Are you expecting to have a caesarean this time round? Maybe you’ve been told it’s a possibility or are concerned an emergency caesarean may happen at the last moment and change your birth plan? We spoke to six mums to find out about their experiences of caesareans here in the UK.
1) The Mum With The ‘Relaxed’ Emergency C-Section
“I had an emergency C-section after being induced on 27th November 2018. Everything was going really well, they even let me go in the birthing pool with close monitoring. I got to 9cm in the pool and then gradually my contractions started wearing off and becoming less frequent. They made the decision to get me out and get me started on the hormone drip to regulate my contractions again. They most certainly became more frequent (and A LOT stronger lol!) But still after two hours, I hadn’t got past 9cm. They could feel that my little girl’s head was in the wrong position (she was facing to the side). My midwife and the consultant made the decision to take me down for a section.
However, although it was classed as emergency, it was a really relaxed atmosphere! They got me prepped really quickly, prepped my partner and once surgery started, my LG was out in three minutes. They bought her straight over to me then took her to get cleaned up and then she went off with her Daddy to recovery whilst I was stitched up. Phoebe was born safely on 28th November at 8.20am, weighing 7lb 10oz. We were both back home the next day and I was out and about two days later. This is my first cuddle in recovery.”
LABOUR FACT: Brow presentation is usually picked up by internal vaginal examination. It happens when baby’s head and neck are extended as if looking up.
“This is me and my son Isaac after my C-section with him on 10th May 2017. I basically had a discussion with the consultant and, because he was in a brow position with his head measuring on the 99th centile according to growth scans (thanks to my husband!) and he wasn’t tolerating the drip as it was making his heart rate drop, it was decided that a C section would be the best option, as his head was also still really high. The C section went brilliantly and all the staff were so good. He did need resuscitating when he was born which, to me, highlighted that I had made the right choice. I had pre-eclampsia too so that fed into the decision too.”
The Category Three Emergency Section
LABOUR FACT: Emergency caesarean sections are prioritised according to the level of risk from 1-4 with category one indicating immediate threat to mother or baby.
“I was induced at 37 weeks, it failed. Usually they try the pessary three times but only gave me 1 go due to pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. They broke my waters at half a cm dilated against usual practice (ouch) to try me on the Pitocin drip… I only got to 4cm by 11pm that night, so Max was born by category 3 emergency section at 11:41pm that night. I then had a haemorrhage and lost about a litre and a half of blood, apparently I was passed out. I don’t remember much after meeting Max for the first time. Turns out his head wasn’t at quite the right angle in my pelvis hence lack of dilation, his left eye and forehead were swollen from being pushed into my pelvis with each contraction, poor kid. He was an undiagnosed brow presentation.”
The Early Emergency C-Section
LABOUR FACT: A pregnancy is considered to be full term between weeks 39 and 40 of pregnancy, 37 weeks is ‘early term’.
I always knew I had to have a C-section if I was to ever have another baby after my first due to the problems my first baby caused when having a normal vaginal delivery. I ended up having an emergency C-section at 34+5 due to my little boy’s heart rate dropping numerous times when being monitored, I was being monitored every 2 hours as I thought my waters had gone and I was having strong contractions. They gave me the injections to strengthen baby’s lungs. He weighed 5lb 7oz and spent 11 days in NICU. I recovered really well but I think that was more down to the fact I had to walk quite far just to see my little boy in intensive care. The staff were incredible and looked after us all so well.
The One With the Midwife’s Sixth Sense
International Midwive’s Day is Sunday 5th May, find our post on it here.
I went into labour at 37 weeks and when I got to the hospital they said to me: “Right you’re not leaving here without a baby”. I was hooked up on the monitor and her heart rate was reading as normal but the midwife said to us “that’s not normal, I know it’s not” so hooked me up on another three different machines and all three said the same but she just kept saying, “Tt’s not right”.
I then got moved down to labour ward as my waters had already broken and I was 3cm, I got moved into a room and I kept dosing off and when I opened my eyes there was a huge screen in front of me and about eight doctors. They were scanning my baby to see what was going on with her heart rate and they looked at me and said “Her heart rate was 220bpm you need a C-section” ten minutes later my baby girl was born at 1:47am and weighed 6lb 3oz. Scariest day of my life but so worth it.
The Planned C-Section with the Dural Headache
LABOUR FACT: A dural headache is a complication that can occur as a result of an epidural.
I had a planned C-section at 38+1 due to a bad third degree tear with my first. In at 07:15am the usual blood pressure checks etc. I spoke to anaesthetist and consultant [and] down to [the] theatre we went. Isla was born at 09:20 on the Thursday 1st November 2018 weighing 7lb 5oz. Everything was straight forward and she was perfect!
I lost quite a lot of blood after which they were concerned about so had an extra day in the hospital. I was discharged on the Saturday. I had complained about a headache over the two days I was in but they didn’t seem interested. Just gave me paracetamol when I asked. On Saturday evening my headache became quite bad, to the point I had my head in my hands and I was rocking back and forth as I didn’t know what to do with myself. Having a newborn and a 22-month old at home made things harder for me as I couldn’t focus. I spoke to our maternity helpline and explained everything and they wanted me back at the hospital straight away.
So 10pm on the Saturday, I pack us all up and my partner takes us back to the hospital. They were fab with me, got me a cot for Isla and laid me down. I had to see an anaesthetist again as they suspected it was a dural headache [and] I may have to go back to theatre to have a blood patch done. After being there for several hours they let me [go] home and was going to contact me on the Sunday about returning to have this rectified. Apparently it’s a side effect of the spinal. Anyway…I had lots of caffeine and pain killers as recommended and it eased on its own, thankfully, so I avoided another trip to theatre!
A big Bump, Baby and You Thank You goes out to all the mummies who shared their birth stories in this post, we loved hearing about your happy endings and seeing all those beautiful first baby cuddles. If you’d like to learn more about caesareans, check out our blogger, Georgina Clarke’s post Mind Over Matter and our very own Katie Hodgkin’s post on romanticising childbirth is also a great read.