A Birth Story

Don’t worry – I haven’t secretly given birth over the weekend (though the contractions I’ve been having since I overdid it on the wedding dancefloor on Saturday night have been something else). As we’ve been making plans for this next birth I’ve enjoyed reminiscing about the experience I had with  Elfie. An ‘Elective’ Caesarian (though I hate the word ‘Elective’, she was breech so there was nothing elective about it) it was a wonderful experience and  I can’t believe this was nearly 2 years ago. 

When I first found out I was pregnant and started writing my blog, the ‘Birth Story’ post was the one I was looking forward to writing the most. I imagined it would involve a birthing pool, a bit of hypnobirthing and if I’m honest a good old measure of pain relief. But we know that wasn’t the birth I was to have, so really my birth story began 2 weeks before the 7th July when I found out I would be having a C Section.

I was convinced I wouldn’t go the 2 week stretch without going into labour naturally so spent the majority of that time feeling horrendously paranoid about every twinge and pain. It was nice to have that time to prepare for the baby, and I tried to get ready for baby’s arrival as much as possible by relaxing and cleaning the house.

The night of the 6th July we prepared our bedroom by getting baby’s cot ready; we’re using a BedNest co-sleeper. I didn’t sleep that much and we were up at 6am the next morning, ready to have a baby.

We got to the hospital for 7.30am and were shown our bed at 8.30. It was a 2 person ward but I would have it to myself. We were booked in for the second caesarian of the day and they estimated we’d be going down at around 11am. Time for one last bump photo!

(read on for lots more photographs…)

I got given some SEXY support stockings that were to be the worst thing ever on the hottest day of the year…

I actually liked the hospital nighty I was given; it matched my dressing gown!

There was an emergency caesarian happening between c section number one and me so we had to wait longer than expected. Initially I was very frustrated at the long wait but then hunger took over (I hadn’t eaten since 10pm the night before and was nil by mouth) and it really helped take my mind off the wait. After having a final scan to confirm baby was still bum-down we were finally taken down to theatre at 1pm.

I walked myself in to theatre (which I wasn’t expecting!) and Will changed into scrubs whilst I got an IV line in my hand (ouch!). I was super paranoid that they would forget the local anaesthetic before my spinal and I remember reminding both anaesthesiologists quite a few times… I’m sure they loved me for that. I got attached to what felt like a million machines and the spinal was working within minutes. It was the most bizarre feeling, my bum went all hot before my legs started tingling and then went very heavy and numb. They rotated me round onto the bed quicksharp, laid me back and tilted me slightly to the left to take the pressure off my major veins before putting in a catheter. They tested my numbness with a very cold spray before beginning the operation.

I remember them breaking my waters and sucking them out as I asked if somebody was blowing their nose over the operation… it seems that when I’m nervous my sense of humour gets cranked up a notch (not necessarily a good thing).

After 10 minutes of what felt like a very vigorous tummy massage Elfreda Daphne was born (1.35pm) – feet first through the sunroof which Will said was a very bizarre sight to behold. It took her a minute or so to cry and it was wonderful when I heard her. Will trimmed the cord and took video of the midwife doing her initial checks before she was brought to me for photos and kisses.

I couldn’t believe that such a gorgeous little thing was mine, the feeling was so strange. I really couldn’t marry together the fact that before I was pregnant and now there was a baby, and the baby had come from me.

More photos were taken by the wonderful anaesthesiologist and midwife, who were both fantastic the whole way through and really made what could have been a horrible experience wonderful.

Then Elfie was weighed, a petite 6lbs 14oz, 1 oz less than me at birth and the exact same weight as her Uncle Josh.

She pinked up beautifully and had an APGAR score of 8 at one minute and 10 at 5 and 10 minutes.

They put a ridiculously massive terrycloth nappy on her and wrapped her in a blanket.

Meanwhile, I was being stitched up and was very impatient to hold her – Will was busy having lots of cuddles and I was jealous! I asked the midwife repeatedly how long was left. The feeling of my staples going in (15 in total) was a weird one and I was so relieved when this was over and I was transferred back onto a bed so I could finally cuddle my baby. Will was sent away to get changed back into his clothes and we were wheeled through to recovery.

Elfie was sucking her thumb before we got out of the operating theatre, and latched on as soon as we were in recovery. She just LOVES breastfeeding which has been fabulous for the most part.

We were feeding in recovery and having observations taken for around half an hour before being transferred back up to the ward. My mum, dad and brother came for a really quick visit about an hour later before leaving us to get to know each other as a family of three.

We were transferred to a private room the next day and stayed one more night, I was desperate to get home with Will and Elfie really didn’t enjoy sleeping in the hospital crib and would wail every time she was put in it (lots of sleepless fun for mummy…).

She was given her first bath!

And her Grannie H came for a visit.

At home she is fairly chilled out and happy: she still likes breastfeeding a lot but after being in a lot of nipple pain for a couple of days we’ve found out her latch is not quite right. I’m a bit disappointed as I asked the latch to be checked in hospital and again in my first home visit and was told we were feeding perfectly. But at my second home visit today the midwife gave us a real lesson in breastfeeding and it seems her attachment is a bit too shallow. This afternoon we’ve made changes and I can tell it’s getting better but we’ve already given her a couple of lots of formula over the last three days as my nipples have been way too painful to feed from in the evenings. I knew breastfeeding could be tough but I really didn’t realise it would be so painful and by using formula I’ve felt like I’ve let her down. I’ll be working really hard over the next few days to make sure she gets what she needs from me and we’ve been taught a couple of pumping techniques to help. We WILL master breastfeeding!

I’m trying to remember that I’ve had a major operation and need to relax but it’s difficult as it feels like there’s so much that needs doing. I’ve been making sure I take a nap with the baby in the afternoon to get extra sleep though she’s only waking up once in the night at the moment for a feed and change, long may it last.

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  1. Aly wrote:

    Whoops. To be honest I have only had time to scan through this quickly as I hear Tobs stirring (teeth glorious teeth ) and was dying to look at photos. Wanted to comment in case I don’t get a chance tomorrow. What a cracking story! Obviously I welled up at the whole thing. Excited for what is to come for you and to digest this thoroughly.. Xx

    Posted 4.17.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      God, I can’t read it without weeping. But that’s true of most birth stories! xx

      Posted 4.23.12 Reply
  2. Amanda B wrote:

    A lovely story. Rare to hear positive comments re a C-Section so I’m glad it was a fab experience. Beautiful pics of such a special moment in your lives. I will be super broody again by the time you have No2. I hope you get your VDAC. I know friends that have had 2-3 children naturally after C-Section but it is an individual thing. What will be will be.
    I believe you stopped breast feeding Elfie after she became poorly but I have good experience of this including pain, trauma, mastitus (ouch) but I battled on to feed Max until he was 9 months and Elliot until he was 2 yrs. I have some great tips to share with you if you need them. Very excited to hear about your imminent arrival. If it is not too personal a question, are you aware of the health of your son -or will you have to wait to see if he shares the same condition as Elfie?

    Posted 4.18.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Thank you for the offer of the breastfeeding tips! With E I was astounded at how excruciating it was (the most painful part of birth etc by far for me) so I’m hoping it’ll be a bit easier this time around. Fingers crossed anyway!

      We have to wait to see if he will share Elfie’s condition. We were offered an amniocentesis during the pregnancy but this would have only been relevant if the result would prompt us to have a termination, but it wouldn’t have done. There’s a 1 in 4 chance he will have the condition, so we are hopeful! There’s a 50% chance he’ll be a carrier but this will be completely irrelevant as it’s so rare the chances of him meeting another carrier are incalculable.

      Posted 4.23.12 Reply
  3. Lovely to read this again two years on. The pic of Elfie in the enormous nappy is hilarious! If I don’t get a chance to comment again, best of luck for the upcoming birth. If you’re the same as me, it will be just as weird again to be pregnant one second, and holding a baby the next. Can’t wait to hear your news x

    Posted 4.18.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Yes! I don’t think my head is quite round the fact that a baby will be here soon. eek!

      Posted 4.23.12 Reply
  4. Kara wrote:

    What a sweet birth story!

    Posted 4.18.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Thank you Kara! It wasn’t what I wanted at the time but it could not have been more perfect x

      Posted 4.23.12 Reply
  5. The Mad House wrote:

    It is amazing and a real trip down memory lane. I remember E’s birth from all that time ago!

    Posted 4.18.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Can you believe it was nearly 2 years ago? It feels like yesterday, though I also feel like a completely different person.

      Posted 4.23.12 Reply
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