time flies when you're being a mum

Childbirth tagged with 'c-section'

How do you get a baby out? Well, there are about a million different ways to do childbirth and this aims to cover as many as possible!

05 Oct, 2014

Ah, c sections. Now there’s a subject that got heated discussion over on the Mums’ Days Facebook page a few weeks ago. For some people it is dramatic and extremely scary, for others it’s not. Both opinions are valid. I think for a lot of new mothers who have taken the anti-natal, NCT route, the general feeling is “I don’t want a c section” and so therefore when faced with it it can be traumatic, especially if mum and/or baby’s life is in danger. For some they feel the disappointed long afterwards. However, Eleanor’s prospective of having an unexpected c section was it isn’t something to fear, and it can  be a calm and enjoyable experience.

Eleanor's unexpected c section - her birth story demonstrates how a c section can be calm and enjoyable http://mumsdays.com/unexpected-c-section/

Eleanor’s birth story – the unexpected c section

A week after my due date, I went to the bathroom in the morning, had a wee, got up, and felt a colossal gush hit the bathroom floor. I actually laughed in delight, things were starting, our baby was on her way! The hospital said not to rush, they’ll be sending me home again probably, so I didn’t panic.

An hour later after several comical attempts to make a coffee as syrupy water continued to go south, I went to change my pants and found a very sticky, treacle-like substance all over them and me. Meconium, the hospital confirmed. Come now.

Still feeling excited, forgetting to eat (do not make this mistake), we arrived and were quickly shown to a delivery suite. No pool for us. Meconium means 24hrs to get the baby out before damage can occur. The vaginal examination was sharp and painful. No dilation, no engagement. No chance the baby was ready. The induction drip was started, the cannulas niggling and jangling in my hand.

It got painful very quickly. ‘No smiles anymore?’ said the midwife. No smiles. The pain of a contraction is hard to describe. It felt like a large heavy weight was being rolled around the inside of my pelvis. In ever-increasing, outward circles. I think I cried a bit. Then I wised up and stuck the TENS machine on. Magic TENS machine.

Four hours later, I was examined. 1cm. Sod this, I thought, and asked for Gas and Air. Magic Gas and Air. I breathed and sucked and said what my sister said everyone says ‘wow, it’s like being stoned’. It passed so quickly, it felt like a battle and I thought I was winning, every contraction doing something. Eight contractions in ten minutes came as they turned up the drip. My husband sat still, telling me good things and fending off the midwives chat.

Four hours later again, midwife shift changed as the sun went down. Husband sensed trouble as my lack of progress was discussed. 2cm now. I was furious, frightened and couldn’t see a way out. “2cm in 9 hours? How could I give birth within 24?” I shouted. They brought Pethadine. Magic Pethadine. Great choice for panickers.

Once it had kicked in and the epidural I’d been so sure I’d never need was on its way, the midwife mentioned we might have to start looking at other birth options. She meant a c section. I sort of ignored her the first time. But after the epidural went in smoothly and my contractions became nothing more than a blip on the monitor each time they happened, she examined me again. 4cm after 19 hours. The baby’s heartbeat is too erratic, they said. We’re going to book you in as an emergency c section. It felt right. We weren’t frightened. I was tired and ravenous, but not allowed to eat.

In between the three top-ups of the epidural to keep me prepared for the operation, they turned off the contraction drip. Our baby withdrew the short distance she had travelled, and went back to sleep with a resting heartbeat. She was safe. We dropped down the emergency list as women in greater need appeared.

Suddenly it was time to go, shift change for the surgeons, we were first job of the day for the elective c section crew. Into the theatre, bright lights and Heart FM. More cannulas and more painkillers. Husband looking fetching in blue beside me. “I’ll feel it!” I cried to the surgeon. They were great. Just calm efficiency and kindness. “You’ll feel me tickling you under your breasts in a minute,” she said. “This will be me bringing your baby out.”

I looked at my husband and we held on tight. “Here she is! It’s a girl! Would you like to see her now?”

When they dropped the curtain separating me from our girl, I saw her. Bloody and pink, wiggling and crying. I will never, ever forget that moment. As they wrapped her and put her in my husband’s arms, She’s The One by Robbie played on the radio and I just stared.

Eleanor's unexpected c section - her birth story demonstrates how a c section can be calm and enjoyable http://mumsdays.com/unexpected-c-section/

Very quickly, one surgeon stitched and the other cleaned. I was sent to triage with a baby beside me. She had her first go at eating whilst we watched wondrously and then I demolished the entire contents of my tuck box with a hunger I cannot begin to describe!

Eleanor's unexpected c section - her birth story demonstrates how a c section can be calm and enjoyable http://mumsdays.com/unexpected-c-section/

A c-section was the only way of birthing that I hadn’t considered or planned for. The long first stage of labour was debilitating and at times demoralizing, but I felt supported and listened to. I got the best care possible and good advice, despite what various organisations had told me would occur if I took drugs or had surgery.

If you’re expecting a baby, when it comes to birth, you’ll get told birth stories, not given advice, and I think that’s a good thing. You can plan for labour and birth but you can’t plan for how your body will decide to take things. Don’t be scared of an unexpected c section, read about the risks and benefits and listen to tales like mine. Emergency doesn’t necessarily mean danger or panic.

Thank you Eleanor!

What I took from this story is ultimately it doesn’t matter how your baby comes out, it is still a beautiful moment. Giving birth can be extremely traumatic for some, without a doubt (I’ve shared many of them on here), but we should never beat ourselves up for how our baby is born. Our bodies are amazing. They have grown and nourished a baby from a single cell. A whole baby!

Would you like to share your birth story? Please drop me an email to mumsdays@gmail.com, I’d love to hear from you.

For many more birth stories, head over to the Giving Birth Series where you will find over 100 more!

12 Jan, 2014

This isn’t strictly a birth story as the baby doesn’t actually come out BUT an ECV (or external cephalic version) is very much part of the preparation. By turning the baby from it’s breech position it is hoped that the mother is then able to go on and have a natural vaginal birth. Hilary has kindly shared the story behind her attempted ECV…

ECV Story (An attempt at turning a breech baby)

I was having my first baby at the age of 35. Even these days that’s still considered to be a fairly old mum! When I went to the hospital for my first check up, it was discussed that I suffered from Raynaud’s (bad circulation) and had been hospitalised with the condition back in 2006.

The midwife asked if I would take part in a study of the effects of the condition during pregnancy, whether my circulation would be affected or if it would have any affect on the baby’s growth.  The study would only consist of questions on my visits but they would like to do some extra “growth scans” to monitor the baby.  I was happy to agree, any extra care and excuse to “see” baby at scans before it came along was fine by me!

After my 20 week scan, at my midwife appointment, my midwife felt that the baby was in a transverse position (lying sideways).  She gave me some exercises to try and encourage baby to rotate.

I was then scheduled for one of the study’s growth scans at 28 weeks, and it was at this scan they discovered baby had rotated but the wrong way – he was now breech.  I was told it was still OK; there was time and a chance that he would rotate again.  Again I tried exercises to encourage the turn, watching TV in some very strange positions!

At my next appointment the midwife couldn’t tell if the baby was still breech or had turned. I was scheduled for another growth scan at 32 weeks so I had to wait until then to find out.

At this scan it was discovered that not only was baby still breech, he was frank (or extended) breech. His legs were straight up in front of his face and not bent at the knee. Basically he was just folded in half!  This meant the chance of him turning on his own was little to none. It was at this point that the ECV procedure was offered, I could either attempt this or it was going to have to be a c-section delivery.

ECV - frank breech

Image courtesy of WebMD

I had never heard of ECV before. It was explained that one of the consultants would attempt to externally manipulate baby to turn him round, pushing him out of my pelvis and rotating.

Of course as soon as I got home I was straight on the Internet to google ECV. I had a look at what the ECV procedure was like and found a video clip on youtube showing a successful procedure being done in what seemed like a matter of seconds!  I was happy to give the ECV a try as I really wanted the full “pregnancy and birth” experience; the anticipation of waiting for waters to break, the excitement of “it’s happening”, I even wanted the contractions!

I was booked in for the EVC at 38 weeks. I had been warned that the procedure could induce labour but I was ok with that, baby was far enough along that he would be ok if it did happen and I was happy to meet him early.

On the morning of the ECV I asked Hubby, “Should I take my hospital bag?” His reply was, “Yes. If you take it you wont need it, if you don’t I’ll have to race back for it if anything happens.”

So it was decided to take the bag but leave it in the car.

I arrived at the hospital and was taken into a ward with other pregnant women being monitored for one reason or another. I was scanned (just to make sure baby was still breech), then I was given an injection to relax my womb to make the manipulation easier, and then taken into one of the ultrasound rooms.

The consultant began the ECV by pressing the bottom of my “bump” near to my pelvis and pushing up.  She told me he came out of my pelvis really easily and that was a good sign as that was usually the difficult part.  She then started moving her hands round one side of my bump, pushing baby round. This was the painful part, Hubby’s hand was being squeezed hard and I was gritting my teeth.

She managed to get baby half way round then he stopped and wouldn’t turn any further. She let go and he whipped back round to where he started.  The consultant tried again, this time with a little more force in the turning. I had tears rolling down my cheeks with the pain but wanted to persevere so I could have a natural birth. Again he went half way then stopped and whipped back round.  The third attempt was even more forceful and painful. In the end my husband told her to stop as he could see the pain in my face and didn’t think we should carry on.

The consultant thought it was the fact that he was frank breech that was causing the problem and had he not been he would have turned.

I was taken back to the ward for monitoring to make sure the procedure hadn’t brought on labour. I had 2 machines, one monitoring for contractions and one to monitor baby’s heart rate.

Due to the relaxant I had been given I couldn’t feel anything but we started to notice the machine monitoring contractions started to do something. Then the one monitoring baby’s heart rate started to drop. 144… 120… 100… 88… when it got to 77 Hubby said “Should baby’s heart rate be that low?”

A midwife was passing by, she whipped back the curtain, looked at the monitor and all hell broke loose. She hit the emergency call button, dropped the back of my bed and told me to lie on my left hand side. I could hear someone calling for the consultant who had done the EVC and heard the dreaded, “Stand by to prep theatre for an emergency section!”

Panic was not the word!  The consultant came in and baby’s heart rate started to climb. It went from mad panic to quietly watching the number climbing. It eventually came back up to 140 and I was told I would have to be monitored for another 2 hours before they would be happy to let me home.  Thankfully all was ok. I was booked in for my section a week later and sent home.

I was disappointed the ECV didn’t work. It took me a while to accept that I wouldn’t get the experience I wanted but at the end of the day I knew it was what was best for me and my baby.

I do still sometimes feel that I have “missed out”. I have a beautiful little boy but I haven’t “given birth” and circumstances dictate that I won’t be having another baby so I won’t ever feel my waters break or know what a contraction feels like so I do feel a bit cheated, but I am glad I tried the ECV.

As for what happened when I went for my section, that’s another story…!

Thank you Hilary! But so cruel to get us this far and then leave us hanging! I look forward to the next instalment of your birth story xx

Did you have an ECV? Was it successful or, like Hilary, did you have to go on and have a planned C-section?


When an Emergency C-section is needed

24 Nov, 2013

Fellow blogger, Mummy Morkus, has kindly shared her birth story with us today – I don’t want to spoil it for you but she does have an emergency c-section, and while I know it is something Mummy Morkus has had to come to terms with afterwards, the end result made it all worth while – a beautiful baby girl! She has written and shared this to help other mums and dads who went through something similar.

Mummy Morkus’ C-section Birth Story

We didn’t have a birth plan, but even our very lose plan flew out of the window when we actually got down to labouring.

The day after my due date I thought I had wet myself in the night. Turned out it was my forewaters. I was put on a strict timeline and given 24 hours to go into labour. Queue lots of walking, up and down stairs sideways, ball bouncing and reflexology.

The contractions were on and off all day and we settled down for an early night after I carb loaded. By midnight I was timing contractions and asked J to put on the tens machine. I carried on bouncing. By 4.30 the contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting more than a minute. They were also bloody painful. The hospital said to come in.

Upon arriving I was examined and was only 2cm dilated. I was despondent but admitted because my time was nearly up. We made a plan to carry on until my deadline and then hormone drip and epidural would be administered.

8am and someone who didn’t know our plan came and examined me. Not only was I still just 2cm dilated but L had turned back to back. She then said, while I was puffing on gas and she was still examining me, “Partner please can you pass me the hook on the table over there”. Before I had a chance to close my legs in protest my waters were artificially broken. And there was a lot of muconium.

Cue mild panic from both me and J as we were put on constant monitoring. Luckily L seemed completely unaware of her early bowel movement and while still in an awkward position didn’t cause us any concern with her heart rate.

However, the artificial rupture of membranes caused my already painful contractions to suddenly up a notch and come thick and fast. I had more gas and air, it made me hallucinate and experience everything twice! It got unbearable. I needed an epidural.


They couldn’t get it in. The contractions were too close together, my back was too tight to get needle safely in. 3 failed attempts and I was given pethadine.

I can’t remember all the failed epidural attempts. I can’t remember the pethadine decision being made. I can’t remember anything from about 10am to 5pm.

I came to after the pethadine, after a spinal block and once the epidural was in. I had a mobile epidural so I could top it up as I wanted. So I did, a lot!

While I couldn’t remember anything, my body had been working and I was 9cm by 8pm, unfortunately by 10pm I was still only 9cm and a scan showed L to be trying to arrive face first rather than with a nicely tucked in chin.

I had to choose between a hormone drip to make contractions strong enough to possibly deliver her or a c-section to definitely deliver her.

To be honest I knew what I wanted instantly. A safely delivered baby as soon as possible with as little possible stress for both of us. C-section it was.

I couldn’t see much in the theatre but the blue cloth separating my head from the rest of my body and J’s face. Theatre lights are reflective so I was doing all I could not to look in them and see what was happening to my numb body.

I can’t remember the pulling or tugging, I can remember a cry and one spindlly limb when she was shown to J and we finally knew she was a she. I said L’s name and then it gets foggy again.

I can remember hearing my heart beat on the monitor and J being told to bring L to be checked. I felt sick and dozy.

Some time later I was in recovery. Alone with my baby in an incubator. Too far away for me to touch. Just staring at her. I wasn’t allowed to hold her till my heart rate increased.

Eventually she was in my arms. This little stranger who I was convinced would be a boy. It felt surreal. Like it had happened to someone else. Luckily she looked like me so I knew she must be mine.

We were at the start of something. For some reason L had made it as difficult as possible to arrive in the way we had thought she would. She was defiant to the end, even proving mummy wrong with her gender.

Mummy did however get the weight spot on. 8lb on the cute button, just like her 20 week scan, nose.

c-section birth story

Thank you Mummy Morkus! Baby L is now 5 months and if you want to find out how she got on with coming to terms with her Emergency C-section you can read more on her blog.

Did you have an emergency c-section? How did you feel afterwards?

24 Sep, 2013

Maria and I first became friends via this blog, ain’t the internet great?! – Maria had recently moved to South Korea from Newcastle so we got chatting about moving away while she was 5 months pregnant…I thought this was brave but Maria and her husband Adrian have adventure in their souls so they were just ready to move on. Fast forward to December and Maria and AJ (as Maria calls him) had their baby boy, Nathaniel, in what sounded like an amazing hospital in South Korea. Being the nosey person I am, I badgered Maria into giving me all of her birth story details. This birth story was NOT what I was expecting!

maria's birth story

I’ve been meaning to share this with you for a while but the August survey and some personal messages from you guys saying “we want more birth stories!!” meant I just had to finally pull my finger out.

Expect high drama, tears (yours, get a tissue now), and a beautiful little boy. What is so endearing about this tale is how Maria comes across, she writes in such a lovely way that I feel like I’m sitting next to her listening, rather than reading. Along with adventure, she also has eternal optimism in her soul! – she’s writing this 4 months after the birth, but still, what she went through makes anything I was moaning about pale into insignificance (And to be honest, instead of being scared of having another, I should look to Maria and just man up!). I also love that I now know more about her hospital in Korea than I do my own where Reuben was born…I don’t know even know the names of either of the midwives who delivered him. Sad.

The other thing that touched me about this story is just how amazing other cultures can be – within weeks of moving, they had made friends for life who were willing to do anything for them.

I’ve hardly edited the way Maria has written this, so you can get the full effect. Enjoy! (more…)



28 Apr, 2013

Pre-childbirth my experience of caesarean, never mind a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section), was limited to ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’, which I saw when I was about 30 weeks pregnant and it terrified me. One of the women had to be rushed off for an emergency c-section in which she was drugged up to the eye-balls, completely unconnected from the birth and then nearly dies. Following that and lots of hippy books, I knew I didn’t want one. I wanted to experience labour to the max, let my body take over, and all those primeval notions related to giving birth.

However, then I went into labour. On Super Saturday, as I was watching Mo win his second gold medal, I was thinking ‘good for f*cking you, Mo, you dick. I wish I could have a c-section’. Entirely unconnected statements but I hated Mo (sorry Mo, I actually think you’re lush, I just wasn’t myself!) and I wanted that baby OUT. Now I can’t remember the pain just how amazing it was to give birth to my son with Mike by my side (albeit asleep for what felt like most of it… basically until it got interesting!) but I wonder if I would have such fond memories if I had ended up having a c-section?

Of my group of 7 mums-to-be, 2 of them had to have emergency c-sections. They both recovered really well and the discussions I’ve heard since have been that they would both have an elective caesarean next time. I can understand this. They both had extremely traumatic experiences, and particularly the stages at home when it feels like it will never be over, can be close to unbearable…  So, what makes some women, even after traumatic first time experiences, choose to have a VBAC?

I’ve been speaking to Emma, who back in November when she was 32 weeks pregnant, left a lovely comment on my blog. I discovered that Emma had to have an emergency c-section with her first baby, Beth, 7 weeks early. Despite this she was still hoping to have a VBAC with her second. Here is her story:

Abigail born 27th January 2013 – a successful VBAC!

I can see why people chose to go elective. It’s all very predictable and you can make plans. I’ve had a lot of friends who’ve had difficult labours ending in a c-section and they decided to have an elective with their second. I guess for me, I was just the opposite. I found the emergency c-section experience horrible, and had a terrible recovery so I wanted to avoid it. I also found there were a lot of emotional issues tied up with not having had any labour first time round. I felt robbed and that my body had not been allowed to do what it is designed to do. I have spoken to plenty of women since who thought I was nuts for feeling that way! However, this time I wanted to experience it. Plus, with a 2½ year old already at home I knew that another c-section would mean 6 weeks of no driving, no lifting, etc!

I was due on the 19th, the following Wednesday I went for a sweep which did’t do much. Midday Thursday I started having contractions, mild as they were, which came and went throughout the night. I had another sweep on the Friday as well as Saturday and Saturday night. Sunday morning I had a good old blub about not wanting another c-section (I should’ve known something was afoot then!) and by midday I was suddenly having contractions every 3 mins. Suddenly things were moving quickly with my parents arriving – my mum was coming with me and my husband to hospital and my dad to look after my daughter. At 4pm we rang the hospital who said come in. At 5.30pm an exam revealed I was 4cm and not going home. I huffed and puffed my way on from there using the tens machine and some acupressure. At 10:30pm another exam showed I was 7cm, with my waters still intact, and the midwife said I had hours left to go so I asked for gas and air at that stage.

Pain relief wise, I knew I wanted to use as little as possible but having not laboured before, I had no idea what to expect. I’d had a few days of contractions (not that that’s what I thought they were as they didn’t feel how I expected!) so maybe I had built up a certain level of tolerance?! As it was, the main reason I asked for anything at all is because the midwife said I had about 4-5 hours, which I didn’t think I could do.

However, within half an hour of that examination my waters broke and my body started pushing. The midwife said not to push as I wasn’t dilated and would damage myself – so I tried my best, until the midwife lifted the blanket and in a very surprised tone admitted she could see baby’s head!

With some more huffing and puffing (I’m sure I was much more noisey than that!), me, my husband and my mum welcomed Abigail Elizabeth Ratcliffe into the world at 11:53pm on the 27th weighing 9lb 4ozs!

There you have it – a successful VBAC, avoiding the knife! Not quite a hypnobirthing experience as I certainly felt every ounce of that 9lbs but it was quick, relaxed and just what I hoped for. After my delivery, I had just a few stitches, which caused me no problems and I was back on my feet and in the bath within an hour of delivery – such a very different experience to post c-section!! And, recovering after a natural birth has been so easy in comparison.

Abigail born via successful VBAC

Baby Abigail born via successful VBAC with her big sister Beth!

I am so pleased that Emma was able to experience what she had hoped for! And, since reading about Emma’s successful VBAC, I also wanted to see what other people’s experiences were of VBAC. As with everything to do with pregnancy, childbirth and beyond, every story and situation is totally different. I had some amazing comments on the Mum’s Days facebook page. Thank you to everyone who has joined in so far, and please do have a read and join in the conversation.

A successful VBAC story

What I found really interesting about the comments was the number of people who had to have an emergency c-section with their second child, despite a successful vaginal birth with their first. It also seems that emotional issues connected with the suddenness of emergency c-sections and the lack of skin-to-skin can be connected with PND. So, to finish off, what I would like to say is, I’m no medic but I understand that sometimes it isn’t possible for a woman to have a VBAC. If this is the case for you and you are worried about the effects of having an elective caesarean, please read this article, Every bit as magical, that Catherine Adkin shared on the VBAC facebook thread. Maybe you too can have more of a say in your c-section!

Finally to quote my friend who had an emergency c-setion and when asked if she felt like a failure (I KNOW, I can’t believe someone actually asked her that either), she said: “I carried a baby for 9 months, and I now have a beautiful boy. No, I don’t feel like a failure.”

Please do share your thoughts either below in the comments or on the facebook thread.