First Month Fog – Part 1: Birth Story

30 Aug

Last week my little man was one month old.

We made it! We are all still alive!

I’d say I can’t believe it’s arrived already, but in truth, it’s been a long old month. A lot has happened. In fact too much to fit into one post, so since I know there are people waiting, I’ll start with the day of his birth.

The day of his birth was largely an adrenalin fuelled haze, and despite the preplanned nature of my elective c section and the knowledge that my littlest man was going to arrive safely into this world after such a torturous pregnancy, I was a bag of nerves about the procedure itself. After all, I’d never had a baby through surgery before, so this was all rather new to me.

We arrived at the hospital promptly at 7am and were immediately ushered into our room where the midwife showed us around and took some basic observations. Shortly afterwards we were visited by my consultant who explained what would happen and asked me to sign my consent forms.

We were thankfully first on the list for theatre, and would therefore make our way down to the waiting area within 30 minutes. Up until that point I had managed to fill my head only with excitement about the impending birth of my boy, we had waited so long, but as we sat awaiting our cue to enter the theatre, my first thoughts of fear crept in regarding the epidural. During my first birth (natural) my epidural was administered whilst I was experiencing excruciating contractions, I was practically begging them to stick the drainpipe like tube in my spine, but on this occasion it would be totally different… I was of sound mind, not in pain… Shit! I would feel everything. Oh god, oh god, oh god….. Deep breaths.

After a brief chat with the anaesthetist, we were escorted into theatre. First the anaesthetist attempted to insert a cannula into my left hand. No luck, vein not cooperating (probably the fact I was dehydrated and hungry from 12 hours of fasting before the procedure). After a rather painful failed attempt she moved to the other hand and hit jackpot a little too well, spraying me and my gown with blood.

As the consultant entered the room she immediately quizzed him about my blood results, and he confirmed that they had come back and were all normal apart from slight anaemia, but not out of the ordinary for late pregnancy. The two of them then had a respectful tussle over the implications, the anaesthetist suggesting increased blood loss…. A professional debate if you will, while I quietly freaked out over whether I might bleed to death on the table.

Once their discussion was over, the anaesthetist began the epidural. She leant me forward, inserted the local anaesthetic into my spine… It stung but I was determined not to flinch. She then inserted the epidural tube into my spine and began to feed the anaesthetic in. My legs began to turn warm and my feet tingled, a familiar sensation to my last and all on track. At this point they lifted my legs onto the operating table and positioned me for the procedure before attaching the curtain in front of my chest to prevent me seeing the gory details.

Ever thorough, the anaesthetist began to explain how she would test my readiness, producing a bottle of cold spray and squirting me at strategic points to see how numb I was. I panicked when I could still feel her touching me on my legs, but she explained that it was normal at this stage to feel touching and pressure, but no pain. She asked if I was ready, and as much as I was trying to stay upbeat and calm, I was finding it hard to breathe.

Like really hard. My chest felt under immense pressure, I just couldn’t get any air in. I told the anaesthetist who seemed surprised but unfazed. She passed me an oxygen mask and placed it over my face. I tried to take deep breaths, but couldn’t. As I began to panick, she reassured me that my oxygen levels were normal, and therefore, despite feeling unable to breathe, I was breathing just fine.

As I remained agitated, the consultant suggested that they begin the c section as he felt I would breathe easier once the weight of the baby was removed. I nodded nervously, and feeling claustrophobic, wrenched the oxygen mask from my face.

The procedure itself was quick and straightforward. The anaesthetist informed me what was happening at each stage. I felt pushing and tugging… Perhaps just a little too strongly at times, and at 9.46am my beautiful boy was born. He came out frowning and screaming to air his displeasure at the man holding him aloft, and was immediately placed onto my chest, where he promptly weed. Troublemaker.

I was so relieved to see him pink and well I didn’t notice. I also no longer noticed any difficulty with my breathing, I simply wept with joy.

After a short while, he was removed by the midwife and taken to be weighed. 7lb 15oz. My hubby and I cheered. We had guessed 8lb only the day before. Not bad.

He was returned to my husband and photos taken while the operation was completed.

A short while later, we were wheeled to the recovery area where we remained for several hours so the nurses could check my blood pressure, temperature and bleeding and top my epidural up to maintain my pain relief.

By this point, little man was screaming. The nurse suggested I try to breastfeed him. I agreed and spent an hour trying to encourage him to latch on. It didn’t work. Determined to remain upbeat and calm, I tried over and over, but my little boy was not having it. Eventually, after what felt like an eternity, a midwife came in to see why the baby was still screaming.

Clearly looking for some peace, she grabbed his head and rather brutally rammed it down towards my chest, placing my breast roughly into his mouth. Poor sod had only once choice… Suck or suffocate, so he desperately began sucking. “There we are!” she exclaimed triumphantly, and promptly exited the cubicle.

Once fed, we dressed him for the first time, (surprisingly difficult after 5 years) took photos to announce the birth, and placed him in a cot to sleep.

It was then I realised I was ravenous. I was also required to take numerous tablets, I suspect they were painkillers but I have no idea, so I sent hubby off to the hospital cafe to buy chocolate and drinks.

I scoffed it down, and shortly before I was returned to the ward the nurse topped up my epidural for the third and final time.

I was elated that the procedure was over and I could now recuperate in my room with my long awaited cooked lunch, but as I was wheeled into the lift clutching my newborn, I couldn’t help but notice that my face and eyes were massively swollen. I looked bloated and tired.

When I arrived in the room, my lunch was immediately served. I eagerly began to tuck in, but after just two mouthfuls I started to feel dizzy and nauseous. I was flushing hot and cold, unsure of whether I would throw up my lunch or faint. Midwives swarmed round with blood pressure monitors and thermometers to urgently check my obs. My blood pressure had dropped. What happened next is hazy.

Later that afternoon my blood pressure returned to normal, I was plied with paracetamol, and every midwife on the ward attempted to get my baby to latch on and breastfeed, without success. In the end, I was taught how to hand express into a syringe. I collected 1 whole millilitre. This was fed to baby and the midwives suggested I top him up with a bottle. He guzzled on it greedily.

By evening, my mum and dad visited with balloons and flowers, bringing my eldest son to meet his baby brother for the first time. He was so enthusiastic, we had to stop him from climbing into the crib and squeezing the little one to death. His excitement peaked when he found the welcome gifts that baby had left for him. This little brother is so generous! He only stayed for a short while as a hospital room was no entertainment for him and I was beginning to experience more discomfort as the epidural wore off.

By night time I was in excruciating pain. I felt as if my insides were contracting and that someone was stabbing me with a knife. I tried to move into a more comfortable position, but my stomach had no strength and my legs were still partially numb and felt heavy, like lead. I woke my husband and cried out for help. The midwife on duty, a kind but non nonsense lady came into the room and explained that I was likely experiencing after pains as my womb contracted back to its former size, and that my bowel felt hard as if in spasm from the trauma of the operation.

I was plied with paracetamol, tramadol, and peppermint essence in hot water to numb the pain and relax the bowel.

Sometime later, the cocktail of drugs kicked in and I fell asleep until baby woke me for the first of many night feeds we would share over the next month.

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One Response to “First Month Fog – Part 1: Birth Story”

  1. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) August 31, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Awww get well soon. Its hard enough to have a new baby in the house. Sending you hugs. xx #pocolo

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