*The first of my Guest Blogs by Alexandra Delaney #cesareanawarenessmonth*
About the Writer.
I am Alexandra Delaney (or just ‘Delaney’)
Mumma of 2 – Cillian 3 years and Zoe 6 months
Mental health & self-care advocate
Suffered with post-natal depression after the birth of my son
Originally from Essex, now living in Newport Pagnell (I will always be an Essex bird)
I say ‘feck’ a lot
6 months’ post-partum loving my daughter and my survivor wounds.
Wow, what a year 2020 has already been. Who knew that in our lifetime we would be in a world war against a global pandemic?! Somehow it doesn’t seem right talking about a different subject to Covid, but I feel it is still so important to keep raising awareness of things that happen in the world.
I want to share my story with you, to reach out to anyone that needs to read this and to tell you that it will be okay, and you are not alone.
I had a C section 6 months ago with my daughter Zoe, this wasn’t on medical grounds, it was due to the state of my mental health. I had a traumatic birth with my son, Cillian, 2 years prior which to me was so horrific I refused to never have any more children. Cillian’s birth as well as the sleep deprivation (he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 23 months) lead to me being diagnosed with post-natal depression. However, as the months went on, it just didn’t feel right to me and my partner not having a sibling for Cillian so after therapy and getting myself off antidepressants we decided that we would have one more baby to complete our family. When I feel pregnant, of course it was amazing but the anxiety, flashbacks and sleepless nights soon started and I knew there was no way I could give birth ‘naturally’ the thought of it terrified me so I started to ask for a c section birth. I Knew this wasn’t an ‘easy way out’ and the recovery could be worse than last time but the thought of 36 hours of labour and being rushed to theatre scared the life out of me. I spoke to loads of c section mummas including my mum who all gave me honest accounts of their experiences, I read all the facts that I could get my hands on so I was very prepared going to speak to my midwife. After five meetings with doctors and consultants it was finally agreed for me to have the section on the grounds of a previous traumatic birth and PND. I know that our medical professionals have a duty of care and have to make us aware of the risks but seriously I was put through the mill to get a decision. I could feel I was being judged by certain people including some friends, I mean why in God's name would I want major surgery to have a baby? To me, knowing that I was going straight to theatre with the wonderful surgeons and doctors kept me sane, I was able to enjoy the last two months of pregnancy (well apart from the constant fecking heartburn, nearly getting stuck in the bath and not being able to drink gin)
21st October I was at the hospital at 730 in the morning. As soon as the lovely midwife came into my cubical I burst in to tears, I couldn’t wait to meet my baby but all the emotions I tried to hold inside over the last 9 months just came out. The walk to theatre felt like it took an eternity.
My daughter was born safe and well (apart from being a bit pissed off she was removed from her comfy cave. Unfortunately for me, the section didn’t go to ‘plan’ and I was in theatre for nearly 3 hours, losing a lot blood with other complications whilst my partner sat next to me the whole time holding our baby girl, praying I would survive.
When I came out of surgery with a lot of internal and external stitching, I was offered 2 paracetamol tablets for the extreme pain I was in. After hours of begging for something stronger I was finally given morphine and painkillers through IV.
I spent 4 days in hospital, just me and Zoe with her dad and brother visiting as well as my parents. Every single midwife that cared for us were amazing, so amazing that I would not have got through those dark days. I just wanted to go home, get in my bed and eat chicken wings (I was vegan before I fell pregnant – yes, I know, what the actual feck?)
The morning after I came home from my c section
The first night alone with Zoe, I did start to think why has this been so shit again? Was I just destined not to have a beautiful birth? Why couldn’t I have had the wonderful moment and feeling when my babies came into the world? Looking down at Zoe’s face made me realise that no matter how our babies come into the world, it is a magical moment knowing you are now a parent to a little chubby human.
Do I regret my decision on this birth? I do not. My mental health will always be looked after first. The actual event itself was shit (my case was quite rare) and the recovery is a bit of a bastard but my mental state whilst being heavily pregnant was calm which I think helped me deal with everything afterwards. 6 months on and I feel stronger mentally than ever.
Even though there were mistakes during surgery, I am grateful for the surgeons for saving my life and for the midwifes for being superhero’s.
There should be no shame or guilt in asking for a section on the grounds of mental health, I think it should be our decision how we bring our dribbling little angels in to this crazy world.
I had numerous people telling me when I was pregnant (both times) that I wasn’t important anymore and let me tell you, that is complete bullshit. I am important, and if you are reading this, you are important, we all fucking are, please don’t let anyone make you feel any different. Yes, our children are our world but we must look after ourselves too even if that’s just a bubble bath (with wine) sitting in the garden listening to music (with wine) going for a walk on your own (yes with wine, obviously hid in a hip flask, I’m not a total lush) get ya fecking nails done and don’t feel guilty about it.
#Bekind to yourself before you are kind to others.
Thank you for reading my little story and please do get in touch if you want to talk, not just about C Sections, about anything, my insta DM is always open.
Take care of YOU
Instagram: Delaney Alexandra_
My DM is always open to anyone who needs to talk, rant or just swear their fecking heads off and can’t find a field near their house to do this in because of current lockdown rules.
*If you feel you need support please reach out. You can find some really kind and helpful resources in a safe space at Make Birth Better.