oz bundle of joy kept me from feeling much pain for a couple of hours. Or maybe it was the pain killers? I was chewing my jaws from whatever was being pumped into me after all. I was feeling on top of the world from all the drugs. To be fair, I couldn’t physically move much, but mentally I was flying.

Then the next day came and it came with a bang!! I couldnt move. I was terrified to sneeze or cough and started to fret about what I would do if I needed to poop. As if all these worries weren’t bad enough, in walks a nurse telling me I needed to roll over onto my side, alternate sides as much as possible AND get up for a walk. ‘This woman is on a whole new level of crazy’, I thought. ‘Or am i being a total whimp? No! Screw her. I literally cannot move.’ I was going to the bathroom aided by my husband. Any dignity I had was completely gone now. I went from the girlfriend who wouldn’t fart in front of her boyfriend to the wife who needed her butt wiped in the matter of a couple of years. Lovely! Our 2 year old marriage had taken a whole new turn and although we now joke about it, I cried sad, sad tears that this had become my reality. I immediately thought, ‘too posh to push?’ It couldn’t be further from the truth.

The coming days were just going to get worse for me as I ended up with a respiratory and viral infection. I was hooked up to a couple of different IVs, pretty much bed bound, and barely even allowed to hold Leticia. Even thinking back on it all makes me emotional. It was a really tough time but it did get better.

I read something online which said that I would feel much better the 10th day after my section and you know what? I did. It was like some kind of miracle had happened over night. From there on in, it got easier and easier and I started to research vaginal birth after cesarian while planning for baby number two.

Of course I wasn’t going to need another section… until I had gone through 56 hours of contractions, gas (nitrous oxide), an epidural and 30 minutes of pushing. And THEN the doctor said I wasn’t allowed to push any longer. That initial numbness was soon overlooked with relief. Relief that I now knew that these contractions and labour I so desperately wanted to experience were going to be over soon and I would not be pregnant anymore… Obviously I didnt enjoy my second pregnancy as much as my first.

The recovery this time was hard. Berto wiping my butt was the least of my worries this time around. Lets just say, I ended up experiencing all child birth has to offer even though I didn’t actually pushing her out. So yeah, the tiny bit of dignity I did have left … gone!! My wound also got infected this time around. More fun to add to the bag with a toddler, a baby and Christmas tied in. Thanks universe.

But I am done now. I have experienced contractions, labour and all the rest. I don’t think I could emotionally cope with another c-section and Berto got the snip. So ‘basta finish’ as an old boss of mine used to say. From now on, I just get to experience that itch you can never really scratch around a scar; the numb sensation an inch either side of the mark. I guess that’s what I get for being “too posh to push”.

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