All of the final available options (turning the baby, forceps, cesarean) would be pretty intense but I wouldn’t feel a thing. The anesthetist came in to talk to me about an epidural and all I kept thinking was that soon I wouldn’t be able to feel anything. Each contraction could be the last one I would feel.
Luke was taken to scrub up ready to come to the operating theatre with me and I was read the various risks and asked to sign a consent form. Once I was numb it was amazing – albeit mildly terrifying as I still didn’t know how far down the list of options we’d have to go. There were loads of people in the room with us ready to help me and the baby whatever happened, which on the one hand was reassuring but also made my mind race through all of the things that could happen. They had to have a pediatrician on hand and had a little area set up in the corner in case the baby needed any assistance. Scary stuff!
The doctor was incredible and actually managed to turn him around to face the right way but I only had two contractions worth of pushing to get him out. I didn’t know until I read my hospital notes when I got home that he was in the first stage of distress and they needed to get him out. Because I was numb the midwife had to tell me when to push and he actually shifted down a bit but with the second contraction he was back up again. Even forceps couldn’t help. It was cesarean time.
One Born Every Minute does not prepare you for a cesarean. They make it look like an easy final option – you’re wheeled in, baby is cut out and boom, all done. Turns out, not so much! I lay there shaking from the effects of the drugs, still clutching the gas and air with one hand and Luke’s hand with the other. They had to move fast and it took a couple of uncomfortable tugs to get him out. While they waited for delayed chord clamping they lowered the screen so I could see his little feet – it was incredible. Luke got a much gorier view and saw me completely opened up. Rather him than me! Once Jenson was out and crying I balled my eyes out. Like, proper ugly crying, complete with snorting, snore-like sobs. He was ok! They checked him over and when he was three minutes old Luke went over to be with him and the anesthetist took over hand-holding duties. He was lovely, talking me through everything that was happening, monitoring my heart rate (which went iffy for a bit) and making sure I wasn’t getting too much gas and air.
I wanted skin to skin ASAP so while they were working on putting me back together again, Jenson was placed on my chest so I could see his gorgeous little face. By that time my sobs had started dying down and I was a bit calmer. I couldn’t even look at Luke until then because I knew I would cry even harder. I’ve never cried like that before.
The worst point in the operating theatre was when they were finishing up after the cesarean. Although I was numb from the chest down I could still feel what was going on – the stapling, the sutures, all the tugging and pushing and pulling… The next step would have been general anesthetic, which they wanted to avoid (both to keep an eye on me and also because it would mean I wouldn’t be able to see the baby straight away), so I just tried to grin and bear it for 20 minutes or so. I had Jenson on my chest for a bit, which helped to calm me down and then Luke took him through to recovery to meet my mum while the doctors finished putting me back together again.
Pop back tomorrow for the fourth and final part of my birth story!