photo by Philippa James
The second birth story in the ‘positive elective c-section’ series is from Kirsti, who despite her plan to have a natural birth had no choice but to opt for a c-section due to a potentially serious complication with her placenta.
“So – I should start by telling you that I am quite late into motherhood, I was 37 when I fell pregnant, 38 when Sonny-Jay was actually born.
A lot of our friends had had some sort of difficulty conceiving so we were totally prepared for the same to happen to us….it didn’t – I fell pregnant within 2 months of trying (insert strong arm emoji for dad here!)
I remember it vividly, we had just moved into a one bed flat in Hackney in between Kingsland Road and London Fields….we had a ladybird problem so Jamie was in the bedroom sorting that whilst I was peeing on a stick in the bathroom.
That minute when you find out you’re preggo for the first time is magic I think….I felt elated, lucky, scared, apprehensive but most of all completely alive.
There aren’t many times in life when you know for a fact that your life as you know it is about to change FOREVER and this is one of them.
We made the calls to family and then got our own heads around the fact that we were going to be parents now.
I was working full time and had a million projects on the go so didn’t stop for breath, I was totally focused on carrying on as normal – I felt that pregnancy was not going to affect my work ethic or the way that I lived my life.
I wasn’t sick ffs – just preggo!
Then the tiredness came, OMG massive waves of tiredness that lead to me calling the doctor to say that “this is definitely not normal” and “I think there is something REALLY wrong with me”
NOPE – this was normal and there was nothing wrong with me – so I took to working from 9am-4pm napping for 2 hours and then working again from 6pm-9pm.
I remember thinking how the hell do women that have to work certain hours manage, but of course we all manage with whatever we have to manage with.
Tiredness aside I felt pretty great, life was good and we were really excited.
We had the sexing scan in Dec at Homerton hospital and found out that we were having a boy – left the hospital and it started to snow – magic everywhere!!!
At that scan they did tell me that I have a low lying placenta but that they usually move and that it wasn’t anything to worry about.
I was monitored but this placenta was stubborn and it did not move – then I had a very – very faint bleed and so we thought we had better go get that checked out, I think I was about 30 weeks at that point….I was admitted to hospital immediately and prepped for labour….just in case….steroid injections were administered to help the babies lungs develop – all very scary and not what we were expecting at all.
It was about now that it dawned on me that this placenta was not going to move at all.
I had not felt my baby kicking the entire way through the pregnancy but I knew that he was ok because I could physically see him moving around my belly….the weirdest thing though….all my pregnant mates were complaining of being kicked to high heaven and I couldn’t feel a thing.
I hadn’t thought about it much before that moment but suddenly it all clicked into place.
So now I just wanted to know what was going to happen to my birth……..i’m a massive control freak so for me this really was the hardest bit of my pregnancy, I cried, I shouted, I argued with consultants but ultimately I had to wait until the last minute – which was the 37 week scan to be delivered the news I had been preparing myself for.
I had a grade 4 placenta previa – a potentially life threatening condition – it means in lay-mans terms that the placenta is covering all viable exits for the baby…..the natural route – the cervix and the operative route – the belly.
I was told there and then that I was being booked in for a c section in 5 days time…..because I could not under any circumstances be allowed to go into a natural labour – I was relived but totally shocked and I absolutely felt robbed of the chance to give birth naturally – so I mourned that with some tears and then picked myself up and got on with it.
I had zero time to prep myself for what was about to happen so my mother in law to be (Susan Jessett – she’s very active on social media, you might already know her!) took over.
She researched everything and came to meet my consultant with me armed with folders full of print outs from the Royal College of Midwives – all with flouro post its marking the pages she wanted to discuss with the surgeon.
She managed to conduct that meeting without giving me the slightest idea of the seriousness of the situation. My ears only pricked up when she asked if a blood transfusion would be on stand by – “just precautionary” she said.
In theatre they were going to have to cut through my placenta to reach my baby.
This means that they had exactly one minute to deliver him safely.
THANK GOD I did not know this was the case going into theatre……all I knew was that Sonny was to be born within minutes and I was going to remain in theatre for approx an hour afterwards to be sorted out.
So the day before the operation came, I – oblivious to everything went and got my hair and nails done – worked right up until the hilt and then got up at 5am the day of the op and popped off to Homerton Hospital with Jamie, his mum and his dad and our suitcase in a cab – it was like going on some sort of weird holiday where you come home with a little human instead of a tan.
Thankfully the op went without a hitch – if you don’t count the fact that they wacked a hair net on my do and whipped my nail polish straight off)
All I wanted to hear was the cry of my newborn and the news that he was ok and then I could focus on having to lay there for another 60 minutes instead of holding my newborn. I didn’t cry, I wasn’t emotional at all…..Jamie said he was worried I didn’t actually care that we had just had a baby but I was just trying to get through it all the only way I know how…
When I was finally ready to go through with my baby the nurses in recovery exclaimed that “most women come in here looking like death but you look as though you’ve just been to a party”
Obviously all those years at Glastonbury skipping around the fields full of ahem “wild abandon” came in useful here but I’d definitely say the fact that I didn’t actually have a bloody clue how serious the op was played a big part in my being so relaxed.
SO THANK YOU SU
Its fair to say that I was off my face later that day in hospital – on about a million drugs…….IT WAS SO WEIRD.
I was pretty battered and bruised around my nether regions after that op…..you could see where the elbows had been when they were pulling that baby out in the 60 seconds they had.
My midwife was visibly shocked when she saw me for the first time “GIRL – You’re black & blue!”
The first few months were hard for me….I wasn’t prepared for what was to come and I found it difficult to bond with my baby immediately – there was no baby bubble of love round our house I can tell you…….BUT…..we got there in our own time and now I LOVE Being a mum more than anything in the world and my god am I grateful to the team I had in that theatre with me.”
GOD BLESS THE NHS
@kirstihadley is the co-founder madlife.co.uk the parenting network for mums and dads