Back in July 2016 we shared Hanna’s birth stories. An emergency cesarean section, and a planned cesarean section. I first saw Hanna on Instagram and was inspired by her story and determination to better her experience second time around. I contacted her asking if she would be interested in sharing her story with my followers in our ‘Birth Stories’ section.
Within this section of our blog I am determined to provide as much external support (as I don’t have personal experience to go by) for mums who have been through a cesarean section or are looking like they may end up having a cesarean section. I am constantly saddened to see mothers who feel like failures due to the fact they ended up having a cesarean section and were unable to give birth naturally. Again this is a hard concept for me to fully understand as I have never been in that situation. I feel these women are beyond amazing the strength they have to have major surgery and still manage to get up every day and raise their baby. There aren’t many major surgeries that require such responsibilities while recovering.
Before having Miss A, I went in understanding anything was possible and anything could happen. My ultimate goal was just to give ‘birth’ to my baby, so baby and myself were safe and healthy, however that may be.
I hope this section of the blog brings support and comfort to those who have been in this situation.
Hanna’s Birth Story
My name is Hanna, I am a mother of two, and a DIY and Lifestyle blogger and
Clare has asked me to guest blog for her today!
She specifically asked that I share my birth experience with you, so
that’s what I’ll be doing!
Before I start I just want to say that I’m a believer in doing what
you feel is right in your heart and gut. I’m a believer in supporting
other mothers in their birthing methods and choices even if they
differ from yours. And I believe that there are many amazing ways to
bring a baby into this world, and one is not better or more special
than another, bringing a new life into the world is an amazing
accomplishment, no matter the birthing method.
My son was born via an emergency cesarean section after laboring for
12 hours. It was traumatic, emotional and terrifying. I don’t remember
most of what happened because of all the drugs I was on. Seeing my
child’s face for the first time is a blur. Waiting almost six hours
before I was allowed to see my son again, waiting six hours to hold
him, kiss him, nurse him. But being told “no he’s not in the NICU,
nothing’s wrong with him. You just can’t see him yet because of all
the meds you were given for surgery.”
The side effects of the drugs ravaged my body for days. Excessive
swelling, incessant itching all over my body, my legs and face the
worst. Nausea and lack of appetite for days.
Once I was sent home from the hospital the first few days were spent
in an agony filled narcotic induced blur. I’m someone who doesn’t even
take a double dose of ibuprofen, so you can imagine the number those
narcotics did on me.
Fast forward two years. We find out I’m pregnant again! After my first
appointment I came home heart pounding and stressed. My midwife told
me that I should have a VBAC, because at that hospital they “don’t
like to do repeat c-sections.”
Oh well then.
Around the same time we found out I was pregnant again we also found
out that we’d be moving for my husbands job and that he would be
traveling for a few months for training. So we decided that for
stability I would go back to our home town in Florida to finish out my
pregnancy and have baby number two.
My new hospital was a complete 180
from where I delivered my son and started my second pregnancy. They
were supportive of ALL types of birth plans and had specialists for
each one. It was through my new midwife, Casey, that I felt empowered
as a patient and mother to research and choose the birthing method I
felt was right for my baby and I.
And the method I chose (with full support of my husband) was a Natural
or Family Centered C-Section.
This time I chose everything. From the type of numbing medication to
what kind of drape was used to whether I wanted warmed sheets or
normal ones. My midwife, surgeon and I put together a game plan for
The morning of delivery my husband and I got to the hospital early. I
was checked in and set up in a room. We were both given our “O.R.
Clothes”, complete with hair nets! After talking with the anesthesia
specialist, and the surgeon popping in to say good morning and that
there was an emergency c-section happening now (that pushed my surgery
back, which I was totally ok with. I’ve been there!) I took a nap.
Seriously. When I was in labor with my son, and for at least 24 hours
after I hardly slept at all. Maybe all together a few hours, spread
out over two days. But this time, I was so relaxed and calm that I
literally just fell asleep for a few HOURS! It was wonderful, not
going to lie.
Once it was our turn we simply walked into the O.R.
There the anesthesiologist placed my spinal while my nurse held my
hands and talked me off the ledge of anxiety. When that was placed
they laid me down and I immediately felt nauseous, so they placed
folded up sheets, which were warmed, under my head as pillows, it was
instantly calming and soothing to my growing nerves. Then my husband
came in, all scrubbed up and fidgeting with excitement.
I’d like to add in here that routinely during a c-section, or any
surgery your arms are strapped down to the table. This was a big
trigger for me because when I had my son they strapped my arms down
and I wasn’t told that I wouldn’t be able to use them. I felt like I
was going to be sick during the surgery and went to reach for my sick
bag that was right next to my head, but couldn’t. And I’m not really
sure what happened, but my body took over and I know I freaked out.
This time I asked that my arms please not be strapped in. I understand
why they do it, but I didn’t want to trigger myself by agreeing to it,
so they said as long as I kept my arms down on the table they had no
problems with me not being actually strapped in.
Once I was settled in and the surgical team was ready to start two
drapes were placed. One clear, one blue.
I specifically asked to have a clear drape rather than the typical
solid blue drape, so that I could see my daughter being born. Once the
surgeon had made her incision and was ready to deliver my daughter
they lowered the blue drape so that I was able to watch. I suggest
every woman who has a scheduled c-section to do the same! It was
incredible being able to see my daughter being born!
Once she was delivered everything else was done typical of a normal
vaginal delivery, except I was being put back together while it was
being done. They quickly dry wiped her face, I requested she not be
bathed for at least 12 hours. Weighed, measured and printed her, all
right next to me. Then they popped a hat on her and placed her on my
chest along with more warm sheets to keep us warm. All while I was
still in surgery!
Because of my choice as an informed and empowered patient I was able
to deliver the way I wanted. I was able to remember every detail, from
the very first glimpse of her, the top of her hairy little head, to
the way my husband pushed the blue drape down father so I could see
more. The way the surgeon in training looked at me when they were
struggling to get her out. The voice of my surgeon saying “there’s a
lot of scar tissue here, it’s going to take a while.” I can remember
the feeling in my heart when my husband rubbed my head and the look of
support, love and awe in his eyes while he did it, no words needed to
be spoken. I remember crying, sobbing when I heard her first cries,
and when I first felt her skin against mine. I remember my thoughts
then too, thinking how she was here, she was safe and alive, she was
loud, and she was in my arms, I remember thinking I’d remember this. I
could visit these memories over and over again and know exactly what
happened, in crystal clear vision.
I encourage any woman who is scheduling a c-section to research and
talk to your doctor about a Natural or Family Centered Cesarean. Some
hospitals may not be excited about your requests, but I’m proof, it
CAN be done. And I highly suggest, for any mother who is pregnant,
coming up with a back up c-section plan and make sure to include any
specific requests you have and bring a written copy with you to the
hospital. During emergency situations some things may not be done in
the interest of you or babies safety, but some things like clear
drapes and doing skin to skin after are most likely still possible.
I hope me and my children’s stories help someone in a similar situation deliver in a more emotionally fulfilling way.