I love a good birth story, me. Tell me yours and I’ll ooh and aah in all the right places, and probably have a little cry too. Did you know that April is Cesarean Awareness Month? I didn’t, which is rather shameful as I’ve had one. Anyway, here I am, at the end of the month, to tell you about my major abdominal surgery – and the beauty it produced.
…Well, I got a baby out of it. That’s pretty good I guess.
…It was a fairly gentle section, as it was sort of planned and sort of an emergency. I’ll explain: she was a frank breech, so her feet were squished up by her ears. I had an failed ECV, which is a procedure where “they” attempt to turn the baby from the outside. Didn’t work, not a very funny story, suffice to say the lady was not for turning. ANYWAY “they” then gave me a date for an elective section which happened to be the day before my due date. I went into labour au naturelment, yada yada, and pretty swiftly got admitted to the labour ward and into theatre, once “they” realised the speed at which I was dilating.
…The day after she was born, when the catheter was removed, I dutifully trotted off to fill up a cardboard hat with blood-tinged wee. I also had, for want of a better expression, a really runny poo. I casually relayed this to a midwife and said “that’s totally normal though, right?”. After all, my insides had just been mashed up to fuck and I’d been fed a high octane cocktail of drugs and drips. Apparently it was a slight cause for concern, and I got quarantined. This translated to MY OWN EN SUITE ROOM which was all kinds of awesome, and I didn’t have a bug or an infection after all. Pays to be safe and pays to have the squits, surely.
…I would have so loved to attempt a natural vaginal breech delivery. Sadly, even though the Princess Anne is one of the best maternity units in the country, I was encouraged not to even consider it as an option. C-way or the highway was about the size of it. Yet, I’ve heard lots of (admittedly anecdotal) happy stories of successful vag breech births. I eventually got to push a baby out of my foof which was a hugely cathartic and healing experience (sodding painful, mind).
…Man alive, I was tired. So, so very tired and drugged up. It’s standard procedure for first time Cesarean mamas to stay in hospital for at least two nights following surgery, and on night two I was truly zombified. The child would not stop shrieking, I still didn’t have a clue how to breastfeed, and my luxury en suite was right next to the nurses station. After an hour of wailing (both me and baby), an exceptionally jolly nurse swung in. “Pass him here, love. Let’s see if I can’t get him to settle. OH WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT THIS BOY! He’s a belter, my goodness me! Isn’t he a little love?” By this stage I was catatonic with exhaustion and NOISE that I didn’t even care what sex the baby was – I could have birthed a panda and not given a shit, if I could only close my eyes for 30 seconds. “Yeah, he’s brilliant isn’t he…”
…The first night after my Cesarean was most painful of my life. I had a catheter, I couldn’t move my legs because of the spinal block, and when I COULD move my legs I leached blood all over the sheets and almost passed out with shock. Then, let’s not forget, my abs had been literally torn apart. I could not transition from laying to sitting to slouching without help. This wasn’t me being a bit piss-weak, this was literally not being able to hoist myself around because I had no muscle support. So, when my husband got kicked out at 10pm and Mouse was swaddled in her cot next to my head, I had about ten seconds of grace before she absolutely went ape. I couldn’t twist my body to reach her – for the first time since conception, I was physically separated from my baby with no quick means to get to her. I pressed the buzzer. I waited, and waited, and waited. I cried. A lot. I felt like a failed mum, which no mum should feel when their baby is less than 24 hours old.
…Oh I’m SO PROUD of my body for housing two children for almost nine months apiece. I really EMBRACE my scar as a sign of warpaint for the way I gave birth. I LOVE my curves. And other such bullshit that I don’t believe when it comes to me and my body, sorry. I have trained the bejeesus out of myself, especially since having Moo. I work out most days and I work bloody hard. Yet I’m still left with this stupid little flappy, saggy pouch of skin at the base of my tummy. It’s basically that – just loose skin. But it’s ugly and I hate it. There, I said it. It’s not fair and I’d like it gone – it’s not a talisman of pride, it’s a hunk of unwanted flesh that I do not want.
The good, again…
…Her. Just her. Look what I made.
-SJW April 2017