Updated: Apr 24
* The second Guest Blogger I welcome is Freya Alexandera #cesareanawarnessmonth *
About the Writer: Hi I am Freya Alexandra, I grew up in Surrey and now live in Cheshire with my partner. I am a first time mum to our 10 month old daughter who is keeping us on our toes since crawling in lockdown! I work in social media marketing but currently on maternity leave. I hope sharing my stories will help women to feel more confident in sharing their own and talking about mummy life
Before I go into my story it’s important to hear now: this is my own experience of an emergency c-section, this is my story talking about a possible scenario and hopefully not scaring you too much. More importantly, it hasn't put me off having more babies!
What really helped with my overall experience was my amazing birth partner and the hypnobirthing course we practised together which helped us through the situations we faced over those 30 hours.
Before the decision was made to have an emergency c-section I had been in full labour for a solid 26 hours! My surges were regular and lasted for a minute every 5 minutes straight away. I didn’t have them every half hour or sporadically, they were continuous throughout and got stronger and stronger!
I started in the birthing suite in my hypnobirthing zone, surges were building up quickly, progressed in dilating, stayed the same for a while, then eventually labour wasn't progressing. After 18 hours of labour, I was advised to have a drip to encourage labour further, then baby decided to turn the wrong way (after being in the perfect position for ten weeks) so I had to try and move her around at 9.5cm dilated. We were eventually getting very tired and I could feel my body not wanting to do what it needed to - finally a decision to have an emergency c-section was made. PHEW!
Once the drip was off my surges completely stopped! Instantly! Which really showed how exhausted my whole body was. I had used diamorphine twice and gas and air for pain relief. They say active labour is the equivalent of running a marathon - I had been in intense labour mode with regular surges for 26 hours. Let that sink in for a moment!
I was taken into surgery about 20 mins after the decision was made. I was numbed from the ribs downwards, screen put up and the surgeons got to work. Very surreal! It felt like no time at all compared to the previous 28 hours! The anxiety, fear, excitement, love and happiness all coming flooding though and as soon as we heard baby’s cry I started to cry! FINALLY!!! Our baby was brought around from the screen and TADA “we’ve got a girl” my partner said with tears in his eyes.
We were so happy! Everything was well in our own new little world, we were able to do skin on skin with baby and enjoy our first moments together the three of us. It was so far from what I thought my labour would be, it goes to show how anything can change right up until the last hurdle.
Initial recovery was slow, my body went through a lot. The first shower I had was in the hospital the following morning, it took ages to walk 10 metres to get there and it was the first time I'd got up out of bed. I really felt like my insides were going to fall out! They didn't of course - although it didn't stop me from feeling like I had to hold my tummy! I was a little stunned about bleeding in the shower, felt like I was in a horror movie. I actually pressed the attention button because I was shocked - everything was fine and completely reassured it was normal. So don't hold back at asking for help or questions if you are worried about any little thing, it won't feel like a little thing at the time.
The other thing I wasn't told about was the thirst! I think the first few days I was drinking about 6 litres of water a day, not just from breastfeeding but having to replenish my body after surgery.
In total me and baby were in the hospital for two days and nights. My partner had to go home in the evenings as they don't allow them to stay over. He would leave around 9pm and be there for 7am each day to be with us as much as possible. I actually didn't know partners weren't allowed to stay so it was a bit surreal. The first night was after delivery and actually slept for about 6 hours straight as both of us were exhausted. I had to call for the midwife to get her up for me the first morning when she woke as I was attached to a catheter and hadn't moved yet. The second night she did not want to be put down and I had to hold her all night and be awake - I was feeling pretty out of it the next day and so grateful my parents and partner were around to have cuddles so I could nap.
Me and our daughter at 3 weeks old taking a feeding break on a local walk.
When we got home, the following day we went for a ten-minute walk which took an hour because of how delicate I felt. Fresh air made a difference and it felt good to get my body moving a bit. Plus first mini outing as a new family, LOVELY!
I felt really helpless and weak for the first 3 weeks especially. My partner was so supportive and had 4 weeks paternity leave which was a massive help. My scar was numb and tingly for a good 4 months postpartum and started to feel more normal around 6 months - when I felt I could wear jeans and normal pants again. If you have any concerns about your wound don't hesitate to go to your GP to get it checked out. It will help you heal quicker to get things looked at sooner.
Ten months on and I feel fairly recovered. I am back to doing more vigorous exercise and feel stronger for it. Despite the lack of sleep - exercise has really helped me recover especially in the last four months.
Top tips I'd give to those who have an emergency c-section: take it super easy and keep mobile, drink lots of water and don't be afraid to ask for help.
I firstly want to dedicate this story to the amazing NHS support I had during labour, and all of my appointments from the health visitor team. Secondly, to dedicate this to all of you new mums-to-be out there, you've got this!
I've tried to cover as much as possible, I could have gone on a lot more but wanted to cover the bits I didn't know about c-sections and recovery to hopefully help a little. If you have any further questions or want to talk at all I am happy to answer them if you want to message me on Instagram: @freyalexandra
If you want some other related blogs regarding Cesarean Births, Click here.